Santoku Vs Chef Knife – What Makes These Two Unique

Santoku Vs Chef Knife – What Makes These Two Unique?

Many people often have a question what is the difference between Santoku VS Chef knife? A Santoku and a Chef’s Knife appear to be extremely similar for beginners and ordinary home cooks. However, there are a few key differences between them. It is critical to grasp these distinctions to select the best kitchen knife for your cutting needs.

The most noticeable difference between them is the form of the blade. A Chef’s knife has a sharp tip, whereas a Santoku knife has a curve that runs from the spine to the edge. As a result, both knives necessitate a distinct sharpening process.

A Chef knife is best for slicing and rocking and, do you know what Santoku knife is best for? While a Santoku knife is ideal for chopping quickly. But from both knives, what type of knives do Chefs use? Professional chefs use both Santoku and Chef’s knives for a range of cutting tasks. Both forms of cutlery have their uses in a kitchen knife set, but there are some key differences.

Learn more about Santoku Vs. Chef’s knives in this article to choose which is best for you. We examine the distinctions between these two types of knives, focusing on their performance, design, blade length, material, and handles.

What is a Hollow Edge Santoku Knife used for?

The Hollow Edge Santoku knife is useful for dicing, mincing, and chopping. Still, it really shines when it comes to getting fine, nearly translucent slices of your favorite vegetable or meat. With this knife, you can complete any slicing-related cutting work. Furthermore, as the name implies, the Santoku knife can dice vegetables, mincemeat, cut herbs, and slice cheese.

Comparison between a Santoku vs Chef Knife:

The key differences between a Santoku and a chef knife are:

Santoku Knife Chef Knife
Size 5 – 7 inches 8 – 10 inches
  • Hollowed-out indentations
  • Easier to release food
  • Broad, tapered shape
Best Uses
  • Downward movement and forward/backward motions
  • Faster, thinner, precision slicing and peeling with easy food release
  • Delicate foods, eg. fruits, soft vegetables, seafood, chicken, and cheeses
  • Ideal for smaller hands
  • Rocking motion technique or
    “rock chop”
  • Thicker slicing for heavier food types and disjointing meats
  • Denser meats, fruits
    and root vegetables
  • Good for all sized hands
Weight Lighter Heavier

Santoku knives:

 Santoku knives

As the name suggests, this knife is of Asian origin and originates in Japan. The word means “three virtues” or “three uses.” The term implies a multi-purpose knife capable of slicing, mincing, and dicing.

Main Features:

  • It was invented in Japan
  • A thinner blade enables for more precise slicing
  • It is possible to have a single or double bevel
  • Typically does not include a bolster
  • It’s lighter to hold
  • Sizes range from 5″ to 7.9″

A Santoku knife is ideal for:

  • Cheese Slicing
  • Meat or herbs should be minced.
  • Making incredibly thin slices.

Blade Length:

Santoku knives have a shorter blade than chef’s knives and are roughly 6 inches long. The shorter blade allows more control, which is especially advantageous for inexperienced chefs.

Blade Material:

Most of Santoku knife’s blades are constructed from Japanese knife steels such as Shirogami, Aogami, and VG10. Because the qualities of these steels differ, so do the prices of various Santoku knives. The greatest Santoku knives blades are constructed of Damascus-patterned VG10 stainless steel. VG10 is a high-quality Japanese stainless steel with exceptional hardness, edge retention, and corrosion resistance.


The majority of Santoku kitchen knives’ handles are made of wood. Handles are made from a variety of woods. The most common wood used for handles is Japanese white-bark magnolia. Sometimes expensive/high-grade kitchen knives are made from yew trees (Taxus Cuspidata) or blackwood (Ebony).


You can sharpen a Santoku knife to 10 to 15 degrees It is easy to sharpen a Santoku knife because of the single side angle and lack of bolster. Sharpening these knives with a whetstone is the most effective method. You should avoid using honing steel because it may harm the thinner blade of this knife.

  • A Santoku knife is typically lighter than a Western chef’s knife, which some cooks prefer since they find a lighter knife simpler to operate.
  • Santoku knives are faster to cut with because they are tougher, thinner, and do not require a rocking action.
  • These knives typically lack a bolster, making them easier to sharpen.
  • Because the blades on these knives are narrower than those on Western knives, they can make thinner cuts.
  • Although the lack of a bolster allows for easier sharpening, it is also a disadvantage. There is no protection to keep your fingers from sliding over the blade because there is no bolster.
  • Because of their flexibility, these knives are not suitable for many difficult tasks, such as deboning meat or carving tougher vegetables.



What is a Santoku Knife good for?

The Santoku knives are good for a variety of cutting techniques. Following practice with solid knife skills, here are four uses to which Santoku knives are good for:

Dicing: To dice vegetables or fruits, use the cutting edge of a rocking Santoku knife. The keen edges of these multi-purpose knives slice through organic materials like air.

General Cutting: Santoku knives can be used for general cutting as well as precision cutting operations. You may cut meat with their sharp knives. However, keep in mind that boning or disjointing tough portions of meat will almost certainly necessitate using a different type of knife. You can use a nakiri knife (a Japanese cleaver-style knife) or specially designed boning knives for this purpose.

Mincing: Place some ingredients on a chopping board and begin mincing them with your Santoku knife in a rocking motion. You’ll be able to mince things as thinly and precisely as you like, especially if you use a knife sharpener.

Slicing: These Japanese knives are great for making thin slices. This is largely because their blades are so light and sharp. So you can effortlessly take a thin slice of your favorite seafood or vegetable with a Santoku knife.

What is a Santoku Knife good for

How to Choose a Santoku Knife?

Performance, comfort, stability, and aesthetics are important to consider when purchasing a knife. In addition, consider distinctive features that you may (or may not) utilize and appreciate, such as a storage sheath, self-sharpening capabilities, or dishwasher compatibility. Here are some important considerations to bear in mind while looking for the greatest Santoku knife on the (butcher) block.

Ergonomics & Handle:

As you’ll be spending a lot of time with this blade, you’ll want to choose a model that feels comfortable and durable in your hand. However, there are a few points to consider: Wooden handles, while appealing, require more upkeep than plastic, rubber, and composite (i.e.wood-plastic resin blends) models.

Handles made entirely of natural grain do not hold up well to water exposure, wear out faster, and are prone to bacterial growth. Aside from sanitary and durability concerns, choose a handle material that you can obtain a good grip on, which may vary from cook to chef. If you frequently have sweaty palms, for example, a handle with rubber ribs or dots rather than a fully smooth, slippery-when-wet design is necessary.

Material of the Blade:

Santoku knives from Japan are traditionally manufactured of Japanese high-carbon steel, the gold standard for most cooks since it is an exceedingly durable metal that retains its sharpness and resists rust and discoloration. However, there are several high-quality stainless-steel knives available.

Edge and Blade Size:

Santoku knives are distinguished by their downturned tip and straighter cutting edge (in comparison, a chef knife has a pointed tip and curved cutting edge, positioned at 20 to 22 degrees). Santokus normally have seven-inch blades, but five-inch blades are also popular.

While longer knives are great for the type of single-stroke cuts you’ll want to make while slicing, a Santoku knife’s wider, chubbier form is better for chopping, requiring more vertical rocking movement than a vertical, horizontal sawing.

Design of the Blade:

Santoku blades feature a dimpled hammered finish for fast, quick cutting without repeatedly removing food off the edge. Many current Santoku knives have a more modern, performance-oriented interpretation on this all-over hammered look, with strategically placed notches (also called grooves, dimples or Cullens).

These minor depressions allow air to pass between the object being cut and the blade, allowing for easier slicing and preventing food from adhering to the knife—especially good for juicier things like ripe tomatoes.

Chef’s knives:

Chef’s knives

Though initially intended for slicing meat, a chef’s knife is now commonly used as a multi-purpose knife. This knife is supposed to have originated in Europe and spread throughout the world.

Main Features:

  • Its origins can be traced back to Germany and France.
  • It can be of straight blades, but serrated blades are also available.
  • The blade is broad and curved upward to produce a point.
  • Normally, only double bevels are used.
  • A bolster is included.
  • It’s heavier to hold.
  • Sizes range from 6″ to 12″.

A chef’s knife is ideal for:

  • Cutting, slicing, and separating meat (its pointed tip is well suited for this).
  • Cutting that is versatile or difficult.
  • Cheese is being sliced.
  • Fruit and vegetable chopping and dicing

Blade Length:

A chef’s knife blade is normally 8 inches long; however, a 10-inch blade is not uncommon. These useful knives have a sharp tip and a curved double bevel cutting edge with a 20 to 25-degree angle, allowing the user to cut with a fluid rocking action.

Blade Material:

The majority of chef knives blades are composed of stainless steel. There are numerous stainless steel variants, and producers have many possibilities to pick from. For their chef knives, Wusthof Knife Company uses high carbon stainless steel with a hardness of 58 HRC. They, in my opinion, represent the best craftsmanship in chef knives available today.


Traditionally, the handles of chef’s knives were made of wood. The Chef Knife handles solid composition and, textured grain provides a comfortable grip, durable, comfortable, and aesthetic appeal.


Because most Chef’s knives have an angle on both sides, they can be sharpened to 15 to 20 degrees on both sides. In addition, a Chef’s knife can be sharpened with a whetstone or honing steel. However, due to the existence of bolster, it can be a time-consuming and attention-demanding exercise.

  • A chef’s knife is more versatile than a Santoku in many aspects since it can be used for both precise and demanding tasks. They can readily serve vegetables, meat, or fish.
  • Chef’s knives are more durable because of the materials used to make them. They are less likely to chip than Japanese knives because they are softer. They are often composed of stain- and rust-resistant materials.
  • A chef’s knife, unlike the Santoku, includes a bolster, which provides finger safety by preventing your fingertips from sliding onto the blade.
  • Chef’s knives have a superior grip to Japanese blades due to the design of their handles.
  • The long blade is useful for slicing larger ingredients, but it makes the knife difficult to wield.
  • Because chef’s knives are made of weaker metal, they require more frequent sharpening.



What Does a Chef’s Knife do?

Chef’s knives are as versatile as they come. They excel at both tiny chores such as cutting herbs, julienning carrots and mincing garlic and larger activities such as dicing a large onion, spatchcocking a chicken, and slicing a ham.

It’s relatively usual for modern American home kitchens to only have a few knives, with a multi-purpose knife like a chef’s knife being a popular choice. As a result, you have a small but powerful blade lineup combined with a sharp knife (for detail-oriented chores such as delicate peeling and slicing) and a utility knife (for tasks such as slicing bread).

Chef’s knives are also excellent for cutting meats and separating meat from the bone. Carving knives and kitchen devices such as electric carvers are unnecessary when you have a good chef’s knife on hand.

What Does a Chef's Knife do

How to Choose a Chef Knife?

If you’re wondering how to choose a chef knife, below are the following factors to consider: weight, size, material, and balance.


For a chef, weight is subjective: what is satisfyingly substantial for one cook may be unpleasant and unwieldy for another. A hefty knife is great for slicing stubborn root vegetables or cutting through dense meat and poultry bone. A lighter one is better for quickly cutting more brittle items. Ideally, you should have both, but consider the cooking you do and your comfortable weight if you can only afford one.


Balance is in the eye of the beholder, and it can be measured in two ways: When you hold a knife with the tip pointing away from your torso, it shouldn’t take much effort to keep it straight. But, on the other hand, it should also be easy to keep an even keel when holding it perpendicular to yourself (the blade at a right angle to your arm).


Because of its versatility, an 8-inch chef’s knife is the most popular among home cooks. A 10-inch blade may cut more volume, but it can be scary. A 6-inch chef’s knife has the ability of a paring knife but falls short when working with volume or slicing through anything enormous, such as a watermelon.

Blade Material:

Blades are composed of several sheets of steel, but the best and most practical is a high-carbon “no-stain steel.” This unique cutlery steel combines the look and durability of stainless steel with some of the sharpening capabilities of carbon steel. The greater carbon content of the blade lets it easily take a sharp edge, while the stainless steel resists discoloration and rusting.

Santoku Vs Chef Knife – FAQs

Can a Santoku knife replaces a chef's knife?
No, a Santoku knife is not intended to replace a chef knife, despite being used for the same purpose. A Santoku knife is lighter than a chef knife and has a thinner blade, making it ideal for certain types of cutting that a chef knife may not be capable of.
What is the point of a Santoku knife?
In food preparation, chopping, dicing, and mincing are the “three virtues” or “three uses.” It excels at these activities but avoids chopping huge meat bones, slicing bread, and specific chores (such as peeling). Instead, Santoku knives are particularly adept at cutting foods into very thin slices, which improves the overall aesthetics of finished dishes.
Are Santoku knives good for cutting meat?
Santoku knives are excellent for slicing meat. They are known as the Japanese all-arounder knife, although they require a little more maintenance and care than their more robust western knife equivalents. Hard bones, in particular, can destroy a Santoku knife because Japanese blades, while sharp, are often brittle than western type knives.
Do chefs use Santoku knives?
Santoku and Chef’s knives are used for various cutting activities by home cooks and professional chefs. Both forms of cutlery have their uses in a kitchen knife set, but there are some key differences.


Bottom Line: Santoku Vs Chef Knife – Which is Better for You

The choice between a Chef’s knife and a Santoku knife comes down to your chopping style and personal preferences. Cooks with small hands prefer the Santoku, which is smaller and lighter, whereas chefs with larger hands prefer the Chef’s knife. Because both knives are useful in the kitchen, it is wise to have both.