End Grain vs Edge Grain Cutting Boards...What’s the difference?

Deciding to buy a wooden cutting board is a big step (#adulting), and with great buying power, comes great responsibility. We’re just kidding...buying a cutting board should be fun! It can feel overwhelming given the vast array of information out there, but rest assured, it’s quite simple. 

The two main types of wood cutting board construction are end grain and edge grain. Both are beautiful and durable, but have different properties and techniques used to make them. On the bright side, there’s no right or wrong answer here, just two great options to consider! With that in mind, we’ve broken it down and made it simple to compare them and make the right choice for your needs. Let’s do this!

Edge Grain

Aliases: Long grain or side grain 

Made With: The edge pieces of lumber cut with the grain’s edge

Pattern: Striped, wood fibers are horizontal revealing the wood’s natural grain patterns
Wood stump showing edge grain and cutting boardPros: 
  1. Durable – lasts years longer than plastic and bamboo
  2. Low maintenance  – requires less frequent oiling over end grain cutting boards
  3. Stain resistant – less susceptible to moisture, which can lead to staining
  4. More affordableedge grain cutting boards require less labor to make
  5. Lighter – weigh less than end grain cutting boards, which is very important to keep in mind if you’re looking to use your board primarily for serving
  6. Visually striking

    – this type of cut reveals the wood’s beauty by showing off long, uninterrupted grain patterns

Cons:
  1. More susceptible to knife marks – all wood cutting boards will show knife marks, however knife marks are more visible on edge grain boards over end grain boards. Nothing a little bit of food grade mineral oil won’t fix! See our Care Guide here.
  2. Less gentle on knives – each knife cut goes through the wood fibers, rather than between them, however, they’re much easier on knives than plastic, glass, and bamboo
Ideal for:
  1. Everyday light to medium use
  2. Moisture heavy chopping and cutting (think big leafy greens – kale, mustard greens and juicy fruits like watermelon, pineapple, citrus)
  3. Carving and slicing meat with high oil content
  4. Making and rolling out dough for pizza, pasta, pies, etc.
  5. Serving; when the grocery store deli tray won’t cut it at parties anymore.  
End Grain

Aliases: End cut, end block

Made With: The end pieces of lumber are cut along the grain’s end so that the wood fibers are exposed 

Pattern: Checkerboard; wood fibers are vertical revealing the tree’s growth rings

Wood stump end grain and cutting boardPros: 

  1. Durable – can withstand heavy duty carving and chopping, did someone say brisket?
  2. Gentler on knives – each knife cut goes between the wood fibers, rather than through them
  3. Self healing – these fibers close back up after the knife exits, keeping your knife’s edge sharper for longer
  4. Less visible knife marks – more resistant to scratches and knife marks
  5. Heavier – in weight than edge grain boards which means less movement while you’re dicing away
  6. Visually striking – this type of cut reveals the unique character of the wood rings and grain details, something you won’t find in

    edge grain cutting boards

Cons:
  1. Requires a little extra TLCend grain cutting boards tend to be thirstier than edge grain boards and require more frequent oiling. Make sure you’ve got the right cutting board oil; see our Care Guide here.
  2. More expensive – end grain boards typically cost more due to the complexity and time needed to craft them
  3. Heavier – weigh more than edge grain boards; the weight may come as a shock if you’re used to plastic or bamboo boards
Ideal for:
  1. Heavy duty chopping and butchering; no seriously, like Julia Child level heavy chopping
  2. Less moisture intensive tasks like prepping raw meat and cruciferous veggies
  3. Carving large pieces of meat such as brisket, turkey, ham, ribs, pot roast, etc.
  4. Use with professional or high end knives (it’ll cut like buttah!)