Users of small gyutos, why?

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Jul 31, 2021
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Ontario canada
Hey gents, been doing some reading and recently had my interest piqued by a 150mm tf denka, ive seen alot of love for smaller gyutos in the 180-195 range around here as well. I was curious as to what people like about these small gyutos compared to a long petty or similar sized bunka/santoku!
I really like a 180-200 gyuto.

Let me start with why I like them.

1. I don't have a ton of cutting space. Sufficient but not wide open so the reduced length is a little more friendly to that situation.

2. I often like a nimble, versatile knife. A 180 that isn't overly tall say something in the 45ishmm range can do great work in a pinch grip or with my finger on the spine and the right profile supports various cutting techniques.

3. I primarily cook for two so my prep quantity isn't what it used to be.

4. I rarely feel under-knifed and now that I have a suji, if I do need to cut something beyond a 180's reach, I most likely grab it instead.

As to the long petty or bunka/santoku comparison, for the petties, they're usually shorter in both length and height so I see them as quite different knives. Bunkas and santokus aren't bad but I do find myself starting to gravitate away from the 165 length because the 180 is just such a comfortable, versatile length. 180 gyutos will more often than not have a curvier profile but with santokus they are more likely to be flat. Bunkas have that finer tip compared to santoku but one thing I discovered after using bunkas is that there are times when I use two hand's to make a cut. One on the handle and my finger tips out on the end of the knife. Like when cutting a block of cheese. That angled tip can let your fingers slip off pretty easily. A sort of specific use-case but I did notice it.

I guess it just comes down to them suiting my all round style better.
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Or just ask yourself "why not" and buy it.

It's pretty much what decides most of everyone here always getting something else in the end. :p
180 is a convenient length for small jobs. Not just for the actual cutting part, but also all the handling - walking around with it, setting it down, washing and drying, etc. Plus a 180 is less length to sharpen when you hit the stones, and again with all the handling conveniences of a smaller knife. I’m not going to slice a brisket or cut a butternut squash with one, but a single onion, some garlic and tomatoes for tomato vodka sauce? Sure thing.

I use a 180 gyuto and bunka interchangeably. The height of the bunka is nice for the guiding knuckle, but not a huge deal either way. My wife has a 165 santoku that I’ll grab to cut oranges, but otherwise is really too small for me to consider cooking with.
Nimble and low i assume are the benefits. I find in gyuto shape 210 is the minimum (especially denka - my grip changes a lot with the finger notch). Maybe I’m not the person to be answering this.. I like using a 270 to mince garlic 😬😬.

For sub 210 knives, pretty much only weird stuff like nakiri, or the couple of unconventional bunka.. I wouldn’t really want a bunka in the normal shape, but the Takeda and togashi’s tall bunka are specialized enough that they do see couple times a week use.
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They use these “gyotos” so they can pretend they aren’t using santokus.

At that length the name is meaningless. I use this size for limes and lemons or when my 7 year-old wants to cut something.
Small workspace = small knives. IMO 180-200 is the perfect size of a line knife in a professional environment or for a tight workspace in a home kitchen. Nice for delicate on board tasks as well
Really like my 180’s but I make a lot of salads, fruit and garden and I find they are perfect for that. But honestly my needing one was more of an excuse to get more knives since I have all the big boys I need, but I have found the 180’s get use quite a bit more than I originally thought they would.
Working with a smaller gyuto is faster given the product is small as well. That's my attraction to them anyway.