Why buy an oyster knife?
You’ll want an oyster knife if you want to enjoy fresh oysters, plain and simple. Unlike kitchen knives, oyster knives are shorter, smaller, and duller, because opening oyster shells is all about leverage. With a short and dull blade, you can loosen the shell’s hinge easier and better utilize the force of the knife’s heel to get to the meat. Trying to shuck oysters with a butter knife or a chopping knife may result in injury and a good amount of frustration.
What should you look for in an oyster knife?
- Shape: Oyster knife blades vary in shape and size depending on the type of oysters. Most of the oyster knives we review here are New Haven blades, which are short and wide with a slightly curved blade. In the long run, it pays to know what type of oyster you favor. There are also Providence knives shaped like New Havens without the curve, Galveston knives with longer and narrower blades; finally, Frenchmen oyster knives with short and wider blades with sharper sides for piercing then circling through to find the weakest point of the oyster.
- Handle: When trying to pry open a wet, rough oyster shell, you’re better off with a nonslip handle for safety. Other things to consider are your preference for wood or plastic. Wood looks nice, of course, as do some plastic knife handles. Many plastic handles are shaped for ergonomic quality, which can be of great value, especially if you need to open a number of oysters.
- Metal: Overwhelmingly, oyster knife blades are made of steel. High-carbon steel makes for a harder blade, and high-chromium blades are more corrosion-resistant. Both qualities are needed in a good oyster knife to perform optimally and for longevity.
What should you expect to spend on a quality oyster knife?
All of the oyster knives we review are low-budget options, the most expensive at only $17. Prices increase with high-quality steel and design specificity. You may find, for example, a high-carbon, Frenchmen oyster knife more expensive than a basic stainless steel version that works for most oysters.
HiCoup Oyster Slip-Free Shucking Knife and Gloves
A quality steel oyster knife complete with gloves and a genuine leather sheath.
Pros: This little oyster knife has a curved handle made of Pakka wood and a high-carbon blade forged with mirror-finished stainless steel. Even the safety feature adds attractiveness: a steel handguard with the elegant shape of a sword handguard. The blade’s rigid and wide dimension is ideal for slipping into a shell. It’s small to better open small oysters and strong enough for large oysters. The blade measures 6.5 inches from tip to tip with a 2.5-inch blade.
Cons: You may find that the safety guard makes it awkward to grip the knife while shucking.
Bottom Line: It’s hard to find a better-looking oyster knife than this one by HiCoup. It also comes with a set of shucking gloves. Those shells are rough on the skin, especially with the friction you create opening them.
WENDOM Oyster Knife Shucker Set
A charming oyster knife set with gloves and a cloth, too.
Pros: These two finely crafted artisanal oyster shuckers have impressive spear point blades forged from high-quality 3CR13 stainless steel. This type of steel has a higher chromium level for corrosion resistance. The steel handguard serves doubly as reinforcement, giving you more power as you press into the oyster shell. Plastic nonslip handles and a pair of gloves made of cut-resistant EN388 Level 5 material make this oyster knife set a safe investment. The stainless steel is professionally sharpened.
Cons: Several users report that the knife blade is too thick, which makes it difficult to pop open the shell.
Bottom Line: This oyster knife set is a reasonable price and comes with some nice amenities.
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Oyster Knife
This nonslip, simple oyster knife is great for beginners.
Pros: An inexpensive option for tackling the wet job of oyster shucking. The nonslip knife handle is made of sturdy plastic with a comfortable surface. Both characteristics give you better control over the knife, which makes opening stubborn oysters easier. Plus, the more secure your grasp, the safer the difficult work of shucking will be. The stainless-steel blade has a somewhat bent tip to make opening some types of oysters easier. Finally, the knife this dishwasher safe.
Cons: Depending on the type of oyster you’re shucking, you may discover that the knife blade flexes and makes your job harder.
Bottom Line: A solid product, the OXO Good Grips oyster knife makes a perfect beginner’s tool. It’s low-priced, too.
Dexter Russell New Haven Style Oyster Knife
A high-quality New Haven oyster knife with a DexSteel blade.
Pros: The Dexter-Russell oyster knife has a New Haven pattern with a bent tip to give you better leverage as you pop open oysters. Its blade is 2.75 inches in length. This stainless-steel blade is high carbon and alloy DexSteel. This material is harder than average steel, has a tensile strength, corrosion resistance, and a fine grain structure. The Sani-Safe handle is textured, which makes it slip-resistant.
Cons: If you need an oyster knife to open oysters other than New Havens, you may want to look at a different oyster knife.
Bottom Line: Dexter-Russell is a reliable brand among oyster enthusiasts. This New Haven model proves no different.
Victorinox Oyster Knife
This Swiss-made oyster knife features a bright red grip handle.
Pros: This Victorinox oyster knife has all of the qualities you need in a safe and effective blade. The high-carbon steel blade and ergonomic handle are of the highest quality; both are made of Swiss materials and NSF approved. Its 3-inch Boston-style blade is narrow and shiny. In addition to its ergonomic shape, the SuperGrip handle is slip-resistant. And the knife is dishwasher safe, which is a nice feature.
Cons: This particular Boston-style oyster knife may not work as well for different kinds of oysters.
Bottom Line: You can get this quality Victorinox oyster knife in Boston, New Haven, Galveston, and Providence oyster knife styles. It’s made for true oyster lovers, and the handle is one of the best.
Again, it’s oyster season somewhere. But nothing’s better than sitting at a table in the sun, enjoying oysters on the half-shell with a good friend. Summer’s coming!