Contents at a glance
- 1 The Most Popular Santoku Knives
- 2 What Is a Santoku Knife?
- 3 What Is a Santoku Knife Used For?
- 4 Santoku Knives vs Chef Knives
- 5 The Top 3 Best Santoku Knives
- 6 Best Cheap Santoku Knives
- 7 Conclusion
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the best Santoku knife to buy. However, some people don’t even know what the Santoku is used for and why should they incorporate it in their knife selection.
We will go through all the details in this long article. If you are only interested in the top list I came up with, please use the table of contents to jump down the page to that specific section of the article.
The Most Popular Santoku Knives
What Is a Santoku Knife?
Santoku is a knife which has its origins in Japan but is becoming more and more popular in the western kitchens and many knife sets already include them.
Santoku knife is specially developed for the preparation of typical dishes of Japanese cuisine – fish, sushi, and vegetables. The blade is wider than usual to provide greater manipulation space for the chef’s fingers. Thanks to the thin and sharp blade, the knife can cut exceptionally thin slices. The blades come in two variations – with a smooth edge or a Granton edge. Granton edge is a term used for an edge with indentations on both sides of the blade, which are meant to help with keeping the sticky food and thin slices off the blade.
What Is a Santoku Knife Used For?
The Santoku is a general purpose knife much like a western chef knife. It can be used to slice meat and vegetable. It’s also fine for general chopping and dicing, but avoid using it as a cleaver because hitting a bone may chip the edge, rendering the knife useless. The blade can be used to crush garlic cloves.
The knife is also very popular for its sushi-slicing capabilities, where its thinness really shines, making the slicing easier. You will still have to wet the blade while slicing through. Anyway, if you are a sushi lover and you prepare your sushi at home, do yourself a favor and get one of these to make your life easier. Even if you will get one of the cheaper ones, you won’t look back.
Santoku Knives vs Chef Knives
The main difference between these two types of knives lies in the way they are used to cut stuff. A rocking motion which finishes the cut is the most common way to use the western chef knives. Due to the santoku blade’s design, the rocking action is much more limited compared to its distant western relative. Instead, the knife cuts primarily with single downward movements of the blade while the blade lands evenly from tip to toe.
Compared to the traditional western chef knife, the Santoku is slightly shorter, thinner and lighter. The blade’s length rarely measures more than 7 inches, whereas the chef knife’s blade is usually around 8 inches long.
Japanese Santoku knives are also generally lighter than their western counterparts. They may be made of higher quality (harder) steel, often incorporating beautiful patterns called suminagashi. The patterns are formed by the use of various steel alloys and folding techniques.
The reason why the higher quality steel has to be used is not that the Japanese make higher quality staff in general. In fact, it is needed to prevent the blade from getting dull way too quickly because of its thinness, sharper edge and cutting motion. If the same steel was used for the Santoku and a traditional chef knife, the Santoku would be more likely to get dull.
One downside of the harder steel is the fact that it is easier for the edge to suffer chips when it, for example, hits a bone. However, if maintained and used properly, the Santoku will stay sharper for longer periods of time than a chef knife made of softer steel.
The Top 3 Best Santoku Knives
This part of the article serves as a showcase of the best santoku knives. The selection is based on my own opinion, Santoku knife review by customers, and ratings of other websites or magazines.
Global G-48 Santoku Hollow Ground Knife
Are you looking for a Santoku, that won’t break the bank and will still provide excellent results in the kitchen? Well, you may have found one of the best Santokus when it comes to price-performance ratio. The Global G-48, which is made in Japan, will set you down not a big sum if you can find it on sale. Even if it’s not on sale, it will still be quite cheap compared to other high-quality blades.
The knife is made of high-quality stainless steel. The handle is also made of stainless steel and it’s molded and dipped to provide a safe and firm grip. There’s nothing worse than a knife sliding off from your hand. With a 7 inch blade and low weight, it’s an ideal knife for general cutting and slicing.
Overall I think you cannot go wrong with this knife, especially if this is going to be the first Santoku you will own. Some of you may dislike the one piece of steel design, but I personally like it and find it very comfortable to hold in my hand.
The knife enjoys extremely positive reviews from customers, with many of the reviewers stating that the blade is the best they have ever owned.
Shun Premier Santoku Knife
The Shun Premier Santoku is a finely crafted knife made of two types of steel. The core of the 7-inch blade is made of high carbon Japanese steel with excellent edge retention, enabling the blade to remain sharp for years. On each side of the core, there are 16 layers of Pattern Damascus steel which add a touch of beauty to the blade and also strength and flexibility. What really sets the blade apart from other models is the hammered finish called Tsuchime. Not only does it look pleasing to eyes, but it also creates small indentations on the surface which in turn help with reduced drag while cutting.
With an oblong shaped handle made of hardwood, the Shun Premier knife sits comfortably in the hand and doesn’t slip.
Compared to the Global G-48, the Shun Premier model is almost twice as expensive and received slightly less favorable reviews from the buyers. It’s still one of the best knives to consider. That is especially true if you are looking for a knife that not only provides excellent results but also looks great. Looks are of course a matter of preference, so the decision is yours, but this mode is definitely one of the best Santoku knives.
Yaxell Gou 6-1/2-inch Santoku Knife
If I would have to choose a knife purely based on its looks, it would have to be the Yaxell Gou blade. It simply looks gorgeous. However, picking a knife based on its looks is a no go. You have to consider other aspects as well. An luckily for you, the Yaxell Gou model offers excellent quality which will not let you down. On the other hand, you will have to pay quite a bit for the quality with the blade’s price set quite high.
Yaxell is a Japan-based company belonging to the top knife manufacturers in Japan. It has been around since 1932 and you can be sure that the knives they made are of top-notch quality.
This model is a slightly shorter Santoku, which is suitable for someone with smaller hands or for those who prefer shorter knives for their kitchen activities. Yaxell also makes a shorter 5-inch blade in the Gou line The blade is clad with a remarkably high number of high carbon steel on both sides. This Damascus look is what makes the blade really gorgeous. The handle is made of black canvas-micarta, which is an extremely durable FDA approved material that will last for years.
The knife enjoys very positive customer reviews. One of the Santoku knife reviews even stated that the blade is a work of art.
Best Cheap Santoku Knives
This is another top list that features the best Santoku knives which can be had for much less than the previous three blades.
HENCKELS Statement Hollow Edge Santoku Knife
This is another popular cheap Santoku knife that’s made by JA Henckels International. Unlike some of it’s more expensive brethrens, this knife is made in China. Frankly, for that price you cannot really expect it to be made in Germany.
The full-tang knife features a 7-inch long stainless steel blade with hollowed edge which helps preventing food from sticking to the sides of the blade.
The large black handle is triple-riveted and also features a nice looking steel endcap. The handle feels quite comfortable in ones hand. However, some people might prefer knives with a slightly thinner and less squared-off handle.
OXO Good Grips Professional Santoku Knife
The blade is hardened to make it strong and durable and has indentations on both sides to prevent food from sticking on the surface. The handle is soft to touch and feels good in the hand.
This OXO model enjoys mostly positive reviews from customers. There were some reviews which stated that the edge gets dull quickly, however with proper care and periodical sharpening, this might be the cheap solution you are looking for.
Top Chef by Master Cutlery Santoku Knife
The final blade is the Top Chef by Master Cutlery Santoku which features a stainless steel blade with Granton edge. The Top Chef logo is etched into the blade’s side. The handle is also made of steel and sports a non-slip finish on the top side.
This concludes the article about the best Santoku knives on the market. I hope you enjoyed the reading and found some inspiration for your future knife purchase. The article will get updated with new information and models, so feel free to come back from time to time. If you have any questions about the article or Santoku knives, please use the comment form below or the Contact Us page.