Detailed Shun Knives Review: The Best Japanese Knives

If you are hunting for a Shun knives review, chances are you have heard about the beauty, effectiveness and longevity of the popular Japanese knives. Admittedly, products from the brand tend to be more expensive than competing manufacturers of Japanese-style knives. Nevertheless, we shall go through a brief history of the organization, some of the best offerings in Shun knife lines and what it takes to settle on an ideal choice for your kitchen.

About Shun Cutlery

Shun comes from a Japanese word that refers to when food, either ripening fruit or cooking meat, attains its most flavorful state. The Shun Cutlery brand embodies this outlook, as seen through its numerous popular offerings. Also, the Japanese knife manufacturer combines ancient traditions to produce precision handcrafted knives blowing the competition out of the water in longevity, style and effectiveness. History is the brand's core value.

Shun's parent company, KAI Group, was founded in 1908 in Seki City. This strategic move ensured that the organization could take advantage of the city's long-standing reputation in crafting cutlery, blades and knives that began back in the 13th century. The company initially began as a razor and folding knife supplier. However, shun knives are now distributed to nearly 30 countries, which speaks to the reputation of their offerings.

Shun knives are commonly regarded as the best products on the market thanks to their gorgeous and functional designs, ultra-sharp edges and superb edge retention. Made by highly talented crafters dedicated to upholding tradition through unparalleled performance and aesthetics, the Shun knives only use premium and the finest materials to finish each item. Plus, the production process takes place in 100 steps.

Shun Knives Review

1. Shun Classic 8-Inch Chef's Knife with VG-MAX Cutting Core and Ebony PakkaWood Handle

Sale
Shun Cutlery Classic Chef's Knife 8”, Thin, Light Kitchen Knife,...
  • JAPANESE CHEF'S KNIFE: The Shun 8-inch Classic Chef's knife is the perfect all-purpose kitchen knife. It's ideal for preparing fruit,...
  • WIDE, CURVED BLADE: This Japanese kitchen knife has a wide blade that keeps knuckles off the cutting board with a curved belly that can be...
  • HIGH-QUALITY CONSTRUCTION: Constructed with Shun's proprietary VG-MAX cutting core and clad in 68 layers of stainless Damascus, this chef...
  • COMFORTABLE HANDLE: The D-shaped, ebony-finished Pakkawood handle is durable, beautiful, doesn't harbor bacteria, and comfortable to use for...
  • TRADITIONAL, ARTISAN CUTLERY: Inspired by the traditions of ancient Japan, Shun knives are handcrafted by highly skilled artisans to produce...

The Shun Classic 8-Inch Chef's Knife features a patented VG-MAX steel construction with components offering valuable perks. For starters, the build has tungsten that ensures the knives have a sharp edge. Secondly, the addition of chromium makes the blades corrosion resistant. Finally, carbon and cobalt add longevity and robustness to this Shun Classic line knife.

The PakkaWood handle is made from infusing hardwood with resin to increase its toughness and reliability over time. Plus, the water-resistant quality of the handle, along with its ebony finish, makes this Shun Classic knife stylish and durable. Finally, its D-shape ensures it remains comfortable in your hand and delivers smooth slicing, cutting and push-pull actions.

Pros
  • VG-MAX cutting core construction features high carbon stainless steel.
  • Corrosion-resistant blade.
  • PakkaWood handle is comfortable, stylish and durable.
  • Water-resistant finish for the handle for simple cleaning.
  • The Shun Classic knife has an extremely sharp edge that retains the razor nature for a long time.
Cons
  • You must be careful to avoid chipping or blunting the razor-sharp edge

2. Shun Cutlery Premier Chef's Knife

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Shun Chef's Knife Cutlery Premier, 8 Inch, Brown
  • JAPANESE CHEF'S KNIFE: The Shun 8-inch Premier Chef's knife is the perfect all-purpose kitchen knife. It's ideal for preparing fruit,...
  • WIDE, CURVED BLADE: This Japanese kitchen knife has a wide blade that keeps knuckles off the cutting board with a curved belly that can be...
  • HIGH QUALITY CONSTRUCTION: Constructed from Shun's proprietary VG-MAX cutting core and clad in 68 layers of stainless Damascus with a...
  • BEAUTIFUL, DURABLE HANDLE: The walnut-finished, contoured Pakkawood handle resists moisture, is comfortable to use, and offers precise...
  • TRADITIONAL, ARTISAN CUTLERY: Inspired by the traditions of ancient Japan, Shun knives are handcrafted by highly skilled artisans to produce...

Shun Premier 8-Inch Chef's Knife brings luxurious style and reliable function to any kitchen. Whether you are chopping, dicing or slicing, this knife's razor-sharp edge will help make quick work of your cooking tasks. In addition, this durable, yet lightweight knife, has a hammered Tsuchime look that carries a premium appearance while releasing food smoothly whenever you cut.

Moreover, the PakkaWood handle is contoured to give you a comfortable grip and help you do the meal prep work with minimal effort. Also, the walnut finish gives the entire knife a stylish finish. Consequently, these Japanese knives make for a fantastic gift and welcome addition to any kitchen.

Pros
  • These kitchen knives have a premium look to them.
  • Comfortable grip.
  • VG-MAX super steel with vanadium for the durability of the razor edge.
  • Corrosion-resistant cutting edge.
  • Lightweight construction.
Cons
  • Maintenance is key to retaining the knife's sharpness

3. Shun Sora 8-Inch Chef Knife VB0706

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Shun Cutlery Sora Chef's Knife 8”, Gyuto-Style Kitchen Knife, Ideal...
  • JAPANESE CHEF'S KNIFE: The Shun 8-inch Sora Chef's Knife is perfect for preparing meat, vegetables, fruit and more! It's THE must-have...
  • GYUTO-STYLE KNIFE: This Japanese kitchen knife is also called a gyuto. It is slightly less curved than a western chef's knife with a gentle...
  • HIGH-QUALITY CONSTRUCTION: The San Mai edge construction uses VG10 steel for a corrosion-resistant, razor-sharp cutting edge supported by...
  • COMFORTABLE, DURABLE HANDLE: Full-tang handle design made from a textured PP/TPE polymer blend for an easy-to-maintain contemporary look and...
  • TRADITIONAL, ARTISAN CUTLERY: Inspired by the traditions of ancient Japan, Shun knives are handcrafted by highly skilled artisans to produce...

With stainless steel layers, one on each side, the Shun Sora Chef Knife VB0706 also features a VG 10 cutting core and a San Mai blade upper. Consequently, this proprietary construction technology guarantees that the blade gives you years of reliable service. Additionally, since the Shun knife steels are permanently joined, the product will not detach with time.

Shun's Sora knives are easy to clean, thanks to their stain-resistant stainless steel construction. In addition, the handle is made from a blend of textured TPE for a better grip and an easier time cleaning the product. Finally, the hand-sharpened blade is easy to care for if you do not put it in the dishwasher.

Pros
  • Hard steel core increases durability.
  • The handle is ergonomically designed with a textured grip.
  • These Shun kitchen knives have superior stain resistance.
  • It retains its fine edge for longer.
Cons
  • The Shun's knives are not dishwasher safe

4. Shun Kanso 6-Inch Utility Knife

Shun Cutlery Kanso Utility Knife 6", Narrow, Straight-Bladed Kitchen...
  • UTILITY KITCHEN KNIFE: In between a chef knife and paring knife with a narrow, straighter blade, the Shun 6-inch Kanso Utility Knife is the...
  • SANDWICH KNIFE: Utility knives are sometimes called sandwich knives. They're perfect for preparing almost everything that goes into a...
  • HIGH-QUALITY CONSTRUCTION: Constructed from AUS10A high-carbon stainless steel refined with Vanadium, this kitchen utility knife is strong,...
  • BEAUTIFUL, DURABLE HANDLE: Made with contoured tagayasan, known as "iron sword wood," the full-tang handle construction is dense, durable,...
  • TRADITIONAL, ARTISAN CUTLERY: Inspired by the traditions of ancient Japan, Shun knives are handcrafted by highly skilled artisans to produce...

The Shun Kanso 6-Inch Utility Knife has a high carbon stainless steel blade that is versatile, precise and durable. These full-tang knives are well balanced despite the handcrafting manufacturing process. The cutting edge has a 16-degree angle and a slight curve to offer cleaner cuts.

Furthermore, the handle is made from natural Tagayasan wood which is solid and long-lasting while ensuring the knife looks premium. In addition, the handle is contoured for easy and comfortable holding when using it. Regularly using these Shun Kanso blades will improve their look since the rustic design will hide scratches.

Pros
  • The Kanso knives
  • The blade hides scratches and looks better the more you use it.
  • Full-tang quality improves its balance.
  • High-performance stainless steel construction.
  • The durable blade is versatile.
Cons
  • Handwashing is essential to maintaining the knife's sharpness

5. Shun Dual Core 6.5-Inch VG0017 Kiritsuke 8-Inch Knife

Shun Cutlery Classic Kiritsuke Knife 8”, Master Chef's Knife, Ideal...
  • MASTER CHEF'S KNIFE: Known as a master chef's knife, the Shun 8-inch Classic Kiritsuke Knife offers top cutting performance and versatility...
  • ALL-AROUND PREP: This Japanese kitchen knife will juliene, dice or brunoise vegetables with ease. It's an excellent choice for cleaning and...
  • HIGH-QUALITY CONSTRUCTION: Constructed with Shun's proprietary VG-MAX cutting core and clad in 68 layers of stainless Damascus, this chef...
  • COMFORTABLE HANDLE: The D-shaped, ebony-finished Pakkawood handle is durable, beautiful, doesn't harbor bacteria, and comfortable to use for...
  • TRADITIONAL, ARTISAN CUTLERY: Inspired by the traditions of ancient Japan, Shun knives are handcrafted by highly skilled artisans to produce...

Kiritsuke Japanese knives provide a multi-purpose cutting ability that sets them above the rest. An ideal example is the Shun Dual Core Knife that combines 71 micro-layers of VG 10 high-chromium and VG 10 high carbon variations of stainless steel. These materials make these kitchen knives incredibly sharp and wear-resistant.

Moreover, the dual-core design ensures that the different materials wear out at different rates. Eventually, you will notice micro serrations after prolonged use, which also adds to the cutting qualities of these Shun knives. Plus, the dual-core collection offers hassle-free cutting because the edges will remain razor-sharp for a long time.

Pros
  • Lightweight construction
  • Fantastic knives for multi-purpose use
  • This Japanese knife will offer serrated cutting perks over time
  • The handle has a comfortable grip and stylish finish
Cons
  • Like the other Shun knives, it is not dishwasher safe

Top Considerations When Selecting the Best Shun Knife

Our Shun knife comparison above gives you reliable recommendations for the best product in the Shun knife lines available. Nevertheless, since everyone wants to purchase Shun knives for a specific reason, a buying guide is crucial to help you make the right decision.

a). Build and Design

The Shun's knives handcrafted manufacturing process takes advantage of centuries of experience and skill to make Japanese-style knives. However, the different lines from the brand have numerous tweaks to their construction that make them suited for different cutting tasks. For instance, some of the blades feature a folded Damascus steel cladding with numerous layers for durability. Alternatively, some are made with different techniques that create softer steel.

The Shun Classic and Premier lines have a stunning wave pattern achieved through acid etching or bead blasting. The resultant texture on these blades ensures food slides off when cutting. Plus, this construction makes the Shun knives resistant to stains, impressively stylish and long-lasting. Similarly, the hammered finish in the Premier collection resembles the Japanese kitchen knives of old while reducing drag when cutting.

On the other hand, the Shun Sora line utilizes the San Mai crafting technique where soft steel surrounds a rigid steel core. While the outer layer offers shock-absorbing qualities, the stiff core provides rigidity and robustness. Although hard cutting cores make brittle blades that chip quickly, the combination of a softer layer enhances their durability.

b). Material

Whether you are using a chef or a paring knife, the material making up the cutlery determines the long-term usefulness of the blade. For instance, VG 10 and VG 2 combinations create a fine-grain edge that retains sharpness for long periods. Alternatively, a VG 10 construction offers resistance to wear and corrosion while ensuring superior strength.

On the other hand, VG-MAX build adds elements like tungsten, chromium, vanadium, chromium and molybdenum to improve the cutting performance and strength. Finally, the AUS10A construction of the Shun Kanso knives is resistant to corrosion. However, these options will not be as durable as the others.

c). Handle

PakkaWood, a combination of resin and hardwood, makes Shun's knife handles stylish and durable. For starters, the resultant material still retains the appearance of wood. Additionally, its water-resistant quality makes it simple to clean. Plus, you can get them in either blonde or ebony color.

The Kanso Collection of Shun knives has handles made from wenge wood or Tagayasan. The wood finish has a dark-grain look that does not fade. Additionally, the Shun Sora line utilizes a TPE/PP construction for its handles. The synthetic material may not be as visually appealing as wood, but its textured finish improves the grip.

Most handles will have a unique D-shape, from a paring knife to a longer chef's knife. This design choice ensures the blades do not slip or rotate while you use them. However, despite the claims that Shun knives are meant for ambidextrous use, the handle shape makes them difficult for left-handed people to use.

d). Maintenance

Using hard steel in making knives ensures the blades are durable. Nevertheless, these products are susceptible to chipping, which can be frustrating since they are pretty expensive. Plus, this drawback does not stem from the material being defective but from improper use of the blades. So, when you buy Shun knives for the first time, it is essential to understand the best way to care for them.

For starters, find a wooden cutting board and learn the appropriate knife skills. The way you cut and the cutting surface you use have a bearing on how long the product will last. Plus, when cutting meat, try to avoid using the knife of bones as the thin steel construction can chip in these situations.

Furthermore, the Shun knives dishwasher safe consideration is critical. Ideally, putting cutting tools in the dishwasher can damage the knife and other cutlery you wash with it since the device will throw it around. Thus, handwashing is a vital part of proper knife care. Plus, try to dry the Shun knives as soon as you finish washing them since the material may rust when left with moisture for long periods.

Finding a Shun knife sharpener can be challenging, mainly when you are not used to honing steel. Luckily, you do not have to sharpen Shun knives yourself since the company offers free sharpening services, although you will need to pay for the shipping. Alternatively, you can find dedicated options from the Shun brand that can help with maintaining the blade's sharpness.

Frequently Asked Questions on Shun Knives

1. Do Shun knives chip easily?

Although Shun knives are durable, their robust construction makes them susceptible to chipping when misused. However, if you avoid using the dishwasher and have decent knife skills, you can prolong the product's life. In addition, the Shun Classic line is pretty forgiving to mistakes which makes it an excellent option for people on a learning curve.

2. How often should I sharpen Shun knives?

The time it takes between each honing or sharpening session depends on how often you use the blade. Shun Cutlery recommends honing the knives every week and sharpening them every few months if you are an average user. However, since these blades are thin, frequently sharpening them reduces their durability significantly.

Image Souce: Flickr.com