Using the right type of kitchen knife can make your job as a cook much easier, With all the options on the market, it can be tricky to figure out what kind of knife you should get—and which type of knife will be right for your kitchen.
For instance, are you looking for a Japanese or German kitchen knife? These are two main types of kitchen knives, but they have quite different qualities that may affect their performance in your kitchen, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for before making your decision.
In this article, you’ll learn the differences between German and Japanese kitchen knives, how to pick out a knife that’s right for you, and how to care for your new knife after you buy it.
Let’s compare and contrast these knives to help you figure out which one will work best for your needs.
Japanese Knives, Their Advantages and Limitations:
Japanese knives are renowned for their thin, sharp blades. As thin as they are, they’re also incredibly strong. These qualities make them great for chopping thin slices of vegetables or thinly slicing meats. They come in several different styles, including traditional chef’s knives, Santoku knives (which are Japanese versions of vegetable cleavers), paring knives, utility knives, gyuto knives, nakiri knives and even some serrated options that work well for cutting bread or tomatoes.
Most Japanese knives are sharpened to have a single bevel. Some are ground with both sides being sharpened. These are called double-beveled. Single-beveled knives can be easily differentiated from double-beveled ones by looking at their sides: if it’s flat, it’s a single bevel; if it slopes down sharply on one side, it’s double bevel.
Japanese Kitchen knives are typically made from high-quality materials, such as stainless steel or carbon steel. There are many different types of stainless steel, with some being better than others. A high-quality stainless steel will be harder to sharpen but also hold its edge longer than lower-grade steel.
As good as they are, they can easily get chipped if not taken care properly. A Japanese chef knife requires carefully storing and immediate drying after hand wash cleaning.
Check out our article on Gyuto vs Santoku
Japanese knives are best for chopping vegetables, fish, and small ingredients.
Lighter in weight.
Sharp to super edges.
Can last for years if used carefully.
High Carbon Steel.
Chef’s from all around the world love recommending them.
Doesn’t require sharpening.
Chips on hard items.
Requires proper storage.
Immediate drying after hand washing.
German Knives, Their Advantages and Limitations:
German knives are thicker than Japanese knives. This extra thickness helps keep them sharp for longer. It also makes them more durable—they’re less likely to chip or break than thinner Japanese blades. And many users say that they feel balanced and comfortable in your hand.
Though they’re not quite as honed as Japanese knives, German blades are made with high-carbon steel which allows them to hold their edge longer than other knives.
Using a German knife ensures that any cuts you make will not be accompanied by dripping blood and metal chips. The best thing about using a German knife, however, is that they are easy to keep clean.
A properly sharpened German knife will last many years through regular use and does not need to be replaced as often as other types of kitchen knives might.
Lastly, German Kitchen knives are great for cutting thick pieces of meat and bones.
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German kitchen knives Last longer.
Easily cuts through tough pieces of meat.
Less likely to chip.
German knives hold their edges longer.
German knives are corrosion resistant.
Easier to sharpen.
Not as honed as Japanese knives.
Some users will find them heavy.
Although they can cut vegetables and small ingredients they’re not as efficient as Japanese knives.
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Japanese vs German Knives Differences:
Japanese and German both are high-quality, long-lasting, durable knives. They are made of different materials, have distinct styles of blades. Each style has its advantages and disadvantages, so if you’re buying your first set of knives or adding to your collection you should familiarize yourself with what makes them unique.
Japanese knives are forged with a hard steel (60-61 Rockwell scale). Whereas, German knives have softer steel (56-58 Rockwell scale). Most Japanese knife makers use VG MAX steel (68 layers of Damascus steel) for razor-sharp edge.
German knives have an angle of 20-22 degrees. On contrary to that, Japanese knives have an angle of 12-15 degree.
Japanese kitchen knives have straighter edges, as compared to German knives that have curved edges.
Japanese kitchen knives are lighter in weight as compared to German knives. For instance, a Japanese knife would weigh 150-200 grams, whereas German chef knives weigh around 250-300 grams.
Japanese knives can cost more than German knives, especially high-end models.
Japanese knives have wooden composite handles, such as Pakkawood or Rosewood. On the other hand, German knives use polyoxymethylene plastic in their handles for strong and comfortable grip.
German knives are thicker than Japanese knives, especially at the bolster. Which allows them to cut through tough items.
Japanese knives take the lead here, as they’re sharper than their counterparts.
Japanese knives are perfect for chopping vegetables, fish, fruits, etc, because of their thin blade. Whereas, German knives are perfect for cutting meat, bones, etc.
Cleaning and Care:
Both knives require proper cleaning and storage. If used roughly both can chip or break. However, Japanese knives require extra care because of their thin blade and sharp edges.
Popular Japanese Knives Brand:
- Shun Cutlery – Making Knives Since 1910s
- Global – Making knives since 1985
- Miyabi – Making knives since 2004
- Mac – Making knives since 1964
- Yoshihiro cutlery – Making knives since 1920s
- Misono – Making knives since 1960s
Popular German Knives Brand:
- Wüsthof – Making knives since 1814
- ZWILLING J.A. Henckels – Making knives since 1731
- Messermeister – Making knives since 1981
- GÜDE – Making knives since 1910
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Thoughts on Japanese vs German Knives:
Japanese and German knives are two of the most popular knives. And while both offer their own benefits, they also differ in several ways.
When choosing a kitchen knife, it is important to consider the work you will do with the knife. If you’re searching for a new set of cutlery, it may be useful to compare these two popular types of knives before making your final decision.
Both Japanese and German knives are excellent choices for chefs all around the world.
We at Kitchen Deets hope this comparison helps you in making the intelligent decision for your kitchen.