Best Overall: Victorinox Fibrox Pro Slicing Knife
In every professional kitchen I’ve ever worked in, there was a Victorinox Fibrox Pro slicing knife.
Not only are they high quality and made with excellent materials, but the Victorinox slicer is also incredibly affordable. If I could only use one slicing knife in my home kitchen, it would be this one.
The blade for this slicing knife is made from high carbon stainless steel. This material marries the best of both worlds in steel, creating a sharp blade that requires minimal maintenance. It holds an edge extremely well, and should easily last for 6 months to a year between sharpenings.
The blade is a generous 12 inches long. It’ll make quick work of barbecue pork loins, brisket, or filet mignon. And since it has a hollow ground edge, those foods will fall away smoothly while you cut. This is a direct result of the exceptional thinness of the blade — thinner than any other blade in this review.
An ergonomic handle design makes Victorinox’s slicer comfortable and easy to use. It’s non-slip, too, so you’ll be able to keep a firm grip on it even if you’re covered in barbecue sauce.
Overall, the Victorinox Fibrox Pro slicing knife is a tried and true solution for heavy-duty slicing. I’d recommend it to any home chef, barbecue enthusiast, or budding professional.
What we like
- Long, thin blade makes for ultra-smooth slicing
- High-quality steel gives it excellent edge retention
- Comfortable, durable, non-slip handle
What We don’t
- Some owners report having to sharpen it before first use
Budget-conscious cooks should remember the Mercer Culinary name. Their slicing knife, like all of their blades, is a masterpiece of utility and affordability.
Without skimping on construction and attention to detail, they’re able to offer a top-quality knife at a surprisingly low price. And with a 1-year satisfaction guarantee, it truly is the best value slicing knife you’ll find.
Don’t let the price make you think this knife cuts any corners. The high carbon stainless steel blade is thin, durable, and holds a wicked sharp edge. It’s made with a full tang construction, too, ensuring that this knife will last for years to come. That all combines to make this knife exceptionally low maintenance.
Mercer goes to the trouble of finishing each of their slicing knives with a taper grind edge. This means that, right out of the box, this knife will be extra sharp and ready to go.
Combine that with a comfortable and ergonomic non-slip handle, and you have one heck of a value-priced knife. It’s not quite as long as my top pick, but at about half the price I’m willing to overlook that. In short, it’s a fantastic knife for anyone who wants to smoke the occasional brisket without investing too much money in their tools.
What we like
- High-quality construction, especially given the price
- The stainless steel blade is sharp, durable, and low maintenance
- Non-slip handle is great for working with barbecue
What We don’t
- Shorter blade than I’d prefer
Best Upgrade: Dalstrong Phantom Series Slicing Knife
Knives with great utility often sacrifice looks to come in at a more affordable price. But if you enjoy displaying your tools as much as using them, Dalstrong’s Phantom Series slicing knife will be right up your alley. It has the excellent performance you’d expect of a Japanese blade, and the refined aesthetics to complement it.
This is the only slicer knife in this review to use a high carbon Japanese steel for its blade. As a result, it is sharper than any other slicer I’ve mentioned. The tradeoff, though, is that it’s also less flexible. Amateur cooks should steer clear of this, but experienced pit masters will love this knife for its incredible sharpness.
The pakkawood handle on this Dalstrong knife is a composite of wood and resin. That gives it a naturally slip-resistant finish while keeping the visual appeal of hardwood. It’s made in the traditional Japanese d-shape, which may throw some beginners off. Once again, this is a knife that’s better left to experienced knife users.
I’m impressed with the nitrogen-hardened finish that Dalstrong uses for all of their knives. It gives them unparalleled durability and edge retention, capping off an already high-quality blade. That’s just one more detail that will make Dalstrong’s slicing knife appeal to experienced chefs.
What we like
- Sharpest blade of any slicing knife in this review
- Top-notch edge retention
- Gorgeous knife
What We don’t
- The handle isn’t as non-slip as my other two top picks
Runners Up: Other Options to Consider
While the three knives listed above represent what I consider to be the best of the best for slicing knives, they’re not your only options. The following three knives are worthy runners-up that might strike your fancy.
Extra Long Blade: Mercer Culinary Millennia 14 Inch Granton Edge Slicer
You might notice that this knife is remarkably similar to my best value pick. Indeed, they’re made by the same company and feature nearly identical designs. The only real difference is the length of the blade, with the Millennia series slicer measuring 3 inches longer. This makes it excellent for cutting big barbecue pieces, but unwieldy in the confines of a smaller kitchen. If you have plenty of room wherever you’re slicing, it’s an easy upgrade to my best value pick.
Pricey But Impressive: Wusthof Classic Hollow Edge Brisket Slicer
There’s a definite appeal to having the perfect knife for each job in your kitchen. And make no mistake, Wusthof’s hollow edge brisket slicer is fine-tuned to do exactly what it describes. The only problem? At well over $100, it’s a very limited use knife for the price. If you’re a true barbecue fanatic, that price may well be worth it. But for the casual home cook, it’s too expensive.
Quality Japanese Steel: Dalstrong Shogun Series Slicing Knife
Dalstrong’s slicer knife falls prey to the same problem as Wusthof’s knife listed just above. Is it awesome? You bet. The VG10 Japanese steel is crazy sharp, and the design of the knife is on point. But when I’m spending over $100 on a kitchen knife, I expect it to be quite versatile. The Shogun series slicing knife is not. But it does do a darned fine job of slicing paper-thin brisket pieces. You can see my review on all of Dalstrong’s knives here.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Slicing Knife
Though there aren’t as many options for slicing knives as, say, chef’s knives, that doesn’t mean picking one out is easy. That’s why I want to share what I look for in a slicing knife, so you can make your own judgments before buying.
The way a knife is made will determine both how long it lasts and how well it works. I look for three major indicators of quality in a knife’s materials:
- The blade should be made of high carbon steel. This ensures that it will keep a razor-sharp edge longer, and be less prone to wear and tear. Preferably, it will be stainless steel so it requires less maintenance.
- The handle should be made of either natural hardwood or a top-quality synthetic composite. This provides balance to the blade and a comfortable place to grip. Avoid handles that are made of cheap, lightweight plastics.
- The entire knife should be made with a full tang construction. By extending the metal of the blade all the way through the handle, this method doubles the strength and longevity of the knife.
Aside from being made of a high-quality natural or synthetic material, a knife’s handle should be comfortable. It can be hard to tell whether this is the case without picking the knife up in person. But even without handling a knife, you can look at the shape of the handle for a good idea of how well it will fit your hand. In general, if it looks like it will be uncomfortable, it probably will be. Look for a handle that is smooth and coherent with the rest of the knife design.
Any knife is only as good as the quality of its blade. Attention to detail goes a long way here, with the difference of a few minor qualities changing how well a blade works. These are the five qualities I look for in a slicing knife blade:
- The length of a slicing blade is incredibly important. Too short, and you’ll struggle to make smooth cuts. Too long, and you’ll awkwardly bump into things while slicing. I’ve found the sweet spot to be in the 10 to 12-inch range.
- Blade thickness will determine how easily your knife moves through a slicing cut. The thinner the better.
- A degree of flexibility will give your slicing knife the ability to maneuver gracefully through every cut.
- The weight of your blade should be able to offset the weight of the handle and bolster. This leads to our fifth and final quality:
- Balance is the culmination of the entire design of the knife. It’s a product of attention to detail at every step of the design and manufacturing process.
Every slicing knife worth its salt uses a Granton edge. Also known as a scalloped edge, these small indentations along the blade let it move smoothly through cuts by creating pockets of air. This reduces friction and prevents food from sticking to the blade. My advice: Don’t get a slicing knife that doesn’t have a Granton edge.
Ultimately, how comfortable a knife is to use will determine how often you use it. If it’s a pleasure to cut with, you’ll find more and more reasons to use your slicer. If it’s a pain, you may decide that brisket isn’t really your favorite anyway. Look for knives that are designed with balance in mind. This means incorporating an ergonomic handle to balance the extra-long blades.
Care and maintenance for slicing knives are both easy and important. Keep them dry and store them safely, and your knives will last for decades. Leave them wet or toss them in a drawer with other kitchen tools, and you’ll quickly be buying new knives. If you don’t have a dedicated knife drawer in your kitchen, consider buying a knife block or magnetic knife hanging strip to keep your precious tools safe.
Care to know my rule for budgeting for kitchen knives? The more you will use a knife, the more you should spend on it upfront. That’s why I always dedicate a significant amount to my chef’s knife, and less to more specialized knives. Slicing knives are more specialized for most cooks, so I can’t wholeheartedly recommend spending much over $50 on one.
If you came here looking for advice on electric carving and slicing knives, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. In comparison to their manual counterparts, electric knives just don’t stack up well. They make ragged cuts, are hard to clean, and require an outlet to use. I’d much rather encourage you to learn how to use a better quality manual slicing or carving knife instead. The results are just so much better.
Frequently Asked Questions About Slicing Knives
Before we come to the end of this guide, I’d like to take a minute to answer some of the most common questions about slicing knives. If you’re new to using this kind of knife, this section will give you valuable background information on its purpose and design. But even experienced cooks may find a few words of wisdom to sharpen their own kitchen skills.
What Is A Slicing Knife?
Slicing knives are a natural offshoot from the carving knife, which is, in turn, an offshoot of the chef’s knife. Instead of featuring a pointed tip for working around bones and cartilage, slicing blades are the same width throughout their entire length. This makes them more capable of long, smooth slices, even on very soft foods. If you’re slicing filet mignon cooked rare, put away your carving knife — a slicer works much better.
What Advantages Does A Slicing Knife Offer?
As opposed to a carving knife or a chef’s knife, a slicing knife can cut much thinner and smoother slices of meat. It’s the superior knife for anything you want to keep in perfect slices, like barbecue brisket, terrines, and foie gras. With a little practice, you can also use a slicing knife in place of a bread knife on loaves that don’t have a thick crust.
How Do You Sharpen A Slicing Knife?
Sharpening a slicing knife uses almost the same process as any other knife in your kitchen. Whetstones, with a little practice, are an easy way to customize your knife edge. But before you get around to sharpening a slicing knife, I’d recommend that you get familiar with a honing steel. They help to keep your edge straight, resulting in sharper and cleaner cuts. That way, you’ll only need to sharpen your slicing knife maybe once per year.
What Other Knives Should I Have In My Kitchen?
As nice as they are to have, slicing knives should not be your first kitchen purchase. First, you’ll want to outfit yourself with a high-quality chef’s knife and paring knife. These will take care of 90% of your kitchen needs. Then, check out my guide to essential knives for home cooks to fill in any gaps in your knife selection.
Now that you’re familiar with the world of slicing knives, which one do you think deserves a place in your kitchen? To recap my choices:
The Victorinox Fibrox Pro Slicing Knife is the slicing knife of choice for chefs and restaurants around the country. It does everything you want in an unassuming package, and is quite affordable to boot.
Mercer’s Culinary Renaissance 11 Inch Slicing Knife is the best budget-priced alternative to my top pick, and only loses points because of its slightly shorter blade. Casual barbecue enthusiasts should choose this for their slicer.
The Dalstrong Phantom Series Slicing Knife is pretty, extremely sharp, and holds an edge forever. It’s expensive, but well worth it for someone who smokes a lot of brisket.