If you have read my reviews for any of the other “Best Value” knives on this website you will know that I believe value to be a marriage of price and quality. I cannot simply choose the cheapest knife on a list and say it has the best value. Value isn’t about price as much as it is about quality. That being said, there isn’t much value in something you pay a lot of money for if it is not worth that money.

To me, “Best Value” exists in that space where good price and good quality intersect. Typically great price equals poor quality and great quality equals high price, so I look for something which exists in the middle. Every now and then I may find something that lies outside of those boundaries and brings incredible quality for a good price or good quality for a low price. In this particular instance, I stuck with the tried and true method and located a knife which, in my opinion, exists smack dab in the middle of both the price and quality categories.

If you have already visited the main Santoku Knives page, you already know a little bit about this Shun knife. This article will review some of that information, but will focus mostly on showing you exactly why this knife was given the title “Best Value” over any other knife.

A Fair Price and Quality

As I’ve said, I like to select a knife halfway between the lowest price and the highest price I find for a category. In this case, I was able to find Santoku knives as affordable as $15 and as expensive as $230. What I found was that although you would receive the top quality for the top price, many people may not be able to afford that price. The lowest prices, though extremely appealing in terms of price, brought poorer quality. Although experienced and serious chefs would not mind paying top dollar and beginner chefs would not mind poorer quality for a lower price, I wanted to find a knife which would appeal to midlevel chefs with a midlevel budget. This knife’s price and quality both fall in that midlevel range.

Two Types of Steel

One of the reasons that many quality knives are expensive is because they have been crafted from high-carbon steel. Although more expensive that other options such as stainless steel, high-carbon steel is often worth its price for many people, because it is stronger and stays sharper for longer.

Though they were unable to do much in terms of edge longevity, Shun decided to try to bring you the strength of high-carbon steel for a price only slightly higher than your typical stainless steel knife. To do this, they decided to create this knife with a high-carbon core encased in 16 layers of stainless steel. Though the stainless steel exterior will not sharpen as easily or stay sharp for as long as would high-carbon steel, the high-carbon core offers this knife the strength and rigidity essential to a quality Santoku blade.

Decently Sharp

I told you at the beginning of this article that this knife is, more or less, the epitome of average as far as Santoku knives are concerned. That is, however, part of its beauty. Its “averageness” is just as evident in its cutting angle degree as it is in any other aspect of this knife.

Sharpened to 16 degrees, the angle of this knife resembles a typical Asian angle (which is somewhere around 15 degrees) much more than it does a typical Western angle (which is closer to 25 degrees). While that may sound like it isn’t a mid-point at all, you should consider that the ideal angle for a Santoku knife is actually somewhere around 8 to 12 degrees. This 16 degree blade will not slice as thin or as effortlessly as one with an 8 or 12 degree angle, but will be considerably better than some of the 20 to 25 degree Santoku blades I stumbled upon in my research.

Other Important Qualities

This knife also boasts a comfortable (although non-submersible) Pakkawood handle which has been rounded for ergonomic support. Its hollow edge will keep food from sticking to the blade, allowing you to slice and chop quickly without having to stop to wipe the blade clean. Finally, the blade itself is sufficiently tall to allow you to carefully use it as a transportation device when moving chopped goods from one area to another.