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Nakiri vs Usuba Knife: Which Is Best for Chopping?

A chef’s knife is one of the most essential tools you can find in a home or professional kitchen. It performs different cutting and chopping tasks. Nakiri and Usuba knives are some popular and reliable chef’s knives. They have identical construction and offer very similar functions that can make it difficult for you to make a satisfying choice.

Both Japanese knives, this article will pit Nakiri vs Usuba knife and help you pick the right option.

What is a Nakiri Chef Knife?

Best Japanese Nakiri Knife

As we hinted earlier, the Nakiri is a traditional Japanese chef’s knife. In Japanese ‘Na’ means leaf while ‘kiri’ means to cut. If you’re a big lover of salads, soups, and vegetables, you will fancy the Nakiri knife.

The Nakiri knife, which usually measures 5-7 inches in length, boasts a straight blade and a flat front without tip. With its sharp, thick, and ultra-hard blade that does the job perfectly, this knife is similar to most Japanese-style knives. The edge boasts a double bevel (sharpened on both sides), making the tool ideal for both left-handed and right-handed users.

Also, the Nakiri knife is mainly used for chopping vegetables vertically. This function is easy thanks to the knife’s shape that allows extra room for your knuckles so that they do not get smashed.

While the Nakiri knife is a great all-around kitchen tool, it’s nowhere near the best for heavy-duty cutting.

What is an Usuba Knife Used for?

What is an Usuba Knife Used for?

The Usuba knife is another Japanese-style chef’s knife. It translates as thin blade – ‘usui’ is the Japanese translation of thin while ‘ba’ is derived from ‘ha’ (hamono), the Japanese translation of blade. This type of knife usually measures around 6 to 9 inches.

Unlike the Nakiri, which is typically a double-bevel knife, the Usuba is a single bevel blade (sharpened on one side). This means you’ll need to find a specific model that fits your hand, whether left or right. Moreover, this knife features a flat blade with a straight edge that allows smooth chopping accurate push-cutting on the board. You also get great control to deliver precise cuts.

We must note that the Usuba knife is not like the Nakiri knife that almost anyone can use. The Usuba requires some training to get used to its cutting style. This is why the Usuba is more common in commercial kitchens.

Nakiri vs Usuba Knife Features (Face to Face)

Feature Nakiri Knife Usuba Knife
Length 5-7 inches 6-9 inches
Weight Lightweight Heavyweight
Edge Straight Straight
Blade Material Japanese stainless steel Japanese stainless steel

best types of knives

What Are The Types Of Knives And Their Uses?

As an authority on knives, the Knife Buzz team pride ourselves on knowing the true ins and outs of every blade that we can get our hands on. However, with so many blades, it can be a lot to keep track of.

That’s why we have created this ultimate knife buying guide for both novices and professionals. This guide covers all types of knives and will you help get the best tools for your needs. We have also provided some general maintenance and safety tips for beginners who are new to the knife world.

Standout Features Between Nakiri vs Usuba Knife

Nakiri and Usuba knives are primarily designed for chopping vegetables. That’s their significant similarity, but they have some differences between them too. We will explain the notable differences below:

1. Bevel

The Nakiri and Usuba knives feature a different bevel style (the sharpened side of the blade). While the Nakiri knife has a double bevel, the Usuba knife has a single bevel. You can easily use the Nakiri with a double bevel regardless of your preferred hand. It works well for both left and right-handers, making it a smart choice for family use.

The Usuba knife, on the other hand, works for either a right-handed or left-handed person, depending on the placement of the single bevel. That means if you’re right-handed and your partner is left-handed, one Usuba knife won’t be enough for your kitchen. The Nakiri knife is the smarter choice in this case.

2. Sharpening

The ease of sharpening is another feature that draws the Nakiri and Usuba knives apart. Of course, you need to sharpen your knife from time to time to deliver the best cuts. The Nakiri knife can be sharpened easily with a manual knife sharpener. But you will need a professional to sharpen the Usuba knife. If you want to avoid the stress of sharpening your knife at a high cost, you should settle for a Nakiri knife.

3. Decorative work

If you want beautiful decorations on your dish, the Usuba knife is the better choice. Top Japanese chefs use the Usuba knife’s impeccable precision to decorate their best dishes like the Miso Ramen.

4. Home or Professional use

Even though the Nakiri and Usuba knives primarily chop vegetables, they are of different grades. While the Nakiri is better suited for home use, the Usuba is better for professional use. The Nakiri is beginner-friendly and requires no training, while the Usuba requires some training to get the most out of it


The Nakiri and Usuba knives have similarities and differences. Both knives look similar but they perform quite different chopping tasks.

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