Been in the market for my first good knives - mostly want either a Chef's Knife or Santoku as well as a paring knife.

I'm left handed and unsure if Santoku blades will work just as well for me or not. I'm obviously not a pro but before I spend $60-$100 on a knife I'd like to make sure I'm buying something intelligent that will last. I've only ever used a Chef's Knife but the more I read the more I think a Santoku might be better for me.


Any knife that has a symetrical blade profile should be ambidexterous in use. Santoku and chef knives typically come with a symmetrical profile1, so you should be able to get a decent choice, whichever of the types you finally choose. Whether you chose a V-shaped or double-bevel, a hollow cut or a convex blade is ultimately up to you, your intended uses and your honing skills. Some knifes feature an asymmetrical edge, but as these are often intended for special uses and for left- or righthanded use (depending on the orientation of the sides), a good manufacturer should point this out.

If in doubt, either ask your sales person or simply look closely at the blade. Another option is laying the blade flat on the table (or on a wooden block, if the hilt gets in the way) and pressing along the cutting edge. The angle of the sharp edge will "lift" the spine. If it behaves the same way on both sides, you should be fine, whichever is your dominant hand.

And a big thanks to a ESultanik below who reminded me: Knife handles are not necessarily designed ambidexterously, even if the blade is. In fact, I suggest "trying on" every knife you are willing to spend more than a few dollars on - it should feel safe and comfortable and fit your hand size and grip well. A handle that doesn't fit your hand is uncomfortable at best, dangerous at worst.

1 This forum discusses various styles, including pictures.

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  • Guess I'll have to ask since the one I am looking at is online (Kickstarter) and doesn't specify. Thought, I guess incorrectly, that Santoku blades were usually not symmetrical. Thanks for clarifying and offering the tip for checking. – Ryan Oct 5 '15 at 17:16
  • Ya, just wanted to ask here before I made myself sound stupid asking them. They replied that all the knives are designed ambidextrously and should work fine for me. Now just to decide if I want to buy just two (Paring+Santoku or Chefs) or their entire 5 piece set. – Ryan Oct 5 '15 at 17:23
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    While the blade may be ambidextrous, keep in mind that some knives have contoured handles that are designed for a specific handedness. Manufacturers of such knives typically offer a left-handed version, though. – ESultanik Oct 5 '15 at 17:53
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    Stephie, you might want to mention single bevel knives. You covered Symmetrical, but single bevel knives are not really ambidextrous. – Escoce Oct 5 '15 at 17:58
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    @Stephie I am taking symmetrical to mean double bevel. Single bevel would be asymmetrical. – Escoce Oct 5 '15 at 21:09

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