Best Santoku Knives
- Shogun Series 5" Santoku
- Shogun Series 7" Santoku Knife
- Phantom Series 7 "Santoku
- Quantum 1 Series 7" Santoku Knife
- Shadow Black Series 7" Santoku Knife - NSF Certified
- The Frost Fire Series 7" Santoku Knife
- Crusader Series 7" Santoku Knife - NSF Certified
- Omega Series 7" Santoku Knife
- Gladiator Series 7" Santoku Knife
- What Is A Santoku Knife?
- What is a Santoku Used to Cut?
- What to Look For When Buying a Santoku Knife
- Best Santoku Knives
- Frequently Asked Questions About Santoku Knives
It’s an exciting time to be a chef, especially when it comes to expanding your kitchen knife arsenal. From going ultra-specialized with your kitchen knives to drawing on different regions of the planet for their respective knife traditions, a wider variety of knives are now more available to both professionals and home chefs than ever before.
Perhaps no region of the world is more famous for its knives than Japan, where the blades are typically forged thin and delicate. Japanese knives are beloved for their stunning and intricate design, as well as the thin, precise cuts they produce — perfect for presentation. One of the most popular Japanese knives used today is the Santoku knife.
1. What Is A Santoku Knife?
The Santoku bōchō (Japanese: 三徳包丁) literally translates to "three virtues" or "three uses” Also known as the Bunka bōchō (文化包丁), it is a Japanese all-purpose kitchen knife with a steel blade that typically measures 5-8 inches long. Its sheeps foot blade shape means that it has a straight edge while the spine curves downward towards the cutting edge at the end. The spine’s dulled back edge allows users to hold it between their fingers, giving extra control. Most Santoku knives have a 60 degree angle at their curved tip. Generally speaking, a Santoku is easier to sharpen than the traditional chefs knife.
Due to its flat blade, the Santoku won’t rock while cutting like a traditional chef knife. Shorter, lighter, and thinner than western style knives, it might take some practice to get used to its unique build, but when it comes to slicing dicing and chopping you'll see it was all worth it.
It is unclear whether “three virtues'' refers to the three main ingredients a Santoku handles best, (meat, fish and vegetable) or for the different types of cutting motions it can execute (slicing, chopping and dicing). Whichever reason is the root of its name, it’s unquestionably a versatile knife, and one all chefs could use in their kitchen arsenal.
2. What is a Santoku Used to Cut?
Meant to be used as an everyday, multitasking knife, a Santoku is suitable for cutting everything in the kitchen, but excels with menus that mimic the country of its origin. Try out your Santoku with fish, vegetables and fruit to witness its narrow, delicate precision in action. It's true that paring knives are great when working with vegetables, but the the precision of the Santoku is unmatched. It truly is a kitchen tool that every serious chef should own.
3. What to Look For When Buying a Santoku Knife
Santoku knives are becoming more and more widespread in the United States and other countries, with many versions being made around the world. For those considering purchasing this style of knife for the first time, they may be unsure what qualities to look for.
As with any other knife, we recommend looking for high-quality stainless steel with high HRC ratings for strength and edge retention, meaning more time between knife sharpening. Secondly, ensure that whatever knife you choose has a robust, ergonomic handle for comfort and durability.
Want to learn about the difference between chefs knife and santoku? Check out this handy guide.
If you're a kitchen knife afficienado, you would probably have heard of the wüsthof classic, henckels pro, and zwilling ja. And while those knives are known around the world, we at Dalstrong thrive on thinking outside of the box, offering unique designs with uncompromising quality. That's why we truly believe that our selection of Santoku knives are all your kitchen needs!
Ready to add a santoku knife to your collection? Check out our selection of the best ones.
Learn more about where Dalstrong Knives are manufactured here!
4. Best Santoku Knives
Perhaps no other cuisine throughout history valued the preparation and presentation of food more than medieval Japan. With Zen Buddhist philosophy as the root of their tradition, making meals was seen as a spiritual endeavor. The Shogun Series 5″ Santoku knife draws on this tradition with its painstaking forging process, crafting the blade over 60 days.
Forged with only the highest quality materials, such as AUS-10V steel with 67 alternating layers of SUS410 damascus steel cladding, you’ll be able to take on every culinary challenge effortlessly with this hollow edge santoku. The Tsuchime hammered finish adds both refinement and nonstick utility, while the blade is hand-sharpened to a razor-sharp 8-12 degrees.
But it isn’t just the blade that lives up to Japanese knife standards. With an ultra-premium G-10 handle, the knife’s grip is considered to be military grade with life-long durability.
Hand-polished to an elegant sheen, the ergonomic handle shape is engineered for superior control, agility and comfort while the blade's spine is smoothed out for a traditional Santoku 'pinch grip.’ Included with every Shoguns series knife is a premium-quality polymer Dalstrong Perfect Fit saya (sheath), embossed with the Dalstrong logo and pin, as well as a Dalstrong microfiber cloth for polishing.
Love the look and feel of the Shogun Series 5″ Santoku Knife, but prefer a slightly longer blade in the kitchen? You’re not alone. Luckily for you, the 7″ Shogun Series Santoku Knife has all the same premium qualities of the 5″ version, but extending two inches more for extra cutting power.
With its 60 days forging process using the ultra-premium AUS-10V steel with 67 alternating layers of SUS410 damascus cladding, the blade is built for effortless precision and shocking strength. The Tsuchime hammered finish enhances the blade’s nonstick properties while also making it more beautiful to behold. And just like the other knives of this series, it is sharpened to a razor-sharp 8-12 degrees.
Enjoy the military-grade durability of the hand-polished G-10 garolite handle, with an ergonomic shape for superior control. Just as in the smaller model, included with every Shoguns series knife is a premium-quality polymer Dalstrong Perfect Fit saya (sheath), embossed with the Dalstrong logo and pin, as well as a Dalstrong microfiber cloth for polishing.
3. Phantom Series 7" Santoku
The Phantom Series consist of artfully designed knives that stay true to their namesake. Elegant, agile, and utterly ruthless, their elegant, narrow lines are meant to convey a look of stealthy motion, like a shadow moving rapidly through the dark or a gale in the night. Featuring Japanese AUS-8 steel, the Phantom Series Santoku reflects its Japanese origins with a beautifully engraved blade featuring the Dalstrong name as well as the Japanese kanji for ‘phantom’ or ‘ghost.’
Each knife is precision-forged from a single piece ice-tempered steel, then painstakingly hand-sharpened using the traditional honbazuke method. Every blade is a surgically sharp 13-15 degrees, ensuring swift, effortless cuts that will take even the most experienced chef’s breath away.
The traditional Japanese D-shaped black pakkawood handle perfectly tucks into the palm of your hand to make slicing, chopping, and dicing a total pleasure. Every Phantom Series knife includes a Dalstrong Perfect Fit saya (sheath), embossed Dalstrong logo and pin, and Dalstrong microfiber cloth for polishing.
4. Quantum 1 Series 7" Santoku Knife
Prefer a western spin on an eastern tradition? Our Quantum 1 Series 7” Santoku Knife features ultra-premium, American-made BD1N-VX hyper-steel, with added vacuum heat-treatment for an impressive 63 Hardness Rockwell C rating.
In addition, each blade receives a nitrogen treatment for added durability and flexibility. Gorgeously laminated and hot forged with the head-turning “Nova Prime” pattern, this exquisite blade design doesn’t just turn heads — it also reduces drag and prevents the knife from getting stuck on food.
The Dragon Skin G10-carbon fibre hybrid handle has a powerful profile, offering total reliability and enhanced grip while being near impervious to heat, cold, and moisture.
5. Shadow Black Series 7" Santoku Knife
If you love the tradition of the Santoku, but prefer a totally modern profile, the Shadow Black Series Santoku Knife is a perfect fit. Featuring high-carbon 7CR17MOV-X super-steel with an added vacuum heat treatment for Hardness Rockwell C rating of 58+, the knives offer extraordinary performance and edge retention with a stunning matte black blade.
The midnight black fiber-resin and military grade G10 handle is completely ergonomic and nearly impervious to heat, cold and moisture. The handle’s unique geometry is thoughtfully crafted to tuck snuggly into the palm, giving you a firm grip regardless of how you hold your knife.
6. The Frost Fire Series 7" Santoku Knife
(Currently Out Of Stock)
Icy cold style meets fiery performance with this elegant yet modern take on the Santoku. The Frost Fire Santoku Knife is a light-weight, razor-sharp knife, forged of 7-layer, high-carbon, high-chromium 10CR15MOV stainless steel with added cobalt. Every Frost Fire knife undergoes an expert heat treatment to further increase blade hardness for scalpel-like sharpness.
The fiercely strong blade is paired with a pristine, elegant white resin handle that is enclosed in aluminum mesh for added durability and a stylish honeycomb finish. Every Frost Fire Series knife comes with a PU leather sheath with snap enclosure, embossed with a Dalstrong logo and pin.
Although not traditional in the least, we have a feeling that these minimalist, all-steel knives would no doubt impress several Japanese knife craftsmen. Stunningly designed, the “less is more” approach to this series’ design makes it a perfect fit for every kitchen. Crafted from German-made ThyssenKrupp x50crmov15 steel, rated at 58+ Rockwell, you can enjoy exceptional performance.
The seamless transition from the blade to a high-chromium stainless steel handle gives every knife a forward-moving stance. The aggressive design is paired with a hand-crafted blade sheath with engraved magnet to hold the knife securely in place, embossed with the Dalstrong logo.
Another great option for fans of American-forged steel, the Omega Series Santoku Knife is meticulously crafted from ultra-premium, BD1N-VX hyper steel. Prep veggies with ease: the added vacuum heat-treatment for a 63+ Rockwell Hardness C rating offers home and professional chefs alike astonishing performance with a screamingly sharp edge. The“LiquidMetal” blade pattern reduces drag and increases efficiency, allowing you to glide through hours of veggie prep.
The full-tang, G10 woven fibreglass handle is extremely heat, cold, and moisture resistant. Made in sophisticated midnight black with subtle dark red colorings, it’s finished with an ornate and over-sized copper and brass mosaic for a bit of added distinction.
For those who consider their kitchen their arena, the Gladiator Series is a warrior-worthy take on the Santoku, a merciless and versatile culinary champion. Combining the best of a chef’s knife and a cleaver wrapped in one, the Gladiator Series Santoku Knife is forged from a single piece of imported premium quality, high-carbon ThyssenKrupp German steel. The durable edge, hand-sharpened to 14-16 degrees per side, ensures paper thin slices with minimal effort, maintenance or clean up required.
The blade’s excellent wear and stain resistance is paired with the black G10 Garolite handle for a durable build from tip to tip. Imported from Spain, the ambidextrous, imported handle is ergonomically designed, ensuring you can work comfortably day in and day out. Perfectly weighted to handle both thicker, heavy duty cuts and more delicate detail work, the blade is balanced by the hand polished bolster (which also functions as added finger protection) and triple riveted for durability. Included is a water and stain resistant, BPA free protective Dalstrong PerfectFit sheath.
5. Frequently Asked Questions About Santoku Knives
What is the advantage of a Santoku knife?
The advantages of a Santoku blade are closely linked to its light and narrow design. Due to the sheep-foot shape of the blade, a straight up and down chopping technique allows for greater speed and efficiency when cutting through meat and vegetables. While this way of cutting can take some getting used to, it can yield excellent results with a bit of time and practice.
Do I need a chef's knife and a Santoku?
While a Santoku and Chef’s knife may appear similar to the untrained eye, their different shapes make them better equipped for different needs. We recommend having both knives if you’re spending a lot of time in the kitchen. If you don’t cook that often, then you should evaluate what kind of food you make most often. If your menu is heavy on fish, fruit, and vegetables, then a Santoku is the best choice as it makes more delicate cuts. For more robust foods like large cuts of meat, fruit, and tougher vegetables, a chef’s knife is a better fit.
Why do Santoku knives have dimples?
The dimples/depressions, also called a granton edge, kullenschliff or a hollow edge santoku knife, reduce friction and help prevent food from sticking to the blade.
You can also check in with our Expert Knife Finder Quiz and get specific recommendations based on your needs.
Written by Evelyn Duskey
Born in Ohio and based in Buenos Aires, Evelyn loves sharing her grandmother’s midwestern recipes with unsuspecting Argentines.