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Santoku vs Gyuto: Which Japanese Knife is Right for Your Kitchen?

Japanese knives have become increasingly popular in the western kitchen due to their exceptional sharpness, versatility, and precision. Among the many types of Japanese knives, two of the most commonly used are the santoku and the gyuto.

Here are simplified answers of this article.

A santoku knife is...

  • Ideal for those who enjoy preparing a variety of foods (e.g. fruits, vegetables, meats)
  • Good for those who use a rocking motion for chopping
  • Suitable for those who prefer a shorter and more compact knife

A gyuto knife is...

  • Ideal for those who primarily slice and chop meats
  • Good for those who use a slicing motion
  • Suitable for those who prefer a longer and more versatile knife

What is a Santoku Knife?

A santoku knife is a versatile kitchen knife with a straight blade that is typically between 5 and 7 inches in length. The word "santoku" translates to "three virtues," referring to its ability to handle three main cutting tasks: slicing, dicing, and mincing.

What is a Gyuto Knife?

A gyuto knife is a Japanese chef's knife that is similar in design to the western chef's knife. It has a curved blade that tapers to a sharp point, making it ideal for slicing, chopping, and dicing a wide range of ingredients. Gyuto knives are typically between 8 and 10 inches in length.

In the next sections, we will take a closer look at the differences between the santoku and the gyuto knives, and help you determine which one is best for your kitchen.

    Santoku vs Gyuto: The Differences

    When it comes to Japanese knives, the santoku and gyuto are two of the most popular types. Both are versatile and commonly used in the kitchen, but they have distinct differences that make them better suited for different tasks. In this section, we'll compare and contrast the two knives, including:

    Blade Length and Shape

    The santoku knife typically has a blade length of around 7 inches, while the gyuto knife usually has a blade length ranging from 8 to 10 inches. The santoku knife has a straight edge with a slightly curved belly, while the gyuto knife has a more pronounced curve along its entire length.

    Blade Thickness and Flexibility

    Santoku knives have a thicker blade, which makes them ideal for chopping and dicing. Gyuto knives have a thinner blade, which makes them better for slicing and precision cuts. Additionally, gyuto knives are generally more flexible, which can make them better for tasks that require a delicate touch, such as filleting fish.

    Uses in the Kitchen

    The santoku knife is a popular all-purpose knife that is great for a variety of tasks, including chopping, dicing, and mincing. The gyuto knife is a versatile chef's knife that can handle a wide range of tasks, from slicing meat and fish to chopping vegetables. It's a great choice for chefs who need a single knife that can handle many different tasks.

    Ultimately, the choice between a santoku and a gyuto knife comes down to personal preference and the tasks you'll be using it for. Both knives have their strengths and weaknesses, and it's important to choose the one that's right for you.

    How to Choose the Right Knife

    When it comes to choosing the right knife for your kitchen, it can be a difficult decision between a santoku and a gyuto knife. To make the right choice for you, consider the following factors:

    Cooking style and techniques: Consider the types of food you’ll be cutting and the techniques you’ll be using. Depending on your cooking style, one knife may be better suited for your needs than the other.

    Types of food: Think about the types of food you’ll be cutting with the knife. A santoku knife is well-suited for slicing, dicing, and mincing, while a gyuto knife is great for slicing meats, chopping vegetables, and more.

    Personal preferences: Ultimately, the choice between a santoku and a gyuto knife will come down to personal preferences. Consider the feel of the knife in your hand, the weight, and the balance. Choose the knife that feels the most comfortable to you and is easiest to use.


    The differences between a santoku knife and a gyuto knife are important to consider when selecting the right knife for your kitchen. While both knives are commonly used in Japanese cuisine, they have distinct features that set them apart. The santoku knife is a multi-purpose knife that is typically shorter and more compact, with a straight edge and a slightly curved belly. On the other hand, the gyuto knife is a longer and more flexible knife that is often used for slicing and chopping.

    Choosing the right knife for your kitchen is crucial for ensuring efficient and effective food preparation. It is important to consider your cooking style, the types of food you will be cutting, and your personal preferences when making a decision.

    In conclusion, whether you choose a santoku knife or a gyuto knife, it is important to find the right knife that works best for you. We encourage you to try both knives and see which one feels most comfortable in your hand and which one helps you achieve the best results in the kitchen.