Nakiri vs Cleaver: When to Choose Which One Wisely?

If you are a chef, then a knife is an essential part of your life. However, knives are also necessary for general people. You may not find every knife convenient for every use. This happens because of their differences like Nakiri and Cleaver.

So, which one to choose between Nakiri vs Cleaver?

A Nakiri knife has a very sharp blade and a cleaver has this too. However, a cleaver has quite a comfortable handle compared to a nakiri. In addition to that, cleavers have a very sharp edge too. To consider, a nakiri also has a sharp edge.

This is the basic information that you need. So, to know more about your concern, keep on reading!

Let’s begin!

Nakiri vs Cleaver: Head to Head Battle

It’s always better to have a brief idea about the features of the knives first. So, take a look here to choose between nakiri or cleaver.

OriginJapanChina, Japan
Blade shapeStraightCurved
Blade edgeSingle-bevelSingle-bevel or double-bevel
Blade length5-7 inches6-12 inches
Blade thicknessThinThick
HandleJapanese-styleJapanese-style or Western-style
UseVegetablesMeat, bones, vegetables
Best forHome cooksProfessional cooks
PriceCheck Price HereCheck Price Here

With that said, let’s get into it!

Nakiri vs Cleaver: Detailed Comparison

Once you know the brief about their features, you are good to jump to the detailed comparison. Take a look here.

Type of Blade 

A nakiri knife is a Japanese knife that is short compared to a chef knife. It’s made to work with smaller items like vegetables. However, this is not the only nakiri knife purpose.

Remember one thing, you can peel shrimp with these knives.

As a result, you should aim for a blade that is roughly 5 inches long. Nakiri blades are typically composed of high-carbon steel and are extremely sharp. 

Therefore, they would have a long-lasting advantage. The edge is generally sharpened to a 15 to 17-degree angle, as with most Japanese blades. And you can precisely cut meats.

In short, this is what is a nakiri knife used for.

The blade of a cleaver will be significantly larger. Cleavers are typically 10.5-12 inches long overall, with blades ranging from 5-8 inches long. 

Furthermore, the blades of meat cleavers are thick and big. Because they’re made to shave through tougher components. So, these are the cleaver knife uses. And remember that these can be a good meat cutter too.

But this is not the only cleaver knife purpose.

So, when it comes to blades, it’s clear Nakiri is better between nakiri knife vs chinese cleaver.

Winner: Nakiri knives.


Both Nakiri and Cleaver have different handles connected to them, just like every other blade. A nakiri, like other traditional Japanese blades, will feature an octagonal handle.

imarku Cleaver Knife 7 Inch Meat Cleaver

For those who are used to European knives, this may take a little more time to get used to. However, it can result in a far more comfy and stable grip.

Cleavers, in contrast to that, usually feature rounded, smooth-surfaced handles. This enables for a more comfortable grasp, which is crucial when applying a lot of force. 

Grips made of a variety of materials can be found on each of these knives. Some will be constructed of wood, whereas others would be made of plastics such as PP.

We hope this helps!

Winner: Cleaver.

Edge of the Knife 

A nakiri is designed with a razor-sharp edge. It’s usually refined to a 15 to 17-degree angle, which is extremely sharp. So, sharpening nakiri knife is easy too.

Several nakiri versions, however, may feature a single-beveled edge. This means that chefs who are right-handed and left-handed will need to purchase distinct models.

PAUDIN Nakiri Knife

New versions of nakiri emerge every day. A multi-beveled nakiri, on the other hand, will not be difficult to come by. 

Because it is supposed to be a more heavy-duty blade, a cleaver will not be as sharp. 

On either side, many cleavers are honed to a 25-degree angle. As a result, they are sharp enough to produce precise cuts. 

Furthermore, they are tough enough to tolerate a lot of misuses. And cleavers knife sharpening might not be as easy as nakiri.

This explains what is cleaver knife!

Winner: Cleaver knives.

Related Article: Nakiri Vs Santoku: 5 Key Facts to Know the Difference

Final Verdict

You might still be confused to make up your mind for the final decision. And we understand it! So, get here a final evaluation. 

If you want the blade sharper, nakiri is for you. But if you are looking for a more stable handle with a sharper edge, then go for the cleaver. 

Hope this helps!


Are the Nakiri and Cleaver the same?

Nakiri and Cleaver are not exactly the same. But they have features similar to that of each other. If you think of the main difference, it is the blade of them. The cleaver has relatively a thick blade. Whereas, Nakiri has a quite sharp edge of its knife.

Do Chinese chefs like Cleaver?

Yes, Chinese chefs like using a cleaver to cut regular things. But that doesn’t mean they avoid the other types to cut things. The chefs generally prefer this knife to slice and mince regular things. They find it safer to operate compared to the others.

Is it okay to use Nakiri for meat?

Yes, it can be great to use a Nakiri to cut meat. You can also slice or mince regular things with this knife. These knives are generally quite popular among users for their sharp edge. However, the one who uses these needs to be careful too.

Can I use Cleaver for everything?

You may want to use a cleaver to cut everything. But it is actually not ideal for every regular thing you cut on a day. This knife is generally ideal for cutting or slicing vegetables and fruits. However, this is not so sharp just like the other ones.

Do all the Cleavers have a hole?

Yes, all the cleavers have a hole in them for a purpose. This is to make the through bone cutting easier. You can also hold this knife with your upper fingers firmly due to this hole. So, you can get additional convenience due to this hole.

The Final Words

Now you know the difference between nakiri vs cleaver! We believe you can make the decision wisely now.

If not, then give it a read one more time. We’re certain that it would give you a clearer idea about these two.

Best of luck!