What We Like
Gently curved front end allows rocking cuts
What We Don't Like
Should be hand washed
Blade is stamped rather than forged
I abandoned all the other knives in my knife block to test the abilities of the Zwilling J. A. Henckels Twin Signature 7-Inch Hollow Edge Santoku Knife. Since a Santoku is a Japanese general-purpose knife rather than one built for a particular use, I put it through a number of kitchen tasks, even when I’d normally reach for a task-specific blade. Santoku translates to “three virtues,” referring to dicing, mincing, and chopping, so I did all three, on everything from tricky tomatoes to robust roast beef. I worked my way from breakfast to dessert and assessed the feel of the knife as well as its ultimate performance.
Design: Comfortable to use
Santoku knives are known for their lightweight, manageable size, and that’s the first thing I noticed about this knife. The blade is stamped rather than forged, so it’s fairly thin, and the polymer handle is similarly light in weight, so the knife is well balanced despite the lack of heft. Made in Germany, the blade consists of high-quality high carbon steel that should hold up over time, like similar knives that have been living in my knife block for many years. The ice-hardened FRIODUR blade is said to make the knife extra resilient.
The blade’s cutting edge is sharpened to 10 degrees on each side. The cutting edge is nearly flat towards the back end, much like a traditional Santoku, while the front third of the blade up to the tip has a more pronounced curve, making rocking cuts easy.
Santoku knives are known for their lightweight, manageable size, and that’s the first thing I noticed about this knife.
The bottom of the handle has a curvy wave that encouraged my fingers into the proper grip for cutting and made an improper grip awkward, which is a good thing. However, the grip had my index finger fairly close to the sharp point on the back end of the blade. This wasn’t an issue when the knife was in use, but I had to be aware of that closeness when putting down or picking up the knife lest I snag a finger on that sharp point.
The indented Granton edge is supposed to keep food from sticking to the blade, but some persistent vegetables like zucchini clung to the knife until the next slice was made. However, the vegetables slid off easily, as opposed to some knives I’ve used, where the food seemed to be suctioned onto the blade.
Right out of the box, this knife was super-sharp, making it a true pleasure to use. I first tested it with a tomato, which is one of the trickier foods to cut, and it was effortless. The knife easily cut through the tough, slippery skin without smashing the tender tomato. Then I tried a showy one-handed cut, cutting a slice from the top of the tomato without holding the vegetable in place. The knife moved easily through that tomato, which didn’t even wobble.
Right out of the box, this knife was super-sharp, making it a true pleasure to use.
I moved on to chopping other vegetables and fruit, followed by cooked chicken for a salad. No matter what I threw at it, this knife performed well. While a Santoku wouldn’t be the first choice for slicing a roast—a slicing knife exists for a reason—I was able to get super-thin slices of roast beef for a sandwich. After that, I had to try slicing homemade bread, and it handled that with ease as well. While I’m not going to give up my serrated bread knife, the blade’s bread-slicing abilities were impressive.
Sharpness doesn’t last forever, though, so maintenance will be required to keep the blade at its peak performance. That’s required with any knife, though, and I’ve got plenty of sharpeners to use; Granton edges can be sharpened in the same way as regular blades.
While I’m not going to give up my serrated bread knife, the blade’s bread-slicing abilities were impressive.
Cleaning: Hand wash with care
Like other fine knives, this should be washed by hand, and care should be taken when handling the blade since it’s so sharp. It’s wise to keep fingers at a safe distance from the blade.
Price: Reasonable for the quality
A mid-priced knife, this is neither a bargain blade nor one of the elite options. For the German steel and the effective design, I feel that the price, over $100, is appropriate for quality. Unless it suffers some sort of tragic kitchen accident, this knife should last decades.
Zwilling J. A. Henckels Twin Signature 7-Inch Hollow Edge Santoku Knife vs. Wusthof Classic 7” Hollow Edge Santoku Knife
These two knives come in at a very similar price point, with the Wusthof Classic Hollow Edge Santoku Knife slightly higher—but when you’re talking about a knife that will likely be in use for multiple years, the difference is negligible, so I’ll call them even. The knife blade shape is similar, but the Wustof is forged while the Henckels is stamped. Traditionally, a forged blade meant a higher-quality and longer-lasting edge, though that’s not necessarily always the case today.
The Wustof knife’s handle has a bit less of a wave, but it still encourages a proper grip. One thing I like about the Wustof is the metal bolster, common in forged knives. Knife preference depends on the user. While I give a slight nod to the Wustof’s handle design, the Henckels is likely to be preferred by users who prefer a lighter blade.
After using this knife for everything from bananas to pizza, I definitely recommend it. It’s a great general-use knife that can slice, dice, and chop, and it does it all very well. However, hold onto your other knives, too: Although it probably could be used to peel an apple, I’d still suggest a paring knife for that task.
- Product Name Twin Signature 7-Inch Hollow Edge Santoku Knife
- Product Brand Zwilling J. A. Henckels
- MPN 30749-183
- Price $107.50
- Material High carbon stainless steel blade; composite handle
- What’s Included Knife in box
- Warranty Fully guaranteed against defects in materials and/or craftsmanship