You may have seen certain knives with large holes in their blade and wondered what’s that for? It’s one of the most common questions we get, and there are actually some cool reasons why they put them there.
Whether it’s a cheese knife, pocket knife, or machete, we’ve seen holes in the blades of just about every type of knife you can imagine. Most people think it’s for aesthetics, and that’s partially true, but adding holes to a blade can increase its efficiency across a wide range of fronts as well. Some of the benefits of having holes in a knife blade include reduced friction for easier cuts, thumb holes to open folding knives, and it allows for a knife to be hung for easy use. Let’s take a look at these reasons why knives have holes in the blade and if you should consider them when purchasing your next knife set.
Why Do Knives Have Holes in the Blade?
Holes cut into knife blades come in many different diameters and are often referred to as being “aerated”. Typically holes are drilled in a line and parallel with the blade and extend from the base to the tip of the knife.
Meat cleavers usually have one hole in the upper tip for conveniently hanging it when not in use. Below are some of the top reasons why knives have holes in them.
Top Reasons Why Knives Have Holes in the Blade
- Reduced Friction While Cutting
- Helps Pocket Knives Open Easier
- Allows Knives to Be Hung For Easy Use
- Reduces the Knifes Overall Weight
- It’s Aesthetically Pleasing
Reduced Friction While Cutting
This is the most common reason most chef and kitchen blades have holes in them. When a cut is made with a knife, the edge of the blade causes friction with the item being cut.
Chefs Knife With Holes in the Blade
The best example of this is trying to cut block of cheese. If you’ve ever done this, it’s obvious that the cheese creates friction with the blade and slows down the cut and can even cause the cheese to bind.
Many good cheese knives have holes in the blade to prevent with dense objects like cheese and cut more smoothly. This is less important if you’re making shallow cuts where objects do not come in contact with the edge of the knife blade.
Helps Pocket Knives Open Easier
Spyderco Knife With Thumb Hole
When a Spyderco pocket knife is closed, the hole in the blade sits elevated which makes it easy to open with your thumb. This is important for those times when you might not have both hands available and still need to open your knife.
It’s important to note that most pocket knives do not have holes in their blades similar to kitchen knives. This is because pocket knife blades tend to be smaller and holes can weaken the strength of blades that have less width.
Allows Knives to be Hung for Easy Use
Some knives have holes in the blade because it’s ergonomically efficient. Meat cleavers, machetes, and other large knives usually have holes on the top edge of the blade so they can be hung from a rack or hook when not in use.
Wusthof Meat Cleaver with Hole For Hanging
Butchers need cleavers on hand frequently to cut meat, so it makes sense that having a hole in the blade to hang it nearby when not in use would be a top priority. Machetes have holes in their blades to hang from belts or to help fashion carrying loops.
Reduces the Knifes Overall Weight
Knife construction is centered on strength and durability. Strength often comes with the downside of added blade material making for a heavier knife.
Heavier knives present problems not only for fatigue cause by long-term use, but also adding to unneeded weight for rigorous applications.
Drilling holes in the blade of a knife can help reduce the overall weight by removing material, while still retaining strength and durability needed to function properly and easily over a wide range of uses.
Simply, It Just Looks Better
The last reason knives have holes in their blades is because it looks more aesthetically pleasing. Let’s be honest, many people buy with their eyes, and holes give a blade an added sense of appeal.
Even the knives that do not have holes have what are called “clefts” on the blades. These are indention’s that help to serve the same friction reducing function without having to drill through the blade itself.
Do You Need a Knife with Holes in it?
We’ve covered some of the top reasons why knives have holes in the blade, but are all these factors really important enough to make them a top priority when searching for your next knife?
First, it depends on usage. If you are cutting dense material (cheese and meats), require a cleaver (such as a butcher), or prefer the easy of one handed pocket knives, then a knife with holes in the blade makes sense.
Keep in mind that price also plays large role in determining if you really need one of these knives. A cheaper straight blade knife can still cut very well given it has a sharp blade.
Are knives with holes in the blade gimmicks or do they really serve a purpose? As we’ve highlighted, there are several situations where a knife with holes in it can be beneficial.
Knives with holes really prove their worth when reducing friction from cutting dense materials. They help pocket knives with assisted one handed opening. They can be hung from racks or hooks for easy use, and are lighter than blades without them.
All of these reasons provide a purpose more than just aesthetics. They serve real life situations that can make the job easier and more ergonomically friendly. If the price is right, you may just be glad your next knife has holes in it.
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John is our resident expert on the outdoors. He writes about outdoor gear, camping, traveling, and anything outdoors related. He has over 20 years experience camping and hiking the backwoods of Montana and has traveled extensively all over the world.