It doesn’t matter if you are a professional chef or an avid home cook, a high-quality sharp knife is the most important tool to have in your kitchen. While one good professional chef’s knife can get most jobs done, a full set of knives will provide you with the most flexibility and precision.
Shopping for a knife set can seem like a daunting task. For starters, prices range from less than a hundred dollars up to thousands of dollars. Because the variety and quality differ vastly, there are a few basic things to think about.
What to Consider When Buying a Japanese Knife Set
When shopping for the best knife set for your particular needs, you want to research the materials, comfort, weight, and ergonomics. Let’s explore these further.
The most common materials for knife blades are steel and ceramic. Handles are often made using wood, plastic, resin, or metal.
- Carbon Steel: Carbon steel is very popular because it stays sharp. It does require that the knives be maintained more frequently to avoid potential rusting.
- Stainless Steel: This material does not rust. However, it can flex and bend because it is the softest of the steel blades.
- Damascus Steel: Damascus steel is a combination of hard high-carbon and soft low-carbon steels, providing sharpness and durability. Seido Knives' Damascus Series Knives have a VG10 high-carbon super steel core, surrounded by layers of damascus stainless clad.
- Wood: A professional Japanese chef knife is often made with beautifully carved wood handles, such as pakkawood that doesn’t warp.
- Resin: An advantage to a resin handle on a professional Japanese chef knife is that it can be easily molded for an ergonomic grip and it won’t absorb water.
The best Japanese knife sets have handles that are molded to the contours of the hand without angled or sharp edges that can cause discomfort. As well, some knives are designed specifically for dominant hand use – right or left-handed.
When it comes to weight, Japanese knives tend to be lighter and thinner compared to their western counterparts, which are typically made of full stainless steel and are heavier. The Siedo Japanese chef knife offerings are available in different weights to ensure that you are able to choose a knife set that isn’t too light or too heavy. Good knives should have some weight for stability but they shouldn’t be so heavy that your wrists are strained.
The weight of the knife needs to be balanced equally between the blade and the handle. This refers to the ergonomic design or balance that prevents the knife from tipping too easily in either direction. This is essential for keeping the knife steady on the cutting surface, especially when using a rocking motion to slice.
Blade Angle and Bevel
It's also important to pay attention to the knife's bevel (single vs double) and the sharpness of the blade edge.
A single bevel knife is typically found in traditional Japanese knives and is designed for precise cutting, while a double bevel knife has both sides of the blade sharpened to an angle, creating a sharp edge that is more commonly found in Western-style knives and intended for versatility.
Western knives are usually made from softer steel than Japanese knives and have a larger degree bevel, typically around 20 degrees. The softer steel used in Western knives provides greater durability and can better withstand impact, but it also requires more frequent sharpening.
At Seido Knives, we take great pride in our meticulous attention to detail, sharpening our Japanese knives to a precise 8 to 15-degree edge for superior sharpness. We specialize in crafting double bevel knives in our collection, providing our customers with the ultimate versatility in their knives.
What to Look For in a Japanese Knife Set
There are so many types of professional chef knives to choose from. At Seido Knives, we have the best Japanese knife sets in a variety of packages. You may only need 5 knives if you are a weekend warrior in the kitchen. Or, you might be looking for a larger variety of knives if you are a seasoned chef. The common Japanese knife varieties include:
Carving Knife: For precise cutting through joints and perfectly slicing cooked meat, a carving knife is the tool of choice. The Seido Knives’ Japanese Master Chef Knife Set includes a flexible and longer blade Slicing Knife that is ideal for this purpose.
Chef’s Knife: Professional chef knives are multi-purpose tools with thick blades suitable for almost any task. The
- Gyuto is a multi-purpose Japanese kitchen knife with a slender blade that narrows to a pointed tip, renowned for its adaptability to various cutting tasks. Its name, "cow sword," alludes to its original use for meat preparation in Japan's culinary traditions.
- Kiritsuke is a multipurpose Japanese chef knife with a long, flat blade that tapers to a point, making it ideal for both slicing and chopping. Kiritsuke knives are typically used by professional chefs in Japan for their precision and versatility.
Nakiri or Cleaver: A cleaver is what you would use to process an animal carcass into portions for cooking. Butcher cleavers are heavy duty and butcher knives are a little more delicate for finessing your cuts around smaller boned animals. In Japanese, a cleaver knife may be referred to as a Nakiri, which means "leaf cutter" in English.
Paring Knife: A paring knife is a small utensil ideal for peeling and coring fruits and vegetables.
Santoku Knife: Invented in Japan, a santoku knife is a thinner version of a chef’s knife. It is perfect for chopping, dicing, and mincing precisely.
Serrated Knife: There are 2 types of serrated knives. One is small and used to slice soft fruits like tomatoes. A much larger serrated knife, also referred to as a bread knife, is designed to cut through bread crusts and then cleanly through the interior of the bread.
Choosing the Best Japanese Knife Set
As a family-owned artisanal company specializing in Japanese cutlery, Seido Knives is committed to providing high-quality knife sets that meet the needs of both home cooks and professional chefs. Our knife sets are expertly crafted by a team of Japanese blacksmiths with a passion for their craft. Visit our website to browse our entire collection of Japanese chef knives and knife sets.Get Professional Chef Knives →