Choosing the best wood for making the cutting board is a very important decision as the material plays an essential role in the health of your family. After all, you have to make use of it almost every day.

Wood is the natural material of choice when making cutting boards, but finding the right wood type can be quite a hassle.

To find out how to choose the best wood for cutting boards, there are several factors you must take into account before making purchase decisions.

8 Things To Consider Before Choosing Wood For Cutting Board

When it comes to cutting boards you want to be very particular about which material you choose. Every wood is unique and has different properties that can affect your cutting experience.

So, it is crucial to do your research before choosing a wood type.

Here are some factors to consider before purchasing wood for your next cutting board project.

1. Hardness

The best boards are made from hardwoods because they will hold up better than softwoods. They have denser grains and are less likely to warp over time. Hardwoods are durable enough to last you for years to come.

Softwoods on the other hand are often less expensive than hardwoods, but they don’t last as long. Look for a wood type with a high Janka scale rating. If possible, try to find one that falls within these ranges: 900 to 1500.

Additionally, hardwood is more resistant to moisture than softwood, while softwood is more susceptible to moisture absorption, which can lead to warping and cracking.

2. Porosity & Food Hygiene

Cutting boards made from materials with high porosity may have more places for bacteria to hide and multiply. These boards may be more prone to absorbing liquids and odors which leads to contamination and residual flavors.

In contrast, cutting boards made from materials with low porosity are less likely to harbor bacteria and are generally easier to clean and sanitize. 

3. Durability 

A cutting board that won’t hold up to wear and tear is a waste of money, and it’s not worth the investment. If you are planning on using your cutting board on a regular basis, then it is essential for the wood to be durable enough to hold up against daily use.

If you are just planning on using the cutting board once or twice a year, then any type of wood will suffice.

Wood types may vary in durability, but all will require some level of maintenance to ensure your board’s longevity.

4. Knife-Friendliness

The surface of a cutting board can determine how effective your knife is for cutting items.

When choosing a material, consider “knife-friendliness” because several materials can have different effects on the performance of kitchen knives; some may dull them. So be sure to look for one that is knife-friendly!

A harder cutting board material will be less likely to dull your kitchen knives. A smoother cutting board surface will be less likely to catch and drag on your knife blade, thereby reducing the risk of it getting dull. And an end grain pattern is generally more forgiving on knife blades and will not dull them as quickly as an edge or face grain.

4. Maintenance 

Some woods require more maintenance than others in order to stay in good condition. While certain wood types naturally do not require much oiling, other materials are more prone to drying out and may need to be oiled more frequently.

In addition to that, always use oils that are safe for food and appropriate for your wood type.

5. Grain Style

The orientation of the wood grain is a vital element to put into consideration when making a cutting board as it affects the durability and/or performance of a cutting board.

End grain patterns help reduce the impact of knife cuts on the board more than the face grain, as it is made up of fibers that run horizontally at the surface of the board. This means that the cutting board will be less prone to cuts and scratches and will be more durable over time.

6. Toxicity

Choosing a cutting board made from toxic wood is a bad idea. The main reason for this is that toxic woods often harbor toxins that may seep into food placed on the cutting surface, which can be very dangerous to your health. This is why it’s important to stick with non-toxic woods for your cutting boards.

The toxicity of different types of cutting boards varies greatly with some being much more dangerous than others. One type of wood that is particularly toxic is purpleheart. Others include rosewood, birch, pine, and western red cedar. 

7. Cost

Cutting boards’ costs can vary depending on the type of wood used, the size of the board, and the thickness. Some woods are more expensive than others, so a person should also consider how much they are willing to spend when considering which cutting board material to buy. 

As a general rule of thumb, the more expensive the wood, the better quality you can expect from it. However,  this does not mean that all expensive wood equals good quality. Some of these are just simply overpriced; there might be better alternatives at a cheaper price point.

8. Shape & Size

A cutting board is usually rectangular in shape, but there are also circular, oval-shaped, and other unique and interesting shapes.

The size of your cutting board will determine whether or not it’s big enough to hold all the ingredients that you need to cut at once. The 12 by 18 inches rectangular cutting board provides you with plenty of room for food preparation.

List of 10 Best Wood For Cutting Boards

You should know upfront that certain woods have unique properties that make them ideal choices for use in woodworking and therefore, by extension, on your cutting boards.

We’ve taken the time to create a list of the ten best wood types for cutting boards using the above factors. These are:

1. Walnut

Walnut: Best wood for cutting board
HardnessJanka hardness rating: 1010
Durability Long-lasting
Knife-FriendlinessKnives do not become dull quickly 
MaintenanceCan be easily maintained

Walnut is one of those woods that’s hard to beat when it comes to durability. It is one of the most popular woods used in the production of cutting boards and other kitchenware, it’s incredibly sturdiness and lightweight.

The wood has a hardness rating of 1010, which makes it a perfect material for cutting boards as it can withstand high levels of use, yet still, retain its natural beauty. 

It is considered to be one of the best materials for cutting board as it does not show much wear and tear from use. Walnut wood is not only aesthetically pleasing but is also considered to be a non-toxic alternative to other materials.

2. Maple

Maple wood cutting board

Janka hardness rating: 1450
PorositySmall pores
Durability Long-lasting
Knife-FriendlinessGentle to knife blades
MaintenanceCan be easily maintained
ToxicitySugar maple is non-toxic

Maple wood is the go-to choice for cutting boards. It is light, easy to keep clean, and holds up well after being used for years. Popular for its superior hardness, unique grain, and also natural resistance to bacteria, maple wood makes excellent kitchen utensils. If you are looking for the best all-around cutting board type, a maple board is ideal – not only is it very durable, but it also has better surface features than most other woods.

It is lightweight and has a smooth finish that makes it easy to clean with soap and water without damaging it. Furthermore, maple wood is impact-resistant so it has little to no breaks in its surface due to splinters

Sugar maple is a good choice if you prefer a natural cutting board with no toxic chemicals. Avoid using red maple because of its toxicity.

3. Mahogany

Mahogany Wood cutting board
HardnessJanka hardness rating: 900
PorosityHas very few large pores
Durability Fairly durable
Knife-FriendlinessDoes not easily dull knives
MaintenanceExtra maintenance to prevent bacteria
ToxicityNon-toxic material
CostVery expensive

Mahogany wood is one of the most popular woods used for cutting boards. It has a Janka hardness rating of 900 which means it is softer than other wood types and very durable. You know it will last through years of use in your kitchen! The hardness of this wood makes it perfect for cutting meats, vegetables, and other food items.

Mahogany also has a few large pores so it has a tendency to absorb moisture or flavor, accordingly, it requires extra maintenance to prevent bacteria from breeding on the board.

It won’t splinter or crack easily and does not easily dull knives. Mahogany has a beautiful color and grain pattern, making it a great choice for cutting boards.

4. Cherry

Cherry wood cutting board
HardnessJanka hardness rating: 950
PorosityClosed pores
Durability Fairly durable 
Knife-FriendlinessGentle to knife blades
MaintenanceCan be easily maintained
ToxicityNon-toxic material

Cherry is a hardwood with fairly durable qualities with a Janka hardness rating of 950, which makes it much more durable than other woods like pine or cedar. This makes it a great choice for chopping boards, which will be used frequently. Although it is quite durable, it dents easily.

It is a deep red and brown color and has a straight grain that is fine and even. Cherry can take on a beautiful finish and carries the beautiful natural sheen of the wood surface. It will not absorb water or food juices/flavor as a result of its closed pores.

Cherry is a soft hardwood so it is gentle on knife blades.

The main downside of cherry is that the price is on the high side. But if you are looking for an easily-maintained material that won’t damage your knives or seep toxic chemicals into your food, then this could be the perfect fit!

5. Beech

Beech wood cutting board edited
HardnessJanka hardness rating: 1300
Durability Fairly durable
Knife-FriendlinessKnives do not become dull quickly 
MaintenanceCan be easily maintained

Beech is non-porous, so it doesn’t absorb any oils or fats from the food you are preparing. It is also fairly durable as it dents easily but will last a long time if properly cared for.

The wood can be easily maintained to provide your kitchen with long-lasting results. And it is soft enough to be used for cutting boards without fear of dulling knives too quickly.

Beechwood is an economical choice as well—it costs less than most other types of hardwood, but it is still durable enough to last through many uses than some of the cheaper options out there.

If you are looking for an economical choice when it comes to cutting boards (and why wouldn’t you?), beech is definitely an option worth considering.

6. Teak

Teak wood cutting board
HardnessJanka hardness rating: 1155
PorosityMedium pores
Durability Long-lasting 
Knife-FriendlinessNot knife friendly 
MaintenanceWash and disinfect after use

Teak wood is an excellent choice for making cutting boards due to its durability, non-porous nature, oiling properties, beauty, and sustainability.

Its density and hardness make your board resistant to scratches, dents, and warping. This means it can withstand the wear and tear of regular use. Although It has medium pores, it doesn’t absorb liquids or bacteria like some other types of porous wood because of its natural oils. Hence, teak wood is a hygienic choice for a cutting board.

In addition to that, its oils make it less prone to splitting or cracking, and it is less likely to need oiling or regular maintenance.

Teak is a beautiful wood with a rich, warm color that looks great in any kitchen. It adds a touch of elegance to any cutting board.

The wood has such a high silica content that it could dull your knives quickly.

7. Acacia

Acacia wood cutting board
HardnessJanka hardness rating: 2300
PorosityClosed pores
Durability Hard-wearing
Knife-FriendlinessGentle on knife blades
MaintenanceCan be easily maintained
CostVery expensive

Acacia wood has natural antibacterial properties which makes it an even more appealing choice. This quality prevents the growth of bacteria on your cutting board so it is especially important for food safety.

The wood is known for its durability and resistance to wear and tear. It is a hardwood that can withstand heavy use without showing signs of damage.

Even though it has a hardness level on par with other materials, using it as a surface to cut food items will not make your knives lose sharpness.

Acacia wood is easy to clean and maintain and resistant to moisture, so it won’t warp or split if it gets wet. Simply wipe it down with a dishtowel after use and allow it to air dry.

Its beautiful, natural grain pattern is available in rich, dark colors so homeowners can choose the one that best matches their kitchen decor.

8. Olive

Olive wood cutting board
HardnessJanka hardness rating: 2700
Durability Moderately durable
Knife-FriendlinessVery knife friendly 
MaintenanceCan be easily maintained

Olive wood is a popular choice for cutting boards because it has a number of attractive qualities that make it well-suited for this purpose.

To make a cutting board, you need a material that will hold up well to frequent use and is equally resistant to wear and tear. Harder woods, such as olive tend to be more durable than softer woods.

Since the material is very smooth, non-porous, and does not absorb water or food particles, it prevents the growth of bacteria and other contaminants.

There are however a few drawbacks. Olive wood is more prone to cracking and warping especially if it is not properly cared for.

9. Pecan

Pecan wood cutting board
HardnessJanka hardness rating: 1820
Durability Hard-wearing
Knife-FriendlinessNot so gentle on knives
MaintenanceExtra maintenance to prevent bacteria 
CostLow to medium priced

With a Janka hardness rating of 1820, pecan wood is considered to be a relatively hard and durable wood; making it resistant to wear/tear. When used on a cutting board made from pecan wood, knives tend to dull quickly because of the wood’s hardness. However, the hard, dense nature of pecan wood also makes it resistant to dents and scratches. 

To maintain the quality of a pecan cutting board, clean the board thoroughly after each use and store it in a dry place to prevent it from becoming damaged.

Oil it regularly with food-safe oil, such as mineral oil or coconut oil. This will help to keep the board from drying out and cracking, and will also help to protect it from bacteria.

10. White Ash

White Ash wood cutting board
HardnessJanka hardness rating: 1320
PorosityA few open pores
Durability Fairly durable 
Knife-FriendlinessDoes not blunt your blades
MaintenanceExtra maintenance to prevent bacteria
CostVery affordable

White ash is a versatile choice for woodworking projects often used by professionals and hobbyists alike. Its density makes it suitable for cutting boards as it is resistant to splitting and splintering. It can withstand the pressure of knife cuts and will not dull knives as quickly as some wood types.

Because the wood has some open pores, you need extra care to maintain the kitchen utensil as it can easily become a breeding ground for bacteria.

How To Clean & Maintain Your Wooden Cutting Board?

  • Wash the cutting board with warm, soapy water after each use. Use a soft sponge or brush to scrub the surface of the board, paying extra attention to any stains or soiled areas. Bacteria can hide in the smallest of cracks and that’s why you need to scrub off any scratches on both sides of the board. Avoid placing the cutting board in the dishwasher, as it can damage the wood.
  • Rinse the cutting board thoroughly with warm water to remove the remaining soap, bacteria, and food residue.
  • Dry the board with a clean and soft towel and let it air dry.
  • To prevent your board from drying out, make sure you regularly oil it. Food-safe oils like mineral or fractionated coconut oil will do the trick!

When To Replace Your Cutting Board?

There are several signs that it may be time to replace your cutting board:

Age: Cutting boards can become worn or damaged over time, even with proper care. Consider getting a new one if it has been in heavy use for a long time.

Deep cuts or grooves: If your cutting board has deep cuts or grooves, bacteria and other contaminants can accumulate in these areas and be difficult to remove. This can increase the risk of foodborne illness.

Warping: Warped cutting boards could pose a safety hazard so replace them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some wooden cutting boards are made using exotic woods. Jatobá is a popular choice for cutting boards and is often used because it’s easy to take care of and attractive at the same time.

Other examples are satinwood and Bubinga wood.

Plastic cutting boards can be a good option for certain kitchen tasks. They are lightweight, easy to clean, and more affordable than other materials such as wood.

However, plastic cutting boards can be prone to scratching and staining. They are not as long-lasting as wooden cutting boards.

There are a few materials that are generally not considered suitable for use as cutting boards. These include glass, marble, and granite.

It is best to use a cutting board made from a material that is soft enough to protect your knives, yet hard enough to last for a long.


It’s important to note that there is no one “best” type of wood for cutting boards. Different types of wood have different properties that make them well-suited for certain applications. As such, it is important to keep in mind the strengths and weaknesses of each type of wood.

There are numerous factors in play here, so be sure you take all of them into account when making your decision.

Choosing the right type of wood will not only keep your boards from warping or cracking over time, but it will also give them a longer lifespan.

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