Meat cutting knives and other chef’s tools must be exceptionally sharp in order to offer efficiency. Many experienced knife users will know the impact that dull knives can have on their food preparation work and will have a process in place for sharpening their equipment. But for those with little knife use experience, it’s important to understand how to tell when meat cutting knives are dull and require additional sharpening. In this post, we’ll focus on this subject in greater detail.

Dull Knives Can be Dangerous

While most will know that dull knives require the handler to work hard to achieve the same cutting impact, it’s also important to recognize the danger that dull knives can pose. The handler has to exert more force than they usually would to achieve the cut. This means that they may end up using too much force and slipping when cutting meat and other food items, thereby increasing their chances of injury significantly. To achieve cutting efficiency and to minimize the safety risks of the cutting process, knife sharpening is important. So, how can a knife handler tell when their knife is dull?

Check by Cutting Food with a Smooth Surface

To check the quality of a knife blade, and its sharpness, users will require a food with a smooth surface such as a tomato. The user should be able to cut directly into the tomato without applying any significant pressure. The knife shouldn’t roll at all on the slick surface. Those that must use a sawing motion or use the tip of the knife to pierce the product will know that their knife is dull and must be sharpened.

Cuts should be quick and smooth

The next sharpness test involves the use of a piece of paper. Handlers can take a regular piece of copier paper by one edge and then hold the knife perpendicular to the edge. If the knife can slice cleanly through the paper with little effort, it’s likely close to peak sharpness. If a sawing motion must be used to slice through the paper, the blade likely isn’t sharp.

Proper Use can Keep a Blade Sharp

For those that continually find they need to sharpen their blade after a small amount of use, the problem might be how they’re using the product. For example, meat cutting knives can often become dull more quickly when the handler doesn’t use a chopping board for cutting. Cutting on plates and countertops can cause a blade to lose its sharpness.

By understanding the optimal methods for checking blade sharpness and by using knives according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, home cooks and kitchen teams can improve their efficiency in the kitchen. To learn more on this subject, contact our team directly at