Meat cleavers, also known as butcher's cleavers, share the same rectangular blade as Chinese cleavers. Although the two blades were developed far apart from each other, there are only a few significant differences between them. Chinese cleavers are often fairly light, sometimes having slightly curved edges, and are designed primarily for the quick chopping of ingredients, whereas the term "meat cleaver" is only applied to heavy knives that are able to cut through bones. Meat cleavers tend to have straight edges and weigh two or more pounds (.9 kilograms). This is not to say that the larger Chinese cleavers aren't essentially the same in size and shape. One other primary difference is that Chinese cleavers are generally made from stainless steel, whereas meat cleavers are composed of high carbon steel. For this reason, meat cleavers can be significantly more expensive than Chinese cleavers.
The similarity between these knives may create some confusion when shopping, so make sure you don't buy something that belongs in a butcher shop when all you want to do is prepare some chicken to stir-fry. If you would indeed like to own a meat cleaver, keep in mind that it's key purpose is butchering. If you buy all of your meat and stock items from the supermarket, your cleaver will just hang on a nail gathering dust. A decent cleaver may cost well over a hundred dollars, so most people are advised to find other ways to impress guests, such as fine ingredients.