Best Nakiri Knives of 2020 – Complete Guide

Chopping vegetables is a kitchen task performed by not just the top chefs of a reality cooking show or a fancy restaurant; in fact, it is something that most of us do quite often. And if you have a bad knife, this task could become quite tiresome.

A bad knife is not just a dull knife. It is a knife that lacks comfort, balance, and overall quality. Whether you are a sincere cook at home or a busy kitchen professional, a bad knife is just not going to cut.

To end all your knife problems, you should invest in a nakiri knife. These knives are constructed with extreme precision, sincerity, and care. With just one slice, you will understand and truly acknowledge the craftsmanship and skill that goes into making these knives. Today we will tell you about the top nakiri knife brands out there and help you find the one that is best for you. But first, let’s see what a nakiri knife is and what makes them so special.   

Our Top Picks for Nakiri Knives

  • Damascus steel finish
  • Razor sharp edge
  • Rounded handle
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  • Daido HC-stainless steel
  • Smooth, attractive finish
  • Polypropelene handle
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  • Best for the Money
  • Taper-ground blade
  • Santoprene handle
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Comparison of the Best Nakiri Knives 

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • 67-layer Damascus steel finish
  • Razor sharp 12 degree angled edge
  • Rounded pakkawood handle provide non-slip grip
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  • Made from Daido HC-stainless steel for durability
  • Bead-blasted for a smooth, attractive finish
  • Sturdy and clean polypropelene handle
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  • Best for the Money
  • Taper-ground blade keeps sharpness for longer
  • Santoprene handle is made for comfort and non-slip grip
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  • Best Wusthof Nakiri Knife
  • Hollow edged blade reduce stick-on of slices
  • Unique pebbled handle reduces fatigue
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  • Best Shun Nakiri Knife
  • Made from VGMAX steel with 68 Damascus layers
  • Durable pakkawood handle with rounded contour
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What is a Nakiri Knife? 

A nakiri knife is a traditional Japanese vegetable knife. It looks a bit like a meat cleaver and is designed to perform the same kind of cut on various foods. Its straight blade makes it easier to cut to the cutting board without pushing or pulling on the vegetables. This gives the user more control over the cut as you are going in one direction only.

Constructed with a hollow ground stainless steel blade, these lightweight and thin knives can be used by both homemakers and professionals, particularly where perfection and accuracy are required. Its long, flat edge makes it easier to peel fruits and vegetables. Moreover, this edge is a double-sided or double bevel, which means that it can be used by both right-handed and left-handed people.

The nakiri blade also ensures that delicate vegetables get a clean cut with crisp edges. This way, the vegetables maintain their freshness even after they are cooked.  

What is the Nakiri Knife Used For?

Although any sharp knife can cut most vegetables but having the right cutting tool after a long, hard day can change cooking from a chore to a fun and enjoyable activity. Nakiri knives are the best knives for this purpose due to many reasons:

Quick Cutting of Vegetables

These knives are designed with a long, flat blade that makes them highly appropriate for chopping vegetables. Their sharp blade quickly goes through the crunchy, crispy, or mushy texture of vegetables or fruits while giving you an elegant and clean cut.

Julienne-Cutting With Complete Ease

Nakiri knives also have a longer blade as compared to other knives. This length, combined with sharpness, ensures fast and precise cutting of vegetables without any resistance. You can chop delicate herbs or cut thin strips of vegetables without damaging their structure. Other knives may crush or damage leafy vegetables or root crops while cutting them, but this can be avoided with the help of a nakiri knife.  

Perfect For Preparing Garnishes

Cutting even or thin strips of vegetables is quite difficult. However, the nakiri knife offers greater control, which allows you to produce evenly sliced food while cutting speedily. This makes the nakiri knife ideal for preparing garnishes that are an essential part of most Asian cuisines.

How to Choose a Nakiri Knife

Nakiri knives have some unique features that both homemakers and professionals find very attractive. These features should be kept in mind when choosing the best nakiri knife that suits your preference and requirements:  

Blade Material

You should choose a nakiri knife that is made with high carbon stainless steel. This material is easy to sharpen, needs less maintenance, and is durable. Knives that are manufactured with low carbon steel tend to get dull within a short period and wear out faster as opposed to nakiri knives.

Blade Length

In addition to durability and sharpness, a nakiri knife has a bigger blade as compared to other knives. Typically, the length of the blade of these knives is five inches, which makes chopping safe, easy, and comfortable.

Handle

Quality of the knife handle is also a vital consideration. You don't want just a high performing product but also need a knife that is comfortable to hold. Make sure to look for a knife designed with an ergonomic handle that contours perfectly to the curves of your hand. It should also offer a firm, comfortable grip because a slippery grip can cause accidents.  

Quality Finish

Food particles tend to stick to knife blades that have a low-quality finish. Nakiri knives, on the other hand, are hammered finished, which ensures that no food particles become attached to the edge while cutting. If you want to enjoy the time you spend chopping vegetables, look for a nakiri knife with a perfect finish.  

Willy's Top Picks - Best Nakiri Knives

Review of the Best Nakiri Knives

There is a whole range of options when it comes to nakiri knives, which can make it quite difficult to choose one that is best for you. Although all nakiri knives look the same, they differ greatly in quality and performance. The following reviews have been compiled to assist you in making the right choice:

Zelite Infinity Nakiri Chef Knife 6 Inch - Alpha-Royal Series - Japanese AUS-10 Super Steel 67-Layer Damascus - Razor Sharp, Hammered Tsuchime Finish

Pros

  • Slice, dice, or chop any vegetable with complete ease
  • Very sharp blade reduces meal prep time considerably
  • Crafted with the traditional three-step Honbazuke Method
  • Mirror polished cutting angle for maximum safety and sharpness
  • Strong and durable handle constructed from top military-grade G10

Cons

  • Some people might find it heavy

What Recent Buyers Report

Excellent ergonomics and beautifully made -this knife has earned raving reviews from recent buyers. They love its perfect balance that works impressively with the craftsmanship and beauty of this knife. The level of sharpness achieved on steel is also quite stunning. Its handle fits perfectly in the hand while providing the user with precise control.   

Why it Stands Out to Us

One of the most functional Chinese style professional knives, the Zelite Infinity Nakiri chef knife is highly comfortable and easy to handle. Whether you are slicing carrots, chopping garlic, or cubing tomatoes, this knife will perform effectively and give you a perfect cut every time.   

AUS10 Super Steel with a high carbon 67-layer stainless steel gives this knife durability and long life. With hammered tsuchime finish and liquid nitro cooling build, this knife has an exceptional Rockwell Hardness HRC 61. This provides high sharpness, complete edge retention, and rust resistance, thus allowing you to cut your vegetables effectively in no time.

The ergonomically designed handle of the Zelite knife ensures the convenience and comfort of the users. It has three rivets that provide extra balance, durability, and strength. 

Bottom Line

If you want your cooking to be exciting and fun and not just a chore, then the Zelite knife is for you. This versatile knife is easy to control and offers excellent sharpness and edge retention. Moreover, the lifetime warranty offered by the manufacturer shows the trust that they have in their product’s performance.  

Runner-up:
Kai 6716N 

Kai Wasabi Black Nakiri Knife, 6-1/2-Inch

Pros

  • Ideal for both new and experienced chefs
  • Bean-blasted sturdy and attractive handle
  • Double-beveled blade that comes with a graze finish
  • Daido 1K6 stainless steel for superior edge retention
  • Top-quality product that provides outstanding value for money

Cons

  • May need sharpening before use

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are very pleased with the super solid construction of this knife. They are particularly impressed with the quality of the blade as it provides excellent edge retention. It is easy to control and comfortable to hold. This knife has been purchased by both professional and home chefs, and they all agree that it is a great product for cutting vegetables and herbs. Moreover, they find their economical price another plus point.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This Kai nakiri knife is an excellent quality knife that is very affordable. It resembles a cleaver with its Daido 1K6 high-carbon stainless steel blade that maintains superior edge retention. This allows the blade to hold a sharper edge for longer, thus making it a push cut knife that is ideal for cutting and slicing vegetables.

This knife's handle is constructed with a combination of polypropylene and bamboo powder that makes it waterproof and durable. Moreover, it also has an antibacterial agent that ensures super clean food preparation. We have found this knife to be the ultimate in comfort, durability, and precision.   

Bottom Line

This Kai nakiri knife prepares vegetables for a simple task. Its distinctive blunt tip makes it extra safe and less intimidating to use. It comes with a grazed finish that releases the food from the blade very quickly. Moreover, the double-beveled blades deliver versatility and ease of use.

Best for the Money:
Mercer Culinary Genesis

Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Nakiri Vegetable Knife, 7 Inch

Pros

  • Santoprene handles provide a secure grip
  • Substantial bolsters provide extra balance
  • Comes with a one-year manufacturer warranty
  • Fully forged, high-carbon, no-stain German steel
  • Full tang extends to the entire length of the handle

Cons

  • Needs to be hand washed and cannot be put in a dishwasher

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers have found this knife to be well-balanced, sharp, well-crafted, and strong with just enough flex. Some buyers even go on to say that this knife is magical. They are happy because they are going to enjoy using this knife for many years to come. Moreover, they advise readers to not think, but just buy this Mercer knife with due haste.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We are pretty impressed with the construction of this Mercer knife. It is designed to ensure user comfort while cutting vegetables efficiently. Made from high-carbon, no-stain German cutlery steel, it can resist corrosion, discoloration, and rust. Moreover, its precision-forged construction offers increased durability and strength.

Its ergonomic handle comes with a non-slip grip that makes these units completely safe for use in the kitchen. This Santoprene handle can withstand extreme temperatures and will not be damaged by kitchen oils. Its taper-grind edges are hand polished for top class performance. Bolster provides an excellent balance that ensures better handling when cutting food.    

Bottom Line

The Mercer Culinary Genesis is a great product that packs several features that make it perfect for commercial chefs and home cooks. Its high-carbon stainless steel blade is extremely sharp while being rust and stain-resistant too.  

Best Wusthof Nakiri Knife:
Wusthof Forged Legende Series

Wusthof Nakiri Knife - 7' Hollow Edge - Forged Legende Series

Pros

  • Triple-riveted handle that is slip-resistant
  • Comfortable finger guard for safety and balance
  • Precision Edge Technology ensures a 20% sharper blade
  • Hollow edge makes air pockets that prevent the food from sticking
  • Laser-controlled and tested blade provides quick and precise cutting

Cons

  • Handle quality could be improved

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are thrilled with the sharpness of this knife. It a fantastic knife made from premium materials that make it perfect for any commercial or home cook. Some buyers even report that they used to despise cutting vegetables, but this knife has made this task so easy that they feel like professional chefs now.  

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Wusthof Forged Legende nakiri knife is constructed from high-carbon stainless steel that makes it perfect for chopping and slicing vegetables. A precision-forged blade that is thinner than the traditional cleaver gives it durability and versatility.

Its hollow edge is created with perfectly spaced vertical indentations that make small air pockets between the food and the blade. This reduces friction and drag while pushing the food off the blade, thus allowing cooks to prepare a wide range of fresh produce with complete ease.  

This knife is prepared while using Precision Edge Technology (PEtec), which enhances the overall performance of this knife. It makes this knife sharper than other knives and allows them to hold their 10° cutting edge for longer.

Bottom Line

Similar to all Wusthof knives, this Forged Legende knife is made from high-quality materials. It is also economically priced, which makes investing in this product a good deal for the customers. It is fully forged and well-made, which makes it one of the best knives available today.  

Shun Cutlery Classic 6.5” Nakiri Knife; Kitchen Knife Handcrafted in Japan; Hand-Sharpened 16° Double-Bevel Steel Blade for Swift and Easy Precision Work; Beautiful D-Shaped Ebony PakkaWood Handle

Pros

  • Razor-sharp edge makes cutting vegetables fast and easy
  • A versatile, durable, and valuable addition to every kitchen
  • Corrosion-resistant steel blade and PakkaWood handle grip
  • Perfect for both gourmet vegetable creations or everyday salad preparation
  • Precise heat treatment makes the blades thinner and sharper

Cons

  • Blade may chip easily

What Recent Buyers Report

This is a wonderful all-round knife, according to recent buyers. They found this knife very beautiful and sharp. Its overall length is perfect, and its ‘D’ shaped handle feels very comfortable in hand. In very little time, this knife has become the go-to knife of many recent buyers.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Shun Classic nakiri knife is an exceptional knife that combines the functionality of a clean, sharp, and durable kitchen tool with the unmatched beauty of an elegant design. Constructed with Damascus stainless steel cladding that goes through bead-blasting and grinding, the blade of this knife is sharp, which makes meal prep fun and fast.

This Shun knife has an ebony PakkaWood handle that makes it aesthetically beautiful and allows users a high level of comfort. Whether you want your vegetables sliced, diced, julienned, chopped, or styled, this knife's excellent craftsmanship makes it ideal for all such purposes.  

Bottom Line

The exquisitely detailed Shun Classic nakiri knife is stunning to look at and has a high standard of performance. Its D-shaped handle provides a firm grip and extra stability. The offset stainless steel bolster ensures maximum safety and ergonomic comfort.

Comparison Overview

Knives are available in various sizes and shapes. They are designed to cut vegetables; however, each knife has a different way of doing so. Some are perfect for slicing meat, while others are ideal for more delicate chopping needs. However, not all of us know the function of these knives and how they differ. Here we have compared the most common Japanese knives to make it easier for you to understand their purpose.  

Nakiri Knife vs. Usuba

The usuba knife is also a vegetable knife; however, the main difference between them is the user. The usuba knife is a simpler version that is suitable for home use, while the nakiri is a high-end knife perfect for professionals. Moreover, these knives are narrower in design that makes them less versatile as compared to nakiri knives.  

The narrow design of the usuba knife makes them highly suitable for chopping herbs and delicate vegetables like thyme, kale, basil, Romaine lettuce, mint, coriander, spinach, etc. This blade design makes it easier to slice herbs without crushing them. However, this blade has average edge retention; that is why it is best to avoid using this knife on hard vegetables.

Nakiri Knife vs. Santoku Knife

The santoku knife is another everyday knife that is quite popular in Japan. It is a general-purpose knife, which literally means ‘three uses.’ These three uses include slicing, dicing, and mincing. Both the nakiri and santoku knives are lightweight; however, they are quite different from one another in many aspects.

The santoku has a slightly curved blade that allows a rocking motion when cutting vegetables while the nakiri produces clean, even cuts with an up-down chopping motion. Although the primary use of a santoku knife is also prepping vegetables, it can also be used to cut cooked meats.

Comparatively, the pointed edge and curved blade of the santoku knife offers increased versatility. The nakiri blade, on the other hand, is ideal for dicing tomatoes and cutting paper-thin slices of various vegetables.  

How to Use a Nakiri Knife

When it comes to cutting vegetables with a nakiri knife, you need to follow a particular pattern. You need to maneuver the knife in an up-down motion and not move in a horizontal or rocking motion. These knives are designed with a straight tip that ensures ease of use.  

The best way to use this knife is to hold it in a firm grip and bend your other hand's fingers in a claw shape to hold the vegetable you want to cut. Make a pattern with your knuckles and simply glide your nakiri knife up and down while slightly grazing your knuckles with your knife. Move on straight to get an even cut. This way, you can reach the chopping board without exerting any extra force and cut the vegetables smoothly.  

If you want to master the art of cutting by using a nakiri knife, you can also watch the following video. This video explains this cutting process in complete detail, thus making it easier for users to follow.

Conclusion

A nakiri knife is a vital part of a productive and fun kitchen due to its efficiency, versatility, shape, reliability, craftsmanship, size, balance, and ease of use. Whether you want to prepare Western, Korean, Japanese, or Eastern cuisine, this knife is sure to make chopping vegetables fun. So the next time you want to pick a nakiri knife, make sure that you read the above reviews before buying one. This will ensure that you pick nothing but the best.   

People Also Ask

Chopping vegetables can be time-consuming and cumbersome, particularly after a long day at work. But with the help of a nakiri knife, you can make cooking enjoyable. These knives are becoming increasingly popular, and many chefs nowadays find it hard to imagine their kitchens without one.

In addition to the above reviews, the following answers to the most commonly asked questions will make it easier to find the perfect product that suits your needs: 

What Does Nakiri Mean?

Nakiri is a Japanese vegetable cleaver that is designed to work exclusively with seedless vegetables. In this word, ‘na’ means leaf, while ‘kiri’ refers to cutting. It is easy to hold and maneuver, making it easier to julienne cut the vegetables. It has a long, flat edge, which means that you can take a long line of vegetables or a broad vegetable and cut it with a single movement all the way through to the cutting board.  

What Size of Nakiri Knife Do I Need?

The standard length of a Nakiri blade is five to seven inches. This is an ideal size as it fits most hands and offers greater maneuverability. The efficiency of this knife is greatly attributed to its blade length. It is neither too long that it becomes too hard to control; neither is it too short that it may become hard to slice around with. From peeling to slicing the perfect length of this knife makes it easier to cut delicate vegetables and fruits without diminishing their nutritional value.