14 Best Meat Cleaver Picks of 2022

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Krishia Published: October 4, 2022
14 Best Meat Cleaver Picks of 2022

Whether you are a professional chef or a home cook, a reliable kitchen knife is essential. Well, there are many knife options to choose from, and you may get all of them or settle for a few go-to ones like a chef’s knife, serrated knife, or an electric knife.

Now, if you want something that’s a cut above the rest, you might want to add a meat cleaver to your selection. You may use it in cutting veggies, poultry, thick meat slabs, and even tough bone parts. A total all-rounder, right? With that, let’s cut to the chase and get to the point. Here’s a list of the best meat cleavers that can be your next favorite thing in the kitchen!

Our Favorite Meat Cleavers at a Glance

The Best Meat Cleavers This 2022

What is a meat cleaver, and what is it used for?

A meat cleaver is a heavy-duty knife and is one of the biggest multi-purpose knives you can own in the kitchen. You usually find Asian cooks using this to chop, slice, and mince ingredients from vegetables and fruits to meat slabs and bones. It is why some chefs prefer this over other knife types, as it is cut for any chopping job. 

Convinced to add a meat cleaver to your selection of kitchen tools? Check out our list of the best meat cleavers from which you can choose!

1. Best Overall: DALSTRONG 7-Inch Meat Cleaver

What We Love

  • Versatile
  • Nice appropriate weight
  • Lifetime warranty

What We Don't Love

  • High maintenance
  • Can’t cut meat bones

At the top of our list, we have the Dalstrong Meat Cleaver, which comes from the company’s Shadow Black Series that features knives with super-steel high carbon strength, making this meat cleaver durable and high quality.

If you are looking for a meat cleaver that is stylish and also high-performing, then definitely add this to your list! It comes in a sleek, ergonomic design that’s very comfortable to use. It is lightweight and equipped with a razor-sharp blade that can cut through veggies, fruits, and meat slabs.

However, there are a few downsides to this product. One is that it can be pretty hard to maintain. It would be best if you dry it thoroughly before storing it, as it is prone to rust. We also do not recommend using this for chopping rigid meat bones.

But overall, this cleaver is a steal. It is best either for home or professional use. A bonus? It also comes in very stylish packaging so that you can gift it to someone special!

2. Best Professional: Mueller 7-Inch Meat Cleaver

What We Love

  • Multipurpose
  • High quality
  • Great value for money

What We Don't Love

  • A little heavy for some
  • Does not come with a sleeve

Cut your meat and produce like a pro using Mueller Meat Cleaver. This professional meat cleaver is a high-quality multipurpose knife made from stainless steel. It is sturdy, durable, and easy to clean and maintain. A quality knife that a bustling professional kitchen needs, indeed!

This is also an excellent chef cleaver as it provides safety and comfort, especially when working all day in the kitchen. It has an ergonomic handle that provides a comfortable grip for safety and to avoid hand and finger numbness or fatigue. Though there is a divided opinion regarding its weight (some find its weight okay while others find it too heavy), this is still a chef’s cleaver that you’ll opt to use. It does the job — from cutting garlic and onions to chopping big-boned meat. 

All in all, this professional knife made it to our cut as it offers superior quality that is also an excellent value for your money.

3. Best for Amateur Cooks: Utopia Kitchen Meat Cleaver

What We Love

  • Easy to maneuver
  • Durable

What We Don't Love

  • Only rust-resistant
  • A bit heavy
  • Reviews report brittle handle

Who says novice cooks can’t handle big knives like meat cleavers? If you want to try these bad boys, you can start with the Utopia Kitchen Meat Cleaver. It is a 7-inch cleaver knife made from stainless steel. This cleaver is perfect for cutting and slicing fruits, vegetables, and meat, including the hard bony parts. 

It is also effortless to clean, either through dishwasher or hand washing. However, be sure to dry it thoroughly before storing it, as it is only rust-resistant, unlike other rust-proof knives.  

Although it has heft, this knife is still easy to use and maneuver, especially for home cooks or amateur cooking enthusiasts. It is also very affordable, especially if you are just starting your venture into the world of knives and meat cleavers.

4. Best Budget-Friendly: Oster Baldwyn Stainless Steel Cleaver

What We Love

  • Ergonomic and smooth handle
  • Lightweight
  • Budget-friendly

What We Don't Love

  • Rusts easily
  • Plastic casing

If you want to give meat cleavers a shot but don’t want to invest too much money on your first try, we recommend starting with this Oster Baldwyn Stainless Steel Cleaver. With just a few bucks, you’ll get a great stainless steel cleaver that can cut its way through thick meat, bread, and produce. 

It also has an ergonomic smooth handle, giving you an excellent grip while using the knife. It’s straightforward to use and maneuver as it is lightweight. However, do note that it easily rusts if not appropriately maintained. With that, always make sure to dry your knife correctly before putting it back in its storage.

5. Best Heavy-Duty: TUO Meat Cleaver

What We Love

  • Heavy-duty
  • Ergonomic design
  • Durable

What We Don't Love

  • Has no sheath
  • High maintenance

If you want a bone-cutting, heavy-duty meat cleaver knife that is also durable, you might want to try Tuo‘s Meat Cleaver. Made and hand polished by skilled blacksmiths from high-quality German stainless steel, making its blade durable and corrosion resistant.

This big knife is also very comfortable to use with its ergonomically-designed pakkawood handle. It has a heft that is enough to chop thick bones, yet still easy and comfortable to maneuver. However, like other cleavers, it needs proper maintenance to ensure that it will last longer.

But overall, the craftsmanship of this cleaver is top-notch, giving you great value for your money.

6. Best Lightweight: Little Cook 8-Inch Cleaver Knife

What We Love

  • Ergonomic handle
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable

What We Don't Love

  • Not for hacking thick bones
  • May need frequent resharpening

This cleaver is a professional knife that you can use in so many ways — from chopping, dicing, slicing, and even mincing fruits, veggies, and meat. It is lightweight and has an ergonomic steel handle, making it easy and very comfortable to maneuver. Say goodbye to hand fatigue and spasms even after chopping all day in the kitchen.

It is best for home and professional use with its 8-inch pro butcher blade. This cleaver is also rust and stain-resistant, making it very durable. You can use it in slicing and spatchcocking your chicken in an easy breezy way. However, even though it’s multipurpose, do note that it is not advisable to use it in hacking thick meat bones. Also, some reports it needs resharpening after some rigorous chopping. 

Overall, this cleaver is still a wonder to use. The best thing about this cleaver? It also comes at a very affordable price!

7. Best with Stand: DALSTRONG Obliterator Meat Cleaver

What We Love

  • Comes with a wood stand and sheath
  • Razor sharp
  • Full tang

What We Don't Love

  • Heavy

Want to showcase your fancy meat cleaver on your kitchen counter? Then this Dalstrong Obliterator Meat Cleaver is what you are looking for! It comes with a very stylish wood stand made from Acacia wood, making it aesthetically pleasing and sturdy at the same time. This meat cleaver with its stand is also not too bulky, so it will not consume too much counter space.

Now this cleaver is a massive one. It has a 9-inch blade and weighs 2.9 pounds, so expect it to be a little heavy compared to the other cleavers we reviewed. However, this is heavy-duty and can accomplish all the chopping needed with just one brutal chop. 

It also has a sleek design, with its blade inspired by Medieval weaponry. You will also definitely like its razor-sharp edge and simple yet comfortable full tang handle.

8. Best Chinese: Chinese Knife SHI BA ZI ZUO Cleaver

What We Love

  • Handle made from natural wood
  • Shiny blade surface
  • Full tang

What We Don't Love

  • Not made to cut thick bones
  • A little too light and short

A great cleaver that possesses design qualities to make the user experience more comfortable and more manageable is what this Chinese Knife Shi Ba Zi Zuo Cleaver offers. This cleaver has a sturdy and sharp 6.7-inch stainless steel blade and a full tang complete with a protective finger guard design. Its rosewood handle gives an anti-slip and comfortable grip but with a more sophisticated finish. 

Even though you can’t use this to cut thick bones, and for some, it may be too light and short, this cleaver still offers myriad culinary ways to use it in the kitchen. It can chop, slice, mince, press, and even cut through vegetables, thick skinned-fruits, poultry, and other soft-boned meat. This cleaver’s shiny blade is also fun to use as it prevents food from sticking, making cutting faster and easier.

9. Best Japanese: MITSUMOTO SAKARI 7-Inch Japanese Cleaver Knife

What We Love

  • Great craftmanship
  • Easy to maneuver

What We Don't Love

  • Thick blade

Japanese meat cleavers are a necessary tool in a Japanese kitchen traditionally designed to hack fish of varying sizes. But today, these Japanese cleavers are somehow used like Chinese cleavers. They are slowly becoming an all-around kitchen knife that you can use for slicing poultry and meat of different types.

Mitsumoto Sakari is the best Japanese Meat Cleaver on our list as it is an impressive cleaver made from top-notch craftsmanship. Aside from having a razor-sharp, high-quality blade made from Damascus steel, it also has an ergonomic Pakkawood handle that is eco-friendly as well as sturdy.

However, if you plan on making thinner slices (e.g. tomatoes, fish fillet, thin meat strips), its thick blade might hinder you from doing that. But overall, this is an excellent cleaver to add to your knife selection in your kitchen, as it can do wonders compared to an ordinary kitchen knife.

10. Best German: Zelite Infinity Cleaver Knife

What We Love

  • Visually stunning
  • Provides utmost comfort
  • Long lasting

What We Don't Love

  • Needs a sheath
  • Easily stains
  • Can’t cut through thick bones

 Zelite Infinity Cleaver knife is from high-quality German carbon stainless steel material. Its 7-inch blade has exceptional edge retention and tough, smooth quality. This cleaver also has a very satisfying heft, making all the cutting jobs easier to finish.

Like our other cleavers, this one also has a full tang and tapered bolster handle that’s easy to grip, provisioning comfort while using the tool. However, note that this cleaver is not for hacking thick meat bones. It also stains easily, so following proper knife care and maintenance is vital to lengthen its life. 

Overall, this is a great knife that can help you in so many ways in the kitchen. With that, performance and quality-wise, we believe this cleaver is still good.

11. Best Design: Dragon Riot 7-Inch Cleaver

What We Love

  • Wood handle
  • Functional and sleek design
  • Full tang

What We Don't Love

  • Might be too heavy for some

Forged from high carbon and high manganese steel, this Dragon Riot Meat Cleaver offers a stylish yet highly functional design. Though some reviews dislike its heavy weight, this heft provides appropriate balance, making cutting and hacking effortless.  It has a 7-inch, razor-sharp blade that can cut through fruits, veggies, meat, and even tough bones. 

This meat cleaver also has a full tang, riveted, wooden handle that gives you a proper grip while providing an additional cushion for comfort and safety. With its power and beauty, this cleaver is surely worth your every buck.

12. Best Versatile: Aroma House Stainless Steel Cleaver

What We Love

  • Full tang
  • Multifunctional
  • Easy to maneuver

What We Don't Love

  • Can’t cut thick bone parts

Full tang, carbon stainless steel meat cleaver, Aroma House Cleaver is a premier quality knife you should own. It has an ergonomically designed handle that provides a good grip and comfort. It also has a 7-inch blade with a sharpened blade edge of 17 degrees per side, giving you the power to slice thin strips of meat or veggies. Aside from that, this cleaver is also very versatile. You can cut, slice, mince, and dice produce, cut open a coconut, and chop soft cartilage and light-boned meat. 

The best thing about this cleaver? You can purchase this knife for just a reasonable amount. Use it at home, in a professional setting, or gift it to your friend. It is a great tool to elevate your cooking style.

13. Best Cleaver Pocket Knife: XYJ Serbian 6.7-Inch Meat Cleaver

What We Love

  • Multipurpose
  • Easy to carry

What We Don't Love

  • A little heavy

If you are a person who loves outdoor activities, check out this XYJ Serbian Full Tang Cleaver! This cleaver is made from high carbon steel through hand forging technology, reflecting the artistry of cleave making at its finest.

XYJ Serbian Full Tang’s Cleaver is a versatile tool that you can use for gathering or hunting food outdoors or culinary preparations even in the wild. This outdoor kitchen tool even comes in a fancy leather sheath for storage and easy carrying. Though it’s way heavier than other camping knives, this cleaver is still a gem to carry around. 

READ ALSO: 23 Easy Camping Breakfast Ideas to Try On Your Next Trip

14. Best Traditional: Dexter Russel Heavy Duty Meat Cleaver

What We Love

  • Sturdy
  • Stain-free
  • Heavy duty

What We Don't Love

  • Does not come in a sheath or protective case
  • A bit heavy

This Dexter Russel knife is an antique-style cleaver complete with all the detail of a traditional one. Yes, including the hole that is a trademark of a typical cleaver. It is sturdy as it is made of stainless steel but has a polished rosewood handle with brass compression rivets. 

This 8-inch knife is on the heavy side, but its weight also makes hacking tough meat and thick bones easier. Overall, this is an excellent buy for its quality and its price. It may be the last on our list, but it definitely doesn’t come last in quality.

How To Choose The Right Meat Cleaver

meat cleaver on chopping board, how to pick the best meat cleaver

Material and Design

A great cleaver must have a nice heft to it. It should not be too heavy (making it too hard to maneuver) and also not too light that it would hardly cause damage when chopping tough meats and bony parts. 

Also, look for a handle that gives you a good and comfortable grip. We recommend a wooden handle as it is sturdy compared to other materials. A full tang with riveted handle (two to three rivets) is also great as it provides an added layer of safety, especially when using the cleaver for heavy work.  

Blade

Now, another important thing you need to consider is the blade quality, as it will be doing all the hard work for your cleaver. Overall, forged knives are better than stamped ones as it is sturdier, giving your blade better retention. Carbon steel may be harder to maintain than other materials, but it is durable and affordable. 

Another thing you should check is the dimensions of your blade. Around 7 to 8 inches are the sweet spot for blade length, as it is enough for you to easily do all the slicing, chopping, cutting, and hacking. Also, a thick-spined cleaver is highly recommended. The spine is the dull edge opposite the sharp one you use for cutting. A thick spine is crucial if you are looking for a heavy-duty cleaver that you will use to hack thick and hard ingredients. But do note that this will also affect the weight of your blade. 

The thickness of the cutting edge of your blade is also a significant factor, depending on where you will use it. The thinnest option is 2 millimeters with a steep angle. It is best for making thinly sliced meats and produce. Now, for heavier blades that you will use for heavy-duty work, opt for an 8-millimeter thick edge. 

Budget

You can avail of budget-friendly cleavers for around $10 to $15. But know that these cleavers can only do cutting veggies and produce as well as meat with soft bones. If you want heavy-duty ones, you may opt for a full tang handled cleaver or Japanese and German cleavers priced around $100 to $250, depending on the brand and material.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does a meat cleaver have a hole?

The hole you find in most cleavers isn’t only there for aesthetic purposes. Its primary goal is to hang the cleaver after use. This gives you easy access when you need it and also helps you air dry your cleaver, which prevents rust and stain. When your cleaver gets stuck, this hole also provides additional grip to pull your knife free.

How to store a meat cleaver?

After using your meat cleaver, clean it properly to maintain its integrity or sharpness and avoid contamination, mainly if you use it in cutting meat or poultry. Now, some knives may be labeled dishwasher friendly. Still, we recommend handwashing them using soap and water to guarantee the longevity of your cleaver. Dishwashers have water jets that may knock or topple down your knife, damaging its blade. After washing, make sure to dry your cleaver thoroughly to prevent rust.

Now, suppose you have a heavy-duty magnetic knife holder that can handle the weight of your cleaver. In that case, we recommend using it as it also helps prevent corrosion or rusting. Hanging it using its hole is also a great option. But you can also keep it in your knife stand or put it back in its sheath before storing it inside your knife drawer.

How do you sharpen a meat cleaver?

We highly recommend using sharpening steel in a vertical position to hone or sharpen your cleaver, as it won’t remove any material from your knife. The frequency of knife honing depends on the material of your blade, but professionals usually sharpen theirs every six months.

Now, how to tell if your knife is sharp? The easiest way to tell if your knife is sharp is to do a paper or tomato test. If you manage to cut your paper or tomato using your knife in just one stroke with minimal effort, then your knife is sharp. 

What is the difference between a butcher's knife and a cleaver?

Butcher knives and cleavers differ in terms of appearance and use. A butcher knife has a long, curved blade with a sharp pointed end. Meanwhile, cleavers are on the stouter side. They are thicker, way wider, shorter, and heavier than butcher knives. 

You can use both in cutting meat flesh and bones, but to use a butcher knife, you need to do a push and pull motion, much like a saw. On the other hand, a cleaver is best for chopping and splitting, so you usually use an up and down movement when using this blade.

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Krishia

KC is a writer, an artist, a theatre enthusiast, and a food lover. She believes in the saying, “a jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” That is why she has myriads of interests—from photography, cooking, designing, journaling, and the list still goes on. She dreams of traveling the whole country on her own someday to satiate her eyes, her curiosity, and of course, her stomach.