We updated this story in January 2022 to remove an unavailable product and to include notes from our recent round of testing in the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Culinary Innovation Lab. We also added a new pick from Hamilton Beach and updated one of our Cuisinart picks to the latest model.
A standard chef’s knife, whether it's German or Japanese, is great for almost every kitchen task, but an electric knife can make some tasks — like carving large pieces of meat or slicing crusty breads — easier than even using a large serrated knife. When used properly, electric knives require little effort and can cut down on carving time on everything from holiday roasts, turkeys, brisket, roasted chicken and even tomatoes and some vegetables and cheese.
We know what makes a great electric knife in the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Culinary Innovation Lab: We test hundreds of kitchen products and gadgets each year to see which ones are actually worth it. A good electric knife should fit comfortably in the hand, be easy to use and operate and cut through delicate skin and tender or firm crusts without tearing to make razor-thin slices. The blades should be easy to insert and remove and they should remain secure during cutting. Our favorite knives leave minimal blade markings on foods and cut cleanly all the way through. The best keep the sensation of vibration contained and aren't too loud.
For this test, we focused on meat, bread and tomatoes. We carved chicken, breaking down the bird into parts to see how it handled navigating around bones and slicing through poultry skin. We sliced medium-rare beef tenderloin to evaluate how cleanly, evenly and thinly we could cut meat. We tested each knife on a crusty sourdough boule and a tender brioche babka to check the knife's ability to slice bread without tearing or smashing. We also sliced ripe heirloom tomatoes as a gauge of handling juicy fruit without crushing it.
Here are the best electric knives to buy in 2022 from our recent Lab tests:
- Best Overall Electric Knife: Cuisinart CEK-41 Electric Knife
- Best Value Electric Knife: Proctor Silex Easy Slice Electric Knife
- Best Cordless Electric Knife: Waring WEK200 Rechargeable/Cordless Electric Knife
- Most Versatile Electric Knife: Black+Decker 9-Inch Electric Carving Knife
- Best Electric Knife for Beginners: Cuisinart CEK-30 Electric Knife
- Best Electric Knife for Compact Storage: Hamilton Beach Electric Knife
- Easy to use
- Performed well across tasks in Lab tests
- Useful safety features
- Vibrations are apparent when slicing crusty bread
This electric knife from Cuisinart is Amazon's Choice, and it did well across the board in our Lab tests. It excelled at cutting through the skin of roasted chicken and tomatoes without tearing. It also cut cleanly through crusty sourdough, though our tester did feel a lot of vibration during this specific task. The knife comes with a cutting board and storage tray for the base, blade and the included carving fork. The knife operates with an easy-to use trigger; for added safety, you must toggle a sliding lock before you can start cutting. Two blade-release buttons are squeezed from the sides of the handle, which eliminates any confusion with the trigger (meaning no accidental blade releasing during cutting).
- Easily cut through meat and produce
- Great price
- Not suitable for crusty bread
This affordable knife gives you the assistance you need for carving meat. While it did not produce the thinnest slices in our tests, it cut through skin fairly cleanly and produced even slices. It handled delicate brioche nicely and sliced tomatoes with ease, though you'll need a little practice to make sure it cuts through the skin at the bottom of the slice. It was not a good option for bread, though: It struggled to cut through the top crust of sourdough, and it would not slice through the bottom crust without turning the loaf on its side. Still, it's a great pick to keep on hand for any meat or produce task.
- Cordless for ultimate portability
- Includes a bread blade and a carving blade
This powerful electric knife is the only cordless knife in our roundup: It runs on a rechargeable lithium ion battery, which means it's a great choice for tableside carving — no need to be near an outlet. The Waring knife features a lock switch above the on/off button, which is nice for added safety when setting it down. It also performed well in our Lab tests, including slicing cleanly through poultry skin and tomatoes. The WEK200 comes with a bread blade and a meat blade; both can be used with the additional included slicing-guide attachment for making even slices, but we found it cumbersome in our tests. All parts — including the charging cord — fit neatly into a hard storage case.
- Sliced meats, tomatoes and breads cleanly
- Non-slip thumb pad
- Blade release button did not lock
This Black+Decker electric knife features an offset blade design that helped it ace out crusty bread test, which was a struggle for many other models. This versatile knife also did beautifully in our poultry and tomato tests, and it claimed an above-average score for slicing beef thinly and thickly. We also liked the finger grips on the blade and extra surface area around the base, which make removing and inserting the blades back into the motor housing easy. The on/off switch is a trigger on the bottom, and the top has a rubberized non-slip grip for your thumb, which felt comfortable. Our one note is that while the blade was secure during use, the blade release button worked no matter the position of the blade release pin.
- Easy to hold and operate
- Affordably priced
- Not suitable for crusty bread
For less than $30, this electric knife works like a champ. It performed particularly well in our tomato tests, leaving no blade marks whether thick or thin slices and slicing the fruit cleanly with no tearing or crushing. The curved design features a non-slip grooved surface on underside for fingers, and the on-off button is on top, which is much more comfortable to hold during use (compared with the bottom-mounted trigger style of some). The blades feature large, contoured finger grips, which make removing and reattaching the blades easy. However, our pros do not recommend this model if you want to slice a lot of crusty bread. The blade struggled to get through the top crust, took several passes to slice the bottom crust and smashed the bread along the way. It was also just barely long enough to navigate the boule at its widest part.
- Good for slicing chicken
- Not suitable for crusty bread
The Hamilton Beach knife comes with a carving fork and a slim case that makes storage simple. In our tests, it sliced through chicken skin with no tearing and handled thick and thin slices, though it did leave blade marks on the meat. It struggled with sourdough bread, as it was unable to slice through the top crust at all. It handled tomatoes with a high score, but the blades trapped the juices, which made for drippy slicing.
Many people think it's worth adding an electric knife to their kitchen arsenal solely to carve a Thanksgiving turkey — and it's certainly a big help with that task. But even if you aren't the Designated Carver each November, consider your cooking and eating habits when debating an electric knife. If you frequently roast meat like chicken, lamb or large cuts of pork or beef, you might appreciate the speed of carving with an electric knife.
But an electric knife, which features two parallel blades that saw very quickly in opposition to each other, can also be an important tool for those with dexterity issues. In many cases, it will reduce the amount of force you'll need when slicing — whether bread or cheese or fruits and veggies — which can keep the task comfortable.
It's also handy for those who like to filet their own fish. You'll need a thin blade and to look for knife styles that work with your fish (round, flat, large, small), but it can make short work of breaking down fish.