Whether you are someone that wants to start a knife set but doesn’t have the funds to buy a complete one right away, a culinary enthusiast deciding on his first knife, or just a regular person that wants to have a knife that does it all, you might want to get the best Santoku knife for your quest to culinary perfection.
**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
What Is A Santoku Knife?
If you are familiar with sushi knives, a Santoku knife is a combination of the three traditional sushi knives Yanagiba, Deba, and Usuba. While all those three have specific tasks in making the perfect sushi, the Santoku is a knife that can do all of those individual tasks. This is the reason why sushi makers that don’t have the means to buy all the knives all at once resort in getting a Santoku for starters.
The Santoku knife is also very popular since it can be used for a lot of kitchen duties aside from making sushi. Some chefs even prefer using the Santoku over a chef’s knife due to its versatility and performance.
What Makes The Santoku Knife Great?
Aside from versatility, the Santoku knife is a favorite due to a lot of reasons, here are some of them.
Eliminating the rocking motion
To get the thinnest of slices with the most efficiency, some experts incorporate the rocking motion to make the most out of a knife’s edge. Due to the design of the Santoku knife, accurate and efficient slices are made with straight yet slightly forward motion and vertical chopping movement which causes less strain on the wrist.
Since the blade is thin, the edge is sharper compared to knives with thicker blades. Thinner blades mean more accurate and meticulous cuts. You can use the blades to fillet meat and vegetables with ease. A thin blade also means it is easier for the knife to penetrate through tough skin and meat.
Due to the thin blade and the overall composition of the Santoku, the knife is lighter compared to other knives. Another thing that makes it even lighter is the balance of its weight. The center of a Santoku knife’s weight rests in the area between the handle and the blade, making it balanced and easier to control.
Don’t get confused. The blade is thin, but it is wide; it’s not thick, but wide. This feature allows the Santoku to be more useful than it already is. You can use the width of the blade as a scoop to transfer chopped items from the chopping board to the pot without using a separate spoon or carrying the entire board over the flames.
Things To Consider In Getting A Santoku Knife
Although there are a lot of things to consider in getting a Santoku knife, there are two main factors that you should look into. It is the material and the handle.
This is the composition of the blade that is going to do all the cutting. Make sure that you know all the nitty-gritty before deciding on which material would you like your blade to be.
This is a very hard material that has a very sharp edge. It can retain its sharpness for a very long time even without sharpening.
The downside of carbon steel is its susceptibility to rust and corrosion. Even the slightest exposure to moisture will cause the material to rust. Some knife makers apply a rustproof and stain resistant coating to rectify this issue.
Carbon steel is also susceptible to chipping and breaking. A strong impact might damage the edge of the blade and render the knife useless.
This is a tough material that doesn’t break or chip easily due to strong impact. It is strong against rust and corrosion and is also very sharp.
The downside of stainless steel is its poor edge retention. A stainless steel blade can be sharp, but you need to sharpen it now and then to retain its sharpness.
A ceramic knife is very sharp. It is arguably the sharpest of all three blade materials. It is also completely immune to rust and corrosion so you can expose it to as much water as you want without worrying about damage. It doesn’t require any sharpening, and it retains its edge for a very long time.
The downside of the ceramic blade is its brittleness. Since it is very sharp and very hard, even a small impact can cause the blade to chip and break. Because of this issue, the use of ceramic knives is limited.
Know what the handle is made of then decide. The material of the handle does more than just provide you with a steady grip.
A metal handle most of the time is made of stainless steel. When it is connected to the blade as one piece, it becomes durable and immune to being broken into two. It also provides a sense of sturdiness and stability due to its weight.
The downside of a metal handle is the grip. When you have sweaty hands or has been handling greasy items, you would have a difficult time with a metal handle. Rust and stain can also develop with frequent exposure to water.
A wood handle provides a classic and elegant look to a knife. The wooden texture also provides a steady grip and a nice feel to the hand. It is also immune to rust and stains.
The issue with wood is wood rot. Constant exposure to water causes wood to harbor bacteria and causes the wood to deteriorate. Aside from wearing out, it also emits a pungent smell which can transfer to your hands during contact.
This material is a mixture of plastic and other composite materials like POM that form a durable compound. This material is immune to rust and wood rot. It is not affected by moisture and constant exposure to water is not a problem.
The main issue with a composite handle is the presence of BPA. It is a toxic substance that is a by-product of composite materials. This issue has been resolved by the discovery of BPA-free composite materials.
List of the best Santoku knife Available Today
There are other factors to consider in choosing a Santoku knife. To make it easy for you, I made a list of the best Santoku knife available in the market today. I made a detailed review of each knife including all the factors for you to decide on.
#1. Mercer Culinary Millennia 7-Inch Santoku Knife
This Santoku knife is made with high-grade Japanese carbon stainless steel. It claims to be resistant to rust and stain and even has a limited lifetime warranty. It is very sharp and retains it sharpness for a long time. But if it needs sharpening, there is no need to worry since it is very easy to sharpen.
- It has a single high-grade Japanese carbon steel blade which is razor sharp.
- The blade is rust and stain resistant, retains its edge for a long time and is easy to sharpen.
- The handle is made with Santoprene and polypropylene composite material for durability and comfort.
- The handle is equipped with textured finger points and widens at the base near the blade for a safe and steady grip.
- The knife is NSF certified for safety and performance.
- The knife is covered with a limited lifetime warranty.
- The knife is not dishwasher safe and cannot be soaked in water.
- The knife must be wiped dry immediately after wash to avoid accumulation of moisture that might affect the performance of the knife in the long run.
#2. Mercer Culinary Genesis 7-Inch Santoku Knife
Another great creation from Mercer, the difference of this Santoku with the Millennia mode is the blade. Instead of Japanese steel, it features a high carbon stainless steel German steel which the company claims to be resistant to rust and stains as well. This knife also features a bolster and a full tang construction for an improved balance and better grip.
- The blade is made of high-carbon stainless steel German blade, with a precision-forged construction and a taper-ground edge for optimum performance.
- The ergonomically designed handles are made of Santoprene and polypropylene composite materials which are non-slip, durable and food grade.
- The knife features a full-tang construction and a bolster for a steady and safe grip.
- The knife is covered with a limited lifetime warranty.
- The knife is not dishwasher safe.
- Although the knife claims to be rust resistant, avoid prolonged exposure to moisture to avoid any chance of accumulation of rust which is expected even with the highest quality of carbon steel blades.
#3. DALSTRONG Santoku Knife - Shogun Series - VG10 - 7" (180mm)
This Santoku knife somehow resembles a Japanese samurai regarding beauty and performance. Why shouldn’t it when it was crafted as close as possible to the Japanese sword making tradition.
The blade is a Japanese VG-10 stainless steel which is sloped to an 8-12° angle per side for a razor sharp edge. It has a hand-polished spine and is beautifully engraved to have that elegant look.
The handles have a detailed copper mosaic that enhances the overall beauty. It is made with a military-grade G-10 material designed ergonomically for maximum stability and comfort. The comes with a sheath and polishing cloth.
- The VG-10 Japanese super steel blade has 32-layered Damascus steel on each side for optimum durability resistance to rust and corrosion.
- The edge of the blade is sharpened through a 3-step Honbazuka method and sloped on an 8-12° on each end for surgical knife-precision and sharpness.
- The blade has a full-tang structure, secured bolster, nitrogen cooled and triple-riveted to ensure flexibility, strength, and stability.
- The handle is ergonomically designed and has non-slip properties to provide a stable and comfortable grip.
- The polished spine, classy blade engraving, and the copper mosaic all contribute to the beauty of the knife.
- It comes with a sheath, polishing cloth, and a full lifetime warranty.
- The only issue that I can think of is its higher price compared to its contemporaries. But the price is worth all the features of this knife.
#4. Victorinox 7 Inch Fibrox Pro Santoku Knife with Granton Blade, FFP
The Victorinox brand has always been synonymous with quality. This particular knife is no exception. The lightweight European carbon stainless steel is super sharp, very durable and lightweight for a precise cutting experience.
It features hollowed out grooves on each side of the blade in which air pockets are created so that food wouldn’t stick during slicing. The design combines the functionality of a chef’s knife and a cleaver. You can even use the wide blade to scoop out sliced food directly to the pan.
- The blade is made of high-carbon European steel which is durable, lightweight, and stain resistant.
- The tapered edge is grounded in two directions so it would have enough edges to sharpen and hone.
- The Granton blade is a technology in which grooves on the side of each blade are hollowed out to prevent food from sticking to the blade.
- The fibrox pro handle is ergonomically designed to provide a comfortable and steady grip. It minimizes wrist fatigue and injury.
- The lightweight design of the blade makes it feel really thin and flimsy and susceptible to breakage.
- The handle has the tendency to be slippery when wet.
#5. OXO Good Grips Professional 6-1/2-Inch Santoku Knife
The best thing about this Santoku knife is its price. It is the most affordable of all the knives on the list. It has Japanese stainless steel blade that is sharp and retains its edge for a long time. It is also equipped with a non-slip comfortable handle that provides a solid grip.
- The Japanese stainless steel blade is sharp, stain resistant, and has a full tang structure for stability and function.
- It has a non-slip and soft handle that provides a steady yet comfortable grip while chopping.
- The affordable price makes it great for those who are just starting out or cannot afford an expensive knife.
- The blade has the tendency to rush and pit easily. Make sure to dry immediately after washing.
- The blade also has the tendency to chip easily upon strong impact. Avoid using with hard meat or chicken to avoid potential contact with bones.
The obvious winner for me is the DALSTRONG Santoku Knife - Shogun Series - VG10 - 7" (180mm). The high price is just enough for a knife that provides an amazing cutting experience. The Japanese VG10 blade layered with Damascus steel provides optimum blade performance and at the same time provides a high aesthetic value. The handle is perfect to the touch and also perfect to look at with its copper mosaic. Plus it has a full lifetime warranty. It has everything that you need in a Santoku knife and more.