House & Beyond is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Santoku knives can transform your cooking experience and make life a lot easier. They are growing in popularity and you will probably want to see what the fuss is about, especially if you are an avid cook. We’ve reviewed the best Santoku knives in this guide so that you can work out which models might be for you, and understand the benefits of these knives, which originated in Asia and are now popular all over the world.
In our guide, we’ve reviewed all of the important features that make a blade either suitable or unsuitable for your own needs. The handle length, the blade material and quality, the handle material, dimensions and even the warranty have all been evaluated as we compare and contrast the top santoku kitchen knives for you to use in your food prep and serving. Read on for our Santoku knife reviews and our Santoku knives buying guide so you make the right decision for your kitchen.
Blade material: one-piece high-carbon, stain-resistant Japanese steel
Handle material: Santoprene, polypropylene
Dimensions: 17.5 x 1 inches
Weight: 5.4 oz
Other features: protective finger guard, textured finger points, available in multiple colors, NSF
This exceptional knife has some amazing reviews and due to the fact that it has a genuine Japanese design and plenty of amazing features it reaches the very top of our list of the best Santoku knives.
The Japanese steel is high-carbon and stain resistant, built to last but still not overly heavy.
The handle is made of Santoprene and Polyproylene, this means that it is a very durable handle but again doesn’t weigh too much and is also relatively simple and easy to clean. There are textured finger points along the handle helping your grip and avoiding slips, adding to the safety. For further protection there is even a protective finger guard so you shouldn’t cut yourself easily.
The steel itself is very easy to clean and sharpen when the time comes, so your blade maintenance is made easy if you opt for the Mercer. It’s NSF certified, and has a limited lifetime warranty meaning that in certain scenarios you can get a replacement if it should break (this is very unlikely though).
All of these features add up to a safe knife which is suitable for professional use in commercial kitchens or just around the home. It deserves its place right at the top of our list.
What are our favorite features?
Very easy to use.
Blade is designed to stop meat, cheese and other foods from sticking.
Easy to maintain the blade and sharpen in the future.
Includes safety precautions such as finger guard.
What could be better?
Some people would prefer the handle to be more sturdy or made of a different material.
Blade material: German X50CrMov15 (Din. 1.4116) stainless steel
Handle material: high-density Pakkawood
Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.7 inches
Weight: 10.4 oz
Other features: full tang handle, forged blade, gift packing
If you like the idea of a blade that looks like it could’ve been forged hundreds of years ago and passed down through the generations then the TUO Santoku Knife could be an option for you.
This actually doesn’t have the same tradition as some of the other knives as it uses German steel instead of Japanese, but this is not an issue and some people even prefer the German stainless steel for its cutting precision. Many famous knife brands including W-M-F, ZWIILL, and Wusthof use German steel.
The handle is different from a lot of the other models, in fact, there is a Patent pending on the design. It has a high-density Pakkawood structure, designed to be stable, sanitary and also good for the environment. Pakkawood looks great but it is also designed not to crack when cleaning or in extreme heats.
The blade is gently curved and extremely sharp. It is relatively simple to maintain, too. There’s a lifetime warranty offered by the brand and a money back guarantee to lower the risk of buying it and being disappointed. This seems unlikely, though!
This is also great value-for-money and comes in gift packaging so if you are wondering what sort of gift you could buy for a chef or someone in the family who loves to cook then you might be in luck with the Santoku knives by TUO. It looks the part, but it doesn’t cost an excessive amount either.
What stands out?
Great value for money.
Makes a good gift.
Comes with a lifetime warranty and money back guarantee.
Blade material: imported from Germany high-carbon stainless steel
Handle material: Pakkawood
Dimensions: 12.1 x 1.38 inches
Weight: 15.2 oz
Warranty: not specified
Other features: HRC of 57-58, vacuum heat-treatment Nitrogen Cryogenic
We always like to include a budget choice for people who are looking to get a product cheaply that can still do a good job, the imarku is the budget pick for the best Santoku knives. It manages to be affordable, but still have plenty of quality for use in the kitchen at home or even commercially.
Like many of the other options this has an imported German steel which is easy to maintain, stays sharp and resists rust, you can easily sharpen it when the time comes.
The Rockwell Hardness Scale rates this 57-58 which means plenty of sharpness and performance even for a cheaper blade. Even thick and stubborn foodstuff can be cut with ease
This is another knife to embrace Pakka wood for the handle, and the brand claims that this makes it much more comfortable to use for human hands.
It makes a good gift and even comes in gift packaging. This is no novelty product, though, and in spite of the cheap price it can revolutionise your kitchen. The only real downside is the fact that this is one of the heavier knives on the list so if you are looking for a light action you might want to go elsewhere.
What makes it special?
Easy to maintain.
Quality german steel with a hardness rating of 57-58.
Comes with gift packaging.
Comfortable Pakka handle.
Exceptional value for money, one of the cheapest models out there.
What cons did we find?
Much heavier than some of the other choices on the market.
Blade material: high carbon ThyssenKrupp German steel at 58 Rockwell, Titanium Nitride non-reflective coating
Handle material: fiber-resin
Dimensions: 12.2 x 1.81 inches
Weight: not specified
Other features: hand finished by expert bladesmiths to 15° per side using the traditional 3-step Honbazuke method, military grade G10 handle, NSF certified, sheath included
We’ve named the DALSTRONG Santoku Knife -7″- Shadow Black Series as the best design. You can see why just from looking, but actually there is far more to it than just the black titanium look, and this has been made to last for years and provide an exceptional quality as well as a futuristic look.
You will pay a little extra for a blade like this, but that doesn’t mean you should rule it out.
The blade is hand finished by expert bladesmiths at an angle of 15° per side using the traditional 3-step Honbazuke method and German steel. It has a rating of 58+ on the Rockwell scale meaning it is exceptionally good at cutting even stubborn foods
As you might expect from a blade that looks like it belongs on a spaceship, this has a lifetime warranty.
The blade has a titanium non-reflective coating which makes it robust and also has non-stick properties so that things don’t get stuck to your knife while you are preparing food. It is NSF certified and the handle is even military grade with a G10 certification.
According to the manufacturer, this is used by over 250,000 chefs. The hand-polished blade can be easily maintained and sharpened if you need to in the future. Not just futuristic in terms of looks, but great for those who need something robust.
Why are we impressed?
Exceptional looks and build quality.
Limited lifetime warranty.
The handle is comfy and durable with a G10 military grade.
Other features: 200 years blacksmith tradition, full bolster, forged from a single piece of chromium-molybdenum-vanadium steel
Wusthof 4182 Santoku knife is a fantastic option for those who are looking for tradition, and a blacksmith with a history. Some people are specifically looking for the best Wusthof blade due to the fact that they have an incredible history.
In terms of the blade itself, it is made of one single piece of chromium-molybdenum-vanadium steel. It has a polyoxymethylene handle, and while this is quite an understated blade, it does a superb job. This is also a great lightweight option, as it weighs just 2.4 Oz in total. It’s five inches long, which is fine for most people but for some filleting needs it might be found lacking.
The history of the company is quite interesting, and known for being incredible blacksmiths with amazing craftsmanship. Based in Solingen, the name has even been protected with legislation, “The Solingen Decree,” – the same family has run the company for over 200 years so you can rest assured that the passion and quality in these knives is there.
Other than the brilliant German steel and craftsmanship, these knives are finished using a special polishing disc. They look great, and the precision technology gives you a blade that is 20% sharper with a 58’ rockwell rating.
A durable blade with staying power just like the German company who manufactures it.
What makes it special?
Excellent blacksmith history.
High rockwell rating.
Small and lightweight.
What cons did we find?
Too small for some kitchen uses. People may need a larger knife for some cutting and filleting needs.
Other features: AUS-10V Japanese super steel cutting core at 62+ Rockwell hardness, extra Vacuum seal treatment, military-grade handle, 67-Layered Damascus sharpened under the ancient 3-step Honbazuke method
On to the DALSTRONG Santoku Knife – Shogun Series, which supercharges some of the functions of the other Dalstrong model we have already mentioned. Dalstrong seems to be a knife company crossed with a tech company and they are pushing the boundaries when it comes to Santoku knives as well as other types of knives.
They’ve kept some of the tradition here, as it has a 3-step Honbazuke sharpening method for the ultimate in sharpness, but also a 62+ Rockwell hardness, one of the hardest Santoku knives we’ve come across.
The steel used in the construction is superior quality to a lot of the other options, and this is one of the best Japanese Santoku knives using an AUS-10V steel cutting core.
It also utilizes a military grade handle which is both comfortable and durable. This knife could be fantastic for a variety of reasons, but if you are purely going for the quality of the blade it is very hard to argue with the Dalstrong Shogun series.
Like most Dalstrong knives, it looks great, too, with the copper mosaic feature giving a unique design. However, this definitely has other benefits besides looks and it is a fantastic model for those who need peace of mind, as the Dalstrong has a limited lifetime guarantee and 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Why is it special?
The strongest blade on this list.
Very hard-wearing from a company with a rich history.
What are the flaws?
Much more expensive than some of the other options on the list.
Other features: 56+ Rockwell hardness, laminated and polished handle for a sanitary build
The Cutluxe is a superb option for those who are worried about the handle. Think about it, if you are a professional chef or work in a kitchen then there is a chance you might spend all day in the kitchen and have to spend a lot of that time using your Santoku knife. You will definitely want to find something that is suitable for your hand and doesn’t leave you calloused and feeling sore at the end of the day.
Though the blade of the Cutluxe model isn’t as special as some of the others, the handle is amazing. It is a condensed pakkawood construction and this has been shaped into an ergonomic handle which feels good even after prolonged use.
The blade is good, with a 56+ Rockwell hardness rating. This is plenty for most peoples’ needs and is boosted by the hand sharpened edge which has a 14-16 degree angle on each side for more precision when chopping. The handle is also laminated and polished to keep it sanitary and easily cleaned.
The German steel used is very durable and is one of the reasons that the manufacturers can back up the cutluxe with a lifetime limited warranty. If you are looking for the absolute sharpest and highest-quality blade this might just fall short, but for those in the market for comfort for long term use then the Cutluxe should be considered.
Why is it special?
Good value for money.
Excellent, ergonomic handle.
What are the flaws?
Not the sharpest blade on the list with 56+ Rockwell rating.
Blade material: high-carbon German stainless steel
Handle material: solid Micarta
Dimensions: 14.1 x 2.08inches
Weight: 11.2 oz
Warranty: not specified
Other features: hand-polished edge, gift box, knife sharpener included
The MOSFiATA Santoku Knife is a fantastic gift or a great option for somebody buying their first ever Santoku knife as it comes as a set. You don’t just get the knife included, you get the finger guard and knife sharpener as well as a smart case to keep it in. It looks great, but does it do a good job?
The solid Micarta handle is a different design from many of the others on the list, but it is certainly effective. A high-carbon German blade is also hand polished with a 14-16 degree angle for adequate cutting.
This is one of the more expensive blades and it is relatively chunky but it still has a comfy feel and is easy enough to use.
The sharpener itself is good quality but not amazing, so you might want to graduate to something a little better in the future. It does have “fine” and “coarse” settings so you can choose the ideal setting for your blade and maintain it based on what you need.
The price point is appealing, and this represents good value especially when you consider the added extras. For someones’ first Santoku knife it could be a fantastic option, and it certainly has plenty of quality for using within a home kitchen or possibly some commercial uses.
What are our favorite features?
Good value for money.
Sold as a set with accessories.
German blade is very durable and built to last.
What could be better?
A bit chunky and heavyweight compared to some others.
Sharpener is not the best quality.
Things to Consider
A Santoku knife might be a brand new purchase for your kitchen and you might have a lot of questions when it comes to choosing the very best model. Our buying guide is designed to help make that decision easier. What sort of features are important and what do Santoku knives tend to get used for? Is there any way that you can make a bad decision, and are wustof santoku knives the best out there?
We’ve tried to answer a lot of your questions in this guide, making it a whole lot easier to take the plunge and make your buying decision.
What is a Santoku knife and what can it be used for?
Santoku knives have their origins in Japan. Santoku roughly translates as “three uses” which means that they are versatile, general-purpose knives. They tend to be between 5 and 8 inches long and have a sheepsfoot blade with an angled finish.
Santoku knives have a distinctive design and as you can see from our list there are many different modern takes on this design. Many are made in Germany as well as in Japan and the rest of Asia.
The blade and handle are supposed to work together, matching the width to make a comfortable and ergonomic feel with the weight of the blade itself. Santoku knives have so many different uses. You may have seen them used in Sushi prep, but they can handle almost any type of meat and vegetable too, slicing, chopping and even some filleting and dicing.
Features to consider when choosing a Santoku knife
What features should you think about when getting a Santoku knife? What are the criteria for a good quality knife? Different people will prioritize different things, but it is important to do a bit of research and consider what is best for you. The main features used in our Santoku knife reviews are mentioned below.
The blade length can be a relatively simple decision to make. If you are slicing and dicing small vegetables then you do not need a massive blade length. However, if you have large pieces of meat being delivered for a restaurant, for example, a big blade might help you to prepare them rather than spending ages with a smaller blade trying to do the same job.
Bigger blades obviously mean that your knife is less portable and takes up more storage space, too, so this is another consideration when looking for a Santoku knife, so, for example, the Wusthof 4182 Santoku knife will save you some space with its 5 inch blade.
The vast majority of Santoku knives are made with steel. Some people swear by Japanese steel or others prefer German options such as the Cutluxe Santoku Knife. Steel is incredibly durable and as long as sharpened properly it is the perfect option for your blade. If you are willing to spend a little more for options such as the DALSTRONG Santoku Knife then you will find that you get a superior blade material with more cutting force. It is up to you whether you think you need this.
Cheaper options tend to use Pakkawood, like the imarku Santoku Knife. This wood is treated to be sanitary and it is relatively lightweight and ergonomic. It’s not perfect, but it is a very good material for home use blades.
The handles can be made out of slightly more high-tech materials if you want something even more ergonomic and hard-wearing. Dalstrong use some fiber resins to make high-tech, futuristic Santoku knives.
This is a simple consideration but not one that should be ignored. The dimensions of the blade. How big is it? How much space will it take up in your kitchen and can you store it on your knife rack?
Some people won’t care about size, but for others it can be an important consideration and you might need to opt for a smaller Santoku knife such as the Wusthof 4182 Santoku knife.
The weight relates to storage and portability, but also how easy it is to use. Most of these knives are not overly heavy, but over long term use a heavier knife can cause issues such as blisters on your hands.
The Santoku knives on this list are made out of steel, so, as you would expect, they are made with a huge amount of quality and durability. This means that the manufacturers can, and should, offer long warranties.
The majority of good-quality Santoku knives come with a limited lifetime warranty.
In truth, if you find anything less then it might be cause for some concern.
In terms of durability and a knife likely to last you a lifetime if it is properly maintained, the DALSTRONG Santoku Knife can be a fantastic choice, especially if you are happy to spend a little more than some of the other options would cost.
There aren’t a great deal of additional features that can be included with these knives, but some come with little added extras and bonuses. They are popular gifts and make a good Christmas present for a foodie, so they often have gift boxes. Some, like the MOSFiATA Santoku Knife come with sharpeners and even finger protectors to help with your safety during use.
As you can see from the list, there are loads of different models of knife to choose from and they are all competing with one another so some brands have started to introduce new features and added extras to make their knives more appealing.
This is a scale to measure the hardness of a material in terms of indentation and penetration. It goes up to 65. Basically, the higher this number, the more sharp and powerful the knife you are dealing with. For most kitchen uses, the number doesn’t need to be super high. However, this is a useful way of comparing one knife and its hardness to another.
Though you should always check when you buy a Santoku knife, the majority of them are totally safe for putting in the dishwasher. They can handle the temperature changes and are easy to clean in this way, both with home and commercial dishwashers. Some people do choose to hand wash, but this is a matter of personal preference. You might worry about your dishwasher not preserving the finish as nicely.
The Mercer Culinary Millennia is at the top of our list. It has a great range of features, is relatively inexpensive and it is backed up by a lifetime warranty to go with some brilliant reviews. The Japanese steel gives a traditional feel and we have rated this Santoku knife 9.9/10 overall.
Next up is the TUO Santoku Knife, a German steel knife that has a great range of features and quality when you consider the fact that it is a cheaper model than many of the others. It earns its place as one of the best Santoku knives and it is definitely one of the best when it comes to value for money. We’ve given a 9.8/10 rating, with the heaviness just letting it down slightly.
The imarku Santoku Knife is a budget pick, with a great quality handle and durability that should last a number of years, it comes at a price tag that may be surprising when you think about all the quality you receive and the fact there is a limited lifetime warranty. It’s rated 9.6/10.