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A Guide To Buying The Best Electric Knife

There’s a bit of a stigma that electric knives are a little bit cheesy and dated, or perhaps that they’re unnecessary in a modern kitchen. However, this specialized kitchen tool can make light work of some of the trickier kitchen jobs, whether that’s serving up perfect slices of meat when hosting a roast, slicing a freshly baked loaf into uniform slices, or carving up the Thanksgiving turkey. In this article, we’ll take a look at the top electric knives for 2021.

Hamilton Beach Electric Knife – Best Overall

Proctor Silex Easy Slice Electric Knife – Budget Pick

BLACK+DECKER 9-Inch Electric Carving Knife – Most Reliable

NutriChef Portable Electrical Knife Set with Bread and Carving Blades – Most Stylish

BUBBA Li-Ion Cordless Electric Fillet Knife with Non-Slip Grip Handle – Best for Fish

What You Need To Know About Electric Knives

The chef’s knife is the most used knife in the kitchen, suitable for a wide range of kitchen tasks. Then there are utility and paring knives, which are a little smaller and similarly versatile. Perhaps you have a range of specialty knives for specific purposes, such as steak knives for slicing through larger cuts of meat at the table, a mezzaluna for dicing herbs finely, or a tomato knife for cutting, well, tomatoes. If some of these knives sound unfamiliar to you, check out our ultimate guide to kitchen knives (our cookware guide is also worth checking out as it goes into similar amounts of detail but about pots and pans).

Many people view the electric knife as a specialty knife reserved for a single job: carving meat. Indeed, the electric knife does that job very well, enabling you to slice extra thin and even cuts of meat from roasts, turkeys, chickens or briskets. (If you prefer to slice your brisket by hand, check these knives out too.)

In fact though, there are a couple more tasks that an electric knife can do very well. But first, let’s quickly cover how to use an electric knife for slicing meats.

The Best Way to Carve Meat with an Electric Knife

Electric knives are great for cutting meat. To get the cleanest slices of meat, with a perfect little trim of crispy skin on every slice, this is the best approach. 

Firstly, separate the breast meat if carving a bird. Then, place the meat on a cutting board with the skin facing upwards. Make sure the meat is on a stable surface, as it’s dangerous to cut if the meat is moving around all over the place.

Use the electric knife to cut even slices, ensuring you cut across the grain. Don’t go too fast, but keep some momentum as you apply downward pressure. Let the knife do the bulk of the work for you – there’s no need to force it downwards or try to saw back and forth, as the blades do this themselves!

Some people prefer to cut straight down, others go for a slight angle. You can go for whichever feels the comfiest and delivers the most consistent results. Whatever you choose, watch out for the bone. Some electric knives can handle bones with ease, but it’s better to play it safe than damage or break your knife. Ensure that you cut away from you rather than towards you, just in case you lose control of the knife. For the same reason, hold the meat with a carving fork (or a regular dinner fork if you don’t have one) rather than your fingers.

Electric Knives for Bread

If you don’t have a bread knife or you want to slice a freshly baked loaf in a flash, the electric knife could be your best bet. The swift back and forth motion of the blades will cut through the bread with ease, keeping the aerated internal texture intact.[1]

Electric Knives for Vegetables and Cheese

You can also use an electric knife for other kitchen tasks, such as slicing through cheeses. The rapid slicing motion should leave minimal markings and help you create even slices quickly. The same goes for tough veg – we’ve been known to take an electric knife to a stubborn squash or tough rutabaga before!

Electric Knives for Fishing

Electric knives don’t just belong in the kitchen – as most serious fishermen will know, an electric knife is the perfect tool for cleaning larger quantities of fish. It helps to have a cordless variant for maneuverability and ease of transport to the lake, shore or riverside, but corded versions are also fine if you’re breaking down fish fresh from the market at home.

Electric Knives for… Foam?

A final use for electric knives is actually not cooking-related at all. Many arts and crafts enthusiasts make use of an electric knife to cleanly cut through foam, polystyrene, wooden craft dowels or PVC pipes. This might not be your primary use, but can help you get a little more use out of your knife!

The Best Electric Knives

We’ve covered the best ways to use an electric knife, so now it’s time to check out our top electric knives for 2021.

Hamilton Beach Electric Knife – Best Overall

·      Blade Material: Stainless Steel

·      Blade Length: 7 ½ inches

·      Weight: 2.07 pounds

·      Dishwasher safe: No

·      Wattage: 100 W

Hamilton Beach provides an electric knife set that also includes a handy storage case, as well as a fork for carving and serving. The storage case is great for keeping all your bits and pieces together, and the carving fork is more suitable and professional looking than a spare dinner fork!

The handle is ergonomically designed and comfortable, with a trigger style button underneath, just slide it back to activate the motor. Be warned that the trigger can get a little greasy if you’ve been handling meat before cutting – we recommend keeping a paper towel handy to clean your hands on first.

The reciprocating serrated blades are made from stainless steel, and are perfect for creating even slices of meat. The motor speed is appropriate and enables you to easily slice through a range of breads too, without compromising their delicately aerated internal texture.

To release the blades, just press down on the button on the top. It’s a shame that the blades aren’t dishwasher friendly, but if you wash them straight away in hot, soapy water, clean-up isn’t too bad. (the carving for is dishwasher safe though!)

Overall, Hamilton Beach deliver a reliable and fairly priced kit with a couple of extras that come in handy for Thanksgiving, making this our top pick overall.

Proctor Silex Easy Slice Electric Knife – Budget Pick

·      Blade Material: Stainless Steel

·      Blade Length: 6 inches

·      Weight: 1.5 pounds

·      Dishwasher safe: Yes

·      Wattage: 100 W

Almost identical to the Hamilton Beach model, the Proctor Silex Easy Slice electric knife has a slightly shorter blade, and does not come with a case or carving fork.

A similar trigger-style sliding button activates the 6-inch blades, which are made from stainless steel and are dishwasher safe. Just press the button on top to release them and put them flat on the top rack of your dishwasher.

The handle is slightly lighter than the Hamilton Beach, and the motor is quiet compared to other models. However, it can get fairly hot with prolonged use. It will handle the length of time it takes to carve a turkey, don’t worry – but we wouldn’t want to push it much further. 

The lower price point is ideal for people who aren’t sure how much they’ll really use their electric knife. If you’re a chef on a budget who needs an electric knife to do the job with no bells and whistles, the Proctor Silex Easy slice should do the trick, earning it our budget pick award.

BLACK+DECKER 9-Inch Electric Carving Knife – Most Reliable

·      Blade Material: Stainless Steel

·      Blade Length: 6 inches

·      Weight: 12 ounces

·      Dishwasher safe: Yes

·      Wattage: 100 W

This electric carving knife from hardware brand BLACK+DECKER has a particularly ergonomic black handle that is really easy to cut with. The small feet on the handle keep the knife from rolling around when you put it down, which is a useful safety feature. A classic trigger motion turns on the motor, activating the stainless steel blades. A safety lock button on the trigger prevents the knife from turning on when it’s plugged in, but it can be difficult to operate.

The blades cut through meat, bread and cheese effectively. They’re dishwasher safe too, just lay them down on the top shelf. They come with a simple clear plastic blade cover – nothing flashy, but better than nothing.

However, although BLACK+DECKER advertise this electric carving knife as having 9-inch blades, unfortunately they only have 6 inches of serrated cutting edge, and the rest is inside the body of the handle. It seems misleading to suggest that its useable length is longer than it is.

Overall, this electric knife is a versatile and dependable option. BLACK+DECKER also offer a 2 year warranty, testament to the trustworthiness of this knife. For these reasons, we’ve awarded the BLACK+DECKER electric carving knife our most reliable pick.

NutriChef Portable Electrical Knife Set with Bread and Carving Blades – Most Comprehensive

·      Blade Material: Stainless Steel

·      Blade Length: 6.5 inches

·      Weight: 2.58 pounds

·      Dishwasher safe: Yes

·      Wattage: 100 W

The NutriChef portable electric knife set is a top choice for versatility and contains everything you’ll need for a roast. The heavy duty 420 stainless steel blades have a high carbon content, contributing to their hardness and sharpness.[2] Alongside the typical blades designed primarily for cutting meat, a bread blade is also included especially for retaining the aerated pockets in your loaf. They are also dishwasher safe, making clean up a breeze.

The larger ergonomic handle comes in white or off-white color options. It is comfortable and feels good in the hand, and the motor is activated by pressing a button on the top. This pressure is applied in the same direction you push the blade to cut, which you might find more comfortable than the trigger-style buttons on the other models. A safety lock ensures that the blades won’t turn on accidentally.

NutriChef also includes a handcrafted premium hardwood butcher block, which is 5.5 x 12.5 inches. The block can be used as a surface for carving and can be stored flat in a drawer, or assembled as a countertop storage for the knife and blades. This is a nice touch and offers a solution to electric knife storage that looks surprisingly nice on your countertop, which in turn encourages you to use it more, rather than getting it out once a year for Thanksgiving.

Overall NutriChef offers a comprehensive set for all your cutting and storage needs, winning its electric knife set our most comprehensive award.

BUBBA Li-Ion Cordless Electric Fillet Knife with Non-Slip Grip Handle – Best for Fish

·      Blade Material: High Carbon Stainless Steel with Titanium Nitride coating

·      Blade Length: 7- and 9-inch flex blades, 9- and 12-inch stiff blades

·      Weight: 3 pounds

·      Dishwasher safe: No

·      Wattage: N/A, uses included Lithium Ion battery

Unlike the electric knives above, the BUBBA cordless electric fillet knife is designed for serious fishermen. However, it will make light work of beef, turkey, or whole fish bought at the market too!

This knife comes with four interchangeable dual-rivet blades: the 7- and 9-inch E-Flex blades for small to medium sized fish are a little more flexible, and the 9- and 12-inch E-Stiff blades for medium to larger fish are more rigid, but still have an element of flexibility.

All of the blades are made from high carbon stainless steel, and have a titanium nitride coating for extreme corrosion resistance – perfect for protecting against all kinds of fish juices. The premium zippered EVA case provides convenient storage for your blades and handle too.

The non-slip grip handle gives you great grip security and knife control, and feels comfortable in the hand too, while the trigger guard gives added security. The ventilation system has been designed to maximize motor output, giving high torque, and operation is fairly quiet. However, we found that the handle can overheat with prolonged use.

Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, this cordless design gives you freedom and space to cut at whatever angle you need. The battery life indicator on the handle lets you know how much juice you have left, and BUBBA also include an extra battery so you can double your charge time. An 8-foot long power cord gives you enough reach to maneuver the knife around larger fish even when plugged in.

Overall, the BUBBA electric fillet knife is the perfect companion for prepping your next catch, on the boat, shore, riverside, or kitchen. If you want to check out other portable filleting knives for fish, take a look at our specialist guide to electric fillet knives.

The Final Verdict – The Best Electric Knife

Now that we’ve covered our top picks for electric knives, we hope you’ve found something to meet your needs. For us, Hamilton Beach’s set is our favorite option. The knife is reliable and is capable of cutting uniform slices of meats, bread and cheese with ease. The included fork makes it perfect for Thanksgiving, and the storage case is handy for packing all the parts together when you’re not using it, meaning you don’t have to go through all your drawers looking for the blades! It would have been nice to have dishwasher safe blades, but clean up is easy as long as you don’t let the meat juices dry. Overall, it’s a great choice, not just for Thanksgiving, but all year round.

Hamilton Beach Electric Knife

FAQs

Q: What size blade do I need for my Thanksgiving turkey?

A: Really, this depends on the size of your bird – the bigger the bird, the bigger the blade you’ll need. Most 6-inch blades are perfectly suitable and will deliver decently sized slices, but if your bird is a monster, it might be worth sizing up if possible.

Q: The handle of my electric knife keeps getting greasy! How can I prevent this?

A: Unfortunately, a greasy handle is one of the struggles you’re likely to have to face when cutting up a whole bird or slab of brisket – but it seems like a fair price to pay! One thing we can recommend is letting your meat rest for a while before carving – 8 to 12 minutes should do. This will help the juices inside the meat to settle rather than spill out onto your board, blade or hands. It also helps to keep a kitchen towel or two nearby, to get the worst of the grease off your hands or handle before slicing.

References

[1] Andy Wang (12 August 2021) ‘Why Do Bread Knives Have Different Blades?’. Accessed at: https://www.knives-sensei.com/why-do-bread-knives-have-different-blades/

[2] AZO Materials (23 October 2001), ‘Stainless Steel – Grade 420 (UNS S42000)’. Accessed at: https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=972.