Most people don’t really know what the purpose of a santoku knife is. It’s actually quite simple in its relation to another type of knife. Most American chefs prefer to use a chef knife for all their basic cutting needs, but a santoku knife is actually made for the same reason.
Owning the best santoku knife money can but will benefit you more than you know. While these two knives are very similar in use, the santoku is designed to handle some other applications that a chef knife simply can’t.
In this article, we will go over what to look for when purchasing a new santoku knife as well as what some of the best uses are for the knife. We will also cover some of the best santoku knives available for purchase on the market today and which one may be the best fit for you and your cutting board.
What is a Santoku Knife Used for?
When beginning to talk about the use of a santoku knife, one can’t help but compare it to the chef knife. They are very similar in so many ways but are actually used in the same way but for different cultures. Santoku knives are basically used for the same things that chef knives are made for. They do the same jobs but are constructed differently.
Santoku knives are going to be thinner and lighter in weight. The knife will also be more balanced and contain no bolster like many chef fillet knives have. A chef knife may be more durable and a workhorse but a santoku knife will get the same job done faster, such as chopping or mincing due to its straight-lined edge and double bevel sharpening just like a carving knife.
How to Choose the Best Santoku Knife
When choosing a new santoku knife it is wise to get a knife that was constructed with the very best materials. You could choose to go with lesser quality material but chances are you will go through plenty of these knives. So, make sure the knife has high-quality materials. Which brings us to the next point. To make sure your knife does last as long as possible, it is best to try and get one that comes with some kind of manufacturer’s guarantee or a warranty to protect it from damages or defects that may occur while in use or during the shipping process.
If you are buying a single knife, then try to get one that comes with a sheath or wood block to protect the blade. Sometimes knives come with sharpening steels or sharpening stones as well. You want to make sure the knife is comfortable in your hand so you can easily use it. Cleaning a knife is not a necessary quality because you should always clean a knife by hand. Never put knives in the dishwasher, even if it says they are dishwasher safe. This could ruin your knife over time.
Construction and Design
When it comes to the design of the santoku knife, there are really not any changes made to the blade except for construction. The knife can come in different lengths, width and weight but for the most part, the design stays the same. The edge is going to be different than a chef knife and most times will be sharper because it can be single or double beveled for one.
The materials used are generally lighter as well so the blade is thinner like a boning knife. You are going to want to make sure the materials used are high quality. Most of the good knives will be constructed of steel. There are several different kinds though that will offer the knife different abilities. Many different kinds you might see are known as stainless steel, Damascus steel, VG-10 stainless steel and German steel. Japanese steel will be lighter and have a sharper edge while German will be heavier and able to take a beating over time.
The construction of the blade is about the same as any other type of knife in terms of what to look for. You must make sure that the blade has a full tang and the handle is held on or placed together using at least 3 solid rivets. Most great handles will be made of polymer or synthetic wood. Sometimes santoku knives will be pitted or breathe holes so that the knife will slide through the food with ease. This makes it easy to cut through cheese, meat and butter with ease. Overall make sure the knife is well balanced and is easy for you to use.
Best Santoku Knives
Shun Cutlery Premier 7” Santoku Knife
The Best Santoku Knife
This knife is the best of the best in almost every way a knife should be. It is a very expensive knife but does come with a lifetime warranty to protect it. This light and agile knife is able to handle any type of task that comes its way.
It has been constructed of VG max super steel which is 34 layers of Damascus cladding on both sides of the knife. The hammered finish on the blade provides easy food release when cutting through tough foods or when making precision cuts. The knife also has a full tang that is held by a contoured walnut colored pakkawood handle that is comfortable and easy to handle. This 7-inch blade will be a perfect addition to any kitchen knife set.
- The hammered finish allows the knife to cut through foods with ease and make precision cuts.
- The blade is constructed of VG max Damascus super steel that has multiple layers of pressed steel on either side of the blade.
- The handle has been contoured to fit any hand like a glove.
- While the knife does come protected by a warranty, it is quite expensive when compared to other price points.
Misono UX10 Santoku
The Next Best Thing
This knife is equally as good as the last except it has a little heavier construction and comes a little pricier. It is an expensive knife but does come with a lifetime warranty to protect it. The knife has been constructed of Swedish stainless steel that provides excellent edge retention through the entire life of the blade. The blade is still fairly thin but is still well balanced and durable.
The blade has a full tang that follows through the handle and is held together by 3 full rivets. The synthetic handle has an agronomical shape that fits well in the hand and is easy to control. The edge of the blade while still being straight edged is single beveled which creates excellent edge sharpness.
- The knife is constructed of Swedish stainless steel that provides excellent edge retention and rust-free lifecycle.
- The blade has a full tang that follows all the way down through the handle and is held on by 3 rivets.
- The handle has an agronomical shape that makes it easy to handle.
Yoshihiro VG-10 Damascus Santoku Knife
The Western Style Santoku Knife
This seven-inch santoku knife is just simply beautiful from top to bottom. It does come at a reasonable price that is still over 100 dollars which may be too expensive for some people, but it does not come with a warranty to protect it.
The knife has a triple layer construction from VG-10 Japanese stainless steel. VG-10 is among the top stainless steel in the sense that it has the best edge retention and edge sharpness over all other materials. The blade has a 16-layer hammered finish which is great for slicing into food like meat cheese and butter with ease.
The knife has a full tang which follows through the mahogany handle and is held on by 3 single rivets. The handle has also been contoured to fit your hand comfortably and gives the knife excellent balance.
- The blade is constructed of VG-10 stainless steel which gives the blade extra sharpness and excellent edge retention.
- The knife has a full tang and three single rivets to hold it in place.
- The handle is made of pure mahogany with a bright finish and a contoured handle to provide excellent balance and comfortability.
- The blade is cheaper but still expensive than the other and does not come with a warranty to protect it.
Shun DM0702 Classic 7-Inch Santoku Knife
The Classic Santoku Knife
Shun has been making knives for many years and this knife is their classic santoku knife that has kept the same design and look but improved on performance. The blade is still expensive but does come with a warranty to protect it.
The 7-inch blade is constructed of precision forged high carbon stainless steel that provides improved sharpness and excellent edge retention. The side of the blade has been pressed with steel to give its stylish look and extra strength. The blade has a full tang and a D-shaped Pakkawood handle that is easy to grip and handle. Because the blade is constructed with high carbon steel, it is very lightweight but still evenly balanced.
- The knife is constructed of high carbon stainless steel which is light weight and evenly balanced.
- The blade has a full tang and a pakkawood handle that is comfortable and easy to use.
- The pressed steel provides extra sharpness and excellent edge retention.
- The knife does come protected by a lifetime warranty but is still expensive.
Global G48 G-48-7 inch Santoku
The Single Piece Knife
This knife is a little different than some of the other knives and many tend to like them even though they can be dangerous. The knife is pretty expensive but does come protected by a lifetime warranty.
The blade and knife are one solid piece that has been constructed of high-quality stainless steel. The knife does not have a handle but instead is built into the knife, which can be dangerous with no real grip when the knife could be wet.
The handle has multiple dimple imprints to mimic a grip that is comfortable to handle. The blade is extra sharp and holds it edge very well with little to no extra sharpening required over time.
- The blade has been constructed of high-quality stainless steel that won’t rust or break overtime
- The blade has extra sharpness from its double bevel and has excellent edge retention
- The knife is under 100 dollars and does come with a lifetime warranty
- The handle of the knife has been built into the knife with no real grips to protect the user from slipping or accidents
Tojiro DP Santoku 6.7″
The Basic Knife
This knife is just a little bit shorter than most other santoku knives but equally great. The knife is affordable but does not come with a warranty to protect it. The knife is constructed if stainless steel that won’t rust or break overtime.
The knife has a full tang that follows through the handle and is held on by three rivets. The synthetic handles have a comfortable grip that is slip resistant. The knife has great edge retention and is well balanced as well.
- The knife is constructed of stainless steel that holds an edge and wont rust overtime
- The knife has a full tang that is held on the handle by three rivets
- The handle has a slip resistant and comfortable grip
- The knife comes at an excellent price but does not come with a warranty to protect it
Mac Knife SK-65 Superior Santoku Knife
The Little Brother Santoku knife
This santoku knife is constructed of high carbon stainless steel that is light weight and provides great balance. It also gives the knife extra sharp blade and excellent edge retention. The knife has a full tang that follows the blade down and is held by three single rivets against the handle.
The handle is constructed of pakkawood with a bright finish and a contoured handle that is comfortable and easy to handle.
- The knife is constructed of high carbon stainless steel which provides excellent edge retention and a sharp edge
- The blade has a full tang which is held against the handle with three rivets
- The contoured handle is made of pakkawood that is comfortable and easy to use
- The knife is priced well but does not come with a warranty to protect it
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Classic Hollow Edge Santoku Knife
The Professional Satin Finished Santoku Knife
This santoku knife is not the best knife but also not the worst, it would be great for any commercial kitchen to use. The knife is priced moderately and does not come with a warranty to protect it.
The blade is constructed of stainless steel and has a textured edge to slice through foods easily. The blade has a full tang that follows through the handle and is held on by three single rivets. The handle has a comfortable grip that fits the hand nicely and a full bolster to protect the fingers from the blade and create extra balance and control through the knife.
Even though it is not recommended, it is safe to be placed in the dishwasher. The blade has great edge retention and strength in the blade due to the forging and tempering process that it undergoes.
- The santoku knife is constructed of stainless steel with a textured edge to slice through foods easily and is tempered to give the blade extra strength.
- The blade has a full tang that follow down through the handle and is held on by three rivets to give the knife added balance and extra control for the user.
- The handle is constructed of polypropylene and has been designed to fit the hand nicely.
- The knife is dishwasher safe.
- The knife is priced a little high for what it is when compared to others and does not come with a warranty to protect it.
Wusthof 4183 Wusthof Classic Hollow Edge Santoku Knife 7
The Original Santoku Knife
The last knife on the list comes from a well-known knife maker in the industry and is highly recommended. The knife does come at a very high price but is covered by a lifetime warranty. The knife is constructed of low carbon German stainless steel which is extra durable and hold an edge quite well.
The blade is also rust- and corrosion-resistant and impervious to dulling. The blade has a full tang that follows to the handle and is held in place by three single rivets. The synthetic handle has an agronomical shaped handle which provides comfort and easy handling. The blade has been pitted as well to provide easy slicing through meats, cheeses and dairy. Even though this knife is on the bottom of the list does not mean it’s a bad knife either it’s just as good as some at the top of the list.
- The knife is constructed of low carbon German stainless steel which provides durability and great balance
- The blade has a full tang that follows the handle and is held on by three single rivets
- The blade has been pitted to create ease of slicing sticky or harder foods
- Somewhat expensive
So, when it comes right down to it, none of these knives will let you down in the end. They are all made by quality manufacturers that are well known, trusted and have been around forever. They do make other cheaper santoku knives but in all reality, they won’t last as long as these knives because they will last forever. Whatever you do, spend the extra money and get the nicer knife that will never let you down.