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Today I will be reviewing one of the most well-known, top-tier quality brands of Japanese knives on the market today: Shun Knives. From a run-down of its history to its product line-up, in-depth reviews, competitor analyses, and topping it all off with a FAQ segment, there is nothing that will be left out of this review. By the end of the Shun Knives Review (or even at some point in between), I would hope that you are well-equipped with powerful tools of knowledge at your disposal so that you can make the best decision towards buying your next set of kitchen knives!

 

shun knives review

Table of Contents

History of Shun knives 

Born in the Land of the Rising Sun, Shun Knives’ story began in the 13th century in the Japanese town of Seki City. Known as the heart of Japan’s cutlery industry, the town has been the home base for manufacturing Shun Knives for over a century. As a country with a long-running rich history in crafting blades for samurai swords, Japan now crafts some of the highest quality culinary in the world.

Drawing on the inspiration of ancient Japan’s ancestral history, Shun knives are produced by highly skilled craftsmen that are dedicated to upholding tradition through unmatched performance and aesthetics. As such, Shun knives insists on a 100-step process to completing a single item, using only the finest premium materials and top-tier crafting technologies.

The word Shun comes from a Japanese term used to refer to a precise, seasonal time, such as the moment a fruit ripens or the point in cooking meat when it is at its most tasty. The purpose of Shun knives is thus to honor the philosophy of mindful, seasonal eating and implements this mindset into precise crafting of kitchen cutlery to a level of pure pinnacle perfection.

Indeed, the spirit of the samurai definitely lives on through Japanese kitchen culinary, and Shun knives are a perfect representation of this undying tradition.

 

Shun Knives Review

Here are the most popular Shun knife set reviews and their most popular individual knives reviewed. 

Shun Kanso 6-Piece Block Set Review

Shun Kanso 6-Piece Block Set; Includes 3.5” Paring Knife, 6” Utility Knife, 8” Chef’s Knife, 5.5” Hollow-Ground Santoku, Kanso Combination Honing Steel and Sleek Wood Block with Two Additional Slots

What’s Included:

  • 3.5-inch Paring Knife
  • 6-inch Utility Knife
  • 8-inch Chef’s Knife
  • 5.5-inch Hollow-Ground Santoku
  • Kanso Combination Honing Steel
  • Sleek Wood Block with Two Additional Slots

Shun Kanso 6-Piece Block Set; Includes 3.5” Paring Knife, 6” Utility Knife, 8” Chef’s Knife, 5.5” Hollow-Ground Santoku, Kanso Combination Honing Steel and Sleek Wood Block with Two Additional Slots

Pros:

  • Highly refined, high-carbon AUS10A Japanese steel
  • Added vanadium for a lasting razor-sharp edge
  • Tagayasan handle for ergonomics, high durability, and stunning finish
  • Full-tang construction for strength, balance, and easy cutting control
  • Sleek wood block makes a convenient home for the knives
  • Limited lifetime warranty and free sharpening

Cons:

  • Requires maintenance to keep sharpness
  • Not dishwasher friendly

Overall Shun Kanso 6-Piece Block Set Review:

Shun Kanso 6-Piece Block Set; Includes 3.5” Paring Knife, 6” Utility Knife, 8” Chef’s Knife, 5.5” Hollow-Ground Santoku, Kanso Combination Honing Steel and Sleek Wood Block with Two Additional Slots

This 6-piece set is one of Shun’s most uniquely designed ranges, coming in with the classic tagayasan handle and high-carbon AUS10A Japanese steel for a superior cutting performance. It’s got all the fundamental knives you need and is built to last a lifetime, provided it is well-maintained. A full-tang construction means the blade and handle are of one piece of steel, which makes this set of Shun knives very well-balanced and high in strength.

Rated quite well with 4.6 stars by their users, this set can give you a solid foundation, and with the elements of the AUS10A steel, you won’t need to worry about rust or corrosion plaguing these cool Kanso knives. You can check the price here. 

 

Click here to buy this knife set  

 

Shun Sora 6-Piece Block Set Review

Shun Sora 6-Piece Block Set Including 3.5-Inch Paring Knife, 6-Inch Utility Knife, 8-Inch Chef’s Knife, Herb Shears, Combination Honing Steel and 11-Slot Bamboo Block; Stainless Steel Knife Set

What’s Included:

  • 3.5-inch Paring Knife
  • 6-inch Utility Knife
  • 8-inch Chef’s Knife
  • Herb Shears
  • 9-inch Combination Honing Steel
  • Bamboo Knife Block

Shun Sora 6-Piece Block Set Including 3.5-Inch Paring Knife, 6-Inch Utility Knife, 8-Inch Chef’s Knife, Herb Shears, Combination Honing Steel and 11-Slot Bamboo Block; Stainless Steel Knife Set

Pros:

  • VG10 triple-layer san mai cutting edge for ultra-superior results, where it matters most
  • Polished Japanese 420J stainless steel upper blade for durability and strength
  • Hand sharpened to 16 degrees on each side for a razor-sharp edge
  • Textured PP/TPE handle for ergonomics, high durability, and modern look
  • Layered construction creates serrated cutting properties that improves over time
  • Bamboo knife block makes a convenient home for the knives
  • Limited lifetime warranty and free sharpening

 

Cons:

  • Requires maintenance to keep sharpness
  • Not dishwasher friendly

 

Overall Shun Sora 6-Piece Block Set Review:

Each knife in this set brings something special to the table. Whether it’s precision cuts with the paring knife, larger cuts with the utility knife, or the best of both worlds with the chef’s knife. All made with the classic VG10 material that Sora is known for; these blades combine a triple-layered construction comprising two layers of stainless steel with a VG10 clad as its core.

With a highly durable upper blade combined with a sharp VG10 lower blade, you get a range of durable and high-performing knives at your disposal with the Sora 6-piece block set. In addition to the knives on offer, the set also comes with a pair of herb shears, and if you’re anything like me and never heard of this term, it’s essentially a scissors-like tool used for delicately cutting stems and stripping herbs.

To top it all off, you get a nice honing steel rod to maintain those blades and keep them well-positioned for their next use. VG10 steel with triple-layer construction and all these extras to keep your knives in check, the Sora 6-piece set is a good recommendation for a set to last you the distance.

 

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Shun Premier 7-Piece Essential Block Set Review

Shun Premier 7-Piece Essential Block Set; Includes 8-inch Chef’s Knife, 6.5-inch Utility Knife, 4-inch Paring Knife, 9-inch Serrated Bread Knife, Herb Shears, Honing Steel and 11-Slot Knife Block

What’s Included:

  • 8-inch Chef’s Knife
  • 6.5-inch Utility Knife
  • 4-inch Paring Knife
  • 9-inch Serrated Bread Knife
  • Herb Shears
  • Honing Steel
  • 11 Slot Knife Block

 

Pros:

  • Fine-grained, enhanced VG-MAX Japanese super steel
  • Added vanadium for lasting razor-sharp edge
  • Extra volumes of elements added to MAXimise the durability and performance properties
  • Pakkawood handle for ergonomics, high durability, and modern-look finish
  • Corrosion-resistant, sharp, 16-degree long-lasting cutting edge for seamless cutting
  • Woodblock makes a convenient home for the knives
  • Limited lifetime warranty and free sharpening

Cons:

  • Requires maintenance to keep sharpness
  • Handle not symmetrical i.e., favors right-handers

Overall Shun Premier 7-Piece Block Set Review:

Shun Premier 7-Piece Essential Block Set; Includes 8-inch Chef’s Knife, 6.5-inch Utility Knife, 4-inch Paring Knife, 9-inch Serrated Bread Knife, Herb Shears, Honing Steel and 11-Slot Knife Block

This 7-piece set provides all the basic knives of a typical set but with an added bonus, the 9 inch serrated bread knife. Combining the VG-MAX advantage with a serrated blade for difficult cutting tasks, this set has it all. The blades in this set are sharpened to 16 degrees for a smooth cutting and slicing experience. Overall, the VG-MAX series simply does not disappoint when it comes to performance and lasting properties. My only pet peeve with this set is the handles because while they are made of premium pakkawood material, which is great, they lack symmetry in their design and are hence catered for right-handers. I personally think that inclusiveness should always come first, so I am a bit let down in that aspect. Without blowing this downside out of proportion, this really is one of the best sets of knives on the market without a doubt. Just make sure you are right-handed, ambidextrous or a really tolerant left-hander before going ahead with the Shun Premier Set.

 

Click here to buy this knife set  

 

Shun Dual Core Yanagiba Knife Review

Shun Dual Core 10.5-inch Yanagiba with Ebony PakkaWood Handle; Premium-Quality Stainless Steel; Thick, Rigid Blade for Perfect Sushi Knife; Handcrafted by Artisans in Japan

What’s Included:

  • 10.5 inch Yanagiba Knife
  • Combined VG2 and VG10 blade construction
  • Pakkawood Durable Handle

Pros:

  • Dual-core construction makes it easy to glide through cuts with grace
  • Pakkawood handle is moist-resistant and durable
  • Easy to maintain and easy to clean
  • Hand sharpened to 16 degrees for superior razor-sharp edge
  • Limited lifetime warranty and free sharpening

Cons:

  • Requires maintenance to keep sharpness
  • Not dishwasher friendly

Overall Shun Dual Core Yanagiba Knife Review:

Shun Dual Core 10.5-inch Yanagiba with Ebony PakkaWood Handle; Premium-Quality Stainless Steel; Thick, Rigid Blade for Perfect Sushi Knife; Handcrafted by Artisans in Japan

For those wondering about the word “Yanagiba,” it is a Japanese word meaning “willow leaf blade” and is a knife primarily used for slicing sashimi. With 71 layers of two alternating premium stainless steels and a thicker blade stock, making for a seamless glide through fillet-like textures. Made for the finer sides of cutting, I would not recommend this knife for cutting tough meats or breads, as it’s more for maintaining the smoothness of your food’s texture rather than taking down a beast. Ideal for sushi lovers and aspiring cooks, the Shun Dual Core Yanagiba Knife is a great choice for a specific purpose.

 

Click here to buy this knife   

 

Shun Classic 7-Piece Essential Block Set review

Shun Cutlery Classic 7-Piece Essential Block Set; 11-Slot Bamboo Block, 3.5-inch Paring Knife, 6-inch Utility Knife, 8- inch Chef’s Knife, 9-inch Bread Knife, Herb Shears, Combination Honing Steel

What’s Included:

  • 3.5-inch Paring Knife
  • 6-inch Utility Knife
  • 8-inch Chef’s Knife
  • 9 inch Bread Knife
  • Herb Shears
  • Combination Honing Steel
  • 11-Slot Bamboo Block

Pros:

  • Includes serrated bread knife to tackle tougher cutting tasks
  • VG-MAX cutting core for superior durability and cutting performance
  • Corrosion, stain, and rust-resistant
  • Pakkawood handle for durability, ergonomics, and modern look
  • Bamboo block for convenient knife storage
  • Limited lifetime warranty and free sharpening

Cons:

  • Requires maintenance to keep sharpness
  • Not dishwasher friendly

Overall Shun Classic 7-Piece Essential Block Set Review:

Shun Cutlery Classic 7-Piece Essential Block Set; 11-Slot Bamboo Block, 3.5-inch Paring Knife, 6-inch Utility Knife, 8- inch Chef’s Knife, 9-inch Bread Knife, Herb Shears, Combination Honing Steel

This 7-piece set contains the essential knives to get you started, as well as an added serrated-edge “shark teeth” bread knife for tackling difficult cutting tasks, such as tough breads, meats, or pineapple and coconut shells. The knives in this set are all equipped with VG-MAX blades, which MAXimise the beneficial properties of Japanese stainless steel, making it the top pick within the VG series. With a limited lifetime warranty and a staggering 4.7 stars rating by real customers, you won’t regret going for this set.

 

Click here to buy this knife set  

 

Shun Classic Blonde 5-Piece Starter Knife Block Set Review

Shun Classic Blonde 5 Piece Starter Knife Block Set; Chef’s, Utility, and Paring Knives with Honing Steel and Block; PakkaWood Handles, VG-MAX Blades , Large

What’s Included:

  • 8-inch Chef’s Knife
  • 6-inch Utility Knife
  • 3.5-inch Paring Knife
  • Honing Steel
  • Storage Block

Shun Classic Blonde 5 Piece Starter Knife Block Set; Chef’s, Utility, and Paring Knives with Honing Steel and Block; PakkaWood Handles, VG-MAX Blades , Large

Pros:

  • VG-MAX advantage through superior blade construction
  • Pakkawood handles for ergonomics, durability, and modern look
  • Hand sharpened to 16-degrees for a razor edge that lasts
  • Honing steel included to keep knives in good shape
  • Wooden block for convenient knife storage
  • Limited lifetime warranty and free sharpening

Cons:

  • Requires maintenance to keep sharpness
  • Not dishwasher friendly

Overall Shun Classic 5-Piece Essential Block Set Review:

Shun Classic Blonde 5 Piece Starter Knife Block Set; Chef’s, Utility, and Paring Knives with Honing Steel and Block; PakkaWood Handles, VG-MAX Blades , Large

Ideal for boning, slicing, and cutting through meats, these Shun Classic knives are a touch above the rest with its VG-MAX advantage and layered steel construction comprising a total of 69 layers of stainless steel. The cladding of these blades make each knife in this classic set both stain and corrosion resistant while supporting the cutting strength of the core. The razor-sharp edge of these knives are at a steep angle of 16 degrees which makes cutting and slicing an absolute pleasure and something of a therapeutic nature. The only downside of this set is the absence of the serrated bread knife, but a great set nonetheless.

 

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Shun Premier Chef Knife review

Shun Premier Grey Chef Knife, 8 inch VG-MAX Steel Blade, Cutlery Handcrafted in Japan

What’s Included:

  • 8-inch Shun Premier Chef Knife
  • VG-MAX Steel Blade
  • Pakkawood Handle

Pros:

  • VG-MAX advantage through superior blade construction
  • Pakkawood handles for ergonomics, durability, and modern look
  • Hand sharpened to 16-degrees for a razor edge that lasts
  • Corrosion and stain resistant
  • Limited lifetime warranty and free sharpening

Cons:

  • Requires maintenance to keep sharpness
  • Not dishwasher friendly

Overall Shun Premier Chef Knife Review:

Shun Premier Grey Chef Knife, 8 inch VG-MAX Steel Blade, Cutlery Handcrafted in Japan

All in all, this knife is an excellent buy. Made for superior slicing, dicing, and chopping, and with a durable blade that is lightweight and high aesthetically pleasing to gaze on. Additionally, the materials used to produce this blade make it highly resistant to stain and corrosion. The design is absolutely stunning, with a hammered upper blade and an ultra-sharp lower blade for max durability and ultimate performance all in one. Rated 5 stars on Amazon, the Shun Premier Grey Chef Knife is practically flawless. If you aren’t a fan of getting a full knife set, then this is the single item you’re looking for to get a grip on the Shun experience without investing too deeply into it. 

 

Click here to buy this knife   

About Shun knives

Shun Premier Chef Knife, 6 inch, VG-MAX Steel, Nimble and Lightweight, Handcrafted in Japan

 

What is the Shun product lineup?

The range of Shun products I will be reviewing in this article is long and vast. On a high-level view, they will all be Shun knives, so there’s no need to worry about unnecessary reviews of irrelevant products. So to make your life easier, I will be sharing a quick-look list down below, just show-casing each Shun knife product that will be reviewed in detail further down the article. So without further ado, this is the Shun product lineup:

  • Shun Kanso 6-Piece Block Set
  • Shun Sora 6-Piece Block Set
  • Shun Premier 7-Piece Essential Block Set
  • Shun Dual Core Sushi Knife
  • Shun Cutlery Classic 7-Piece Essential Block Set
  • Shun Classic Blonde 5-Piece Starter Knife Block Set
  • Shun Premier Grey Chef Knife

 

Materials Used

Each Shun knife is crafted with the highest quality steel materials. Shun knives steel can be described as a combination of iron and carbon, in which the atoms of one element make up the free space between the atoms of the other element and vice-versa. The result is an intricately joined material we know as steel.

This material is then enhanced with additional ingredients to promote certain characteristics, depending on the intended purpose of the specified knife. The various specific types of steel offered by Shun knives will be covered in the following sections.

 

Handle Materials

shun handle pakkawood

It’s not all about the blades, though, and Shun knives are well-aware of this. Hence, special care is taken to craft the knives’ handles, and of course, that means good quality materials to start with. Natural woods and synthetic materials are used to create the handles, which are all ergonomically friendly, easy to use, and simply stunning in design.

The high-quality woods used also add to the overall durability of Shun knives, allowing for a lifetime of use if handled and cared for appropriately. There are 3 main types of handles offered by Shun knives: Pakkawood, Tagayasan, and Textured PP/TPE:

 

PakkaWood:

This is the most common handle you will find on Shun knives. Made of premium materials of genuine hardwood injected with resin, these handles are resistant to moisture, strong, and highly durable.

These handles are polished and sanded for a beautiful shiny finish. Shun knives offer a range of designs for its PakkaWood varieties, coming in with different colors and patterns so that there’s a style for everyone.

 

Shun Classic Blonde 6” Utility Knife, Blonde PakkaWood Handle, Full Tang VG-MAX Blade Tagayasan:

Found in the Kanso full-tang blade range, the Tagayasan material is a unique dark-colored wood that took on the name of “iron sword wood” by the people of Japan as a result of its super durable nature. This is because the wood is extra hard and extra tough, which requires a greater level of handcrafting that will last a lifetime of use. Shun knives’ craftsmen have purposely designed this handle with an angle that enables an ergonomic pinch grip when using.

Shun Kanso 6.5-Inch Boning/Fillet Knife; Stainless Steel Blade Handcrafted in Japan; Tagayasan Wood Handle; Tradition Meets Innovation with Every Slice; Optimal Control for Delicate, Precision Cuts

 

Textured PP/TPE:

The final type of handle offered by Shun knives is made of the lesser-known Textured PP/TPE material. For those wondering, it stands for PolyPropylene/ThermoPlastic Elastomer. If you’re like me and have no idea what that means, then just think of it as a plastic material, essentially.

This handle is both lightweight and durable and comes in an aesthetic traditional Japanese design, complete with the Shun knives’ logo engraved near the tip. This material is used in Shun’s Sora knives range, giving them precision, balance, and an excellent grip that’s easy to maintain.

 

 

Shun Knife Steels

Shun Premier Chef Knife, 6 inch, VG-MAX Steel, Nimble and Lightweight, Handcrafted in Japan

AUS-10A

This high-carbon stainless steel is made in Japan and is high in strength and durability, made to deliver great results for a lifetime of use. Backed with solid corrosion resistance, toughness, and high resistance to wear-and-tear. Additionally, the material contains vanadium which refines the steel’s grain for a concise, sharp edge for the perfect cut.

 

AUS-8A

Also, with a high-carbon stainless steel range, the AUS-8A also comes with low-chromium properties, which enhance its ability to be sharpened. Tested and proven for a perfect balance between strength and durability, this blade is used as a meat cleaver due to its tougher steel, but also as a classic fillet cutter thanks to its flexible properties. To top it off, AUS-8A is resistant to corrosion and holds its edge for a long time before sharpening is required.

 

VG10

This complex blend of metals combines iron and carbon with added chromium, manganese, molybdenum, silicon, and vanadium. Known as a “super steel,” the VG10 is both stain-resistant and holds a fine edge for a superior cut. The blend of elements in this make-up produces a texture of steel that is both fine and sharp, with a long-lasting edge.

 

VG2/VG10

Known as the Dual Core steel, VG2/VG10 combines the previously described VG10 with the finely grained, high-carbon, high-chromium Japanese VG2 stainless steel that maintains a very sharp edge. These two sheets of steel are welded together and roll-forged to create the cutting core of the Dual Core, which comprises alternate pattern layers. Cleverly, these patterns will wear at different rates, meaning that over time the micro-serration properties of the blade will develop and become more effective with use.

Shun Knife Steels

VG-MAX

This steel takes the high-carbon properties of the VG-series (yup, you guessed) to the max! Used in Shun’s Classic and Premier knives series, this line of VG is higher in strength and durability than its predecessors and raises the volume of many of the beneficial elements such as chromium, tungsten, molybdenum, and vanadium. The result is an impact-resistant, corrosion-resistant, highly durable blade with maximum edge retention for enhanced cutting performance.

 

SG2

Slightly different from every metal described so far, the SG2 is a “powder steel” that can be extremely hard and unbreakable. Sharper than most steel blades, this line is able to hold a super narrow-angle as well as an ultra-thin blade. Easy to care for and built to deliver higher results for longer, the SG2 stays sharp for a long time and can be found in Shun’s Hiro knives’ range.

 

Blue Steel

Like the VG series, Blue Steel is high in carbon, with a carbon steel core sitting between two stainless steel layers. This blade is easy and fast to resharpen and comes with a beautifully sharp edge for an effective performance. On the downside, this blade is a little more prone to rusting than the others, so extra care is needed to protect the blade from corrosion. Fortunately, Shun provides a “knife care kit” to counter this flaw and provide extra protection.

Shun Sora 6-Piece Block Set Including 3.5-Inch Paring Knife, 6-Inch Utility Knife, 8-Inch Chef’s Knife, Herb Shears, Combination Honing Steel and 11-Slot Bamboo Block; Stainless Steel Knife Set

 

Shun Knives Product lines

 

Shun Classic

Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife with VG-MAX Cutting Core and Ebony PakkaWood Handle; All-Purpose Blade for a Full Range of Cutting Tasks with Curved Blade for Easy Cuts; Cutlery Handcrafted in Japan Perhaps the most popular line of Shun products, the Shun Classic series applies the VG-MAX super steel as its core, making it sharper and more durable. Wrapped in a whopping 34 layers of folded Damascus steel on each side of the blade, knives of this series are highly stain resistant. In addition, the handle is made of an ergonomically friendly Pakkawood handle with an asymmetrical D-shape for very comfortable ease of use.

Designed for right-handers but also has seen some success among left-handers, Shun recommends that left-handers seek the Premier series for an optimal experience. Expanding on the Classic series, Shun also added the Shun Classic Blonde knives, which are essentially the same in terms of the blade, but have a lighter finish on the Pakkawood handle for a more “modern look.”

 

Shun Kanso

Shun Kanso 6-Inch Utility Knife; High-Performance, Narrow Stainless Steel Blade Ideally Suited for Precise Kitchen Tasks; Rustic Heritage Blade Finish; Full-Tang, Premium Wood Handle

This collection has the most unique look compared to the other Shun products lines, with a simple design and traditional wooden handle. The blade of Kanso knives is made of AUS-10A steel and is both well balanced and possessing a sharp edge.

The tagayasan wooden handle is very dense and highly durable, and the overall “heritage” finish of the Kanso range actually hides scratches very well too, so that’s a plus!

 

Shun Premier

 

Shun Premier Chef Knife, 6 inch, VG-MAX Steel, Nimble and Lightweight, Handcrafted in Japan The Premier series are hand-made knives and one of Shun’s most popular product lines on offer. Made with VG-MAX steel, this range uses a hammered texture that produces a pattern on the blade which helps to reduce friction and increase the non-stick properties as the blade is cutting through foods. The handle is made of premium Pakkawood which is designed for right and left-handers alike and is highly ergonomic with a symmetrical shape too.

Shun Sora

 

Shun Sora Chef's Knife, 8 Inch, Cutlery Handcrafted in Japan, VB0706, Black Sora, meaning “sky,” is made of a 3-layer VG10 steel cutting edge with a 420J polished finish on the upper section of the blade. This blade places the expensive components where it matters most, with the cutting edge of the lower end of the blade made with the VG10 so that the blade is durable where needed and sharp and high performing where needed. To top it off, the Shun Sora comes with a textured PP/TPE plastic handle which is highly ergonomic, comfortable, and easy to maintain in the long run.

 

Comparing Shun Knife Lines

 

Shun Premier Grey Chef Knife, 8 inch VG-MAX Steel Blade, Cutlery Handcrafted in Japan Shun Kanso vs. Classic

The immediate difference between Kanso and Classic is the look, with Kanso showing a more traditional look with a heritage-style finish and a tagayasan wood handle at the end of a 3-layer VG10 steel. The Shun Classic looks a little more modern with the Pakkawood handle and VG-MAX blade, and I would say it performs a little better, too since it takes the VG properties to the next level. Kanso is better as an ambidextrous option, whereas Classic is a bit of a letdown for left-handers.

 

Shun Classic vs. Premier

The Shun Premier uses the same VG-MAX blade as the Classic but differs with a hammered finish which gives the Premier a non-stick advantage when cutting. The handles also differ slightly, with Premier using the walnut-style pakkawood while Classic goes with ebony pakkawood. However, Premier’s handle is ambidextrous, while Classic is asymmetrical, so keep that in mind, particularly for all the left-handers out there.

 

Shun Sora vs. Classic

Shun Sora is a step down from Classic in terms of VG, going with the VG10 compared to Classic’s VG-MAX. It also uses Japanese 420 polished stainless steel on the upper section of the blade, which gives it some extra durability, saving the VG for the actual cutting section. Perhaps the greatest difference between these two lines are the handles, as Sora boasts the angled textured PP/TPE plastic handle while Classic sticks with the pakkawood design. While both are good handles, again, keep in mind the Classic series only has asymmetrical handles that favor right-handers.Shun Sora 6-Piece Block Set Including 3.5-Inch Paring Knife, 6-Inch Utility Knife, 8-Inch Chef’s Knife, Herb Shears, Combination Honing Steel and 11-Slot Bamboo Block; Stainless Steel Knife Set

 

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How Does Shun Knives Compare to Other Kitchen Knife Makers?

Shun Knives vs. Cutco

Indeed, in a tale of East vs. West, we have the Japanese Shun Knives up against the all-American Cutco Knives. Both are very high-quality brands of knives but differ greatly in their manufacturing processes. As mentioned all throughout the article, Shun uses Japanese premium steel that ranges from AUS10A to the VG series and so on.

Cutco, on the other hand, uses a simple high-carbon stainless steel. While Shun has more variety in its materials and product lines, Cutco knives are slightly sharper, with 15-degree angles on each side of the blade, compared to Shun’s 16-degree finish. Another important difference is the time spent in the business, with Cutco joining the markets in 1949 while Shun is relatively newer as a 2002 brand.

Most importantly, perhaps, is that Shun Knives offer a far wider range of product lines compared to Cutco Knives, so that’s definitely worth considering. Learn more about them in our Cutco knives review.

 

Shun Knives vs. Henckels

Shun Knives and Henckels Knives are similar in what they offer, but not in how they offer it. The German Henckels are not quite as durable or sturdy as Shun’s range and generally range between 56 and 57 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale, which is significantly lower than Shun’s blades which score an average of 61.

In terms of sharpness, Henckels blades are sharpened to about 15-degree sharpness, which is slightly sharper than the 16-degree finish of Shun knives. Additionally, Henckels’ santoku range one-ups this for a razor-sharp 10 degree finished edge, making slicing extremely seamless. Learn more about them in our Henckels knives review.

 

Shun Knives vs Wusthof

Another top-tier German brand, Wusthof knives, are sharpened to a super sharp 14-degree angle per side, which makes them significantly sharper than the typical Shun knife. Wusthof’s western-style knives are sharper but also thinner than Shun knives, which makes them less durable than the latter.

Shun’s steel blades are also harder in composition, which actually backfires when it comes to being prone to chips on the edge due to more pressure being put on the blade’s edge. The final thing to consider is that Shun knives have more product lines available than Wusthof knives, specifically 11, compared with Wusthof, which have 7. Learn more about them in our Wusthof knives review.

 

Shun Knives vs. Miyabi

Miyabi Knives is perhaps Shun Knives’ greatest rival, as both brands of knives are manufactured in the “sword-crafting hub” of Japan, Seki City, so it is far more difficult to iron out the subtle differences between the two. The most significant difference I can see, however, is related to the handles, as the blades are fairly the same as the VG series and AUS10A steel options.

While Shun mainly uses Pakkawood material as the knife handles, Miyabi knives use Micarta plastic, which is quite durable in itself. In terms of sharpness, Miyabi knives are far sharper, ranging from 9 to 12-degree angles per side, compared to Shun’s 16-degree finishes.

Not just that, but Miyabi blades have greater edge retention due to a harder blade, with Miyabi reaching scores of 66 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale, while Shun caps at 62. On the other hand, this means Miyabi blades are more brittle than Shun knives, which ultimately compromises on durability. Learn more about them in our Miyabi knives review.

 

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Shun Knives FAQ

Where are Shun Knives made?

Shun Knives are made in Seki City, Japan.

What is Shun Knives warranty?

Limited Lifetime Warranty. 

Is Shun Knives dishwasher safe?

Yes, but it is recommended to hand-wash anyway. This is because Shun Knives were not fully intended to (or even tested) for dishwashers. So while some customers have reported that the knives are perfectly fine in the dishwasher, you can’t be too sure, and risks definitely exist.

Are Shun Knives good?

Yes. Shun Knives are crafted by Japan’s best and have received positive praise from everyday users and professionals alike.

Shun Knives Reviews: What Do Customers Think?

Shun Knives are praised by customers all over the world and often receive high ratings on their products from real users.

Do Shun Knives Have Promotions & Discounts?

Yes. See the Shun Knives website for details on promotions and discounts.

What is Shun Knives Shipping Policy?

Shun Knives offers free shipping depending on which set you buy or if you spend a certain amount.

What is Shun Knives Return Policy?

Shun Knives allow you to return your product and have it replaced or resharpened for free but do not cover the shipping costs in this instance.

Why Should You Buy Shun Knives?

You should buy Shun Knives if you are a professional chef, everyday cook, or simply a kitchen enthusiast looking to upgrade your knife sets. The quality and warranty of these knives alone are reasons to purchase Shun Knives.

 

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Are Shun Knives worth it?

Absolutely. Shun Knives do not compromise on quality and have a vast range of product lines for you to choose from that can cater to a variety of needs.

 

Where can I buy Shun Knives?

You can purchase Shun Knives directly from the Shun Knives website. Other third-party websites such as Amazon also provide links for you to purchase Shun Knives, but I would recommend going straight to Shun’s website to ensure you know exactly what you are buying.

 

Bottom Line: Should You Buy Shun Knives?

All in all, Shun Knives is a solid brand of Japanese kitchen knives that delivers awesome results that last you a lifetime, provided you use them correctly, of course. There is something for everyone with Shun Knives, and you will honestly feel as though you are personally customizing your knife with the sheer amount of options they have available, both in terms of steel blade options and handle choices.

From the high-carbon VG series, which add to the knives’ durability and strength, to the SG2 range, which specializes in ultra sharpness, and the “powder steel” material, which makes it stronger than most, practically unbreakable, there really is something for everyone. Highly durable steel materials from the famous town of Seki City, you know that with Shun you are getting the best quality.

Limited lifetime warranty and free resharpening are amazing add-ons to the whole package too, which makes it easier to at least give them a go before making a final decision on whether Shun is for you. Most knife sets come with great bonus items too, such as honing steel rods to keep your knives well-positioned and convenient wooden blocks to keep your knives stored properly. 

 

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