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The Best Santoku Knife - 2021

Last updated on December 29, 2020

We looked at the top 10 Santoku Knives and dug through the reviews from 29 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best Santoku Knives.

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Our Picks For The Top Santoku Knives

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  Our Top Pick

KYOKU Santoku Chef Knife with Sheath Case

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

KYOKU

Santoku Chef Knife with Sheath Case

Overall Take

Ultra SharpThis knife is extremely sharp and durable, and it comes with a handy sheath case.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.
  Best for Serious Cooks

Gunter Wilhelm Santoku Knife

Gunter Wilhelm

Santoku Knife

Overall Take

Multipurpose WorkhorseThis knife can handle any kitchen task with ease.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.
  Best for Families

Mercer Culinary Granton Edge Santoku Knife

Mercer Culinary

Granton Edge Santoku Knife

Overall Take

Slip ResistantThis knife will keep on chopping through hectic kitchen conditions.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon and WebstaurantStore.

MAD SHARK Santoku Knife

MAD SHARK

Santoku Knife

Overall Take

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus Ktchn Dad, Kitchen Ultimate, KnifeBuzz. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" The handle has been triple riveted and ergonomically designed to balance perfectly in the palm of the hand, giving you a steady grip and adding precision to every movement."
Cons
"Some users complain of the blade being too heavy"
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
17

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the santoku knives available to purchase.
10

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

29

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Ktchn Dad, Kitchen Ultimate, KnifeBuzz, The Kitchennin, Cookware Stuffs.

17,075

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including

Our experts reviewed the top 10 Santoku Knives and also dug through the reviews from 29 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Santoku Knives.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

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Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

KYOKU Santoku Chef Knife with Sheath Case

User Summarized Score

9.8
15 user reviews

Our Take

This Santoku knife can cut through almost anything. It's manufactured with the sharpest Japanese steel for smooth cuts through everything from onions to tough squash. The lifetime warranty guarantees you'll have this beauty in your kitchen for years to come. In our test kitchen, this knife cut really smoothly — like butter. It felt sturdy in the hand. We liked that it came with a velvet sheath case and a box that you can store it in.


The Best Bang For Your Buck

Mercer Culinary Granton Edge Santoku Knife

User Summarized Score

9.4
4,204 user reviews

Our Take

This Granton-edge knife is designed to hold fast in slippery conditions. The ergonomic handle's slip-resistant finger points and protective finger guard will keep your hands and food safe in wet or sweaty conditions. The blade is made from a single piece of easy-to-maintain carbon.

Overall Product Rankings

KYOKU Santoku Chef Knife with Sheath Case

1. KYOKU Santoku Chef Knife with Sheath Case

Overall Score: 9.9
Reviews Included: 1

Gunter Wilhelm Santoku Knife

2. Gunter Wilhelm Santoku Knife

Overall Score: 9.7
Reviews Included: 1

Mercer Culinary Granton Edge Santoku Knife

3. Mercer Culinary Granton Edge Santoku Knife

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 2

MAD SHARK Santoku Knife

4. MAD SHARK Santoku Knife

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 4

Kai Santoku Knife

5. Kai Santoku Knife

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 12

Victorinox Santoku Knife

6. Victorinox Santoku Knife

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 6

Zelite Infinity Santoku Knife

7. Zelite Infinity Santoku Knife

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 9

PAUDIN High Carbon Stainless Steel Santoku Knife, 7-Inch

8. PAUDIN High Carbon Stainless Steel Santoku Knife, 7-Inch

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 4

DALSTRONG Hyper Steel Santoku Knife

9. DALSTRONG Hyper Steel Santoku Knife

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 4

Mercer Culinary Renaissance Santoku Knife

10. Mercer Culinary Renaissance Santoku Knife

Overall Score: 5.8
Reviews Included: 4

Our Santoku Knife Findings


KYOKU Santoku Chef Knife with Sheath Case

What We Liked: This Santoku knife can cut through almost anything. It’s manufactured with the sharpest Japanese steel for smooth cuts through everything from onions to tough squash. The lifetime warranty guarantees you’ll have this beauty in your kitchen for years to come. In our test kitchen, this knife cut really smoothly — like butter. It felt sturdy in the hand. We liked that it came with a velvet sheath case and a box that you can store it in.


PAUDIN High Carbon Stainless Steel Santoku Knife, 7-Inch

What We Liked: This knife’s ergonomic handle creates a perfect grip. The seven-inch length makes it easier to manage than larger chef’s knives. The high-carbon stainless steel blade is rust-resistant for years of sharp cuts.

The PAUDIN High Carbon Stainless Steel Santoku Knife is a 7-inch kitchen knife that is crafted in the style of Japanese knives.

The full length of the knife is actually just over 12-inches, but the category it fits into is that of the 7-inch knife, as this measure refers to blade length. The blade on this Santoku Knife is 6.7-inches long and only 0.1-inches thick.

With a weight of 6.87 ounces, this knife is lighter and shorter than some traditional kitchen knives and this makes it easier to use for a variety of things, whether cutting through large cuts of meat or chopping vegetables for dinner preparation.

The handle has a great wooden finish and is ergonomically shaped so you won’t tire your hand out while using the knife.

The blade is made from German steel and cooled with liquid nitrogen. There are indentations on the sides of the knife blade that allow it to slice through moist things like raw fish, as the indentations prevent suction from slowing the blade down.

The sharp edge of the blade comes with an angle of 12-14 degrees and has been designed for edge retention. This allows the knife to remain sharp for a long time. Additionally, it is an easy knife to sharpen, when the time comes.

The look of this knife was meant to be impressive. The Pakkawood handle is rich and dark in color, while the blade itself has a striking waved pattern that makes it stand out from standard knives.

The knife is well-balanced with the center of gravity almost directly at the base of the blade where it attaches to the handle. This even weight distribution lets you wield it confidently and have great control over the blade.

This Japanese-style knife has proven itself to withstand the rigors of the restaurant industry, but it makes a great household knife that can do most of the heavy lifting you will need from a kitchen knife.

The PAUDIN High Carbon Stainless Steel Santoku Knife is a 7-inch kitchen knife that is crafted in the style of Japanese knives.

The full length of the knife is actually just over 12-inches, but the category it fits into is that of the 7-inch knife, as this measure refers to blade length. The blade on this Santoku Knife is 6.7-inches long and only 0.1-inches thick.

With a weight of 6.87 ounces, this knife is lighter and shorter than some traditional kitchen knives and this makes it easier to use for a variety of things, whether cutting through large cuts of meat or chopping vegetables for dinner preparation.

The handle has a great wooden finish and is ergonomically shaped so you won’t tire your hand out while using the knife.

The blade is made from German steel and cooled with liquid nitrogen. There are indentations on the sides of the knife blade that allow it to slice through moist things like raw fish, as the indentations prevent suction from slowing the blade down.

The sharp edge of the blade comes with an angle of 12-14 degrees and has been designed for edge retention. This allows the knife to remain sharp for a long time. Additionally, it is an easy knife to sharpen, when the time comes.

The look of this knife was meant to be impressive. The Pakkawood handle is rich and dark in color, while the blade itself has a striking waved pattern that makes it stand out from standard knives.

The knife is well-balanced with the center of gravity almost directly at the base of the blade where it attaches to the handle. This even weight distribution lets you wield it confidently and have great control over the blade.

This Japanese-style knife has proven itself to withstand the rigors of the restaurant industry, but it makes a great household knife that can do most of the heavy lifting you will need from a kitchen knife.


Gunter Wilhelm Santoku Knife

What We Liked: This Santoku knife slices, dices, minces and more. The scalloped details on the edge make it easier to remove stuck-on food while you’re cooking. It’s built extra tough thanks to a multi-stage heat treatment and ice-hardening process.


Mercer Culinary Granton Edge Santoku Knife

What We Liked: This Granton-edge knife is designed to hold fast in slippery conditions. The ergonomic handle’s slip-resistant finger points and protective finger guard will keep your hands and food safe in wet or sweaty conditions. The blade is made from a single piece of easy-to-maintain carbon.


DALSTRONG Hyper Steel Santoku Knife

What We Liked: This knife’s exceptional craftsmanship sets it apart from the pack. The edge boasts scalpel-level sharpness, and the 66 layers of steel are nitrogen-cooled for enhanced hardness. The military grade handle is impervious to heat, cold and moisture. In our testing, we liked that this knife came with a leather sheath and that the handle had beautiful accents.

Our Expert Consultant

Julie Chernoff
Culinary Expert

Julie Chernoff is a long-time member of Les Dames d’Escoffier (past president of the Chicago Chapter, and current co-chair of the LDEI Legacy Awards Committee), the Association of Food Journalists (AFJ) and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

Chernoff is the dining editor of Better, a lifestyle website and print magazine. Her journalism started in the test kitchens of Weight Watchers Magazine. She holds a BA in English from Yale University and is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy. She has spent the last few decades styling, photographing, teaching, developing recipes, editing, thinking and writing about food.

Our Santoku Knife Buying Guide

“Don’t play with knives” is common advice for young children, but the rules get a little looser once you’re an adult, especially when you’re cooking. You can’t chop your onions or julienne your carrots with any old knife — you’ve got to try out a few different designs and brands to discover the best knife for the job.

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Knives come in many different styles to match different purposes. Chef’s knives are the workhorses of the kitchen: they run up to 14” long and are used for everything from chopping nuts to slicing herbs. Paring knives are much smaller and used peel and cut small fruits and veggies. You can use heavy meat cleavers to split chicken or beef from a bone, and create perfect single servings of fish with delicate fillet knives. Then there are Santoku knives. 

“The Japanese Santoku knife is highly versatile,” says Julie Chernoff, dining editor of Better, a lifestyle website and print magazine. “It is similar to the Western chef’s knife in many ways, including the general shape of the blade, which is tapered toward the point from a broad blade, meant for rocking the blade while cutting or chopping so that the knife blade never fully leaves the cutting board.”

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For many home cooks, Santoku knives are less intimidating than chef’s knives. They’re shorter and have a curved “sheep’s foot” tip that forms a gentle point. They usually have a more balanced weight distribution, so they’re a bit easier to grip. 

Many Santoku knives also have a “Granton edge,” which refer to the dimples on the surface of the blade’s edge that help prevent ingredients from sticking to the blade. “Because of the Granton edge, these are best sharpened by a professional,” Chernoff says.

Overall, Santoku knives are very user-friendly and an asset to any kitchen. “Even its name tells you what it is meant to do,” says Chernoff. “Santoku means ‘three uses:’ mince, slice and dice.” 

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So how do you choose a great Santoku knife? First, figure out if the knives you’re looking at are forged or stamped. Forged knives are crafted from a single piece of hot steel that’s been cut into shape. They’ve got bolsters, which are thick sections of steel that provide a seamless transition from the blade to the handle. They’ve also got heels, which are the thickest piece of the blade right above the handle. A knife heel is designed to chop hard foods like carrots or nuts. 

Forged knives are more expensive than stamped knives, which are machine-made. They have equal thickness throughout the blade, and they don’t have heels or bolsters. Forged knives can still perform well in the kitchen, and they’re great for beginner cooks who need some practice before investing in a pricier forged knife. 

Ceramic knives are a newer option. They have impressive, razor-sharp blades that stay sharp longer than steel knives. They’re also lightweight and agile. However, they don’t have bolsters or heels and they’re not heavy enough to tackle tough vegetables. They work better as a complement to steel knives, not a replacement.

The best knife in the world won’t perform well if it has a bad handle. Handles are made from natural materials, like wood, or different kinds of tough plastics. Wood handles look lovely, but they might not stand up to wet conditions as well as plastic knives. You’ll want a handle that’s ergonomic and well-balanced for controlled, even chops. 

Now that you know the basics about general-purpose Santoku knives, check out our Tips &  Advice for sharp ideas on picking the right one.

DWYM Fun Fact

Santokus are a relatively new kid on the knife block. They became popular in the mid-1940s, near the end of World War II. Japanese chefs were intrigued by some of the Western cooking they’d tasted and created their own version of the ubiquitous chef’s knife. Their mid-length creation took off, and now Santoku knives are common in kitchens around the globe. 

They named the knife “Santoku” because the word translates to “three virtues” in Japanese. These virtues are the three tasks that a Santoku knife excels at: chopping, dicing and mincing. You can’t ask for much more from a general-purpose knife.

The Santoku Knife Tips and Advice

  • The right knife will be an appropriate length for your daily cooking needs. A knife’s length is measured from the tip of the blade down to the top of the heel (or the beginning of the handle for stamped knives). Six-inch Santoku knives are agile, but they might not be right for chopping larger foods. A ten-inch Santoku knife can chop plenty of large fruits, veggies and meats, but they’re tougher to manage. A Santoku knife in the eight-inch range is ideal for most daily tasks. 
  • Keep your Santoku knife very clean to avoid rust and stains. You’ll want to hand wash it after every use with warm or cool water and dish soap. Use a non-scratch sponge to remove any stuck food. 
  • NEVER place your Santoku knife in the dishwasher, even if the manufacturer says it’s okay. The hot water can damage the blade, and your knife’s blade will get dull or chip if it knocks into other cutlery.
  • Sharp knives are much safer than dull knives. Dull knives slide around on the surface of the food you’re cutting instead of slicing straight through, and that sliding can cause you to miss your mark and nick your finger. To maintain a sharp edge, buy a knife sharpener online or take your Santoku knife to a hardware store a few times a year for a professional sharpening. 
  • The round metal pole that comes with many knife sets isn’t a knife sharpener: it’s actually a honing rod, which is used to keep the blade straight.  Stainless steel Santoku knives should be honed every 2-4 uses. Carbon steel knives need to be honed after every use. Your Santoku knife will only need to be sharpened about once or twice a year if you keep it honed.

About The Author

Abby Stassen
Abby Stassen 

Abby Stassen has a bachelor's degree in English language & literature from the University of Michigan. She's been writing professionally for over a decade. Food is medicine, and if you've got the right tools you can have fun creating delicious medicine every day. Abby loves cooking, and she only uses kitchen products that meet her exacting standards. Whether it's air fryers, electric steamers or the perfect set of cutlery, Abby knows which kitchen products deserve an online mention.