How to Choose an Oyster Knife

There’s a variety of shapes and sizes for oyster knives out there, so how do you choose which knife is for you?

Oyster knives generally range from 2.5 to 4 inches long, and have relatively straight, symmetric blades. Since the point of contact with the oyster is the tip of the knife, the blade itself is not usually sharp, but the tip may be sharp. Some common knife styles include the Boston oyster knife, which is a straight blade with a rounded tip, and the New Haven oyster knife, which is a blade with a tip that curves upward. For a truly unique design, check out the Shucker Paddy knife designed by Toronto shucker and restaurateur Patrick McMurray. His background in kinesthesiology led him to design a curved, pistol-shaped knife with an ergonomic handle, meant to reduce the amount of strain on your fingers and wrist.

Here at Element Seafood, we prefer oyster knives with narrow, sharp tips, best for breaking through the hinge quickly, and polyurethane handles, which provide a good grip and fewer blisters. There are high-end knives available for more, but you can buy a solid oyster knife for $12-20, which will serve you well for many years.

If you don’t have an oyster knife on hand, it may seem like a good idea to MacGyver a solution by using a hammer, screwdriver, a clam knife or another type of knife. Don’t! Using tools that aren’t intended for opening oysters will likely shatter your oyster, leaving it mangled and full of shell bits, or even worse, result in injury to yourself. Do yourself a favor and stick to using a proper oyster knife.

Oyster Knives

Shucking Knife, Wood

This wood-handled Boston oyster knife has a traditional look and feel, with a blunt point and sturdy stainless steel blade that will last for years in your kitchen.


Shucker Paddy Knife

What happens when you have a world renowned competitive shucker with a degree in kinesthetics? Most oyster knives have straight blades and handles, but this knife has an asymetric blade designed to quickly tunnel into the oyster shell and pop it open.