When it comes to home meal preparation, a reliable kitchen knife is key. Trying to chop, dice or slice with a blunted or ill-suited blade can make the task tiresome and waste a lot of your time. For the most part, the best chef’s knives are the go-to answer for the job of main general purpose knife in the kitchen. However, for a touch of international flair in your home, we suggest checking out the best santoku knives.
What is a Santoku Knife?
Created in the mid-20th century, the santoku knife is a versatile chopping tool that can be used on meat, fish, vegetables as well as other fine ingredients. These knives, which are primarily Japanese, are similar in appearance to traditional chef’s knives and cover many of the same jobs when it comes to preparing ingredients.
The name santoku roughly translates as “three virtues,” which may refer to the knife’s variety of chopping abilities in the form of slicing, dicing and chopping. Alternatively, others believe it refers to the knife’s versatility in the form of potential ingredients it can chop, with the three virtues referring to meat, fish and vegetables. No matter what you believe the correct answer to be, no one can deny a santoku knife is one of the most versatile knives available.
Santoku Knife vs. Chef’s knives
The santoku knife is the most popular Japanese-style knife in the USA. Both amateur and professional chefs love its versatility in the kitchen. And while they tick a number of similar boxes to traditional chef’s knives, there are several differences that make many people favor the santoku over its western counterpart.
For the most part, both chef’s knives and santoku knives are more than capable of mincing, slicing, dicing and chopping. Both are also most commonly made from steel. However, where chef’s knives sport slightly curved blades, santoku blades are straight-edged and slightly thinner. This makes them better suited to an up-and-down chopping action over a rounded movement, which is preferable with a chef’s knife. You’ll also find that where chef’s knives feature two bevels on the blade, santoku blades only have one which allows you to more clearly see where the blade sits in the food you are cutting. Lastly, santoku knives tend to be lighter in hand.
While relatively small, these differences produce a knife that is better at cutting meat, slicing cheese, finely chopping vegetables and performing a range of other chopping tasks better suited to the up-and-down cutting motion.
Below you’ll find our top eight picks for the best santoku knives available online. Each knife is a great addition to any kitchen or acts as a thoughtful gift for friends who love to cook.
1. Wusthof Classic Santoku Knife
The Wusthof Classic Santoku Knife is made for anyone who is serious about their choice of kitchen knife. The high-carbon steel blade allows you to cut seamlessly and precisely through meat, vegetables and fish. On the other end, the synthetic black handle is held together by three rivets and has been ergonomically designed to provide long-lasting comfort for the user, making meal preparation something to be enjoyed rather than feared. Furthermore, in addition to its hundreds of five-star ratings, the knife comes with a handy finger guard for added safety.
2. MOSFiATA Santoku Knife
Thanks to its accompanying knife sharpener, finger guard and high-quality presentation box, the MOSFiATA Santoku Knife makes a beautiful gift for friends and family who love to cook. The seven-inch, 2.5-millimeter thick blade is ultra sharp and ideal for cutting vegetables and meat. It’s also made from high-quality, stainless steel which resists rust and discoloration. In addition, the handle is made from solid Micarta to minimize wrist tension and promote confidence when chopping, slicing and dicing.
3. Imarku Santoku Knife
The Imarku Santoku Knife is another impressive cutting tool worthy of gifting to yourself or friends with a passion for cooking. It comes in a beautiful box and makes a versatile addition to any knife collection. It can be used for cutting meat, vegetables, fruit and bread. The seven-inch blade also includes a hollowed edge to prevent cut items from sticking to it. You’ll also find an ergonomic, Pakkawood handle which feels comfortable in hand and looks great, too. Overall, this is a great mid-range choice for any kitchen, amateur or professional.
4. Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Santoku Knife
At 5.5 inches long, the Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Revolution Santoku Knife is one of the shortest options on our list. However, this doesn’t stop it from being one of the best. Instead of stainless steel, this well-reviewed knife is made from a Kyocera ceramic, making it extra lightweight and easy to clean while remaining ultra-sharp and comfortable in hand. The ceramic material can also maintain its edge up to 10 times longer than its steel competitors. Additionally, this knife comes in 10 different colors so there’s definitely one to match your kitchen color scheme.
5. DALSTRONG Santoku Knife
While traditional in appearance, the DALSTRONG Santoku Knife oozes class and looks like a knife that means business. It combines cutting-edge technology, stunning design elements and premium materials to deliver a kitchen cutting tool you’ll actually enjoy using. The design includes a full-tang handle, high-carbon steel construction and a razor-sharp blade with oval-shaped divots which prevent food from sticking to the blade face.
6. J.A. Henckels Classic Santoku Knife
When it comes to high-quality santoku knives, there are plenty of options available. But if you’re going on reviews alone, the J.A. Henckels Classic Santoku Knife could be the right option for you. This made-in-Spain knife is fabricated from quality, German stainless steel and sports a seamless transition from the handle to the blade, offering an attractive aesthetic and durable construction. The satin-finished blade also includes hollows to prevent food from sticking. Furthermore, the traditional, triple-rivet handle creates just the right balance and level of comfort to make this stand-out knife worthy of the positive reviews it has received.
7. Zwilling Signature Santoku Knife
The Zwilling Signature Santoku Knife sports an attractive, traditional design that would look at home in amateur and professional kitchens alike. Manufactured in Germany, the blade is made from a special formula, high-carbon steel which doesn’t stain and is resistant to rust. The one-piece blade has also been stamped and ice-hardened to produce a knife that is lighter and more precise while remaining durable and strong. The handle sports a three-rivet design which includes the company’s eye-catching logo for added aesthetic appeal.
8. Shun Premier Santoku Knife
If you’re going to spend a lot of money on your santoku knife, you want it to look like it’s worth the extra investment. We are happy to say that the Shun Premier Santoku Knife definitely does. This seven-inch blade knife is crafted from VG-MAX “super steel” with 34 layers on each side of the stainless Damascus cladding. This provides a quality product along with an attractive look you won’t find in any other knife on this list. The knife also features a contoured, walnut-colored, Pakkawood handle which further adds to this knife’s appealing aesthetic. Furthermore, it can be used for a whole range of kitchen cutting tasks including chopping, peeling, slicing and dicing.