Shun Classic

Shun is dedicated to maintaining this ancient tradition by continuing to handcraft each knife in our Seki City facilities. Each piece of this fine kitchen cutlery takes at least 100 individual steps to complete. While we maintain these ancient traditions of handcrafted quality, we also take advantage of thoroughly modern, premium materials and state-of-the-art technology to provide that traditional quality to millions of professional chefs and avid home cooks throughout the world.
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Shun Classic

Chef’s Knife

Shun Cutlery

Premier 8” Chef’s Knife

Shun Sora

Chef's Knife

Shun Classic 7”

Hollow-Ground Santoku


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Best Shun Knife Reviews in 2021

Choosing the best Shun knife is all about getting the knife that’s perfect for your style, skills, setup, and budget. While these premium knives are by no means cheap, simply going with one that looks great or has good ratings isn’t enough. Don’t be intimidated, we’ll guide you through what to look for and where to find it. Our goal is to get you informed and ready to make a great buying decision and get the best possible value for your money. Let’s dive in!

We’ve carefully selected 7 of our favorite Shun knives out of their broad collection on fantastic knives. You’ll find 7 knives that meet different needs and styles, while still offering an impeccable balance between price, performance, uniqueness, functionality, and much more.

We’ll show you what stands out about each knife and how it’s worth your attention. You’ll find what we liked and didn’t like about each knife so that you can build a clear idea of how well the knife would suit you – and how it performs in the real-world. Let’s get into our best Shun knife reviews!

Shun Classic Chef’s Knife

  • VG-MAX steel is a formula exclusive to Shun with extra tungsten for a sharper edge, more chromium for corrosion resistance and additional cobalt and carbon for strength and durability
  • Handle is ebony PakkaWood; PakkaWood is a hardwood infused with resin for a durable, water resistant finish, perfect for easy cleaning and tough enough for constant use
  • For proper slicing, push the knife forward and down while cutting through food and then pull it up and back, repeating the process in a “locomotive” motion; this prevents chipping for smooth cuts
  • “Shun” the Japanese word indicates a food’s peak ripeness; Shun draws on its Japanese roots and traditional blade-making practices to produce knives that perform excellently

Here’s an intelligently crafted knife made from robust premium materials. You’re getting extra tungsten to help get a sharper edge, added chromium for better corrosion resistance, and more carbon and cobalt to give the blade all the strength and durability it needs. We loved the ebony Pakkawood handle and how well it fits into your hand.

It’s been infused with a durable resin to give it resistance to moisture and bacteria. This goes a long way to keep your kitchen hygienic, especially in professional settings. The curved edge of the blade makes it exceptionally adept and slicing and dicing with a rocking motion. You’ll find the 8” blade gives you enough room to work with while remaining balanced and strain-free.

There’s a sleek and seamless transition from the handle to the knife that gives the knife an extremely premium look and feel. This combines excellently with the razor-sharp edge and center line tip to give you a versatile and capable chef’s knife. This top-rated best Shun knife deserves a place in any serious kitchen – and very quickly earns its keep.

Strengths :
  • Comfortable handle with excellent moisture and bacteria resistance
  • Fantastic edge retention
  • Slightly curved blade is ideal for cutting with a rocking motion
  • Robust and durable
Weaknesses :
  • A little on the weighty side
  • Handle can get slightly slippery when used with wet or oily hands

Shun Cutlery Premier Chef’s Knife

  • Premier 8-inch Chef’s knife will quickly become the most used knife in the kitchen; lightweight, agile and offering an extremely comfortable grip, users never want to set the knife down
  • Razor-sharp edge of blade is perfect for slicing, dicing and chopping a full range of fruits, vegetables and other foods; thinner, lighter blade makes this knife less tiring to use
  • Contoured, walnut-colored PakkaWood handle rests comfortably in any hand; hammered tsuchime finish helps release food easily when cutting for a smooth clean cut
  • Shun Cutlery knives make prep work fun and takes a typically mundane task from boring to exciting; Shun’s knives are hand-sharpened, handcrafted and have a strong Japanese heritage

The blade’s finish will immediately stand out to you as it spews class and finesse. This is one of the best looking Shun knives – though this is reflected by the slightly higher price. You’re getting all the benefits and versatility of an 8” chef’s knife packed into an agile and lightweight profile.

The comfortable grip makes the knife feel much lighter than it is, letting you work harder for longer. The walnut-colored Pakkawood handle is ergonomic and fits comfortably into different hand sizes. It has a contoured grip that gives you slip-resistance while still feeling incredibly smooth with expert handling and control.

You’re getting a hammered finish on the blade, which not only looks good but helps to keep food from sticking to the blade by creating little air pockets in the dimples. You’ll be able to get extremely impressive thin slices of meat and vegetables without tearing or breaking the slices.

This is a professional-grade premium knife that suits general kitchen work but doesn’t shy away from more demanding tasks. It’s one of the best shun knife options on the market and is perfect for both the budding and established professional/enthusiast.

Strengths :
  • Very comfortable to work with
  • Food doesn’t ever stick to the blade
  • Gorgeous design and finish
  • One of the sharpest edges on any Shun chef’s knife
Weaknesses :
  • A little on the expensive side
  • Hammered blade finishes aren’t for everybody

Shun Sora Chef’s Knife

    • The must-have kitchen knife – handcraft in Japan
    • Steel: proprietary composite blade technology; VG10 san Mai cutting core; Japanese 420J blade upper
    • VG10 is clad with one layer of stainless steel on each side to create the San Mai edge and provide stain resistance
    • Handle: traditional Japanese handle design in easy-care, textured PP/TPE blend. Blade Edge – Non-Serrated

Sitting at 8”, this is an incredibly versatile knife to have in your kitchen. While it’s a bit different from your standard Shun chef’s knife, its tip is powerful and the cutting edge is wicked sharp. The VG10 cutting core gives you all the cutting prowess you’d need for utility and general use, without compromising the knife’s stability and long-term durability.

You’re getting excellent stain and corrosion resistance that’ll keep the blade looking as good as new for longer. While this knife isn’t as well-suited to the professional kitchen, it can handle some of its rigors. When you consider the far lower price point, it’s easy to see the value you’re getting.

With a traditional Japanese handle and an incredibly sturdy bolster, you’ll be able to work without straining your hands. It’s hand-sharpened to a 16° bevel that holds surprisingly well. It’s easy enough to maintain and touch up when you need to, despite having a rather unique profile.

Overall, if you’re looking to break free from the standard chef’s knife and want something with a little style and flair, this might be the best Shun knife for you. It’s lighter on the wallet than most Shun knives and has the durability and performance of a far more expensive knife.

Strengths :
  • Excellent value for money
  • Unique blade profile and knife design
  • Insanely robust VG10 cutting core
  • Easy to clean and maintain
Weaknesses :
  • Not beginner-friendly
  • Sharp drop-off near the tip can cause you to accidentally stab and puncture while cutting (until you get used to it)

Shun Classic Hollow Ground Santoku Knife

  • Making meal prep faster, this all-purpose knife is excellent at chopping, dicing and slicing ingredients such as fruits, vegetables and meats; a reliable and versatile knife for any kitchen
  • Shun’s VG-MAX steel is an innovative and exclusive formula with extra carbon, cobalt, tungsten, vanadium and chromium for increased strength, durability, sharpness and corrosion resistance
  • The ebony PakkaWood handle is designed for comfort and control; PakkaWood is a genuine hardwood infused with resin, resulting in a water-resistant and durable finish

At 7”, this knife is slightly shorter than your standard 8” chef’s knife. It’s better suited to utility work around the kitchen and excels at chopping, slicing, dicing, and mincing. You can make quick work of vegetables and herbs with the rocking motion of the slightly curved edge.

The tip is pointed ever so slightly down to avoid accidentally piercing and ruining your meats. The blade is crafted with VG-MAX steel that gives it almost unparalleled resistance with the excellent edge retention and exquisite sharpness. This gives the knife the versatility you’d need to handle utility and general work in a professional kitchen.

We loved the rounded Pakkawood handle. It’s smooth without being slippery, and comfortable without being too heavy. The ergonomic shape gives you exceptional control over the blade and lets you work the tip effortlessly and quickly. It’s a great knife to work with when you’re under pressure as all these features come together to bring you an incredibly reliable and impressive experience.

You’ll find it easy to sharpen and maintain, letting it glide through your cuts without being too “needy”. If you like a slightly shorted blade with their enhanced functionality and handling, this might be the best Shun knife for the money.

Strengths :
  • Well-suited to high-pressure professional use
  • Easy to sharpen and maintain
  • Lowered tip avoids accidental piercing
  • Dimples on the blade stop food from sticking to it
Weaknesses :
  • Steel is quite brittle and can chip (cost of the impeccable sharpness)
  • Butt plate on the handle rusts over time

Shun Premier Nakiri Knife

    • Premier 5. 5-inch nakiri knife by shun
    • Featuring a thin blade perfect for cutting vegetables
    • Features layered damascus steel with a striking, hand-hammered finish (known as ‘tsuchime’ in japanese)
    • Hand-hammered finish reduces drag when cutting, keeping foods from sticking to the knife blade
    • Premium pakkawood handle nestles comfortably into the curves of the palm and allows for a variety of comfortable and secure grips

If you spend a lot of time working on vegetables, a Nakiri knife could get you working a whole lot quicker. The word “Nakiri” roughly translates to “cutting greens” and this knife is extremely efficient at it. The straight edge of the blade is wicked sharp and cuts straight through to the cutting board without needing any pushing or pulling.

With a little practice, you can build up incredible chopping speeds. The upper portion of the blade is inlaid with dimples to keep the chopped pieces from sticking to the blade. This lets you get rows of untarnished and perfectly preserved chopped vegetables.

You’ll love the larger rounded handle as it gives you plenty of grip strength and control over the downward cutting motion. You’ll get incredibly consistent and reliable performance which can be carried over to any professional setting. At a modest 5.5” long, this knife gives you plenty of room to work with while staying lightweight and super-easy to handle.

You won’t strain your hands, wrists, or forearms when working through more intensive tasks. It has all the resistance you’d expect from a professional-grade Shun knife and is durable enough to last for a year. While it’s not a cheap Shun knife by any measure, you’re still getting excellent value for money and knife worth investing in.

Strengths :
  • Very specialized and almost unequaled when it comes to chopping greens
  • Handle fits the curves of your hand
  • Dimpled blade reduces cutting friction and stops food sticking to it
  • Incredibly resistant with a very sharp edge
Weaknesses :
  • Doesn’t come very sharp right out the box
  • Edge retention could be better

How to Choose the Best Knife for You

Shun knives are among the most beautiful knives, so when you’re looking for the right thing to buy, it might be wise to put your eyes away in your pocket for a moment and think about precisely what it is you need most. Often people might get fooled by an attractive piece of equipment and soon end up receiving an unsatisfactory quality item that seemed to be an excellent buy.

The appearance comes later; focus on the task at hand – your primary needs. So here’s a couple of factors that you could use to assess if your needs are met.

Blade Material

Shun knives represent so much tradition when it comes to Japanese cuisine. A great blade requires a great handle to support it, and so it’s essential to check what type of material is used in the hold. Pakkawood is treated with a resin that creates high water resistance and durability. Many other types of wood go through similar processes to make them stronger.

Handle Grip

The typical symmetrical grip type is excellent for both left and right-handed people. In contrast, an asymmetrical grip will favor right-handers, although often lefties have said that it feels more comfortable when using it.

Blade Composition

Japanese steel is usually very hard, making the blade edges incredibly sharp and retainable. VG-10 and VG-Max are top-of-the-range high carbon steels that you should look out for. While a high carbon content makes a blade razor-sharp, it sacrifices hardiness and strength. Japanese steel needs to be very well taken care of and used appropriately.

If you intend to use these blades like a hardcore samurai, then you might be sorely disappointed; but they certainly won’t disappoint you when it comes to effectiveness. Stainless steel blades will be more durable and stain-free, but the blade edge might need to be sharpened more regularly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What Does VG-10 Stand for?

A: V – “Gold” 10. The Gold represents the highest quality. 10 stands for 1% carbon, which is very high by western standards. This type of steel also contains Vanadium, Chromium, Cobalt, and other compounds.

Q: What Is the Best Blade Angle for a Shun Knife?

A: Anything from 14 – 17 degrees is perfect for Japanese steel blades. These blades are often double bevel, meaning they are sharpened on both sides of the blade.

Q: Is It Ok if the Handle Is Not Full Tang?

A: A full tang handle might provide a slight increase in strength, but a full tang is unnecessary for the most part. It might increase the overall attractiveness of the knife, but that’s unfortunately as far as it goes. A composite or half tang will be more than good enough.

Q: What Does Shun Mean?

A: Shun is a Japanese term that refers to a time when most types of food are at their peak development; for the sweetest and most delicious “shun” experience you’ll have in the year.

Also Read: Best Chinese Chef Knife – Helping You Get Better Results

Final Thoughts

Well done for taking the time and effort to get informed. You’re on the right path to getting the perfect knife for you. Remember to note down any features you think you’d need most and try to find knives that focus on those. We’ve looked at some awesome knives and have built up a clear idea of the kind of value you can expect at the different points.

All that’s left now is pick a knife that works for you. Choosing the best Shun knife won’t be as overwhelming as it was before – and soon you’ll have a blade that boosts your skills and pushes you toward your goals!