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Which is better? Santoku or Chef knife

Which is better? Santoku or Chef knife

Santoku knives and chef's knives are universal knives for various cutting tasks, such as shredding, slicing, dicing and mincing. Therefore, they are one of the most commonly used knives in professional kitchens. You may want to know what's the difference between them? and witch one is better? We're tackle this problem for you. Technically Santoku knives are a kind of chef’s knife but they vary in shape, style and others dimensions.

Before we show the detailed difference between Santoku knife and Chef knife, we see the difference from the most intuitive appearance as following:

Which is better Santoku or Chef knife

As we can see from the picture, the curve of the Santoku knife blade is smaller than chef's knife. The appearance of knife looks similar, but their functions are different. Next, let’s take a look at the characteristics of these two knives.

Features of Santoku Knife

Santoku knife literally means three advantages. There are two interpretations of this. Some people think this is saying that this knife can be used for cutting meat, fish, and vegetables; other people think it is because it's good at shredding, dicing and slicing.it features following characteristics.

  • Originated in Japan.
  • Santoku knife is lighter than chef knife, because it’s made by thinner blade. In addition, it has sharper cutting edge angles for more fitness.
  • Many of santoku knives have hollow edge to avoid vegetables sticking on the blade when we use it.
  • Smaller curve edge of blade.
  • Suitable for more refined cutting and slicing work.
  • Well-balanced knife.
  • It can be one-sided or double-sided bevel.

Santoku knives can handle chopping, dicing, and mincing jobs in exemplary fashion but avoid chopping large meat bones, slicing bread and precision tasks (such as peeling). Santoku knives are particularly desined at creating very thin slices of foods, which improves the overall aesthetics of completed dishes.

Which is better? Santoku or Chef knife

Features of chef’s Knife

Chef’s knives are seen as a universal kitchen tool used for a range of different tasks.

  • Originated in European, that’s why many of the best chef’s knives are still made in Germany now.
  • Chef’s knife is heavier and more powerful with it’s wider knife blade which is designed to cut through more tough ingredients.
  • Wider blade that curves upwards to form a tip (spine is thicker to add weight) which makes it heavier to hold.
  • The size ranges from 6 to 12 inch, usually 8-inch chef’s knife is the most popular knife choice.

Which is better? Santoku or Chef knife

What’s the difference between Santoku knives and chef knife?

Cutting motion

The method you grip the knives are similar, but the knife skills and cutting motion is different. you can use Santoku knife with p and down or a down and forward chopping-cutting motion. Beacsue it’s blade is flat and there is no part of knife contact with chopping board between cuts.

However, in term of chef’s knife, you will use a fluid back and forth rocking motion technique while cutting. With chef knife, some part of the knife are always being in contact with the cutting board.

What they used for:

Santoku knife is usually used for:

• Cut meat
• Slicing cheese
• Chopping, Slicing, or dicing, vegetables, fruits ,fish, and nuts
• Mincing meat or herbs like celery
• Transport food off a chopping board with wide blade to another place
• Good at cutting into thin slices, especially suitable for vegetables and seafood

Chef’s knife is usually used for:

  • Complex or all-purpose cutting ,it can handle 95% of daily cutting tasks
  • The tip of chef knife is good for deboning, disjointing, and spatchcocking. especially good for separating chicken parts)
  • Slicing bread and cheese 
  • Slicing, chopping or dicing fruits, vegetables and nuts 

Note: Of course, if you want a finer and more precise cutting, you can try Santoku knife.

Which one is better?

In addition to meat, vegetables and fish must be taken into consideration in kitchen cooking. For convenience, the Japanese improved the Santoku knife based on the Gyuto knife. It has absorbed the advantage of Gyuto knife, it adjusts the curve edge of blade to make it more convenient for broaching and guillotine cutting. Therefore, it can provide an excellent performance in comprehensive use, if there is only one knife at home, it would be a good choice. that's why it is favored by Japanese housewives.

So, which is better, chef's knife or Santoku knife? It really depends on personal preference and the comfort of each knife. Those with smaller hands may like the Santoku knife because of its smaller size and delicate cutting action. At the same time, for the same reason, lavish people may be inclined to the chef's knife. of couse, if you have enough budget, you can try having both knives for more specific cutting task.


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