If you’ve been using a Chef’s knife or a kitchen knife for a while, you’re likely bored of it and want to spice things up. For this, a Santoku or Gyuto Knife might be the perfect upgrade.
However, Japanese knives are no joke! There are tons of things to consider and many differences. So this might make you wonder, what is the difference between Santoku and Gyuto?
In short, Santoku knives are general-purpose kitchen knives for mincing, slicing, and dicing various ingredients. But Gyuto knives are multi-purpose Chef’s knives, specializing in slicing, dicing, and preparing fish and meat.
But there’s much more to it. We’ll be covering all about it. With that being said, let’s begin.
What Are Santoku Knife Used For?
Although Santoku knives are told to be general-purpose knives, they can do a lot of things and have tons of uses. It’s especially great at slicing vegetables, meat, and fish, but it can perform most other kitchen jobs as well.
But to put it shortly, Santoku knives are for cutting, slicing, and chopping. Although they’re similar to a Chef’s knife, their main difference comes in the shape and the material of the knife.
They don’t have a tip, and all parts are razor-sharp, meaning you can slice right down, speeding up things and making them more efficient. Santoku knives are incredibly easy to use as well since they’re lightweight. So even if you’re a beginner, you won’t have to wonder how to use a Santoku Knife.
Features of Santoku Knife
Although their main uses are for cutting, slicing, and chopping, they have tons of other features. A few of them are mentioned below —
- Made from a variety of fine Japanese steels.
- It can be double-sided or single-sided.
- Easy and light to hold.
- Balanced weight throughout the entire knife.
- Thinner than Chef’s knives.
- Mostly comes with a Granton edge.
- Within 5” and 8” in size.
As you can see, there is a lot of diversity with Santoku knives, and there are many features of them, making them perfect for general use. Since they’re so razor-sharp, they’re incredible for fine, thin slices.
A Santoku knife can be used for almost anything in the kitchen since it’s equally good at most things.
What Are Gyuto Knife Used For?
Gyuto knives are multi-purpose Chef’s knives. They’re versatile and work best for cutting, preparing meat and fish, and fileting. Gyuto actually translates to “cow sword”, so it’s easy to tell where it’s optimal.
They’re able to cut just about anything, but their expertise comes with slicing or preparing meat. It’s similar to a Western-style Chef’s knife but sleeker and with stainless Japanese steel.
Gyuto knives have a razor-sharp pointed tip, making them perfect for rocking back and forth while cutting meat and fish. Although they’re lighter and sharper, their blades are balanced, offering more agility while cutting.
Gyuto Knife Features
A Gyuto knife is best at cutting meat, but it has tons of other features. Some of them are listed below —
- Pointed tip with a razor-sharp edge.
- Made with stainless Japanese steel.
- Light and thin blade.
- Longer blade than other Japanese knives.
- Balance point is near the edge.
- Incredibly agile for rocking and cutting.
- Within 7” to 11” in size.
Comparison Table Between Santoku and Gyuto
|Weight||Slightly Lighter||Light, but slightly heavier|
|Balance Point||Same throughout the knife||Towards the tip|
|Optimal Use||Slicing, dicing, chopping||Cutting meat|
What Is The Difference Between Santoku and Gyuto?
By now, you know most of the things about Japanese knives, especially Santoku and Gyuto knives. They’re both similar, but they do have some differences. Let’s take a look at some below —
1. Optimal Use
Santoku knives are best for three things, slicing, dicing, and mincing. They can cut just about anything, but they’re best for general uses in the kitchen.
Gyuto knives are similar to Santoku knives, and they can cut just about anything. However, as the name Gyuto which translates to “cow sword” suggests, it’s best for cutting meat.
Santoku knives have the same balance point throughout the entire knife, making them extremely beginner-friendly and easy to use.
Gyuto knives have their balance point near the tip, similar to some Chef’s knives. Even though this makes the knife harder to use for beginners, after just a bit of practice, it’s much more efficient and can give off sharp and slick cuts on just about anything.
Santoku knives are plenty agile, but since their balance point is the same throughout the knife, there isn’t any technique for faster speeds or for cutting more efficiently.
Since Gyuto knives have their balancing point on the tip, you can get a lot of agility when using them, especially while rocking. This is why most people prefer a Gyuto knife for meat since you’d always want a sharp and fast slice of meat and fish.
Santoku knives are relatively small, being within 5 inches and 8 inches in size. However, this is the perfect size for casual chefs and everyday use in the kitchen.
Gyuto knives are similar to a Chef’s knife, and they are from 7” to 11” in size. This is why most professional chefs prefer Gyuto since bigger knives are more comfortable for cutting big hands.
These 4 are the most noticeable differences between both these knives, and for the most part, they’re quite similar. Both of them are made from premium Japanese stainless steel, and they’re both the same in sharpness.
How To Store Japanese Knives?
If you’re purchased an expensive Japanese knife, you’re probably wondering how to store them safely. But as surprising as it is, you don’t need anything fancy for storing a Japanese knife.
A knife block works great, but knife racks and knife drawers are viable as well. Most people generally have at least one of these in their houses already, but if not, you can easily find them online or from a knife shop nearby.
But if you use a knife block, make sure to clean your knives regularly and keep them dry while storing them in the block. The knife block may get germs and ruin your blade if you don’t.
How Can You Sharpen Japanese Knives?
All knives need sharpening, but luckily Santoku and Gyuto knives remain razor-sharp for a very long time. But then again, it’s better to sharpen them every now and then to get the next experience.
The best way to sharpen most knives, including Japanese Santoku and Gyuto knives, is by using a whetstone. You can easily find tons of high-quality whetstone kits online, but for Japanese knives, you should be looking for 3000 grit and 8000 grit whetstone.
We’d recommend you get a Dalstrong whetstone kit since the team people over at Dalstrong are experts in knives, especially Japanese knives.
But now that you’re done getting the necessary tools for sharpening let’s take a look at how to sharpen the knives themself —
- Put the whetstone down on a completely flat surface, preferably a table or countertop.
- Afterwards, find an optimal and comfortable angle based on the shape and size of your knife, as shown below.
- Hold the handle of the knife with one hand and use your thumb to apply slight pressure on the unsharpened part, also known as the spine of the knife.
- With another hand, use three or four fingers and apply pressure on the cutting edge of the knife. Begin by putting the fingers on the heel and work your way up to the very tip.
- Apply the same pressure on all your fingers, and slide the knife back and forth on your whetstone away from your body.
- After it reaches the edge of the stone, lift the knife up and start again.
- Do this till you have around 10 strokes, and then wash your blade thoroughly.
If you follow these steps correctly, you can keep your blade razor-sharp for much longer. As a rule of thumb, you should sharpen your Santoku and Gyuto knives at least once every two weeks. Doing more often is fine, but doing less can make your knife dull.
Hopefully, now you know what is the difference between Santoku and Gyuto. As you can tell, they’re quite similar, and their biggest difference is likely in size.
Gyuto knives are usually for professional chefs and require much more skill to use. So as a final tip, we’d recommend you to use Santoku if you’re a beginner chef and Gyuto if you’re an experienced one.
This is especially because of the balancing point since Gyuto knives require much more precision to get slick and fast cuts. Santoku knives don’t require are easier to use since you can just push them down, and they’ll cut fine.
But with that being said, good luck in the kitchen, and cheers!