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Santoku vs Kiritsuke: Which Knife is Best for Kitchen Cooking?

While a Santoku knife is common in kitchens, chances are that the hardy Kiritsuke knife is unfamiliar to many people. This is because the Santoku is the most popular of all the Japanese knives. santoku vs kiritsuke

If you are familiar with Japanese knives, you will know that no two Japanese knives are the same. Each style is crafted for a distinct purpose. In this article, we will compare Santoku and Kiritsuke knives and explain the different uses for these great Japanese knives. 

What is a Santoku Knife best used for?

Out of all the knives that originated from Japan, Santoku Knives is the most famous and favored of them all, especially in the American knife market. This is primarily attributed to its versatility in the three most important cutting forms – chopping, dicing, and slicing. The word ‘Santoku’ loosely translates to mean “Three virtues.” Each of these virtues represents the cutting style. 

What is a Santoku Knife best used for?

A classic Santoku design comes with a flat blade that starts from the bottom to finish with a rounded tip at the top. It is often made from high-carbon steel that is lightweight and easy to control. Thus, Santoku is a chef’s delight in cutting vegetables, fruits, and fish for sushi. It is not uncommon to find that a Santoku comes with double bevels as it offers a better advantage for any chef aspiring to achieve acute precision cutting. 

For effective delivery and control, most Santokus are four to nine inches long, making them an easier knife to handle for beginners. However, you shouldn’t mistake the large blade and sharp edge for a robust knife that can be used for tough cutting.

While you can use the Santoku knife to carve roasts, fillet fish, and cut meat and vegetables, and fruits, it cannot be used for deboning or cutting through frozen items. For a better cutting experience, it is common to find western crafted Santoku with Granton to help reduce friction and aid in helping food fall off the knife easily. 

What is a Kiritsuke?

If you’re looking at cutting giant vegetables and fruits, the Kiritsuke Knife is the perfect Japanese knife. Typically, Kiritsuke is eight to ten inches long, with a blade-tall flat blade angle and a sharp pointed tip. This knife, just like the Santoku, may come in single or double bevels. However, unlike the Santoku, you might not enjoy enough versatility when dealing with smaller food or items. 

What is a Kiritsuke?

For a knife like the Kiritsuke, the bigger the fruits or veggies are, the faster you will get the job done. Often, they are made from high carbon stainless steel with a hardness scale of over sixty. This attests to how formidable, and strong the Kiritsuke knife is. For chefs who prefer the rock chopping method, the Kiritsuke offers the right flexibility and control to ensure that cutting style. 

In a traditional Japanese kitchen, the Kiritsuke symbolizes status and expertise as the head chef uses it. Because the knife is long and quite heavy, unlike the Santoku, a high level of experience with the knife is needed to deliver excellent cutting skills on any vegetables and fruits. 

Overall, the Kiritsuke can achieve both push and pull cutting style, long drawing cut, back slicing, and many other professional forms of cutting in the right hands. 

Santoku vs Kiritsuke Technical Features 

 Santoku Kiritsuke 
Length 4-9 inches 8-10 inches 
Weight Lightweight Lightweight 
Edge Flat or Granton Straight 
Construction Hand-forged or Stamped Hand-forged 
Blade material Carbon steel, stainless steel, or ceramic High-carbon steel or Damascus steel 
Bevel Double Single or Double 

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.

Key Differences Between Santoku and Kiritsuke Knives

While both knives are Japanese knives, they are quite different in many ways. Below are some of the few distinct features of both knives. 

1. Length

In terms of length, the Kirituske is longer than Santoku. This length can hinders its control and flexibility, especially in the hands of beginners. That is why experienced chefs a more likely to use Kiritsuke Knives. 

2. Versatility

Santoku Knives are far more versatile than Kirituske Knives. The Santoku Knife can quite easily do the same jobs as a Kirituske Knife, but the Kiritsuke cannot cut small food or carve the way a Santoku can. 

3. Pricing

The Santoku is more expensive than the Kirituske because its more popular and appreciated for its versatility.

4. Design

There is no doubt that the Kirituske is more appealing than the Santoku. It has an impressive long sword-like blade length, a super durable blade, and visually more interesting patterns. The shorter Santoku is a more practical and user friendlly tool. It features a rounded tip and sometimes includes a Granton edge, which helps prevent food from sticking to the blade.


The Santoku is a ready substitute for Kitchen Knives, and Vegetable and Meat Cleavers. Santoku knives are perfect for preparing smaller meals and are great for chopping vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Its therefore easy to say that the Santoku is the better option for most cooks.

However, for chefs needing to chop large vegetables and kitchen ingredients, the Kiritsuke is a ready alternative to a Santoku. But keep in mind that Kiritsuke knives require more expertise and experience than the easier to use Santoku. 

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