Do you need help finding the best Japanese chef knife? Use the following tips and reviews to make the right selection.
The chef’s knife is one of the most versatile knives in the kitchen. You can use it for a variety of tasks including cutting meat and chopping or dicing fruits and vegetables. While these knives are versatile, they are not created equal.
Here’s a summary of the best Japanese chef knives in our list. Continue reading to learn more about the product including each of their pros and cons.
|Dalstrong Shogun Series X Gyuto Chef’s Knife||4.7||Check Price||Read More|
|Zelite Infinity Alpha-Royal Series Chef Knife||4.8||Check Price||Read More|
|Augymer Professional Chef Knife||4.3||Check Price||Read More|
|Yoshihiro Gyuto Japanese Chef’s Knife||4.5||Check Price||Read More|
|Shun Classic Chef’s Knife||4.6||Check Price||Read More|
|Miyabi Birchwood Chef’s Knife||4.3||Check Price||Read More|
|Okami Japanese Chef Knife||4.6||Check Price||Read More|
|Koto Satori Gyutou Chef’s Knife||4.5||Check Price||Read More|
- What You Should Know Before Choosing a Chef Knife
- How to Select the Right Blade on a Japanese Chef Knife
- How We Selected the Top Japanese Chef Knives
- Top Eight Japanese Chef Knives for Your Kitchen
What You Should Know Before Choosing a Chef Knife
We took the time to compare some of the best-selling Japanese chef’s knives and came up with a list of features to consider before buying. Here is everything you need to know to find a quality Japanese chef knife.
When comparing options, it is important to understand the anatomy of a chef’s knife. These parts include:
The heel is the wide part at the end of the blade near the handle. A wider heel helps create more stability, giving you more cutting force for chopping.
The bolster is thick part of the blade where the spine of the blade meets the handle. A thicker bolster gives the knife more balance and reduces the chances of your fingers slipping.
The tang is the part of the blade that sticks into the handle. With a full tang, the metal extends all the way to the back end of the handle. Knives with a full tang typically have three rivets, increasing the durability of the handle.
Knife handles are made from a variety of materials. Plastic handles, such as polypropylene handles, tend to provide the best overall value. They are cheap yet still relatively durable.
While metal handles should hold up to repeated use, some people do not like the feel of the cold steel. Wood handles are more comfortable but prone to bacteria and mold.
How to Select the Right Blade on a Japanese Chef Knife
When looking for the best Japanese chef knife, we focused on the blade. It is the most important part of the knife and includes a variety of details to consider:
- The edge of the blade
- The construction of the blade
- The length of the blade
The Edge Of The Blade
The edge of the blade is sharpened to a specific angle ranging between eight degrees and 20 degrees. A lower angle creates a sharper edge. It also makes the edge less durable, increasing the risk of chipping and the need for frequent honing.
All blades eventually become dull. To protect your investment, take a moment to watch this short video on how to sharpen dull knives:
The Construction Of The Blade
You should also pay attention to the construction of the blade. The best Japanese chef knives in the world are typically made with Damascus steel. These knives tend to stand out due to the wavy patterns on the blades, which are created by sandwiching multiple layers of steel.
Besides the unique pattern, Damascus blades offer several benefits. The multi-layer design increases the overall durability of the knife. Some cooks also find that the Damascus blades tend to have a naturally nonstick texture.
The Length Of The Blade
The length of the blade can vary from six inches to 14 inches. Most of our recommendations are eight-inch chef’s knives, offering the best balance of flexibility and control.
How We Selected the Top Japanese Chef Knives
To narrow the search, we looked at the blade length, blade construction, tang, handle, cost, and customer rating. Look at how the top eight options stacked up:
|Dalstrong Shogun Series X Gyuto Chef’s Knife||8 in.||Forged||Full||G-10||$$||4.7|
|Zelite Infinity Alpha-Royal Series Chef Knife||8 in.||Forged||Full||G-10||$$||4.8|
|Augymer Professional Chef Knife||8 in.||Stamped||Partial||Plastic||$||4.3|
|Yoshihiro Gyuto Japanese Chef’s Knife||8 in.||Forged||Full||Mahogany||$$||4.5|
|Shun Classic Chef’s Knife||8 in.||Forged||Partial||Pakkawood||$$$||4.6|
|Miyabi Birchwood Chef’s Knife||6 in.||Forged||Partial||Karelian Birch||$$$||4.3|
|Okami Japanese Chef Knife||8 in.||Forged||Partial||Pakkawood||$$||4.6|
|Koto Satori Gyutou Chef’s Knife||8 in.||Forged||Partial||Pakkawood||$||4.5|
Top Eight Japanese Chef Knives for Your Kitchen
Which of these knives should you choose? Compare options as you examine each of the following eight chef knife reviews.
- Nitrogen cooled
- AUS-10V Vacuum Heat Treated Japanese super steel
- 62+ Rockwell hardness
- Ultra-premium G-10 handle
- Lifetime warranty
- 8-inch blade
Dalstrong is one of the most recognizable Japanese chef knife brands. With the Shogun Series X Gyuto knife, you get an eight-inch blade made from quality Damascus steel and featuring a razor-sharp edge.
- The blades are hand-finished with an 8-degree to 12-degree angle per side, giving you an incredibly sharp knife.
- The blade has a 62+ Rockwell hardness rating, ensuring that it can hold up to repeated use without needing frequent sharpening.
- The full tang blade and triple rivets on the handle increase the overall stability and durability of the knife.
- While this knife should not need frequent sharpening, it does need frequent honing to maintain a sharp blade.
- Japanese AUS-10 Super Steel
- Liquid Nitrogen Tempered
- Military Grade G10 Black Handle
- Lifetime Warranty
- 8-inch blade
The Zelite Infinity is our top pick due to the high-quality 67-layer Damascus steel blade, thick bolster, and comfortable handle. It is built to provide years of use as your primary kitchen knife.
- The blade is made with multiple layers of quality Japanese high-carbon stainless steel for long-lasting performance.
- The handle has an ergonomic design that feels natural in your hand, helping you maintain a firm hold on the knife.
- The thick bolster and wide heel also make it easier to keep a good grip on the handle while increasing the balance and stability of the knife.
- While there are no major drawbacks, you may need to sharpen the knife when it arrives.
- High Carbon Stainless Steel
- 56-58 Rockwell hardness
- Gift box
- Ergonomic handle
- Lifetime warranty
- 8-inch blade
The Augymer may not appear to be a high-quality chef knife but it is surprisingly well-built for a low-cost option. The blade is made from high-carbon stainless steel and comes in an attractive little case.
- The knife offers good balance and weight, making it suitable for a wide variety of kitchen tasks.
- This is one of the most affordable options that still delivers solid cutting and chopping action.
- The stainless-steel blade should not rust or corrode.
- While the handle is curved, it is not truly ergonomic and does not feature a full tang or rivets.
- The blade has a 56 to 58 hardness rating, which is lower compared to the other recommendations.
- 16-Layer Hammered Damascus
- VG-10 Japanese stainless steel
- HRC 60
- Premium Mahogany wood handle
- 8-inch (also available in 7-inch)
With this knife, you get a blade constructed with multiple layers of stainless steel hand-forged to create a durable, reliable knife. The combination of the mahogany wood handle and wavy Damascus-like blade add to the beauty of this high-end chef’s knife.
- The three-layer construction of the blade creates a solid stainless-steel core, which is then covered with 16 layers of steel to create a nonstick surface.
- The hardness rating of 60 makes this a durable blade that should stay sharp for quite a while.
- Some cooks may not like the design of the heel, which has a sharp angle and may feel awkward when chopping.
- VG-10 stainless steel clad
- Black laminated PakkaWood
- Dishwasher safe
- 8-inch blade
The Shun chef’s knife is a versatile option. It has a curved blade with a wide heel and thick bolster, giving the knife good balance and weight.
- The balance of this knife makes it more versatile compared to some of the other choices, allowing you to easily chop, slice, dice, or mince.
- The Pakkawood handle is less likely to get moldy compared to other wood handles.
- The handle does not have rivets, which limits the overall durability of the handle.
- The handle does not have an ergonomic design; repeated chopping may tire your hands quickly.
- G2 micro-carbide powder steel
- Karelian (Masur) Birch handle
- 6-inch blade
The beautiful design and features of the Miyabi Birchwood Knife make it a top choice for any kitchen. Unfortunately, the cost of this knife may put it out of reach. It costs about twice as much as most of the other choices.
- The sharp edges are hand-honed to 9.5 degrees and 12 degrees, giving you a sharper edge and eliminating the need to sharpen before using
- The ice-hardened blades have a 63 rating on the Rockwell scale, reducing the risk of the knife chipping or breaking.
- The 101-layer design includes dozens of extra layers compared to the other chef knives.
- This is an incredibly expensive knife, costing about ten times as much as the cheapest knife.
- VG10 Japanese High-carbon stainless steel
- Pakkawood handle
- 8-inch blade
The Okami Japanese Chef Knife is a sleek product with a high-carbon stainless steel blade and a thick, comfortable handle. It is also reasonably priced, making it one of the better values.
- The knife comes with an attractive storage box, cleaning cloth, and edge guard.
- The Pakkawood handle is less prone to mold and bacteria growth.
- The blade has a steeper curve near the tip, making the knife more awkward to use for chopping.
- The multi-layer Damascus blade does not have a rich, detailed pattern as the other Damascus blade do.
- VG-10 Japanese Super Steel
- Pakkawood handle
- Custom Fit Traditional Teak Wood Saya Knife Sheath
- 8-inch blade
With the Koto Satori 8-Inch Chef’s Knife, you are getting a well-balanced knife with a custom-fit wood knife sheath. It is a great option if you want to spend less than $100 on a knife.
- The straight blade has less of a curve, making this an ideal knife for chopping and dicing fruit and vegetables.
- The curve of the handle helps you add more pressure when cutting through thick foods.
- The teak wood sheath is stylish and helps protect the edge and tip of the blade.
- The handle does not include rivets so there is a risk that the handle may someday become loose.
With a variety of options, which knife is the right choice? All eight options are great but the Zelite Infinity is our recommendation for the best Japanese chef knife. It has one of the most comfortable handles, which also looks great. The knife also features a durable design with a full tang and 67-layer blade.
For the best overall value, we recommend the Augymer Knife. The handle does not have rivets or a truly ergonomic design but it is comfortable and has good balance. While the blade is not the most durable, the knife is incredibly affordable.