We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.
Santoku translates to "three virtues" in Japanese, and for a good reason. The multipurpose Japanese-style knife is great for dicing, mincing, and slicing, as MasterClass explains. Unlike Western-style knives, santoku knives feature a thin blade with a curved tip. The blade can also act as a board scraper to help you transfer food once it’s cut.
When it comes to santoku knives — or any other knives, for that matter — the quality of the blade is paramount. And while the type of knife you purchase will probably depend on your kitchen endeavors and budget, decent santoku knives should be sturdy enough to resist breaks and chips. Knife toughness is measured on the Rockwell Hardness Scale (HRC). While more affordable knives measure between 52 and 54 HRC, the pricier options can go up to 66 HRC (via FN Sharp).
Ready to make fast work of cutting meat, fish, and veggies? Here’s our list of the best santoku knives of 2023.
How we selected products
Whether you’re shredding cabbage or dicing onions, a quality santoku knife can make the job a whole lot easier. However, with so many santoku knives on the market, ranging from tens to hundreds of dollars in price, picking the right kitchen tool for your needs can be overwhelming. Luckily, we have done the running around for you. Our mission to bring you a roundup of the best santoku knives has taken us to some of the most remote corners of the internet, where we looked at both pros and cons of each product. We also consulted hundreds of expert and personal reviews to ensure that each santoku knife on our list lives up to your expectations.
When researching the best santoku knives on the market, we took into account a number of very specific criteria. For starters, we looked at each knife’s size. While most santoku knives measure 7 inches, smaller versions are also available. Next, we took into account blade material and quality. Lastly, we took a closer look at each product’s handle since we know that prepping a meal should never equate to hand fatigue.
Best overall santoku knife
Stamped in Germany from a single piece of stainless steel, the 7-inch Zwilling J.A. Henckels twin signature knife features a sharp Friodur ice-hardened blade with 15-degree edges. Patented in 1939, Friodur is a little bit of a mystery. According to Nothing but Knives, a Zwilling representative has described it as a "process where the steel is dipped more than once into extremely cold temperatures to make [it] harder and more stain resistant." The blade comes with grantons, or small indentations that stop ingredients from sticking during use. Plus, it has scored 57 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale, which means that it’s going to retain its sharpness over time. In addition, the knife’s triple-riveted polymer handle is both comfortable and balanced to minimize wrist fatigue.
Standing testament to its exceptional quality, the Zwilling J.A. Henckels twin signature knife has received a glowing 4.8 out of 5 stars from Amazon shoppers. It should stand the test of time too, per one Amazon customer: "The twin signature series knives hold a good edge, are well balanced, and look great. I’ve had my set for 20 years and they look like new still (hand wash only)."
At the time of this writing, you can purchase the Zwilling J.A. Henckels twin signature knife from Amazon starting at $73.49.
Best budget santoku knife
At around $20, the Mercer Culinary santoku knife is an absolute steal. Made from HRC 53-54 high carbon Japanese steel, the 7-inch knife features a grooved blade. When cutting meat, the grooves fill with fat and juices to make fast work of getting your protein ready to serve, as explained by WebstaurantStore. The textured santoprene and polypropylene handle is slip-resistant and features a finger shield to protect you from accidental cuts. The Mercer Culinary santoku knife is backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
Despite its low price, the Mercer Culinary santoku knife has received outstanding reviews on different platforms, with Best Views Reviews awarding it 8.4 out of 10 stars and Amazon 4.8 out of 5 stars. One satisfied customer said, "I’ve purchased several Mercer knives and they are extremely sharp, hold an edge for a very long time, and generally do what a knife is supposed to do. You could pay a lot more money and not get a better knife. The molded handle may not look as fancy as higher priced knives, but I haven’t any issues with the handle and if fits my hand well."
At the time of this writing, you can purchase the Mercer Culinary santoku knife from Amazon starting at $22.
Best santoku knife for a splurge
The Miyabi birchwood santoku knife is the brainchild of the Miyabi brand, which is a subsidiary of the renowned German company Zwilling, as CookLoveEat explains. Aside from its fancy pedigree, the pricey 7-inch knife comes with some impressive specs. Made with 101 layers of steel, including a G2 micro-carbide powder steel core, the handy kitchen tool has been ice-hardened to a very solid 63 HRC. In addition, the knife’s Damascus-style blade has been forged to an ultra-thin 9.5 to 12-degree katana edge for both retention and flexibility.
Everten Love to Cook applauds the Miyabi santoku knife for its razor-sharp design, ergonomic handle, and balanced weight. The blog also highlights the knife’s durability, pointing to its lifetime warranty. The Curated Cook echoes this sentiment, adding that while the knife is great for chopping vegetables, it shouldn’t be used for tasks like cutting through chicken bones.
Clearly impressed with the knife, Amazon shoppers have awarded the handy kitchen tool 4.6 out of 5 stars. One customer calls the Miyabi santoku knife a "Great product," elaborating, "This is by far the most beautiful knife I’ve ever owned. I was hesitant at first to even use it because I didn’t want to stain it. But it is extremely sharp; the cutting ability is superb. It’s a pleasure to do prep work in the kitchen now."
At the time of this writing, you can purchase the Miyabi birchwood santoku knife from Amazon starting at $349.95.
Best santoku knife set
The MOSFiATA santoku knife set comes with a 7-inch santoku knife, a protective finger guard, and a knife sharpener. Crafted from rust-resistant German stainless steel, the knife features 14 to 16 degrees edges and rates 52 on the HRC scale, making it somewhat softer than some of the more expensive santoku knives on the market. Last but not least, the triple-rivet Micarta handle ensures a stable grip while minimizing hand fatigue. The three-piece set comes in a beautiful black box, making it an ideal gift.
Overall, the MOSFiATA santoku knife set has been praised by Amazon shoppers, receiving an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. One Amazon customer calls the knife a "Great gift for a chef," adding, "[It was a] birthday present for my husband. It was a hit! To show me I am treasured I am now allowed to use it too! Beautiful, classy, balanced." However, it’s lucky that this knife comes with a sharpener since a few reviewers complain that it doesn’t keep a sharp edge.
At the time of this writing, you can purchase the MOSFiATA santoku knife set from Amazon starting at $34.99.
Best santoku knife for lefties
What makes the Korin Togiharu Inox steel santoku knife stand out from the pack is its "left-handed conversion" option. At an additional cost, the company can convert the knife — or any knife, for that matter — for left-handers (via Korin). Made from stain-resistant high-grade chromium and molybdenum, the 7-inch Korin santoku knife comes with a 70/30 beveled edge with a 58 HRC. The lightweight composite wood handle completes the picture.
So how does the Korin Togiharu Inox steel santoku knife fare with home chefs? According to the Korin website, pretty well. One customer praises the knife, saying, "[I] use it every day working as a line cook. I’m in love with this knife, and treat it like my baby, and it treats me well in return. It’s super versatile, outrageously sharp, and it works great for butchering meat, chopping vegetables, for fish, pretty much anything."
At the time of this writing, you can purchase the Korin Togiharu Inox steel santoku knife from the brand’s website starting at $119.
Best ceramic santoku knife
Featuring a ceramic-fused blade that stays sharp twice as long as standard ceramic blades, the Kyocera Innovation 6-inch ceramic chef’s santoku knife is both sturdy and low maintenance. And since ceramic knives stay sharp up to ten times longer than steel knives, as per Fine Dining Lovers, you probably won’t find yourself sharpening this baby for a long, long time to come. In addition, ceramic blades are 100% rust-proof, as highlighted by Nothing But Knives.
While the Kyocera Innovation 6-inch ceramic chef’s santoku knife doesn’t have many reviews yet on Amazon, most of the existing ones are positive. Many shoppers praise the knife’s sharpness, with one customer saying, "Unbelievably sharp, fine cutting edge, this literally slices through everything like butter! […] Great for ultra thin slices like tartare or a shave of a tomato." On the other hand, some customers highlight that the knife is delicate. "My wife dropped one in the sink and it hit the edge of a pot and it chipped the knife’s edge! Other than that — great knife — we now have the whole set!," one Amazon buyer writes.
At the time of this writing, you can purchase the Kyocera Innovation 6-inch ceramic chef’s santoku knife from Amazon starting at $79.95.
Best santoku knife camping set
Whether it’s chopping, dicing, or slicing on the road, the GSI Outdoors santoku knife set has you covered. The set is composed of a 6-inch santoku chef’s knife, a 4-inch paring knife, a 6-inch serrated bread knife, as well as a folding cutting board, a soap dispenser, and a microfiber dish cloth. Better still, all the pieces come housed in a handy ballistic nylon case that’s compact enough to pop in your bag or keep in your car. All the knives are made from stainless steel and come with protective sheaths.
4 All Outdoors praises the set, saying that the knives are great value, considering all that’s included. "The handles are slim but comfortable for basic camp cooking chores. I would not want to have to slice up 50 potatoes or anything with them, but they are a nice size and are balanced well for basic chores," the blog proclaims.
The GSI Outdoors santoku knife set has received the seal of approval from Amazon shoppers, who have awarded it 4.8 out of 5 stars. One buyer calls the set a "great investment," adding, "I drive semi and these rock. Compact and very sharp. Little cutting board comes in handy and the cleaning cloth as well. The sheaths keep the blades protected. Well worth it to this dog."
At the time of this writing, you can purchase the GSI Outdoors santoku knife set from Amazon starting at $39.95.
Best rocking santoku knife
Billed as "the most user friendly knife" on the market, the Zwilling pro 7-inch rocking santoku knife features a unique ice-hardened Friodur blade that’s curved at the front and straight at the back. According to the Zwilling website, this design blends a Western cutting motion characterized by circular rocking with an Asian-style chopping motion usually used to cut ingredients. Forged in Germany from high-carbon stainless steel, the Zwilling pro 7-inch rocking santoku knife comes with a durable triple-riveted polyacetal handle.
The Zwilling pro 7-inch rocking santoku knife has been a hit with Amazon customers who have awarded it an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars. One happy shopper calls the knife their "Great knife for the money," commenting, "As advertised, this is now my go-to knife in the kitchen. I love the size and weight. [It’s] only been 3 weeks but the blade has held its edge well." Another Amazon reviewer agrees, saying, "Very well made, balanced, very sharp, a dream to use in prepping ingredients."
At the time of this writing, you can purchase the Zwilling pro 7-inch rocking santoku knife from Amazon starting at $79.95.
Best santoku knife for a gift
Right off the bat, it’s easy to see that the Dalstrong frost fire series santoku knife isn’t your average kitchen tool. And this is precisely what makes it such a great gift idea. Modern and sleek, the 7-inch knife comes with a high chromium stainless steel blade and a striking white resin and aluminum mesh handle with a honeycomb design. Each blade has undergone a heat treatment to ensure both sharpness and hardness, as well as a sandblast finish to increase its non-stick qualities. A white PU leather sheath completes the elegant picture. The Dalstrong santoku knife carries a lifetime warranty against defects.
The Dalstrong frost fire series santoku knife has received outstanding feedback from Amazon customers who have given it 4.8 out of 5 stars. One reviewer says they love the knife, adding, "It has a super sharp blade [and] the construction is great. The handle has a nice grip but isn’t rough at all. I’ve literally had other handles rub sores on my hands because my skin is sensitive." Another customer calls the knife "Beautiful and worth the price," saying, "Beautiful aesthetic, sturdy, well balanced, great detail and precision, extremely sharp, a pleasure to use! I am a fan!"
At the time of this writing, you can purchase the Dalstrong frost fire series santoku knife from Amazon starting at $72.