The Ultimate Kitchen Utility Player, The Santoku Knife Is A Must-Have For The Home Chef. Here Are 5 Of The Best Options In This Japanese-Style Knife.
The Santoku knife has quickly gained favor in kitchens around the world for its versatility. Originally made in Japan almost a century ago, the Santoku has become a mainstay in Western kitchens in the 21st Century.
What Is A Santoku Knife?
Known fully as the Santoku bōchō (translates to “three virtues” or “three uses” … more on that in a moment), the Santoku knife was created in Japan in the 1940s.
The Santoku knife best resembles a smaller chef’s knife, though with a sheepsfoot blade. While a traditional chef’s knife is 8- to 10-inches long, a Santoku is 5 to 7 inches in length.
What Is A Santoku Knife Used For?
The knife was created to handle the tasks of slicing, chopping, and cutting in one easy-to-use knife.
Meat, vegetables, fish, they can all be cut precisely and easily with a Santoku knife. The “three virtues” are meant to symbolize the knife’s ability to cut through numerous proteins and produce in the kitchen.
Santoku knives were meant to replace the Gyuto, Nakiri, and Deba knives which specialized in slicing meat, vegetables, and fish, respectively.
Five Of The Best Santoku Knives
With its rising popularity around the world and its flexibility in the kitchen, there are numerous companies around the world making Santoku knives. We’ve searched high and low to find five of the best at varying price points.
MAC Professional Series 6.5-Inch Santoku With Dimples
MAC has been making knives for more than half a century, and their Santoku knife is quality all the way through. Made of tempered steel, the Professional Series is a sturdy knife at 6 ounces in weight and 11.7 inches in total length.
What makes it among the best Santoku options on our list is the quality blade. Composed of high carbon chrome molybdenum Vanadium steel, it is sub-zero tempered, helping it retain a cutting edge longer. The wooden handle is a nice touch too.
The knife comes with a Granton edge. Not familiar? The dimples (actually fullers) along the edge are what make it a Granton and have a simple job–reduce friction. Thus, a knife cuts smoother, more easily and food doesn’t as readily stick to the blade.
All good stuff in the kitchen!
With an MSRP of $175, it isn’t a budget option, but this knife is one that could last for decades with proper care and upkeep.
Zwilling Twin Signature 7-Inch Hollow Edge Santoku
One of my personal favorite makers of kitchen knives, Zwilling delivers a long Santoku knife that is also affordably priced.
The low price is due to the fact that the blade is stamped rather than forged. Still, it’s good steel–a single piece of high-carbon German stainless steel. The metal registers at a 57 on the Rockwell hardness scale and holds its edge like nothing else.
Additionally, it’s a hollow ground edge, with a 10-degree edge on either side. In turn, it’s extremely fine. Finishing Santoku off is a triple-riveted ergonomic polymer handle and a Granton edge.
This knife is perfect for someone looking for an option from a trusted brand but doesn’t want to break the bank. With an MSRP of $71.99, this is a great knife for the home cook looking for a competent all-rounder in the kitchen.
Mercer Genesis Granton Edge Santoku
If you’re looking for a Santoku knife for under $50 that stands up to wear and tear, the Genesis Santoku has you covered. Forged from high-carbon German steel, the Genesis Santoku is available from numerous retailers with a price ranging from $40 to $49.99.
At that price, it really is a steal. The 7-inch blade is sharpened down to a 15-degree edge for a razor-like slice and is rated at 56 on the Rockwell scale. An ergonomic handle made of Santoprene, complete with a bolster to help with balance, provides an easy cutting experience.
In a world where knives can get ridiculously expensive, companies like Mercer are showing quality is still available at a fair price.
Miyabi Birchwood Santoku 7-Inch Knife
From affordable, we go to the top of the line with Miyabi’s Santoku knife. This is a professional-quality knife, is priced like it, and is worth the price if you are dead serious about the culinary arts.
A 63 on the Rockwell hardness scale, the Santoku features 100-layer Damascus steel exterior around an SG2 micro-carbide steel core. This makes for an unusually tough edge that is difficult to blunt.
The blade is honed using the traditional honbazuke process. It’s sharpened twice on a set of custom whetstones and polished to a mirror finish on a leather wheel. The handle is made of Masur birch and features an engraved endcap and mosaic center.
It’s definitely a lot to take in, but a lot went into making this knife. Yes, the MSRP of $349.95 stands out, but if you are a pro, or trying to cook with the type of equipment that the pros have, then the Miyabi may be the right knife for you.
Misen Santoku Knife
Misen is a relatively new cookware maker known for its high-quality knives and pans at fair prices. After starting via a Kickstarter in 2015, Misen has become one of the fastest-rising companies in the space and now offers a wide variety of knives and cookware.
Their Santoku knife is the most expensive knife it offers, but with an MSRP of $75 it is still a fairly priced knife.
The longest knife on our list at 7.5 inches, the full-tang option comes with a handle that has four customizable colors (blue, red, black, gray). The blade is made of high-carbon AUS-10 steel from the Japanese company Aichi. The highly-rated steel is made for durability and precision.
Even though it’s a younger company without the history of a brand like Wusthof or Zwilling, Misen’s knives succeed because they don’t sacrifice quality while keeping knives at an affordable price.
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