Some consumers may remember Santoku knives from their appearance in a series of infomercials touting their benefits just a few years ago. These knives were billed as some of the sharpest and best knives for anyone to have in their kitchen, and we’re happy to find out that those depictions are 100% true. When we got our hands on some of these knives, we became completely obsessed with their strength, sharpness, and their ability to cut through meats. So obsessed, in fact, that we just had to find the best Santoku knives currently available and write an article on them. And this article is the summation of all of our hard work. We hope that it proves useful to anyone who is looking to buy one of these knives.
List of the Best Santoku Knives
Best Overall: Sunnecko Hollow Edge 7-Inch Kitchen Knife
During our search for the best Santoku knife, we’ve seen and handled a lot of different knives. We’ve seen knives with very good edges that were made to exacting standards and we’ve seen blades that didn’t quite meet our expectations of what we feel these knives should be. Fortunately, we’re able to announce that this particular knife not only met our high expectations but actually exceeded it. That’s because this knife is made to some of the highest standards we’ve ever seen. It seems like the manufacturer has considered everything when they designed this blade. Everything from the metal that was used to it to its sharp edge is almost perfect.
Let’s start our review of this knife with the metal that the manufacturer uses. This is one of the few knives that we’ve seen clad with real Japanese VG-10 stainless steel—one of the highest grade stainless steel that could be used in a knife. This knife has a Rockwell Hardness of 59 to 61. This knife also has a full-tang and is perfectly balanced with a stainless steel curved and molded handle that feels good in the hand during use. As we’ve said, this knife is clade in VG-10 stainless steel that covers 36-layers of Damascus steel and creating a flowing patter of steel. These knives are corrosion resistant and durable, too.
It’s a knife that isn’t too heavy nor too light, and gives the consumer an unprecedented amount of control while they slicing, dicing and chopping with it. Another thing worth mentioning about these knives are that they have a double-bevel blade angle of 12 to 15-degrees each side, which allows it to have a razor sharp edge that can cut through just about anything. It’s also a knife that looks very good and not only makes a wonderful knife to display in any kitchen, but also makes a great knife for giving to friends and family as gifts.
Best Value: Zelite Infinity 7-Inch Comfort-Pro Santoku Knife
When we first discovered this knife, we were looking for a Santoku knife that was durable and sharp, but one that didn’t cost a whole lot of money. We wanted a knife that was the perfect combination of performance and price. And so, when we found this knife we were very happy. Upon initial inspection, this knife seemed to meet all of that criteria and seemed like it would be the perfect fit in any kitchen not manned by a professional chef. We also hoped that it would be a knife that sliced effortlessly through meat, and diced through vegetables easily. So, needless to say, we were quite enthusiastic about putting it to work.
The first thing that we noticed about this knife was that it was made from a quality German high-carbon stainless steel that had a Rockwell Hardness of 56. Not quite as hard as other knives, we had tested, but certainly harder than the common chef’s knife. Because it’s so hard, this knife is capable of really obtaining and retaining a quality edge. It also means that this knife should be able to be sharpened again and again over many years without using its ability to gain its edge. Although we can’t say that this knife was as sharp as we had hoped straight out of the box, we were able to put a nice edge on it that lived up to the Santoku reputation.
This Santoku knife has a length of approximately 12.5-inches, with a total blade length of 7-inches. This knife also had an edge sharpness of 15 to 18-degrees, a blade thickness of 2.4mm, and has a total weight of 8.9 ounces. It feels very well balanced, and we liked how it felt in our hands as well. And it was also equipped with an ABS full-tang handle that makes it very easy to use in the kitchen. All things considered, this knife is a great value Santoku knife that a lot of people are going to be proud to put into their kitchens. It’s also sure to be a knife that makes a good gift as well.
Best Affordable: Cutine Stainless-Steel 7-Inch Knife
Since we’re quite aware that not everyone wants to spend $50-$100 dollars on one single kitchen knife, so we decided to search for a budget Santoku knife. And by budget, we don’t mean those cheap knives that can be found in the dollar bin of many big superstores. No, we wanted to specifically avoid those types of knives. Instead, we wanted to find a budget knife that was made from quality materials and didn’t cost a whole lot of money. It took us quite well to find a knife that met all of those expectations, but once we did, we were pretty happy with it. And this is the knife that we want to review right now.
This knife is approximately 12.3-inches long with a blade length of approximately 7-inches. The blade is made from high-quality stainless steel that’s hard, but just not as hard as premium Santoku knives. It also has a blade that’s sharp enough for just about any cooking project. It can dice through vegetables, slice through meats and cheeses. This knife is also equipped with a Micarta handle that’s well balanced and gives the user the grip they need for cutting through onions, potatoes, and other vegetables. And because this knife has a nice edge, it can be sharpened again and again with few problems.
If there was any complaint we had about this Santoku knife, it’s the fact that it doesn’t hold its edge as long we would’ve liked. Don’t get us wrong, the blade is sharp right out of the box, and the blade cuts well when it is sharp. However, for some reason, it tends to dull quickly and this requires the user having to sharpen it more frequently. We found that this knife needed to be sharpened almost twice as much as some of the premium knives we used. It’s not a big deal for some people, but it can be frustrating to have to keep sharpening your knife, just to keep it in good working condition.
The Home Chef’s Guide To Santoku Knives
As can clearly be seen from our reviews, Santoku knives are some of the best kitchen knives a person could own. They can slice, dice and chop better than the standard chef knife and are generally easier for inexperienced cooks to use. And when they’re in the hands of an experienced chef, they’re nothing short of miraculous. Unfortunately, not a whole lot of people are familiar with these types of knives, so we decided that we would spend some time writing about them. So if everyone’s ready for a primer course on Santoku knives, then let’s get started.
The Difference Between Santoku Knives & Chef Knives
The first thing that we would like to discuss is the differences between Santoku knives and chef knives. Although some people seem to think that these two types of kitchen knives are interchangeable, that’s not the case and there are some very distinct differences between these two types of knives. Let’s find out the main differences, so our readers can determine if these knives are right for them.
- 6 to 12-inches in size
- Has a broad blade that curves upwards
- Comes in non-serrated and serrated varieties
- Comes with a double bevel
- Has a nice heft and weight to it
- Originated in France & Germany
Suited For: Disjointing meat, Dicing or chopping meats and cheeses, chopping vegetables, Slicing cheese.
- 5 to 8-inches in size
- The blade is thinner than a chef’s knife for precision slicing
- Has a sheepsfoot blade that has no tip
- Comes with either a single or double bevel
- Is extremely lightweight
- Is extremely balanced
- Has a more ergonomic design
Suited For: Slicing or dicing meats and cheeses, slicing or dicing vegetables, Mincing herbs, Creating fine or intricate slices.
Keeping A Santoku Knife Sharp
The next thing we would like to discuss is maintaining the edge of a Santoku knife. Unlike chef knives, Santoku knives can be sharpened with a sharpening steel. That’s because they have thinner blades that are durable but more flexible than the blades found on chef’s knives. Therefore, the consumer must take great pains to sharpen these knives properly. Since not everyone knows how these knives should be sharpened, we thought that we would add a section on maintaining your Santoku blade in this guide.
Step One: Obtain And Soak A Whetstone
The first step in sharpening a Santoku knife is to obtain the best quality sharpening stone available and then soaking that whetstone in water according to manufacturer’s instructions. Once the whetstone has been properly soaked in water for the allotted amount of time, the consumer can then remove it and proceed to step two.
Step Two: Sharpen The Knife On The Whetstone
The next step is to sharpen the blade. Tilting the knife at the proper angle, run it up and down the whetstone in a smooth, controlled fashion. Make sure to cover the length of the entire blade from the start of the handle to the edge. If the knife is beveled, make sure that the process is repeated on the other side. Always be sure to start the sharpening process with the whetstone’s coarser side and then transition to the finer side to put a fine edge on the blade. After sharpening, thoroughly wash and dry the knife to remove any residue leftover from the sharpening process.
Keeping A Santoku Knife In Good Condition
Before we exit this article, we would like to talk about how the consumer should maintain their Santoku knife to keep it working smoothly for many years to come. Too many people run out and buy great knives, only to use them it in the wrong way or in a way that ruins the blade. If you take the time to buy the best Santoku knife available, then you should take the steps to keep it in good condition. At least, that’s how we feel about it. To help our readers keep their blades in good condition, we’ve included the following tips. We hope they prove useful to all of our readers.
Tips For Maintaining A Santoku Knife:
- Never wash your knife in a dishwasher; Always hand wash them.
- Never leave the knife in dishwater. Wash and immediately dry them to avoid edge dulling.
- Never use the knife for purposes it wasn’t designed to do.
- Don’t use the knife to cut through bones, frozen foods or hard nuts.
- Use a blade guard if storing the blade in a drawer.
- Make sure the cutting board it’s used on is plastic or wood.
- Avoid glass cutting boards like the plague.
- Also, avoid marble cutting boards as well.
- Keep the blade sharp.