From hacking into meat cuts, chopping large bones, or tearing stiff tendons – there’s nothing the best meat cleaver for the money can’t do.
Unlike a typical chef’s knife, meat cleavers have a larger and thicker blade. This allows users to deal with the toughest butchering tasks.
While meat cleavers are typically used for commercial purposes, a home kitchen will also benefit from having one handy. Aside from the meat, cleavers are also a convenient tool for chopping large amounts of vegetables in one go.
Cleavers are also our go-to tool when crushing ingredients like garlic, ginger, and cloves. The wide blade is also convenient for scooping the ingredients to transfer into a container.
If you’re looking for a cleaver to purchase, these six picks won’t disappoint. Feel free to peruse this list and see which of these blades you’d love to add to your kitchen:
Best Meat Cleaver For The Money – My 6 Picks!
OUR #1 CHOICE
OUR TOP PICK: DALSTRONG Gladiator Series 7-Inch Cleaver Knife
Product Name: DALSTRONG Gladiator Series 7-Inch Cleaver Knife
Product Description: When it comes to the best meat cleaver for the money, I swear by the DALSTRONG Gladiator Series 7-Inch Cleaver Knife. This is made of high-carbon German steel for the best chopping prowess in your kitchen. Aside from that, this cleaver has a hand-polished edge at 16 to 18 degrees. While very sharp, its edge remains tough even when hacking on steak cuts, chicken, and thick layers of veggies. The blade of this cleaver is also tempered and made to be stain-resistant. Overall, its blade has a 56+ Rockwell hardness for guaranteed durability. It’s also polished to a satin finish to reduce slicing resistance.
Offer price: $$$
Moreover, this cleaver has a G10 Garolite handle complete with engraving and mosaic design. It’s also laminated to keep juices from getting absorbed into the material. With that, this cleaver is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF).
Another thing I love about this cleaver is its money-back guarantee if you’re not happy with the product. This is aside from the lifetime warranty against any defects on the cleaver. For me, this guarantee is hard to beat, not to mention that it’s offered at such a competitive price.
Overall, this is a great meat cleaver for the price. However, you should know that this is a heavy tool and it takes practice to get used to it. I also noticed that the edge angle is steeper than most.
Money-back guarantee + lifetime warranty
Made of high-carbon German steel
56+ Rockwell hardness
The blade underwent cryogenic tempering
It’s very heavy, even for those with large hands.
I wish they can make the handles a bit longer.
imarku 7-Inch Cleaver Knife
Another option I recommend is the imarku 7-Inch Cleaver Knife. This is also made of high-carbon stainless steel that can handle boning, chopping, cutting, cutting, and crushing tasks.
Moreover, the blade of this cleaver is sharpened at an 18-degree angle. The blade is also thin at 2.3 mm to reduce slice resistance without compromising its toughness during intense chopping.
I also like that the blade has a hole in it, which you can use for added gripping. It also comes in handy in hanging the cleaver on your knife rack.
This imarku meat cleaver comes with a Pakkawood handle that’s contoured nicely for optimal grip. It also bears an ambidextrous design, so it’s suitable even for left-handed users.
Aside from that, this cleaver has a lifetime replacement warranty. This is solid proof of the imarku cleaver’s quality even if it’s sold at such an affordable price.
Overall, this is a hefty knife that’s not too heavy at 13 ounces. It takes time to get used to, but I’m glad that it’s not one of those cleavers that will cramp your hands.
As much as this imarku cleaver is worth the money, it comes with a few downsides. First, others find it almost too light and it will arrive dull, so you need to sharpen it at home.
Freelander Hand-Forged 6.3 Inch Cleaver
If you’re looking for an affordable, aesthetic, and reliable meat cleaver, I highly recommend this option from Freelander. This is made of high carbon steel that’s tested to have a hardness of 58 RHC.
Moreover, this cleaver is fitted with a red sandalwood handle. The handle is curved to provide the best grip while working on bones and thick meat slices.
Unlike other cleavers, the Freelander Hand-Forged Cleaver has a bowie blade shape. Its tip is pointed and the spine is also pointed.
This cleaver has been sharpened at 16 degrees with a tip angle of 45 degrees for the best cutting performance. It also has a full-tang design to ensure stability while hacking and pounding on the toughest meat cut.
Aside from the cleaver, you’ll also receive a leather sheath. This will protect the blade and prevent accidents in the kitchen.
In addition, this Freelander cleaver is covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not happy. For this price range, I can say that this sophisticated cleaver is already a steal.
FAMCUTE 7-Inch Nakiri Cleaver Knife
For those who are looking for a Chinese cleaver, look no further than the FAMCUTE Nakiri Cleaver Knife. It’s made of high-quality Japanese steel with a hardness level of 60+ HRC. The blade also has a clad dimple design that prevents food from sticking to the cleaver.
Moreover, this cleaver is fitted with an African Rosewood handle. The handle has an octagonal shape for excellent grip and comfort. It’s also long enough for users with large hands.
Overall, the blade of this cleaver is 18.5 cm long for a total length of 33.8 cm with the handle. It has a properly balanced weight and it remains stable as you swing and chop.
Aside from that, FAMCUTE offers a replacement guarantee in case you receive a damaged knife. This is already a reasonable guarantee for this price range. Besides, the cleaver itself is well-made and designed to last.
Although it’s designed as a cleaver, the FAMCUTE Nakiri Knife can also be your all-around kitchen blade. It can be used to chop, mince, dice, slice, and more. Just remember that this is a Japanese blade, so it’s insanely sharp and requires extra caution.
This is a great cleaver for those who prefer a pinch grip. However, it’s not full tang, so the blade has lost a certain level of durability.
It’s also surprisingly heavy, so if you want a lightweight cleaver, you should consider the other options here.
TUO Fiery Phoenix Series 7-Inch Meat Cleaver
The TUO Fiery Phoenix Series Meat Cleaver is made of premium German stainless steel. The blade also underwent nitrogen cold treatment and heat treatment to make it more durable. Through this process, the blade has a hardness level of 56 HRC.
Aside from that, this cleaver has a Pakkawood handle with an ergonomic shape. It’s easy to grip and has a decent length to accommodate average-sized hands.
I also like that this meat cleaver is sharpened at an 18-degree angle for a razor-sharp edge. I also like that it has a hole near the tip for hanging and added grip.
Moreover, this TUO Fiery Phoenix Series Meat Cleaver is covered by a money-back guarantee. If you received a defective cleaver, you’ll get your money back 100%.
In addition, this cleaver comes with a gift box in case you want to send it as a present to a loved one. This is a big bonus considering that this cleaver is priced competitively.
Overall, this cleaver chops through meat and bones easily. Personally, it made me feel like a chef just by using it.
However, this cleaver isn’t one without some niggles. First, you have to keep an eye on rusting and dulling. It doesn’t hold its edge for too long, especially if you’re using it on tough chopping. But for this price range, I can say that this is already a reasonable trade-off.
Zwilling J.A. Henckels 5-Inch Meat Clever
My last pick for this roundup is the Zwilling J.A. Henckels 5-Inch Meat Cleaver. This is the perfect choice if you’re willing to splurge on a chef-quality tool.
To start, this cleaver is made of high-carbon stainless steel. And since its blade is smaller than standard cleavers, it’s a perfect choice for beginner users. The smaller blade also makes this less intimidating and safer to use.
Moreover, the blade of this cleaver is ice-hardened for top-notch durability. It’s fitted with a polypropylene handle with an ergonomic grip.
To protect your purchase, this Zwilling cleaver is protected by a lifetime guarantee. The fact that it’s made by one of the prized brands in the cutlery industry makes it worth the splurge.
Also, this cleaver sports a one-piece, full-tang construction. It provides added durability and stability even on the most challenging chopping tasks.
Overall, this Zwilling meat cleaver is well-balanced and has a maximum no-stain property. This means that the cleaver will remain in good condition for the years to come.
However, other users may find the blade too short for their liking. In this case, the 6-inch version will come in handy.
How to choose the best meat cleaver for the money
Due to its functionality, knife brands have made their own cleavers. You can literally find hundreds of options in a single search. To help you narrow down the options, it’s important to consider the following points first:
While cleavers are generally the “big knife”, they still come in various types. Here are the three most common options and their uses:
- Meat cleaver. The meat cleaver is the quintessential cleaver type. It has a large and thick blade made to cut and smash through bones. This is also considerably heavy to give users a more powerful swing.
- Vegetable cleaver. Vegetable cleavers have thinner blades than those used for meat. While the blade is still wide, these cleavers are often used to chop large amounts of veggies. From a handful of carrots to a thick bunch of onion leaks, this cleave holds up pretty well. However, this cleaver can’t be used to work on bones and thick meat.
- Chinese cleaver. Chinese cleavers aren’t really the standard ‘cleaver’. It’s only a cleaver by name and it’s not made to smash through bones. Instead, it’s made for dicing, chopping, slicing, and prepping meal ingredients. This is why Chinese cleavers have a narrower blade than the standard type. Still, the blade remains bigger than those in chef’s knives.
Once you’ve decided about the type of cleaver you’re going to buy, the next aspect to consider is the blade material. This will impact the durability of the cleaver, especially on serious butchering tasks.
In general, the following are the most commonly used steel types for cleavers:
- High carbon steel. High carbon steel is probably the most durable choice for cleavers. Due to the high carbon content, this material can endure intense force. It can also be sharpened thinly without chipping easily. However, high carbon steel cleavers are prone to rust, so proper maintenance is crucial.
- Stainless steel. Stainless steel is also a common option in meat cleavers. It resists rusting and requires less maintenance. However, this steel doesn’t hold its edge quite long and sharpening can be challenging. But if you’re only using it for home kitchen purposes, stainless steel cleavers will hold up well.
- Damascus steel. Damascus steel is made by forging steel or steel alloy and iron to create a durable material. It’s easily distinguishable by its wavy patterns. Overall, Damascus steel makes a great material for a cleaver, but it’s not as strong as high carbon steel. Nevertheless, Damascus steel is way more durable than stainless steel alone.
Cleavers vary in blade size and overall weight. This will impact the ease of use and how well it will cut through various items.
Ideally, cleaver blades should be between 7” to 7.5” long. Others are available in 6” length, which still offers a nice cutting ability. But if you prefer a more compact tool, you can look for 5” cleaver blades.
As for the height, most cleaver blades will be 3.5” tall. This is of course an exception to Chinese cleavers that have narrower blade profiles.
Overall, long and wide cleaver blades will cut easily through thick food items. Also, it will not get stuck easily, especially if you’re working on chopping bones and stiff ligaments.
The spine of a cleaver refers to the unsharpened side of the blade. This part is often used to apply force into the cleaver, so it will cut through tough food items.
When it comes to cutting meat and bones, you should opt for a hefty spine. Personally, I prefer a cleaver with a ¼ to 3/16 spine. This provides a lot of support when cracking bones or hacking through tough meat cuts.
Also, a thick spine will be ideal for batoning. This is the process of hitting the spine of the cleaver with a metal or wooden rod to split bones and other tough items. With batoning, a very narrow cleaver spine may easily chip.
Unlike typical knives, cleavers don’t always need a razor-sharp edge. It’s because a very thin edge can easily chip while chopping or hacking into large bones.
In general, a V edge is the ideal choice for cleavers. You can also opt for a slightly curved belly, so the blade will slice through the meat more smoothly.
Cleavers are intended to have a nice heft to them for added chopping efficiency. Long and wide blades are obviously heavy, with some weighing as much as 2.5 lbs.
But while heavy cleavers work well in the toughest butchering tasks, they can be exhausting to use. Those with small hands will surely find heavy cleavers difficult to use, not to mention that they can also be dangerous.
Aside from the quality of the blade, it’s also important to consider the handle of the cleaver. Most cleavers in the market have wood or composite handles.
Wood handles are aesthetic and a typical choice for traditional cleavers. It also offers a nice grip and an added coating will prevent the wood from rotting away.
Composites are also a good handle material. But like wood, composites will soon loosen from the rivets that keep the blade in place. This is why wood and composite handles may need conditioning from time to time, especially when used frequently.
✔️Price range and warranty
Lastly, you should consider the price of the meat cleaver you’re going to buy. The good thing is that there are many affordable options in the market. While cheaper than others, these cleavers can give a decent performance for most chopping needs.
However, if you’re always dealing with large bones and thick chunks of meat, I highly recommend that you get a reliable and premium cleaver. This will pay for itself in your kitchen.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is there a hole in meat cleavers?
A: The hole in meat cleavers allows users, especially chefs, to keep the tool handy by hanging it on a nearby rack. Also, it allows you to slide a finger through the hole to reinforce your grip when working on tough tendons or bones. Nevertheless, not all cleavers bear holes nowadays.
Q: Do butchers use cleavers?
A: A cleaver is the most important knife in a butcher’s toolkit. The large and sharp blade allows butchers to break down meat cuts fast. Cleavers also make cutting through bones look like an easy task. You can walk into any local butcher shop in your area and you’ll surely see a cleaver or two immediately.
Q: Should a cleaver be sharp?
A: Unlike other knives, cleavers don’t necessarily need to be razor-sharp. In fact, traditional cleavers are sharpened at an edge angle of 25 degrees per side. This is pretty blunt compared to the 15% to 20% angle on chef’s knives. Users also avoid sharpening a cleaver too much as a very thin edge will easily cheap and fold when used with a strong chopping force.
Q: Can you use a cleaver for everything?
A: Cleavers are an excellent all-around tool in the kitchen. In fact, traditional Chinese kitchens use cleavers in almost any chopping task. However, it may have a learning curve if you’re more accustomed to using small knives. Also, using a cleaver in everything means you have to sharpen it frequently.
Q: Can a meat cleaver cut through bone?
A: Meat cleavers can cut through bones, thanks to their large and durable blade. It’s also the reason why cleavers are the top choice of butchers when working on freshly slaughtered livestock. Cleavers get the job done fast while preventing the risk of injuries associated with other knives.
The best meat cleaver for the money will make chopping meat and sundering bones an easier task. Its bigger blade packs more punch than a typical kitchen knife.
For the best results, you should get a cleaver with the right blade size and weight that match your preference.
What do you think of these meat cleavers? Let us know which one your find fitting for your kitchen!