The santoku knife may look a lot like a chef’s knife—but it’s got a few key differences that make it an incredibly useful tool, and an essential in every kitchen. Originally from Japan, the santoku—which translates to “three uses” or “three virtues”—is around 5 to 8 inches (versus the chef’s knife which can be up to 10 inches), has a slightly more square build which gives it a weightier feel, and a less pointy tip.

We’ve chosen some of our favorites.

Agile and very, very sharp. Amazon

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Forged in Germany, Wusthof’s santoku knife marries the best elements of a chef’s knife and a cleaver. This 5-inch model is especially agile, with a balanced feel and nice weight despite its small stature. And, of course, it has a wonderfully sharp blade.

A kitchen staple. Amazon

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This 7-inch santoku knife is also made from high quality German steel that won’t tarnish. But it also comes with the perk of being dishwasher friendly, making it not only indispensable as a kitchen tool, but also easy to take care of.

Slice and dice. Amazon

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Mercer Culinary’s santoku knife is one of the best for its value. At 7 inches, it’s perfect for chopping vegetables and meats. The high carbon steel holds its edge well, resisting corrosion, stains, and rust. Make sure you hand wash this blade to keep it in its best condition.

A choice you’ll use for years. Amazon

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Cutluxe’s 7-inch santoku knife is perfect for prepping meats and dicing tough veggies, with a durable three-riveted handle, and a hand-sharpened blade. A tapered end mixed with a taller blade height mean that fingers are protected and out of the way when chopping.