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Single-Bevel vs. Double-Bevel Knives: 10 Key Differences

When shopping for kitchen knives, you’ll notice brands using the terms single-bevel and double-bevel.

The main difference is that single-bevel knives are sharpened on one side of the blade, and double-bevel are sharpened on both sides.

Single Bevel Knife
Single Bevel Knife. Side with bevel (left), side without bevel right).

Double-bevel knives are more versatile and easier to use, but single-bevel knives are sharper and better for thinner, more intricate cuts.

Double-Bevel Knife
Double-Bevel Knife

That’s the high-level distinction, but there’s more to know before deciding which to buy.

In this comparison of single-bevel vs. double-bevel knives, I break down the key facts about both options. You’ll learn how they compare in terms of uses, versatility, sharpness, durability, maintenance, and more.

So, if you’re confused about which type of knife to buy, or wondering if you need both, keep reading.

Use the links below to navigate the article:

Single-Bevel vs. Double-Bevel Knives: Comparison Chart

The chart below provides a quick side-by-side comparison of single vs. double-bevel knives.

UsesPrimarily used to slice fish and vegetables thinlyFor slicing, dicing, and chopping a variety of foods
Sharpness12-15° on one side of the blade12-20° on both sides, 24-40° total
Ease of SharpeningDifficultEasy
DurabilityProne to chip and dullThick, durable edge
VersatilityLimited functionalityWide functionality
AccessibilityLess availableWidely available
HandednessLeft or right-hand specificNo hand bias
Skill LevelMid to HighLow to Mid

Difference 1: Sharpness

One of the most notable differences between single- and double-bevel knives is their sharpness. In short, single-bevel knives are significantly sharper than double-bevel knives.

Slicing a grape with a Kamikoto knife
Slicing a grape with a single-bevel Kamikoto knife

Since single-bevel knives are only sharpened on one side, the edge can be incredibly thin and sharp. The edge angle of single-bevel knives ranges between 10-17°, but most are between 12-15°.

Single bevel vs double bevel edge

Double-bevel knives are typically sharpened to a 12-15° per side (total angle of  24-30°). Some have even high angles. For example, meat cleavers are usually sharpened to a 20-25° angle per side.

The table below compares the edge angles of popular single and double-bevel knives.

Brand/CollectionBevelEdge Sharpness
Dalstrong HonesukiSingle15°
Shun Dual CoreSingle16°
Zwilling ProfessionalDouble15° (per side)
Messermeister Meridian EliteDouble15° (per side)
Made In Chef’s KnifeDouble12.5° (per side)

Difference 2: Uses

Since single-bevel knives have incredibly sharp edges, they’re best for thin, delicate cuts. You would choose a single-bevel knife to slice fish or to cut very thin slices of meat. While perfect for precise cuts, single-bevel knives aren’t the most efficient choice for standard food chopping.

Double-bevel knives are used for most other food preparation. Whether you need to chop, cut, or dice vegetables or thick cuts of meat, a double-bevel knife is the best choice. You can make thin slices, although the results won’t be as precise as a single-bevel knife.

Cutting carrots with a MAC knife
Cutting carrots with a double-bevel knife

Difference 3: How to Sharpen

Sharpening a double-bevel knife is a more straightforward process than doing so with a single-bevel blade.

To sharpen a double-bevel knife, begin with a coarse whetstone and sweep one side of the blade back and forth, releasing pressure on the back sweep. Then repeat the process on the other side. You could also use an electric or pull-through sharpener for a double-bevel blade.

When sharpening a single-bevel blade, the process is different for each side. You’ll need at least two whetstones, one coarse and one smooth.

Start with the beveled side of the blade. Make smooth sweeps along the whetstone, releasing your pressure on the backward sweep. Some people find it helpful to color the beveled part of the blade to see where you’ve treated the steel.

Once you’ve completed the beveled side, you can focus on the flat side. Lay the blade flat on the fine whetstone, then gently push the blade away from you in smooth sweeps.

This video provides a good tutorial on sharpening double-bevel knives, and this video walks through the steps for single-bevel knives.

Difference 4: Durability

Single-bevel knives are thin, which allows the edge to be extremely sharp. However, the thinness of the blade also makes it more delicate.

A single-bevel blade won’t hold up as long as a double-bevel knife. Single-bevel knives dull more quickly, require more frequent sharpening, and have a higher chance of chipping and breaking.

Single Bevel Knife 2
Single-Bevel Knife

Double-bevel blades are more durable and less prone to chipping. But their thicker edges and (usually) softer steel mean they’re not as sharp as single-bevel blades.

Difference 5: Versatility

If you’re looking for a versatile kitchen knife, a double-bevel option is the best option. You can do almost anything with a double-bevel knife, from butchering meat and slicing cheese to dicing vegetables and mincing herbs.

Cutting a sausage with a Mercer kitchen knife
Cutting a sausage with a double-bevel kitchen knife

While sharp and precise, a single-bevel blade isn’t for your everyday cooking needs. These blades are primarily used by professional chefs and those who prepare traditional Japanese cuisine such as sashimi, decorative knifework (i.e., julienned carrots or paired and peeled daikon), or other cuts of fish used in sushi rolls.

Difference 6: Accessibility

Single-bevel knives are less common, and you can’t usually pick one up at your local department store like you can with a double-bevel knife. In most cases, you’ll need to order one online without the chance to handle the knife before making a purchase or travel to a specialty Japanese knife store.

Difference 7: Handedness

A double-bevel knife creates a uniform slice with both sides of the blade, so it doesn’t matter if you’re right- or left-handed.

However, handedness does matter if you opt for a single-bevel blade. While single-bevel blades are available in right- and left-handed varieties, left-handed knives are harder to find.

Difference 8: Skill

A double-bevel knife is equally sharp on both sides and cuts straight, so it’s much easier to master.

A single-bevel blade will take a little more practice to use well. Single-bevel blades tend to drag to one side instead of cutting straight through. You’ll need to learn to adjust your technique to achieve straight, precise cuts.

Difference 9: Style

Single-bevel knives are traditionally used for preparing Japanese cuisine. Therefore, most single-bevel knives are Japanese-style knives.

Double-bevel knives can be Western-style — sometimes referred to as German-style — or Japanese-style.

What’s the difference between Japanese and Western knives?

Western-style knives are often forged, full tang, heavier, and feature a bolster. They’re made with softer steel, which increases durability and makes the blade chip-resistant. Western-style knives are great for heavier work, such as deboning meat or cutting through the thick rind of a pumpkin.

Japanese versus German knives

Japanese-style knives are usually thinner, sharper, and more lightweight. The steel is harder, which resists edge-dulling, but the blades are more brittle and prone to chips and cracks. These knives are better for slicing fish and softer meats and vegetables.

There are three types of single-bevel Japanese-style knives:

  • Yanagiba: Used to slice sashimi.
  • Deba: Used for fish.
  • Usuba: To cut vegetables

Santoku is another type of Japanese-style knife, and although there are some single-bevel santokus (for example, Kamikoto), most are double-bevel.

Almost every other type of knife is double-bevel. That includes chef’s knives, paring knives, utility knives, butcher knives, bread knives, and cleavers.

Difference 10: Price

High-quality knives are expensive, although the price varies between brands and collections.

Generally, single-bevel knives are more expensive, and the brands are typically higher-end. A broader range of brands manufacture double-bevel blades at various price points.

You can see a more detailed comparison of single vs. double-bevel knife prices in the chart below.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Bottom Line: Is a Single-Bevel or Double-Bevel Knife Better?

Now that you know the key differences between single and double-bevel knives, the questions are:

Which type should you buy? Do you need both?

Before I give you my recommendation, let’s quickly recap.

Uses: You can use a double-bevel knife for just any cutting task. However, a single-bevel knife will be the better option if you need to make very precise or thin cuts.

Skill level: A single-handed blade will take practice to use with precision, while a double-bevel blade is much easier to master.

Durability and care: Single-bevel knives are more prone to chipping and require specialized care to maintain their sharp edge. Double-bevel knives hold up to use better and are more straightforward to sharpen and maintain.

Accessibility: Single-bevel blades are harder to find than double-bevel blades. Also, you’ll need to find a right or left-handed knife to accommodate your handedness, and left-handed single-bevel knives can be difficult to find.

Price: You can find double-bevel blades just about everywhere at a variety of price points. Most single-bevel knives are made by higher-end manufacturers and are more costly in general.

Bottom line — unless you are a professional chef or have a real passion for cooking or Japanese food, a double-bevel knife is the better choice. Double-bevel knives are more versatile, durable, and easier to work with and maintain.

If you’re unsure which brand to buy, check out my guide to the best kitchen knife brands. My top picks are:

MAC and Made In are also great brands to consider.

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He began his career in marketing, managing campaigns for dozens of Fortune 500 brands. In 2018, Andrew founded Prudent Reviews and has since reviewed 600+ products. When he’s not testing the latest cookware, kitchen knives, and appliances, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew via emailLinkedIn, or the Prudent Reviews YouTube channel.

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