The 7 Best Santoku Knives to Buy in 2018

Try these Japanese blades out in your household

chopping parsley
Stephen Zeigler / Getty Images

Santoku knives are a Japanese-style knife that is becoming more popular in the United States, with many versions being made in America as well as abroad. Santoku translates as “three virtues” or “three uses” and refers to the three types of cuts the knife is made for: slicing, dicing, and mincing.

The blade has a flat cutting edge and the handle is in line with the top edge of the blade. The end of the blade has a rounded curve called a sheep’s foot, rather than a sharp point that’s more common...MORE with western blades.

Because of the flat blade, the santoku doesn’t rock on the cutting surface the way that the blade of a chef’s knife does, so it might take some practice to get used to the style.

Santoku knives are shorter, lighter, and thinner than Western-style chef’s knives. Because of the thinness, they tend to be more hardened than Western knives, to add strength. Many santoku knives have flat divots on the sides of the blade near the cutting edge, which is known as a granton edge. These divots help keep food from sticking to the knife. It’s not foolproof, but it does make a difference, particularly when slicing hard vegetables like potatoes.

Most santoku knives have a 6- or 7-inch blade, compared to the more common 8-inch length for many chef’s knives. While most Japanese blades are sharpened on just one side with, compared to Western blades that are sharpened on both sides, traditional santoku blades are sharpened on both sides, but with a more extreme angle, similar to other Japanese blades.

There are traditional-style Japanese Santoku knives sold in the US, and there are also santoku knives that have some attributes more common to Western-style knives.

Santoku knives aren’t better or worse than chef’s knives — they’re simply a different style of knife that performs similar tasks. Here, the best Santoku knives for your kitchen. 


  • ja-henkels-twin-knife

    Best Santoku Knife: Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature 7-Inch Santoku

     Made in Germany with an ice-hardened stamped blade, this Sanoku knife is a worthy addition to any cook’s kitchen. It has a full tang that provides the best weight and balance, and three rivets for security.

    The handle on this blade is particularly comfortable. The handle’s shape positions the hand for proper cutting technique, so even new cooks will use proper cutting techniques.

    The 7-inch blade has a razor-sharp edge that makes it perfect for fine cuts, and particularly for cutting meat and...MORE fish into small pieces for stir-fry dishes or fajitas. Meanwhile, the contoured edge makes it idea of chopping vegetables and the hollow grind helps keep food from sticking to the blade.

  • Victorinox Fibrox 7-Inch Granton Edge Santoku Knife

    Best Budget Santoku Knife: Victorinox Santoku Knife

    A good santoku at a budget price, this has a stamped blade with a granton edge. The handle is made from a patented material that’s slip-resistant and it is ergonomically designed for comfortable cutting. Because the blade is stamped, this knife is lighter in weight, which some cooks might prefer.

  • Best High End Santoku Knife: ZELITE INFINITY 7-Inch Alpha-Royal Santoku Knife

     This blade is beautiful as well as functional. While a pretty knife might not be your first priority, there’s something special about taking a knife from the rack that looks so stunning, with a tsunami rose Damascus pattern on the blade. It makes cooking just a little bit more pleasurable.

    But it’s not all about looks. This has a full tang and good weight, and it’s designed for impressive performance. This is made from 67-layer high carbon Japanese stainless steel that has a razor-sharp edge...MORE that makes slicing easy.

    This is hollow ground, so foods won’t stick, and it is tempered in liquid nitrogen for long-lasting performance. The handle is triple riveted for security, and even the rivets are decorative, with a 3-metal mosaic pattern.

    The handle is designed to be ergonomic, while the tapered bolster makes it comfortable to hold, with perfect balance. Made by a multi-generational family-run business that prides itself on engineering and innovation, this is sure to be one of the prettiest knives you’ll own.

    Of course you need one for yourself, but this comes in a box that would also make it a lovely gift for any cook you know.

  • guy-fieri-santoku-knife

    Best Hybrid Knife: Signature Stainless Steel 7-Inch Rocking Santoku Knife

    This santoku knife combines the traditional shape of the santoku with a curved blade that provides the familiar rocking action of western blades. Made from German stainless steel, it has an ergonomic textured stainless steel grip and balanced weight for the best control.

    Guy Fieri fans will appreciate his signature on the blade and the included storage sheath, but it’s not obtrusive, for those who prefer their knives to be unadorned. This should be hand washed and dried immediately.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • Best Mini: Zyliss Control Mini Santoku Knife

    Great for cooks with small hands, or for small projects where a large knife would feel clunky, this 5-inch Santoku is perfect for slicing, dicing and mincing all the fruits, vegetables and meats in your kitchen.

    Safety touchpoints on top of the blade offer a more controlled rocking motion during cutting, and a comfortable rest for the thumb and index finger.

    The handle is antibacterial protected and has a contoured handle that will fit both large and small hands. The blade is made from German...MORE steel and is honed to a razor-sharp edge. It is rust resistant, durable, tarnish free, and easy to resharpen when needed.

  • Best Self-Sharpening: Sabatier Forged Stainless Steel Santoku Knife

    Maintenance couldn’t be easier since this knife sharpens itself every time you insert it into the sheath or remove it, so you’ll never need to use another sharpener to keep the knife at peak efficiency.

    The blade is made from high-carbon steel with an ideal cutting angle, and the handle is designed to be ergonomic and comfortable during use. The handle material is very durable, so this knife will last for many years.

    This should be hand washed and dried immediately.

  • Best Dishwasher Safe: Farberware Knife Armor Dishwasher Safe Santoku

    Most knives aren’t dishwasher safe, but this 7-inch santoku can handle the dishwasher after you’re done chopping, mincing, and dicing. The blade is made from Japanese steel that has a rust-resistant coating. That coating makes the knife safe at heats above the standard dishwasher temperatures, and it has even been tested in commercial dishwashers. Of course, you can also wash it by hand, if you prefer.

    The handle has a textured nonslip grip that is easy to hold onto, even when it’s wet.

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