Do you want to improve your kitchen prep skills? Getting a good quality knife like the Santoku knife lets you improve your food quality and look. Fully known as Santoku Bochu knives, these knives serve as an all-purpose kitchen cutting tool.
As their name suggests in Japanese, the Three Virtues knives work best for cutting, slicing, and chopping. Constructed from Japanese steel, they offer a lighter, thinner, and boxier finish for excellent stability and performance when executing these three essential tasks.
Recognizing that it may be difficult to pick the right choice, we’ve tested several top-rated options on the market for you. After a series of tests, we’ve managed to narrow down our list to the 12 best santoku knives to own this year. Whether a beginner, expert, or budget-strained, you will find a piece reserved for you!
01. DALSTRONG 7-inch Santoku Knife – Overall Winner
When it comes to knife quality, the Dalstrong brand stands out in the market. Whether Gyutou, Santoku, or Yanagi knives, the brand offers the best Japanese knife quality globally. Therefore, you should expect the same from the Dalstrong Gladiator series santoku knife.
Engineered at 56+ Rockwell hardness, the knife offers the right strength and durability to tackle various kitchen cutting tasks. It also integrates a German steel blade in full tang for added durability and balance. Its 7-inch blade height offers a perfect knuckle clearance, allowing you to chop your foods for much longer.
On the other hand, its satin hand finishing gives it a classier and more professional look. Its military-grade G-10 triple-riveted handle enhances its robustness. The handle’s streamlined design also improves grip and prevents premature hand fatigue when chopping, slicing, or cutting.
Read More: The Best Chef Knives Under $100 In 2021
02. Wusthof Classic Hollow Edge 7-inch Santoku Knife
Integrating a precision edge technology on its blade, the Wusthof Classic Santoku knife offers 20% extra sharpness. This design makes it an extremely efficient knife in professional and home kitchens. Its slightly shorter 6.5-inch blade makes it a great option for cutting vegetables and fish in any kitchen.
Furthermore, the knife features a hollow edge design with evenly spaced vertical indentations. When cutting, these indentations create small pockets of air between your food and the blade. In turn, the food is gently pushed by the blade to reduce friction and sticking.
So, you are always guaranteed clean and mess-free cuts on your food using the knife. Additionally, the santoku Bochu professional knife features an ergonomic handle and a full tang design for optimal grip and balance. Its finger guard design helps to enhance its safety.
Read More: 10 Best Chef Knives Under $200 In 2021
03. Shun Premier 7-inch Japanese Santoku Knife
Designed with a lightweight body, the Shun Premier Japanese Santoku knife offers improved agility and maneuverability. The hand-crafted, Asian-inspired chef’s knife features a beautiful Tsuchime finish that combines a premium mirror-polished blade and Damascus-style construction. This construction design gives the knife a smooth feel for easy down and forward cutting motion.
In turn, you don’t have to worry about foods sticking to the blade surface. The rustic knife integrates a robust VG-Max super steel construction, incorporating up to 34 layers of stainless Damascus cladding on each side. The versatile blade is fitted with the knife’s Pakkawood handle for a glove-like full tang finish.
The full tang construction increases the knife’s stability and prevents the blade from snapping. On the other hand, the walnut-colored, classy-looking Pakkawood handle improves the knife’s grip while preventing bacteria growth.
04. Global G-48- 7-inch Santoku Knife
The Global G-48-7-inch Santoku knife is designed with particular attention to its blade. The knife’s blade combines molybdenum, vanadium, and chromium to give a strong Cromova 18 steel finish. This construction material provides the blade with an ultra-strong finish and allows it to retain its sharpness for longer.
Yet, it remains soft enough to make sharpening much easier. Additionally, this alloy metal combination gives the Japanese knife excellent resistance to rust and stains. Furthermore, the slicing knife combines a unique and exclusive edge design with a more prominent finish.
This design is much easier to spot out compared to western-style chef knives. The edge extends a quarter of an inch more to the knife’s tip to improve the efficiency and efficacy during cutting, slicing, and chopping.
05. Mac 6-1/2-inch Professional Santoku Knife
The Mac Professional Santoku Knife brings value to your kitchen, improving efficiency without breaking the bank. The knife features a 2mm thick blade with exceptional sharpness. Its high carbon construction gives impressive edge retention and excellent rust resistance.
The smooth high carbon construction makes it much easier to sharpen the blade. Additionally, the knife integrates a slightly shorter blade length, at about 6.5 inches. This shorter blade length gives much better control over slicing and chopping.
Combining the shorter blade length and impressive sharpness, the knife also has a lower risk of injuries. On the other hand, the Japanese chef’s knife features a Pakkawood handle design for better grip and balance.
06. Mercer Culinary 7-inch Forged Santoku Knife
The Mercer Culinary Santoku Knife is an excellent option if you have a low budget. But, it still maintains great quality, performance, and comfort. The knife’s blade is constructed from High German carbon steel for a rust and corrosion-resistant finish.
The carbon steel also prevents staining and discoloration. The Japanese knife also features a full tang design, with the blade running the entire length of the handle for better balance. Its shorter bolster keeps you safe without affecting the knife’s functionality.
The bolster’s short design exposes the full blade edge for better cutting and sharpening. Furthermore, the budget-friendly knife features a triple-riveted and streamlined handle for improved comfort. Its rounded spine allows for a much better grip.
Read More: 7 Best Chef Knives Under $50 In 2021
07. HENCKELS Classic 7-inch Santoku Knife
The Henckels Classic Santoku knife is a perfect tool for all-purpose kitchen needs. The classic Japanese knife features a high tensile construction to make it ideal for any item, whether meat or vegetables. To complement its robust construction is an aesthetically appealing German stainless steel satin blade finish and fine honing for long-lasting sharpness.
Its 7-inch blade allows it to tackle even the toughest ingredients. On the other hand, its fine polished hollow razor edge facilitates extra thin cutting, chopping, and slicing. The hollow edge design also prevents food from sticking to the blade for much cleaner cuts.
Furthermore, the knife’s longer blade design offers better control over your food items, whether meat, fish, or vegetables. Its ergonomically designed traditional triple-riveted handle provides comfort and exceptional grip. Its full tang design improves the balance.
08. Zelite Infinity 7-inch Santoku Knife
The Zelite Infinity Knife features an innovative Damascus-style construction for superior edge retention and sharpness. The rust-resistant knife features a Japanese AUS 10 76-layer Damascus carbon stainless steel for long-lasting performance.
It also offers edge sharpness at 12 to 15 degrees, a Rockwell hardness of 61, and 2.4mm blade thickness, allowing it to handle even the toughest meats. Additionally, the knife incorporates a hollow ground blade for non-stick performance, while its exquisite tsunami rose Damascus pattern enhances its beauty.
The non-stick finish and extra sharp blade provide cleaner cuts, allowing you to finally whip up your own sushi setup at home. On the other hand, its robust G10 handle has a full tang for better control, balance, and safety. It also integrates a tapered bolster to complement its full tang construction.
Read More: 12 Best Damascus Chef Knives In 2021
09. WALLOP Pro 7-inch Asian Santoku Knife
The Wallop Pro Asian-Inspired knife features a 2-in-1 design to optimize its functionality. You can use the knife to cut, slice, chop, mince, and dice different food items, including meats, veggies, and cheese. On the other hand, its wide clever design allows you to use it on tougher meat cuts and demanding food items.
Its durable and premium design makes the knife a useful tool in the home and professional kitchens. The knife offers impressive sharpness and flexibility by integrating a German high carbon stainless steel blade with a 56 Rockwell hardness and 2mm thickness.
This design makes it easier even for beginners to handle the knife. The santoku knife integrates an elegant drown wooden handle in full tang for better grip and comfort.
10. Imarku 7-inch Ultra Sharp Santoku Knife
The Imarku Santoku Knife is an excellent option for home use. The knife integrates all the right features to improve its performance without being too technical or advanced. The best part about the knife is its low price tag, making it easily accessible to any budget cap.
The Japanese chef knife features a German HC stainless steel blade to maintain sharpness and edge. The blade surface features a scalloped hollow edge to prevent adhesion. In turn, you can achieve restaurant-style thin and clean cuts on your foods.
The Pakkawood handle material offers a stable and antibacterial finish, unlike traditional wood. It also improves grip and comfort, eliminating any tension on the wrist. You can use the knife for hours without feeling any fatigue.
11. Victorinox Fibrox Pro 7-inch Santoku Knife
Thanks to its premium features and affordability, the Victorinox Fibrox Pro Santoku Knife offers a great steal for beginners. The 7-inch beginner-friendly santoku knife is versatile enough to handle different slicing, chopping, dicing, and mincing needs.
It features a clean, lightweight European steel blade for razor-sharp performance. The ultra-sharp blade pairs with its Granton edging for even better results. The Granton blade edge design minimizes friction and prevents food from sticking to the blade surface.
In turn, the knife produces thin and clean cuts. Furthermore, the blade integrates a flat spine design for the extra power to cut through hard-skinned items. On the other hand, its flat cutting edge allows for more efficient chopping as it doesn’t rock to the sides.
12. Tuo 7-inch Santoku knife with Gift Box
The Tuo Santoku Knife is amongst the cheapest on the market. Yet, the Asian-inspired knife offers excellent performance in any kitchen. The general purpose knife works great for all your chopping, cutting, and slicing needs. The Japanese Santoku knife integrates a specially forged German HC steel blade.
The blade has undergone high-tech heat treatment and nitrogen cryogenic tempering for optimal durability, strength, flexibility, and performance. It has a special Granton edge blade that significantly reduces friction thanks to its constant air pockets between the blade surface and food.
In turn, you should expect the most beautiful cuts from this budget-friendly santoku knife. Its slightly heavy handle allows for better control and balance when handling the knife. But refrain from washing this knife in the dishwasher frequently, which causes the backside to fall off easily.
Santoku Knife Vs. Chef Knife – What’s the Difference?
Most people categorize a santoku knife and a regular chef knife as the same. However, this is not necessarily the case. Sure, both knives offer an all-purpose design, allowing you to use them for slicing, chopping, and cutting. But, this is as far as their similarities go. Santoku and chef knives distinctively differ. Here are their most common differences;
- While santoku knives are Japanese knives, chef knives typically feature a western-style design and originate from western countries.
- Santoku knives have a shorter blade length of about 5 to 7.9 inches, giving you better cutting, slicing, and chopping control. This also makes santoku knives a better choice for people who lack experience. Chef knives have a slightly longer blade of about 6 to 12 inches.
- Santoku knives have a typical characteristic Japanese thin and light build. However, they tend to be boxier. The lighter and thinner santoku is ideal for fine, delicate cuts and slices. On the other hand, chef knives are longer and heavier, making them ideal for general kitchen use.
- Santoku knives feature a bolster for better balance and control, while most chef knives lack bolsters.
- Santoku knives offer a wide blade with no tip with a single or double design. On the other hand, chef knives have a broader blade with an upward curve to create the tip. Most chef knives also come with a double bevel edge.
How to Choose the Best Santoku Knife?
When choosing the best santoku knife, you have to pay attention to the right features. After all, unlike regular knives, santoku knives offer their own unique characteristics and functions. You have to make sure you pick the right option for the task. Here are the common features to look out for when choosing these knives;
A good quality santoku knife is made from high carbon, stainless steel, or German carbon steel. These materials offer better edge retention and durability. Additionally, they are resistant to rust, corrosion, and staining. However, you have to be extra careful with carbon steel santoku knives. Although expensive, frequent washing and contact with water increase their susceptibility to rust.
Common santoku knife handles are made from Pakkawood or stainless steel, though you can find plastic ones too. The material really doesn’t matter as long as the handle offers a good grip. However, wooden handles tend to become slippery when wet.
On the other hand, a dimpled or patterned handle offers a better grip than a plain one. Furthermore, a full tang handle provides better balance and control. It also reduces the risks of blade snapping compared to the half tang.
Single Bevel vs. Double Bevel
Santoku Knives are designed with a single or double bevel. A single bevel refers to a single-sided sharpened edge. A double bevel has a sharpened edge on both sides. The choice of bevel type to go for depends on your preferences.
A double bevel offers more durability and is ideal for general uses. However, it may be a little tougher to sharpen. On the other hand, a single bevel is an excellent choice for people who want to venture into specific cutting styles.
You can find different santoku knife sizes and lengths on the market based on your needs. Typically, these knives come in sizes between 5 and 7.9 inches long. A shorter blade works best for preparing small vegetables and fruits.
Longer blades offer better control for larger foods like meats or fish. Remember that the size and weight go hand in hand. So, a longer blade carries more weight. If you are inexperienced, you may find such knives a little difficult to handle and control.
The weight of your knife should also be a priority feature. You don’t want to go for a knife that is too heavy if you are a beginner. However, you also don’t want a knife that is too light. This is because it may easily lose its qualities like blade strength.
Blade Designs (Straight or Hollow edge)
Blade design plays a significant role in the knife’s overall performance. On the other hand, hollow-edged knives feature air pockets between the blade and food. Thus, when cutting through the food, the blade pushes the air pockets, preventing friction.
This, in turn, prevents food from sticking to the blade. On the other hand, straight edge knives don’t fray or snag when in use. They also offer clean cuts. The most significant difference between these two styles is the aesthetics that hollow-edged knives offer.
A durable santoku knife offers a longer-lasting edge and strength. Therefore, when choosing the best option, you have to ensure it offers these properties. You can determine the durability of your knife by looking at factors like blade material, design, and type.
A good quality santoku knife will have the right safety features. First, it must have a razor-sharp blade. There’s no way around this! However, its design should reduce the risks of injuries. Look for knives that feature a bolster or finger guard to mitigate these risks.
A well-balanced knife affords you better control and safety. Some of the factors to look out for in a balanced knife include the weight and handle type. A well-balanced knife will have a lightweight blade and a full tang handle.
Ease of Sharpening
Most santoku knives are sharpened using the whetstone. Knife blades such as high carbon steel and stainless steel are easy to sharpen. If you opt for materials like ceramic, you may have a slightly difficult time sharpening your knife. Additionally, it is easy to sharpen a single bevel than a double bevel.
Some santoku knives are marketed as dishwasher friendly, which makes it easier to clean them. However, you should opt to hand wash your knives, even dishwasher-friendly ones. This is because tossing it into a dishwasher frequently will dull the blade and increase the risks of rusting over time. To properly care for your knife, wash it with mild soap and room temperature water. When done, immediately wipe dry it with a clean, dry cloth. Avoid air drying it!
The best santoku knife should come with a warranty. This allows you to exchange your knives or receive a refund in case of defects or damages. It’s also a way to ensure you invest in a good quality knife. The warranty period should be between 2 and 5 years, although some knives come with a lifetime guarantee.
A good quality santoku knife will cost you anywhere between $30 on the low end and $200 on the high end. This wide gap doesn’t mean that expensive knives offer better quality. You can still find outstanding quality inexpensive knives. However, if you want a knife made with premium materials, you should expect to pay more.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Size of Santoku Knife Should I Get?
The santoku knife size you go for depends on your kitchen needs. A smaller 5 to 6-inch knife is ideal for small cutting tasks when working on fruits or vegetables. Larger 6.5 to 7.9-inch knives are better for larger cutting tasks when dealing with vegetables, fruits, or meats.
Why Does the Santoku Knife Have Dimples?
The primary purpose of dimples on a santoku knife is to improve its visual appeal and cutting performance. The dimples on the blade create air pockets between the blade and food. In turn, less friction is created when cutting the foods, which prevents the food from sticking to the blade.
Are Santoku Knives Good for Cutting Meat?
Yes, you can use these knives for cutting meats. These knives feature a versatile design, allowing you to use them for cutting, slicing, and chopping.
What Is a Hollow Edge Santoku Knife?
A hollow edge santoku knife features a blade designed with small air pockets. Due to this design, food doesn’t stick to the knife’s edge when cutting through it.
The most prized design of the best santoku knife is its versatility. You can execute all your chopping, slicing, and cutting tasks using just one knife. Unlike regular chef’s knives, the boxier and heavier santoku knife design gives you better control, balance, durability, and of course, improved results. It’s time to elevate your kitchen results by picking any of our picks for the best Santoku knives above.
I’m a food and cooking enthusiast and I love testing new kitchen gadgets almost as much as I love eating new, different exciting foods. Most of the time I try to taste new recipes even sometimes I cook. But if I don’t then I go to my computer and start writing for my blog or research for other kitchen products manually. I believe the kitchen and food are an important part of our everyday life. That’s why I spend tons of time on it and learned a lot about it.