Chief attributes you should look for when purchasing a quality kitchen knife.
Look for a thick blunted edge at the heel of the blade. This allows you grip further up the handle toward the blade for better leverage eliminating the risk of cutting your hand on the back portion of the blade.
Tip: look for knife handles that are made of materials that provide a secure grip when performing the greasiest cutting tasks.
Comfort is subjective and is based on how any kitchen cutlery fits and feels in your hand.
The handle and blade should be fused tightly so that there is no gap or crevices. This not only eliminates the possibility of food gathering or accumulating, it ensures reliability, durability, and contributes to the overall appearance.
The ability of a blade to retain its sharpness for longer periods of time is typically going to be one that is forged. The metal is thicker and heavier and therefore takes longer to dull. Conversely a stamped blade is thinner and lighter and will requires constant maintenance.
Quality kitchen knives are made of corrosion-resistant (rust resistant) materials, such as high-carbon stainless-steel which significantly prolongs the durability of a knife’s blade.
Generally speaking any quality kitchen knife has all of the above features which determines its design, i.e. design follows function.
For many cooks and chefs, balance is probably the most important attribute to look for when buying a kitchen knife. That said, balance is subjective as it depends on where you feel most comfortable gripping the knife handle. For example if you tend to pinch-grip (hand is closer to the bolster or end of knife’s handle) you might prefer the balance (center of mass) to be in the front so that it is blade heavy.
Purchasing a quality kitchen knife doesn’t have to be a chore especially considering the huge amount of brands that are available in most quality stores, such as, Henkels, Wusthof, Global, shun, etc., all of which produce excellent performing knives in three price ranges.
You really can’t go wrong staying in the mid-price range, unless aesthetics are at the top of your priority list in which case you’ll want to go with the high priced line. Keep in mind that higher priced kitchen knives are not necessarily better performers but they are typically more attractive. The bottom line is that the most important consideration when buying any kitchen knife is if you like the way it feels in your hand and that it is efficient.