The Best Santoku Knives for Kitchen Prep
Suitable for a range of kitchen cutting tasks, a Santoku knife in the hands of an experienced cook brings efficiency and comfort to slicing.
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- Best OverallZelite Infinity Santoku Knife Alpha-Royal SeriesCheck Latest Price
- Runner UpShun Classic Hollow-Ground Santoku KnifeCheck Latest Price
- Best LightweightGlobal Santoku Hollow Ground KnifeCheck Latest Price
The Santoku knife is an all-purpose kitchen knife that originates in Japan. The knives are usually between 5 and 8 inches in length, featuring a wide blade defined by a flat edge and rounded nose. Many Santoku knives feature side grooves to prevent the sliced material from sticking to the knife, allowing for fast and smooth slicing, dicing, and chopping. The handle is mounted at the top edge so that the blade’s width is balanced against the weight of the handle, requiring less effort on the part of the cook while slicing. Ergonomically designed for comfortable working, these knives can take some practice for new owners, as they do not rock the same way as other knives. Once a chef masters the motion, however, the Santoku offers excellent precision.
Santoku knives are all roughly the same size, so shopping considerations will include the handle material and shape, type of edge grinding and angle, as well as the material used to forge the blade. Some cooks have preferences for the flatness of the edge. The best santoku knife for new users has a slightly rounded shape and is easier to use, as that shape more closely mimics the rocking motion of western chef’s knives. More experienced Santoku users will likely seek a truly flat, non-rocking blade for precision and better technique.
The Best Santoku Knife
We’ve narrowed down the market to suggest these outstanding Santoku knives—with your shopping considerations in mind, choose the tool that will suit you best in the kitchen.
BEST OVERALL: Zelite Infinity Santoku Knife Alpha-Royal Series
The Zelite Infinity Santoku Knife is made of specialized Japanese steel—AUS10 67-layer Damascus Steel—honed to a 12- to 15-degree edge angle for outstanding strength, stain resistance, and edge hardness. The 7-inch blade is 2.4 millimeters thick and features ground-out hollows on the sides for nonstick performance. The 5.5-inch long handle contains a G10 material and is rounded for superb ergonomic comfort, attached to the blade behind a tapered bolster with three rivets through the full tang. The Zelite knife is nicely weighted and heavier than many santoku knives, but perfectly balanced to do more of the work for the chef and prevent fatigue. The Zelite Infinity is sharp, durable, and comfortable to use, even for long periods of time.
RUNNER UP: Shun Classic Hollow-Ground Santoku Knife
The Shun Classic Hollow-Ground Santoku knife is based on a core of Shun’s proprietary VG-Max Steel, which is coated with 34 layers of Damascus steel on each side of the blade to support the strength of the core. The flat side of the blade is bead-blasted during production to reveal the exquisite patterning of the layers and to create a nonstick surface. The harder steel core makes the blade thinner and therefore lighter, reducing hand fatigue. The Shun Classic’s blade is honed to a 16-degree edge on both sides for extraordinary sharpness and edge retention. The Shun features a rounded ebony pakkawood handle, treated to be water-resistant, for comfort and ergonomic balance. Hollow-ground indentations allow the blade to slip through moist and sticky foods without adhering them to the blade. Elegant and built to last, the Shun can be registered and sharpened for free at Kai USA locations.
BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: Global Santoku Hollow Ground Knife
Global re-invented the balance between blade and the handle in their 7-inch Santoku Hollow Ground Knife. Rather than attaching a handle to a blade with a bolster, Global fashioned both the handle and blade from steel and connected them directly, eliminating bulk and making the knife seamless. The CroMoVa stainless steel handle is weighted with a precise amount of sand inside the sealed handle that shifts as the knife is rocked, offering a counterbalance to the chef’s hands and ensuring precise, balanced movement.
The Global santoku knife features dimples on the ergonomically shaped handle for a nonslip grip, and the shape of the handle makes it especially suited to cooks with smaller hands. The blade itself is formed from the same CroMoVa steel, a blend of vanadium and molybdenum for superior strength and edge hardness. The full face of the Global blade is sharpened instead of just the edge, a method resulting in a razor edge formed by the whole blade, which makes for a finer, sharper edge. Light and maneuverable, the Global Santoku Hollow Ground Knife is a pleasure to use.
BEST HEAVYWEIGHT: Dalstrong Santoku Knife Shogun Series
Dalstrong offers this heavy, extremely hard wearing and well-balanced Santoku Knife. Made from AUS-10V Japanese steel, the core has a Rockwell hardness of 62+. The core is ensconced in 66 layers of premium high-carbon stainless steel for durability and stain resistance. The face of the blade features small rectangular divots to give it a nonstick quality, while the entire face is honed by hand to an 8-12 degree angle on each side for scalpel-like sharpness. The steel is nitrogen-cooled during the honing process for enhanced hardness and flexibility. Triple-riveting secures the hand-polished, military-grade G10 handle to the full tang. The Dalstrong knife can take on the heaviest, most difficult jobs and the tiniest most precise ones with equal capability.
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Santoku Knife
Mercer Culinary proves that quality doesn’t have to come with a staggering price tag with its 7-inch Genesis Forged Santoku Knife. Forged from German CroMoVa steel (a blend of vanadium and molybdenum), the blade resists rust and corrosion and provides durability and edge retention. The full-tang blade runs through a soft-grip NSF-certified Santoprene handle, which offers a comfortable nonslip grip and reduces hand fatigue during long chopping sessions. The edge of the Mercer Culinary knife is taper-ground for a long-lasting sharp edge. The face of the blade features hollow-ground divots for a nonstick surface and reduced friction. The Mercer Culinary Genesis is an affordable option for cooks on a budget who don’t want to sacrifice quality and performance.
ALSO CONSIDER: Zwilling J.A. Henckels Professional Santoku Knife
Recognizing the superb precision and fine hand-feel of the Japanese Santoku knife, Zwilling J.A Henckels brings premier German engineering to the Japanese style. Their 7-inch Santoku knife is produced in Zwilling’s Sigmaforge method, using one solid piece of steel to forge the whole knife, then ice-hardening the steel for unsurpassed edge retention. The solid and stable bolster acts as a finger rest as it connects to a triple-riveted ergonomic handle. Ideal for professionals and home cooks alike, this solid performer from a trusted brand delivers precision and control to your hands.