We also knocked points off one knife's score for a “bellylike” curve to its grip and an indented ridge along the top. The maker claims that these features are tailored specifically for the home cook, but we’re not sure why any cook would like them; we found that they made our fingers splay out as we grasped for a better hold, causing fatigue and decreasing control. Furthermore, the handle is made from a hard, slick plastic that didn’t offer a lot of friction between our hands and the handle. As a result, it felt slippery, especially during messy tasks like butchering a chicken.
But even when a handle was specifically designed to provide friction, it sometimes had other flaws. The plastic grip made of open ridges on one knife, for example, stayed put in our hands, but the deep grooves also dug into our palms. To some testers the wooden grips on other knives felt much better in hand, as the natural grain offered some traction, but to other testers these grips felt “rough.”