The Best Meat Cleavers 2020

Top 5 Best Meat Cleavers 2020:

  1. DALSTRONG Gladiator Series R Obliterator Meat Cleaver
  2. Imarku Cleaver Knife
  3. Aroma House Meat Cleaver
  4. DALSTRONG Phantom Series Cleaver Knife
  5. Dexter-Russell S5288

If you’ve ever been inside a professional kitchen, you’ve seen a whole bunch of kitchen tools and accessories.

And if you took a closer look, you might’ve noticed that most common tools are fillet knives, paring knives, chef’s knives, and meat cleavers.

A meat cleaver is an essential tool for many chefs because it helps them cut down meaty chunks of goodness with ease. This is precisely why you also need a meat cleaver. Without one, you’ll waste a lot of time trying to cut through slabs of meat without much success.

These kitchen tools aren’t just good for cutting meat. You can also use a meat cleaver as a vegetable cleaver and use it to cut things like zucchinis, onions, melons, coconuts, and much more.

And if you’re an avid BBQ ribs lover, having the best meat cleaver is a must. How else would you be able to cut through the bone without ruining it?

Unfortunately, the market is flooded with all kinds of meat cleavers, and not all of them are good. In fact, there is an unsettling amount of models that are built out of low-quality steel that can easily shatter and potentially hurt you.

Thankfully you have us! We’ve done the necessary research for you and produced a list of the five best meat cleavers you can find.

As a bonus, we’ve prepared a useful guide on how to pick the best model for your needs.

Related: The Best Chinese Cleavers


5 Best Meat Cleavers In 2020: Detailed Reviews

Here are our top picks for five best meat cleavers you can find on the current market. We included high-quality models from all price points to ensure you get a good deal even if you’re on a tight budget.

And if you end up disagreeing with our choices, we recommend you check out our guide because it’ll help you find the best model for your needs.

1. DALSTRONG Gladiator Series R Obliterator Meat Cleaver – Editor’s Choice

Image Credit: Amazon.com

Looking for a high-quality meat cleaver that’ll also make you like a badass? You’re in luck! The first place in our list goes to one of the most exciting looking meat cleavers out there, the Dalstrong Gladiator Series R Obliterator Meat Cleaver.

The second we laid our eyes on this meat cleaver, we thought it was a prop from a movie or a part of some cosplayer’s outfit. Luckily we were wrong.

The Obliterator is a high-quality meat cleaver that’ll go through just about anything you throw at it. It’s built out of high-carbon 7cr17mov steel, which is quite surprising since you often see this steel used in cheaper cleavers. Thankfully, this steel is quite durable and won’t chip that easy.

The Obliterator is 9-inches long and has the most novel design we’ve ever seen. Its menacing edges will surely make you look like a badass with its aggressive angles and ergonomic pakka-wood handle. The blade is 6 millimeters thick and weighs 2.9 pounds. This is perfect for cutting slabs of meat, tendons, ligament, and bones. 

And on top of all this, this meat cleaver comes with a holster and a table stand. While this doesn’t impact its performance, it certainly adds to the overall value of the product.

Pros

  • Unique design
  • Excellent ergonomics
  • Perfectly heavy
  • Durable
  • Easy to clean and maintain

Cons

  • Absolutely none

2. Imarku Cleaver Knife – Runner Up

Image Credit: Amazon.com

The second place in our list goes to a meat cleaver that utilizes a more traditional design but is just as well-made as the Destroyer. The Imarku Cleaver Knife features a minimalistic blade design that’s perfect for chopping, slicing, and dicing through just about anything you can think of.

This meat cleaver is built out of high-quality stainless steel and has a rating of 60-62 HRC. What this means is that the blade won’t chip that easily. It certainly won’t crack when chopping ribs, coconuts, and chicken.

The blade is 7 inches long and offers ample knuckle space. What’s more, the edge is incredibly sharp. It’s so sharp, in fact, you won’t have to swing more than once to go through a thick slab of meat or through several rows of ribs at once.

Good thing, the blade is sharp because this entire cleaver weighs just a bit more than 13 pounds. This means you will feel some shock when chopping through bones, but nothing too intense.

Since it’s so lightweight, the Imarku Cleaver knife can also serve as an excellent vegetable chopper. Not only will you have ample control over the cuts thanks to the ergonomic takka-wood handle, but you’ll also chop vegetables with ease because of the incredibly sharp edge.

Pros

  • Incredibly sharp
  • Durable
  • Ergonomic
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Might be too light for some

3. Aroma House Meat Cleaver – Most Affordable Meat Cleaver

Image Credit: Amazon.com

Did you know you don’t have to burn a hole in your wallet to get a high-quality meat cleaver? This meat cleaver from Aroma House comes at an affordable price, features a unique design,  and comes with an incredibly sharp blade. Let’s take a closer look!

Aroma House Meat Cleaver is built out of 5CR15MOV German still that’s rated at 58 HRC. While this might not be the hardest meat cleaver on the market, it’s more than hard enough to handle bone, sinew, and even coconuts!

The 7-inch blade is incredibly sharp and is slightly curved. This slight curvature gives this cleaver much versatility because you can also use it to chop vegetables. You won’t have any trouble slicing tomatoes in paper-thin slices, all thanks to the razor-sharp edge.

What really intrigued us about this meat cleaver is the pattern on one side of the blade. The metal is sanded in such a way that it gives you the impression it’s been dented. While this doesn’t impact the overall performance, it provides this cleaver with an incredibly unique look.

The only thing we didn’t like about this cleaver is how the handle is slippery. If you grab this cleaver with a wet hand, expect some wiggling. 

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Incredibly sharp
  • Versatile
  • Unique design

Cons

  • The handle is slippery

4. DALSTRONG Phantom Series Cleaver Knife – Best Heavy Duty Meat Cleaver

Image Credit: Amazon.com

The fourth place in our list goes to another Dalstrong blade. The Dalstrong Phantom Series Cleaver Knife is perfect for heavy-duty chopping. Be it bone or coconut shell, you won’t have any trouble chopping it in half with just one swing.

Even though it features a more classic blade design, this meat cleaver is still eye-catching. It’s made out of Japanese AUS-8 steel that’s rated at 58+ HRC. While this isn’t as hard as the first product we reviewed, it’s still hard enough to handle bones and shells.

What’s more, the 7-inch blade is incredibly sharp. This incredible sharpness will come in handy in situations where you have to slice slabs of meat or when chopping vegetables.

We also have to mention how comfortable this meat cleaver feels in hand. Thanks to the d-shaped no-slip handle, you won’t feel any fatigue no matter how long you chop, slice, and dice with this cleaver.

You don’t have to worry about accidentally hurting your knuckles because the blade is high enough to ensure there’s ample knuckle space.

The only thing we didn’t like about this cleaver is that it’s a bit lightweight. Weighing just a bit under two pounds, this meat cleaver will require some extra force when cutting through hard bone.

Pros

  • Built out of high-quality Japanese steel
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Versatile
  • Sharp

Cons

  • Might be too light for some

5. Dexter-Russell S5288 – Best Classic Meat Cleaver

Image Credit: Amazon.com

If you’re a type of person that isn’t interested in design, but in actual functionality, then you’ll be interested in our last pick. The Dexter-Russell Stainless Heavy Duty Cleaver features a timeless classic design and is built to last for generations.

The Dexter-Russell S5288 is made out of high-grade stainless steel that’ll last for generations. Unfortunately, the manufacturer hasn’t disclosed how hard the blade actually is. Still, since it’s built out of stainless steel, it’s safe to say it’s rated 60+ HRC.

The edge is quite sharp, more than sharp enough to go through bone and sinew. On top of this, it’s quite heavy. The S5288 meat cleaver weighs almost 2.5 pounds, which means you won’t have to exert too much strength to go through a slab of ribs or center loin.

The rosewood handle is quite ergonomic and features three brass rivets. Just like everything about this meat cleaver, the handle features a classic design that’s tried and tested. Unfortunately, if you wash this cleaver in a dishwasher, you are risking ruining the handle. This is because dishwashers will eat away at the protective coating of the handle.

Pros

  • Made in the USA
  • Classic, timeless design
  • Sharp
  • Heavy
  • Durable

Cons

  • Not dishwasher safe

Why Buy A Meat Cleaver?

Best Meat Cleaver

You may think that only professional cooks and butchers need a meat cleaver, but this isn’t the case. So, let’s see why you would want to have a meat cleaver in your kitchen. 

Meat cleavers are special knives whose primary purpose is to split meat from the bone and to slice it. With a meat cleaver, you’ll be able to chop through soft and thin bones, like chicken bones. A regular kitchen knife can’t do that. 

This is why meat cleavers can come really handy in the kitchen, especially if you don’t buy meat that isn’t already free from all the bones. A meat cleaver will make the job of chopping the bones much easier. 

Because of the design, using a meat cleaver doesn’t require a special technique that needs to be practiced. All you need to do is swing the meat cleaver like a hatchet, and the meat is chopped. 

Even though meat cleavers are primarily used for meat preparation, they can be used for various other things too. 

If you have a hard time cutting through hard fruits and vegetables, a meat cleaver is just what you need.  

With a meat cleaver, you can easily cut pumpkins, squashes, melons, and even coconuts. You can also use the meat cleaver to crush garlic, nuts, and ginger. 

Related: The Best Butcher Knives


5 Factors To Consider Before Buying A Meat Cleaver

To make the search for the best meat cleaver easier for you, here are 5 factors to consider before buying one. 

1. Handle

Like with any other knife, the design of the handle is a crucial point to consider before you buy a meat cleaver. 

The design, shape, and material of the handle are more a personal choice than anything else. This is why there are so many different designs on the market from which you can choose one that is just right for you. 

The handle is the main thing that affects the dexterity and efficiency of your work. So, choosing the right handle is really important. 

You should choose a meat cleaver with a handle that offers you a firm, comfortable and non-slip grip. It is essential to have a good and comfortable grip to avoid any injuries. 

If you buy a meat cleaver with a handle that is too short, it will restrict your grip, making it uncomfortable to use. On the other hand, if you get a meat cleaver with a handle that is too long for your hand, it’ll be harder for you to maneuver with it. 

Either way, if the handle isn’t nicely laying in your hand, then the meat cleaver is not for you. 

2. Blade Size

The size of the blade is another essential factor to consider when choosing a meat cleaver. 

The length and height of the blade determine the overall efficiency you can get when cleaving. A longer blade will make it easier for you to cleave larger food. However, a blade that is too long will affect your accuracy. If you get a meat cleaver with a short blade, you can expect that it will sometimes get stuck in chunks of meat. 

Make sure that the blade has an adequate height. If the height is under 3.25 inches, don’t buy it. With such a blade, you won’t have sufficient knuckle clearance. 

You should determine the perfect size of the meat cleaver based on your strength. If you are strong and used to working with a meat cleaver, you can get a larger one. But, if you don’t consider yourself very strong, a smaller meat cleaver will be the better choice. 

3. Weight 

The size of the meat cleaver directly affects its weight. So, if you get a meat cleaver with an 8-inch blade, it will weigh around 2.5 pounds. 

A larger and heavier meat cleaver will easily cut through almost anything you imagine. But it also has its downsides. 

With a heavy cleaver, you’ll get tired much faster when using it. Such meat cleavers can be very fatiguing to use, making your arm tired and even cause pain in your wrist. What’s more, a claver that is too heavy for you will cause loss of accuracy and result in sloppy work. 

So, when choosing a meat cleaver, make sure that it isn’t too heavy for you, but also offers enough power to produce clean cuts in one swing.

4. Balance 

Most meat cleavers are designed so that the majority of the weight is located in the blade. This is because the cleaver is intended to naturally fall forward when swinging. 

But, too much weight in the blade isn’t good. 

If you get a meat cleaver with a blade that is too heavy, you won’t have full control over your swing. This will result in just the edge of the blade cutting through the meat.

You’ll also get tired a lot faster because maneuvering the cleaver to get a nice cut will be a big problem.  

If you want clean and smooth cuts, choose a meat cleaver that has enough weight in the handle. If the weight between the blade and the handle is nicely balanced, you’ll have full control over your swing and aim. 

We also recommend getting a meat cleaver with a full tang. It will make chopping meat much easier. 

5. Versatility 

Not all meat cleavers are designed for just cutting meat. The market is full of all kinds of models that allow you to cut vegetables too.

Usually, professional cooks have more than one meat cleaver. Depending on the meal they are preparing, they will choose a different meat cleaver. If they need to cut just meat, they will usually choose a lighter and smaller cleaver. But, if they intend to chop through thicker bones, a larger and heavier model is the wiser choice. 

If you don’t need a meat cleaver for professional use, a standard multipurpose meat cleaver is just right. It’ll get the job done, and you won’t have to switch cleavers while preparing your meal.

See Also: The Best Knife Sharpeners


Our Final Word

Let’s recap the results.

The best meat cleaver on the market is the DALSTRONG Gladiator Series R Obliterator Meat Cleaver. Not only does it feature an incredibly aggressive design, but it’s also heavy and sharp enough to go through anything you can think of with ease.

For those who don’t want a meat cleaver that looks like an anime sword, we recommend you check out our runner up, the Imarku Cleaver Knife. Even though it’s a bit light, it’s so sharp that you won’t have any trouble cutting bone.

For those who are looking for something more budget-friendly, we recommend getting Aroma House Meat Cleaver. Not only is this cleaver sharp, but it’s also cool-looking and versatile.

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