Gyuto vs Santoku: Which Is Better And Why?

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When the topic of high-quality knives is brought to the table, Gyuto and Santoku are the must-mentioned.

Be it as it may, Gyuto or Santoku, which one would be the most suitable Japanese knives for you?

If you are currently in a dilemma over deciding which type is the final call, you made the right decision by dropping by our post.

In this review, we will review each knife type in detail and compare them side by side.

Santoku vs Gyuto: Detailed Comparisons of the Two Knives

The Uses

When it’s come to applying the knives in the practical world, both knives perform excellently as multi-purpose cutters. Aside from dealing with vegetables, they are well-qualified to cut through the most tough-looking piece of meat or fish.

However, due to some distinct features in the overall designs, the difference between the two will be considerably noticeable when they are in the hands of the professional.

Compared to the Santokus, the Gyutos are more flexible when performing advanced and complicated cutting techniques.

Due to the compactness, Santoku is a more lightweight and convenient option to use in the kitchen, especially if you are a single living person who doesn’t take much interest in cooking.

The Gyuto, whereas, is basically the fancier Japanese names for conventional chef’s knives. Apart from some signature details in the design, the Gyutos bears a lot of resemblance to chef’s knives.  For that reason, you can tackle every food type at ease and show off your knife-use finesse without denting or chipping the knife edges.

However, there are a few exceptions you should keep in mind when using the Gyuto knives. Despite its versatility, there are some cutting techniques that they are not made for.

You should keep your knife away from hard choppings, or any up-and-down motions that involve high torque on the knife’s edge.

The Blade Design

A Gyuto or a Santoku knife shares a lot of resemblance in terms of blade designs. Their tips are both slightly curved and the widths are increased towards the handle. At first glance, people with no experience in choosing knives might easily mistake one for the other.

However, they are designed with some distinct blade details, making them preferable for different tasks.

With the Gyuto, the edge curve at the tip is more defined and the spine is less turn-downed compared to the Santoku. The direction of the spine and edge makes the Gyuto blade’s tip faintly sharper. As a result, they offer such clean, smooth cuts when joined and being used to chop meat and vegetables.

On the other hand, the Santoku has a lower downward spine. The blade edge is less curved and almost goes in a straight line. For that reason, the tip will be blunter, making chopping vegetables vertically a breeze.

The Cutting Motion

The cutting motion depends largely on the sharpness of the tip. In other words, by looking at the correlation between the spine and edge, you can tell which cutting movements each type is the best at.

Speaking of the Gyuto blades, thanks to the piercing blade tips and a definitely-curved edge, they can cut through hard-textured food at ease. Potatoes, carrots and large-sized fruit with hard skins will be cleanly cut into the most uniform pieces.

Also, the curved edge makes the Gyuto one of the best contenders for rock chopping. This technique involves a lot of up-and-down movements of the hand holding the handle while the knife tip is kept at a fixed position.

The thick belly will smooth out the contact between the edge and the cutting surface, producing much more clean-cut, even pieces of food.

On the other hand, the Santoku is made for techniques containing repetitive vertical movements. Instead of sliding the blade edge across the food surface, you just have to push the knife down on the food with more hand force and let it do the rest.

The Length of the Knife

A quick trick for the inexperienced to tell a Gyuto kitchen knife and a Santoku kitchen knife apart is by looking at their lengths. Their differences in length are fairly noticeable and can be easily spotted out.

Nowadays, since the design is involving further and further away from the original, you can find a Gyuto and a Santoku at any desirable size.  Be it as it may, the Gyutos will mostly have a greater length compared to the Santokus.

The most common model of the Gyuto will be approximately 8 to 9 inches ( 200mm to 230mm). If you are in need of a longer one, you can opt for a larger model, which is about 11 to 12 inches (280mm to 300mm) long. On the other hand, the average length for Santokus is 7 inches (180mm).

The sizes of most kitchens in Japanese households are the main reasons for the shorter blade length.

Since the Santoku knives have been in use for the last 80 years, they have gone through necessary modifications a long time ago to best serve the needs of Japanese housewives. As a result, they are made to be much more compact and easier to control on the cutting board.

The Sharpness

The factor that has the most influence on the sharpness of a knife is its blade angle. Determining the sharpness of a Gyuto knife and Santoku knife is no exception. If you are torn between the two knife types, taking their sharpness into consideration might be a good thing to do.

Both Gyuto and Santoku knives can be sharpened on both sides of the blade (Ryoba-edge), or on one side (Kataba-edge).

The ideal blade angle of both these two kitchen knives is about 30 degrees on a one-sided sharpening blade. With a Ryoba-edge model, the sharpness ranges from 10 to 15 degrees on each side, which is equivalent to 30 degrees on one side.

Both versions serve the same purpose, only with different conducting forms. Therefore, you can opt for either of them based on your preference.

The Weight of the Knife

These Japanese knives’ weight plays an essential part in deciding their ease of use. The knife material and its size are the two main things contributing to the total weight.

When it comes to the material, both types are constructed from identical substances. Some of the most common ones are high-carbonate steel, VG-10, AUS-10, VG-MAX, or carbon stainless steel.

However, due to the larger size, the Gyuto knives are heavier than the Santoku knives. A compact, lightweight one (the Santokus) is usually a preferable option in household settings, while a large-sized one (the Gyuto) can be optimized for business use.

The Price

When choosing the most compatible blades for your kitchen or any other kitchens, the financial factor is worth mentioning. Therefore, let’s look at the price of each type and compare the two.

Normally, Gyuto knives are offered at a higher price compared to Santoku knives. The cost difference can be explained by the Gyutos’ larger sizes.

Besides that, the reputation of the manufacturer, the used materials, and the overall quality of the products are some other contributors to the final price.

Pros of a Gyuto:

  • Easy food transfer
  • Wide blade for easy chopping
  • Pointy tip to reach deep places
  • Suitable for rock chopping

Cons of a Gyuto:

  • Quite high-priced
Pros of a Santoku:

  • Multifunction knife to deal with all kinds of food
  • Offer a steady feel
  • Long-lasting material
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons of a Santoku:

  • Not beginner-friendly

Is a Gyuto Better vs Santoku Knife?

Both Gyuto and Santoku knives are versatile kitchenware that can be used to tackle a wide range of food with different textures. Also, they can perform nearly all cutting techniques involved in the food preparation process.

Therefore, to pick between the two, instead of focusing on what one can do that the other can not, it is more vital to look into your personal need and then choose a knife accordingly.

If you are not obsessed with cooking and only intend to go for a within-the-budget option, we highly suggest you opt for the Santoku one. They are more affordable and have a perfect length for casual use in the kitchen.

On the other hand, a Santoku is an ultimate choice for chefs, vivid cooks that want to seriously invest in a multipurpose, professional-looking knife.

Besides that, determining your favorite cutting technique can also help in deciding what is the ideal option for you. For anyone digging the rock chopping style, a Gyuto with a curved blade will do you good.

Is It Worth It to Invest in Other Japanese Kitchen Knives Like a Kiritsuke?

Of course, it is.

You will almost always have the best bang for your buck if you stick to these high-quality Japanese kitchen knives.

The Bottom Line

It is eventually the end of our comparison post. I hope that our review has shed some light on this topic if you were confused about the differences between the two.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to one’s preference, since they are both such competent kitchenwares. Based on the individual needs, the available budget, and chopping styles, you can opt for the compatible one.

For that reason, you should prioritize your individual needs instead of putting too much effort into searching for the “best” knife out there. All things considered, we wish you luck, and stay tuned for our next post!

Further reading:

Knife Sharpening Guide

Last Updated on May 9, 2021 by Andy Wang

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My name is Andy Wang, and I'm a retired chef. I used to work at the City Vineyard restaurant in NYC. I also had a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And this blog is where I share my love for knives and cooking with people like you.