You’ll find knife handles made from stainless steel, aluminum, resin, carbon fiber, and titanium. All of these are excellent choices for a well-weighted, balanced knife.

Kiele-Jael Stanton, certified health-supportive chef and wellness culinary coach, recommends that home cooks look for “full tang” knives with blades that run all the way through their handles. “Look for metal going all the way through the handle so you know that they are sturdy, solid knives with evenly distributed weight,” Stanton advises. If the metal doesn’t go all the way through the handle, you could face a knife that breaks under pressure. 

When it comes to the classic wooden knife, Nguyen says, “Don’t pick knives with wooden handles unless you’re committed to hand-washing them. This is a big debate, but I put all of my knives in the dishwasher—and Ina Garten does as well!” If you’re also a member of the dishwasher club, steer clear of wooden handles.