Chinese Chopper vs Cleaver: What’s the Difference?

In Chinese cooking, a cleaver can be called a chopper. A chopper is a knife with a heavy blade that is used for chopping vegetables and other ingredients. These heavy blades are typically made from steel or stainless steel.

A cleaver is a type of kitchen knife that has a long, broad blade used to cut through thick cuts of meat and bone. Cleavers can be found in Chinese cuisine, but they are also commonly used in Korean cuisine as well.

Both the cleaver and the chopper will help you chop your food into bite-sized pieces, but they have different functions depending on what you’re cutting up. In order to find the right one for your needs, it’s important to understand how they differ from each other.

The word “cleaver” means “to cut cleanly through” and came about because of the way this type of knife chops through meat and bone with ease.

What is the difference between a chopper and a cleaver?

Check out this great video comparison below, thanks to never a dull moment knife knowledge

Choppers are best suited for quick chopping tasks like onions or peppers or anything that doesn’t need to be cut into thin slices. Cleavers are better for cutting more solid foods like meat or beans because of their heavier blades.

How do they differ in use?

The first difference between the two knives is their intended use. Cleavers are typically used to cut through meat and bone with ease, while choppers are best suited for quick chopping tasks like vegetables or fruit. Chopping is more intense than cutting so it requires more care when wielding the knife.

The other difference between the two types of knives is their size. Cleavers are long and broad, with narrow blades, so they can be swung in a wide arc to cut through animal bones quickly. Choppers have shorter blades that make it easier to chop vegetables with precision.

If you’re wondering which one you should buy, that’s up to your personal preference!


Choppers and cleavers are both cutting instruments used in food preparation. But they do not function in the same way.

Choppers and cleavers both come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Choppers usually produce a coarse chop which is suitable for dishes such as stews, casseroles, and stir-frys.

Cleavers are much heavier, and usually produce a finer cut. This is much more suitable for dishes such as roasts, meats, and vegetables.