Voted BEST Oyster Knife

The Best Overall Oyster Knife

Amazon R Murphy/Ramelson New Haven Oyster Knife Shucker

This is a classic oyster knife for a reason: the wooden handle is the perfect size and it sports an upturned, sharp blade tip that deftly wedges into the oyster’s hinge. Throughout testing, it opened oysters big and small with ease and grace.


The Best Plastic-Handled Oyster Knife

Amazon Dexter-Russell 2.75" New Haven Style Oyster Knife

Sporting a grippy plastic handle, this New Haven-style knife dispatched oysters with incredible efficiency.


Search for an oyster knife, and you’ll see designs from all over—Galveston, Duxbury, Providence, Boston, New Haven, and more. And while each has its merit, I think the New Haven-style blade is the best for beginners or people who want a (relatively) easy shucking experience. It features a curved blade tip (which punctuates with a sharp point), allowing you to easily wedge it in and use your body weight to leverage the blade up, popping open the shell. While other blade styles, like the short and pointy Made In Oyster Shucker, Zyliss Oyster Tool, and R. Murphy/Ramelson Duxbury Oyster Knife, may seem like they could easily wedge into a shell, I found they were harder to wriggle into the hinge and didn’t provide the same leveraging capabilities. Plus, they were scarier to use since they had a more dagger-like shape (the Zyliss was particularly fearsome, with serrated edges and an ultra-pointy tip). The exception to this was the Messermeister shucker, which had the most unique design of them all: the whole knife (blade and handle) is curved, rather like a claw, and though the blade was sharp, pointy, and flat, it wedged into the oyster hinges surprisingly well. That said, I’d leave this knife to more experienced shuckers since it requires a little more finesse and confidence to use.

A Sharp-ish Blade Was Helpful 

using an oyster knife to cut the oyster's abductor muscle
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

Compared to a standard kitchen knife, oyster knives are rather dull. But this is intentional—wedging a razor-sharp blade into a gnarly oyster shell could damage the knife, or at the very least quickly dull it. That said, oyster knives do need a little bit of a thin, sharp edge so they don’t just butt up against the shell, and so they can slice the meat free from the abductor muscle. As I waded elbows-deep into shucking oysters during testing, I found blades that had a sharp tip tended to be better at quickly dispatching the oyster. This included the wooden-handled R Murphy/Ramelson New Haven Oyster Knife Shucker, which sports a pointy, upturned blade tip that wedged into the hinge and easily sliced through the abductor muscle. In contrast, thick, bulky blades like the Williams Sonoma struggled to penetrate the shell. I also found that longer blades with a rounded tip, like the Seki Japan Oyster Knife and Dexter-Russell 4″ Galveston-Style Oyster Knife, were equally ineffective, or at the very least required a more experienced shucker.

A Grippy, Rounded Handle Was a Plus

Shucking bushels of oysters is tough on the wrist and forearm. And while there’s no getting around it, a comfy handle does make the task slightly less tiresome. I really liked the smooth, wooden handle of the R Murphy/Ramelson New Haven Oyster Knife Shucker, which curved inwards and fit my hand like a glove. The OXO is another option if you’re looking for comfort since it sports a soft, plastic handle. And the knives from R Murphy, Dexter Russell, and Victorinox prevented slippage by coating handles in a bumpy plastic pattern. And while I liked the Messermeister oyster knife, since it’s made of a single piece of stainless steel, the handle did get a wee bit slippery with oyster liquor (yes, that’s what oyster juice is called), though a quick wipe solved the issue.

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