Have you ever wondered why sushi is always cut so perfectly? The secret lies in the knife the chef used to slice the ingredients.
There are several types of sushi knives, but the most common one is the Yanagiba. It’s long and narrow, so it’s quite easy to handle. It’s also a single-bevel tool, making it sharper and more precise than a typical double bevel chef’s knife. With a good Yanagiba, you can slice through raw fish while preserving its structure and freshness.
In this review, we’ll help you find the best sushi knife on the market. We’ll cover everything from entry-level tools to professional-grade blades.
The 10 Best Sushi Knives of 2022
A reliable sushi knife comes with a thin single bevel blade measuring between 7 and 13 inches, usually made with hard Japanese high carbon steel. The handle material varies depending on the brand, with some offering wood, plastic, composite, or stainless steel handles in oval or D shapes.
The tang may be full or partial, and they may also include machi for blade adjustment. While there’s not a specialty knife for sushi, other Japanese knives like the Yanagiba, Deba, Usuba, Santoku, Kiritsuke, and Nakiri work as sushi knives.
1. DALSTRONG Chef’s Knife – Shogun Series X Gyuto – Japanese AUS-10V Super Steel
This 8-inch chef’s knife is the perfect tool for chopping, slicing, and dicing food. Its blade was forged from a single piece of Japanese high-carbon AUS-10V steel, layered with SUS410 Damascus cladding for better stain-resistance and durability. With this, you can effortlessly cut fish for nigiri, temakizushi, and makizushi.
With a Rockwell hardness of 62+, the blade can retain its sharpness for a long time. It’s vacuum heat-treated to improve the edge’s hardness further and sharpened to an 8-12 degree angle per side to ensure its scalpel-like cutting power.
To reduce drag and keep food from getting stuck, the blade has a hammered tsuchime finish. The irregular patterns create air pockets on the sushi knife’s surface, allowing cut food to fall off the blade easily.
Dalstrong is known for creating high-quality cutlery with the three-step Honbazuke method, a traditional Japanese process of sharpening and polishing blades by hand. They also use the Nitrogen cooling technique to enhance flexibility, hardness, and corrosion resistance.
This Japanese sushi knife is both an extremely useful kitchen tool and a work of art! It’s our number one choice because of its unparalleled excellence in both quality and performance.
- The ergonomic military-grade handle is designed for superior control and comfort.
- The full tang and triple-riveted construction add to the handle’s balance and sturdiness.
- The steel is a bit wider for maximum knuckle clearance.
2. DALSTRONG 9.5-Inch Yanagiba Sushi Knife – Phantom Series
No list of the best sushi knives is complete without this product from Dalstrong. This elegant and razor-sharp Yanagiba knife is perfect for slicing boneless fish fillets for sushi and sashimi – it can cut with utmost precision and without pulling or tearing the meat.
The blade is hand-sharpened using the traditional Honbazuke method, giving it a razor-sharp 13- to 15-degree edge. Aside from that, the blade is lightweight and narrow. This allows for easy maneuverability and nimble movements to help you cut the perfect slice of sushi.
Whether you’re a hobbyist or professional sushi chef, this high-carbon steel sushi knife will help you create a culinary masterpiece. The carefully tapered blade allows for minimal drag and effortless cuts while the D-shaped handle perfectly fits your hand for ultimate control.
Similar to the Shogun Series’s sushi knives, this Phantom Series product also boasts of enhanced edge retention and durability. The steel is sharpened to an angle of 13-15 degrees and nitrogen-cooled to ensure its hardness, flexibility, and corrosion resistance.
For its price point, this Yanagiba sushi knife is easily the best one out there. With proper care, it will keep you company in the kitchen for a long time. It’s a workhorse that’s easy and comfortable to use.
- The hand-polished and laminated Spanish pakkawood handle allows for a comfortable grip.
- The satin-finished blade is refined with detailed engravings.
- It comes with a sheath that folds shut over the blade and locks into place.
3. Kai Wasabi 8 1/4-Inch Black Yanagiba Sushi Knife
This Yanagiba sushi knife combines the strength of a high-carbon steel blade with a comfortable polypropylene blend handle for quality cutting performance. With its razor-sharp edge, you can make clean cuts that retain the juices and flavor of your food, whether it’s fish, chicken, or other meat products.
Made with Daido 1K6 high-carbon stainless steel, the blade is hand-sharpened to a 16-degree angle for smoother slices. It’s sharpened only on one side to ensure that food is less likely to stick to it.
In terms of edge retention, this knife can hold its own against other Japanese sushi knives. It can retain its edge for a long time, but if ever the blade gets dull, you can resharpen it with a few strokes on a whetstone.
If you’re just starting as a professional sushi chef, this is an excellent entry-level sushi knife. The blade’s lightweight and narrow design will make even the most delicate cut easy for any beginner.
Compared to the Dalstrong Yanagiba knife, it is more affordable yet equally sharp and durable. You can get a lot of practice with it before moving on to more expensive, higher-end carbon steel knives.
- Made of a polypropylene and bamboo powder combination, the handle is infused with an antibacterial agent for a clean and sanitary grip.
- The steel features a grazed finish and embellished with Japanese characters for wasabi.
- This sushi knife has a clean and contemporary look that works well with any cutlery collection.
4. Mercer Culinary Asian Collection Yanagi Sashimi Knife with NSF Handle
If you’re looking for the best knife for cutting sushi rolls, you might want to give this one a try. It features a single blade that’s so sharp it can slice through sushi rolls without squishing them. It’s also taper ground to withstand extensive cutting action.
This sushi knife’s blade and handle create the perfect balance for making the best and most precise cuts. The single-edge blade is sharpened to a six-degree angle on one side and 15 degrees on the other to make slicing raw fish smoother. Meanwhile, the wooden handle ensures a firm and comfortable grip.
Made of high-carbon German steel, this knife will stand up to extensive everyday use. It’s resilient and highly resistant to rust, corrosion, and discoloration. You can use it for regular cutting tasks and make paper-thin slices of fish for your sashimi. With its taper-ground blade, you can also make quick work of chopping and mincing veggies.
Read our review article on ulu knife for rapid chopping and mincing.
This sushi and sashimi knife can compete with the more expensive top brands out there for its lower price point. It also makes an excellent gift for those who are just starting their culinary career.
- The slip-resistant santoprene handle is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF).
- The blade’s convex grind design keeps food from sticking to it.
- This knife comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
5. Lucky Cook 10-Inch Sashimi and Sushi Knife
This 10-inch single-bevel sushi and sashimi knife can cut through meat with extreme precision. Its long and asymmetric blade makes it the ideal cutlery tool for slicing moderate and large-sized fish. You can also use it to fillet a whole fish in just a couple of movements.
What makes it so great as a sashimi knife is the blade’s extremely narrow edge and dense spine. This feature helps separate cuts from each other and keeps pieces of food from sticking back together.
This product also has the best attributes of a traditional Japanese sushi knife. For one, the stainless steel blade is durable and rust-resistant. It’s also well-balanced, which allows beginners to control every cut and slice with ease.
If you’re an amateur chef, this is the best practice tool for you. It’s sharp and well-balanced enough to let you work on your knife skills.
The light brown wooden handle adds a touch of elegance. But mainly, it provides a non-slip grip and lets you cut, slice, and chop for hours without causing strain on your hands.
- The slightly oval wooden handle allows for an easy and comfortable grip.
- A serial number on the blade confirms the authenticity of this product.
- The sushi knife is packaged in a beautiful, sturdy gift box.
6. Yoshihiro VGYA240SH Hongasumi VG-10 Stainless Steel 9.5-Inch Sushi Knife
In terms of versatility and performance, this is the best sushi knife you’ll ever purchase. It easily slices through any fish and other types of boneless meat, such as chicken, and beef. Its single-bevel VG-10 blade is not only super sharp but also has optimal edge retention capabilities.
Although it is a bit shorter and lighter, it’s as effective and efficient when it comes to slicing raw fish. It cuts through meat with ease in long uninterrupted strokes, helping preserve the food’s integrity and freshness.
With a Rockwell hardness of 62-63, this handmade Hongasumi-grade high-carbon stainless steel knife is a fine example of well-designed, expertly crafted cutlery. It has undergone a meticulous process of forging, layering, and hammering to ensure its cutting prowess.
Worried about where to keep your knife safely? Then check this article on Best Magnetic Knife Holder for Refrigerator
- This knife comes with a lacquer-coated magnolia sheath that protects it from odor and stain.
- The blade features a completely flat ground on the front and a concave ground with a flat rim on the back.
- The D-shaped rosewood handle looks elegant and feels good in the hand.
7. Kitchen + Home Non-Stick Sushi Knife
This is the perfect knife for slicing through delicate food, especially raw fish and sushi rolls. It’s also great for cutting chicken, beef, and brisket. With its rocker blade design, this multipurpose knife is also great for mincing and chopping herbs and veggies.
Another great thing about this knife is its food-grade Teflon coating. This keeps cut food from sticking to the blade, which makes cleanup easy and hassle-free.
While it’s comparable to the Yoshihiro when it comes to versatility, this cutting tool is designed more as a multipurpose chef knife than a specialty sushi and sashimi knife. It’s more affordably priced, though.
It should be noted that while the product description states that this blade is dishwasher-safe, it is recommended to wash it by hand instead. Aside from potentially damaging the edge, soaking the blade could peel off the non-stick coating.
- The blade is made from high-quality carbon stainless steel that is resistant to rust and stain.
- The aerated design or holes on the blade makes this knife lightweight and easy to control.
- The knife’s handle is made of nonporous, non-slip ABS material for a safe grip.
8. Yoshihiro Shiroko 10.5-Inch High-Carbon Steel Kasumi Yanagi Chef’s Knife
Every Yoshihiro blade is expertly handcrafted by skilled artisans to create a unique and functional work of art. This Yanagiba knife is no exception.
Made in Japan using traditional techniques, it features a flat grind on the front, a concave grind, and a flat rim on the back. This combination allows for smooth cutting and slicing without causing much drag to preserve the food’s texture and taste.
Weighing only 1 ounce, this sushi knife is not as heavy as it looks. Its lightweight allows for easier control when you need to make long uninterrupted strokes.
Although it looks expensive, this sushi and sashimi knife is an entry-level Yanagiba. Its blade contains white steel #2 and carbon steel that requires proper care to avoid rusting. One excellent thing about this material, however, is its good edge retention.
- The knife’s handcrafted D-shaped handle is lightweight and feels comfortable to the hand.
- This product comes with a protective wooden sheath or saya.
- The steel features beautiful mist patterns called Kasumi.
9. Global G-11L – 10-Inch Left-Handed Sashimi Knife
Most of the single-bevel sashimi and sushi knives these days tend to be designed mostly for right-handed (chisel grind) people. If you’re a lefty, this is the best sashimi knife for you.
It features a long single-bevel blade that makes it easy for left-handers to cut raw fish into thin, uniform slices. The handle also has a great feel to it, making all the cutting and slicing work super simple.
Made of a combination of chromium, molybdenum, and vanadium, the blade is seamlessly constructed from a single piece of steel. It is then ice-tempered and hardened to a Rockwell hardness of C56 – C58 degrees.
As a result, the blade is hard enough to hold its edge for a long time yet soft enough for easy resharpening. In addition to its enhanced edge retention, this knife has superior stain resistance properties, thanks to the high chromium content in the steel.
Since a left-handed sushi knife is rare, expect to pay more for this than you would for most right-handed ones – but it’s definitely worth the price.
- The knife’s seamless construction helps get rid of food and dirt traps.
- Instead of having bolsters and full tang construction, the hollow handle is filled with sand to achieve the perfect weight and balance.
- The knife’s handle has a textured design to ensure a non-slip grip.
10. DALSTRONG Yanagiba Knife – Gladiator Series – 10.5-Inch German Steel
If you’re looking for a heavy-duty Yanagiba to make ultra-thin slices of sashimi, then this 10.5-inch Gladiator Series Knife from DALSTRONG should be one of your first choices.
Its blade is forged from high-carbon ThyssenKrupp German steel to ensure that it maintains an ultra-sharp edge. It’s also sharpened to between 16 to 18 degrees to make sure you can slice thinly and accurately without any effort.
Not only is this product useful for cutting fish, it’s also the perfect cutlery tool for slicing raw poultry, steak, and brisket. That way, you won’t need multiple knives just to finish preparing most of your ingredients.
Just like its name suggests, if you need a workhorse knife, this product from the Gladiator series is perfect for you. The steel is hardened to 55 HRC, so it’s a little softer than the Shogun-series Yanagiba, but it’s capable of withstanding more wear and tear. If you’re a professional who prepares sushi and sashimi for a living, this knife is definitely worth a look.
- The blade comes with an ambidextrous black pakkawood handle.
- The knife comes with a water and stain-resistant, BPA-free protective Perfect Fit sheath.
- The knife has a lifetime warranty.
Sushi Knife Vs Sashimi Knife – Are There Any Differences?
A sushi knife is a versatile kitchen utensil used for cutting vegetables, fish, and then the sushi roll, whereas the purpose of a sashimi knife is primarily to cut fish.
With that said, the sushi knife and sashimi knife share more similarities than differences. They both have a single bevel design and D-shaped handles to let you use the knife for a long time without feeling fatigued. You can also find both with full or half tang designs.
What Kind of Japanese Knife Is Best for Cutting Sushi Rolls?
Traditional Japanese knives are not like their Western-style counterparts. For one, Japanese knives have a single bevel, whereas Western knives have mostly double bevel. They also require more care and skills to use them correctly, especially if you’re using them for prepping sushi. These are the most common Japanese knives used for sushi and why.
1. Yanagiba or Sashimi-bocho
The Yanagiba is the most popular sushi knife, allowing you to highlight the many fish textures obtained through different cutting techniques. This knife can pull cut vertically (hirazukuri), pull cut thin vertically (usuzukuri), and pull cut at angles (sogizukuri). Chefs use this knife to scale and de-bone fish like salmon, while regional variants like the takohiki (octopus cutter) smaller, thinner, flatter, to cut dense seafood like octopus flesh. A Yanagiba usually measures between 10.5 inches (270mm) and 13 inches (330mm).
The Yanagiba knife can deliver smooth, shiny, and razor-thin fish slices we usually see in the highest quality sushi restaurants. This knife has long and narrow blades with acute edges to slice fish and sushi rolls with barely any effort. As a result, the sushi ingredients remain fresh for a longer time to guarantee an eye-catching presentation. For all of those reasons, the Yanagiba is the ideal sushi knife you should consider above the rest.
2. Deba Knife
The purpose of a Deba knife is to clean and fillet a whole fish of small or medium size. It has a solid and sturdy blade with enough weight to chop and hack through bones with more ease. This knife is small but also strong and wide with an obtuse heel angle designed to cut off fish heads in a single chop. Besides filleting fish, this knife style can also cut off crab legs or claws.
Keep in mind that the Deba is not necessarily a sushi knife, but it often comes included in sets designed for that purpose. You should mostly use it to prepare the raw fish. The Deba knife usually measures between 4.7 inches (120mm) and 8 inches (210mm).
Usuba knives have thin blades with a flat edge profile and super-sharp blades that glide through vegetables smoothly, allowing you to fine peel or make delicate cuts in veggies and fruits alike. The blade is tall and long to handle most veggies, including cucumbers, avocados, bell peppers, carrots, and almost any other vegetables usually found in sushi recipes.
The primary cutting motion used with this knife is push cutting, a technique called katsuramuki for rotary cutting thin sheets. It also allows you to cut thin strips of the sliced sheets, a method called sengiri. This knife is available in 7 inches (120mm) and 9.5 inches (210mm).
The term Santoku means “three virtues,” meaning this knife style can slice, chop, and dice a large variety of sushi ingredients for their preparation. Santoku blades are flat without a pointy tip, allowing your wrist to remain in a comfortable position without raising the shoulder too high. General Santoku sizes range from 6.5 inches (165mm) and 7 inches (180mm).
5. Kiritsuke Knife
A Kiritsuke is a traditional Japanese knife featuring an angled tip that you can use for different tasks. It can work as an all-purpose kitchen knife or as a sashimi knife. This knife style is excellent for slicing fish, but the Kiritsuke is harder to house because of the height, length, and flatness of the blade. You can find it in 9.5 inches (240mm) and 12 inches (300mm) sizes.
6. Nakiri Knife
A Nakiri knife is a vegetable knife with a rectangular profile and a tall and thin blade. You can use it to chop, slice, and mince common ingredients found in sushi recipes, such as fruits and vegetables in a precise up-and-down cutting motion. Size varies between 6.5 inches (165mm) and 7 inches (180mm).
What Makes a Good Sushi Knife
Japanese sushi knives have a set of defining characteristics, such as the blade material, handle construction, bevel design, and tang composition, among others. Let’s explore all of these features to see how they can improve your experience and skills while making sushi.
1. Blade Length
Traditional Yanagibas come in sizes between 10.5 inches (270mm) and 13 inches (330). Since you need to make a single and uninterrupted slice from heel to tip to cut sushi or sashimi, longer blades are better. With a short blade, you’ll have to make multiple strokes to slice the whole piece, which won’t leave a clean or consistent cut. Longer blades have more steel and are more expensive, but it’s a small price to pay if you want to prepare sushi like a pro.
Remember that larger knives are also heavier and harder to control, so you definitely don’t want to overextend with a massive knife unless you know what you’re doing.
What is the best length for a sushi knife?
10.5 inches (270mm) is the recommended length for a sushi knife, considering that you need balance between length and weight.
Sushi knives must be extremely sharp, so you must look for a knife with hard steel alloy or high carbon blades. These materials often come with a razor-sharp edge from the factory and can hold the edge for a longer time. Some of the options you may want to consider are blue steel #1 and white steel #2, as they’re the top options. The downside to these materials is that they’re prone to stains, and you must wash them thoroughly to prevent that. VG-10 is another option at a more affordable price, but you still need to wash it by hand.
3. Handle Design and Material
Japanese wooden handles made with yew, ebony, or chestnut are eye-catching, but you have to keep an eye on them and wash them regularly to prevent bacteria growth. On the other hand, plastic or composite handles require less maintenance and can be even more comfortable to hold. Another option is a stainless steel handle, which gives you a firm grip but requires more caution because they may feel slippery while filleting fish.
Whatever material you prefer, make sure the handle is ergonomic and oval or with a D-shape. This design will let you hold the knife firmly, whether you’re slicing through sushi rolls or filleting fish.
4. Single Bevel
A good sushi knife should always be a single bevel, meaning only one side of the blade is sharp to make straight cuts through the fish. With a single bevel knife, you can also keep track of the knife’s flat edge to line up your cut and be as precise as possible. This blade design won’t only allow you to make straight cuts, but the sushi presentation will be much better.
The downside of single bevel knives is that they’re only suitable for left-handed users. Still, there are some left-handed yanagiba knives available, but they’re less common and may be more expensive.
5. Full Tang or Half Tang?
Japanese sushi knives come with full tangs or partial tangs, but we found full tangs to be more convenient because they add more balance. Since sushi knives tend to have larger blades, full tangs put more steel and weight in the handle, giving you complete control over the blade’s length from heel to tip.
Partial tang knives are alright because they have less steel and the price is lower. However, you will put a lot of stress on the bolster while filleting first or cutting sushi rolls. Over time, the pressure is likely to snap the blade and make it fall off.
A machi may seem like an irrelevant feature, but if you ever use a Yanagiba or Usuba knife, chances are they have it. This feature helps adjust the blade’s length, which may come in handy if you have big hands and feel like there’s not enough space in the handle. Still, this problem is easy to solve by getting a larger knife, meaning the machi may not be necessary as long as you buy a properly sized sushi knife.
Yoshiro is perhaps one of the most popular sushi knife makers, creating quality Yanagiba knives with high carbon steel blades, full tang, and ergonomic handles for more comfort. Global is another reliable brand that offers gorgeous Japanese knives made with the highest stainless steel quality, but they’re expensive. In either case, stick to a brand that is good at making sushi knives with traditional methods and quality materials.
You shouldn’t buy Dalstrong sushi knives because their price is high, and you can get better knives within the same price range from Global or Shun.
How Much Does a Good Sushi Knife Cost?
The price of a decent sushi knife varies between $100 and $200. Some are more expensive due to the steel quality and hand-forging process behind their creation.
Do You Need a Left Handed Sushi Knife?
If you’re left-handed, you will need a left-handed sushi knife to slice and cut the ingredients or sushi rolls with precision. Alternatively, you could also try double-beveled knives, which are ambidextrous.
Whether you are a professional sushi chef or a hobbyist, we hope this review has helped you choose the best sushi knife for your needs. While the items in our list are all top-notch, we consider the first two Dalstrong knives the finest of the bunch due to their exceptional quality, performance, and affordability.