Santoku knives and chef’s knives are the ‘go-to’ knives for many professional chefs as they are versatile enough to perform a range of tasks in the kitchen. This article is about full santoku knife informations and reviews of best quality santoku knife models.
- What is a Santoku knife?
- The History of the Santoku Knife
- What is the difference between a chef’s knife and a santoku knife?
- What do you use the Santoku knife for?
- How many size of Santoku Knives?
- Why Should You Buy a Santoku Knife?
- Recommend selection for santoku knives
- How to maintain a Santoku knife?
- Review 5 best Santoku knives for cutting, slicing, and chopping in the kitchen
What is a Santoku knife?
The Santoku knife is a Japanese version of the Western-style chef’s knife. It’s slightly shorter and thinner, and is used in place of the chef’s knife by some cooks, especially those who prefer a smaller, lighter blade.
Santoku means “three virtues”. It is used in the kitchen for cutting, slicing, and chopping. This knife is an all-rounder and can do almost everything a typical chef’s knife can.
Due to a flat blade, it doesn’t rock on the cutting board. This makes it less suited for when you want to mince herbs, but a better choice for skinny slices of veggies.
The Santoku is sometimes made with a hollow edge. The dimples along the blade allow it to cut through meat, fish, and other soft and tough materials without the food sticking to it and reducing the speed and the precision of the cut.
The History of the Santoku Knife
The story of the santoku knife begins in Japan. Santoku knives first appeared in the mid-20th century, post World War II, as a home cook’s alternative to the traditional vegetable cleaver, called a “nakiri.” While retaining the nakiri’s height and straight edge, santoku knives added a friendly “sheep’s foot” tip that curves down toward the edge to form a gentle point.
The Japanese santoku knife is shorter than its Western-style counterparts, ranging from 5–8 inches in length, and is designed with a more balanced weight distribution. The word santoku actually translates to “three virtues” — some say these are meat, fish, and vegetables, while others interpret them to be chopping, slicing, and dicing.
Regardless of which trio you prefer, the santoku knife quickly grew to be the most popular kitchen knife in Japan, and very soon after, found its way into the hands of both home and professional chefs around the world.
What is the difference between a chef’s knife and a santoku knife?
Some Santoku knives are sharpened on one side of the blade only. This is the traditional Eastern way and enables the chef to have greater control over the direction of cutting. Most Santoku knives are a hybrid of West meets East, in that the shape of the blade is curved with a flat cutting edge and the sharpening is 50/50 on either surface. This makes for easier sharpening and maintenance with a traditional steel or pull through sharpener.
A Santoku knife is ideally suited to precision work thanks to the light, narrow blade, which can make thinner cuts, as less food has to be pushed out of the way as the blade makes each slice. Japanese knives require a different technique to Western knives in that they slice through food in a forward and backward motion, rather than Western knives which require a rocking motion, which generally creates thicker slices and takes longer to cut than the quicker Santoku blade.
The differences lie in the details. A chef’s knife is slightly longer (at about 8–10 inches) than the standard santoku (at 5–8 inches). To put it into perspective, a santoku knife blade is about the length of the average hand.
It is, therefore, lighter than a chef’s knife, making it less intimidating and easier to handle — especially for chefs with small hands. (Giada de Laurentiis and Rachael Ray are huge fans.)
Shape and Weight
To add the necessary weight needed in a good kitchen knife, santoku knives have a boxier build (remember, they were modeled after the chunky cleaver), which adds the extra weight that a shorter knife would otherwise lack. Japanese steel is also heavier than Western steel, contributing to the knife’s nice, hefty hand feel.
The santoku knife has an almost completely straight cutting edge with a less pronounced point. This allows for a clean slice without a pointy tip getting in the way, and minimizes the risk of piercing something unintentionally. Its shape also makes it great for a swift downward chop and most other cutting tasks. But it’s not very good for the fluid rocking motion needed in repetitive slicing.
The chef’s knife with its curved lower blade is much more suitable for this kind of back and forth cutting. It also has a sharper, sword-like point that’s useful when you need to puncture through food items or break open stubborn packaging.
Single or Double Bevel
Another key difference between these knives is the bevel. Bevel is the subtle angle at the bottom of the knife that forms its cutting edge. Basically, the more acute the angle, the easier it is to slice.
Traditional Japanese knives, such as santokus, have a sharper 12–15 degree angle and a single bevel (meaning, the blade is tapered only on one side). Most Western designs, including chef’s knives, have a double-bevel and are usually cut at 20–30 degrees.
At the end of the day, it’s all about being able to cut your ingredients into the proper size for cooking. The santoku knife is naturally built for creating thin slices of meat, seafood, cheese, fruit, and vegetables. These are the finer cuts found in many Japanese dishes. Its wide blade also offers a handy way of scooping food off the cutting board and into a bowl or pan.
Chef’s knives, by contrast, offer a bit more range. Their ability to rock back and forth on a curved blade means you can chop a lot of vegetables quite easily. Having a longer blade and a sharp pointed tip is also useful for disjointing meat and separating chicken parts.
When it comes down to it, with the exception of peeling, slicing bread, or dealing with extra large meat bones, most kitchen tasks can be accomplished with either of these two amazing knives.
What do you use the Santoku knife for?
Useful for almost any job, the Santoku knife is the one most commonly used by Japanese cooks. Vegetables, fruit, fish or boneless meat can be prepared successfully with a santoku knife because its wide blade makes even cutting more consistent and easier. A mini version of this knife achieves the best results with smaller and medium size vegetables and fruit like a kiwi. A 5.5″ (14 cm) blade does better with larger vegetables like daikon and onion.
When cutting larger quantities of ingredients, lighter knives will cause less fatigue compared to heavier knives. The blade profile of a Santoku is straight so that controlling the thickness of slices is easy. The thin blades on these knives make precision cutting effortless. Cutting with this uniquely shaped knife use a slight forward motion as the knife descends vertically. Once you get used to it you’ll find that you have much more control over the knife and the thickness of the cut. The santoku knife offers similar benefits to a typical Western chef’s knife but with the benefit of being lighter in weight and wider in blade which makes it easier to control.
How many size of Santoku Knives?
The Santoku design is shorter, lighter, thinner, and more hardened steel in the tradition of Samurai sword steel (to compensate for thinness) than a traditional Western chef’s knife. Standard Santoku blade length is between 15 and 18 cm (6 and 7 in), in comparison to the typical 20 cm (8 in) home cook’s knife.
Why Should You Buy a Santoku Knife?
A santoku knife doesn’t differ much from a chef’s knife, but due to its rounded end, it combines the functions of a cleaver and a chef’s knife in one. It’s especially powerful for mincing delicate herbs and performing precise, ultra-thin knife work on vegetables. A chef’s knife has a little more weight, power, and length behind it. If you have small hands, you might find a santoku knife to be more manageable. Of course, you could own both.
Recommend selection for santoku knives
A kitchen knife should be chosen for each chef or just one individual, home cook. But some rules will help you choose a suitable Santoku knife from hundreds of different types:
- Acute angle – 18 degrees;
- The blade size can vary from 110 to 200 mm(4 to 7 in), and the handle itself – 140-160 mm(5 to 6 in), depending on the size of the blade;
- Blade quality knife hardness ranges from 52 to 58 HRC units, up to 60 units, a large number will tell about its fragility;
- Better handle to choose wood or rubber, such a tool will fit in the palm of your hand and will not accidentally slip out;
- Airbag will help if the product sticks to the blade;
- Knives in a set can be cheaper, but it is better to choose the Santoku universal knife separately.
How to maintain a Santoku knife?
Maintaining santoku knife nothing much different than maintaining a Japanese knife. Santoku knives are smaller and made from traditional Japanese steel with hand-forging techniques. Deeper blades are another important feature of a santoku knife. We can divide the maintenance process into three different segments.
After every use of knives, you need to wash your knives. But not at the middle of cutting. When you are done working with knives then wash it immediately. Washing immediately is always safe for the knives. We used to cut different types of foods such as vegetables, fruits, fish, meat etc. cutting each type of food you need to wash your knife. It helps to prevent food contamination. Maximum cutlery companies recommended hand wash. Wash your knives with mild detergent and wipe it with dry clothes or dry it in the air. Some knives are dishwasher free. Those you can wash through a dishwasher.
Storing is very important. Maximum knives get dull not by the bad use of knives but by the bad storing. Don’t store your knife with other metal tools or knives openly. Use knife blocks, leather sheaths etc.
Japanese knives are very famous for long lasting sharpness. But one day it will get dull. Then you need to re-sharpen your knife. To re-sharpen your knife you can send it to your manufacturer. If it is not possible then you can re-sharpen it by yourself. Using whetstone you can re-sharpen it.
Review 5 best Santoku knives for cutting, slicing, and chopping in the kitchen
The Mac is one of the original santoku knives on the U.S. market—and it’s tough to beat. This is our favorite santoku knife, especially if you’re buying your first one.
With a weight of 5.5 ounces, it’s manageable, lightweight, and has a thin blade that comes well-sharpened on both sides. The knife sliced through tough potatoes and minced delicate herbs with ease. It’s no-fuss with a simple finish, lively and responsive in your hand, and great for people looking to buy their first santoku knife.
The Misono UX10 Santoku knife is made of high quality Swedish steel. Steel gotten from Sweden is known to have incredibly high iron deposits. They are also relatively pure because they have low levels of fine grains and other forms of contaminants. Swedish steel is also strong because it is rich in carbon.
Each knife contains at least 1% fine carbon giving it strength and durability. This is the same reason why the blade is razor sharp and it retains its sharpness for a long time.
Even though the knife is strong, it can be sharpened with ease when necessary. Unfortunately, the knife is prone to rust because there isn’t any chromium added to the steel.
Through technology and innovation KYOCERA introduces a new advanced ceramic cutlery series featuring our new Z212 ceramic blade that will stay sharper 2x longer, a soft ergonomically crafted handle for comfort and control, and an upper angled handle to blade interface that will make cutting a breeze. Z212 Zirconia Ceramic Blade is a new advanced ceramic developed by Kyocera utilizing innovative ceramic material technology. Z212 is an extremely hard material that will maintain sharpness 2x longer than conventional Kyocera ceramic blades. The Ergonomically Designed, Soft-Grip Handle fits in hand comfortably and provides an easy grip for safe handling, and the soft grip material provides comfort and control. The upward angle of the handle to the blade allows for easier cutting on a cutting board. Kyocera Advanced Ceramic knives are ideal for cutting boneless meats, boneless fish, fruits and vegetables. The benefits of owning Kyocera Advanced Ceramic knives are:
Ultra Sharp – will stay sharp 10x longer than conventional steel blades
- Purity – won’t brown foods or transfer metallic taste, rust-proof, germ resistant
- Lightweight – comfortably ergonomic and perfectly balanced
- Easy to Clean – does not absorb any food elements, just a quick rinse and wipe
- High Quality – Proprietary ceramic blades are made in Japan, lifetime warranty.
Z212 Ceramic Blade – An extremely hard ceramic material that will maintain sharpness 2x longer than conventional Kyocera ceramic blades The unique ergonomic shape of the handle fits in hand comfortably and provides an easy grip for safe handling, the soft grip material provides comfort and control Upper Angled Handle to Blade Interface – The upward angle of the handle to the blade allows for easier cutting on a cutting board Ultra-sharp; Lightweight; Easy to Clean; Pure; Kyocera High Quality Lifetime Warranty
The steel in this knife High carbon, ThyssenKrupp German steel is used. High carbon steel ensures you the sharp edge of the knife. Because to hold sharp edges steel has to very hard And high carbon steel is just like that. In Rockwell scale it’s score is 55 which absolutely good enough.
The design of the blade is mind-blowing. Super polished blade tells about the craftsmanship of Dalstrong knife. The edge is hand sharpened with 16-18 degree angle on both sides and edge retention of this knife is very good as well. The knife is perfectly balanced with the sharpness and maximum resilience.
In this santoku knife, Dalstrong uses pakkawood handle. Pakkawood is a special kind of wood made from natural wood veneer mixed with plastic resin. This laminated handle comes from Spain.
We can see three rivets attach the handle to the blade part. It ensures the extra durability of the handle. No chance of detaching. The beautiful logo of Dalstrong comes in the middle rivet. This perfectly shaped handle gives you maximum support. A stainless steel end cap protects your hand not to slip off.
Specifications of Tojiro knife:
– weight:186 g
– blade length: 170 mm
– blade height at the heel: 46mm
– blade thickness at the heel: 1.9 mm
– blade thickness 1/2 way towards the tip: 1.8 mm
– blade thickness 1cm from the tip: 1.0 mm
– VG-10 clad with soft stainless steel
The Tojiro is quite heavy what goes mainly to the big thick bolster and full tang handle. The knife was delivered well sharpen albeit with a low grit as the edge was quite toothy. But there were no apparent problems – the grind and edge were all consistent, the handle flush with the bolster and pins. The knife had just about perfect balance of fine edge and tooth – it would shave arm hair with no resistance and it would bite into tomato skin with 0 resistance. Really nice edge to use in the kitchen.