Santoku vs Gyuto Knives: Unveiling the Differences

Santoku vs. Gyuto Knives – What’s the difference?
When it comes to Japanese knives, the Santoku and Gyuto are two popular options that have gained recognition in the culinary world. While both knives have their unique qualities, understanding the differences between them can help you choose the right one for your cooking needs.

Santoku Knives

The Santoku knife originated in Japan in the 1940s and was designed to embody the “three virtues” of cutting, slicing and mincing. It quickly became popular for its versatility and ease of use. Here are the main features of a Santoku knife:

Blade size

A Santoku knife is generally shorter, usually no longer than 7 inches. Its compact size makes it easy to handle and control, appealing to both men and women. The shorter length allows for a comfortable grip without sacrificing accuracy or causing fatigue.


The Santoku knife has a unique blade shape characterized by a taller blade and a straighter edge. This design provides greater control and accuracy when cutting. However, the slightly thicker back of the Santoku knife makes it heavier than other knives, which may require some adjustment for beginners.


Santoku knives are known for their sharpness and ability to retain their edge for long periods of time. Crafted using traditional Japanese knife making techniques, they are made to last. Regular maintenance and occasional professional sharpening can help maintain the sharpness of the knife over time.


Santoku knives are excellent for a variety of tasks, especially cutting vegetables, poultry, fish, boneless beef and nuts. The shorter blade is ideal for precision tasks such as slicing and dicing. However, because of its shape and size, it may not be as suitable for peeling vegetables, slicing bread, or cutting dense, bone-in meats.

Gyuto Knives

Gyuto knives are considered classic chef’s knives and also originated in Japan. These knives are highly regarded by professional chefs worldwide and are known for their balance and versatility. Here are the main features of a Gyuto knife:

Blade size

Gyuto knives are typically larger than Santoku knives, ranging from about 6-7 inches to 14 inches in length. The larger size allows for more coverage when cutting large vegetables or other bulky foods. While the size may seem intimidating at first, the knife’s balance and ergonomic design make it comfortable to hold and use.


Gyuto knives have a straight edge with a sleek design and a pointed tip. The blade is not as tall as a Santoku, but its width-to-length ratio provides excellent versatility. You can use the knife in a gliding, swinging, or chopping motion. The pointed tip makes it effective for piercing food and working with bone-in meats.


Gyuto knives are made of high-quality stainless steel, often with a higher carbon content for added durability and edge retention. They are manufactured with precision and strict quality standards to ensure exceptional sharpness. With proper care and maintenance, a Gyuto knife can retain its sharp edge for a long time.


The versatility of Gyuto knives makes them suitable for a wide range of tasks. From slicing bread to carving thick cuts of meat, the Gyuto knife excels in a variety of kitchen tasks. Its ability to handle bone-in meat and perform precise cutting tasks such as chopping onions or tomatoes makes it a favorite among professional chefs and home cooks alike.

Choosing the right knife

When deciding between a Santoku and a Gyuto knife, it’s important to consider your specific cooking needs and preferences. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Purpose: Determine the primary tasks you’ll perform with the knife. If you frequently work with vegetables and boneless meats, a Santoku knife may be a good choice. If you need a more versatile knife that can handle a variety of ingredients and cutting techniques, a Gyuto knife may be a better choice.
  2. Comfort and Grip: Consider the size and weight of the knife and how it feels in your hand. Santoku knives tend to be lighter and more maneuverable, while gyuto knives offer a larger cutting surface and may require more control.
  3. Blade shape: Evaluate blade shape and its effect on specific cutting techniques. Santoku knives excel at precision cutting, while Gyuto knives offer more versatility for different cutting styles, including swinging and slicing.
  4. Maintenance: Consider the ease of sharpening and maintaining the edge. Both Santoku and Gyuto knives require regular maintenance, but the sharpening process may vary. If you are not confident in your ability to sharpen knives at home, professional sharpening services are recommended to ensure optimal performance and longevity.


In summary, the Santoku and Gyuto knives are both excellent choices for any kitchen, each with its own unique characteristics and benefits. The Santoku knife is compact, versatile, and ideal for precise cutting tasks, while the Gyuto knife offers versatility, balance, and the ability to handle a wide range of ingredients and techniques. Choosing the right knife ultimately depends on your cooking style, preferences, and the specific tasks you’ll be performing. By understanding the differences between Santoku and Gyuto knives, you can make an informed decision and choose the knife that best suits your needs. Happy Cooking!


1. What are the main differences between Santoku and Gyuto knives?

Both Santoku and Gyuto knives have different characteristics. Santoku knives are shorter, lighter and more suitable for precise cutting tasks such as chopping vegetables and boneless meat. Gyuto knives, on the other hand, are longer, heavier and offer greater versatility, making them ideal for a wide range of cutting techniques and ingredients.

2. Which knife is best for beginners?

Santoku knives are often recommended for beginners due to their user-friendly design, lighter weight and ease of control. The shorter blade length of a Santoku knife makes it more manageable and less intimidating for those new to professional knives.

3. Can a Santoku knife be used to cut meat with bones?

Santoku knives are not specifically designed to cut through bone. They are better suited to boneless meat and vegetables. If you often work with bone-in meat, a Gyuto knife, with its pointed tip and sturdier construction, would be a better choice.

4. Are Santoku and Gyuto knives dishwasher safe?

It is generally recommended that both Santoku and Gyuto knives be washed by hand to maintain their quality and sharpness. Dishwashers can expose knives to harsh detergents and high temperatures, which can damage or dull the blade. Proper hand washing and drying will help preserve the longevity of these knives.

5. Can I use a Gyuto knife to cut bread?

While a Gyuto knife can be used for slicing bread, it may not be the best choice. The straight edge and pointed tip of a gyuto knife are better suited to tasks such as chopping, slicing and dicing ingredients. For efficient and precise bread slicing, it is recommended to use a serrated bread knife designed specifically for this purpose.

6. How often should I sharpen my Santoku or Gyuto knife?

The frequency of sharpening depends on how often you use the knife and the type of cutting you do. As a general guideline, it is recommended that you sharpen your knife every few months or when you notice a significant decrease in cutting performance. Regular honing with a sharpening rod can help maintain the sharpness of the knife between sharpenings. If you are unsure about sharpening your knife yourself, it is advisable to use a professional sharpening service for the best results.