It is no secret that different knives play different roles in the kitchen. To ensure you produce the best food quality and flavor retention, you want to use the right knife for the task.
Different Japanese knives have proven to bring stellar performance in the kitchen, optimizing results on the cutting tasks they are assigned to.
Nakiri and santoku knives are among the top-rated chef knives. However, to truly harness their functions, it’s a good idea to know their differences. Check out my brief, but detailed Nakiri knife vs santoku knife comparison to figure out the differences.
What’s the Difference Between Nakiri Knife vs Santoku?
The main difference between a Nakiri and a santoku knife is their functions. While a Nakiri knife is primarily used for cutting greens and vegetables, the santoku knife is used to cut vegetables, meat, and fish.
What Is a Nakiri Knife?
A Nakiri knife is a Japanese knife used for cutting greens and vegetables. The knife features a straight-edge blade with squared-off tips. The blade and tip design allow the knife to execute its function, promoting easy horizontal pull/push cutting motion through vegetables and greens.
Typically, measuring 5 to 7 inches long, a Nakiri knife’s design allows you to achieve even and thin cuts on your vegetables. Moreover, the straight and squared tips mean you can cut or chop vegetables like tomatoes without having to squeeze them.
What Is a Nakiri Knife Mostly Used For?
A Nakiri knife is primarily used for cutting vegetables and greens. Due to its design, the knife allows you to achieve different cutting styles on your vegetables, whether you want julienned vegetables or chiffonade greens.
How Many Different Types of Nakiri Knives Are There Available?
There are two types of Nakiri knives available on the market. Knives are typically distinguished by their blade materials. The two common types of Nakiri knives include high carbon Nakiri and stainless steel Nakiri knives.
High-carbon Nakiri knives tend to be stronger and more durable than stainless steel ones. However, due to their high chromium content, stainless steel Nakiri knives do a better job at corrosion and rust resistance.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Nakiri Knife?
Here are some of the benefits of a Nakiri knife;
The knife’s design allows you to execute different cutting styles on vegetables. You can use the same knife for chopping, thin slicing, making ribbons, dicing, or making chiffonade, to mention a few.
Due to the straight-edge blade, Nakiri knives can cut all the way through the cutting board without the need for a horizontal pull and push motion. In turn, this guarantees a clean and neat cut on your vegetables and greens.
Great Blade Performance
Nakiri Japanese knives have significantly thinner and flat blades which optimize their vegetable cutting function. The thin blades allow the knives to cut through vegetables thinly and neatly without damaging them.
The thin blade even makes the knives great for delicate vegetables, like tomatoes as they will not squish or damage them.
Sufficient Blade Size
Nakiri knives are built with blades that measure about 5 to 7 inches long. This length is sufficient enough to tackle most vegetables and greens.
Top 3 Recommended Nakiri Knives for You
I’ve tested several top-rated Nakiri knives on the market. Here are my top 3 best Nakiri knife picks to add to your kitchen this year;
Mercer Culinary Genesis 7-inch Nakiri Vegetable Knife
Resembling a meat cleaver but with a thinner blade, the Mercer Culinary Nakiri Knife allows you to achieve the neatest and cleanest cuts on your vegetables.
The 7-inch versatile knife works for any vegetable, whether an onion, tomato, butternut, or Napa cabbage. It features a robust high carbon forged steel imported from Germany, delivering impressive stain-, discoloration-, and corrosion resistance.
To give you great balance, the knife features a full tang construction, running the entire length of the handle.
On the other hand, its taper ground edge delivers improved stability, cutting efficiency, and longer-lasting sharpness, while also making sharpening and honing easy.
Wusthof Classic Series 7-inch Nakiri Knife
The Wusthof Classic Nakiri Knife is a great option for those looking for a high-end option at an affordable price. The vegetable knife is built to professional standards, allowing you to use it at home and in commercial kitchens.
The full tang vegetable knife features a single block forged high carbon stainless steel blade for robust and long-lasting functionality.
The blade is heat tempered at 58 degrees HRC and integrates a patented Precision Edge Technology to make it 20% sharper than standard Nakiri knives. This technology also helps to double its edge retention abilities.
Moreover, the thin blade has a 10-degree cutting edge with a hollow profile and evenly spaced vertical indentations for improved results.
The hollow design and indentations create air pockets between the food and blade surface to promote easy food release and smooth cutting.
Dalstrong 7-inch Asian Vegetable Knife
The Dalstrong knife is no stranger to good-quality Japanese knives. The brand has further proven its track record with the Dalstrong Nakiri Asian Vegetable Knife.
The Nakiri knife integrates cutting-edge craftsmanship, using high-quality imported high-carbon German steel for its blade.
As a result, the hand-polished blade delivers a masterful performance, whether slicing, chopping, or dicing vegetables and greens.
While the knife features a thin blade, it’s still robust enough to handle meat, fish, and poultry. Maintaining the blade’s thinness allows the knife to deliver clean, neat, and thin cuts on the vegetables.
On the other hand of the knife is a luxury-built laminated triple-riveted handle. The aesthetically pleasing handler offers an ergonomic and comfortable grip.
What Is a Santoku Knife?
A santoku knife is a Japanese knife designed for cutting meat, vegetables, and fish, similar to a western chef’s knife. Resembling a Gyuto knife, a santoku knife has a 6 to 7-inch blade for easier handling and control. Its symmetrical ground blade also allows them to perform their functions.
What Is a Santoku Knife Mostly Used For?
A santoku knife is primarily used for cutting meat, fish, and vegetables. Its functions resemble that of a chef’s knife, although it has a slightly shorter blade. As their name translates, santoku knives have three uses, i.e. mincing, dicing, and slicing.
How Many Different Types of Santoku Knives Are There Available?
There are many different types of santoku knives available on the market. However, santoku knives are not differentiated by particular terms or titles. Instead, they are distinguished by factors such as their size and materials.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Santoku Knife?
Here are the key benefits of a santoku knife;
Santoku knives are built with the three primary uses in mind, i.e. mining, dicing, and slicing. In addition to these three cutting styles, you can also use Japanese knives for cutting meat, fish, and vegetables.
Santoku knives are designed with a narrow sheep’s foot blade and a straight edge, allowing them to effortlessly execute their functions. The blade design also allows for smooth slicing, dicing, and mining.
Overall Knife Design
The Santoku knife offers a well-balanced feel, thanks to its design. This, in turn, allows it to execute different functions with ease, similar to a chef’s knife.
Top 3 Recommended Santoku Knives for You
Here are my top 3 best recommendations Santoku knives for you this year;
Dalstrong Gladiator Series 7-Inch Santoku Knife
The Dalstrong Santoku Knife is built with a strong imported German steel blade to handle different cutting needs and food items.
Hand polished and sharpened at 16 to 18 degrees, the knife’s blade guarantees incredible sharpness, while its tapered design improves its hardness, flexibility, and slicing resistance.
Additionally, the knife is designed with oval-shaped hollow divots which reduce food suction, allowing for cleaner and faster cuts without food sticking to the blade.
To allow you to use it for longer periods, the knife integrates a tall blade height for seamless knuckle clearance and better handling.
Wusthof Gourmet 5-inch Hollow Edge Santoku Knife
The Wusthof Gourmet 5” Santoku Knife features a shorter length which, in turn, gives you better control and handling of the knife.
The premium quality 5-inch knife comprises a thinner blade with a 10-degree cutting edge and gradual curvature for a straighter edge. This blade edge design improves its cutting function, sharpness, and prolongs its edge retention.
Furthermore, the knife’s high carbon stainless steel blade is designed with a hollow edge with evenly spaced vertical indentations.
The result of this design is seamless cutting performance and easy food release. Additionally, the high carbon stainless steel blade gives the knife incredible resistance to dulling and corrosion.
Mercer Culinary Genesis 7-inch Santoku Knife
The Mercer Culinary Santoku Knife stands out for its uniquely taper-ground blade and blade indentations.
The taper-ground edge enhances the knife’s versatility, allowing you to use it with various hot and cold food items. Additionally, this design improves the knife’s stability, sharpening, and cutting efficiency.
Paired with its intricate vertical indentations, the santoku knife offers smooth food release during cutting and increases cutting speed.
The knife’s high carbon stainless steel specially sourced from Germany promotes long-lasting robustness and sharpness while maintaining reliable resistance to corrosion, stain, dulling, and discoloration.
The full tang knife high carbon stainless steel fabrication also optimizes its robustness and edge retention.
Main Differences Between Nakiri Knife vs. Santoku
Here’s how you can distinguish Nakiri knives from santoku knives more precisely;
A Nakiri knife is designed to cut vegetables and greens only. On the other hand, a santoku knife is more versatile, allowing you to cut meat, fish, and vegetables. Santoku knives are specially designed for dicing, mincing, and chopping.
A Nakiri knife is designed with a straight blade edge and squared-off tips, similar to a cleaver. However, it features a thinner blade design for cleaner cuts on delicate vegetables.
A santoku knife features a straight-edge blade with a narrow sheep’s foot blade to facilitate its versatile functions.
Both Nakiri and santoku knives have pretty much the same blade length variations. Most of these knives come with 5 to 7-inch blades, enough to give you adequate balance and control.
Nakiri knives tend to be slightly thinner and sharper than santoku knives, with a sharpness level of 28 to 34 degrees. Santoku knives have a sharpness level of 20 to 30 degrees.
Edge Type (Single or Double Bevel)
Nakiri knives mostly come with double bevels, allowing you to use either side of the knife. Santoku knives come in two options. You can choose between a single and double bevel santoku knife.
The weights of Nakiri and santoku knives are pretty much the same. In general, you will find Nakiri and santoku knives that weigh between 5 and 7.5 ounces.
In general, santoku knives are much more expensive than Nakiri knives. This is mostly attributed to their stronger blades and versatility.
Which One Should You Choose Between Nakiri vs. Santoku Knife?
The choice of whether to go for a Nakiri or Santoku knife depends on how you intend to use them. If you are looking for a more versatile option for multiple functions in your kitchen, you can’t go wrong with the santoku knife.
However, if you want an option that can harness the best cutting results on your vegetables, a Nakiri knife is a good option. Think of dishes such as salads, baked vegetables, and even sushi rolls with vegetables.
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