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Professional Japanese knives have taken the world over. Years ago, most chefs would stick to a classic chef knife. Then, Japanese knives have gained international recognition and most of them have easily made it to the western world. They are not available for professionals only, but they have also built their way into residential kitchens. They are lightweight, super sharp, extremely durable and a breeze to use. What else could you ask for?
Choosing the best Kiritsuke knife could be a bit tricky though. You want an authentic knife built at professional standards. There are a few good options out there, as well as many worthless knives that only imitate the Japanese style. Furthermore, a few knives can certainly stand out in the crowd. All in all, here is everything you need to know before buying a Kiritsuke knife, as well as the top-rated options on the market.
About Kiritsuke Knives
The Kiritsuke knife is somewhere between two other Japanese knives. It is similar to the Gyutou knife, which is a chef knife in Japan. However, it is a bit longer than it. At this point, it seems similar to the Yanagi knife, another common chef knife in Japan. But unlike the Yanagi knife, it comes with an angled tip.
Now, what is a Kiritsuke knife used for? Given the versatility of Japanese knives, you can use it for a wide plethora of applications in the kitchen. However, it is mostly recommended for slicing fish. It has a status symbol and it is quite difficult to use professionally, so it is more common among executive chefs.
It does not mean that you need to be an executive chef to get this knife though. It may take a bit of training to learn how to use it. Simply get along with it and you will catch up pretty fast. Even if you cannot use it like a pro, it will still ensure excellent cuts when it comes to your fish, as well as more efficient dish preparation.
Kiritsuke knives can be found in two different varieties – single bevel edges and double bevel edges. The single bevel edge is versatile and can be used like Yanagiba or usuba knives. The heel part of the knife is flat. But then, since these two knives are designed with different purposes, the single bevel edge is somewhere in the middle in terms of efficiency.
The double bevel edge makes Kiritsuke a common middle choice between Sujihiki and Nakiri. It is also versatile and can be used as a gyuto knife too. There are more styles out there – some of them are longer, some others have a belly, not to mention the tip of the blade. This design is also suitable for tap chopping.
Now that you know a bit more about Kiritsuke knives, what are the best-rated options over the Internet?
2023’s 5 Best Kiritsuke Knives
Shun VG0017 – Best Kiritsuke Knife
Versatile operations – Shun is a leading name on the market when it comes to high-quality knives and its best Kiritsuke knife is not to be overlooked either. This unit is one of the most versatile multipurpose knives in Shun’s portfolio – as well as the traditional Japanese cutlery. The knife is excellent for more applications. While originally designed to slice fish, it is just as appropriate for fruits and vegetables.
Superior blade – The blade is made of stainless steel, one of the most common materials in this industry. While it does not have edge retention that could compare to high carbon steel, stainless steel is rust and corrosion resistant, so it is just as attractive. It will last for ages. Moreover, you have 71 alternating tiny layers of VG10 and VG2 – high chromium stainless steel.
Build Quality– The unit comes with a dual-core construction, which is certainly a plus from other similar knives. Simply put, both types of steel go to the edge and wear out at various speeds to provide micro serrations. Other than that, these micro serrations help the stainless steel retain the edge sharpness at a more efficient rate, so your knife will not require too much sharpening.
Handle and maintenance – The handle is not just good looking, but also designed with performance in mind. You have the traditional Japanese octagon shape, as well as a pakkawood design that will last for ages. When it comes to maintenance, simply wash the knife manually after each use and let it dry before storing it. Avoid cleaning it in the dishwasher or the blade will dull much faster.
- Superior eight-inch blade based on two types of steel
- Comfortably shaped handle made of pakkawood
- Micro serrations to add to the efficiency
- Great value for money
- Rust and corrosion-resistant
- Storage sheath could have been better
Tuo Kiritsuke Knife – Cheap Kiritsuke Knife
Versatile and convenient – Tuo’s best Kiritsuke knife is built to slice fish and chop vegetables. It has the classic Kiritsuke style and shape and it comes as a great middle solution between yanagiba and usuba – the length of one and the width of the other. It is a versatile tool that features an angled tip. It also provides good knuckle clearance, so the edge can get in touch with the entire surface of the cutting surface.
Kitchen performance steel – There is no way this type of steel will fail on you. The blade is based on German X50CrMov15 stainless steel. This is the best option on the market for kitchen performance. Other famous brands rely on the same type of material. It is durable, strong, and super sharp. It is also rust and corrosion-resistant. Furthermore, the blade measures 8.5 inches in length.
Excellent handle – You can use this knife for hours without feeling any fatigue or discomfort. The full tang design brings in a top-notch handle made of pakkawood. It is stable and well balanced, but it will also maintain its performance and shape over time. The material is less likely to shrink and brings in sanitary performance. It is comfortable and ensures a good grip – almost five inches in length.
Care and maintenance – Edge retention should not be a problem on the blade. The knife comes razor sharp out of the box anyway, so be careful when you unpack it. Other than that, you should never clean it in a dishwasher, as it dulls the blade. Simply do it manually and let it dry before storage. As for sharpening it, go for 18 degrees on each side and use a classic sharpener or a stone.
- Beautiful design – both the blade and the handle
- Comfortable to hold for hours
- Good edge retention
- A superior type of steel used for the blade
- Suitable for more applications
- No sheath included in the package
Dalstrong Kiritsuke Knife
Versatile applications – Dalstrong is an award-winning name in this industry, so you know you will get high-quality standards from its knives. The best Kiritsuke knife in its portfolio is advertised to be a chef knife and it makes perfect sense. Initially designed to slice fish, the knife is now widely used to cut and chop fruits and vegetables too, not to mention various types of meats.
Super sharp edge – The edge is what makes the difference in a knife. This unit comes with a razor-sharp full tang blade. It is stable and well balanced. It is based on high carbon German steel. It is also precisely tempered and stain-resistant. Not only does this material get super sharp, but it also has great edge retention. Stain resistance prevents rust and corrosion as well – over 56 in terms of Rockwell hardness.
Satisfying handle – The handle looks great. It is comfortable to hold and features three rivets. It is based on pakkawood. It is sanitary and great for kitchens, but it also feels well made. It is less likely to slip out of your hands, even if they get a bit sweaty. The tall blade and the slim handle ensure a good knuckle clearance to prevent accidents and injuries. It feels good for those with large hands too.
Sharpening and maintenance – Sharpening will not be required too often, but it is worth knowing a few things upfront. The knife is sharpened at about 15 degrees per side. Therefore, it is highly recommended to stick to the same sharpening angle – whether you use a sharpener or a stone. When it comes to maintenance, clean it manually and never in a dishwasher unless you want to dull the blade.
- Well balanced full tang design
- Made of durable and super sharp high carbon steel
- Stain, rust, and corrosion resistant
- Comfortable and luxurious handle
- Versatile applications in the kitchen
- Cannot be cleaned in a dishwasher
Shun Classic Kiritsuke Knife
Unique design – Shun has a few different Kiritsuke knives in its portfolio and this could be your best option if you are after value for money. Not only is it versatile and excellent for a plethora of uses, but it also comes for a good price. Compared to other Kiritsuke knives, this one has a slightly different element – a slightly rounded value. It makes rocking cuts easier and more efficient, without compromising on quality.
Easy to use – The knife comes with a great handle and a versatile blade. It is easy to use regardless of your experience. It is suitable for aspiring cooks who are just starting to get used to professional tools, as well as professional chefs who work in commercial kitchens. It can be controlled without too much hassle and it comes in the perfect size.
Great blade – The blade features VG MAX stainless steel. It is Shun’s proprietary material and it can easily stand out in the crowd. You also have 68 different layers of Damascus cladding. The blade is razor-sharp out of the box – carefully when you unpack the knife. It has great edge retention and looks good. Furthermore, the blade measures eight inches in length – standard for such knives.
Professional handle – It is no longer a surprise that pakkawood is the ultimate material for quality knives – it is sanitary, durable, and likely to maintain its shape over time. This unit has a D shaped handle for a more comfortable experience. It has a stunning ebony finish and resists moisture. While smooth, it is less likely to slip out of your hands – even if they get wet or sweaty.
- Multipurpose applications
- High-performance steel blade
- Razor-sharp edge
- Beautiful design
- Comfortable and well-balanced handle
- Does not come with a case or blade protector
Findking Kiritsuke Knife
Stable and well balanced – Findking’s best Kiritsuke knife brings in excellent value for money. It costs a few times less than other units in this range, but it provides similar quality standards – if not even higher. Weighing just over 14 ounces, it is extremely well balanced and provides excellent stability. It feels like the knife does most of the work – you just have to guide it around.
High blade quality – The blade is made of 9Cr18Mov steel. The hardness is rated at 60. It is excellent for edge retention, but it is also easy to sharpen. Getting a razor-sharp blade is actually fairly simple. The clad ensure the food does not stick to the blade, whether you use the knife for meats, fish, fruits, or vegetables. Other than that, the blade measures nine inches in length.
Professional handle – The handle has an octagon shape, which is traditional for Japanese knives. It ensures a good grip and prevents the knife from slipping out of your hand. Moreover, it is stable and comfortable to hold. It is made of African rosewood, meaning it will last for ages. It has a classic appearance and puts most of the balance on the actual blade, so there is not that much work involved from your side. It measures six inches in length.
Sharpening and maintenance – The knife has a super sharp edge, which you should maintain. When you sharpen it, aim for the same angle – somewhere around 15 to 18 degrees for each side. You can use a sharpener or a sharpening stone. As for cleaning the knife, do it manually and never in a dishwasher, as it might dull the blade.
- Great value for money
- High-quality blade
- Durable blade and handle
- Comfortable and well-balanced handle
- Excellent edge retention
- The upper blade adds more friction and slows the cutting process a bit
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Kiritsuke knife most commonly used for?
These days, Kiritsuke knives are extremely versatile. They are often used as chef knives. In other words, they can be used for various types of meats, fish, fruits, and vegetables. Initially, this knife was designed to help slice fish, so that is its primary purpose. A professional executive chef from Japan will stick to this knife for fish slicing only.
Does a Kiritsuke knife require more care than other Japanese knives?
Generally speaking, Japanese knives require more care and maintenance than other knives. It is easy to tell why. Japanese knives are usually compact, thin, and extremely sharp. Therefore, given the thinness, their tips are more likely to break. The blade is also more likely to chip. In other words, you need to pay more attention when you rely on such a quality knife.
As a general rule of thumb, most Japanese knives – including the Kiritsuke knife – are great for delicate and fine applications, such as slicing fish, cutting fruits or vegetables.
What is the optimal sharpening angle for a Kiritsuke knife?
Kiritsuke knives are often made of two types of steel – both hard and soft. As a direct consequence, they can reach an exquisite sharpness and must be sharpened at a small angle. Most manufacturers will provide specific recommendations regarding the sharpening angle, so always consider those details.
If there are no instructions, most Kiritsuke knives are sharpened at 30 degrees, meaning you have to go at 15 degrees on each side. Going up to 32 or 34 degrees will not cause too much trouble either.
Deciding on the best Kiritsuke knife also involves a bit of education. Such knives are specialized and professional, meaning you need to know precisely what to use them for. Buy your best knife with your personal needs in mind and make sure you look after it.
Hi, I am Jay. I am the creator of Knife Guides, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I am a computer engineer by profession, knife aficionado by passion. Here I work with a group of people who’ve always had a passion for knives and blades. Over the years we’ve kind of become experts and decided to share our knowledge and ideas. I am also an avid hiker and enjoy offshore gamefishing.