knife review

Equipment Review: Best Santoku Knives & Our Testing Winners

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Behind the Testing:
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We tested 10 santoku knives to find the best one (listed in alphabetical order):
Global G-48 7″ Santoku Hollow Ground Knife
Kramer by Zwilling J.A. Henckels Euroline Essential Collection 7″ Santoku Knife
MAC Superior Santoku 6 1/2″
Mercer Culinary Genesis 7″ Forged Santoku
Misono UX10 Santoku 7.0″
OXO Good Grips Pro 6.5″ Santoku Knife
Shun Classic 7-in. Hollow-Ground Santoku
Victorinox Swiss Army Fibrox Pro 7″ Granton Blade Santoku Knife
Wüsthof Classic 7″ Santoku, Hollow Edge
Zwilling Pro 7″ Hollow Edge Rocking Santoku Knife

With its petite build and curved tip, this friendly-looking Japanese blade is giving Western-style chef’s knives a run for their money. But does it offer something unique?

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The best (and worst) kitchen mandolines for slicing food:

– Slim, sharp cutting edge that retains its sharpness
– Slim tip for precision work
– Narrow spine (top edge of blade), less than 2 mm
– Handle of moderate width and length, and neutral shape, so it is comfortable in various hands and grips
– Handle that doesn’t become slippery when hands are wet or greasy
– Spine that isn’t sharp, facilitating pinch grip
– Good balance between handle and blade


We tested 10 santoku knives and also compared their feel and performance to that of our favorite chef’s knife, the Victorinox Swiss Army Fibrox Pro 8″ Chef’s Knife. We measured the knives’ blade length, blade angle, and spine thickness. All knives were purchased online.


Performance: We minced fresh herbs, diced onions, broke down whole raw chickens into parts, and quartered unpeeled butternut squashes. To assess precision, we cut carrots into matchsticks and sliced slightly frozen boneless steak against the grain into uniform slivers (a technique used when preparing beef for Vietnamese pho). Knives that sliced smoothly and helped us complete the tasks with crisp cuts and neat results scored highest. We also assessed the sharpness of each knife before and after testing by slicing sheets of copy paper; blades that started sharp and stayed that way rated highest.

Ease of Use: Throughout testing we rated the knives on how comfortable and easy they were to hold and use, evaluating the handle shape, spine sharpness (if we used a pinch grip), weight, and balance of the blade. Six testers of varying heights and handedness, including three proficient with knives and three self-described knife novices, chopped onions and rated the knives. Knives rated higher if most testers found them comfortable and easy to use.

ABOUT US: Located in Boston’s Seaport District in the historic Innovation and Design Building, America’s Test Kitchen features 15,000 square feet of kitchen space including multiple photography and video studios. It is the home of Cook’s Illustrated magazine and Cook’s Country magazine and is the workday destination for more than 60 test cooks, editors, and cookware specialists. Our mission is to test recipes over and over again until we understand how and why they work and until we arrive at the best version.

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10 replies on “Equipment Review: Best Santoku Knives & Our Testing Winners”

I really like the soft handles of Mercer knives that cost 15-20 bucks for santoku/chef. Your hand just merges with the knife.

I have a 6" pure aerospace grade Santoku knife. It is impossible to sharpen by any means it's material it that hard and sharpening them with a diamond stone is risky and voids the life time warranty. This knife will end up being mailed back to the manufacturer in it's original case for proper sharpening. I really love this knife for soft fleshy fruits and vegetable slicing. Nothing sticks to the sides to slow you down or cause you to drop food on the floor during high speed cutting of paper thin slices. Always store this blade in it's original case.

Santoku is meant to be a slicing knife, you aren't meant to use it in a rocking motion, or to chop (force it down) a butter squash like a Chinese chopper. If you are testing Santoku then the right approach is to test it as what it is meant to be used for. This is like testing how well a car would fly and glide

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