Best Meat Cleavers of 2021

| Last Updated: January 7, 2022

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Meat cleavers get a bad rap for their intimidating appearance and frequent role in horror movies. However, they can be an extremely handy tool when it comes to preparing your favorite meats. 

Meat cleavers are the largest, heaviest kitchen knives out there, made for a job that no other standard kitchen knife can do.

With so many meat cleavers available, we want to give you a quick overview of what to look for in a great meat cleaver and our favorite ones out there. 

Comparison of the Best Meat Cleavers

  • 7-inch razor-sharp knife for any professional or home cook
  • Best meat cleaver overall
  • Constructed with quality German steel to last longer
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  • Versatile meat cleaver made with top-grade materials, making it the runner-up
  • Razor-sharp knife constructed from German steel
  • Award-winning build, with an ergonomic handle for easy maneuverability
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  • Best-selling meat cleaver
  • Has enough heft to smash the bone and meat easily
  • Blade is 8 inches and made with stainless steel, while the handle is made with Rosewood
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  • Created with high-quality German stainless steel
  • Durable construction with a balance maintained from blade to handle
  • Best two-handed meat cleaver
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  • 7.5-inch blade used to cut through meat and separate bones
  • 3 -rivet handle for added strength and longevity
  • Best large meat cleaver
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What is a Meat Cleaver?

In general, meat cleavers stand apart from other knives because of their shape, size, and weight. A meat cleaver has a characteristically large, sharp, rectangular blade.

Unlike most other knives, a meat cleaver must be swung down similar to a hammer.

A meat cleaver is designed to be durable to withstand the force of repeatedly swinging it down onto the chopping block. Its primary purpose is to slice easily through bone, cartilage, or thick cuts of meat.

By design, it can cut meat quickly in one swift motion, instead of forcing you to saw away for hours on end.

Aspects of a Great Meat Cleaver

One of the most important features to look for in a great meat cleaver is a strong blade.

Experienced users suggest buying a meat cleaver that is “full-tang.” This means that the steel of the blade is formed into the handle as one piece, so as to avoid the blade coming loose mid-swing.

Additionally, the handle should be comfortable and easy to grip.

When shopping for a meat cleaver, you’ll also want to check into the dimensions of the blade. As a general rule of thumb, a broader blade works best for tough, thick cuts of meat.

It's important to remember, though, that with size comes more weight. If a meat cleaver feels light, it's probably not the highest quality.

A heavy blade means that you should be able to cut through meat easily with one swing. Make sure it’s not too heavy though, as that may make it difficult to use.

The best meat cleaver is also versatile. With many different sizes and levels of sharpness available, certain meat cleavers are best equipped for particular types of meat.

Instead of worrying about switching cleavers for each meal, we recommend purchasing a multipurpose cleaver that can be used for a variety of meats.

Willy's Top Picks - Best Meat Cleavers

Review of the Best Meat Cleavers

Now that you have a little more information about what makes a good meat cleaver, we want to talk about our favorites. For each one, we’ll give you a brief overview along with the pros and cons, so you can make an informed decision on which meat cleaver suits your needs.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the best meat cleavers of the year.

Best Meat Cleaver Overall:
Zelite Infinity Cleaver Knife

Zelite Infinity Butcher Knife 7 Inch, Meat Cleaver Knife, Chopping Knife, Meat Knife, Meat Cutting Knife, Big Knife, Chinese Cleaver Knife - German High Carbon Stainless Steel - Razor Sharp Knife


  • Heavy, well balanced blade
  • Comes with aesthetically pleasing storage case
  • Handle is the perfect size and comfortable to hold
  • The blade is “super sharp” and holds its edge for a long time
  • Can be used for tough meats as well as fruits and veggies, making it the definition of multipurpose


  • Requires occasional resharpening
  • Handle design could be improved for better grip
  • Some don’t like that the company logo is printed on the blade

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the buyers were impressed with the amazing quality of this meat cleaver. The knife works on almost anything and can be used as a multi-purpose tool around the kitchen. It is also created strategically, with extra attention paid to the balance of the hand and the meat, and requires re-honing after a very long time.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The reason why this meat cleaver is the best one on the list is because of its high-quality construction and impressive performance. It is rust-resistant, robust, and durable, which means that it can be used for years without compromising on quality. It is made up of high-carbon stainless steel, and an ergonomic handle to make cutting easier for you.

Let’s jump right in with the best overall meat cleaver. The Zelite Infinity Cleaver Knife Comfort-Pro Series is specially crafted with quality, high carbon stainless steel. This steel is rust, corrosion, and stain resistant.

The blade is tough, with a rating of 56 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale. The 7” blade is extremely sharp and just the right weight for multipurpose use.

To top it all off, the full-tang ergonomic handle is balanced perfectly for long-lasting comfort. You won’t want to use any other knife in your kitchen.

Who Will Use This Most

The beauty of this knife is that it can be used by anyone who loves cooking. Most professional chefs swear by it as well as home-cooks and culinary students. It is a Chinese-style knife, which means it can also be used to slice vegetables, as well as de-boning meat or cleaving them.

Bottom Line

Looking for a Christmas or birthday gift for your chef-friend? This is the most unique and useful thing that you can give as a present, and it also comes with a risk-free money-back guarantee! So, what are you waiting for? Order yours now, and find the difference in your meat-cutting tasks instantly.

Our pick for the best meat cleaver is the Zelite Infinity Cleaver Knife. With an ultra-sharp, balanced blade and versatile for use with both veggies and meats, the Zelite Infinity Cleaver knife is a great option for anyone looking for a quality meat cleaver.

Best Meat Cleaver Runner-up:
Dalstrong Cleaver - Gladiator Series

Dalstrong 7 inch Butcher Meat Cleaver Knife - Gladiator Series - Razor Sharp - Forged High Carbon German Steel Kitchen Knife - Black G10 Handle - Sheath Included - NSF Certified


  • Sturdily built
  • Impressive packaging
  • Sharpens easily and quickly
  • Edge is extremely sharp to cut through meat easily
  • Good heft and balance, making it easy for anyone to use


  • Not designed to cut bone
  • Handle could be made more comfortable
  • Some have experienced chipping and denting

What Recent Buyers Report

The cleaver comes in very attractive packaging, which makes it an excellent gift for others as well. It works like a charm, and its performance is witness to the fact that this is made by high-quality craftsmen who used the most premium materials to construct it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are so many amazing features about this knife that makes this cleaver stand out. The cleaver is sharpened to 14-16-degrees per side to ensure the right balance between sharpness and resilience. The blade also has a tall height to make slicing easier, and chromium polish makes the blade stainless. Moreover, the pakkawood handle is used for greater strength and ease of use.

Our next runner up for best meat cleaver is the Dalstrong Cleaver from their Gladiator Series. This 7”, multipurpose cleaver has the perfect heft and a 55 Rockwell hardness.

The black, pakkawood handle is full-tang and ergonomically designed for ease of use and comfort.

Dalstrong also accounted for knuckle-clearance by making the ultra-sharp blade extra tall. As an added bonus, a handy protective sheath is included to keep your cleaver ready to go for next time.

Who Will Use This Most

About seventy-five thousand professional chefs use this meat cleaver to make sure that the meat is sliced perfectly, and time is reduced in the kitchen. It is also used in cooking competitions, as well as by passionate home-cooks in their daily life to slice vegetables and de-bone or cut meat into cubes.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a meat cleaver that performs like a dream when you’re working around the kitchen, do not hesitate to try this one out. The high-quality materials and the carefully crafted construction are designed to make cutting easy and seamless, which is what you’ll experience each time.

The bottom line is, if you’re looking for an all-around great meat cleaver at an affordable price, the Dalstrong Cleaver- Gladiator Series is a great option for you.

Best Selling Meat Cleaver:
 Dexter-Russell (S5288) - 8" Heavy-Duty Cleaver

Dexter-Russell 8' Stainless Heavy Duty Cleaver, S5288, Traditional Series, Silver


  • Thick blade with a nice curve
  • Full-tang stainless steel blade
  • Don’t need to re-sharpen very often
  • Great quality at an affordable price
  • Heavier than expected and easily chops bone


  • Handle could be made more comfortable
  • May be too large if your hands are on the smaller side
  • Some have arrived chipped -- Not to worry, you can easily return it and get a replacement

What Recent Buyers Report

This cleaver is widely popular among cooks all around the world, and it’s easy to see why. Users find this to be an impressive meat cleaver that does all the heavy-duty meat-cutting tasks with ease. It can be used for years, without being damaged or rusted, and can slice or chop down any type of meat.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The reason this is such an amazing meat cleaver is that it has all the right features that a normal home-cook would want in their knife. It cuts and debones meat easily, and can be used for generations without any rust or damage on the blade. Moreover, it is created with balance, so it provides the element of comfort as well as practicality.

Aside from the top two best quality meat cleavers out there, this is the best selling meat cleaver on the market: The Dexter-Russell 8” Heavy-Duty Cleaver.

This cleaver is built with good heft, so that you can slice through bone and tough meat with ease.

The creators made sure this cleaver would be perfectly balanced for ultimate comfort. The sharp blade is crafted from stain-free, high-carbon steel and measures at a whopping 8-inches in length.

Who Will Use This Most

This is the best for home-cooks all around the world, who want a good-quality meat cleaver to perform heavy-duty tasks in the kitchen. It makes life easier and speeds up the cooking process in the kitchen. It can also be used by chefs and culinary students.

Bottom Line

Looking for the best-selling meat cleaver that home-cooks rely on for their daily use? This one is the perfect choice for you. With its comfortable Rosewood handle and high-carbon sharpened steel blade, it is nothing short of an amazing kitchen tool that will aid you in all your heavy-duty chores.

All in all, the Dexter-Russell meat cleaver is a heavy-duty option for people who mean business. If your goal is to easily slice through bone and thick cuts of meat, you may want to give the Dexter-Russell cleaver a try.

Best Two Handed Meat Cleaver:
 J.A. Henckels International Classic Stainless-Steel Meat Cleaver

ZWILLING HENCKELS Classic Razor-Sharp 6-inch Meat Cleaver Knife, German Engineered Informed by 100+ Years of Mastery, Black/Stainless Steel


  • Extremely sharp
  • Comfortable handle
  • Holds its edge for a long time
  • Great for chopping veggies and meats
  • “Weight and balance of the handle is perfect”


  • Not that effective in cutting bone
  • Not as large as some other cleavers
  • Lighter weight than would be expected

What Recent Buyers Report

The brand name of Henckels knives is what drew the customers to try this meat cleaver out. It works like a charm, and it’s great for carving meats. It makes heavy-duty chores seem like easy tasks and is also made with good-quality German steel that doesn’t rust. Moreover, it is also lightweight and easy to use.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There is a certain level of confidence that you will achieve when you see how easy it is to cut meat with this cleaver. It is made of a fine-edge blade that is sharpened for lasting durability and functionality. The forged construction or build of this knife ensures that there is a right balance between the blade and the triple-rivet handle for seamless cutting.

The J.A. Henckels meat cleaver is a great option for those just entering the world of cleavers.

This 6” cleaver is made in Spain, with a satin-finished German stainless steel blade. Its full-tang construction makes it extremely durable.

It also has an ergonomic, well-balanced, triple-rivet handle and the blade has a hole in the top corner for easy hanging on a hook or peg. To top it all off, this cleaver is dishwasher safe.

Who Will Use This Most

This is an amazing knife for daily home-cooks or professional chefs who are looking for a cleaver to reduce their time in the kitchen. It is also stainless, which means that it can be used for years, and is also great for those cooks who want to pass on the knife to their kids, or generations to come.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a well-made, two-handed meat cleaver that works like a charm in the kitchen, and doesn’t compromise on quality or performance, then this is the one for you. Its German stainless steel construction ensures a lifetime of easy slicing and meat-cutting, which is a total bang for your buck.

Overall, the J.A. Henckels meat cleaver is a perfect option for someone looking for a super sharp, balanced, and affordable cleaver for cutting vegetables and meat.

Best Large Meat Cleaver:
 Wusthof Classic 7-1/2-Inch Heavy Cleaver

Wusthof Gourmet 7' Cleaver


  • Holds its edge
  • Perfectly balanced
  • Thick and heavy blade
  • Extremely comfortable grip
  • Premium quality and a trusted brand


  • A bit on the pricier side
  • Not made for cutting veggies
  • May be too heavy for some users

What Recent Buyers Report

This knife is a great addition to your knife collection as the blade is thick and heavy and can be used for tasks that other knives cannot perform. It is an excellent cleaver that can cut huge chunks of meat into cubes in very little time. It is also beautifully made and thoroughly constructed for great performance.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is an amazing knife, which is constructed for heavy-duty usage. The handle is synthetic and is made for ease and comfort. The large and heavy blade is used to cut the meat and the bones without any added pressure, and the material of the blade is high-carbon stainless steel, which means that it is durable and lasts for a long time. 

Next on our list, the Wusthof Classic 7 ½” heavy cleaver, is not for the faint of heart. This cleaver is made to be extra heavy, so cutting through large bones and thick cuts of meat is a piece of cake.

The full-tang, stainless steel blade is crafted from a single slice of high-carbon German steel.

The blade is also laser-tested for sharpness and to ensure a long-lasting edge. Finally, the sleek black handle has 3 rivets for ultimate strength and durability.  

Who Will Use This Most

This is an excellent meat cleaver if you are looking for a large knife to do all the heavy-duty tasks for you around the kitchen. It is specifically made for cutting large chunks of meat and separating the bones. It is also designed for commercial use so that the butcher can make easy cuts in no time. 

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a cleaver that can cut down huge carcasses of meat into meal-sized portions, then do consider this one. This knife is a great tool that butchers the meat in bite-sized pieces in seconds and is a very handy tool if you frequently deal with huge carcasses in your kitchen. 

If you’re in the market for a heavy-duty meat cleaver, the Wusthof Classic won’t let you down. This large cleaver is an all-around great choice for someone who wants a heavy cleaver that means business.

Best Mini Meat Cleaver:
 Mini Meat Cleaver Steak Knife Set

Mini Meat Cleaver Steak Knife Set 2-piece Stainless Steel Edges, Wood Handles and Presentation Case Gift Box


  • Easy to handle
  • Comes in a set of 2
  • Full-tang and very sturdy
  • Great for slicing steaks and other meats
  • Ideal for precision slicing, rather than for chopping large cuts of meat


  • Hand wash only
  • Not for chopping through bone
  • Lightweight compared to other cleavers

What Recent Buyers Report

According to most users, this is an amazing meat cleaver set and is especially useful if you are eating steak. The weight of the knives in this set is also impressive as they are not too heavy and not too lightweight. They last for a long period of time and does not need to be re-honed frequently.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a very high-quality cleaver set that is made with good quality materials and a durable handle that assists in cutting tough cuts of meat. These meat cleavers are also very easy to clean as they can just be tossed into the dishwasher. They also come in a beautiful wooden box that makes it appealing and can be used for gifting purposes.

Last but certainly not least is the Mini Meat Cleaver Steak Knife Set by Rare Fool. Included in this set are two, compact, full-tang, stainless steel cleavers. They are very sharp and are perfect for cutting veggies or meats.

The wooden handles are beautifully carved and well-balanced for comfort and grip. They are presented in a handy wooden case, perfect for storage or gift-giving. Finally, they have a lifetime warranty so you can rest assured they will last.

Who Will Use This Most

This mini meat cleaver set calls out all the carnivores and meat lovers. It is used for the ultimate dining experience, especially if you are a steak-lover. The knife is sharp and cuts into the steak seamlessly, making your dining experience effortless and enjoyable. This set is also a great product if you want to gift it to your family or friends on special occasions. 

Bottom Line

If you are on the hunt for a cleaver that isn’t too big and can be used for cutting or slicing small chunks of meat, then this is the one for you. It is not very high-maintenance as well and can easily be washed with soap and water. The quality of these cleavers is also stellar, and they are durable and last a long time. 

The Mini Meat Cleaver Steak Knife Set is perfect if you’re looking for a slightly less intimidating option. Perfect for slicing up your favorite cuts of meat, compact, and sleek, you can’t go wrong with this set of two mini cleavers.

Pros and Cons of Meat Cleavers

Now that you’ve read the reviews of the top meat cleavers on the market, let’s go over some of the pros and cons of these.


Let’s dive into the benefits of purchasing a meat cleaver:

Reduces Effort

Imagine trying to chop down a huge chunk of meat with a flimsy, weak knife. It will take you a lot of effort and time to make sure that the large carcass is turned into beautiful little cubes. This is where the meat cleaver comes in. With their sharp blade and high-quality materials, they are designed to make meat-cutting seamless and effortless. 

Separation of Bones

One of the biggest advantages of owning a meat cleaver is that it allows you to separate bones easily from the meat. If you are cutting a large chunk of meat, and do not have a lot of time to separate the bones, a meat cleaver will assist you in this job and ease out the process for you. 

Used For Tough Vegetables

There are many vegetables that are tough to break into and need a lot of strength and pressure to dice them. If you are a professional chef and have to slice down hundreds of veggies a day, your hand will be strained if you use a normal knife. This is where meat cleavers step in and save the day. 


Now that you’ve gone over the benefits, here are the drawbacks of owning a meat cleaver:


You need a certain level of expertise to use a meat cleaver. If you maneuver it carelessly, you might cut yourself deep, and that can be painful. So, in order to use the meat cleaver properly, you need to learn how to use it properly first.


A great meat cleaver is hard to come by, but we think any of the products mentioned above will be a great addition to your kitchen. For those who need the perfect tool to prepare thick cuts of meat, bones, or vegetables, we’ve got you covered.

People Also Ask

This section is designed to clear out any ambiguities you may have about meat cleavers. You can go over the frequently asked questions to clear out some of your doubts:

Why Do Meat Cleavers Have a Hole?

The hole in the meat cleaver is created so that the chef or home-cook can hang it on the wall. Since the size of cleavers is larger than the average knife, it does not fit into the drawers very easily, which is why they have a hole in them. This also makes it easier to grab the knife without getting a cut on your hand. 

Can a Meat Cleaver Cut Through Bone?

Yes! A meat cleaver is, in fact, designed to cut through the tendons and the soft bones of the animal. This knife can penetrate through tough vegetables such as squash, as well. However, to preserve its durability and longevity, it is recommended that it isn’t used to cut down larger and tougher bones.

Should a Meat Cleaver Be Sharp?

The surprising thing is that most meat cleavers do not need to be razor-sharp if you are the sort of user who does a lot of chopping. A thin edge may ruin the cuts, which is why the meat cleavers should be sharpened anywhere between a 30-35 angle. 

What is the Difference Between a Butcher Knife and Cleaver?

The butcher knife is usually used to cut down large carcasses of meat and is used for the meat processing trade. The bulky and hefty blade of the butcher knife aids in splitting and cutting meat. The cleaver, however, is used for more precise cuts and has a thinner and sharper blade. 

What Angle Do You Sharpen Cleavers?

If you do not have a thick cleaver, the recommended angle for sharpening a cleaver is the 22.5-degree angle. This can be achieved by finding the 45-degree angle and then halving it. This angle will provide you with the best cuts, and allow you to utilize your cleaver to its maximum potential. 

Let us know in the comments below what your favorite meat cleaver is. We love hearing from our readers. Enjoy!

Hey there, I’m Will, and I’ve been smoking and grilling for as long as I can remember. I made this blog to help others who are looking for honest and reliable info from someone they can trust. In my own efforts to try to perfect my smoking and grilling skills, I’ve done a lot of research and would like to have it compiled as a resource for others to use. Happy smoking!

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