Japan’s smiths are devoted to creating the perfect blade and in their deep study of knives, they’ve introduced tiny intricacies to drastically improve the utensil. Case in point: the santoku knife. Santoku is a Japanese term that means “three virtues” and, as its moniker suggests, this knife is a triple threat. Capable of slicing, dicing and mincing, this highly-versatile companion can tackle almost any kitchen chore you throw at it.
The knife typically has a 7-inch razor-shape blade with a traditional tsuchime (hammered) finish. Aside from looking remarkably striking, these dimples prevent ingredients from sticking to the blade and ensure clean cutting. On top of that, the blade sports a slight curve that runs from the spin to the edge to support smooth slicing.
A good santoku knife should feel like an extension of your arm and be fitted with a comfortable handle that will allow you to chop away for hours on end. Here, four of the best santoku knives on Amazon which fit that bill.
1. Zwilling 7-Inch Santoku Knife
Handcrafted in Germany, this full tang santoku knife features a 7-inch blade which is triple-riveted for greater control while cutting. The blade itself is forged from Zwilling’s propriety high-carbon stainless steel—the formula of which has been perfected over 280 years—then ice-hardened to ensure it retains its sharpness and strength longer. Rather than the traditional tsuchime (hammered) finish, the knife has several oval cut-outs that allow cooks to slice ingredients paper-thin without worrying about them sticking to the blade.
Pros: The curved butt and sturdy bolster provide the perfect balance for safe and comfortable cutting.
Cons: It has a 57 Rockwell Hardness, so it may have slightly less edge retention than others on this list.
2. Wusthof 7-Inch Santoku Knife
Wusthof forges its santoku knives with laser-guided precision. That means the 7-inch blade is not only thin but exceptionally sharp. With a 14° edge on each side, the blade will slice through all manner of ingredients with ease, while the oval cut-outs will prevent food from catching on the blade. The pebbled thermoplastic handle has a lightweight feel and has been ergonomically crafted to minimize cutting fatigue.
Pros: The sharp edge makes slicing softer ingredients, like kiwi and tomato, a cinch.
Cons: Its thinness may make it too flimsy for the tougher jobs.
3. Dalstrong Santoku Knife
Dalstrong by name, Dal-very-strong by nature. This burly santoku knife is as tough as nails and built to last a lifetime. The 7-inch blade is sandwiched between 66 layers of high-carbon stainless steel and then nitrogen cooled to make it even more robust. Of course, the full tang blade is also triple-riveted for added durability. Instead of the traditional tsuchime finish, Dalsrong has opted for rectangular “Rockhollow” divots that also serve to minimize resistance. The “military-grade” handle is impervious to heat, cold and moisture and delivers superior control via a natural pinch grip.
Pros: It has an incredible 62+ Rockwell Hardness which means the edge will stay sharp for an exceptionally long time. It’s also the most affordable option on this list.
Cons: Some people may prefer the classic tsuchime finish.
4. Shun 7-Inch Santoku Knife
Every inch of this light and agile santoku knife has been handcrafted with the utmost care by the experts at Shun. The VG-MAX “super steel” 16° double-bevel blade features 34 layers of Damascus cladding on each side for unparalleled strength. The knife is perfectly balanced so maneuvering is a dream. Since it’s a little shorter than most chef’s knives, it’s fit for a variety of purposes and a true workhorse. From the hammered tsuchime finish to the artful pakkawood handle, this santoku knife is a true testament to Japanese design.
Pros: It’s practically a work of art that can be proudly displayed in the kitchen.
Cons: It’s the most expensive santoku knife on this list.