A meat cleaver is an essential butcher’s knife with a wide, heavy blade for easily chopping through bone and meat. Shop the best cleavers at Kitchen Warehouse, including high carbon stainless steel and Chinese blades for slicing veggies.

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From Chinese cleavers to Western - types of meat cleavers available

A meat cleaver is a heavy duty kitchen knife with a wide rectangular blade that's designed for chopping through large pieces of meat and bone with ease. They're a staple in butcher knife collections and are versatile enough to slice foods, crush spices and perform other duties. There are two main types of meat cleavers:

  • Western meat cleaver - This type of cleaver is heavy with a thick blade shaped like a wedge. It's primarily used for cutting through thick meat and bone. Some Western cleavers have a hole in the blade for hanging on the wall. The Mundial Cook's Cleaver is full tang with a razor-sharp edge and comes with a lifetime warranty.

  • Chinese meat cleaver - A Chinese cleaver is thinner and has a squared-off blade that is slightly flexible. These cleavers are made to cut through boneless meat and can also be used to thinly slice vegetables and fruit. The Shun Classic Vegetable Cleaver and Victorinox Chinese Chef's Knife are top choices.

What you need to know before purchasing a meat cleaver knife

When choosing a cleaver butcher knife, you'll quickly see that they come in different types, sizes and shapes to accommodate different needs and preferences. To make sure you pick one that is suited to you, consider these factors:

  • Blade type - There are 3 types of cleaver blades. Regular cleavers will be thick and wedge-shaped, Chinese cleavers or vegetable knives will be thin and tapered, and the rest will be a blend between the two.

  • Material - The majority of cleavers will have a carbon steel or stainless steel blade. Stainless steel is rust-proof and durable while high carbon blades have a sharper edge.

  • Handle - You can find cleavers with a stainless steel, plastic or wood handle. Plastic and wood handles can be prone to breaking. The handle should be hollow and non-slip.

  • Size and thickness - Thick, large cleavers are better suited to big pieces of meat so that they can easily chop through bones and cartilage. Smaller, thin knives are great for slicing and for separating smaller chunks of meat.

  • Blade sharpness - A sharp edge is essential for cutting cleanly through meat and poultry. A tapered blade will minimise chips and buckling, while Chinese cleavers are great at finishing meats on bone.

  • Tang - The tang refers to how far the knife blade extends into the handle. Full tang knives extend the entire length of the handle and are heavier and more balanced. Partial tang knives only extend halfway through the handle and are heavier on the cutting end.

Different ways to use a heavy duty butcher knife

Despite its large size, the meat cleaver is a versatile knife that can be used for a variety of different knife tasks in the kitchen. Use your cleaver to:

  1. Section meat - Divide large chunks of meat into desired shapes and trim cartilage ready for cooking. Meat cleavers can also double as boning knives to separate the meat from the bone.

  2. Section poultry - Chop through whole chicken and turkey with ease and divide it up for baking. The blade will glide easily through rib cages and thick joints.

  3. Scale fish - While a filleting knife is ideal for cutting fish into thin slices, a meat cleaver can make quick work of removing the scales.

  4. Prepare vegetables, fruit and seasonings - Use your cleaver as a slicing knife to thinly slice vegetables and fruit. You can also use the broad blade to smash garlic and other spices for seasoning food.

Wooden or stainless steel handle - what is the best

While traditional cleaver handles were made from wood, most are now made using stainless steel or polypropylene. Wooden handles are prone to water damage which can cause them to break or split apart over time. Hollow stainless steel handles are lighter and easier to clean. Many modern cleavers also feature an ergonomic design with finger grips which makes them more comfortable to hold and use.

Accessories to consider

These other kitchen gadgets and tableware essentials will be a perfect match with your brand new meat cleaver:

Wusthof to Scanpan - brands we know and trust

Perfect your knife skills with the most trusted brands in kitchenware at prices lower than RRP, including favourites such as Wusthof, Shun, Mundial, Scanpan and Global.

Buying online with Kitchen Warehouse

We have all of the quality meat cleavers you need to complete your knife collection and make food prep a breeze. Browse our range and save items to a wishlist for buying later. If you're ready to buy now, simply add your items to the cart and checkout using flexible payment methods including credit card and Afterpay. Receive free delivery when you spend over $100 Australia-wide!


What is the best length for a meat cleaver?
Most meat cleavers will be 15-18cm in length. This makes them the perfect size for performing a wide range of food prep tasks, including chopping through raw meat and bone, slicing vegetables and smashing garlic. The Cuisinart Clever Cleaver 15cm is ideal for small pieces of meat and cartilage while the Victorinox Kitchen Cleaver 18cm is best for whole chickens and large legs of lamb.

What are good brands of meat cleavers available?
We have high-quality meat cleavers by the world's most reliable brands trusted by professional chefs and home cooks alike. Pick up a heavy duty cleaver by iconic names like Scanpan, Wusthof, Victorinox, Furi and Cuisinart. You can also find a huge range of other types of knives available at Kitchen Warehouse, such as bread knives, carving knives, paring knives, steak knives and utility knives. If you're looking for the best Japanese knives, we have nakiri knives, santoku knives and more that are lightweight and razor sharp.

What is the difference between a meat cleaver and a Chinese cleaver?
A Chinese cleaver, also called a vegetable cleaver or Chinese chef knife, looks like a regular meat kitchen cleaver but is not used in the same way. The blades are thinner than cleavers and they are made for slicing, dicing and mincing fruit, vegetables and boneless meat. Most Chinese cleavers are constructed from high carbon stainless steel for superior sharpness, such as the Victorinox Chinese Chef's Knife.