Which cleaver is best?

A cleaver is an invaluable tool for any kitchen. The way it’s constructed creates extra power, making challenging cuts — such as meat and tough vegetables — far easier. Cleavers have several different styles and uses to ensure that they’re the best possible tool for specific cutting needs.

The best cleaver for most kitchens is the Zelite Infinity Comfort Pro Cleaver. This Chinese-style cleaver is made from German steel and is incredibly sharp while maintaining the easy use customers are searching for. The handle of the cleaver provides an exceptionally balanced weight that makes it comfortable to wield. 

What to know before you buy a cleaver


Cleavers manufactured and used in kitchens nowadays tend to be made of either iron or carbon steel. This is because said materials have extraordinary durability and an ability to maintain a sharp edge. Iron is typically heavier than steel for those who prefer some extra weight.


Cleavers come in two shapes: straight and curved. A straight blade utilizes the tip of the cleaver to trim food and the middle to cut through it, while a curved blade can be rocked in a back-and-forth motion to make cutting easier.


The weight of a cleaver can vary from anywhere between 13 and 32 ounces. Heavier blades can make cutting through bones or tougher meats easier, but ultimately, the most important factor when deciding is user preference.


Some cleavers may have a curved handle instead of a straight one, which can make cutting easier on the user’s hands.

What to look for in a quality cleaver

Knife sheath

Knife sheaths can be used to protect a cleaver while not in use, help limit user injury and slow the dulling of a blade over time. 

Premium wood handle

Cleavers typically come with premium wood handles to preserve a more classic look. While pakkawood is most commonly used, mahogany, walnut and more can also be used. A wooden handle requires that the cleaver be hand-washed only, so cleavers are also made with synthetic handles that are dishwasher-safe.

Hook hole

A staple of cleaver design in the past was a hook hole at the upper tip of the blade that allowed it to be hung on meat hooks, kitchen hooks or hooks on a cook’s apron. While it’s becoming increasingly rare to find cleavers with hook holes, they are still available for those who find value in them.

How much you can expect to spend on a cleaver

Like most kitchen-related tools and appliances, the cost of a cleaver can greatly vary. Most cleavers can range from under $400 for a quality household tool to upward of $1,500 for the high-end chef’s cleavers.

Cleaver FAQ

How often should you sharpen your cleaver?

A. The cleaver is meant to be used for heavy-duty cutting, focusing on weight and strength over sharpness, meaning that a few sharpenings over the lifetime of the knife should suffice.

Do you need to use a cleaver for cutting through bone? Can’t you just use any sharp knife?

A. Smaller knives aren’t designed to cut through bones or heavy-duty materials, and using them in such a manner can drastically shorten their lifespans. Always use cleavers for cutting through bone.

What’s the best cleaver to buy?

Top cleaver

Zelite Infinity Comfort Pro Cleaver

Zelite Infinity Comfort Pro Cleaver

What you need to know: The Zelite Infinity is a top-of-the-line cleaver made from high-quality materials and it is built to last.

What you’ll love: Exceedingly sharp and made from German steel, this cleaver is perfect for cutting various meats.

What you should consider: You get what you pay for with this cleaver as the quality matches the price tag.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top cleaver for the money

Utopia Kitchen Cleaver

Utopia Kitchen Cleaver

What you need to know: This budget selection doesn’t sacrifice quality.

What you’ll love: This cleaver is particularly good for cutting through bones, and the stainless steel blade is easy to sharpen.

What you should consider: The handle can be easily damaged over time, while the blade requires sharpening before your initial use.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Dalstrong Mini Cleaver Knife

Dalstrong Mini Cleaver Knife

What you need to know: While this is a quality blade at an affordable price, there are better options available.

What you’ll love: A triple-riveted handle ensures the blade won’t split apart from the black, pakkawood handle.

What you should consider: Some customers reported cleavers arriving with dings and nicks in the blade.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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