The 4 Best Santoku Knives

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by Anne Loreto Cruz

Whether you’re looking to add to an existing knife set or are just starting your collection, a Santoku knife is a versatile tool that every home cook should have in their kitchen. The best Santoku knives have thin, full tang blades made from durable high carbon or stainless steel, and ergonomic handles that are comfortable enough for prolonged use.

When choosing any kitchen knife, you’ll want to consider both the height and length of the blade. Santoku knife blades typically range from 5 to 7 inches in length, and should loosely correspond with the chef’s height. As for knife's height, a taller blade is also useful for scooping up ingredients, while a narrower blade is better suited for precision cuts.

The material of the blade itself also plays an important role. Most kitchen knives are made with high carbon or stainless steel for maximum durability and sharpness. High carbon steel excels at keeping its edge with regular sharpening and maintenance, but it can rust over time, especially if you put it in the dishwasher. On the other hand, stainless steel blades tend to be slightly more rust resistant, and are less susceptible to chipping. High carbon steel is usually the metal of choice for professional chefs who often sharpen their knives more regularly than home cooks, but home cooks may prefer more affordable stainless steel knives.

One feature unique to Santoku knives that you should consider is the dimpled edges on the face of the blade. Many Santoku knives have small depressions on the blade which not only look stunning but also prevent ingredients from sticking to it. However, some chefs may prefer a simple, ultra-sharp knife for ultimate precision. You'll also want to look for a durable handle material, like Pakkawood or laminate, which have the added advantage of being dishwasher-safe.

With all of this in mind, here are some of the best Santoku knives you can buy on Amazon right now.

1. The Best Overall

  • Blade material: stainless steel
  • Blade length: 7 inches
  • Handle material: pakkawood

This 7-inch long Santoku knife from imarku provides great blade quality for the price point. The 2.5-millimeter thickness can create paper-thin slices with precision, but the wide bolster at the heel of the blade will help keep your fingers from slipping, so this knife will feel comfortable even after long periods of use. With a 7-inch blade, this knife is long enough to feel well balanced without being too bulky for most people.

The handle is made from Pakkawood, a material that composites both natural wood and plastic to give the knife a rugged look without it being susceptible to cracking or other damage as is common with pure natural wood handles. As a result, this full tang Santoku knife is dishwasher safe, though many cooking enthusiasts agree that hand-washing is the best way to clean your knife while preserving the blade's edge.

One reviewer wrote: “This is my second imarku knife. I was amazed at the quality of this knife that should cost much more. The flat edge of the blade makes chopping vegetables very easy. The quality of the packaging is great. I keep my knives stored in the original box to protect them and the box looks great. I have never seen a company that goes so far out of the way to make sure their customers are satisfied with their products and the manufacturer.”

2. The Runner-Up

This dimpled-edge Santoku knife from world-renowned knife maker Henckels is an absolute steal for under $20. The blade is precision-stamped from German stainless steel, and has a full tang design for perfect balance and maximum durability. The lightweight blade makes easy work of dicing ingredients, and it comes finely honed to a sharp edge right out of the box. The dimpled edges also help keep foods like potatoes or fruits from sticking to the blade after each slice. If you prefer a shorter knife, or want a 2-piece set, this one is also available in a 5-inch length.

Secured with three rivets, the handle is curved to facilitate an ergonomic grip that won’t tire after lots of chopping and mincing. Reviewers also noted that they love how the extended tang lends the handle some weight to ease the knife through tougher ingredients, but it still feels more lightweight than a western chef’s knife. This knife is also dishwasher safe.

One reviewer wrote: “Replacing an old Chicago Cutlery santoku that was to put it nicely, garbage. I have a Henckels 9” pro chef knife that I really like, they’re not always the heaviest so that can take some getting used to, but for the value, I don’t think you can beat this one. Good balanced weight, fights a larger hand beat probably, I’m a medium. But the weight, balance, shape, and sharpness are pretty great so far, have been favoring this one as of late”

3. A Splurge-Worthy Santoku Knife

  • Blade material: high carbon stainless steel
  • Blade length: 7 inches
  • Handle material: G10 fiberglass laminate

Professional chefs on Amazon love this 7-inch full tang Santoku knife from Zelite for its high carbon stainless steel blade that holds its edge even after months of regular use. The blade also boasts a gorgeous "tsunami rose damascus" pattern from the forging process and signature Santoku knife dimples that create air pockets to reduce sticking. Reviewers also liked this knife’s hybrid-style blade that allows for some rocking motion while cutting, instead of a traditional flat blade.

The handle on this knife is made from a sturdy composite fiberglass material that’s not vulnerable to water damage and is secured to the blade with three rivets, including a beautiful metal mosaic rivet. The slightly curved handle feels comfortable, even after long periods of use, and the bolster helps keep the knife in place within your hand as you cut. Since the blade is made from high carbon stainless steel, it's not recommended to put it in the dishwasher. It does, however, come with a four-year satisfaction guarantee in addition to a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.

One reviewer wrote: "I got the 7” Santoku over a year ago and have had it professionally sharpened just once in that time. I’m blown away, it’s basically the only knife I use. Great edge retention and the slight bevel in this santoku makes it quite versatile in the kitchen. Highly recommended"

4. A 5-Inch Knife That Comes With A Cutting Board

  • Blade material: high carbon stainless steel
  • Blade length: 5 inches
  • Handle material: plastic

For shorter cooks, or those who just want to add a smaller knife to their collection, this 5-inch Sanotku knife from Wüsthof is a great option. It features a full-tang construction, a triple-riveted handle, and dimpled edges, offering everything you could want in a Santoku knife, all in a smaller size that's perfect for delicate prep work. The ergonomic handle is comfortable and easy to hold, and the high-carbon stainless steel blade can stand up to regular sharpening, and holds its edge well. It boasts a near-perfect 5-star rating on Amazon.

One reviewer wrote: "I love the size of this knife. I already had the longer version which is my "go to" chopping knife. The shorter blade takes a little getting used to but like all Wusthof knives, it is well balanced and functions beautifully. A nice addition to my kitchen!"