Buyer's Guides Vegetable Cleavers

Best Vegetable Cleaver: Buyer’s Guide for 2020 and Leading Products

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A large pumpkin sliced

The best vegetable cleaver allows you to cleanly and quickly slice through the toughest veggies, without injuring yourself and causing your produce to go flying. These cleavers are much different from a traditional meat cleaver and they come with plenty of benefits, all of which will make them invaluable in your kitchen.

But finding the right cleaver for the job can take a lot research, especially considering there are so many different models to choose from these days.

That’s where I come in. I’ve tested several of the top-selling models, narrowing it down to five cleavers that can get the job done, at a price that’s reasonable and affordable. I’ve also put together an in-depth buyer’s guide that goes over the many important features to look for, the benefits of this type of cleaver, and how to choose the right model to suit your cooking needs. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that includes each of the models that has made it onto my list, their important features, and how each cleaver rated.

Vegetable Cleavers Comparison Chart

ProductTangBladeMaterialRating
Mercer Culinary Vegetable Knife
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Full7 inCarbon Steel
Zelite Infinity Vegetable Cleaver
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Full7 inGerman Steel
Mac Knife Vegetable Cleaver
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Partial6.5 inMolybdenum steel
Wusthof Vegetable Cleaver
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Full5 inCarbon Steel
KEEMAKE Nakiri Knife
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Partial7 inCarbon Steel

Mercer Nakiri Vegetable Knife


Our Rating: (5/5)

This veggie knife by Mercer is equipped with a Santoprene handle that features an ergonomic design for improved comfort and safety. The blade is made out of high carbon forged steel that’s resistant to corrosion, rust, and discoloration. The tang in the knife runs the entire length of the handle, which will improve the balance of the knife and user control. The knife’s taper ground edge allows for easier honing, increased chopping and cutting efficiency, and long-lasting sharpness.

Pros

  • Rust and stain resistant
  • Made out of high carbon forged steel
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Full tang

Cons

  • Price

Conclusion

This cleaver is covered by a limited lifetime warranty, which will give buyers some peace of mind knowing the knife is covered by manufacturing defects. The knife’s innovative design allows users to cut with precision and total control, making this one of the easiest to use and safest cleavers on the market.

Zelite Infinity Vegetable Cleaver


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This cleaver is carefully balanced and weighted, offering superior cutting, dicing, and chopping control. The blade is made out of German steel and is so tough, that the cleaver can handle cutting through fish, veggies, fruits, meat, and even small bones. The ergonomic rounded handle features a full tang, which ensures durability and prevents the blade from coming out of the handle. The handle is also secured with a fifteen-piece mosaic rivet. The blade is four-millimeters thick, which is forty percent thicker than a standard cleaver blade. The blade is stain, corrosion, and rust resistance. It also features a hardness of 56+2 HRC and offers exceptional edge retention.

Pros

  • Ergonomic handle
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Thicker than average blade
  • Perfectly balanced

Cons

  • Needs to be sharpened often

Conclusion

This well-balanced, beautiful knife is well-built, features a thicker than average blade and improved blade hardness, and can even handle slicing through meat and small bone. Of course, the cleaver specializes in cutting through tough veggies, but its overall versatility is what really counts here and makes it one of the top-selling models on the market.

Mac Knife Japanese Series Vegetable Cleaver


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This model is made out of molybdenum steel and features a blade thickness of two and a half millimeters. This is a double-beveled knife that’s perfect for chopping, dicing, and slicing through tough veggies and fruit. The handle is made out of Pakkawood and features a double-rivet design. The partial tang is a drawback, since it improves the chances of the knife blade coming loose from the handle.

Pros

  • Can be used to slice thin meats and fish, in addition to veggies
  • 5-millimeter-thick blade
  • Pakka wood handle
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Double rivet design
  • Partial tang

Conclusion

This cleaver isn’t the most durable model on the market, despite the manufacturer’s claims that it can be used on meats, fish, and produce. The partial tang design and double rivets both take away from the knife’s durability. However, if you’re looking for a cleaver that you’ll only use on occasion to thin slice veggies, then this model is still a great buy.

Wusthof Vegetable Cleaver


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This cleaver features a full tang design and a blade that is precision forged. The cleaver is also equipped with a triple riveted handle and a blade that has a hardness rating of 58 on the Rockwell scale. The blade is made out of a single piece of carbon stainless steel with a thinner design and a ten-degree cutting edge.

Pros

  • Lightweight blade
  • Full tang
  • 58 Rockwell hardness rating
  • Triple riveted handle

Cons

  • Shorter than average blade

Conclusion

The full tang and the precision forged single blade design improves the knifes cutting power and the control you’ll have as you chop and slice. The lightweight design also makes this cleaver more user-friendly, while the knife’s hollow edge is designed with evenly spaced vertical indentations that are designed to create small pockets of air between the food and the blade, for precise cutting action, and reduced drag and friction, as the food is pushed cleanly off the blade. The knife is durable, comfortable to use and designed to last.

KEEMAKE Nakiri Knife


Our Rating: (4/5)

Keemake has created a beautiful Nakiri knife that’s equipped with a seven-inch blade and an ergonomic handle that’s made out of Pakkawood. The cleaver is designed to dice, slice, mince, and chop. Its broad surface area also works as a bench scraper. The blade is razor-sharp and exceptionally balanced. This multitasking knife can also be used to slice through thick cuts of meat.

Pros

  • Ergonomic handle
  • Well-balanced
  • Blade is made out of German steel
  • Seven-inch blade

Cons

  • Partial tang

Conclusion

This model is well-balanced, low-maintenance, and holds an edge for a longer period of time compared to competing models, which means less sharpening. The durable, versatile design allows you to use this cleaver for more than just cutting veggies, so you’ll find yourself using this cleaver daily. The knife’s durability combined with the well-balanced design makes this model suitable for both pros and home cooks.

Vegetable Cleaver Buyer’s Guide

Many people are surprised to learn that there are so many different types of cleavers to choose from, but if you think about it, you’re not going to use the same type of cleaver to prepare ingredients for your favorite rice curry recipe that you would to hack up ribs for the grill. That’s where the veggie cleaver comes in.

Regardless if you’re an amateur in the kitchen or an experienced cook, using the right type of cleaver will go a long way in terms of cutting efficiency.

Using a good quality knife not only ensures your safety in the kitchen, but it will also help you make efficient, clean cuts. When you’re shopping for a new veggie cleaver, make sure that you purchase a model that’s light, comfortable to hold, and easy to use.

When you’re preparing your favorite Filipino rice recipes, stir fry, or large salad, then you’ll want to use a veggie cleaver. For cutting through bones and thick cuts of meat, a good Chinese cleaver is a better fit since the blades are specifically designed for those types of foods.

Cleavers designed for veggies are not the same as those designed to cut through meat and bone, which is why it’s so important that you use every type of knife correctly, in order to make your job easier in the kitchen, while keeping you safe and free from injury.

Now, before I dive into the must-have features to look for, let’s learn a little about the benefits that this specific cleaver has to offer.

Benefits of a Vegetable Cleaver

Chopping Board

So, what makes a vegetable cleaver so different from a meat cleaver? The height of the blade.

  • While some meat cleavers may have a blade that’s five to six inches high, the blade height of a veggie cleaver is usually around two to three inches tall. The height is what makes these cleavers easier to maneuver, yet they still pack a powerful punch, which comes from the larger blade design.
  • The flat large blade makes these tools perfect for cleaning off a cutting board, once you’re done in the kitchen. All you have to do is scrape the waste right off the board and into the trash.
  • The flat back of the cleaver can also be used to crack open a coconut, using a few whacks.
  • These cleavers are affordable, easy to use, and easier to sharpen
  • These cleavers are perfect for chopping harder produce such as melons and pineapple
  • The blades are perfect for crushing garlic and ginger

Types of Vegetable Cleavers

The rectangular blade of the veggie cleaver is the traditional design in Asia. These cleavers have a straight edge that’s designed to remain in constant contact with food as the user chops and cuts. The goal of the design is to streamline food prep. Unlike a basic meat cleaver, which comes with a heavy, thicker blade and a blunt edge that’s used to hack through bone, the veggie cleaver has a thinner blade that gently tapers down to an edge that’s honed. This results in cleaner slices. There are a couple of basic types of veggies cleavers. The Chinese style veggie cleaver looks very similar to a Western style meat cleaver, but It’s more versatile and slenderer. These cleavers can be used to chop fruits and veggies and can also be used to crush and mince aromatics and slice boneless meats. They’re also designed to serve as a broad surface so you can scoop, and transfer chopped up foods from one surface to another. The Japanese style veggie cleaver is square-shaped and much shorter. These cleavers are used mainly for cutting veggies, so they’re not quite as versatile as the Chinese-style cleavers, yet if you want a dedicated cleaver for veggies only, these knives do an amazing job of cleanly and efficiently slicing through any type of veggies.

Other Important Features

While in appearance this type of knife may look just like your standard meat cleaver, it offers different uses. The blades are only about two inches thick, which is perfect for cutting up all sorts of veggies. If you follow the paleo diet or a plant-based diet, then you’ll need this type of tool to cut your meal-prepping time in half.

But not all cleavers are created equal, which is why it’s important to pay attention to the blade height, thickness, handle type, and the materials the knife is made out of.

Blades

Cutting board

The blade size on this type of knife can vary from two to four inches high. The height of the blade makes the cleaver easier to handle and maneuver, while also preventing your produce from getting smashed or bruised.

In terms of length, you’ll find most blades measure in at five to seven inches long. The longer the blade, the more versatile the knife, however, a shorter blade is easier for the user to control.

Material

When you purchase a veggie cleaver, make sure you buy one that’s made out of a mixture of stainless steel and carbon steel, or pure stainless steel. Carbon steel models are by far the most popular option, since carbon steel has a reputation for durability and cutting precision. Many pros also recommend models made out of carbons steel, since they’re very low maintenance and don’t require sharpening as often as blades that are made out of stainless steel.

Weight and Design

The model you choose should be lightweight, which will make it easier to handle, and should come equipped with a few rivets used to attach the handle. The three-rivet design ensures that the handle will not come out of the knife easily.

Handle

Some models will come with a handle that’s made out of silicone, plastic, stainless steel, or wood. Look for a knife that features a handle with an ergonomic design, especially if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen every week. A handle that’s comfortable to use will allow you to achieve cleaner cuts, faster, and efficiently.

Dishwasher Safe

Most models are not dishwasher safe, although you will come across some knives that are. But, if you want to eliminate the possibility of your knife rusting or becoming damaged during the wash or rinse cycle, then I recommend washing your cleaver by hand and drying it immediately after. While stainless steel has a reputation as being rust-resistant, rust is still a possibility, so to avoid any issues in the future, make sure you carefully wash and dry all of your knives by hand.

Care and Maintenance

As I mentioned above, while some manufacturers may claim that a knife is dishwasher safe, it’s always best to wash your cutting tools by hand.

Cleavers are actually one of the easiest cutting tools to care of and sharpen. To clean, you’ll wash the knife is hot soapy water, rinse, and dry it by hand. Never place the knife in the dishwasher since this can promote rust.

In order to keep the cleaver sharp, you’ll simply use a sharpening stick, which is very easy to use. To do, you’ll firmly hold the sharpening stick as you slide the knife’s blade along the stick away from you. This can be repeated several times on each side of the blade.

Price

Cleavers are available in a variety of price brackets, ranging from ten dollars up to fifty or sixty dollars for top of the line models, although, it’s totally possible to find a good, durable cleaver for a lower price, if you’re on a tight budget. Keep in mind, since this is a type of knife you may find yourself relying on in the kitchen daily, it’s definitely worth it to pay a little more and get a model that’s designed to last.

Final Thoughts

The best vegetable cleaver will feature a blade that measures in at two to four inches high, should be made out of durable material such as carbon steel and stainless steel, and should feature a three-rivet handle attachment design that will ensure that the blade does not easily come out of the handle. The cleaver itself should also have an ergonomic handle that feels good in your hand and a lightweight design that makes using the knife easy to maneuver and control. The models that made it onto my top five list each have something special to offer, whether it’s durability, blade quality, a lightweight design, or impressive cutting action. The buyer’s guide and the product recommendations included here are designed to help you make an informed decision as you shop around for a good deal and a veggie cleaver that’s right for your cooking needs and your budget.