The Wüsthof Classic Santoku has not been included in any professional tests. However, users at Amazon.com and Cooking.com are generally enthusiastic about its size, sharpness and comfort. Emma Christensen of the TheKitchn.com cooking blog finds the santoku very versatile: "The tip is great for fine cuts," she reports, "while the blade closer to the handle is solid enough for serious thwacking." Christensen also says that with her small hands, the length of the blade feels more comfortable and easier to control than a larger chef's knife. Other users like this knife's size and weight as well. Owners at Cooking.com say it is the ideal size, and at Amazon.com it is described as both lightweight and sufficiently hefty. The balance is also universally praised.
We found only a couple of small quibbles about this knife's performance among users. Although it's sharp, some owners say it's not as sharp as a Japanese blade, and a couple of users complain it doesn't hold its edge well enough. Also, we saw one or two comments that this shorter knife can't handle heavy-duty chopping.
Like other Wüsthof knives, the Classic Santoku is made of forged steel. This means that the entire blade is hammered out of a single piece of metal, as opposed to being stamped out of a piece of sheet steel. Although forged blades don't always outperform stamped ones in professional tests, they are generally viewed as more durable. The blade is hollow-ground, meaning that it has indentations along its length to keep food from sticking to it. Users generally say this feature helps but doesn't entirely eliminate sticking.
Another feature that adds to durability is the knife's full tang construction, with the metal of the blade running down to the end of the handle. It's secured to the plastic outer surface with three rivets, and there's a bolster (a protective lip of metal) between the handle and blade. We saw very few complaints about this knife's durability. However, several owners warn that to make it last, users must care for this knife properly. This means hand washing (although the handles are technically dishwasher-safe), drying promptly and storing in a block or on a magnetic strip, rather than in a drawer where it can bang around.
The Wüsthof Classic has a more European design than many santokus. From the riveted handle to the blade marked with the manufacturer's name, this knife resembles a traditional chef's knife more than it does a Japanese santoku. Users generally don't have much to say about this knife's looks, positive or negative; they're more concerned with its performance.
The Wüsthof Classic Santoku 4183 lacks the professional comparison testing necessary to make this a top pick. However, based solely on reports from consumers, it appears to be a solid performer with durable construction. Users, especially those with smaller hands, find the design (a short, nearly straight blade that curves just slightly at the tip) is easier to handle than a heavy chef's knife. It's also less than half the price of the top-rated Shun Classic Santoku (*Est. $170). For the price, it's definitely a good buy.
Report Credibility: Very Good Emma Christensen, associate recipe editor at the food blog TheKitchn.com, admits that she is "no knife whiz." Rather than details about construction and shape, her chief requirements for a knife are that it cuts well and feels good in her hand. For these criteria, she says, the Wüsthof Classic Santoku 4183 is the best knife she's ever tried. She finds the 7-inch blade much more manageable than a large chef's knife and says it works well for nearly every kitchen task, "from mincing herbs to boning chickens."
Review: Emma's Favorite Knife: Wüsthof 7-Inch Santoku Knife, Emma Christensen, March 25, 2011
Report Credibility: Good In more than 130 reviews, users at Amazon.com give the Wüsthof Classic Santoku 4183 an overall rating of 4.7 stars out of 5. They say its weight and balance are just right, and the handle grip is comfortable. Although users say the blade is very sharp, a few complain that it doesn't hold its edge well and needs regular sharpening. Although most users think the hollow-ground (indented) edge helps keep food from sticking to the blade, they say it doesn't eliminate sticking entirely.
Review: Wusthof Classic Hollow-Ground Santoku, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2012
Report Credibility: Good The Wüsthof Classic Santoku 4183 receives nearly 100 ratings from owners at Cooking.com, an unusually high number for this site. It also receives a near-perfect overall rating of 4.9 stars out of a possible 5. Owners generally say this knife is a very good value: very sharp, well balanced and comfortable to hold. They also find the size ideal for most uses. The only negative comment we found was about its price.
Review: 7-in. Classic Santoku Knife by Wusthof, Contributors to Cooking.com, As of October 2012