The 7 Best Santoku Knives of 2019

Try these Japanese blades out in your household

chopping parsley
Stephen Zeigler / Getty Images
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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Zwilling J.A. Henckels 7-Inch Santoku at Amazon

“Razor-sharp edge that's perfect for fine cuts.”

Best High-End: ZELITE INFINITY Santoku Knife at Amazon

“Ornate, triple riveted cutting knife.”

Best Budget: Victorinox Santoku Knife at Amazon

“Stamped blade with a granton edge and ergonomic handle.”

Best Hybrid: Stainless Steel 7-Inch Rocking Santoku Knife at Wayfair

“Combines the traditional shape of the santoku with a curved blade.”

Best Mini: Zyliss Control Mini Santoku Knife at Amazon

“5-inch Santoku, perfect for slicing, dicing, and mincing."

Best Self-Sharpening: Sabatier Forged Stainless Steel Santoku Knife at Amazon

“Knife sharpens itself every time you insert it into the sheath or remove it.”

Best Dishwasher Safe: Farberware Knife Armor Santoku at Amazon

“This 7-inch santoku can handle the dishwasher after you’re done chopping.”

 

  • 01 of 07

    Best Overall: Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature 7-Inch Santoku

    ja-henkels-twin-knife
    Courtesy of Macy's
    Excellent

     Made in Germany with an ice-hardened stamped blade, this Sanoku knife is a worthy addition to any cook’s kitchen. It has a full tang that provides the best weight and balance, and three rivets for security.

    The handle on this blade is particularly comfortable. The handle’s shape positions the hand for proper cutting technique, so even new cooks will use proper cutting techniques.

    The 7-inch blade has a razor-sharp edge that makes it perfect for fine cuts, and particularly for cutting meat and fish into small pieces for stir-fry dishes or fajitas. Meanwhile, the contoured edge makes it idea of chopping vegetables and the hollow grind helps keep food from sticking to the blade.

  • 02 of 07

    Best High-End: ZELITE INFINITY 7-Inch Alpha-Royal Santoku Knife

    Very Good

     This blade is beautiful as well as functional. While a pretty knife might not be your first priority, there’s something special about taking a knife from the rack that looks so stunning, with a tsunami rose Damascus pattern on the blade. It makes cooking just a little bit more pleasurable.

    But it’s not all about looks. This has a full tang and good weight, and it’s designed for impressive performance. This is made from 67-layer high carbon Japanese stainless steel that has a razor-sharp edge that makes slicing easy.

    This is hollow ground, so foods won’t stick, and it is tempered in liquid nitrogen for long-lasting performance. The handle is triple riveted for security, and even the rivets are decorative, with a 3-metal mosaic pattern.

    The handle is designed to be ergonomic, while the tapered bolster makes it comfortable to hold, with perfect balance. Made by a multi-generational family-run business that prides itself on engineering and innovation, this is sure to be one of the prettiest knives you’ll own.

    Of course you need one for yourself, but this comes in a box that would also make it a lovely gift for any cook you know.

  • 03 of 07

    Best Budget: Victorinox Santoku Knife

    Victorinox Fibrox 7-Inch Granton Edge Santoku Knife
    Courtesy of Amazon.com.

    A good santoku at a budget price, this has a stamped blade with a granton edge. The handle is made from a patented material that’s slip-resistant and it is ergonomically designed for comfortable cutting. Because the blade is stamped, this knife is lighter in weight, which some cooks might prefer.

  • 04 of 07

    Best Hybrid: Signature Stainless Steel 7-Inch Rocking Santoku Knife

    rocking-santoku-knife
    Courtesy of Wayfair.

    This santoku knife combines the traditional shape of the santoku with a curved blade that provides the familiar rocking action of western blades. Made from German stainless steel, it has an ergonomic textured stainless steel grip and balanced weight for the best control.

    Guy Fieri fans will appreciate his signature on the blade and the included storage sheath, but it’s not obtrusive, for those who prefer their knives to be unadorned. This should be hand washed and dried immediately.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Best Mini: Zyliss Control Mini Santoku Knife

    Great for cooks with small hands, or for small projects where a large knife would feel clunky, this 5-inch Santoku is perfect for slicing, dicing and mincing all the fruits, vegetables and meats in your kitchen.

    Safety touchpoints on top of the blade offer a more controlled rocking motion during cutting, and a comfortable rest for the thumb and index finger.

    The handle is antibacterial protected and has a contoured handle that will fit both large and small hands. The blade is made from German steel and is honed to a razor-sharp edge. It is rust resistant, durable, tarnish free, and easy to resharpen when needed.

  • 06 of 07

    Best Self-Sharpening: Sabatier Forged Stainless Steel Santoku Knife

    Maintenance couldn’t be easier since this knife sharpens itself every time you insert it into the sheath or remove it, so you’ll never need to use another sharpener to keep the knife at peak efficiency.

    The blade is made from high-carbon steel with an ideal cutting angle, and the handle is designed to be ergonomic and comfortable during use. The handle material is very durable, so this knife will last for many years.

    This should be hand washed and dried immediately.

  • 07 of 07

    Best Dishwasher Safe: Farberware Knife Armor Dishwasher Safe Santoku

    Most knives aren’t dishwasher safe, but this 7-inch santoku can handle the dishwasher after you’re done chopping, mincing, and dicing. The blade is made from Japanese steel that has a rust-resistant coating. That coating makes the knife safe at heats above the standard dishwasher temperatures, and it has even been tested in commercial dishwashers. Of course, you can also wash it by hand, if you prefer.

    The handle has a textured nonslip grip that is easy to hold onto, even when it’s wet.

Products Tested by

How We Tested

We bought two top-rated knives that our reviewer tested for 11 hours. We asked our tester to consider the most important features when using these knives, from blade length to special features. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in Santoku Knives

Blade length Blade length should not be based on the size of the cook’s hands but instead on what the knife will be used for, the size of the food to be cut, and the size of the cutting surface, as well as the comfort of the user. A 7-inch blade can be used to cut a variety of foods while a 5-inch is better for smaller ingredients.

Handle material From manmade materials to wood with pretty grain patterns, there are a lot of choices when it comes to the handle materials. Synthetic materials can be more resistant to kitchen oils and cleaning products and tend to cost less, while many people prefer the natural look of wood. Decide what feels best in your hand; if you are storing the knife in a block on the counter, you may also want to take the handle’s appearance into consideration.

Special features Every knife has its own unique features, like special grip designs, different styles of Granton edges, or being dishwasher-safe. Some knives include extras like storage sheaths, a full tang, or self-sharpening features. Think about what you really need before you choose a Santoku knife.

Test Results: Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature 7-Inch Santoku (Best Overall)

Excellent

What We Like

  • Extremely sharp

  • Lightweight

  • Gently curved front end allows rocking cuts

What We Don't Like

  • Should be hand washed

  • Blade is stamped rather than forged

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature 7-Inch Santoku
The Spruce Eats / Donna Currie
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature 7-Inch Santoku
The Spruce Eats / Donna Currie
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature 7-Inch Santoku
The Spruce Eats / Donna Currie 
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature 7-Inch Santoku
The Spruce Eats / Donna Currie

Calling this knife “razor-sharp,” our tester raved, “Anyone who has struggled with a not-so-sharp knife will be amazed when they try this.” Our reviewer also liked that “the front section of the knife towards the tip has a curve, so it was easy to cut with a rocking motion that is typical with Western style knives.” The negatives? “The blade is stamped rather than forged, so it's rather thin, our tester explained. “While that didn't affect the performance of the knife when I used it, forged knives are considered to be higher quality.” She also wished it had a bolster so her hand wasn’t so close to the blade. Overall? “Performance is everything, and this knife did a great job cutting everything, and it was comfortable to hold, even when I was spending the day in the kitchen, cutting chopping, and slicing,” she concluded.

Test Results: ZELITE INFINITY 7-Inch Alpha-Royal Santoku Knife (Best High-End)

Very Good

What We Like

  • Attractive 66-layer blade

  • Performed well on typical kitchen tasks

  • Gift-worthy packaging

What We Don't Like

  • Could have arrived sharper

  • Might be heavy for some cooks

  • Blade is more curved than a traditional Santoku

ZELITE INFINITY 7-Inch Alpha-Royal Santoku Knife
The Spruce Eats / Donna Currie
ZELITE INFINITY 7-Inch Alpha-Royal Santoku Knife
The Spruce Eats / Donna Currie 
ZELITE INFINITY 7-Inch Alpha-Royal Santoku Knife
The Spruce Eats / Donna Currie 
ZELITE INFINITY 7-Inch Alpha-Royal Santoku Knife
The Spruce Eats / Donna Currie

Our tester loved how sturdy and attractive this knife is. “The blade is forged, then stamped, so it's thicker than a typical stamped knife that's made from a thinner piece of metal,” she explained. And as a bonus, it’s “packed like a gift, with a box that has cutouts to protect the knife,” our reviewer said, making it fun to give or get. However, our tester cautioned, “This is sold as a Santoku knife, but the shape is more curved than a typical Santoku, which might not be what people are looking for.” Its sturdiness also makes it quite heavy, she reported. The takeaway: “This is an appropriate price for a knife of this quality, and the attractiveness of it makes it even more desirable.”