Santoku vs Gyuto Compared

Table of Contents

Japanese crafted knives are more than neat culinary tools. They are often works of art, handmade by artisans who rely on ancient techniques and quality materials to create knives worthy of masterpiece dishes.

Two of the most popular Japanese knives are Santoku and Gyuto. Today, we’ll discuss these two knives, their pros and cons, and which you need in your kitchen, stat!

What is a Santoku Knife?

Santoku knives have long, straight blades that make them adept at slicing deep, even lines. They’re more of a multi-purpose kitchen knife, although shorter than a gyuto or traditional chef’s knife.

Though Santokus are not ideal for rocking or piercing, they are superb at chopping and transferring.

They have wide, flat blades with a tip that is slightly rounded and blunt.

Characteristics of a Santoku Knife

When you hold a Santoku in your hand, you’ll notice it has specific elements that make it unique.

These include:

  • Average length: 5” to 7”
  • Blade shape: “sheepsfoot”, in that it has a flat edge, with a spine that is parallel to the edge, finally ending in a 60° angle at the tip.
  • Single-edge tip sharpened between 12° to 15°
  • Harder than most western knives
  • Less range of motion due to its linear blade design
  • Typically made without a finger bolster

What Is a Gyuto Knife?

A Gyuto knife is a knife modeled on traditional western-style chef’s knives, but with a thinner blade. They have long, curved blades that feature a tall heel. Unlike Santokus, Gyutos have a pointed tip that can make for more precise slicing and dicing.

Gyutos have double-beveled edges and are better built for thrust- and rock-cutting, unlike Santokus.

Characteristics of a Gyuto Knife

Gyuto knives are designed to be used as traditional chef’s knives.

Here is what distinguishes it from other kitchen knives:

  • Average length: 8”; although they can range from 6” to 14”
  • Blade shape: curved
  • Thicker blade than Santoku
  • They have multiple edge styles, including single or double grind, chisel edge, double bevel, convex edge, and hollow grind
  • Has finger bolster

Santoku Knife Pros and Cons

Santoku knives have many excellent features that can make them a winning choice in your kitchen. But it’s also important to consider the downsides, of course!

Santoku Pros:

  • Its narrow, precise blade makes it great for finely dicing vegetables and slicing meat and fish.
  • Lightweight compared to Gyutos and other chef’s knives.
  • Quicker at chopping tasks thanks to its hard, thin blade.
  • Edge retention means you don’t have to sharpen your Santoku as often.
  • Easier to sharpen, thanks to a lack of bolster.
  • Single-edge means more chopping control.


Santoku Cons:

  • No finger bolster means less protection, so it may be easier to cut yourself on the blade.
  • Its flexibility can be a negative, as the blade is too bendy to take on tasks like deboning fish, breaking down cuts of meat, etc.

Gyuto Knife Pros and Cons

Like with Santoku knives, Gyutos have a lot of pluses and negatives that you should carefully consider before welcoming one into your kitchen.

Gyuto Pros:

  • Built to be durable, thanks to its thicker blade.
  • More versatile than Santokus, and so is adept with meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables alike.
  • Built with a finger bolster, better protecting your fingers from cuts and slices.
  • With a thicker handle, they offer a firm grip.


Gyuto Cons:

  • The thicker handle means it is more heavyweight than a Santoku knife.
  • The curved, wide blade is great at cutting but offers the chef less control.
  • Gyuto blades are made with softer metal, which means you need to sharpen it more often.

Gyuto Knife Vs. Santoku Knife Comparison Table

Visuals are everything! And that is why we crafted a nifty little comparison table to help you better understand the similarities and differences between these two culinary wunderkinds.

You may be thinking: how do the blade length of Gyuto and Santoku knives measure? What are their typical handle material and shape? We’ll get to those nitty gritty details below:

 

Gyuto Knife

Santoku Knife

Blade Shape

Slightly curved

Straight

Blade Tip

Sharp, pointy

Blunt, wide

Handle Shape

Ergonomic

D-shaped; octogonal

Handle Material

Usually wood, sometimes resin

Usually wood

Overall Length

8”

6”

Average Price

More expensive

Less expensive

So Which is the Best Option for You?

By now, you understand the average similarities and differences between Santoku and Gyuto knives. But we’re going to break it down even more and figure out which is the best option for you, so you can get to shopping already!

When deciding whether a Santoku or Gyuto is best for you, consider these factors:

Design and Functionality

Both Gyuto and Santoku knives can be used daily in professional kitchens and at home.

They are both designed to handle typical cooking tasks and are well made. Both knives need to be sharpened, so home cooks with this level or proficiency and all pro cooks will surely be up to the task.

When it comes to what’s cooking, therein lies a few differences. Gyuto blades are longer than Santoku blades and have an overall heft to their feel. Because of this, they are excellent choices for chopping meats, fish, and vegetables, especially when ultra-fine cuts are not required.

But Santoku knives are lighter in build, making them much easier for professional chefs to carry around all day. They do have a blunter tip than Gyuto, but a straighter blade over Gyuto’s curved style, making Santoku ideal for chopping. Its flat blade is also helpful for transferring ingredients from a cutting board to a pot.

Price may also be a factor in your decision making. Like with any other kitchen item, the prices of Japanese kitchen knives vary greatly depending on where they are made and what materials are used.

But overall, Santoku tend to be mid range in price, while Gyuto knives are mid- to high-range price.

So there you have it, our easy guide on Santoku and Gyuto knives! Both of these beauties can be an asset in your kitchen, especially if you are a chef by trade or an avid home cook.

Which you choose depends on your needs. But if you can find a Santoku and a Gyuto at a fair price and crafted with superb materials, buy ‘em both! They won’t let you down; and in fact can enhance the skills of the other.

All while helping you craft dishes that speak to your skills, too.

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