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What’s the Best Blade Angle For a Knife?

What’s the Best Blade Angle For a Knife?

March 23, 2018


The Three Most Important Things to Know.

  1. Most high-end knives are anywhere between 15-20 degrees.
  2. A more acute blade angle helps get finer more precise cuts.
  3. Blade angle doesn’t really  impact how often a knife will have to be sharpened.

Pretty much all culinary knives look the same from afar. The cutting edge is usually more or less shaped like a V, with sides tapering to a sharp point. But the angle of that V can make a huge difference in how a knife performs.

The classic Western-style chef’s knife typically has an edge angle of around 20 degrees on each side of the vertical axis. (That is to say, the tip of the V is a 40-degree angle in total, but commonly knife people talk about the single edge angle.) Japanese knives, like the Misen Chef Knife are more typically sharpened to a narrower angle of around 15 degrees.

By combining a 15-degree edge angle with AUS10 high-carbon steel, Misen knives were designed for the best of both worlds.

What’s this mean in practice? The 20-degree Western edge is slightly more resistant to wearing down,, while the narrower 15-degree Japanese angle feels sharper and cuts more deftly, all else being equal. But since the point of the blade is sharper, it dulls a little more quickly depending on the steel type.

To compensate, many Japanese-style knives are made from harder steel, which doesn’t wear down as easily. Some knives in this category also have a “single bevel”—that is, one side of the knife edge’s V is vertical, and the other one meets it at a narrow angle. This asymmetrical construction is extra sharp, but difficult to sharpen.

What about Misen knives? By combining a 15-degree edge angle (from Japanese-style knives) with the hard, durable AUS10 high-carbon steel and symmetrical grind of a Western-style blade that’s suitable for both right- and left-handed cooks, Misen knives were designed to combine the best of both worlds.

How Does Blade Angle Impact Sharpening Needs?

A man getting ready to sharpen a Misen Chef's Knife

All high-end knives need to be sharpened. Depending on how often you use them an average knife should be sharpened at least once a year, but 2-3 times is even better.

A sharp knife is actually much safer than a dull knife because it requires less force and and isn’t prone to slipping off course (into your hand).

Both 20 and 15 degree blades require essentially the same amount of sharpening. Technically, a 20-degree blade might be able to go a little longer, but the tradeoff is noticeably less fine cutting edge.

Since it’s easier than ever to get a knife professionally sharpened, we typically recommend a 15-degree angle because you’ll get noticeably easier cutting.

Misen’s professional mail-in sharpening starts at $10 a knife, and is incredibly fast and easy – plus you can get all your knives sharpened at once.

The Science of Knife Sharpening Angles

When it comes to preparing meals like a pro, understanding the knife blade angle is crucial. Perfecting the art of knife sharpening not only ensures your kitchen knives are in top condition but also makes slicing, dicing, and chopping more efficient and safer. A common dilemma for chefs and cooking enthusiasts is choosing between a 15 or 20 degree knife edge. Each angle offers its benefits, with the former providing a sharper edge ideal for precision cuts, and the latter offering durability for everyday kitchen tasks. Moreover, getting familiar with the knife edge angle can transform your culinary experience, allowing for smoother cuts and a greater appreciation for the craft of cooking.