What is the Best Chinese Cleaver of 2018? (My Picks with Reviews)

Best chinese cleaver

Even if you’re not a chef, you know that part of what makes food preparation work is the utensils that you use.

Nothing, however, is more essential to the cooking process than a high-quality knife.

Yet, it’s imperative that you understand that not all blades are made the same.

One option that is both versatile and long-lasting is a Chinese cleaver.

This hefty blade is designed mostly for slicing meats and vegetables, although heavier versions can chop through bone as well.

Although chef’s knives are usually the go-to for most people, the fact is that a Chinese cleaver is a fantastic addition to any collection.

Resource: Using a Chinese cleaver.

As such, today we’re going to look at some of the best chinese cleaver options on the market. 

Comparison Chart




Yaxell Gou Chinese

Blade: Japanese stainless steel

Handle: Canvas Micarta

Handcrafted, Full Tang

Shun DM0712 Classic

Blade: SUS410/SUS431 Stainless Steel

Handle: D-shaped Ebony PakkaWood

Full Tang

Yaxell Ran 7-inch Cleaver

Blade: vg10 Stainless Steel

Handle: Canvas Micarta

Full Tang

Wusthof 4686-7

Blade: High Carbon Steel

Handle: Black Resin

Full Tang

Zwilling J.A. Henckels

Blade: High Carbon Stainless Steel

Handle: Black Synthetic Polymer

Full Tang


1. Yaxell Gou Chinese

Yaxell Gou Chinese
Yaxell Gou Chinese review

Knife Information:

Blade Material:Japanese SG2 Micro Carbide powder stainless steel

Handle Material/Grip: Canvas Micarta

Weight: Eight Ounces

Well Balance: Yes

Size: Seven Inches

Construction: Handcrafted, Full Tang

For the last 80+ years, the Yaxell Company has been crafting some of the finest blades in the world. While all of their knives are incredible, this one tops the list one of the best chinese cleaver.

There are two primary product lines that Yaxell has: the Gou and the Ran. In this case, the Gou knife is built to such specifications that you will probably never have to buy anything else, ever.

What I like so much about this knife is the blade.

The stainless steel is folded Damascus style to ensure that it will hold up to use for decades to come.

The weight and balance are unmatched, and the precision is incredible.

This cleaver is built for almost anything (except chopping bones), meaning that you might be able to get rid of most of your current knives.

The only thing that could give you pause is the price.

However, considering that it comes with a lifetime guarantee and that it will become your go-to blade for all of your cooking needs, you have to think about it in the long term. In that case, it’s worth the higher price tag.

The Sweet
  • 101 folds of high-quality carbon and stainless steel
  • Corrosion-resistant design
  • Full tang construction
  • Three rivets for stability
  • Designed for meats and vegetables
  • Soft grip handle for comfort
  • Handcrafted in Japan
  • Expertly balanced
  • Limited lifetime warranty
The bitter
  • More expensive than other models
  • Not meant for chopping bones

2. Shun DM0712 Classic

Shun DM0712 Classic
Shun DM0712 Classic review

Knife Information:

Blade Material: SUS410/SUS431 Stainless Steel

Handle Material/Grip: D-shaped Ebony PakkaWood

Weight: 13.6 Ounces

Well Balance: Yes

Size: Seven Inches

Construction: Full Tang

When trying to choose the best Chinese cleaver, it’s imperative that you remember that some models are designed for a particular purpose.

While the Yaxell blades above are excellent as all-purpose cleavers, this unit from Shun is built as a slicer.

The reason that this model is so perfect for slicing and cutting is that it comes with a 16-degree edge.

This is about as sharp as you can get, so you can slide right through meat and vegetables as if it’s butter.

While this blade is not quite as strong or versatile as the Yaxell versions, I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants a more precise cleaver.

Its handling and hardness are impeccable, and it still comes with a limited lifetime warranty, so you don’t have to worry about it breaking down over time.

The Sweet
  • Durable Damascus steel
  • 34 layers for better performance
  • 16-degree angle for incredible edge
  • D-shaped handle for comfort and handling
  • Pakkawood material for durability
  • High hardness rating to last longer
  • Rust and corrosion resistant
  • Made in Japan
  • Expertly balanced
  • Full tang design
  • Comes in beautiful storage box
  • Limited lifetime warranty
The bitter
  • Hand wash only
  • Not meant for bone

3. Yaxell Ran 7-inch Cleaver

Yaxell Ran 7-inch Cleaver
Yaxell Ran 7-inch Cleaver review

Knife Information:

Blade Material: vg10 Stainless Steel

Handle Material/Grip: Canvas Micarta

Weight: Eight Ounces

Well Balance: Yes

Size: Seven Inches

Construction: Full Tang

As I mentioned above, Yaxell is one of the top companies making cleavers today.

I have nothing but the highest respect for them, considering how well their knives perform on a consistent basis.

In this case, you’re not getting as much craftsmanship as the Gou model, but this is still far above most other cleavers on the market.

What I love about this knife is that it uses Damascus folding to achieve better strength and precision.

This process removes a lot of the carbon from the steel, which would otherwise make it brittle and liable to break.

I also appreciate the balance and feel of the knife as you’re chopping.

Since it’s not as precise as the Gou version, you can cut through small bones without damaging the blade.

I wouldn’t recommend it for thick beef cuts or anything, but chicken and poultry is just fine.

Ultimately, if you’re okay with getting the second best knife that Yaxell has to offer, this blade will be a perfect addition to your kitchen and to keep it in perfect conditions here you have the Best sharpening stones.

The Sweet
  • Durable construction
  • Folded Damascus steel for stability
  • 69 layers for extra strength
  • Expertly crafted and balanced
  • Canvas grip for better handling
  • Full tang design
  • Corrosion and rust resistant material
  • Ideal for cutting and chopping
  • Two rivets for durability
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Limited lifetime warranty
The bitter
  • In rare cases, the edge may chip over time
  • Blade is not as thin as other models

4. Wusthof 4686-7

Wusthof 4686-7
Wusthof 4686-7 review

Knife Information:

Blade Material: High Carbon Steel

Handle Material/Grip: Black Resin

Weight: 14.4 Ounces

Well Balance: Yes

Size: Seven Inches

Construction: Full Tang

Although the type of blade we’re looking at is called a Chinese cleaver, that doesn’t mean that they are exclusive to that country.

I’ve already shown you Japanese knives, but now we’re going to go West and see what the Germans have to offer.

Overall, I like German blades, but they are not as precise or as reliable as Japanese.

The reason for this is that they don’t use Damascus folding techniques, so the material doesn’t last as long.

Also, they seem to have more of a “factory-produced” feel, while Japanese knives seem handcrafted.

Nonetheless, if you want to upgrade from your cheap knife set and you don’t want to spend a ton of money, this is a great option.

I also like that it comes with a limited lifetime warranty, as that provides extra peace of mind.

The Sweet
  • Durable high carbon steel
  • Rust and corrosion resistant blade
  • Contoured grip for better handling
  • Expertly balanced
  • Ideal for chopping vegetables
  • Thin edge for superior sharpness
  • Full tang design
  • Triple-riveted for stability
  • Made in Germany
  • Limited lifetime warranty
The bitter
  • Not made for cutting bones or thick meats
  • Steel is not as strong as other knives

5. Zwilling J.A. Henckels

Zwilling J.A. Henckels
Zwilling J.A. Henckels review

Knife Information:

Blade Material: High Carbon Stainless Steel

Handle Material/Grip: Black Synthetic Polymer

Weight: 10.1 Ounces

Well Balance: Yes

Size: Seven Inches

Construction: Full Tang

Finally, we have another German blade that delivers precision and performance.

Again, when compared to its Japanese counterparts, this won’t be quite as fabulous, but it is designed to be more of a workhorse than a prize stallion.

I like this blade because it is simple and utilitarian. It’s great for chopping and making a variety of dishes, and the handle feels terrific as you work.

It’s not as precise as other blades, nor is it meant for slicing, but it can prepare a lot of meats and vegetables in record time.

This is partially due to the weight and balance that does a lot of the work for you.

The Sweet
  • Durable high carbon steel construction
  • Molded handle for better performance
  • Laser-sharpened edge
  • Full tang with three rivets for stability
  • Ideal for chopping meats and veggies
  • Dishwasher safe (hand washing recommended)Expertly balanced
  • Made in Germany
  • Limited lifetime warranty
The bitter
  • Not meant for cutting through bones
  • Not as durable as other models

Buyers Guide

what to look for in a chinese cleaver _

What is a Chinese Cleaver?

At first glance, you may think that this kind of knife is just like any other butcher’s cleaver that you can find in the store.

However, this particular shape and construction are designed for better handling and versatility.

Even though the differences are small, they are significant.Overall, a Chinese cleaver is meant to prepare a wider variety of food items.

Most knives are built for chopping meat and bones, so they are both thick and heavy.

However, Chinese cleavers can be thin and lightweight, making them ideal for slicing and mincing as well.

Since Chinese cuisine has such a diverse range of ingredients, the cleaver is made to enable a chef to use one knife for preparing everything. Rather than switching back and forth between blades, a Chinese cleaver can be utilized for every part of your recipe.

This is why things like blade thickness and weight are so vital.

Some cleavers are made for thick cuts of meat, while others have more precision. It’s imperative that you understand and recognize the differences so that you can make the most of your knife.

Final veredict:

Although every blade on this list is remarkable in its own right, I have to say that the Yaxell Gou Cleaver is by far the best chinese cleaver.

It is one of the most well-built and versatile options you can find, and it will last you for a lifetime.

I’ve always been a big fan of Yaxell products, but the Gou Seven-Inch Cleaver is by far my favorite.

Although it can be a little pricey, the craftsmanship and attention to detail are far superior to anything else.

If you’re serious about cooking, then you will want to invest in something as incredible as this.

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