What We Like
Attractive 66-layer blade
Performed well on typical kitchen tasks
What We Don't Like
Could have arrived sharper
Might be heavy for some cooks
Blade is more curved than a traditional Santoku
When the Zelite Infinity 7” Santoku Knife arrived, I couldn’t wait to find things to cut and headed straight to the crisper to make short work of salad ingredients, from fluffy lettuce to sturdy radishes. I abandoned my other knives and used this Japanese blade exclusively, testing its ability to dice, chop, and mince (the functions referred to in the Santoku name, meaning “three virtues”), and now I know exactly what it can and can’t do.
Design: It’s so pretty!
I was oohing and ah-ing about this Japanese knife even before it was fully unpacked. It comes in a box with a red interior featuring cutouts and protective pieces that had to be removed one at a time to reveal the entire knife. The blade has a “Tsunami Rose Damascus” pattern that makes it distinctive. When I lifted it, the weight was reasonable for the size of the knife. The blade is forged from 66 layers of high carbon stainless steel, and the cutting edge is sharpened to 12 degrees.
The first impression of the Zelite Infinity 7” Santoku Knife is that it’s pretty.
The handle is black, with a slight wood grain pattern, but it’s made from a composite material (military-grade G-10 Garolite) that will hold up better than wood in a busy kitchen. The center rivet has a brass-colored covering with an inlaid design that gives it even more of a special look. The knife felt good in the hand, and the gentle curve in the handle helped keep my fingers in the proper position. The generous bolster and the design of the blade kept my fingers far from the cutting edge when I used the knife.
The cutting edge is curved, more like a Western chef’s knife than a traditional Santoku, so it had great rocking action when cutting, but it might disappoint someone looking for a completely straight cutting edge. With its tiny air pockets, the Granton edge helped keep food from suctioning to the blade; this feature also added to the knife’s attractiveness.
Performance: Overall, it’s a good knife
Since a Santoku is supposed to be a general-purpose blade, I used this for all of my cutting needs, starting with a large salad. The knife sliced easily through my herbs and greens, then made nearly see-through slices from radishes. Tomatoes sliced effortlessly, and I had a little more fun than I should making thinner and thinner slices.
While I would have preferred that the knife be as sharp as possible upon arrival, most home cooks might not have even noticed, given how well it worked on all of my other foods.
I was particularly impressed when chopping nuts. With a less-sharp blade, nuts tend to fling themselves around the cutting board as the knife slips and skitters. This knife had no issues cutting through the nuts, which stayed neatly in place so I didn’t have to pick them off the counter.
When I moved on to a beef roast, the performance wasn’t quite as good, with a bit of drag on the knife and more effort needed to get thin, even slices, but it was acceptable. Since I’d normally reach for a dedicated slicing knife for carving meat, I wasn’t overly concerned. However, I decided this would be a great time to run the knife through a sharpener rather than waiting until the knife really needed it, and slicing was easier when I was done. While I would have preferred that the knife be as sharp as possible upon arrival, most home cooks might not have even noticed, given how well it worked on all of my other foods.
The knife sliced easily through my herbs and greens, then made nearly see-through slices from radishes.
Cleaning: Hand wash only
Like all fine knives, this should be hand washed, with care to avoid the sharp blade. It will also require regular honing and sharpening to keep it maintained and as sharp as you like it.
Price: Good knife for the price
In terms of price, this knife falls in line with other high-quality (but not rare and super-expensive) knives. It’s also not a bargain knife. Given the heavy forged blade, the attractive appearance, and the good performance, I think the price is in the right range.
Zelite Infinity 7” Santoku Knife vs. Mercer Culinary Genesis Granton Edge Santoku Knife
The first impression of the Zelite Infinity 7” Santoku Knife is that it’s pretty. It’s also impressive and solid and comes with a price tag that makes sense for that sort of quality.
The Mercer Culinary Genesis Granton Edge Santoku Knife is the plain kid that isn’t ugly but probably won’t grow up to be a supermodel. It’s built to do its job, but without a lot of extras. It has the Granton edge you expect, but no additional design frills. The handle has just enough of a curve to make it comfortable, and it’s made from Santoprene, which holds up well in kitchens but isn’t cutting-edge fancy.
While I loved the heft of the Zelite blade and appreciated its performance—particularly after a little extra sharpening—the Mercer comes with a price tag that makes it affordable for just about anyone looking for a decent kitchen knife. Even better, Mercer makes cutlery for professional kitchens where performance is more important than looks, so that gives some assurance of the quality. If you’re shopping on a budget, I’d suggest the Mercer, but if you value looks as well, the Zelite is a great choice.
Buy it, then sharpen it.
While I like my knives to be uber-sharp and was a little disappointed that this knife didn’t arrive that way, I do enough knife sharpening on a regular basis that it was merely a small bump in the road. And to be honest, the knife was excellent at everything except slicing meat, which isn’t its primary purpose. For someone who’s looking for a good general-purpose knife that looks amazing, I would happily recommend this.
- Product Name 7” Santoku Knife
- Product Brand Zelite Infinity
- Price $113.00
- Material Stainless steel blade, military-grade G-10 Garolite
- What’s Included Santoku knife in a nice box
- Warranty Lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects