Difference Between a Santoku and a Chef Knife – Pros/Cons

If you want to facilitate your kitchen with a perfect knife set then it is important for you to take both chef and santoku knives. Both knives are great for preparing various types of kitchen constituents. 

Physically chef and santoku knives look similar but actually there are some differences between them. Here we have provided the difference between santoku and chef knife for your understanding so you can make a good decision about which one is best for you.

What is a Santoku Knife

Santoku knife is a Japanese version of chef knife that is used for general purposes. It is mostly used in homes and professional kitchens for different tasks including chopping, mincing, slicing and many more. 

These knives are made with high quality thinner and hard steel and just one inch small from standard chef knives but amazing for making a precise cutting. This knife also has a broad sheep’s foot blade with a pointed tip. 

Furthermore, the santoku knife has channeled on its blade that prevents the food from being trusted and makes it the perfect tool for cutting a huge quantity of vegetables.

How to Use Santoku Knife

Santoku knife is mostly used for dicing, chopping and mincing. It comes with accurate edges that are specially used for splinter thin slicing of vegetables and meats. Its wide blade works very nicely for scooping and food off the cutting board and transferring it to a sauté pan or other dish.

How to Care for a Santoku

To prevent the santoku knife from rusting or other damage, you should hand wash and dry it once you use it. When it is not in your usage then the best way to store the santoku knife is to place it in a wooden knife block. 

It is also necessary to hone a santoku knife occasionally. It can be done by honing a knife with a honing rod to maintain its sharpness and precise edges. You should check honing vs sharpening to know the difference between them.

Santoku knife’s Features

  • Made in japan.
  • Having a wide sheepsfoot blade with no tip
  • Thinner blade as compare to chef knife that provide more clear slicing
  • It can be a single or double beveled surface that has been found to form a knife edge.
  • come in different sizes from 5” to 7.9”
  • Easy and light to hold
  • Well balanced
  • It has no bolster

Uses of Santoku knife

  • Slicing of cheese
  • Chopping, slicing and dicing of fruits, vegetable and nuts
  • Cutting of meat
  • For making a precise slicing especially beneficial for vegetables and seafoods
  • Working with herbs
  • Removing food from the cutting board due to the wide blade

Pros of Santoku Knife

Lightweight: It is a lightweight knife as compared to western chef knives, due to that reason most of the chefs prefer to use santoku knives as it is easy to use.

Control: The Santoku knife is sharpened only from one side which gives more control on the knife to chefs.

Speed: It does not require any rocking and performs faster as it is a harder and thinner knife.

Easy to Sharpen: It does not have stuffing on the blade that tells us these knives are easy to sharpen.

Edge Retention: It comes with sharp blades when its unboxing occurs and holds its edges for a long time.

Narrow blade: It has a narrow blade as compared to western knives, due to that reason it is commonly used for thinner slice cutting.

Cons of Santoku Knife

Flexibility: High flexibility in the knife means not good for all tough tasks such as carving hard vegetables and cutting meat.

Hand Protection: It does not have a bolster which means less protection to fingers while working with blades. Furthermore, it is also a downside which means there is no way of preventing a fingers from slipping onto the blade.

What is a Chef Knife

The chef knife has a broad blade that is curved on upside to produce a thick and heavier spine. The chef knife has many similar properties to culinary knives. It is heavy to hold so those people who have small hands may find it difficult to work with a chef knife.

How to Use a Chef Knife

Chef knife is a great tool for making any type of cut which requires you to bring your blade forward. Normally, chef knife is used for complex and hard cuts and also for separating the meat from skin and cartilage. 

Some other people use chef knives for slicing a cheese and chopping a vegetable, fruits and nuts.

How to Care for Chef Knife

Maintenance of a chef knife is similar to santoku knife, like it is necessary to wash by hand and to sharpen or hone it whenever it is required. It is easy to care for a chef knife and our recommendation is storing them properly when it is not in use.

Chef knife’s Feature

  • Made in France and germany.
  • It has a broad blade that curves upwards to form a point.
  • Normally found in double bevel surface
  • Heavier to hold because it has bolster(the piece of metal between blade and handle)
  • Well balanced
  • Sizes available : 6 inches to 12 inches
  • Have a granton edge

Uses of chef knife

  • Best for slicing a cheese
  • Complex and versatile cuts
  • Slicing, chopping and dicing a fruits, vegetables and nuts
  • Separating a meat from bones and cartilage

Pros of Chef Knife

Bolster: Chef knife has a pad that prevents the fingers as well as protecting from slipping onto the blade.

Durable: The chef knives are made with durable, stain and rust resistant material and they are softer as compared to Japanese knives. That’s why it does not get chipped.

Better Grip: Chef knife handles are designed in a nice pattern and they provide better grip than japanese knives.

Versatile and Sturdy: Chef knives have more versatility than santoku knives because they allow precise cutting and tough jobs. It is a very useful knife for cutting vegetables, meat and fish.

Cons of Chef Knife

Sharpness: The soft material is used in the manufacturing of chef knives so that’s why it requires more sharpness.

Lack of Control: It has a long blade that is great for carving a large ingredient but may be difficult for control if you are not an expert.

Which Knife is Good for you 

Which knife is best for you depends upon what type of cut you need to make and with which ingredients you are going to work. The main thing is that it is important to have all types of tools in your kitchen to become successful. 

The santoku knife is used to cut thin slices so that’s why it is an ideal knife for slicing a vegetable and meat when a recipe calls for them to be finely chopped.

The chef knife is a great option if you are working with meat for disjointed the bones from meat including chicken wings separation. 

Furthermore, it is also a good knife for daily tasks like chopping, mincing and dicing.

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