A professional chef will almost certainly possess an extensive collection of knives at their disposal in their kitchen but for many home cooks, we will often try to make do with a reduced number of cutlery options when we are preparing food.

If you are heading to a knife store and want to know what is the best type of knives to have in your kitchen collection, here is a look at the essential items that every cook should consider buying.

Core essentials

Most home cooks should consider a knife collection that includes three core essentials, which you can get from any good store.

The first one is a chef’s knife, which can be between 8 inches and 10 inches long, depending on your own personal preference and what you feel most comfortable working with.

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The next essential knife would be a paring knife, which should ideally be between 3 inches and 4 inches long, again depending on what you prefer to work with yourself.

The final core essential is a bread knife, which should ideally be at least 12 inches long and because it has a serrated blade and is therefore not often able to be sharpened like other knives, this is the one knife where you can probably afford to compromise on a quality if you need to in order to buy the best quality chef’s knife and paring knife.

Others to consider

You will almost certainly want to add to your collection and there are a number of different knives that are worthy of consideration as they would make a good ally in the kitchen when preparing different recipes.

Good additions to your knife collection would be a boning or filet knife and a heavy cleaver, which is ideal when you need to cut up meat and don’t want to risk damaging your main knives by using them for something they were not designed to do.

A utility knife, which is going to be mid-sized and even possible serrated would also compliment  your collection, along with some kitchen shears, which would be great for snipping herbs or even preparing the back out of a chicken if you need to.

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Is bigger better?

Most of the knives that you will be choosing for your collection will come in a variety of different sizes and a common dilemma for home cooks is trying to decide whether they should choose a bigger knife over a smaller length.

An ideal chef’s knife should be big enough to cope with tasks like dicing, slicing and chopping, as well as being able to cope with a bit of butchering where required.

You choice should be dictated to a certain extent by personal preference. A shorter knife may give you more of a feeling of control and it is also worth considering that a smaller knife should give you greater precision and may allow you to work safer and faster as a result.

All home cooks deserve a good set of knives, so take the time choosing a collection that fits your needs and you feel comfortable with.

Craig Milton is a home improvement specialist. He likes sharing his experiences on the web. His posts can be found mainly on DIY and home improvement websites.