Cleaver vs. Butcher Knife

by knifeideas

Amateur chefs and professionals have liked a butcher knife and a cleaver knife for a long time. Almost everyone thinks that a meat cleaver and other knives used by a butcher to cut meat came under the generic term "butcher knife." Both the cleaver and the butcher knives are used to cut, split, and strip thick pieces of meat. But a butcher's knife that is sturdy in its build is more specified for splitting, cutting, and stripping meat, while a cleaver has the same functions, but it deals with the meat in a more polished manner with a thin and light blade.

The cleaver does its job more precisely and cleanly, and it is perfect for accurate cuts. A butcher knife is a solid, sturdy-looking knife with a thick blade. The most noticeable dissimilarity between a cleaver and a butcher knife is the hole present on a cleaver and absent in a butcher knife.

Some other features are discussed and explained in this segment to shed some light on the difference between a butcher's knife and a cleaver knife.

Cleaver Vs. Butcher Knife
Cleaver Vs. Butcher Knife

A Quick Summary Butcher Knife vs Cleaver Knife

Content Butcher Knife Cleaver Knife
  1. Size of the Blade
  2. (does not include handle)
6-14" 6-8"
The bone-cutting ability of the knife High ability- an ideal knife for butcher and other meat trades. Perfect for carcasses dressing. Moderate ability- a good knife for minor cuts and thin bone. It offers precise and delicate cuts.
Weight of the knife
  1. It weighs almost 2.5lbs
  2. *match with the knife's size
  1. It weighs almost 2.5lbs
  2. *match with knife's size
The thickness of the blade
  1. Mostly about 0.2-0.25 centimeters of thickness.
  2. *varies
  1. Mostly about 0.2 centimeters of thickness.
  2. *varies

Butcher's Knife

Meat Cleaver, Heavy Duty Butcher Bone Knife with Solid Wood Handle (Stainless Steel, 8 inch)
Meat Cleaver, Heavy Duty Butcher Bone Knife with Solid Wood Handle (Stainless Steel, 8 inch)

Butcher's knife is mainly used for meat processing worldwide to split, stripe, and cut thicker pieces of meat. The name butcher's knife is derived from the French name of Chef's knife.

A butcher knife has a wide and long blade with a curved tip helpful in slicing and trimming raw meat. At first, a butcher knife was designed for skinning, but now many better and advanced skinning knives are introduced in the market.

The shape, as well as length, make the butcher knife a good camping and hunting knife. It is a perfect choice for almost all outdoors cutting activities, including food prep, butchering, skinning, and portioning. This knife is the most like knife by the butchers because it performs meat dressing and trimming.

If you are fond of making BBQ, roast, and steak, you should add this knife to your utensils collection. It cuts down large chunks of meat into smaller ones to quickly eliminate unwanted gristle and fat.

Uses of butcher's knife

Here are some more essential uses of a butcher knife.

  • This knife is a perfect knife for people who perform in the meat business.
  • This knife is an ideal choice for dressing animal carcasses and butchering.
  • It is an ideal knife for someone who does all the raw meats' prepping and dressing.
  • It is a fantastic knife for bone cuts, stout and thick cuts.
  • This bone is handy for cleaving the meat from bones.
  • It is an excellent knife for trimming fats.
  • This knife effortlessly glides through the meat without any shredding or tearing.

Cleaver Knife

TUO Vegetable Meat Cleaver Knife - Chinese Chef's Knife 7-inch High Carbon Stainless Steel - Kitchen Knife with G10 Full Tang handle - Black Hawk-S Knives Including Gift Box
TUO Vegetable Meat Cleaver Knife - Chinese Chef's Knife 7-inch High Carbon Stainless Steel - Kitchen Knife with G10 Full Tang handle - Black Hawk-S Knives Including Gift Box

Meat cleavers or cleavers are utilized by butchers all over the globe. At first glance, the cleaver does not resemble the butcher knife. Cleaver is a big knife, and its blade is made with an absolute amount of steel.

Sometimes the manufacturers differ the blade size and design, but it mainly comes in a rectangular shape with a broader blade than any other knife used in the kitchen. The cleaver's blade has a pretty strong edge as it cut into cartilage, meat and even cuts small and big bones.

Cleaver knife is one of the versatile and most used knives that are present in someone's kitchen. It has a substantial weight and size that is perfect for chopping meat.

The blade is soft yet robust, thick and broad steel that cuts right through the tiny bones, meat without any damage to the edge. The handle's heavy side could be used for crushing the ginger or garlic, even to make the meat tender.

While using the cleaver, the butcher uses the other hand and sometimes a towel to crush something hard. This extra pressure on top of the cleaver's blade adds more momentum to cut down something challenging.

Uses of cleaver knife

Here are some important uses of a cleaver knife one should know.

  • This knife is perfect for the preparation of meat.
  • Cleaver is an ideal knife for a chef who works with raw meat.
  • This knife provides clean and precise cuts.
  • The blade of this knife is resistive to rust and works fine for a long time.
  • This versatile tool of the kitchen is perfect for mincing, tenderizing, and slicing the meat.
  • A Cleaver knife is handy when you buy meat that still has some bones.
  • It is used to butcher bones and delicate yet large pieces of meat.
  • The broad rectangular edge could be utilized for scooping the meat hacked bits into a pan or pot.
  • Cleaver is suitable for gentle cuts but not for the entire carcasses of an animal.

Difference Between Cleaver Knife and Butcher Knife: Which one would you choose?

If you are a meat lover, you must have these two essential knives in your kitchen. You use them for meat processing and equally like them both. But if you are asked to choose only one, this decision could be challenging for you. You have to pick one knife with which you will do the chopping, slicing, and dicing.

So here are some pointers that will help you with the option of going with a butcher knife or a cleaver knife.

Size of the blade

Both knives have substantial blades that are thicker and strong. They are designed to meet the needs of butchering meat, cutting out fats. Both these knife blades are available in various sizes that you can choose according to your preferences.

Butcher Knife:

Butcher Knife, imarku 7 Inch Serbian Chefs Knife, Hand-Forged Full Tang Cleaver Knife with Leather Sleeves, German High Carbon Steel Meat Cleaver for Kitchen, Camping, BBQ
Butcher Knife, imarku 7 Inch Serbian Chefs Knife, Hand-Forged Full Tang Cleaver Knife with Leather Sleeves, German High Carbon Steel Meat Cleaver for Kitchen, Camping, BBQ

Most of these knives come in the range of 6-14 inches. The smaller the blade, the more it makes it easy to deal with smaller pieces. This blade is perfect for fillets and chops that are close to the bone. If you are working with a bigger chunk of meat, you can get a bigger knife with a broad blade. This knife is the perfect choice of knife for skinning.

Cleaver Knife:

Authentic XYJ FULL TANG 6.2 Inch Tactical Kitchen Knife Cleaver Chef Knives With Carrying Leather Knife Sheath 4Cr13 Stainless Steel Slicing Cutting Butcher Knives For Meat Vegetable Cooking Tool
Authentic XYJ FULL TANG 6.2 Inch Tactical Kitchen Knife Cleaver Chef Knives With Carrying Leather Knife Sheath 4Cr13 Stainless Steel Slicing Cutting Butcher Knives For Meat Vegetable Cooking Tool

Cleaver is required to be strong enough in its build to stand serious pounding. Cleavers comes in a most refined rectangular design that has ranges of size too. Mostly they are between 6-8 inches. Size matters a lot because everyone has different arm lengths, so different sizes make it comfortable to use this knife. It has a tough steel blade that cuts through sinew, meat, and bone.

Knife's bone-cutting faculty

Only one of the knives is designed for bone-cutting, and that is a cleaver knife. Although the butcher knife could also deal with some small bones, the cleaver's blade flexibility is more suitable for this task.

Butcher Knife:

Hand Forged Butcher Knife for Meat Cutting Meat Cleaver Knife Full Tang High Carbon Steel Kitchen Chopper for Home, Restaurant, Outdoor Camping, BBQ
Hand Forged Butcher Knife for Meat Cutting Meat Cleaver Knife Full Tang High Carbon Steel Kitchen Chopper for Home, Restaurant, Outdoor Camping, BBQ

A butcher knife is not for smashing bones; instead, it separates flesh from the bone. It could be used to split some of the smaller bones present in the meat. A curved blade butcher knife will be a perfect deal with bones.

Cleavers Knife:

Turwho Professional Cleaver Knife 7 Inch - Meat Vegetable Cleaver pattern Japanese VG-10 Steel
Turwho Professional Cleaver Knife 7 Inch - Meat Vegetable Cleaver pattern Japanese VG-10 Steel

The heavyweight and sturdy cleaver could knockout large and small bones. Its extra solid and razor-sharp blade cuts through every bone. It fits comfortably in your hand.

Knife's weight

Both these knives are pretty heavy utensils of every kitchen. But there is some contrast in the matter of weight between these two.

Butcher Knife:

DALSTRONG - Chef & Cleaver Hybrid Knife - 12
DALSTRONG - Chef & Cleaver Hybrid Knife - 12

This knife varies in size as well as weight. An 8 inches butcher knife weighs about 3 ounces. You can choose the blade when you know what you are going to use them on. A large and heavy knife is suitable for cutting large pieces of meat. At the same time, a small butcher knife will perfectly cut smaller steak pieces.

Cleaver Knife:

TUO Vegetable Meat Cleaver knife - Cleaver Knife 6.5 inch Chopping Chopper Butcher Knife Chinese Cleaver - German HC Steel with Pakkawood Handle - FALCON SERIES with Gift Box
TUO Vegetable Meat Cleaver knife - Cleaver Knife 6.5 inch Chopping Chopper Butcher Knife Chinese Cleaver - German HC Steel with Pakkawood Handle - FALCON SERIES with Gift Box

The length and height of the cleaver correspond with its weight. The more the height or length, the heavier the knife. Using a hefty cleaver knife could get challenging because it requires the same amount of strength.

Blade's thickness

A heavy cutting tool has a thick blade. A good quality cleaver and butcher knife are wide enough to slice through large meat pieces without affecting their edge. Both of these have the chunkiest blades in the utensil department.

Butcher Knife:

RITSU Cleaver Knife - 8 inch Serbian Chefs Knife Butcher Knife Hand Forged Kitchen Knife, German High Carbon Steel Full Tang Meat Cleaver with Ergonomic G10 Handle, Genuine Leather Knife Sheath
RITSU Cleaver Knife - 8 inch Serbian Chefs Knife Butcher Knife Hand Forged Kitchen Knife, German High Carbon Steel Full Tang Meat Cleaver with Ergonomic G10 Handle, Genuine Leather Knife Sheath

Butcher knives come in thicker blades because they are outlined to cut the meat from bones. An overkill butcher knife is over 1/8 inch. In this advanced age, stainless steel knives of high quality are manufactured that can work with anything.

Cleaver Knife:

Meat Cleaver 7 inch Vegetable and Butcher Knife German High Carbon Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife chef knives with Ergonomic Handle for Home, Kitchen & Restaurant
Meat Cleaver 7 inch Vegetable and Butcher Knife German High Carbon Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife chef knives with Ergonomic Handle for Home, Kitchen & Restaurant

The cleaver knife has the thickest blade ever from its spine to edge. A cleaver knife that ranges between a lean 13 degrees and broad 25 degrees are solid and sturdy blades that can chop off bones without any real effort.

Conclusion on Cleaver Vs. Butcher Knife

ENOKING Serbian Chef Knife Meat Cleaver Forged Butcher Knife with Full Tang Handle Leather Sheath Kitchen Knife for Kitchen, Camping, BBQ
ENOKING Serbian Chef Knife Meat Cleaver Forged Butcher Knife with Full Tang Handle Leather Sheath Kitchen Knife for Kitchen, Camping, BBQ

The butcher knife and the cleaver knife are excellent, but choosing one that would be the winner depends upon what you are looking for and how and what you plan to use it for. It also depends on the fact if you could afford both of them or not. But if you are a true carnivore, these two knives will add to your collection of culinary assets. The butcher knife would be perfect for your steaks, and the cleaver will smash some bones for you.

Deciding which one is better would be a simple decision now after explaining both knife's features in this segment.

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