The Santoku knife and the chef’s knife are two of the highly popular knives in these days’ kitchens. Many people ask the question, “What is the difference between a chef’s knife and a Santoku knife?” to know a bit more about them.
These knives have similarities to many features, yet they have some unique features and distinctions. Thus, they might be making something confusing to your mind.
That’s why we’ll go through a detailed discussion to make you know everything you’re looking for to know about this topic. Also, it’ll help you to identify whether you need a chef’s or a Santoku knife is practical.
The Originality Of Santoku vs Chef Knife
We must discuss the root of each knife to make you better understand the suitable knife among Santoku vs Chef Knife. It’s crucial to know about why they were designed for and where they were made initially
Knowing the originality of these knives will help you to comprehend their similarities and dissimilarities.
The Santoku Knife
As a multipurpose kitchen tool, the Santoku knife’s origin is Japan. Although it’s an all-purpose knife, it’s light in weight than Western-style knives. That’s because this knife comes with Japanese blades. Santoku knives have made with a thin blade and extremely sharper cutting edge for better finesse than regular power.
It’s possible because of the softer vegetables and fish in the diet of that region of the planet. The knife has some different types of blades its own with hollow edges or grantons along with the blade’s length.
As they reduce friction, they avoid vegetables sticking to the knife’s blade while dicing and slicing.
Before the 2000s, santokus knives were hardly ever found in the kitchens of the US people. Indeed, they get popularity after the declaration of Rachel Ray that Santoku is her favorite knife on the national TV. From that time, it has started to become one of the most popular knives in American kitchens.
Usually, santoku knives are 12 to 15-degree sharpened at the highest stage with one bevel. That means the cutting edge of the knife is just one side sharpened. It’s crucial for most Japanese dishes like sukiyaki beef pickled and daikon.
So, while having a razor-sharp angle and one bevel made santoku knife, it’s hugely sharper that can make exceptionally thin slices. Also, single bevels take very little to sharpen in comparison to the double bevels.
You’ll not get a bolster on the Santoku knives, which’s a thicker band that connects the handle and the blade of a knife. Because of not having a bolster, the knife leaves the whole blade obtainable for slicing. Also, it makes the knife easy to sharpen when it needs it.
The Chef’s Knife
While comparing with their Asian counterpart, the Santoku, the chef’s knives, are more powerful. That’s because they have traditional blades that are heavier and influential. These knives were designed with more substantial and bulky blades to cut through more mammoths, thicker meat, and bones.
When it comes to made materials of chef’s knives, usually soft materials are the essential substances. Soft steel is hard to break straightforwardly and more durable in time while it does need some more sessions for knife sharpening.
But, when it’s about the used materials in this day’s cutlery, it does not just follow the rule as there are many different options. Chef’s knives from the German manufacturer come with a broader angle, somewhere from 20degree to 30-degree.
Also, they have some knives with double bevel and sharpened on two sides. Knives with double bevels are suitable for both left and right-handed people to make their everyday cutting tasks more comfortable.
As they slice and cut through with less abrasion, it makes your more accessible typical kitchen work simpler. Because of their distinctive feature of the bolster, they can keep the balance of the blade and its weight.
As a result, it protects your hand away from any injury while cutting and chopping. Instead, the balanced knife is excellent for strengthening itself entirely.
The Anatomy Of Knife’s Santoku & Chef’s Knives
The anatomy will help you realize where they have the real differences between these two knives. It includes shape, size, and weight. You’ll find some significant dissimilarities if you take a nearer view of these two knife styles.
The styles include the form of cutting edge, the tip of the blade, the length, and their weight. Here’s a quick view of the anatomy of these two knives.
In the beginning, the typical Santoku is comparatively short with a blade of 5-inch to 8-inch length with a handle of 4-inch to 5-inch. Also, its blade cut things thinner that may have an element of Granton edge. It’s the sequence of little scallops with the blade’s cutting edge.
As this width and length make the knife quite light, it’s excellent for secure handling. Moreover, it’s better to use for cooks or chefs with smaller hands. Santoku features a smoother cutting edge that’s almost straight from tip to heel as it’s rooted in the conventional Japanese cleaver.
A santoku knife is usually made with a reliable Japanese stainless steel. But, its modern editions might be available in different materials like ceramic, stainless steel, and high-carbon steel.
When it comes to harder steel, you don’t hold its cutting edge and frequently sharpening. However, they’re more tending to cracks and chips. In any case, it’s not an issue that santoku knives are usually suitable for kitchen cuttings.
The conventional view in most kitchens is a cook’s knife or a chef’s knife. A chef knife comes with a longer blade with a length of 8-inch to 10-inch, but some of them are even about 14-inch. The more extended sizes are usually for professional uses and suitable for people to work on counters and butcher.
This type of knife helps them cut meat and bone with ease. The curvature cutting edge with tapered shape is the different characteristic of this knife. Unlike the santoku knife, the bottom of this knife curves up throughout the full length instead of the back of its blade curving down.
It gives the knife a slight “belly” shape that ends in a precise tip. Like santoku knives, chef’s knives also made from stainless steel, ceramic, carbon steel, and metal alloy.
Styles Of Cuts
Both of these knives are considered a do-it-all solution. They can both cut meat, fish, vegetables, fruit and so on. They are also both popular tools for slicing, dicing, chopping, and mincing. In this aspect, both santoku and chef knives are very similar.
It requires doing with Western vs Asian knives and Santoku vs chefs knife. We already said that Western knives are likely to be as thicker as bulkier with their blades. So, they’re more substantial in terms of weight because of their additional metal in their body.
Due to this feature, the knives allow their users to force the way while cutting and chopping food strongly. But, Japanese-style knives like Santoku typically designed with thinner blades that make it light in weight for a precise and delicate cut.
So, it’s hugely sharper that can make exceptionally thin slices while having a razor-sharp angle and one bevel made santoku knife. Moreover, santoku knives take very little to sharpen compared to the double angles as they come with single bevel.
Edge Angle & Blade Shape
Apart from equipped with thinner blades, santoku-like Asian knives have made with sharper-edged angles, which is 15-degree on average. But, most of the Western knives are 20-degree of angles on average like the knives of Wusthof brand that you would guess to get on most chef knives.
When it comes to blade shape, it’s an area of the clear difference between a santoku vs chef knife. The detailed discussion is coming below about this point. But, a chef knife brings it to a prominent position on its front blade because it has a regular curvature on its two sides of the top as well as the bottom of its blade.
In opposition, santoku knives are near flat on their blades’ top, and bottom and its nose get the edge point to the bottom.
Blade Length & Material Hardness
It’s true that the blade shape of these knives different along with their length. The average range of the chef knives is between 8-inch to 10-inch, while some are up to 12-inch. But, the santoku blade comes typically a bit smaller in sizes; they range from the standard 7-inch version with a mini 5-inch version.
Although it can occasionally be tough to get since the steel blades seem hard, they’re always not all very similar. It’s because Japanese-model knives like the Santoku have thinner blades and sharper angles.
Also, they’re likely to be more conducive and brittle to chipping. That’s why santoku knives are often come with “super steel” which is tough steel. Thus, they decrease the probability of a break taking place.
Grip, Technique & Cutting Motion
The way of gripping these two knives is almost the same. But, its cutting motion and technique might be very different. A santoku knife needs an up & down or a down & forward chopping-style movement because of the length and shape of its blade.
However, when it comes to the chef knives, a “rocking” cutting motion is quite a common technique. That’s because the chef knives are slightly curved on their blades’ bottom that makes this handy.
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What You Should Know About The Hybrid Knives
Because of the increasing popularity of santoku knives in the US market, the leading knife brands are trying to understand how to profit from them. That’s how the hybrid santoku chef knives rise in the market.
It doesn’t matter you find the hybrid knives in the market, but it’s happening. As the name suggests, the hybrid knives come with the useful features of santoku and chef knives.
Since most users love the combination of features, the manufacturers are creating this type of knife. They named it an all-purpose knife because of its multitasking effort.
What is difference between Santoku and chef knives?
You have to pay a closer look at these two knives to identify the difference between the Western-style chef knives and Santokus knives. The knife’s top is shaped typically like a santoku knife if you notice intimately. This is mainly straight, and its nose goes down to the tip.
As a result, it’s safer and reduces the possibility of a beginner cutting them accidentally. In opposition, the bottom of a chef’s knife’s blade is more resembled. Also, you’ll find its flat edge is curved like chef’s knives.
It’ll give you the rocking motion, which is preferable for most Americans while cutting vegetables. They like it more than chopping up and down movement usually work with a santoku knife. Moreover, there are hollows or grantons with the blade’s length to release the food.
It’s, of course, analytical of the santoku knives. Although we think it’s an excellent preference to buy both of them when you’re unable to decide which one is a better fit for you, they need to make a massive budget to buy both. Indeed, no real classification is out there about Santoku, chef’s knives, and Western-style knives.
Summary Chef’s Knife And A Santoku Knife
So, it’s time to declare the better one in reply to the asking, “What is the difference between a chef’s knife and a Santoku knife?” Indeed, it mostly depends on your personal preference and the reason for purchasing the knife.
That means if you want to use a knife for your home use, a santoku knife is better to go within our opinion. But, you should choose a chef’s knife if you want to use it for counter use or commercial purposes.
Likewise, people with slightly smaller hands can use a santoku knife with ease to get the maximum results. Besides, people with larger hands are good enough to get a chef’s knife for the best results.
It’s you who can define which one is your right fit to use comfortably. However, we like to encourage you to make an effort with new things. So, give the santoku knife a shot if you’ve utilized the chef’s knife!