While you don't absolutely need a cleaver to cook Chinese food, there's no doubt that it comes in handy for everything from cutting meat to slicing vegetables. All of the cleavers featured below have blades made from high quality steel and well-crafted handles designed to provide a firm grip. With proper care, they should last for many years.
You can't beat experience - J.A. Henckels has been making knives for over 250 years and it shows. This one has a polypropene handle designed to be safer to hold and more hygienic than wood. (I have a similar model of Henckels cleaver and the polypropene handle does make for a very firm grip). It can be used to chop meat and bones, and is dishwasher safe.
Recommended by cookbook author Eileen Yin-Fei Lo, it features a blade that is a combination of carbon and stainless steel, and a well-fitted wooden handle. A lighter cleaver, not meant for chopping bones. An excellent choice for anyone who finds the heavier cleavers too tiring to use regularly.
You don't really appreciate the power of a cleaver until you see it in the hands of an expert like Martin Yan. His chef's knife features a blade made of molybdenum/high carbon stain resistant alloy. An interesting design feature is the concave shape of the blade near the handle, meant to provide a firmer grip. Use for everything except chopping bones.
Another cleaver from Henckels. The 7-inch, ice-hardened blade is a blend of carbon, stainless steel and other materials, designed to provide a superior cutting edge. The curved ergonomic handle is secured with three rivets. A heavier cleaver that can be used to chop bones. Handwash in soapy water, and be sure to dry immediately.