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If there’s anything every chef around the globe can agree on, it’s that kitchen knives should be razor-sharp, well-built, and comfortable to grip even for the longest of periods. Otherwise, what’s the point of your cutlery arsenal anyway, right?
Let me tell you; experience is one thing, but blade craft is a different ballgame – and one that Shun plays well. Everything included in the process of making their knives is top-notch, from the steel choice to the design and craftsmanship. If there’s anything that my vast experience as a chef has taught me over the years, it’s that Shun is one of those brands that not only provide some of the finest cutlery pieces on the market but also offer excellent post-purchase support that’ll surely cover all your needs and concerns.
So, how good are the knives in Shun’s different lines? Find out in our Shun knives review.
Shun Knives Review Center 2019
|#1 - Shun DMS2100 Classic 21-Piece Mega Block Knife Set||99%|
|#2 - Shun Classic 10-piece Knife Block Set||96%|
|#3 - Shun Classic 6-piece Slim Knife Block Set||93%|
|#4 - Shun DM0706 Classic 8-Inch Chef's Knife||89%|
|#5 - Shun Premier Santoku Knife, 7-Inch||85%|
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Now that you’ve seen our top 5 recommendations, we’ll give you more detail on each of them, including why we liked them. When you’re ready, click the yellow button to get the best price on Amazon!
#1 – Shun DMS2100 Classic 21-Piece Mega Block Knife Set
Topping our list is the cutlery version of “Large and in charge”, the Shun DMS2100 Classic Knife Set, which comes at a steep price. It’s all justifiable though. Looking stylish and swish in a nice 22-slot bamboo block, this collection promises a user experience and efficiency to rival any other. Shun designed this knife set to have a number of impressive features, and what you’re getting is pretty worthwhile
The collection includes every knife you may ever need in your cutlery arsenal, including two chef’s knife, bird’s beak knife, paring knife, serrated utility knife, Santoku knife, slicing knife, veggie knife, vegetable cleaver, boning knife, offset Bread Knife, and six steak knives, along with a carving fork, honing steel, and not one Kitchen Shear, but several of them. All those items come right from Shun’s Classic line, which tells a lot about the quality you can expect.
Each knife in this set features a hand-sharpened blade that’s forged in the same way Samurai swords are forged, with a VG-Ma core sandwiched between two layers of steel on each side. They also feature a 16-degree cutting angle each. In the common lingo, that means that these knives can cut through practically anything that comes their way. Isn’t that convenient?
Furthermore, the material is easy to clean and maintain and can sustain a sharp edge for quite a while. Rest assured knowing that these blades will last for a good number of years sharp enough with little to no maintenance.
The handles of these blades offer a fantastic combo of strength, balance, and looks. They boast an ergonomic, artistic design, making them easy to grip and incredibly comfortable in your hands.
What we like about it
Honestly, we love everything about this knife, and that’s why it tops our Shun knife review list. It’s a complete collection that includes everything you need in a kitchen knife arsenal, and every included item reflects the high-quality for which Shun is known. These knives are perfectly weighted and balanced, with a full tang that ensures stability, comfortable well-designed handles for comfort, and razor-sharp blades that will hold their edge for as long as you’re using this set. The stylish bamboo block is just the cherry on top as it can look perfect on any kitchen counter. If you don’t mind the high price tag, this is definitely an excellent knife set to consider.
#2 – Shun Classic 10-Piece Knife Block Set
Okay, we hear you. 21 pieces of cutlery may seem like a far-cry for some people, especially those just starting out in this world. If that’s the case for you and you’re still interested in a premium knife set from Shun, here’s the solution: get yourself the next collection in our Shun knife reviews: the Classic 10-Piece Knife Block Set, which is handcrafted in Seki, Japan.
The knives in this set are also quite sharp, some of the sharpest on the market, all thanks to the San Mai technique used when forging them. Using these blades, you can become the Samurai you’ve always aspired to be. The San Mai technique involves sandwiching a VG-MAX cutting core between 34-layers of stainless steel on each side, which ensures that the knives are ultra-sharp out of the box and that they will hold their edge for a good number of years. On the Rockwell scale of hardness, these blades score 60-61, which is quite sharp if it’s your first time hearing about this scale.
As for the handles, they feature the same D-shape used in the 21-piece block knife set mentioned above, and they are made of ebony Pakkawood to ensure strength, durability, and comfort.
These knives include a Chef’s knife, Santoku Knife, Honesuki Knife, Paring Knife, Nakiri Knife, Kitchen Utility Knife, and a Carving Knife, as well as the extras; a Combination Sharpening Steel and Shun’s Multi-Purpose Kitchen Shears, all inside a Deluxe Bamboo Knife Block that will look incredible on any kitchen counter.
Maintenance for this set is a breeze, although you need some extra care when washing the knives. Should you take care of them properly, you’re bound to get a cutlery arsenal that will last for a lifetime. Make sure to get a quality Cutting Board along this set as it will make the difference when it comes to longevity.
What we like about it
When dealing with cutlery, the material can be the axis of success for a sharp cutting product. Since this set includes knives that are made using the San Mai technique, you should expect nothing less than ease of maintenance, sustainable edge, and durability. The handles are also comfortable even when you’re using the knives for long periods. In a nutshell, this is the perfect Shun knife set for people who want to hone their skills and get them to the next level. Granted, the set is a bit expensive, but for the quality, you’re getting, it’s worth every penny.
#3 – Shun Classic 6-piece Slim Knife Block Set
“Man, are these knives sharp”. If you don’t get it, that’s the first things anyone using the 6-piece Slim Knife Block Set says.
This collection includes six items, following a “minimal but effective” approach, which are: a Chef’s Knife, Paring Knife, Santoku Knife, Combination Honing Steel, and Shun’s Multi-purpose Kitchen Shears, all in a slim Knife Block made of stylish dark wood. As you can see, you get two extra spots in the block, in which you can place any other knives you may need, which we doubt will ever happen as the set is quite complete.
Following the same fashion as the other sets in our Shun cutlery review, these knives boast hand-sharpened blades that feature a VG-MAX cutting core, with 34 layers on each side, along with stainless Damascus cladding. The edges score 60-61 on the Rockwell Hardness scale, all thanks to the material, craftsmanship, and 16-degree double-bevel cutting angle that they offer. These knives aren’t a joke, they are the real thing, which is to be expected from a Shun product.
Thanks to the D-shape design and ebony pakkawood construction, Shun’s knives deliver an unbeatable experience when it comes to comfort, stability, balance, and ease of use. The handles are made for heavy-duty usage, and you won’t feel tired gripping them no matter what you’re cutting and how long you’re doing it.
For maintenance, all you have to do is hand wash the knives using gentle soap then dry them immediately after every usage. That way, not only will you keep them clean and shiny, but you’ll ensure that they’ll keep their edge for long.
What we like about it
This Shun knife set got an overwhelmingly favorable response from both experienced and novice chefs for the great comfort, durability, and balance the knives offer. The collection contains all the essential pieces for your cutlery personal. The harmony between the ultra-sharp, San Mai forged blades, the comfortable pakkawood handles, and the stylish dark wood block is bound to turn you your culinary experience into something that you like to do day and night.
#4 – Shun DM0706 Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife
Do you know what my grandma used to say? She says “A Chef’s knife for a cook is like a hammer for a carpenter. It may seem replaceable, but there’s nothing you can do without it”. Man, aren’t those the wisest word I’ve ever heard when it comes to culinary. It’s true, your Chef’s knife is the workhorse of your kitchen, and it reflects how much you care about your cutlery skills, and when it comes to this category, nothing can rival Shun’s DM0706 Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife.
Not only is this knife beautiful and stylish, but it also offers all the premium features that Shun is known for. From the VG-10 core covered in 32 layers if high-carbon steel to the rust-resistant, patterned surface, reflecting the stylish look of Damascus steel, the DM0706 has it all. This knife is a godsend for those who decide to scrap their cheap blades in favor of a premium piece of cutlery that can last for decades, literally.
The hand-sharpened 16-degree cutting edge of the blade gives it enough strength and sharpness to cut through anything. Shun’s chef’s knife is suitable for cutting, slicing, chopping, dicing, and any other culinary job around the kitchen. Add that to the comfortable D-Shaped, pakkawood -based handle, and you’ve got yourself a knife that can take your cooking and food prep skills to the next level.
But do you know what sold us out on this knife? It’s dishwasher-safe. Yep, you read that right. No need to spend your time cleaning and drying this knife every time, just throw it in the dishwasher along with your Dinnerware Set and you’re good to go. And the people at Shun have great trust in their products, they’re providing a limited lifetime warranty with their 8-inch chef’s knife. Quite convenient, if you ask us.
What we like about it
While many brands rely on the weight of the knife to do the work when cutting, which is the case for Wusthof Knives, Shun adopts the Japanese approach and relies on the blade’s sharpness. Whether you need a knife for dicing, chopping, slicing, or any other cutting task, the Shun DM0706 Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife got you covered. It’s versatile, it’s durable, it’s ultra-sharp, and more importantly, it’s dishwasher safe. In other words, this knife checks all the boxes in the best shun knife checklist, for that it’s totally worth the price you’re paying.
#5 – Shun Premier Santoku Knife, 7-Inch
Shun is a Japanese brand, for that, it’s totally normal for their Santoku knives, the Japanese all-around kitchen blades, to be of the highest quality on the market. The main perk of this knife is it can last…forever. Like seriously, Shun forges some long-lasting blades that don’t need much maintenance. What we’re saying is, you probably won’t have to buy another all-around knife after this one.
Although this knife can be used for anything around the kitchen, including chopping, slicing, and dicing, it’s best suited for veggies. If you think that you don’t need a dedicated blade for vegetables, try Shun’s Premier Santoku, and you’ll change your mind in no time. The Shun 7-inch Santoku can cut vegetables in one slice, without leaving any strand hanging, which is the case for most knives in this category. That efficiency is primarily due to the razor-sharp, layered Damascus steel blade and the hand-hammered finish that guarantees a great reduction in drag and sticking when cutting food.
The handle is made of pakkawood, and it’s designed in a way that allows it to fit and rest comfortably in any palm, which means that you can grip it for as long as you’d like without feeling tired.
Finally, although hand-washing is preferred, this knife is dishwasher-safe, which comes as a relief for those who dread spending time hand washing and drying their utensils every time. Nevertheless, it’s always recommended to hand wash your cutlery pieces and to dry them immediately for them to last longer in your kitchen.
What we like about it
If you’re a fan of Japanese blade-craft, you’ll certainly be interested in the Shun Premier 7-inch Santoku Knife from their Premier line. Not only is it durable, sharp, and comfortable to grip, but it features a beautiful design that’s bound to add a nice touch to your kitchen. If you’re one to brag about your cutlery items, you shouldn’t miss getting this knife. Sure, it’s good to have a sharp knife, but it won’t be as important as having a good-looking knife from a well-known brand in case you’re having guests over.
How we Chose the Top Shun Knives in our List
Getting Japanese knives is slowly seeping into the kitchen habits of thousands of Americans, and when it comes to Japan-styled blades, no brand can rival Shun.
Shun uses the handcrafting techniques of ancient Japan to produce some of the finest cutlery items available today, and although it has a significant catalog of knives in every shape and style, for every taste and purpose, the above Shun kitchen knives gauged our interest and caught our attention for several reasons, which include:
What’s the most critical aspect of any Japanese knife? That’s right, the construction. What Shun offers, in this case, is the impressive San Mai techniques, which is the same that the ancient Japanese used to make katanas.
The San Mai technique involves using two materials for the blade, one for the core, the other for the outer layers. The materials used in Shun knives are the VG-10 stainless steel with made of resin-impregnated hardwood Damascus steel layers on each side for the core, and high-carbon steel for the outside. That’s a perfect combo that’s hard to beat, which gives Shun the edge (pun intended) over its competitors in this department.
Shun’s knives boast NSF-certified pakkawood handles that are made of resin-impregnated hardwood. These handles can fit any palm to provide exceptional comfort even for extended periods of time, something that would appeal to any cook, be it an experienced or a beginner one.
Let’s be honest for a second, shall we? One doesn’t buy cutlery pieces only for cutting, chopping, and slicing, but also for show. Shun knives reflect the Japanese style in a perfect manner through the hand-hammered finish, which is known as ‘Tsuchime‘ in Japanese, that they provide.
The weight and balance of a knife are essential factors to consider, as they dictate how well the blade will perform on different surfaces. Shun knives excel in this department as well, thanks to both the handles, full-tang, and blade construction.
All of the aforementioned products check all the boxes when it comes to the material used, the comfort they offer, the style they boast, and the balance they provide, which is why they made it to our list of the best Shun knives.
Different Types of Shun Knives
Today, knives come in all shapes, sizes, styles, and materials. Gone are the days when the line was clear between brands and models. Nowadays, it’s more of a chaotic, a hard-to-understand market. Even within the collection of the same brand, you may find different types of cutlery pieces, which is the case for Shun, whose catalog includes a wide array of models. So, which are the different types of Shun knives?
Single Knives Vs. Knife Sets
There isn’t a single purpose for knives. As a matter of fact, different tasks require different blades. While some people may prefer getting each knife separately, be it because they want to try different brands or get their items one piece at a time whenever the budget allows it, others prefer getting their needed cutlery items in a single purchase by getting a full set.
Here you have two choices; if you already have a cutlery collection and you only need an extra Chef’s knife or Meat Cleaver, for example, then the single-knife route is the way to go. If, on the other hand, you are just starting out and don’t have a serious collection in your drawer, then you’re better off getting a full set at once as that would be more economical. Just make sure to pick a reputable brand, such as Shun, and you’re good to go.
Chef’s Knife Vs. Santoku Knife
Although both of them are intended to be all-purpose knives, there are some differences between the two. The chef’s knife features a curved edge that allows it to go on a rocking motion, the same you see professional chefs perform on TV. The curved blade of the chef’s knife makes it suitable for chopping and slicing big quantities of veggies and meats. In other words, a chef’s knife is the more versatile solution, one that’s built for efficiency and speed. If you’re comfortable with that motion, we recommend sticking with Chef’s knives.
The Santoku knife, on the other hand, has a straight edge without a pointed tip, which means that it’s more suited for chopping small bunches of veggies and mincing herbs in a quick and efficient manner. The wide nature of the blade makes it also useful when you need to scoop the ingredients to put them in a pan or bowl. If an all-around knife that’s suitable for small tasks is what you need, the Santoku knife is a solid choice to consider.
Japanese Vs. German Knives
The Japanese vs. German knives debate has been going for years, and there’s no clear winner here. It all boils down to your preferences. The first rely on the sharpness and edge of the blade for the cutting, while the later use the weight as the strength factor. Shun knives are Japanese, which means that they’re more suitable for delicate cutting tasks and they can cut through food effortlessly without leaving any mess.
Forged Vs. Stamped Blades
Compared to stamped knives, forged blades are heavier, thicker, and more durable, but they are also more expensive, giving them the upper hand. Shun knives are forged and hand-sharpened, which explains their high price point.
Why You Need the Best Shun Knives in Your Kitchen
While many people swear by other brands, such as Yoshihiro Knives, Ginsu Knives, and Dalstrong Knives, mainly for their affordable prices, there’s no sense denying that you get what you pay for, and that if you want to get premium quality, you need to be ready to pay premium prices.
Shun knives are worth every penny, and you definitely need some of them if you want your cutlery arsenal to be complete. So, how can the best Shun knives make your life easier? Glad you asked.
First and foremost, by having Shun’s sharp, rust-proof blades, you’re bound to cut your meats, veggies, and fruits without causing a mess. Shun promises to make your chopping, slicing, and dicing tasks a breeze. We all know the frustration of having to cut something using a dull knife, it sucks big time. The right blade should be able to work as a Food Chopper, Bread Slicer, or even an Avocado Slicer. Shun knives can take care of that and more.
Second, culinary is one of the most dangerous aspects of the kitchen. It’s where most accidents happen, mainly due to slippery. Not only do Shun knives offer excellent performance when it comes to sharpness and easy cutting, but they also boast comfortable and reliable pakkawood handles that won’t slip off when you’re preparing your dinner, and, therefore, won’t cause grave accidents around the kitchen.
Finally, Shun knives are durable. Their prices may seem steep at first, but they’re not intended for short-term use, they’re built to last for a lifetime, which is why you need some of them in your kitchen cutlery arsenal if you want it to last for years to come.
While you’re here, check out some of our other kitchen accessories and knives! As always, we recommend you keep your knives sharp with an electric knife sharpener, as well as safely kept in either a knife block or on a magnetic knife strip held safely in your kitchen pantry or kitchen island.