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Santoku

Santoku Knife – Ultimate Analysis

As Auzzie man reviews would say “Here’s my santoku knife critical analysis” It’s all well and good me sitting here behind my keyboard telling you what great value for money these products are, so to do a better level of service to you all, I propose that I just show you.

I collected the data surrounding a few brands of Santoku knives and put them into a python DataFrame so I could perform some great statistical analysis.

Shut Up Already, Show Me A Graph!

graph cost per inch

You can see from the image above, you can see that Dalstrong has a long line. That’s due to the cost of the product based on its physical size. As it’s a standard 7 inches, it costs over £100 which makes the line so long. The Economy score is a measure of how much the blades cost per inch.

So technically, Shan Zu is the most cost-effective purchase standing in at £1.71 per inch. Here’s the rest of the knives and their respective values:

  1. Shan Zu – £1.71 per inch
  2. Mercer Culinary – £2.27 per inch
  3. Master Class – £2.34
  4. Sabatier – £2.85 per inch
  5. Joseph Joseph – £2.91 per inch
  6. Rustler – £3 per inch
  7. Mosfiata – £3.50 per inch
  8. Euna – £3.86 per inch
  9. Nanfang Brothers – £4.28 per inch
  10. Sunnecko – £4.28 per inch
  11. Orient – £5.57 per inch
  12. Victorinox – £6.17 per inch
  13. Zelite Infinity – £6.85 per inch
  14. Koi Artisan – £7 per inch
  15. Wusthof – £11.94 per inch
  16. Dalstrong – £17.14 per inch

Deeper Dive Into The Results

Does this mean that Shan Zu is the best knife? If you’re on a shoestring budget and you need something to stand in and do the work then of course it’ll do the job.

Continuing with the analysis, I decided to take the average star rating into account to see if that affects the order of the santoku knives I’ve listed.

To work that out I’ve used this calculation:

(Knife Size * Knife Price) / Average Stars.

The idea behind this calculation is that we already have found the cost per inch of each knife. The lower the star rating, the lower the score will be, it should give a better idea as to which knife the customers prefer.

Average Star Rating Calculation

affordability chart

There doesn’t seem to be much change at the expensive end of the results.

The cheaper end of the results has changed though. The first graph shows that the order of the best value for money knives went as follows:

  1. Shan Zu
  2. Mercer Culinary
  3. Master Class
  4. Sabatier
  5. Joseph Joseph
  6. Rustler

These 6 are the cheapest and best value for money only based on the physical properties.

Including the average star rating the order changes to:

  1. Master Class
  2. Shan Zu
  3. Joseph Joseph
  4. Mercer Culinary
  5. Sabatier
  6. Mosfiata

Why has the order changed? What does it mean in terms of affordability?

The order has changed because the trust level of the product, as rated by an average of 5 stars, changes the value. The higher the cost per inch, the lower down the table it moves.

Having something that is slightly more expensive but is trusted better means that you get a better purchase. It seems counterintuitive to buy something cheap for the sake of being cheap.

Maybe if you were to spend an extra £5 then the life span of the santoku knife would expand by more than double.

The Best Value For Money Santoku Knife As It Stands

Using the latest table of 6 Santoku knives, I’ll take a break from the analysis and introduce the top 3 Santoku knives to show you why you should buy them.

Masterclass Santoku Knife

Sitting in at the top spot for value for money santoku knives is the Masterclass 4.7-inch santoku.

masterclass santoku knife

Masterclass is a brand serving in all things culinary. They provide a huge range of equipment for cutting, slicing, dicing, grating. The list goes on.

I’m here to talk to you today about the Santoku knife in particular though so onwards we go…

At 4.7 inches and its cheap price tag, it’s the blade that topped the ranking when I calculated the price per inch. Being a relatively short kitchen knife and the shortest on the list, it’s one of the deciding factors in it coming out on top.

Interestingly enough it also comes with an edge keeper sheath so you can store it in your drawers without the edge of the blade getting nicked or damaged. Some of the relatively more expensive ones don’t have this option as standard.

The blade itself is hollow-edged, which is usually popular in busy kitchens so that food does not stick to the side when slicing.

As standard, it comes with a 25-year guarantee, so if there are any problems you run into construction-wise you’re covered!

Also comes in Paring and Chefs knife too.

Shan Zu Santoku Knife

Next up at number 2 is Shan Zu.

shan zu santoku knife

With a name like Shan Zu, it might sound odd that these are German manufacturers. To be fair, this should only lend itself even further to your trust levels given the Germanic nature of engineering and making sure that everything they do is perfect.

The handle is triple-riveted for maximum balance and precision. Another Santoku knife to feature a hollow wedged blade, not like the one before it though, this one comes in at 7 inches long at 48% more knife.

This knife came in at the top of the affordability before the star rating was added and even came in second place afterwards so this knife itself is going to be one of my top picks.

This is a great knife for a first-time buyer erring on the side of caution when it comes to stocking up on the proper utensils you’d need when it comes to making up some pretty tasty grub.

With its relatively cheap price tag, it means it’s also pretty good as a present too so you’ve got options. Especially if you’ve got a twin.

Shan Zu also sells a few different variations, check these out below.

Joseph Joseph Santoku Knife

At £2.91 the Joseph Joseph elevate santoku knife sits in third place. Not a bad choice for a bronze medal winner.

joseph joseph santoku knife

The elevate technology Joseph Joseph has implemented means that the handle is weighted so the blade won’t touch the surface when rested. A nice design in this day and age of health and safety.

Hollow edged blade adds an extra factor to the overall design of the knife so your food doesn’t stick to the edge surface of the blade when cutting.

The handle is ergonomically designed for maximum comfort, providing an extra layer of comfort around the index finger grip so you can apply precise amounts of pressure for whatever you’re knocking up.

Joseph Joseph is a household name in the UK, they are another company that doesn’t just specifically make knives but have a huge array of products that work very well in a kitchen.

This knife also comes with a plastic sheath to keep the edge safe during storage.

User Ratings – Why Are They Important?

If we step back into the analysis, we can start to take a look at real-life reviews. The last step of the affordability calculation did include the average ratings. I did this to include a level of trust that other people have put in place. Let’s take a look at how the table would look if we went off the ratings alone.

voting graph for all the knives

From the graph above you can see a clear winner based on votes alone.

The Mercer Culinary knife is miles ahead by a factor of over 20. To have an average of 4.5 stars for something that has been rated so many times is quite impressive.

User ratings are important when considering which product to purchase. If it came down to two things you liked priced the same and one product had a one-star rating while the other had a five-star rating, I think everyone would be opting to buy the five-star rating product.

That’s because real people have taken the time to show their joy/dismay at it.

In this instance, the Mercer Culinary Santoku knife is the most voted on in the list.

Mercer Culinary Santoku Knife

At the time of writing this santoku knife has more than 38,000 votes achieving an average 4.5-star rating. 83% of purchasers have left a full-on 5-star rating, considering the scale of people that have been involved in this product’s history, it’s an extremely impressive feat.

mercer culinary santoku chef knife

Coming in at under £20 this knife is more than likely considered to be a bargain already. I mean if it lasts for 4 years, it’s essentially £5 a year to use a pretty good type of knife for that long.

A little less flashy than most of the others on the list, the handle is where the cost savings can be seen.

That doesn’t mean by any margin it’s a terrible knife. On the contrary, with so many 5 stars reviews it’s considered an excellent knife. Check out some of the things people had to say about it.

That said this is a fantastic knife with a useful handle, good edge and sturdy build. With the money you save buying this knife versus an expensive one, you could buy a honing steel or a whetstone and keep this workhorse razor sharp.

SamG – Verified Purchase Review

I’d recommend getting honing steel or whetstone to maintain sharpness. Overall a fantastic purchase overall

Final Analysis Time

For the final run at the analysis, I based the reviews and the starts and multiplied them together to generate a new table. The idea behind this is that the three products could be quite similar in the number of reviews, but differ slightly in the average rating.

For a quick and easy example, if two different products each had a thousand ratings each, but one had an average of 4 stars and the other has 5 stars then the final score would be 4,000 and 5,000. The five-star knife has a 1,000 point advantage and because people have been reviewing it consistently.

final santoku knife score graph
Final scoreline graph

I should probably start by saying that these scores aren’t the be-all and end-all of which knife is better. It’s purely based on peoples reviews.

And we can get on with the show.

I’ve already been through a few of these so I can continue with these knives in order of appearance:

  • Mosfiata
  • Dalstrong
  • Koi Artisan
  • Sabatier
  • Zelite Infinity

Mosfiata Santoku Knife

The next entry on the analysis list is the Mosfiata knife.

To show the differences between the other knives I removed the Mercer Culinary knife from the dataset and replotted based on the final score. As there are far more votes for it, and it’s already been reviewed, I can safely move on with the next on the list.

mosfiata santoku knife with sharpener

This knife comes with a metal finger guard and also a knife sharpener. Not only are you buying the knife, but you’re getting an added bit of safety and fine-tuning with it.

Amazon has a cool little algorithm that picks out pieces of text within the reviews and uses these as mentions. Some of the more used mentioned are:

  • Bought as a gift
  • Worth the money
  • Value for money
  • Well balanced

At the time of writing 81% of reviews gave it a five-star rating, which is pretty high.

The blade is a full tang which adds in balance, you can let it balance on your finger at the point where the handle meets the blade.

Dalstrong Santoku Knife

I love Dalstrong knives. Personally speaking, I’m happy spending the extra money buying their products.

This is my opinion but these are some of the finest knives mankind has ever produced. Even the packaging is cool!

dalstrong santoku knife

Surely just by looking at it, you can see why I’m so fascinated. This is just one of the knives they have to offer. You can find more Dalstrong Knives

Dalstrong calls this the ruthless vegetable assassin and for good reason too. The liquid metal pattern on the blade edge reduces drag and increases efficiency allowing the knife to effortlessly glide through your chosen foodstuffs.

All Dalstrong products come with a lifetime warranty and this knife is no different. Simply put they are so confident that you won’t need another santoku knife in your armoury.

One of the more expensive knives on the list, it sits at the top spot for expensiveness at about £120. Like I said though, I’d be more than happy to pay that kind of money for something that performs but looks great too!

Koi Artisan Santoku Knife

Next up on the list is the Koi Artisan Santoku knife, a Japanese steel high carbon Damascus style knife.

koi artisan santoku knife with vegetables

Koi Artisan uses Pakkawood which is an engineered plastic that looks like wood. Used for chefs knife handles it’s made to be resistant to everyday usage in the kitchen.

In the Q&A section they point out that this isn’t exactly a Damascus blade, the style is etched on therefore it’s more of a Damascus style knife.

Sabatier Santoku Knife

Any knife that comes with a 25-year guarantee is always having a look at. Coming in under £30 it is one the best bargain knives you could buy according to the affordability graph, placing at 5th for price per inch of the knife.

Made by Taylors Eye Witness also means you get a great home known name creating your next purchase.

sabatier santoku knife made by taylors eye witness

It’s also been around the block too, first seen in stores in 2018 it had a pretty good lifespan and over 400 ratings means it’s been tried and tested by a good number of people.

Again, I think this would be a great purchase for somebody as a gift, it looks great, it’s within a decent budget and people would certainly appreciate a warranty such as the one this knife comes with.

Zelite Infinity Santoku Knife

Zelite is another one of my favourites when it comes to branded knives. I’ve always heard it’s not nice to have favourites. I always thought that was for children and pets though.

Throughout the analysis, Zelite has been lurking in the middle of everything. Not too cheap, not too expensive. Not rated as many times as other knives but it does have an average 5-star rating though.

zelite infinity santoku knife

88% of people that have purchased this knife have given this a 5star rating. Which is probably one of the highest subsets of 5 stars among the list.

Amazon mentions include:

  • Good quality
  • Super sharp
  • Excellent quality
  • Highly Recommended

Cutting vegetables and meat with this knife is easy, but the true test for any chef and his/her knife comes in the form of herbs. I was able to effortlessly slice basil leaves down to the cutting board with no bruising or tearing, dicing it very fine with ease. This, again, in stark contrast to the knife I owned previously which this replaced.

Matt – Verified Purchase Review

Next to Dalstrong, the Zelite brand is one of my all-time favourites. This santoku knife is a bit plain on the eye but the excellent quality and foresight put into it make it a fantastic purchase.

Just under £50 for it, it’s less than 50% of the cost of a Dalstrong. But it’s still a great knife to work with.

Tips For Buying A Santoku Knife

Choosing a knife might be easy for some people. I’m a big, big fan of Dalstrong so I’d be more than happy to pay the extra money to get one.

But if you’re a more discerning customer, you’d be better off looking at the finer details. I’ll go over the reasons that make a Santoku knife a santoku knife so you can sleep tight knowing you’ve made the best purchase possible.

What Does Santoku Mean?

the word santoku directly translated means “three primary virtues”.

There are two different camps when it comes to what it means. Some say it’s meat, vegetables and fish. Others say it means chopping slicing and dicing.

I don’t think either is wrong, the true meaning has been lost to the sands of time so whichever one you adopt will be right for you.

Sizes

Santoku knives are generally shorter than chefs knives or Nakiri knives, generally speaking, they’re in-between 5 and 8 inches long.

When it comes to size, smaller means lighter. A santoku knifes lighter weight means more control and makes it easier to handle.

Japanese Vs Western

The original santoku is Japanese and due to its popularity has been adopted by chefs and home cooks the world over. The west has taken the design and tweaked it slightly to make it their own.

Saying that the designs can change some minimal details that alter the way the knife can be used.

Japanese is usually heavier than western steel so they tend to be more favoured in a professional capacity.

Materials Used In Construction

Santoku knives are normally constructed using stainless steel. They do also come in ceramics or high carbon.

Some of the most attractive knives are made from layered steel known as Damascus steel. When buffed down the ripple effect the layers of steel make is pretty impressive.

Hollow Edged Blades

You’ll probably have noticed some of the knives have dimples across the blade edge. What possible use could this provide other than a minor weight reduction? Well, the dimples are called hollow blades.

The slight drop in the edge of the blade provides a non-stick element and the food you are slicing won’t stick like it might do a chefs knife. As the blade height on a santoku knife is typically a lot higher there’s more chance for your food to stick to the side.

Western technology is at its finest right there.

Not quite what you were looking for? Try my page dedicated to Dalstrong Knives

I’m also open to doing analyses for other bloggers without the required skill. I recently made an image for Lara at Survivalwithnolimits. Suggesting how confident people are when it comes to unarmed combat with different types of animals.

Get in touch if you’d like me to create something unique for you too.