With its sharp blade and lightweight construction, the best Nakiri knife will cut your veggie prep time in half.
This Japanese knife has a square blade perfect for cutting different kinds of vegetables.
In Japanese, “Na” means leaf, and “Kiri” means cutting, so the Nakiri knife literally translates to “cutting greens.”
Popular in professional kitchens but also come in handy at home, this knife is excellent for preparing big servings of veggies.
If you’d like one for yourself, here are our top five picks from the most trusted brands.
- Best Nakiri Knife Reviews
- Buyer’s Guide
- Nakiri Knife FAQs
Best Nakiri Knife Reviews
1. Dalstrong 6-Inch Shogun X Series Nakiri Knife
Dalstrong is a brand started by a professional chef who has years of experience under his belt.
This 6-inch Nakiri knife comes from the Shogun X series by the company.
With a stellar design and premium-quality materials, this vegetable cutting knife is an all-rounder.
It also comes with a knife cover or sleeve so that you can store it safely when not in use or when traveling with your knife set.
This Dalstrong Nakiri knife has a six-inch blade made of Japanese AUS 10-V steel at its center.
Then, you have 66 layers of carbon steel cladding this Japanese steel (Damascus cladding).
The blade’s edge has a mirror-like finish with an eight- to 12-degree angle on each side.
It is then completed using the conventional three-step Honbazuke method.
Even the spine is hand-polished to provide that perfectly secure pinch grip when chopping.
The Tshuchime hammered finish not only looks great but also ensures the knife doesn’t get stuck in a hard vegetable and comes out effortlessly.
Just like the blade, the handle is also of superior quality. It’s made of G-10 Garolite.
Three rivets secure it onto the blade, with the center one sporting a beautiful copper pin.
Its ergonomic design allows you to use the knife easily for hours on end without straining your wrist.
However, the highlight is the beautiful Dalstrong lion logo engraving on the stainless-steel end cap.
That alone makes this knife look like a high-end kitchen tool, which it actually is.
With 62+ Rockwell hardness, this Nakiri knife will easily last you a lifetime.
The overall design of this Dalstrong Nakiri knife makes it stand out.
At first inspection, you will immediately see that it exceeds all the basic requirements of a vegetable chopping knife.
It combines a sharp blade with an ergonomic handle.
With this, it’s perfect for professional kitchens requiring a lot of vegetable prep every single day.
No wonder it takes 60 days to make these knives from scratch.
While it’s a quality knife, it is slightly expensive.
Also, you may not see those lines very clearly, which typically appear on Damascus cladding knives.
- Smooth cutting and chopping
- Many layers of heat-treated steel in the blade
- User-friendly design
- Beautiful engravings
- Hammered texture improves performance
- Damascus lines are not very visible
2. Shun Premier Nakiri Knife
Shun is a Japanese company that maintains the centuries-old craftsmanship of Japanese knives.
At the same time, it also incorporates new technology to enhance product design and performance.
The Shun Premier Nakiri Knife is a 5.5-inch Japanese vegetable knife with a beautiful finish and a wooden handle.
This Shun Nakiri knife features a 5.5-inch square blade with a Tsuchime finish.
If you don’t particularly enjoy prep time, you’ll like that this thin blade slices through different vegetables effortlessly.
Achieving very small chops is easy too.
The hand-hammered finish ensures the blade doesn’t get stuck in the vegetable and comes out easily.
This also means that the food pieces don’t get stuck to the blade.
Its width is just enough to safely pinch the blade’s spine and use the same blade to pick up the chopped vegetable pieces.
Thanks to heat treatment by experts with years of experience crafting traditional Japanese knives, the blade has impressive hardness.
The layered Damascus steel is sturdy but not at all bulky.
Consequently, the knife doesn’t have a lot of weight and is comfortable to hold and use for hours.
When sharpened correctly, it offers a 16-degree angle for cutting.
The Pakkawood handle reinforces that comfort with its soft finish and curved silhouette that naturally fits inside the palm.
Also, the handle has a beautiful, dark walnut finish, which complements the chrome finish of the steel.
Each knife is handcrafted in the Seki city facility of the company.
Since all Shun knives are handcrafted in Japan, the quality standards are very high.
This also ensures long-lasting and reliable performance, which is necessary for a professional restaurant kitchen.
To top it all off, we also like that this is an extremely lightweight knife, weighing just 1.6 ounces.
Although it’s an excellent knife, it may need sharpening from time to time.
Also, it’s made of tough steel, so it’s only suitable for slicing and chopping vegetables and nothing else.
- Compact and lightweight
- Symmetrical Pakkawood handle with a beautiful finish
- Tough blade
- Hammered texture
- No drag
- Not dishwasher friendly
- Very expensive
3. Yoshihiro Nakiri Vegetable Knife
Yoshihiro is another knife-maker specializing in Japanese knives.
All of its knives come with their respective cover, and this one is no exception.
While you only sharpen Usuba knives on one side, this Nakiri knife requires sharpening on both sides.
The Yoshihiro knife has a blade length of 6.3 inches, which is pretty decent for a vegetable knife.
The blade is 46-layer VG-10 Hammered Damascus steel with a hand-hammered finish, improving the cutting action further.
With a Rockwell hardness score of 60, it is a pretty heavy-duty blade that does the job well and will do so for a long time.
This blade is rust- and stain-resistant, which means it stays like new even after repeated use.
On the other end of the knife, you have the octagonal-shaped Shitan handle made of rosewood with a dark finish.
The double bolster handle is durable and comfortable to hold in hand.
You’ll like that it also comes with a beautiful Saya case (wooden sheath) with a natural Magnolia Saya construction.
Basically, this keeps the blade protected when the knife is not in use.
This double-edged knife has a balanced construction, ensuring smooth chopping and slicing.
Again, it’s made in Japan, so it has the same quality as traditional Nakiri knives that have been a kitchen staple for ages.
The knife has a simple look that focuses more on functionality than decorative details.
Therefore, it is ideal for professionals who rely heavily on their knives’ reliable performance.
The Saya sheath makes this more desirable, as it’s not only durable but also very useful.
This Nakiri knife features a wooden handle and stiff blade construction.
Because of this, it is slightly heavier than other knives on this list.
It weighs a little over five ounces, which isn’t that heavy to make you feel uncomfortable using it.
- 45-layer Damascus steel construction
- Natural wood handle
- Includes a wooden case
- Sharp blade that stays sharp
- Easy to use for hours
- Not so lightweight
- Very pricey
4. Wusthof Classic Nakiri Knife
Looking for something more versatile than a traditional Japanese vegetable knife?
The Wusthof Classic Nakiri knife is a good option.
It has some influences from a standard Chef knife, so you may be able to use it for other stuff besides cutting vegetables or fruits.
Wusthof is a German brand, so you can expect that this is a Nakiri knife that is not produced in Japan.
These are crafted in Solinger, Germany, using modern technology along with traditional craftsmanship.
Even so, you’ll be impressed that it uses high-carbon stainless steel.
More than anything, the distinguishing feature of this knife is its Granton edge.
The hollowed-out design on the blade’s edge forms air pockets that ensure no food sticks to it, and the knife comes out effortlessly.
Its handle has an ergonomic design, secured with rivets in chrome finish to match the aesthetic of the blade.
This handle design offers excellent maneuverability, making it all the more efficient at chopping vegetables.
Wusthof claims the blade is 30 percent sharper than traditional Asian knives.
While that may be true, it’s definitely more versatile in use.
The knife’s maneuverability has to be its best quality.
Not only does it allow you to use the knife for cutting fruits and veggies but also other food items, much like a Chef knife.
Still, it’s best if you use it for cutting vegetables, as that’s what a Nakiri knife is for.
Lastly, even though Japanese-made knives have a league of their own, you can’t ignore the finesse and durability of German steel.
This Nakiri knife weighs seven ounces, so it’s not as lightweight as some of the top options on this list.
For its high price, there should ideally be a case or sheath included, but there isn’t.
- High-quality construction
- 30 percent sharper than other blades
- Easy to use
- Durable and minimalistic handle
- Good value
- Not lightweight
- No case
5. Miyabi Mizu SG2 Nakiri Knife
Miyabi cutlery is handmade in Seki, Japan, making it a true luxury to have in your kitchen.
All of its knives are very high-end and show masterful craftsmanship that’s symbolic of Japan.
The Miyabi Mizu Nakiri Knife is perhaps the most luxurious option on this list, and that’s easily noticeable because of the high price tag.
In terms of design, this is the best knife you could have. Its construction is simply beautiful and effortless.
For one, the micro carbide powder steel (SG2) is super high quality.
On top of that, it features a textured (hammered) Damascus steel finish.
The core and the top layers come together to provide a sharp yet lightweight blade that improves efficiency in the kitchen.
Also, the 6.5-inch blade is hand-honed to a nine- to 12-degree angle on both sides.
You’ll find that it features a Micarta handle with a beautiful finish, a tiny mosaic accent, and red trims/spacers.
The metal cap has the Miyabi logo engraved on it, adding a classy touch to the knife.
It goes through a series of traditional processes that yield its durable built and gorgeous look.
It also involves the three-step Honbazuke process for sharpening the edge.
The construction of this knife is simply mesmerizing and gives it a distinct touch.
As a result, you can expect nothing but a quality performance from this knife.
The handle is the prettiest of all the knives on this list, both in shape, finish, and overall design.
Lastly, you will find it very smooth when holding it in your hand, even for long shifts in the kitchen.
As a luxury Japanese knife, it’s very pricey.
It may even be too costly for a professional restaurant kitchen that may need a couple of these for its staff.
- Beautiful construction
- Japanese steel blade
- Engraved logo on handle tip
- Made using ancient techniques
- Lifetime warranty
- Very Expensive
When buying something as expensive as an authentic Nakiri knife, you must pay attention even to the little things.
By now, you already understand what a Nakiri knife is and what it does.
To help you decide on your pick, though, you’ll need to dig deeper.
Here are the key features you should investigate when picking your next Nakiri knife:
1. Blade Material
The first thing you should consider when buying any kind of knife is the blade.
If the blade is not sharp or is clunky, the knife will never be able to do the job right.
Nakiri knives are commonly made of steel, but their exact composition, type, and certification may vary.
Most of these Japanese vegetable knives are made in Japan, so the steel also originates from there.
The main thing you need to determine is whether the blade is low-carbon or high-carbon.
Low-carbon blade steel has low carbon content, which means it can dull out quickly. In other words, you may need to sharpen it often.
On the other hand, a high-carbon steel blade is fairly sharper and retains that sharpness for a long time.
A Nakiri knife needs to have a high-carbon steel build because you’ll probably be using it every day for lots of prep work.
The good news is that most Nakiri knives, even those made outside of Japan, use high-carbon steel.
2. Blade Finish
Just like the blade’s material and sharpness, its finish is also important.
You may think that’s more of an aesthetic consideration, but it’s not.
The finish directly impacts the durability and performance of the knife, especially one like Nakiri, which is used for chopping and slicing.
Nowadays, traditional Nakiri knives always feature hammered finished, even if they are very polished.
That hammering has a purpose.
Those pockets that form over the knife, in turn, form pockets of air when the knife pierces into the vegetable.
As a result, it reduces friction, and the knife comes out easily.
If vegetables get stuck to it, your work will only get more challenging.
Modern Nakiri knives have Granton edges to achieve this low drag performance.
If you’re buying a quality Nakiri knife made using authentic methods, it will most definitely have a textured finish.
Besides the blade, the handle will help you decide whether or not the knife you’re considering is worth the money.
Some have simple straight handles, while others have ergonomic contours to fit your palm more naturally.
The latter is more comfortable to hold, especially for long hours.
However, if the handle is lightweight and has a smooth finish, even a simpler shape should be fine.
You will want to watch out for a slippery grip because that’s a big no when it comes to knives in general.
With Japanese-made Nakiri knives, you don’t have to worry about that because they pay attention to handles.
Of course, it also doesn’t hurt if the handle has decorative engravings or gold-plated rivets.
4. Ease of Use
Ease of use is something that you will only truly determine once you hold the knife in your hand and work with it.
However, some cues can help you figure out whether the Nakiri knife offers convenience and maneuverability.
If the blade is thin and the handle is ergonomic, you can bet that the knife would be very user-friendly.
Another indication is its weight. Lightweight Nakiri knives should be easier to work with than heavy ones.
After all, holding a heavy knife for long hours can put too much strain on your wrist and hands.
While not all knives have cases or sheaths, if that’s essential for you, look for one that comes with its own.
Nakiri knives are expensive, so you will need to extend your budget if you have a small budget.
Any quality Japanese-made knife can cost upwards of $150, but if you find something under that price, it’s a bargain.
Keep in mind that these knives are for lifetime use, so the steep price makes sense when you consider that.
Nakiri Knife FAQs
1. What are the benefits of a Nakiri knife?
Nakiri knives offer many benefits because of their materials and design. Here are some:
- Thin Slices
If you’ve ever wondered how restaurants manage to get paper-thin slices of onions, it’s all in the knife work.
A Nakiri knife can help cut very thin and even slices and pieces of the vegetable you’re chopping.
- Simple Use
There’s not much angling or rocking involved, as the blade goes straight in and comes out seamlessly.
To achieve this, you just need to employ the chopping motion.
- Blade Length and Width
This knife has a long blade, ranging from five to seven inches.
That makes chopping relatively more manageable, as you can’t really cover lengthy vegetables like leeks with a short knife.
Similarly, it also has adequate width that helps pick up the vegetables when you’re done and grab the spine with your fingers.
Authentic Nakiri knives are very sharp and don’t need sharpening very frequently.
These knives are for professional kitchens, so comfort is critical in their design. You can use these for hours easily.
2. What is the difference between Nakiri and Usuba knives?
Both Nakiri and Usuba knives have similar shapes and materials.
You also use them for the same purpose, which is chopping vegetables.
The main difference is that Nakiri is sharpened on both sides of the edge. In contrast, the Usuba is sharpened only on one side.
When using Usuba, you have to consider your dexterity, whether you’re right-handed or left-handed.
It’s also harder to sharpen the Usuba than it is to sharpen the Nakiri knife.
Lastly, the Usuba is a bit heavier and not ideal for volume work.
As to which one is better, that depends on your needs.
If you’re working in a restaurant and chopping a lot of veggies, the Nakiri is a better option.
3. What size of Nakiri knife is best?
Nakiri knives come in five to seven inches. Note that this is actually the size of the blade, not the entire knife.
The entire knife’s length can be as much as 12 inches.
For professional use, you should opt for at least a six-inch-long blade, as it will make it easier to work with long vegetables.
With a longer blade, you will only need to move in one direction when chopping.
There’s not such a big difference in performance or ease as far as the size of the blade is concerned.
However, if you find smaller knives easier to handle, by all means, go for the smaller size.
After reviewing each knife in detail, our pick for the best Nakiri knife is the Dalstrong 6-inch knife from the brand’s Shogun X Series.
Why? It’s simply top quality and doesn’t cost as much as the other knives on the list.
It offers more value for money, too, which is important for restaurant kitchens.
Since it’s a little less expensive, it’s also suitable for home chefs who want to improve their vegetable chopping game with the help of a Japanese knife.
If budget is not a constraint for you, you can pick any of the knives above and find satisfaction with the performance and design.
Like other Japanese knives, the Nakiri will also become an asset in your kitchen.