I have to admit that my first Santoku knife came in a set a long time ago. I did not give it a second thought at first. Soon, though, it was the only knife I used in the kitchen. I bet that you will feel the same once you try one of our best Santoku knife options.
In a hurry? Our top-rated best Santoku knives are:
- MOSFiATA – 7″ Santoku Knife – Finger Guard – Gift Box — Overall
- MAD SHARK – 8″ Santoku Knife — Budget
- Wusthof – 5″ Santoku Knife, Black — Small Hands
- Shun – 7” Santoku Knife — Premium
- Kyocera – 6″ Santoku Knife – Ceramic, Black — Ceramic Blade
Want to learn more? Read on…
Are Santoku Knives Any Good?
We think Santoku knives are great! The best Santoku knife will make slicing meat, cheese, and vegetables feel like you’re cutting through warm butter.
But there’s more to them than you might expect. A Santoku knife isn’t just any old regular knife…
What is a Santoku Knife Best Used For?
The Japanese word “santoku” means three virtues. As the name suggests, these knives are great for three types of cutting: chopping, dicing, and mincing. We love using ours for:
- Cutting and mincing meat
- Slicing and dicing fruit and vegetables
- Slicing cheese — you can even get thin slices with a Santoku
- Mincing herbs
- Slicing seafood
Due to the wide blade, we don’t recommend using your knife for:
- Slicing bread
- Peeling vegetables
- Cutting meat bones
Which Is Better: a Santoku or a Chef Knife?
Santoku knives look similar to chef’s knives, but there are a few things that distinguish them:
- Blade: Santoku blades tend to be thinner, making them ideal for more precise tasks or making thin slices.
- Length: Chef’s knives are usually longer. If you have small hands, you might prefer the balance of a Santoku knife.
- Weight: Santoku knives are lighter and easier to handle.
- Tip: The blade on a chef knife curves up to form a tip, while a Santoku blade curves down.
If you already own a chef’s knife, you may still want to invest in a Santoku knife so you have the best of both worlds.
What Factors Drove Our Ratings
- Comfort: Well-balanced, ergonomic knives are comfortable and safe to hold.
- Materials: High-quality, premium materials deliver better results.
- Value: We looked for knives that provide great value for money.
Our Top-Rated Best Santoku Knife — Overall
Made from German stainless steel, the MOSFiATA – 7″ Santoku Knife is sharp and durable. With proper care, the blade is designed to resist rust, corrosion, and discoloration. Eighty-two percent of customers have given this product a five-star rating as of the date of publishing.
Users love how sharp the blade is right out of the box — you can easily cut through carrots, potatoes, and meat with little pressure. The ergonomic handle is crafted to minimize wrist tension so you can use it for longer periods of time without getting tired.
We gave this the coveted #1 spot because of its excellent performance and included accessories.
In February 2020, Doug R. (a verified customer) said: “Cutting pineapple with this knife has been so fantastic. It’s like cutting water, as no real pressure is needed.”
Negatives? One thing some users report is that the intricate design on the blade isn’t as prominent as shown in the pictures. We think this is a small sacrifice for quality and performance, though.
Our Top-Rated Best Santoku Knife — Budget
The MAD SHARK – 8″ Santoku Knife provides excellent value for your money. Customers seem to think so, too, with 83 percent giving this product a five-star rating at the time of publishing.
The steel blade features a series of indentations that help prevent food from sticking to it. This ensures smooth cuts and makes clean up quick and easy. The handle is well balanced and ergonomically designed, making it comfortable and safe to grip.
We’ve awarded this knife “Best Value” because of its high-quality design without breaking the bank.
In January 2019, Jack (a verified customer) said: “I’m chopping vegetables so much faster with this knife because it’s super sharp and light. … Feels like a fillet knife but cuts like a chef’s, and does both purposes very smoothly.”
It isn’t the norm that knives dull after a few days. If you receive a dull blade, we recommend contacting the manufacturer’s customer service team, which promises a response within 24 hours.
Negatives? A few customers said that the blade dulled faster than they expected, causing them to sharpen the knife more frequently.
Our Top-Rated Best Santoku Knife — Small Hands
If you’ve got the budget for it, the Wusthof – 5″ Santoku Knife, Black is one of the best Santoku knives for small hands. While we were busy chopping up a storm, 87 percent of customers were giving this product a five-star rating.
Made with high-carbon German stainless steel, users report the blade stays sharp time after time. Also, the small size and balanced weight of the knife make it ideal for smaller hands or people with arthritis.
We gave this our #2 spot because of its premium materials and for the general enthusiasm for the brand’s performance and reliability.
In January 2020, Charles Kroll (a verified customer) said: “This is the best knife I own. Great balance, quality and price. And the company stands by their product (they just replaced some old knives with worn handles).”
Negative reviews for this knife are few and far between. We know that the price point is high, however, so if you’re on a budget, we recommend you buy one of the more affordable options on this list.
Our Top-Rated Best Santoku Knife — Premium
Made with high-quality Japanese steel, the Shun – 7” Santoku Knife boasts greater strength, durability, and sharpness than its competitors. Also, the Damascus steel makes for an elegant blade that will look great in any kitchen. When we wrote this article, 86 percent of customers had given this product 5/5.
The handle is made from resin-infused PakkaWood, which is water resistant. This is great if you like the look and feel of a wood handle but don’t want it getting damaged during clean up.
We gave this the #4 spot because of its unique, luxury materials and excellent performance.
In January 2019, F. Norris Nielson (a verified customer) said: “After some nine years of use … I am still thrilled with my Shun Santoku … I use it for everything, from slicing to dicing to chopping, and with just a few passes over my porcelain ‘steel,’ the edge is still razor-sharp.”
Despite its strength, we recommend taking extra care with this knife since it could chip. Hand wash and dry it immediately after use, and store it in a knife block or sheath for added protection.
Negatives? Some said it was pricey and that the blade chipped. Most did not experience this, so if it does happen, contact customer service.
Our Top-Rated Best Santoku Knife — Ceramic Blade
The Kyocera – 6″ Santoku Knife is a reliable, affordable knife to add to your collection. Seventy-four percent of customers have rated this product 5/5, commenting on the sharpness of the blade and the comfortable, ergonomic design.
The ceramic blade means you don’t have to worry about it rusting. Ceramic is lighter than steel, so you won’t need as much pressure when cutting.
We gave this our #5 spot thanks to its affordability and unique blade that stays sharp.
In November 2019, Carpet Guy (a verified customer) said: “Super light and easy to use. Don’t have to worry about complete drying as it isn’t metal. Rounded tip is quite a bit safer to use.”
That said, this is a delicate knife. Ceramic is fragile, and some users reported their knife breaking or chipping on hard foods.
Negatives? The knife is meant for vegetables and soft meats like fish. It is not suitable for cutting anything hard.
Luxury Alternative Santoku Knife
If you want an out-of-body experience while using a knife, then you might want to check out the Mac Knife SK-65 Superior Santoku Knife, 6-1/2-Inch, Silver. Well, maybe the experience isn’t quite out of body, but it’s pretty spectacular, nonetheless. And, it was America’s Test Kitchen’s top pick. Be warned, though… perfection is not cheap.
Cutting to the end…
In our kitchen, the best Santoku knife is the MOSFiATA – 7″ Santoku Knife with Finger Guard and Gift Box. We love the premium materials, which make it sharper and more durable than some of the other options on this list.
The handle is also super comfortable, but you’d expect it to be, given that it’s ergonomically designed.
The worst thing customers can say about this knife is that the design on the blade is too light, not that the blade’s too dull or the handle was too small. We don’t see this as an issue at all. Plus, it comes with a finger protector and knife sharpener — two fewer things you have to buy!