In-Depth Comparison of Nakiri vs Santoku Knife-Which is the best?

(Fact Checked By Luna L. Rusk | Last Updated on July 30, 2021 | As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

If anyone asked me to pick that one device that would help me to survive a kitchen rush, I would pick a knife. I believe any smart home cook or chef would do the same. Chefs have to know about knives like the back of their hands, from every single detail to the outer layers.

One of the best knife makers around the world is Japan. Their variety and sturdiness of knives have won chef hearts for years now. Unfortunately, these knives come in Japanese names, creating many confusions for regular people.

Nakiri vs Santoku Knife
Nakiri vs Santoku Knife

Are you one of those confused ones? Then this article is just for you. Today’s debate is about the two fundamental and popular Japanese kitchen knives– Nakiri vs. Santoku. If you are looking for information about every layer of these, do keep an eye.

Comparison Table For Nakiri vs Santoku knife


ParticularNakiri KnifeSantoku Knife
Typical useChopping vegetablesSlicing, mincing, and chopping any type of food
DesignThin blade with a pointy tipAngled tip with a rectangular shape
Blade curveIt is always flatIt may or may not have a slight curve
Common blade length6-7-inches7-8-inches
ManeuverabilityMore maneuverableLess maneuverable
Force toleranceNot muchHigh tolerance level
Prices100-400$50-300$

Nakiri knife review


This Japanese title may produce a lot of dilemmas for western people but if you can understand the breakdown meaning of it, the purpose of the knife becomes clear, automatically. The word nakiri can be broken down into two syllables- Na and Kiri. In nakiri meaning “Na” stands for leaf and “Kiri” goes for “cutting”.

It points out how nakiris are specifically excellent for leafy vegetable cutting. The rectangular-shaped blade comes in a full tang handle. It has a flat blade with a wide surface. The blade can either be plain or contain Damascus.

Shun Cutlery Classic 6.5” Nakiri Knife; Kitchen Knife Handcrafted in Japan; Hand-Sharpened 16° Double-Bevel Steel Blade for Swift and Easy Precision Work; Beautiful D-Shaped Ebony PakkaWood Handle

There are many ways to forge a nakiri blade. The single-layered blade is best when made of high-carbon stainless steel. It keeps the knife away from corrosion with high durability. The sharpness of the blade is perfect for chopping veggies.

All the nakiris are double beveled which means the slop will be present on both sides. It has an angled tip that makes vegetable cutting easier without much shoulder tilt. The thin blade of the nakiri is what chefs lookout for to oppose heavy knives.

The wider and straighter profile works hand in hand for cutting. It does not allow peeling annoying and time-consuming. You can easily take up the cut products with the blade surface. It is the best chef knife for cutting veggies.

Pros

  • Sharp to cut vegetables
  • It can be handled with ease
  • Foods can be scooped up with the wider blade
  • The straight profile is great for peeling

Cons

  • It is not multifunctional

Top 3 Best Seller Nakiri Knife


Santoku knife review


Another Japanese knife that is a bit difficult name to understand the inner meaning. Santoku means three purposes in mandarin which being slicing, chopping, and dicing. It means these knives can be used for multiple purposes, from chopping vegetables to slicing meats or fish. You name it, a santoku delivers it.

Santokus comes with a sturdy handle that prevents palms to come in contact with the chopping board. Santokus can be either full tang or half tang. It is best to go with the full tang one to get the most outcome and preserve its strength.

Miyabi Birchwood SG2 7" Santoku Knife

Full tang blades prevent it from coming out of the handle is heavy-duty. It has a pointy end with curvature on both sides. This structure helps to cut through anything hard from a chunk of chicken to a sushi slice. Santokus are mostly devoid of Damascus but there is no hard and fast rule for that.

Most Santokus have a row of depressed pits on the body. These are called Granton edge which is a unique feature to prevent food from sticking to the blade. Although santokus do not support rock chopping due to their flat cutting surface, it makes the process easier and faster for the chefs who can handle it.

Pros

  • The sharpness of the blade is to die for
  • It will prevent food from sticking on the surface
  • It can be used for delicate works
  • The blade does not slip away

Cons

  • It does not support rock chopping

Top 3 Best Seller Santoku Knife


Nakiri Knife vs Santoku Knife


This section contains all the attributes of the comparison table with a lengthy explanation for a better understanding.

Typical use:

In modern days, creative chefs from all over the world have started using every knife with multipurpose. Except for some fundamental structural differences, every knife can be used for almost every detail. But each of them has its specialty while comes to usage with the highest outcome.

Nakiris are used for vegetable cutting. The thin blade with an angled tip is made to go through leafy bodies to give the ultimate precision. Vegetable cutting can be daunting if that leads to finger cutting, leftover peels, and unequal shapes. It can ruin the entire presentation of the food.

With nakiri in hand, you will not have to worry about such things. It ensures a correct cut with every stroke, preserving the desired shape. Nakiris can also be used to peel any fruit or vegetable.

On the other hand, santokus can be used for any type of cutting, from vegetables to meat. It has been constructed in a way that supports both hard and soft cuts. With santoku on the kitchen counter, you can go for the finest sushi cut and a heavy leafy chopping, all at once.

Design:

Nakiris have thicker blades to support vegetable cutting. The thick blades are comparatively inflexible than santoku. It is a full tang knife with a handle of any material. The strength of the blade depends on what it is constructed with. 

These are double beveled with a rectangular-shaped blade. The blade can contain Damascus that reflects aristocracy. The tip is angled at 10-15 degrees. 

Santokus are slightly different in design from nakiri since they are multipurpose. The blade and handle are basic structures that keep it functional. It has a pointy end with an angle of 60 degrees. It is single beveled in most cases. The thin blade makes the whole package much lighter than a nakiri.

Both of the knives can have Granton edges to prevent food from sticking on the blade. But it is mostly seen in santoku since it is multifunctional.

Blade curve:

Nakiris are flat-bladed knives with zero curvature. The thin blade adds more to cutting vegetables and everything of that like. It does not have a curve to support the angled tip. It is also the reason for this knife performing rocking, push, and pull motion on greens.

Santokus, on the contrary, may come with a little curvature. It is the reason why they cannot incorporate rock chopping on anything. This type of curve is necessary for such a multipurpose.

Flat blades and curved blades have their advantages. The Flat blades are good for precision cuts whereas, the curved blades are more prone to take heavy duties. Curved blades can also go through a heavy chunk of meats if necessary.

Common blade length:

Nakiri and Santoku both are 6-7inches in length. This medium length is great for maintaining delicacy. You can move the blade anyhow you like. Each motion becomes easier to play within the case of medium-length blades.

These lengths can provide advantages while cutting from big chunks. Shorter-length knives do not have such pros. Long blade length provides much room on any food material. It does not feel like you are losing the knife inside the food because of the length.

This length is also genuine for balance. While slicing or chopping food items, the leverage needs to be more on the chef’s hand. The length adds more to that. It also prevents the knife from slipping away and causing any accidents.

The not too long and not too short knives are the best for chefs, professionally. There is no rush for in-home cooks but in restaurants, the pressure is immense. One knife needs to go faster than the entire crowd, with much comfort. An extra length is such a lifesaver in this regard.

Maneuverability:

Nakiri is more stable and faster than santoku. Since nakiris are built to handle the only type of food cutting, it has come with more stability. On the contrary, santokus are a bit on the heavier side. So, they are not so maneuverable. 

Santokus are built to handle versatile works. They must be a bit heavy. Nakiris are thinly bladed which will sharply go through the thickest vegetables. But santokus will not.

Santokus are slightly difficult to handle, as a result, these are suggested for the main chef of a restaurant. But if you think you are capable of it, santoku can be used in the home cook as well.

Easy maneuvered blades are more useful when you are expecting a faster delivery. Nakiris may have a limited cutting process, but the way they can slice through vegetables saves a lot of time and stress.

Force tolerance:

Santoku gets one extra point in this section. The heavy and rigid blade takes all the force endurance necessary. The reason it is used to serve three purposes gets its fulfillment by tolerating heavy force. No matter how much pressure you put into it, the blade will still water that down.

Nakiris have thinner blades. They may be fast to deliver any function, but they are not good for force tolerance. The blades are only engineered in a way that only undergoes pressure exerted on thick vegetables. 

As soon as you put a nakiri on heavy meat or fish, they tend to break down. The dents or bends are also visible in much force. Increased tolerance level adds up to all the functions santoku has to incorporate.

Prices:

Even though santoku being a diverse knife, it has more price affordability than nakiri. A good santoku starts up from 80$ and builds its way up to 300$. Of course, there are higher prices for such knives as well.

The limited-edition, deluxe-level knives are always for fancy show-offs. But you can always afford the best ones even at a lower price, according to preference. 

In reverse, nakiris are a bit on the pricier side. Although there are no thousand-dollar differences in these knives, nakiri goes a long way on the budget list. The good ones start from around 100$ and the rest at 4000$.

As you can see, the starting price does not vary much in the case of nakiri and santoku. But the ending price parts its way long back. The price can also fluctuate according to the material it is built of, if the blade is the full or half tang, whether there is the presence of Damascus and Granton edge.

Final Verdict

Restaurant or home, a fresh cut food sets the mood up higher. If you are happy, go to eat. If you are sad, eat even more. That is what people say when they find the ultimate escape through food in this chaotic world.

But what is a portion of good food without some proper instruments? A knife has to be number one in this regard. Be it a knife or a sword, Japan has always ranked at the top, setting new bars. From sharpness to details, everything has been covered in their versatile knives.

Santoku and nakiri, both are imperative for a cook to deliver the finest and most precise cuts. It may not be possible always to pick just the one without going through much hassle. The motto of this article was to give you a clear view of Nakiri vs. Santoku.

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