Your choice of a knife makes a lot of difference in your kitchen experience. Sometimes, a robust knife is ideal for a given task. In other instances, the lightweight pocketknife is practical.

This article contrasts two blades, the Petty Knife Vs. the Paring knife. As we highlight both features, we aim at helping you make a better choice of which one suits your needs best.

What is the Petty Knife? 

A Petty knife derives its name from the word “Petite,” which means small. Also known as the Japanese utility knife, the petty knife is a multipurpose knife. The Petty knife is the smaller version of the Gyuto when it comes to features. A typical Petty knife blade measures between 3 inches and 7 inches. But for the average user, the most suitable size is 5 inches. 

Like the Gyuto, Petty knives with a broad flat blade. The bottom part of the blade has a slight curve that culminates to a sharp point. Thus, like the Gyuto, the petty knife is ideal when using a chopping board. 

Fujimoto kurochi petty knife
Petty knife

The petty knife is lightweight and easy to wield. Also, it has ample clearance between the handle and the blade. This allowance ensures that you work without bruising your knuckles. 

Best Uses of the Petty Knife

A petty knife is an all-rounder blade used to peel, slice, and chop vegetables, fruits, and meat. The Petty knife replaces the Gyuto while working in smaller spaces. It is also ideal to use when the Gyuto is unwieldy, like when cutting a small lemon. Petty knives are also preferable for people who have smaller hands. 

What is a Paring Knife? 

The paring knife is a favorite among most chefs, especially in the Western world. Many chefs place it as the second most important tool in the kitchen, after the Western Chef’s knife

The paring knife is relatively small. It has an overall length of 8-12 inches and an average blade length of 3.5 inches. This blade falls under specialty knives, which are intended for specific functions. 

wushtoff pairing knife
Pairing knife

A typical paring knife is lightweight and easy to hold. The shorter blade paring knives have a slightly curved blade. The longer ones are straight and flat. For a more versatile knife, the longer version is more recommendable. 

Best Uses of the Paring Knife

The paring knife derives its name from its role. Paring means “cutting or peeling the outer surface.” Thus, the primary use of a paring knife is peeling fruits and vegetables. You can also use them to slice the ingredients into smaller pieces. For a Paring knife, removing the outer layers of onions without much wastage is easy. 

You can also use the paring knife to prepare meat such as trimming chicken. The blade becomes the next best option if a Chef’s knife is too big to handle a particular job.

Petty Knife vs Paring. Origin and History.

History has it that the oldest petty knife was made in China 2000 years ago. Developed for use by artisans, the knife had a long blade suitable for detailed work. In those days, there were different petty knives. They had varying blade lengths and handle shapes. The knives became smaller and more similar over time. 

The first paring knife had a flint blade and dated back to 5000 BC. In those days, they were known as small knives. With time, the manufacturers started using other materials. Nowadays, the most popular material in making Petty knives is the high carbon steel. 

How to use a pairing knife

Petty Knife Vs. Paring Knife. What is the difference?

Having looked at the features and functions of the two knives, let us look at their differences. 


At first glance, one of the most significant differences between the two knives is the size. At a length of about 6 inches, the petty knife is longer. The shorter paring knife has an average length of 4.9 inches. 

In addition, the width of the two blades also varies. The petty knife is thick on the heel and thins towards the pointed tip. But the paring knife maintains the same width throughout the blade. Thus, the Petty knife is more flexible, whereas the Paring knife tends to be more rigid. 

The Shape of the Blade

As seen, a petty knife adopts the shape of the regular Chef’s knife. It has a flat profile, with a slight belly towards the pointed tip. On the other hand, the paring knife has a straighter shape. It is also more rigid to prevent chipping. 

Sometimes you will find curved paring knives referred to as the “bird’s beak.” In this case, you can also tell them apart from the petty knife as the curve tends to be more pronounced. 

Tip of the Blade 

A petty knife has a shallow, pointed tip. This feature allows easier penetration and more precise movement along the ingredients. But it also makes the blade more challenging to control.

The paring knife has a striking difference, with a broader tip. The point gives more control to the blade but less precision.

The Handles and Grip

Most paring knives boast full tang handles. This feature gives the knife a comfortable grip. Also, the blade is more balanced and easier to use while cutting ingredients. 

The grip is further away from the handle for petty knives, making it ideal for one-hand use. Some Petty knives have half and hidden tangs, which further reduce the knife’s weight. Petty knives are small, so having a semi-tang does not affect their balance. 

Both Petty knives and Paring knives have wooden and synthetic handles. Again, the handles are short in both blades to allow for precision movements. 


Your choice between the paring knife and the petty knife depends on the tasks in the kitchen. If you want a small knife to help you around cutting ingredients, the paring knife is a perfect choice. But a petty knife is ideal if you are looking for a lightweight multipurpose knife for your small space.

Remember, whatever choice between the two, it pays to consider the length and quality of the blade. 

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