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Gyuto Vs Chef Knife – What’s the Difference?

Gyuto vs. chef knife, which one should you choose?

Gyuto knives measure between 6 and 12 inches and are made with hard VG10, SG2, or AUS-10 Steel, whereas the chef’s knife can be up to 14 inches, and the blades are easier to sharpen. Using a Gyuto knife is easier with a fingertip grip, while the heavier chef’s knife is better to use with a pinch grip style. As a result, the chef’s knife is better for rock chopping, while the Gyuto is perfect for slicing.

But those are only a few of the many differences between the Gyuto and chef knife. Continue reading to find out what other elements set these knives apart and which one is better for you!

Difference Between Gyuto and Chef Knife: Quick Summary

SubjectGyuto KnifeChef’s Knife
Size of the BladeFrom 6 Inches (152mm) to 12 inches (304mm)Up to 14 Inches (355mm)
Material UsedVG-10 Steel, SG2 Steel, or AUS10A SteelCarbon Steel, Stainless Steel, or Ceramic
Gripping StyleBest for Fingertip Grip, Pinch Grip, and MoreMost suitable for Pinch Grip Style.
Handle DesignOval & OctagonalCurved
WeightLightweightHeavyweight
UsesBest for Slicing & Fine CutsBest for Rock Chopping & Dicing
SharpeningDifficultEasy
FinishBetterMay Need Some Work
Customer ServiceJapan-Based Companies Take Longer to Ship KnivesBetter

Gyuto Knife Vs Chef Knife: 9 Basic Differences

So far I have found around nine key differences between Gyuto knife and Western Chef’s knife, including the blade material, sizes, and grip style, to name a few. Let’s explore them in detailed to understand which knife is better depending on your intended uses and preferred cooking style.

Size of the Blade

Gyuto knife measures between 6 inches (152mm) and 12 inches (304mm) in length. Smaller 6-inch and 8-inch Gyuto knives are suitable for home cooks with limited working space, and you can use them to cut ingredients like garlic, ginger, and chicken bits. Large 12-inch Gyuto knives are ideal for amateurs and professional chefs that need to cut meat, dice vegetables, or disjoint cuts faster.

Related Article: 210 Vs 240 Gyuto Knife

The blade of a chef’s knife can measure up to 14 inches (355mm). You can find small 8-inch chef’s knives for general use and larger models like the Wusthof CLASSIC with a 14-inch blade. A 14-inch Knife is excellent for professional butchers that work in spacious areas slicing or carving dense meats. Home cooks with limited kitchen space won’t move freely with a knife of this size. If you want more variety in blade length, the traditional chef’s knife is the way to go.

Read Also: 8 Inch Vs 10 Inch Chef’s Knife

Materials Used

Gyuto knives feature hard VG-10 Steel, SG2 Steel, and AUS10A Steel blades. Knives like the Yoshiro NSGY21 have VG-10, a strong metal with long-lasting edge retention of 60-62, and it can withstand the abuse of regular use. SG2 is another type of high-carbon steel alloy with vanadium to make it more resistant to wear, and the Rockwell hardness is up to 64. AUS10 A Steel is a high-carbon and super-refined stainless steel that can hold a razor-sharp edge, as seen in knives like the Tsukiji Aritsugu 9”. When compared to traditional blades of chef’s knives, Japanese kitchen knives like the Gyuto are superior. 

Chef’s knives have blades made with carbon steel, stainless steel, or ceramic materials. Carbon steel blades can hold an edge, but they need constant maintenance to prevent rust and stains. Global G-2 8-Inch Chef Knife is a good example of a quality blade with carbon steel. Stainless steel blades, as seen in knives like the Kiwi 8-inch Chef’s Knife, are more resistant to corrosion, and the price is lower. However, this metal is not as sharp as the high carbon. Ceramic blades hold an edge longer than the other materials, but they can chip with ease and may break if you drop them.

Gripping Style

The Gyuto knife is suitable for most gripping styles, including the pinch grip and the fingertip grip. You can use almost any grip on a Gyuto knife because it’s lightweight and won’t create discomfort. Fingertip grip is the most suitable style because the Gyuto is better for slicing and rock chop in a back-and-forth motion. Placing the index finger on the spine of the blade gives you more leverage over the ingredients.

The Chef’s knife works better under a pinch grip due to the back-heavy design. You can apply the pinch grip at the blade, bolster, or handle for rock chopping motion that requires more force. A fingertip grip is not suitable for Western chef’s knives because it puts a lot of strain on your finger when you use Western cutting techniques.

Handle Design

Gyuto knives with traditional wooden handles have oval or octagonal handle designs. These handles are suitable for all gripping styles, but the oval-shaped handle feels a bit awkward if you use Western-style cutting techniques like rock chopping. These handles are less durable because only glue keeps them together. Octagonal handles are more comfortable and provide extra grip, but they’re also more expensive.

Gyuto blades may feature wood, steel, and synthetic handles.

There are a few brands like Masamoto and Misono that produce Gyuto knives with higher quality handles, like Pakkawood. These handles are considerably more durable than the classic wooden handles.

Read Also: Best Wood to Use for Knife Handles

Chef knives have curved handles that are more comfortable and durable. Western chef knife handles use a riveted style that seals the scales with the tang perfectly. The handles are waterproof, meaning they will last longer. Plus, the ergonomic design accommodates your hands for optimal use of the knife.

Weight

Gyuto knives are usually lightweight, and they’re suitable for slicing instead of chopping. The spine of a Gyuto is thinner than the Western chef’s knife, making the blade prone to chipping. However, the lighter steel is more comfortable to hold and won’t tire your hands quickly or cause you wrist fatigue.

Chef knives are comparatively heavy. A handle-heavy knife adapts better to Western cuisine, where rock chopping ingredients like herbs is more prominent. It also helps chefs cut through small bones by using the heel of the knife. The heavy and thicker spine makes it easy to break down chickens without any chipping problems.

Uses

A Gyuto is a Japanese knife for slicing and making fine cuts with a pointy tip. You can use it for many different cuts of meat/beef, pull-cut softer food, and push cutting thicker chicken or meat pieces. Modern Japanese style knives like the Gyuto can also have a straight edge or a slightly rounded belly for sawing in a back-and-forth motion. Lastly, the pointed tip of Gyuto blades can start cutting by piercing through the ingredients.

The Gyuto is similar to another popular Japanese style chef’s knife: the Santoku knife. However, there are some significant differences between the two. A Gyuto has a less turned-down spine, a sharper tip, and a more curved edge. These differences make the Gyuto better than Santoku knives for cutting into meat and making rock-cutting motions.

The chef’s knife has a curved blade for rocking back and forward on a chopping board. Use this type of knife to chop many vegetables simultaneously or for dicing herbs. Larger chef’s knives are also good for carving and slicing thicker meats and bigger ingredients like squash or pumpkins.

Sharpening

Gyuto blades are harder to sharpen because you need to sharpen the knife free-hand on a whetstone. The Gyuto blades rank high on the Rockwell scale, and the steel is not soft enough to sharpen on any stone. You have to use a whetstone, which takes time to master and not anyone can use consistently. It takes about 15 minutes of sharpening time to get an optimal cutting edge on a Gyuto blade.

A Chef’s knife blade is easier to sharpen, requiring about ten strokes on the stone to get a decently sharp edge. Sharpening a knife blade this quick is a benefit for chefs and restaurant workers. The downside is that the common steel of traditional European chef’s knife doesn’t get as sharp as the Gyuto blades.

Finish

The Gyuto knife has a perfect finish without sharpened edges on the spine. Another perfectly polished area is the handle, which doesn’t have sharp edges either. Therefore, you can grab the Gyuto from different angles or grips comfortably.

Chef’s knives may have slight edges on the spine that feel uncomfortable if you use a fingertip grip. For example, the WÜSTHOF 8-Inch Chef’s Knife has a spine with a few edges that are a mild inconvenience. You have to use ultra-fine sandpaper to make the spine smoother and more comfortable.

Customer Service

Gyuto knife makers may take longer to respond to your inquiries. For example, Masamoto headquarters are in Japan, and they export their knives from there. It takes a considerable amount of time if you’re in the United States.

Many chef’s knife manufacturers have their headquarters in the United States. WÜSTHOF has an office in the United States, and the staff could send a replacement knife within a few days. Overall, customer service from Western knife makers is much better.

Keep in mind that this difference only applies to Japan-based knifemakers. Western brands like Mercer Culinary also produce Gyuto knives and the customer service is just as quick.

Can You Rock Chop with a Gyuto?

You can rock chop with a Gyuto knife in a back and forth motion. Don’t leave the tip over the cutting board and move the blade sideways. If you do, the blade will most likely chip, get dull, or receive damage from the lateral movement.

Is Gyuto a Chef’s Knife?

The Gyuto is the Japanese equivalent of classic Western chef’s knives. Use it to cut meat, fish, vegetables, and more. It adapts to different cultures with ease, making it a suitable knife for Western cuisine.

Gyuto means “beef sword,” and the context behind this term is a fascinating part of Japanese history. Prior to the Meiji era during the 19th century, Japan had sealed off the country to the outside world. During this time, meat wasn’t a common food on Japanese tables. Instead, the primary food consumed was fish, vegetables, and rice. 

Then, Japan started to open to the outside, and Western chef’s knives made their way into the country. Over time, the Japanese created their own version of the Western chef knife: the Gyuto knife.

Modern Gyuto knives have a slope going from heel to tip, which causes the wrist to point down and the shoulder to raise as you cut. Standard sizes range from 201mm to 270mm. The smaller blades are nimble, whereas the longer blades provide more slicing power. Gyuto with a middle length is better for general use.

Chef’s Knife or Gyuto Knife – Which One Should You Buy?

Choose a Gyuto knife if you like to cut ingredients and food with high precision and details. The Gyuto is a style of lightweight Japanese knives for slicing through meat and fruits with ease. The blade’s steel is harder and retains the edge efficiently, requiring little effort to pull through most food. The biggest downside of Gyuto knives is their price, with some models like the R2 Japanese Gyuto Chef Knife worth $4,440.00.

On the other hand, a traditional chef’s knife is more suitable for professional chefs. This type of knife can rock chop efficiently, allowing you to cut many ingredients at once quickly. The blades are easier to sharpen, and they don’t break as easily.

A chef’s knife handle is also more durable, as it can withstand the pressure and moisture much better than the classic Gyuto handles. Plus, chef’s knives can be as affordable as $10, allowing entry-level cooks to get decent knives to master their techniques. That’s it for this gyuto vs chef knife review! 

About Brian M. Casey

As a food lover, Brian M. Casey developed a fascination for cooking at an early age. He soon realized that not only the ingredients matter but also the knives and the accessories used to turn those ingredients into a delicious dish. This way, Brian began his journey on the magnificent world of kitchen knives, outdoor knives, knife accessories, and much more. After years of experience with many ups and downs, Brian now wants to share everything he’s learned during his journey as an avid knife collector, a well-seasoned knife maker, and an all-around knives enthusiast.

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