Nakiri Vs Santoku: 5 Key Facts to Know the Difference

Are you surfing here and there in the search for a study of Nakiri vs Santoku? If so, it is, it means that you don’t want to be in the cloud of confusion anymore. So, let us do the job for you. We will make you understand the differences and features of the knives.

Nakiri, the 17th-century knives, is the distinguished Japanese conventional knives for any kitchen. The manufacturers of Nakiri have shaped the knives for cutting vegetables mainly. Moreover, most of the home cooks use knives for chopping the veggies and slicing fruits efficiently.

In contrast, Santoku is versatile in nature. It got its inspiration from Nakiri. Santoku has become much familiar in the western world particularly in the U.S.A in recent years. You can use the Santoku for multi-dimensional tasks such as the slicing of fruits or meat, mincing of veggies, dicing of fish.

However, Nakiri Vs Santoku has a particular influence on individuals. They have different appeals on the basis of features. So, you have to be informed of the overall pictures of the knives to get you desired one. In this context, our review will help you if you stay with us until the end of this study.

Nakiri vs Santoku: A Quick Comparison

A quick side-by-side comparison table of Nakiri and Santoku knives:

AspectNakiri KnifeSantoku Knife
Blade ShapeRectangular, flatSlightly curved, sheep’s foot tip
EdgeDouble-beveled or single-beveledDouble-beveled
Blade LengthTypically 5-7 inchesTypically 5-8 inches
PurposeSpecialized for vegetablesGeneral-purpose; meat, fish, vegetables
WeightLighterSlightly heavier
Rocking MotionNot designed forRocking motion for slicing
SharpnessVery sharp; precise, thin cutsVery sharp but slightly thicker blade for versatility
Ease of MaintenanceTypically easier due to its simpler shapeSlightly more complex due to the curve
Price RangeVaries; generally more specialized and can be pricierVaries; generally more affordable
PopularityLess common; specialized useMore common; versatile
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A Critical Overview of Nakiri Knife

Nakiri bocho, a traditional name of a Nakiri knife, implies the knife which chops the green vegetables only. So, you can understand the significance of the knife by its name easily. The knife has been designed in the way that suits best for cutting vegetables.

You will find Nakiri as one of the most choose able knives to everyone for its flat edge. The edge is long enough to cut long vegetables using push or pull motion.

Some individuals may have a wrong perception of considering the Nakiri as a chef’s knife. A Nakiri knife seems to be like a chef’s knife but it’s not. The chef’s knife can do more than a Nakiri knife. They hold some key differences also. 

Some key features that define Nakiri best are given below for you.

Blade Materials With Finishes:

one of the significant features of a knife is the materials used to make its blade. According to the knife aficionados, most of the Nakiri knife brands use the blade materials manufactured in Japan.

Blade Materials With Finishes

Some of them use SG-2 steel for making their Nakiri knives. This stainless steel with high carbon aids to release the vegetables from the blade easily.

Again, manufacturers of Nakiri make their knives with VG-10 steel. It is less resistant to rust due to the use of carbon to a high extent. However, you will find some Nakiri makers are using the recent AUS-10V steel which is resistant to high temperatures.

All the manufacturers apply two main patterns to give the steels a finishing. The patterns are the Damascus pattern and hammered pattern. They use the hammered pattern in different purposes.

Flat Edge:

you will find a nakiri knife with a flat or straight edge blade. Actually, it looks like a rectangular shape. Most precisely, there is the absence of a point at the tip of the blades. The shape of the blade is quite long. As a result, it will provide you a remarkable control if you want to apply the tap chopping as well as push and pull cut.

nakiri knife

The other hand gets enough space to direct the blade. Again, the knuckles of your free hand get space during the cutting on a chopping board.

Edge Grind:

the edge grind of a knife blade helps to understand the sharpness of that blade. Most of the edge grinds of the Nakiri knives are double beveled. In the Japanese language, this edge grind is called ryoba. Ryoba is the edge grind on both sides of a knife. It also indicates the western non-kataba knives.

If your knives are ryoba edged, it means that the knives are to sharpen on both sides of the blades. You will see most of the available Nakiri knives on markets that are ryoba edge. Again, you will find some hollow edged Nakiri knives too. For example, Wusthof Nakiri knives.

Edge Angle:

Usually, Japanese knife manufacturers make an edge angle of 15° on each side. Nakiri knives have also kept this tradition. Do you want to sharpen your nakiri? So, you have to maintain a total angle of 30°. This angle is quite sharp. You have to chop or cut soft items with this edge angle like the slicing of veggies. It doesn’t suit heavy-duty works.


  • Consistent cuts.
  • Good control over the knife.
  • Speed up with a single cut.
  • Clean cuts without sticking vegetables with the blade.
  • Lightweight
  • Easy Sharpening.


  • Limited use.

A Critical Overview of Santoku Knife

The first appearance of Santoku knives took place in Japan near about 1950. The Japanese manufacturers introduced the Santoku to the home cooks as an alternative to the great Nakiri. In recent years, Santoku knives have achieved a huge acceptance in the U.S.A. In this context, the prominent television chef of America made a complement for Santoku by announcing it as her favorite one.

Like Nakiri, the name Santoku also signifies a meaning. Some people translated the name as ‘three virtues. The meaning indicates slicing, dicing, and chopping. Again, we people found the meaning ‘three uses. The three uses are the use of knives for meat, fish, and vegetables.

So, it is not wrong to mark Santoku knife as a versatile tool. The brands have some features that help you to understand the knives well. Here they are.

Blade Materials:

the hardness along with the sharpness of a knife depends on the materials it is using to form the blades. So, manufacturers of the knives always try to maintain enough hardness and sharpness of their blades. The Santoku knives makers use Japanese super steel to make their blades the knives. They use standard stainless and high carbon content steels to make the blades.

Santoku Knife

Most of the Santoku brands use VG-10 and AUS-10 Japanese super steel as the materials of the blades for the Santoku knives. Again, brands like Wusthof and Global use high-quality stainless steel for their blades. You will find some blades made with Damascus steel too.

Blade Design:

Like Nakiri, Santoku also includes a flat sheepsfoot flat edge blade. This blade is a straight edge and there is a spine that makes a curve to meet the straight edge. The sheepsfoot blades help to slice preventing the accidents of piercing hands.

The blades of the Santoku are quite thick. It is suitable for slicing meat. You will you some Santoku brands use hollow grind and Damascus pattern to prevent sticking of foods or vegetables.

Santoku Blade Design

Santoku knife is very effective to apply the rocking motion for cutting the foods or veggies.  It can perform to slice food or meat, mince vegetables, and chop the veggies handily with its western design.

Edge Grind:

If you are a professional user of a knife, the Japanese kataba edge grind is for you. Santoku provides both ryoba and kataba edged blades for their knives. Moreover, you will find most blades of Santoku with ryoba edge. 

The ryoba edge blades are suitable for the common people to use only. On the other hand, Santoku has designed kataba edge blades for professionals. Is the word kataba new to you? It is different from ryoba. A kataba edge blade is sharpened by one side. You can sharpen the side according to your need. You can use the left side of the blade if you are a left-handed user. Again, you can sharpen the other side of vice verse.

Sharpen Angle:

The edge angle needed to sharpen Santoku depends on the blades of different brands. In short, the average edge angle of the Santoku is 20° to 30° in total. It interprets that Santoku knives are very sharp, and they are appropriate for more slicing of foods than the Nakiri. Besides, the edge angle for kataba edge grind is 10° to 15° on one side.


  • Suitable for versatile use
  • Well-balance
  • Prevention of hands from piercing through sheepsfoot edge.
  • Very sharp
  • Durable


  • A single beveled blade needs professionals to operate.

5 Things to Compare Between Nakiri and Santoku

When it comes to a matter of investment, people start to make a comparison of the products he/she is going to buy. They do this to get the best things only. So, you are here to get the best option so that your investment on the knives doesn’t get wasted. 

Both Nakiri and Santoku have their own users. They have shown their love for the brands for different features of the knives. They select their brands on the basis of their needs. However, these knife brands have not only differences but also some similarities. So, you should take care of both facts to compare Nakiri vs Santoku.


Every professional chef or home cook wants to have knives that are more versatile. Any versatile knife can serve you more than the knives designed for specific uses. So, if you compare the versatility of Nakiri with Santoku, you will find the things given below.


you know that Nakiri bocho has been designed only for chopping or cutting vegetables. To do this, Nakiri carries a straight-edged rectangular blade. Since the blade is rectangular shaped, it touches the board used to cut vegetables.

Nakiri bocho

As a result, it completes the chopping of vegetables with a single cut. There is little chance of using the Nakiri for another purpose except cutting of vegetables.


Santoku performs multiple tasks like a chef’s knife. It is very popular in the western world for its multiple uses. You can slice fruits or meat, mince vegetables, and make small pieces of fishes with a Santoku knife.

Santoku can fulfill your demand more than a Nakiri knife. Nakiri is mainly a single purpose-oriented knife. In contrast, Santoku is a multi-purpose use knife.


The design of a blade can express a little about the objectives of the blade. Nakiri and Santoku developed two different designs. You can get an idea about knives by observing their significant designs. Then you will be able to differentiate between the two blades.


The squired straight edge of Nakiri blades has no tip at the end. The flat edge helps to chop vegetables with the contact of a chopping board. Besides, the straight edge makes a clean cut. Many Nakiri knives use a hollow edge that prevents the sticking of vegetables.


It also holds a flat sheepsfoot edge with a pointy tip. As a result, it accepts the rocking motion cutting techniques with ease. The spine of the blades is curved downward and meets at the tip. It is a little thicker than Nakiri. For this reason, it can slice meat effectively.

Santoku knife

Though the blades of both knives are flat edge, there is a little difference between them. Nakiri has a tip rounded to the flat edge that is helpful for up and down cutting while the curved downward spine of Santoku is rocking motion friendly.

Edge Grind

The edge grind of a blade plays a vital role in cutting something or increasing durability. The blade’s ability to cut depends on the edge grind most. Nakiri as well as Santoku delivers the quality edge grind in their blades.


Nakiri uses ryoba edge grind. This edge grind needs sharpening on both sides. Again, ryoba edge grind is favorable to most of the home cooks of the world. You will find some other edge knives of Nakiri also in the market.


You will find the same double-beveled blades for Santoku also. In some Santoku knives, you will see single-edged blades. In Japan, this edge grind is called kataba. The side which is to be sharpened depends on the dominant hand of the users.

Both knives will provide good cuts but the single beveled knives will need professionals to handle. Kataba edged knives are very sharp. So it is very important to grab the techniques of using those knives.


Precise cutting is desirable to all home cooks. Sharpness allows you to have a smoother cut. So it needs sharpening the knives at times. Nakiri and Santoku use different edge angles to sharpen their knives.


Nakiri sharpens its ryoba edge blades with an edge angle of 15° per side. With this sharpening angle, Nakiri is capable of slicing vegetables very smoothly for its razor-sharp blade. Since the sharpness of the blades is high, there is a chance of chipping away from the edge.


Usually, the edge angles used to sharpen Santoku blades are 10° to 15° on each side. Again, the blades with kataba bevel need a sharpening angle of 10° on one side. So, single beveled knives are comparatively sharper than the double-beveled Santoku knives. They need frequent sharpening.

The kataba knives are sharper but it is quite hard to operate for general people without the proper knowledge. You will get almost the same sharpness from both knives.


You will want to feel the comfort when you are going to use any kind of tools because the heavy tools or instruments increase fatigue in your body. There is also a little variation between these two types of knife in terms of weight.


you will feel a little heaviness with Nakiri. The design of the knives has been developed to do the task of vegetable mincing.  The gravitational fact helps to reduce fatigue through the tap chopping. This heaviness helps the knives to make the hand up and down easily during the cut.


on the other side, Santoku knives are lighter than Nakiri. It is lightweight because of its versatile use. It creates less fatigue in your body.

So, Santoku delivers much comfort than Nakiri.


Price is another fact to consider for making any kind of purchase. You want to buy the best thing with your bucks. However, you will find multiple variations of the prices of Nakiri and Santoku knives. You have to pick the right one within your budget.


The price of Nakiri knives varies in different aspects. It depends much on the materials and features it provides. The price range of Nakiri is a little higher than Santoku but within $200. Again, some high-quality brands provide Nakiri at a high price like more than $200.


you will find many brands of Santoku. The price of Santoku also varies by price from one brand to another. Santoku is a little inexpensive than Nakiri.

So, Nakiri will take a little more money from you than Santoku. However, both of the brands will give you good products.

Nakiri vs Santoku: Which Is The Best And Why?

The answer to the question- ‘which one is the best’ is quite difficult to say. Both are quite standard and useful in their specific features. Overall considerations go with Santoku knives. They are more versatile than Nakiri knives. Santoku can be used for different tasks.

Santoku is not limited to the mincing of vegetables only. Rather, it will also serve you by slicing foods, meat, and so on. Again, the curved spine of the blades also meets with the pointy tip that will help you from uncertain damages of your hands. The weight and price of a Santoku knife are more satisfactory than a Nakiri one.

Don’t be in a hurry! You shouldn’t neglect the Nakiri as well. Though it is not versatile like the Santoku, it also renders some excellent features. It may enhance your enjoyment if you are looking for a specialized knife of chopping vegetables with a tap chopping action. It will enhance the speed of the cutting. Again, you will get a clean cut by a Nakiri knife. It is a bit heavy and more expensive than a Santoku knife.

Finally, you should choose the best one between the knives according to your requirements. The definition of the best one will differ from man to man on their needs.

Bottom Line: Nakiri or Santoku

Do you have a clear idea about Nakiri and Santoku now? I think that your confusion about Nakiri vs Santoku is clear at this stage. You can introduce a Santoku knife in your knife box if you don’t want to spend money on different knives separately. It is budget-friendly and lightweight. So, you will get a comfortable feeling using it.

On the contrary, Nariki knives will suit you best if you want a single purpose knife for cutting vegetables. Nakiri knives will save your valuable time by speeding up the cutting. Its flat edge ensures the clean cut of the veggies.

So, it’s your turn to kick the ball! What will you do? A multi-talented Santoku or the specialized Nakiri?

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Frequently Asked Questions About Nakiri Vs Santoku

You might have read our whole article, and its almost at the end of the article. Do you still have some questions and confusion? Well, say your worries a goodbye, because this FAQ section is going to solve all the necessary problems that may arise. And you are not the only one with these questions. A lot of people all over the internet are wondering with enigma! let’s find out and solve your questions that are arising all the time!

How Does Nakiri Differ From Santoku?

Nakiri and Santoku originated from Japan. Nakiri or Nakiri bocho interprets a knife that is used to cut green leaves or vegetables. People use it for mincing vegetables. On the other hand, Santoku bocho is a knife that is used for multiple purposes, such as slicing, mincing, and dicing. It is more balanced than a Nakiri.

Which Knife Is Preferable for Cutting Vegetables?

Nakiri knives have been manufactured for chopping vegetables. The blades of Nakiri are rectangular with a rounded tip. So, they are effective for cutting vegetables with the up and down cutting action.

Why Should I Choose a Santoku Knife?

If you are searching for a knife that will provide you multiple services, then a SantokuKnife should be your first choice. You can cut veggies, meat, fish with a Santoku. Besides, it is well- balanced to maintain for its lightweight.

Thanks for reading!