The Best Japanese Gyuto Knives Available in 2022

Posted by Tara Hohenberger on

The Best Japanese Gyuto Knives Available in 2022

Gyutos are the go to knife for chefs and are gaining popularity amongst home cooks.  In this article we’ll explain Japanese gyuto knives in detail, why gyutos are great knives and discuss the best gyuto knives available in 2022.

What is a Gyuto Knife & How Are They Used?

 

Some people ask, is a gyuto a chef's knife?  The answer is yes, gyuto are the Japanese equivalent of a typical western chef’s knife. They are the ideal all-purpose kitchen knives and can be used for precise cuts and most tasks like dicing, slicing and chopping. The main differences that set them apart from European Chefs knives, are that Japanese gyuto are typically lighter and thinner than a European knife, they are made out of a harder steel and as a result, keep a sharp edge longer. The blade edge closest to the handle features nothing to obstruct the edge of the handle end of the blade, so it can be sharpened and used entirely. The word gyuto in Japanese means ‘beef knife’.

    Why should someone purchase this type?
    If you are new to Japanese knives, but want to improve your knife use in the kitchen, an 8.2” (210mm) gyuto is the most popular shape and size. It will be a key tool in your knife set and will be useful in a wide range of situations.  It will work wonders on not only meat, poultry and fish but even hard produce like roots and pumpkins.  A Japanese gyuto chef knife will stay sharp longer than other chef’s knives.

    What to Look for When Buying a Japanese gyuto

    The key features to consider when choosing a Japanese gyuto or other cutlery are as follows:  blade angle, knife length, weight, steel type and hardness, handle type and price. 

     

    Blade angle: There is a lot of confusion about Japanese knives being either “right-handed or left-handed” based on the angle at which the blade is sharpened. While this is true for traditional single-edged Japanese knives in styles like deba, yanagi, and usuba, where the blacksmith produces right-handed knives (meaning the cutting edge is 100% on the side that works when used in your right hand.  gyutos are generally produced to be 50/50 or 70/30 balanced.  If you are right-handed either of those would be fine.  If you are left handed, we recommend choosing something 50/50 or special ordering a left profiled knife.  

    Blade Length: gyutos’ blades are usually between seven and nine inches long. The length that is right for you will be determined by two factors. First is the size of your hands. The second factor to consider is what will you be using the knife to cut the most.  Most of all, the knife should be comfortable and easily controlled and more or less be able to cut your ingredient in one stroke. If you have small hands and mostly cut onions and carrots, a seven-inch gyuto might be right for you.  The eight-inch size is far and away our most popular size and is suitable for a wide range of users and ingredients. More experienced cooks might find that a choosing a chef’s knife with a nine-inch blade allows for quick work when dealing with large ingredients, especially in a professional setting.

    Weight: Overall, most people find Japanese knives considerably lighter than the German- or French-made knives they have used before. This will come down to personal preference, but some blades are exceptionally thin and light, such as our Takamura, Takeda, and Shibata lines. The majority of knives will fall into medium weight, like those in the Sakai Takayuki and Chubo Inox lines. Lastly, some people are drawn to heftier knives where the natural weight of the knife can assist in cutting denser ingredients. For those situations, we recommend knives from Kazan and Glestain.

    Steel Types + Hardness: There are pros and cons to every type of steel, but the first consideration is choosing between a stain-resistant or a high carbon steel option. Carbon steel knives are popular with professional chefs, thanks to their ability to get super sharp and hold an edge through heavy use, but they need to be kept very clean and dry, especially when cutting acidic ingredients. Among the options for stainless blades, most every Japanese option will stay sharp longer than average. The options then come down to balancing different pros and cons like blade strength versus brittleness of sharpening. Generally speaking, a harder steel will hold an edge longer but can be more challenging to sharpen. Hardness (HRC) is judged on the Rockwell scale, with a higher rating corresponding to greater hardness. You can find the rating for each product under specifications, with most of our knives falling in the 59-66 range. We recommend people new to Japanese knives and sharpening to start with knives on the lower end of that range. For more information check out our complete guide to choosing a steel type. 

    Handle: You may notice two major options for handles on Japanese knives. First, the ergonomic western-style, full tang is attached to the blade with rivets like you would expect with any high-quality knife. Second is a Japanese-style wood handle, either round, D-shaped, or octagonal and attached with a ferrule usually crafted from horn. Magnolia is the traditional wood used, but high end woods such as ebony, rosewood and walnut are widely available. This is mostly a matter of personal preference, but many find the natural wood of the handle comfortable, stable to grip, and versatile for various tasks and angles. 

    Price: Lastly, price is usually a key factor in choosing a chef’s knife. We have a wide range of chef’s knives for all budgets. At the introductory level, lines like Chubo Inox or Tojiro are a great value for a knife that is made with a lot of attention to detail and care. High-technology steels and more valuable handle materials lead to higher prices like you’ll find in our Takamura and Makoto Kurosaki lines. Lastly, hand-forged knives from master blacksmiths and those made by knifemakers entirely by hand will be priced according to the materials, skill, and amount of time that it takes to produce. Knives from makers like Takeda, Saji Takeshi, and Kagekiyo are made in small quantities by true master craftsmen and are meant to last a lifetime, and the prices reflect that.
    For more detailed information check out our guide on how to choose a gyuto.

    The 6 Best Gyuto Knives 

    Best Overall Gyuto Knife Kazan Ginsan Nashiji 8.2” Gyuto 
    Best Budget Knife Chubo Inox 8.2” Gyuto
    Best High End Kazan HAP40 8.2” Gyuto
    Best For Beginners Tojiro Fujitora DP Gyuto 8.2”
    Best Balance Misono UX10 Gyuto 8.3”
    Best for Small Hands Sakai Takayuki 33 Layer Damascus Gyuto 180mm (7.1")

    Here you can read a more detailed knife review of our best sellers. 

    Kazan Ginsan Nashiji 8.2” Gyuto 

    Forged in Tosa, Japan exclusively for Chubo,  these  blades are finished in the nashiji style and  hand sharpened.  These beautiful knives perform like a $300 knife but at a much friendlier price.

      Blade: forged from Ginsan (Silver 3) a stainless steel known for being tough while having excellent edge retention and easy to maintain.
      Handle: traditional octagonal oak 
      Weight: light to medium weight
      Care: Hand wash and dry immediately after use.  Sharpen periodically on water stones.
      Blade length: 210 mm (8.2")
      Thickness at spine: 2.3 mm
      Thickness at tip: 0.8 mm
      Hardness (Rockwell scale): 61
      Edge / Bevel: Double (50/50)
      Blade height heel to spine: 45mm

      Chubo Inox 8.2” Gyuto

      We developed the Chubo Inox line to be a great workhorse. The 8-inch chef’s knife is a good knife in a reasonable price range loved by line cooks in kitchens throughout the world. It is great for those learning how to sharpen because it regains an edge easily and can hold it for a long time. These durable knives are crafted and hand-finished in Seki, Japan.

      Blade: Stain-resistant Inox steel, long used for hybrid knives in Japan.
      Handle: Western Wood Composite
      Weight: Medium
      Care: Hand wash and dry immediately after use.  Sharpen periodically on a whetstone.
      Blade length: 210 mm (8.2")
      Thickness at spine: 1.7 mm
      Thickness at tip: 0.5mm
      Hardness (Rockwell scale): 59
      Bevel / Edge: Double (70/30)


      Kazan HAP40 Hammered Gyuto 210mm (8.2")

      Developed in partnership with a steelmaker in Kansai, Japan using HAP40, a powdered steel blend, which is semi-stainless and holds an edge better than basically any knife on our site. 

      Blade: HAP40, a powdered steel blend featuring high levels of Vanadium, Molybdenum, Cobalt and Tungsten.
      Handle: Pressed Wood
      Weight: Medium
      Care: Hand wash and dry immediately after use.  Sharpen periodically on a whetstone.
      Blade length: 210 mm (8.2")
      Thickness at spine: 2 mm
      Thickness at tip: 0.7 mm
      Hardness (Rockwell scale): 65 to 66
      Edge / Bevel: Double (70/30)

      Tojiro DP Gyuto 8.3”

       

      The Tojiro Fujitora DP line offers exceptional value for the price. These knives get razor sharp and have excellent durability.  

      Blade: Stain-resistant steel cladding with a VG10 cutting core

      Handle: Eco Wood
      Weight: Light
      Care: Hand wash and dry immediately after use.  Sharpen periodically on a whetstone.
      Blade length: 210 mm (8.3")
      Thickness at spine: 1.8 mm
      Thickness at tip 0.8: mm
      Hardness (Rockwell scale): 60

        Misono UX10 Gyuto 8.3”

        Misono’s top of the line UX10 collection is a classic for a reason. They feature silver nickel bolsters for exceptional balance and truly feel great in the hand. Each knife is hand sharpened on a combination of water stones to be razor sharp out of the box.

        Blade: Made from sub-zero treated Swedish steel, UX10 blades have long-lasting edge life, great durability and exceptional attention to detail.
        Handle: Wood composite
        Weight: Medium
        Care: Hand wash and dry immediately after use.  Sharpen periodically on a whetstone.
        Blade length: 180 mm (7.1")
        Thickness at spine: 1.8 mm
        Thickness at tip: 0.6 mm
        Hardness (Rockwell scale): 59-60

        Sakai Takayuki 33 Layer Damascus Gyuto 180mm (7.1")

         

         

        One of our top selling lines from the beginning, the Sakai Takayuki 33 Layer Collection is crafted from folded damascus steel with a VG10 cutting core. 

        Blade: Stain resistant vg-10 steel,hand-hammered for added blade strength and quick food release.
        Handle: Western style, Mahogany Wood
        Weight: medium 
        Care: Hand wash and dry immediately after use.  Sharpen periodically on a whetstone.
        Blade length: 180 mm (7.1")
        Thickness at spine: 1.7 mm
        Thickness at tip: 0.7 mm
        Hardness (Rockwell scale): 60
        Bevel / Edge: Double (50/50)

        Gyuto Knife FAQs

        Who makes the best chef knife? There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the best knife for you.  For users with a decent amount of experience that want something truly special we recommend the Kazan Ginsan Nashiji Line
        How do I choose a Gyuto knife? We’ve created this guide that can help you make a decision based on blade angle, length, weight, steel type and hardness, handle type and price.  
        What size Gyuto is best? The 8” gyuto  is by far the most popular size.  For people with small hands, working mostly with small ingredients or in tight work spaces, 7” is a good option.  Professionals that work with large produce or cuts of meat might opt for the 9” or even 10” size.
        What do you use a Gyuto knife for?  A gyuto is an all purpose chef’s knife good for all types of ingredients.
        Are gyuto knives good? Most users find a Japanese gyuto to be far superior to a western-style chef's knife based on the balance, steel type and profile.
        What's the difference between Santoku knife and Gyuto?  A santoku is shorter than a gyuto with a wider belly compared to the gyuto’s learner profile.  A santoku is meant to be used in an up and down chopping motion, where as a gyuto can not only be used for straight chopping but also in a rocked fashion.
        Is Gyuto a chef's knife? A gyuto is a Japanese chef’s knife.  The main differences are gyutos have thinner blades, harder steels, and leaner profiles.  gyutos will generally hold an edge better than traditional western style chefs knives and therefore require less frequent sharpening.
        How long do gyutos last? All knives need to be sharpened regularly to maintain their peak performance, however harder steels will retain their edge longer and require less maintenance. It’s important to keep your knife as sharp as possible.
        What types of cutting techniques work well with a gyuto? Gyutos are all purpose knives and can be used to cut vegetables and portion fish and meat.  A sharp gyuto can also be used as a carving knife to slice cooked meat and poultry.  A gyutou will likely be the most important knife in your kitchen.
        What size gyutos are available? We carry gyutos in the following standard sizes 7.1” 180mm, 8.2” 210mm, 9.4. 240mm and  10.6” 270mm

        Next Steps 

        Now that you know what to look for when choosing a gyuto, the different factors to consider and have read a bit about some of our best sellers you can shop our entire Japanese gyuto collection.

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