What Are Nakiri Knives And Which One Should You Buy?

A knife is not just a self-defense weapon. The kitchen is one area in your home that greatly relies on a good set of knives. These products help you chop vegetables, meat, and other products that make cooking easier and more convenient. Today, there are several knives that you can buy, some providing very specific functions. 

Nakiri is an excellent example. Many people still ask what Nakiri knives are and why they should consider buying one of these products. We look at what these knives are meant to do, and I share a selection of my top choices in this post. 

What Does Nakiri Mean?

Nakiri knives are very common in Japan. In fact, these knives are often said to be a tradition for any Japanese kitchen. The term Nakiri has been awarded to the knife due to its primary purpose. In Japan, the knives are referred to as Nakiri Bocho knives. The term “Nakiri Bocho” roughly translates to “knife for cutting greens.” This is, in fact, what the product is supposed to be used for. 

What Is The Purpose Of Using Nakiri Knife?

When asking what Nakiri knives are, it is important to look at more than just what the name of these products means. An understanding of what Nakiri knives are meant to be used for is important too. 

The meaning behind the name “Nakiri” really tells you exactly what the knife is supposed to be used for. These knives are considered an ideal traditional Japanese product for cutting vegetables. The design of the knife has been developed specifically to make cutting vegetables easier and more convenient. 

The main characteristic of a Nakiri knife would be the straight edge at the blade’s side, along with the tips that are squared off. These are also the features of the Nakiri knife that makes it such an ideal choice for cutting vegetables. 

The Nakiri knife is great for cutting all the way through your favorite vegetables. It cuts straight to the cutting board without the need for extra pressure or a pulling motion from your side. The result would be vegetables that are cut more evenly, especially compared to some of the other products that are promoted as vegetable knives. 

How Should You Hold Nakiri Knife?

Using a Nakiri knife is relatively straightforward. You do not need any special skills, and you’ll quickly get the hang of how the knife works. Be sure to use a cutting board as the knife’s edge is sharp. This can cause damage to the surface you are working on if you are not using a cutting board. 

You would lay your vegetables down onto the cutting board. The knife is held straight on top of the vegetables. Using the handles, you will then push down. This allows the knife to cut through all vegetables in an even way effectively. Your veggies come out cut as you prefer them without the need to place extra pressure on the blade itself with your hands. 

Nakiri Vs. Usuba Knives

Usuba Knives
Usuba Knives

Both the Nakiri and the Usuba are both popular when looking at traditional Japanese knives that are used for cutting vegetables. There are some major differences that you should know about. 

The Nakiri generally tend to contain a relatively thick blade. The Usuba, on the other hand, rather provides a thin blade. The Usuba also contains only a single bevel, where there is a double bevel on the Nakiri blade. 

Usuba is not easy to sharpen as the Nakiri, but rather requires professional sharpening. The blade edge is also delicate, particularly when compared to the Nakiri. Another important factor to consider is the fact that the Usuba has both a higher price tag and weight than the Nakiri. 

Thus, it is important to carefully consider the differences before you decide which knife to buy for cutting up vegetables. 

Nakiri Vs. Santoku Knives

Santoku Knives
Santoku Knives

Another common comparison is between the Nakiri and the Santoku knives. Both of these knives are also considered good options for cutting vegetables. Again, however, a few differences tend to stand out. Considering these can help you realize which vegetable knife is right for you.

The primary difference is how the two blades cut through vegetables. The Santoku’s blade features a curvature. This allows you to chop vegetables. It is also an ideal option for rocking vegetables. The blade does not, however, providing the same full cut as the flat blade that the Nakiri knife features. This is something important to consider before deciding to opt for a Santoku knife over a Nakiri. 

My Recommended Best Nakiri Knives In The Market

When you decide to opt for a Nakiri knife to make the process of cutting vegetables in the kitchen easier, there are a few options you can choose from. There are also several brands that develop these traditional Japanese vegetable knives. This can make things tough when considering which option is best for you. 

After some intensive research, I am presenting you with my personal recommendations below. The Nakiri knives I share below will surely not disappoint you, and will definitely help to make the process of cutting vegetables much easier. 

1. WUSTHOF Model 4195-7 Gourmet 7 Inch Hallow Edge Nakiri

WÜSTHOF Model 4195-7, Gourmet 7 Inch Hallow Edge Nakiri, Full-Tang 7' | Precise Laser Cut High-Carbon Stainless Steel German Made
148 Reviews
WÜSTHOF Model 4195-7, Gourmet 7 Inch Hallow Edge Nakiri, Full-Tang 7" | Precise Laser Cut High-Carbon Stainless Steel German Made
  • WÜSTHOF GOURMET SERIES – 7" Hallow Edge Nakiri...
  • RAZOR SHARP – High Carbon Stainless Steel...
  • WÜSTHOF NAKIRI KNIFE – The GOURMET 7" Hollow...
  • DURABLE – WÜSTHOF Cutlery is crafted to resist...
  • CENTURIES OF TRADITION – Family owned for seven...

Last update on 2020-08-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

My top recommendation would be the WUSTHOF Model 4195-7 Gourmet 7 Inch Hallow Edge Nakiri. This is a German-made knife that features high-quality and durable construction. The main material used in the manufacturing of the knife includes high-carbon stainless steel. 

The steel is cut to precision with a laser cutting system. This provides a superior cut to some of the other Nakiri blades that are available on the market. The blade itself measures seven inches in length, providing an adequate area for cutting multiple vegetables at the same time. 

The WUSTHOF Model 4195-7 Gourmet 7 Inch Hallow Edge Nakiri also features a hallow edge design, which adds to the stability and precision that the knife has to offer. The product comes at an affordable price tag compared to alternative options on the market. It is also available with the option to add custom engraving to the knife, which can make this an ideal gift for someone. 

Pros
  • An affordable option for people wanting to give a Nakiri knife a try
  • Uses high-carbon stainless steel for improved durability
  • Made by German experts
  • Features a hallow edge for better cutting
Cons
  • The blade may be considered somewhat short by certain customers
  • There are higher-quality options available on the market
  • Adding an engraving in the knife increases its price

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2. Wusthof Classic 7-Inch Nakiri Knife with Hollow Edge

Wusthof Classic 7-Inch Nakiri Knife with Hollow Edge, 4193/17
224 Reviews
Wusthof Classic 7-Inch Nakiri Knife with Hollow Edge, 4193/17
  • WÜSTHOF CLASSIC SERIES – 7" Hallow Edge Nakiri...
  • PRECISION FORGED – WÜSTHOF's Classic Series...
  • KITCHEN WORKHORSE – The CLASSIC 7" Nakiri Knife...
  • DURABLE – WÜSTHOF Cutlery is crafted to resist...
  • CENTURIES OF TRADITION – Family owned for seven...

Last update on 2020-08-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Next on the list is the Wusthof Classic 7-Inch Nakiri Knife with Hollow Edge. This product is also made by the Wusthof brand, with German experts who are able to produce top-quality knives. The knife itself features a precision forged construction, with a 58-degree high carbon stainless steel. Precision Edge Technology is also used in the manufacturing process of the knife. 

The Wusthof Classic 7-Inch Nakiri Knife with Hollow Edge features a 20% increase in sharpness compared to many of the competitor options on the market. The blade itself features a seven-inch length and a cutting edge of 10 degrees. 

The price tag of this Nakiri knife is higher than many competitors. The product does feature durable construction, however. You also get a limited lifetime warranty with the purchase of the blade. 

Pros
  • Original German made Nakiri knife
  • Features a high-quality construction for enhanced durability
  • Option available to add a custom engraving to the blade
  • Features a handle with improved grip
Cons
  • Only a single size blade is available
  • Adding an engraving makes the product more expensive
  • The price tag also seems to be on the higher side

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3. Shun Premier Nakiri Knife

Sale
Shun Premier Nakiri Knife, 5.5 Inch Tsuchime Finished Blade, Wood Handle, TDM0742, Black
155 Reviews
Shun Premier Nakiri Knife, 5.5 Inch Tsuchime Finished Blade, Wood Handle, TDM0742, Black
  • Premier 5. 5-inch nakiri knife by shun
  • Featuring a thin blade perfect for cutting...
  • Features layered damascus steel with a striking,...
  • Hand-hammered finish reduces drag when cutting,...
  • Premium pakkawood handle nestles comfortably into...

Last update on 2020-08-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Shun Premier Nakiri Knife is a very unique entry in this list. The product features a hand-hammered finish on its blade, which is not an element that you see with many of these products. The finish does not provide any enhanced functionality, however. 

The Shun Premier Nakiri Knife features a wooden handle that has been crafted for easier holding. At the same time, it should be noted that the wooden handle has no special features, such as rubber padding, to help improve your grip on the knife. The grip is made from pakkawood, which is often considered a premium type of wooden material.  

The product features a 5.5-inch blade. This is adequate for chopping most vegetables in the kitchen, but it will not provide as much coverage as some of the competitor options. 

Damascus steel is used in the construction of the blade itself. This is a durable type of steel that ensures the Nakiri knife will last for a more significant period of time. 

Pros
  • A unique take on the classic and traditional Nakiri knife design
  • Features a wooden handle
  • Available with a sharpener if needed
  • Hand-hammered finish
Cons
  • The knife has a relatively high price tag
  • It is quite small in size
  • The handle does not feature any special elements to enhance grip

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4. Shun Cutlery Classic 6.5” Nakiri Knife

Sale
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
259 Reviews
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
  • The Nakiri Knife is part of Shun’s Classic line...
  • A traditional Japanese knife for working with...
  • Swift, sharp and clean, the Classic Nakiri is...
  • Whether it’s needed for daily salad preparation...
  • With its PakkaWood handle grip and...

Last update on 2020-08-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Shun Cutlery Classic 6.5” Nakiri Knife is another great option that you might want to take into consideration. The knife comes at a premium price tag – this is something you should account for before making a decision. The design, quality, and materials used surely make up for the premium price, however. 

The Shun Cutlery Classic 6.5” Nakiri Knife features a blade that measures 6.5 inches in length. The product is available as a standalone knife, or as part of a kit that also comes with a sharpener. 

This knife features a double-bevel steel blade, made from top-quality steel. The 16-degree angle of the blade helps to provide a sharper edge that cuts through your vegetables faster and with less effort. 

The handle of the knife is made from PakkaWood material, providing a durable handle that is also easier to hold on to. 

Pros
  • Unique design on the blade itself
  • 16-degree double bevel steel blade design
  • D-shaped ebony PakkaWood handle design
  • Handcrafted product with the expected traditional Japanese elements
Cons
  • The price tag is higher than some competitors
  • Only available in a single size option
  • Adding a sharpener further increases the price tag

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5. Zelite Infinity Nakiri Chef Knife 6 Inch

Sale
Zelite Infinity Nakiri Chef Knife 6 Inch - Alpha-Royal Series - Japanese AUS-10 Super Steel 67-Layer Damascus - Razor Sharp, Hammered Tsuchime Finish
1,704 Reviews
Zelite Infinity Nakiri Chef Knife 6 Inch - Alpha-Royal Series - Japanese AUS-10 Super Steel 67-Layer Damascus - Razor Sharp, Hammered Tsuchime Finish
  • INCREDIBLE! VEGGIE PREP LIKE A CHAMP: The most...
  • PREMIUM JAPANESE STEEL – BUILT TO LAST: Imported...
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Last update on 2020-08-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The last option on our list is the Zelite Infinity Nakiri Chef Knife 6 Inch. This one also comes with somewhat of a premium price tag, yet provide the quality you need to use the knife for years to come with no problem. 

The Zelite Infinity Nakiri Chef Knife has a six-inch blade that is made from top-quality steel material. The blade also features a hammered Tscuhime finish, which adds to the overall aesthetics of the knife. 

The blade is made from a 67-layer high carbon stainless steel material. This material is not only exceptionally durable but also allows the knife to be kept sharp easier. The sharpness of the knife makes it much easier to cut through vegetables without the need to apply a significant amount of pressure to the knife itself. A Tsunami Rose Damascus pattern is added along with the hammered finish. 

Pros
  • Features a super steel construction
  • Hammered Tsuchime finish
  • Handle designed for improved grip
  • Alternative designs and blade options available too
Cons
  • The price tag is also on the higher side
  • Alternative options do not feature the original Nakiri knife design

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Conclusion

Nakiri knives are exceptionally useful for cutting any kind of vegetable, as long as you use it on an appropriate cutting board. The blade is full and flat, which helps to provide a more even cut in your vegetables. These knives are also considered traditional in Japanese kitchens. We looked at why you may want to consider a Nakiri knife in this post. I also shared my personal recommendations for the top Nakiri knives that are currently available on the market. 

References

    Ahmed

    I’m Ahmed, the guy behind Knifepulse.com. I’ve owned several types of knives and sharpeners over the last few years and have become obsessed with everything to do with knives. I’m always trying to improve my cleaning and sharpening process, and always on the hunt for the next best knife. But when I’m not spending time with my hobby, I’m here, writing about Knives and Sharpeners on KnifePulse to share with you what I learn along the way.

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