Last updated: August 6, 2021

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If you want to prepare delicious dishes yourself in your home kitchen, you need the right kitchen tools. The basic equipment of every kitchen includes, among other things, paring knives, for which there are a few things to consider.

Our paring knife test 2021 will help you find the perfect paring knife. We have compiled the advantages and disadvantages of curved and straight paring knives for you. This way you can make an informed decision when buying your paring knife.




Summary

  • Paring knives enable you to produce perfect peeling results without frustration and hassle due to their special characteristics.
  • Basically, paring knives can be distinguished primarily by the material of the blade and the material of the handle.
  • A sharp paring knife makes peeling fun and enjoyable. Therefore, one should be aware of the different sharpening possibilities.

The Best Paring knife: Our Picks

Paring knives: buying and evaluation criteria

In the following, we will explain the most important criteria for choosing a suitable paring knife so that you get a comprehensive overview of the most important quality criteria regarding paring knives.

The following paragraphs provide you with an ideal overview when buying a paring knife.

Blade shape

The shape of the blade is one of the most important criteria of a paring knife and the choice depends very much on what you want to peel with your paring knife.

Paring knives can have curved or round blades as well as straight blades.

If you want to peel apples, pears or potatoes, for example, a round or curved blade is clearly an advantage. This is because the peeling of round or oval shapes is much easier with curved blades. However, if you want to use your paring knife for smaller cutting tasks, a straight blade is recommended. A curved blade is unsuitable for such tasks. Consequently, it can be said that a paring knife with a curved blade is the specialist for pure paring and a paring knife with a straight blade can also be used as an all-purpose knife. Before buying, you should therefore be clear about your personal purpose.

Sharpness level

A sharp paring knife not only makes for more fun and less frustration in the kitchen, but also helps to achieve a much better peeling result. At the same time, too much cut is avoided when peeling. For this reason, when buying a paring knife, make sure that it can be resharpened. However, you should also be aware that you will need additional kitchen utensils such as a sharpening steel or whetstone for resharpening. You can find out more about sharpening and resharpening in the "Frequently asked questions and answers" section at the end of this guide.

Handle material

The material of the handle of a paring knife is the decisive factor that determines whether the knife is dishwasher-safe. A distinction must be made between handles made of wood and handles made of plastic. A wooden handle makes a noble impression and promises high quality. However, wooden paring knives cannot be cleaned in the dishwasher. However, if you have no problems with hand cleaning, you can use a paring knife with a wooden handle without any problems.

Note:

Paring knives with wooden handles are generally not dishwasher-safe, while paring knives with plastic handles can be washed in the dishwasher without any problems. Peeling knives with plastic handles, on the other hand, do not have this problem. You can wash them in the dishwasher without affecting the longevity of your paring knife.

Blade material

The blade is the heart of every paring knife and should therefore be of excellent quality. Most paring knives have a steel blade. It is ideal for resharpening. However, you should pay attention to how the steel has been treated in the manufacture of the paring knife. Special technology such as Tefal's Ice Force technology can be a sign of quality. However, there are also paring knives whose blades are made of ceramic. The advantage of ceramic blades is that they are naturally rust-free. However, ceramic blades require a diamond sharpening stone for sharpening, which may have to be purchased separately.

Ergonomics

Since you usually work with your paring knife for a long time at a stretch, for example to peel potatoes for a large family, good handling and ergonomics are particularly important. This can be particularly important with regard to arthritis in the root joint of the thumb, which makes everyday activities such as peeling fruit and vegetables difficult.

For this reason, special attention should be paid to the ergonomics of the knife handle when buying a paring knife. An ergonomic handle is also particularly important to minimise the risk of injury when peeling. If a paring knife lies well in the hand, the likelihood of slipping with the knife and accidentally injuring yourself is reduced.

Paring knife: Frequently asked questions and answers

Below we provide you with the most frequently asked questions and answers on the subject of paring knives. We answer the essential questions about paring knives in a nutshell. After reading the guide, everyone will be an expert on the subject of paring knives.

What is a paring knife?

Paring knives are also known as peeling knives. The name comes from the French and means "to bring into shape". They are ideal for removing the peel from fruit and vegetables as finely as possible. The advantage of a paring knife over another type of knife is that it removes the peel without causing too much peeling loss.

Paring knives are small and ideal for peeling fruit and vegetables.

Paring knives are usually very small and are therefore less suitable for cutting work in the kitchen. They usually have a short blade that is either straight or curved like a beak. The blade is so short because it is better suited for peeling.

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A paring knife can be used to peel a lot of apples in a very short time. (Image source: Wesley Pacífico / Unsplash)

The main purpose of a paring knife is to remove peel from fruit and vegetables. However, paring knives can also be used for carving as well as garnishing and decorating food.

What types of paring knives are there?

There are two main types of paring knives. Firstly, there is the paring knife with a curved blade and secondly, there is the paring knife with a straight blade. The following table summarises the main advantages and disadvantages of a paring knife with a curved blade and a straight blade.
Type advantages disadvantages
With straight blade all-purpose, peel straight vegetables such as carrots or cucumbers not a pure peeling knife, less fine peeling result
With curved blade less peeling loss, also suitable for odd shapes only limited possible uses

The advantages and disadvantages show that the choice of a paring knife depends on the desired benefits. Therefore, before buying a paring knife, you should decide what you want to use it for most often.

What does a paring knife cost?

The price range for paring knives is very wide. Depending on the quality of the blade and the handle, the price of paring knives varies greatly. Paring knives range in price from €3 to €120. For hobby cooks, a price in the lower segment of the price range will suffice. However, if you are a professional chef or attach great importance to perfect peeling results, you will also find a suitable paring knife in the upper price range.
Type Price range
With straight blade circa 9 to 70€
With curved blade circa 3 to 120€

Prices depend on both the material used and the manufacturer.

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Peeling knives can not only remove the skin from apples but are also excellent for removing the unpopular white fibres from mandarins and oranges. (Image source: congerdesign / Pixabay)

What are the alternatives to a paring knife?

Using a paring knife requires some manual dexterity and practice. If you don't have time to learn how to use a paring knife, the following table provides a clear list of alternatives to paring knives.
Alternative Description
P-peeler The P-peeler gets its name from its P-shape. It is ideal for those who are not able to use a paring knife.
Y-peeler Similar to the P-peeler, the Y-peeler is also named after its shape
Pendulum peeler/saver peeler The peeler is characterised by its intuitive use, so that it is also suitable for children.

The alternatives mentioned above offer some advantages, especially in handling. Due to their intuitive use, peeling aids such as the peeler are also a suitable substitute for children. However, if you want to achieve a perfect peeling result, you cannot avoid using a paring knife.

How do I clean a paring knife?

Cleaning a paring knife depends largely on the type of knife. If the paring knife is dishwasher-safe, you can safely put it in the dishwasher with the rest of the dishes. However, if the paring knife is not suitable for the dishwasher, for example because the handle of the knife is made of wood, you should wash your paring knife by hand and then dry it carefully. This will ensure the longevity of the wooden handle. When washing by hand, however, you should be very concentrated so that you do not cut yourself while cleaning.

How do I sharpen a paring knife?

Sharpening your paring knife depends on the material of the blade and requires an additional sharpening stone or a sharpening rod or diamond sharpening stone. The following additional devices are beneficial for sharpening paring knives:

  • Sharpening rod or sharpening steel
  • Sharpening stone
  • Diamond sharpening stone
  • Roller grinder

For sharpening, you should use the sharpening device with which you are most familiar.

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Sharpening a paring knife should be done regularly to keep the paring result consistently high. (Image source: Manki Kim / Unsplash)

The following is an example of how to sharpen a paring knife with a sharpening rod. The following steps must be followed: Step 1: Take the sharpening rod in your hand and place the knife between 15 and 20 degrees. Step 2: Move the knife along the sharpening rod with even movements without too much pressure until the paring knife has regained the desired sharpness. Step 3: Finally, clean the paring knife thoroughly with a damp kitchen cloth to remove any residue left by sharpening.

Note: When sharpening paring knives with a ceramic blade, please note that a so-called diamond sharpening stone is required for sharpening, as simple sharpening with a whetstone does not produce the desired result with ceramic blades.

If you follow these steps, you will be able to sharpen your knife without any problems.

Conclusion

A paring knife can be the ideal helper in the kitchen to easily remove the peel from fruit and vegetables. However, if the paring knife loses its sharpness, it can become a source of frustration in the kitchen. For this reason, it is particularly important when buying a paring knife to look for high quality and not to save at the wrong end.

The handle can also be a sign of quality, because an ergonomic handle prevents pain, especially when peeling for a long time. Whether you choose a paring knife with a wooden handle or a plastic handle depends on the individual taste of the user.

Picture source: Fortyforks/ 123rf.com

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