Full Tang vs Half Tang Kitchen Knives – Which is Better?

In modern life, kitchen knives are an integral part of the home and everyday cooking. That’s why it is very important for everyone to choose the ideal kitchen knives or kitchen knife set for cooking. Because these are the things that are most closely associated with our daily lives.

Just as in every other circumstance, you must use the correct knife which has proper balance and maneuverability when preparing food. And the balance and strength of a knife significantly depend on its tang.

What Is Tang?

The “tang” of a knife refers to the steel which stretches from the blade into the handle. The length of the tang sparks controversy in the knife enthusiast community.

Some argue that the full tang creates a superior knife, while half tang supporters argue that a partial tang does not modify the effectiveness of the knife.

A full tang knife requires more steel to produce than a half tang, which affects the weight, balance, and durability.

What Is Full Tang Knife?

A “full tang” describes this steel extending the entire length of the handle. Full tang knives are heavier, which may originally be perceived as a drawback.

Full Tang Knife

What Is Half Tang Knife?

A “half tang”, or, “partial tang”, indicates that the steel does not fully extend to the end of the handle, but is approximately half the length of it.

Half Tang Knife

My Experiment on Full Tang Knife vs Half Tang Knife

In order to draw my own conclusion around tangs, I decided to formulate an experiment. My household’s kitchen consists both of full tang and half tang knives.

Recently I bought a J.A. Henckels Statement 20-Pc set that is one of my best kitchen knife sets under $300 with visible full tangs. Also, in this blog, I have reviewed some of the best self-sharpening knife sets and best kitchen knife sets under $500 from brands such as Henckels, Calphalon, Sabatier, KitchenAid, Zwilling, DALSTRONG, Wusthof, Chicago Cutlery, and more.

I took the 8″ chef’s knife from it. To devise an experiment, I also took a half tang eight-inch chef knife. For my experiment, I planned to compare the two chef knives. I would balance the knives in my hand, mince parsley, dice an onion, and slice carrots into strips.

My Hypothesis About the Testing

I predict that the different knives will be adept at different tasks. Through my research, I learned that a knife’s tang influences its balance.

I believe that the full tang knife will balance naturally, while the half tang’s blade will prompt the knife to tip forward and downward.

I theorize that the full tang knife’s added weight and balance will assist in chopping each of the ingredients.

I believe the half tang knife will chop the crisp parsley as efficiently as the full tang, but struggle to push through the dense root vegetables.

Balance and Grip Testing

Before beginning, I sharpened and cleaned both knives in order to eliminate sharpness as a factor in my conclusion. To sharpen both of them, I use the Edge Pro Apex 4 which is one of my best manual knife sharpening systems.

First I start with the half tang knife. I gripped the handle of the knife. Although considerably lighter than my family’s chef knife, I felt the blade’s downward pull.

It required me to account for the imbalance, putting a slight strain on my wrist. I then placed my finger under the bolster. Immediately, the knife pitched forward.

I repeated the process with my familiar full tang knife. The weight in the handle countered the weight of the handle, which relaxed my grip and made the tool feel natural in my hand.

Next, I placed my finger under the bolster. Although no longer perfectly balanced, the full tang knife balanced for an impressive seven seconds before threatening to fall.

Performance Testing

I prepared the ingredients (parsley, onion, carrot) before testing the performance of the knives.

Test-1: Parsley

I first chopped the parsley with the half tang. Although I am not a newbie, with each chop, the blade attempted to disengage from the cutting board. The lack of control was only a minor inconvenience.

I repeated the process with the full tang knife. The blade remained connected to the cutting board, and I fell into a rhythm with the knife. I swiftly and effortlessly chopped the remaining half of parsley.

I cleaned my tools before beginning the next test.

Test-2: Onion

Next, I chopped the onion with the half tang knife. The initial cut through the onion required significant force. I placed my left hand upon the back of the blade to gain leverage. Although mincing the rest of the onion was easier, I found myself wanting to use my resting hand to power through the root.

I traded out knives and secured another onion.

The full tang’s initial cut, although not effortless, was considerably easier. I chopped through the onion much faster, and the resulting minced onion was more uniform and appealing than my previous work.

After washing my tools, I began my last test.

Test-3: Carrot

With the half tang, I cut the carrot in half. I carefully began cutting long slices of carrot. The light knife required effort to push into the carrot and the blade often slid. The task proved difficult, and the resulting slices would be more accurately described as chunks.

I retrieved another carrot and duplicated the experiment.

The added weight and balance of the full tang assisted in biting into the carrot. Although still challenging, I felt much more in control and produced attractive and thin slices. I was pleasantly surprised by the effectiveness of the knife.

Deep Analysis and Overview of the Performance

My research has provided an overwhelming review of the performance of full tang and half tang knives. Here it is-

Benefits of Full Tang Knife

A longer tang balances the blade, providing a more natural feel in the user’s hand. A balanced knife is a huge benefit, as it provides effortless and precise performance.

The grip feels natural and provides added control to the user. It efficiently chopped the parsley, effortlessly minced the onions, and successfully sliced the carrots.

The added weight assists in muscling through dense and meaty ingredients, which reduces the amount of energy required by the user.

The blade and handle are a unit, which reinforces the equipment and significantly increases the knife’s durability and lifespan.

It can withstand frequent use and substantial force, which greatly reduces the likelihood of the knife breaking and creating a hazardous situation.

Weakness of Full Tang Knife

However, the only disadvantage posed by the full tang is the possibility of the extra weight generating soreness within the user.

Benefits of Half Tang Knife

The argument for the half tang knife predominantly surrounds its lower cost and reputation of being, “just as good,” as a full tang knife.

The absence of metal reduces both the weight and cost of the knife. Theoretically, this increases the user’s dexterity and mobility and lessens the prospect of fatigue.

This practical and lightweight knife is also effective at creating intricate and decorative garnishes.

Although the half tang’s lightweight can benefit the user, it can also present a drawback.

Weakness of Half Tang Knife

The half tang knife is lighter; however, the handle offers no additional weight to aid in carving through dense ingredients, ultimately requiring more energy from the user.

The blade is not balanced and creates a strain on the user’s wrist. It adequately chopped the parsley and minced the onion, but performed poorly when confronted with the delicate task of thinly sliced carrots.

There is no counterbalance to the blade, which results in an unsteady and imbalanced tool. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it increases the risk of a knife-related accident.

The half tang’s handle is not solid, which causes weak points where the handle and blade will loosen.

This may seem like an insignificant inconvenience, but knife enthusiasts warn of the blade snapping off entirely.

This affordable blade comes at a risky cost, as such an incident can result in serious lacerations and a trip to the emergency room.

Which Is Better – Full Tang or Half Tang?

Through my research, I learned that the length of a tang influences weight, balance, and durability.

A full tang is heavier, but it balances the blade of the knife. The weight additionally aids in chopping through vegetables and dense rinds. The full tang is more durable, has a longer lifespan, and it is a safer option in the kitchen.

A half tang knife is less expensive but more likely to break. The lightweight knife is imbalanced, uncomfortable, and susceptible to defects. The half tang knife is impracticable for cooking a meal and increases the risk of injury.

My experiment demonstrated that the half tang is not, “just as good” as a full tang knife. Under every circumstance, the full tang proved to be a far superior tool.

Final Verdict

Most families are confident in their kitchenware, unaware that a knife breaking from its handle is a possibility.

In February of 2017, this unlikely scenario became reality.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled nearly two million knives from around the globe. The knives were produced with a defect, which caused the blades to separate from the handle.

The company received numerous accounts of finger and hand lacerations, some serious enough to require stitches. This event highlights the importance of a reliable, well-made knife.

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