All the Types of Knives Ever Made

Peter Stec
January 14, 2021

There are many types of knives around and it is easy to get lost in the details. This post will give you a good understanding of how knives are organized, how they are used, and which knife should you reach for to do a certain task.

Trust me, after you’ve read this post, you will know all about how knives are organized so that you can feel like a knife expert. Never reach for the chef’s knife when you really need a boning knife again.

Knives are Categorized by Purpose

Knives have been around since the begging of man. They can be used to prepare food, dress game, combat, and work. Within these broad categories, we can distill further the specific uses of a knife.

Work Knives

Besides kitchen uses, there are knives that are used on the job site or around the house. This category contains a long list of knives that are relevant only to certain professions or tasks.

Diver’s Knife

These knives are great underwater.

This is a sharp knife that has a sturdy, heat-resistant handle. The handle fits within a sturdy sheath and the sheath has a strap to be attached to the leg. This knife is used underwater.

Electrician’s Knife

SOG makes great knives

This knife has insulation to protect the user against electrical shock. It resembles a pocket knife. Some electricians prefer to use insulated pocket knives.

Carpenter’s Knife

These knives are VERY sharp!

This is a knife that has a retractable blade. It is also called a utility knife. The blade is refillable and can be used to cut carpet and other tough materials. Similar knives are also used by tailors to cut fabrics.

Hunting Knives

Titan International Knives Damascus Steel Skinning with Gut Hook

These knives are used by hunters to gut game. It is a fixed blade knife that has a good grip. Some versions of these knives also have gut hooks. Hunter knives are sometimes painted in camouflage.


A scalpel is a knife used in medicine to cut open patients. It is very sharp and made of high carbon steel. Scalpels are sterilized and can be available to individuals in high-end medikits.


this multi-tool can walk by itself!

Often called Gerbers or Leathermans, these knives combine multiple tools into one utensil. Some contain pliers, screwdrivers, and can openers. They are usually placed in belt carriers.


Machetes are very useful.

A machete is a long, heavy knife used to cut trees, limbs, and coconuts. It is also used to gather firewood and sometimes used i the kitchen. Machetes are popular all over the world and each region has their own version of the machete. The latin Machete comes from Latin America whereas the Parang is a Malaysian machete.


A kukri is a middle Asia knife that is weighted at the front. It gives the user more downward force and power. Large kukris can be used to chop down tree limbs. Kukris are excellent chopping tools.


Blade, tang, and weight are very important parts to a butterfly knife

A Balisong, also called butterfly knife, is a traditional work knife from Balisong, Philippines. It allows the worker to open the knife with only one hand while the other hand can be free. It uses two handles that are attached to a pivot point. By flicking the wrist, the user can expose the blade. Balisongs are also a popular recreational activity since flipping them is fun.

X-Acto Knife

This knife is used in art to do detailed cuts. The blade is replaceable. X-Acto knives are also popular in architect to create miniature models.

Pocket Knife

These knives are small knives that can fit in your pocket. The blade folds into the handle. Some pocket knives allow the user to lock the blade into the open or closed position. A type of pocket knife that can go into the open position with only a press of a button is called a switchblade.

Survival Knife

This is a type of knife used in the outdoors. Some versions have compartments in the handle where you can store survival gear. It may also include a whistle, fire starter, or small reflective device.

Combat Knives

Combat knives are used by soldiers during times of war. Combat knives are categorized by the origin of first use.

Trench Knife

The trench knife is a hybrid between a bayonet and brass knuckles. It allows the user to stab, slash, and punch with one tool. The trench knife appeared during WWI. Trench knives are illegal is a few states nowadays.


M9 Bayonet attached to M16 rifle.

The bayonet is a knife that attaches to the front of a rifle. It gives the soldier a sword-like tool with which to thrust. Bayonets are not very good slashing tools since most of the damage is done by thrusting. You can use your rifle’s length to parry the other’s rifle. The last bayonet attack was done by the British against rebel forces in Afghanistan. The British took zero casualties.

Tactical Knife

A tactical knife is a modern day fighting knife that is also designed for utility roles. You can open a box of MREs with it as well as use it to kill the enemy. A good example is the Ka-bar.

Tactical Axes

A tactical ax is a small bladed weapon attached to a handle. It is often used by the military and police to cut down doors, barriers, and vehicles. It is also used as a hand-held weapon in close combat.

Recreational Knives

Some knives are used for fun and only fun.

Throwing Knives

Knife throwing is a popular sport. Throwing knives are well-balanced knives that are between 6 and 12 inches long. The blade is not sharp but they do have a sharp point.

Throwing Stars

Throwing stars are a variation of throwing knives. Instead of being long, the knife is shortened into a circular shape.

Knives for Cooking

Cooking knives are designed to work in the kitchen. This means that they are usually stainless steel instead of carbon steel (to prevent rust since a kitchen is a wet environment). They are also usually flexible because chopping is a hard task. They are made to have a handle that won’t slip when wet. The handle must also be constructed in a way that would be easy to clean and not harbor food, microorganisms, and dirt.

The Chef’s Knife

If you could only have one knife in your kitchen, make it a chef’s knife. It is also called a cook’s knife in some areas. This knife is great for almost every kitchen job. It is 8-12 inches long and is good for chopping, cutting, slicing, and dicing. A kitchen knife has a gradual slope so that you can rock it back and forth when chopping vegetables. Chef’s knives are also non-serrated.

The Boning Knife

This is the second most useful knife in the kitchen (unless you are a vegetarian). It is similar to a chef’s knife but just a little bit smaller. It is also somewhat more flexible. The boning knife is designed to remove meat from bone, filet fish, and cut up chunks of meat. Note that it was not designed to cut through bone–a clever is used for that. Some people with small hands enjoy chopping vegetables with a boning knife better since it gives them more control.

The Cleaver

A cleaver is used by butchers to cut through meat and bone. It is a big knife with a very tall blade. It is heavy so that it will add power to the butcher’s swings. A cleaver is good for tasks such as cutting the heads off of fish, cutting through thick bones like the humerus, and some people also use the back side or handle of the clever to mince garlic.

The Bread Knife

A bread knife is a long knife that is serrated. It is designed to cut soft bread without having to push down on the bread. This prevents the bread from getting squished. It uses a sawing action to do this. A bread knife also produces fewer crumbs compared to a normal knife for cutting bread.

The Paring Knife

This is a very small knife whose blade is about 3-4 inches long. It is used to prepare fruits and vegetables. It is also used to prepare garnish such as flowers made out of tomatoes or swans made out of potatoes. A paring knife is very light and it can easily fit in anyone’s hands.

The Carving Knife

This knife is used to carve roasts, turkeys, and breasts. It can be mechanical or automatic. It is usually serrated and long. It uses the same sawing motion as a bread knife. Out of all the knives in the kitchen, this is one of the least used ever.

Those Knives that No One Ever Use

Besides the ones listed above, there are other knives that I know about and, even though I used to be a professional cook, have never used or never needed to use. These knives are so specific that it’ll be more work trying to find where you placed that knife in the kitchen than to just use a chef’s knife that you have nearby.

These knives include things like shrimp knives (for gutting shrimp), oyster knives (for opening oysters), lettuce knives made of plastic so the edges won’t go brown (you can just use your hands and rip the lettuce, same results), sandwich knives (I just use a chef’s knife), and even a grapefruit knife designed to specially cut grapefruits.

If you are wondering, no, you don’t need these knives in your kitchen. A chef’s knife can do the job the majority of those knives do.

And that’s it! All the knives I can think of. I might have missed a few, if I did, tell me in the comment box below. Also, if you feel any of the descriptions were wrong, let me know as well.

About The Author
Hey Knife Up gang! I'm Pete, and I'm just another man like you in a small rural town who loves the outdoors as much as the other million internet users that cruise sites like every day. The difference is that I like to share what I know and research what I don't totally know so that YOU can have all the info you need to feel confident and prepared for all things outdoors-related! And, for those who care, I have 42 years of wilderness canoeing and bushcraft experience in Northern Ontario and spend most of my Summers covered in mosquitos and fish slime, but hey, it's a lifestyle choice, eh?

20 comments on “All the Types of Knives Ever Made”

    1. Too many variables, too much misunderstanding by too many law enforcement officers. Recommend you see a local knowledgeable lawyer first. If you can’t afford a good lawyer, don’t risk it, IMHO..

      1. You are right but OMG, is that what this country has come to? Is this the same nation that settled a continent? Blazed trails west? What a commentary on modern day America!

  1. The one knife I feel that you missed would be the karambit(my personal favorite knife) which is a curved blade that resembles a claw and has a ring loop on the handle that way it is harder for you to be disarmed. it is a great weapon for slashing but not stabbing. anyways just thought I’d mention this beautiful knife for those that want to know more about knives.

    1. I think that would fall under hunting or tactical knife. It would be impossible to name all of the styles of knives that fall under the types of knives in this article.

  2. I used to have a small pocket knife with a unique blade locking system. When the knife was open with the blade locked, you would pull the blade and the handle away from each other before folding and closing the knife. Has anyone had a knife like this and what kind is it?

  3. Within the confines of the written law, there are numerous references to a “dirk”, however, there is no explanation or description of what a “dirk is. This could bring any small fixed blade knife into the category of a “dirk” and make it illegal based on interpretation of an authority such as police officer or a judge in a court proceeding. Given the number of people now populating a State such as Maryland and the number of people who do carry knives for various reasons, it would seem prudent to clarify the description by the State of exactly what is legal through size, intended purpose of the knife and not the person carrying it along with a simple easy to understand description of the “stye” i.e. folding, fixed blade or other if there is one. The majority of people would readily comply with the law if there was a clear understanding of the law itself and everyone you discuss knives with, has a different opinion of what is legal and what is not which, leaves everyone at a possible legal disadvantage if they carry any knife at any time other than when they may be hunting which only a minority do in a State as densely populated as Maryland.

  4. Is an assisted opening knives legal to carry in Maryland? A switchblade opens by spring pressure alone when you push a button, but with an assisted opening knife you must begin to open the blade by hand, then a spring takes over to open it the rest of the way. Because of this difference, I have heard that assisted opening knives are OK. (They must be legal to own in MD since they are sold at Walmart, but that doesn’t mean they are OK to carry). However, if gravity knives are not legal to carry, that makes me doubt the legality of assisted opening knives also.

  5. I have a knife that you can click a button and then it becomes 2 knives with scorpion logos. I can’t find anything on the net yet. Anyone know what it might be?

  6. I have a knife I have no idea what it is. I use it all the time since it works well for lots of tasks but it drives me nuts. I have never seen one and have no idea of its origin. Everyone asks me what it is but I can’t answer. Lots of people throw guesses at me but no one knows. I thought maybe boning ?? But it is not like any boning knife I’ve seen online. I’m hoping I don’t find out something disgusting like some people have guessed but very curious. it’s kinda hard to describe. let’s see if I can describe it a bit! It is obviously a stamped blade nothing forged! It’s a kitchen use style blade stainless steel blade wood handle made in Japan about a 10 inch long blade. The heel of the blade is under the handle……there is a cutout in the knife to put your fingers through to wrap around…hold onto the wooden handle .so you put your hand through the blade and grip the wooden handle and still have some blade under your knuckles. looks to be older .the wooden handle is riveted on.. The knife is about 10 inches long and about 1 1/2 -2 inches ht. Kinda like a cleaver or chefs blade without a tip. Any idea what it is? Thank you! Genie Macie. [email protected]

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