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Santoku Vs Chef Knife – Clearly Stating Differences Between Them

chef knife vs santoku

While choosing the knives for kitchen tasks, Santoku and Chef Knives are the two most common pick. Besides being versatile in functioning, they appear to be almost same in the look to many people. However, the truth is that they are mistaken for each other.

Santoku is a popular and general-purpose Japanese knife that is considered one of the most functional kitchen tools. On the other hand, Chef Knife is a German and western-style knife which is common among the professional chefs.

Those who are unfamiliar with the traits and uses of these two knives have a closer and deep look. The telling differences between both will be highlighted based on various parameters such as size, blade type, weight, purpose, and the cutting edge shape.

The History Attached

Santoku Knife traces its origin to Japan and was manufactured in the mid 40’s i.e after the culmination of World War 2. During that time, the Japanese were involved in introducing changes to their Nakiri tool shaped like a cleaver. Gradually, they came out with a lighter, shorter, and comfortable knife that came to be known as Santoku Knife.

Also read: Trusted Butcher Knives Review – Is It A Great Buy Or Just A Scam?

santoku knife vs chef knife

Just as Japan is known for bladesmithing, similarly the city of Solingen in Germany is known for its swords and rich metal production. Chef knife also regarded as Western Knife has its origin attached to Germany.

Germany’s city started manufacturing knives in 17th and 18th century and gradually it came up with some of the renowned brands such as Wüsthof and Zwilling J. A. Henckels.


what is a santoku knife

Starting with Santoku knife, it is a short knife with a blade length of just 5-8 inches and the handle length of 4-5 inches. Therefore, the shorter length and narrow width make it a lighter knife. You can hold this knife for a long span of time without feeling fatigued.

To begin with Chef Knife, it features a blade of length 8-10 inches. However, some professional range of chef knives may have a blade of 14 inches length. This length makes the knife heavier and suited for experts who work on large counters.

Type of Blade

Santoku houses a thinner blade meant for refined slicing. Its flatter cutting edge is straight from heel to tip thus making it easier to release the food. The top of the blade starts sloping down and are sharpened at 12-15 degrees. With a single bevel, its cutting edge is sharpened on one side.

Whereas, Chef Knife exhibits a broad blade that curves upwards through the entire length. It gives belly shape with a well-defined sharp tip. They are cut at a wider angle i.e. at 20-30 degrees. With a double bevel, they are sharpened on both the sides of the blade, thus making everyday and regular kitchen tasks such as cutting and chopping an effortless work.

what is a santoku knife used for

The Material Used In Making

The material with which a particular knife is made of highly influences its life. Therefore, before choosing a knife for your daily rough task, don’t overlook the material used. Let’s say, originally Santoku Knife was made up of harder stainless steel Japanese material.

Now a day, Santoku knives made up of ceramic and high-carbon steel are also found. Harder steel implies sharp cutting edge performance. However, it comes with a drawback of being chipped and cracked in less time thus affecting its durability.

what do you use a santoku knife for

Unlike Santoku Knife, the Chef Knife is manufactured using softer material. Though it may not be as sharp as the ones made up of hard steel, but they are less prone to chips and cracks. Moreover, they come with a durability tag along with it.

Presence of Bolster

The bolster is a vital part as it offers stability to the knife. It is a section on the knife where handle and blade meets. While talking about Santoku Knife, you will come to know that it lacks bolster. Its dearth makes slicing an easier task.

santoku vs chef knives

Also, sharpening becomes simpler to carry out. However, in many modern Santoku knives, a bolster is present. Such knives incorporate the amalgamation of both Santoku and Chef Knives.

On the other hand, Chef Knife features a Bolster that undoubtedly provides stability to the entire knife. It balances the weight of the blade and protects the hand during the cutting job.

The Material Used In Making

These popular chef knives are known for their high-end performance and great functionality. However, each knife is ideal for a specific cutting task. Let’s have a look.

What Type Of Tasks Can Be Carried Out Through Santoku Knives?

  • Mainly, Santoku is aimed to carry out the three prime tasks- chopping, dicing, and mincing. Owing to its long and thin blade, slicing can be done in a clean manner.

  • Chopping which requires up and down movement such as cutting salad, dicing carrots, or mincing meat; Santoku Knife comes very handy.

  • Owing to its lightweight, your routine tasks can be done easily without causing exhaustion.

santoku vs chef knife

What Type Of Tasks Can Be Carried Out Through Chef Knife?

  • Chef knife comes with a different cutting technique. It is ideal for cutting fruits, chopping herbs, onions, garlic, and other vegetables at an extremely fast speed.

  • The knife also proves handy when you have to cut chicken, seafood, tougher piece of meat, or cheese.

  • If you confront any complex cutting, Chef knife is the best pick.

Once you have purchased your desired type of knife, its care should be your first and foremost responsibility. Its timely cleaning, sharpening, and appropriate storage ensure the longevity of the knives. However, keep the dishwashers at bay while cleaning the knives. Instead, opt handwashing technique followed by drying with a clean and soft towel.


After having a closer look at the traits and uses of both the knives, you will realise that both are the must-haves for your kitchen. If you are a type of individual with small hands, a Santoku knife is for you.

You will find the Chef’s Knife handy for tasks that require a longer blade, while the Santoku knife with short length blade will give you more control over the kitchen’s chopping task without causing tiredness.

Rest, both comes with its own pros and cons. The choice depends upon your needs, requirements, and the type of tasks you encounter each day.