What are the Different Types of Cleavers?

Learn more about the two different types of Cleavers and how we combined them to create our fan-favorite Cleaver.

By Emily Borst
Mar 16, 2023
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There are two main kinds of Cleavers— one primarily used for meat and another for vegetables. Both are rooted in history, and have unique uses in the kitchen beyond just cutting their respective ingredients. So when we set out to make our own Olive Wood Cleaver, we studied both types and took the best parts from each to make a Cleaver that can do it all.

Here’s what makes both vegetable and meat Cleavers unique, and how we combined their features to make a version we find superior to the rest.

The Meat Cleaver

A meat Cleaver is just what it sounds like—a large Knife with a wide blade that has the necessary force to cut through tendons, thick cuts of meat, and even hearty vegetables with ease. The edge of a meat Cleaver is less sharp than that of a Chef Knife, as weight and power is more crucial than finesse when handling large cuts of meat. Another distinguishing feature of a meat Cleaver is the hole in the top corner of the blade, which was traditionally used by butchers for easy and secure hanging in their shop.

The Vegetable Cleaver

While a meat Cleaver is thick and powerful, a vegetable Cleaver—also known as a Chinese Cleaver—is precisely the opposite. The blade is thinner and comparably  more delicate, with a bevel (or blade angle) of 25 degrees, compared to the meat Cleaver's 30 degree bevel. This angle comes in handy for mincing, slicing, and dicing vegetables, and provides the same precision you’d find with a Chef Knife. It’s much lighter than a meat Cleaver and has a sharper blade, which provides the control needed for cutting unwieldy vegetables.

Our Cleaver

We developed our Cleaver to be the perfect hybrid between a meat and vegetable Cleaver. Its thick top is powerful enough to slice through thick steaks, yet lightweight and precise enough for a julienne. With a bevel of 30 degrees and blade height of slightly above 3”, it’s perfect for almost every task, from vegetable prep to breaking down a whole chicken. It’s a multi-tasker like a vegetable cleaver, and a classic showpiece like a meat cleaver, complete with the traditional hole in the upper part of the blade. In short, it’s perfect for any knife task in any kitchen.

First launched in 2021, the Cleaver sold out in just a few hours. We’re bringing them back for a short time with a legacy Olive Wood handle, but quantities are limited—once they’re gone, they’re gone forever.