Nakiri Vs. Santoku Knives – What’s The Difference and Which Is Better?

I was blown away when I started learning how to make Japanese food.

Their meals are prepared carefully with flavours and seasonal ingredients.

I have grown accustomed to making these dishes for my family and friends when I am hosting.

Japanese culture is fascinating; it blends the old and the new; it reflects on the food.

That means the dishes are constantly evolving, and I am always happy to share the knowledge I have gained with other food lovers.

I recently used both the nakiri and santoku knives and wanted to share my experience with you.

What Is A Nakiri Knife?

Nakiri knife is a Japanese straight-edge blade vegetable knife.

It allows you to cut through vegetables and achieve even slices thinner than what you would get using a regular knife.

It’s the best because you can cut your vegetables precisely without squeezing them.

It’s also designed for speed; it helps you prepare the meals much faster. You can handle the delicate vegetables with ease.

What Is A Santoku Knife?

The santoku is a general multi-purpose kitchen knife that initially came from Japan.

It usually is thirteen to twenty centimetres long. You can use it to cut fish, meat or vegetables, and because of the size, it’s easier to handle.

You have probably heard of it because most people like it for how balanced it feels when you are using it, which is true.

If you are looking for the most detailed work with the chops and slices, the santoku knife is the best.

Nakiri Vs Santoku Knives – What’s The Difference?

The main difference between the two knives, I would say, is with the uses.

The nakiri knife is used for vegetables and fruits. It also doesn’t have a point that is a differentiating factor in terms of appearance.

The santoku knives are multi-purpose; they can be used for much more than cutting vegetables.

You can use it for fish, meat, fruits, vegetables and cheese. The santoku has a pointy end and looks more like a regular chef’s knife.

My Experience Using the Knives

Having used both knives, I would recommend them to you.

The nakiri is the most precise knife I have encountered. It will change the game for you in terms of handling vegetables and fruits.

The santoku is a must-have for any kitchen. It has a pointed end, so I have used it for more than just chopping.

Nakiri knife pros

  • Easy to use and fast
  • Perfect for delicate vegetables
  • It gives highly even and thin slices


  • It’s limited to vegetables
  • Not the best for small ingredients

Santoku knife pros

  • More versatile
  • Best for slicing and peeling
  • They provide detailed work and are lightweight


  • Very sharp, may be tricky for beginners
  • It’s pretty expensive and a bit heavy than the nakiri knife

Nakiri Vs Santoku – Which Should You Choose?

It all comes down to what you need. If you want the best for handling only vegetables with speed and precision, go for the nakiri knife.

If you want a more versatile knife with more finesse and can also work on vegetables, buy the santoku knife.


The main difference is the nakiri is made for vegetables, and the santoku is multi-purpose.

Santoku knives are used to handle fish, meat and vegetables, while the nakiri is best used for fruits and vegetables.

I have experienced both knives, and they work perfectly for what they were made for.

However, I would choose the santoku because it can do what the nakiri does and much more.