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The Best Nakiri Knife You Can Buy (2018 UPDATE)

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featured nakiri

Image Credit: Williams Sonoma

The Nakiri knife is a specialist tool in the kitchen and is mostly used for cutting vegetables, especially when precision and finesse are required.

A good Nakiri knife will have a hollow ground carbon steel blade and will be designed to include a fine, flat edge (similar to a slim cleaver or a fat straight edge razor) that can be honed to incredible sharpness.

Buy correctly and you will have a versatile knife that is a joy to use.

So what is the best Nakiri knife you can buy in 2018? As usual we have placed our top 5 picks in the table below, with more information on what to look for when buying a Nakiri knife, plus in depth reviews of our choices further down the page.


Best Nakiri knife – Top 5 reviews for 2018

PRODUCTNAMELENGTHMATERIALOUR RATING
TOP PICK
Yoshihiro VG10
16 Layers Hammered
Damascus Nakiri
1st Edition
BLADE: 6 Inches16 Layered Damascus,
VG-10 Japanese
stainless steel
(center) with an
HRC 60 edge.
Shun Premier
Nakiri Knife
BLADE: 5.5 Inches
(7" also available)
Layered Damascus
steel with hand-
hammered finish
Wusthof Classic
Nakiri Vegetable
Knife with
Hollow Edge
BLADE: 7 Inches
(5" also available)
Specially tempered
high carbon steel
Kai 6716N Wasabi
Black Nakiri
Knife
BLADE: 6 1/5 Inches
(4 to 9" available)
Daido 1K6
high-carbon,
stainless steel
Shun Classic
Hollow Edge
Nakiri Knife
BLADE: 5 InchesVG-10 stainless steel
clad with 32 layers
of high-carbon
stainless steel


Nakiri vs Usuba Knife – What’s the difference?

The Nakiri knife is actually very similar to the Usuba blade, and you should decide which is the best for you before heading out to buy anything.

Both are used to chop vegetables, however the blade on a Usuba knife differs in that it is normally single grind and flat on one side.

This has a disadvantage in making Usuba more difficult to sharpen.

Advantages of the Nakiri Knife

A major advantage of the nakiri compared to the Usuba, lies in its versatility. It does everything a usuba will do, however it is less delicate and as we have stated – easier to sharpen.

A nakiri will also be lighter in the hand than an usuba of the same length. This is due to the blade construction which is a lot thinner on the Nakiri.

In some instances you could expect a Nakiri knife to weigh as much as forty per cent less than a Usuba of similar length.

A nakiri will make short work of leaf vegetables (allowing you to have a go at sengiri and katsuramuki), and is perfect for chopping the ingredients for sides such as coleslaw.

Put simply, if you are a big fan of vegetables, soups and salads, the nakiri knife is one of the must have tools in your kitchen.

Overall the Nakiri is a fantastic entry level Japanese knife, with enough of the all-purpose about it, to be used for a wide range of tasks.


The Reviews

TOP PICK: Yoshihiro VG10 16 Layers Hammered Damascus Nakiri Japanese Vegetable Chefs Knife 6 inch 1st Edition

The Yoshihiro VG10 16 Layers Hammered Damascus gets our best nakiri knife top spot for a number of reasons.

First we have to mention the design of the knife. It is quite simply a stunning piece of craftsmanship.

The 16 layer hammered outer steel not only looks the part, but is integral to the performance of the knife. Friction is eliminated, meaning ingredients will not stick to the blade as you work, (extremely important when dicing delicate herbs or slicing vegetables into thin pieces).

The quality extends to the steel used for the core of the knife of course.

The 3 Layer construction incorporates VG-10 Japanese stainless steel (center core) with an HRC 60 (Rockwell Scale) edge.

This translates into a Nakiri knife that is exceptionally sharp, with long lasting edge retention, (you will need to use a quality Japanese whetstones to properly maintain the Yoshihiro however).

The knife also feels great in the hand and is a real joy to use. The handcrafted premium mahogany wood handle with a full tang ensures a well balanced construction, while looking damn good to boot.

Yoshihiro VG10 16 Layers Hammered Damascus Nakiri Japanese Vegetable Chefs Knife 6 inch 1st Edition 1

Yoshihiro VG10 16 Layers Hammered Damascus Nakiri Japanese Vegetable Chefs Knife 6 inch 1st Edition 2

What we love about the Yoshihiro Damascus Nakiri Japanese vegetable knife

We have devoted a whole article elsewhere to the virtues of the Yoshihiro brand, and their wonderful knives. The quality Japanese craftsmanship is all too evident here with the Nakiri. The substantial pros include:

  • Beautiful aesthetic, the knife is gorgeous to look at
  • Excellent hand crafted build quality and attention to detail
  • Superior steel construction with the 16 layered hammered outer steel ensuring non stick performance and a razor sharp edge
  • The price is very competitive for a nakiri knife of this quality

The not so good points

  • The price is very reasonable considering the quality, however it may be too much for some.

Bottom Line

Yoshihiro knives are 100% handcrafted by skilled artisans in Japan. The end result is nothing short of stunning. If you looking for the best nakiri knife available today, this very well might be it.


Shun TDM0742 Premier Nakiri Knife, 5.5-Inch

Shun are another top Japanese knife manufacturer that have a sterling reputation due to the consistent high quality of their product lines.

Any one already familiar with the Shun brand will not be disappointed with their Premier Nakiri offering.

Let’s take a look…

The Premier 5.5 inch Nakiri knife features the layered Damascus steel much like the Yoshihiro, however with this the designers have opted for a hand-hammered finish (known as ‘tsuchime‘ in Japanese), that really is aesthetically striking.

As with the Yoshihiro, this technique not only looks good, but creates the hollow-ground feature that helps to reduce knife-drag and ingredients sticking to the blade.

Keeping to nakiri knife tradition, the steel is ultra sharp while shaped to be very thin, (perfect for slicing vegetables and fruits into wafer like sections).

The pleasing build quality extends to the handle, where a stylish Pakkawood in walnut finish has been employed.

Shun have opted for an ergonomic shape for the handle in a way that is designed to fit the palm of your hand in a variety of secure and comfortable grips.


What we loved about the Shun Premier Nakiri knife

  • The hand-hammered layered Damascus blade really is a thing of beauty.
  • Well balanced, with exceptional build quality throughout
  • Will make short work of you vegetables with the razor sharp, ultra thin blade.

The not so good points

  • The shaped handle is a good idea, however if you’ve got larger hands you might find it uncomfortable
  • For some users, the thinness of the blade has meant issues with the knife being too delicate.

Bottom Line

Another exceptional product that very nearly stole our best nakiri knife number one spot. Let down slightly by the handle design, this is otherwise a solid Japanese vegetable knife from industry leaders, Shun.


Wusthof Classic Nakiri Vegetable Knife

The Wusthof classic Nakiri vegetable knife is a reliable versatile work horse, and of the quality we have come to expect from the world famous German knife manufacturer.

Precision forged in Solingen, from high-carbon no-stain steel, the full tang construction will ensure that this knife will last you many years.

The Granton-edge blade is extremely sharp out of the box, and features an dual angled edge for slicing and chopping. In fact Wusthof claim that the technology ensures that their product is 30% sharper and holds its edge for 30% longer amount of time, than ordinary Asian-style blades.

Though the knife does not feature the hammered Damascus as seen on other knives in our list, the Granton edge is still very much non stick due to the fact the cut creates air pockets against the ingredients – you’ll be chopping and dicing with frictionless ease using the wusthof classic Nakiri vegetable knife.

Sturdy design principles extend to the high-impact handle, that is riveted to the full tang for superior balance and control.

Wusthof Classic Nakiri Vegetable Knife 1

Image Credit: Wusthof.com


What we love about the Wusthof classic Nakiri knife

  • Pleasing build quality throughout
  • The granton-edge really is razor sharp and slides through ingredients with ease
  • Fantastic edge retention

The not so good points

  • Aesthetically it doesn’t reach the standards of the Shun or Yoshihiro
  • German steel rather than Japanese forged (if you’re buying a Japanese vegetable knife, you should head to the source)
  • Rather light weight. Control is good, however a slightly heavier tool allows for more efficient rocking motion work.

Bottom Line

Sharp and very well made, this is another great tool from Wusthof. Not quite up to the standard of the Japanese counterparts in our opinion, but definitely worth a look.


Kai 6716N Wasabi Black Nakiri Knife, 6-1/2-Inch

The Kai Wasabi Nakiri knife is by far the best budget option available right now, and makes our list based on that fact alone.

The manufacturers have perfectly balanced affordability with quality on this one.

The knife is made in Japan and features Daido 1K6 high-carbon, stainless steel. While this steel does not reach the standard of the other nakiri knives reviewed here, the blade still performs very well, is easy to sharpen while at the same time providing above par edge retention.

The blades are even bead-blasted to acquire a satisfying aesthetic finish, (the look of the instrument is a high priority when it comes to the Japanese manufacturers.)

An interesting approach has been taken with the design of the handle; made from polypropylene blended with bamboo powder, it is impregnated with an antibacterial agent for ultra hygienic food preparation.


What we loved about the Kai Nakiri knife

  • Very affordable
  • Sharp and well balanced
  • Good overall Fit and finish considering the price
  • The added touch of the antibacterial handle

Not so good points

  • Because it is more budget orientated the materials used and overall build quality is not up to the standard of the other knives detailed here.
  • The plastic handle does feel a little cheap
  • It is not a forged single piece blade and bolster

Bottom Line

For the home cook who places importance on performance, reliability, and most of all value, this is an excellent option. In our view, the best Nakiri knife for the money in 2018.


Shun Classic 5-inch Hollow Edge Nakiri Knife

Another offering from Shun makes our top 5 nakiri knife list, and this time it is part of their classic range.

The construction is very impressive here – Shun have used Japanese forged VG-10 stainless steel with a hollow ground edge, clad with 16 full layers of SUS410 high-carbon stainless steel (on each side, for a total of 33 layers).

The end result is superior sharpness and edge retention, with the frictionless action you need.

The steel is also considered to be harder, less brittle, but also more flexible than traditional steel formulations, perfect for the thin blade construction required for a superior nakiri vegetable knife.


What we love about the Shun classic 5 inch Nakiri knife

  • Attractive, ultra-sharp and well-balanced.
  • Good value, when you consider the quality and the fact this is a “for life knife”.
  • Provides excellent control and maneuverability
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

Not so good points

  • As Shun have not employed the Damascus build tradition here, it does not have the aesthetic quality of the Premier or the Yoshihiro

Bottom Line

Another excellent nakiri knife from Shun, with a build quality that will ensure you will be using this tool for many years.


Image Credits: Williams Sonoma, Wusthof.com