Fine Cooking likens a chef’s knife to a dance partner: The right one moves with you effortlessly. Could a Shun chef knife be your next kitchen partner? Shun has a reputation for producing great knives with good value. Yet is it the right one for you?
To find your best kitchen match, it is essential to understand what you need and how you work in the kitchen. Testing your current knives to know how you do tasks like mincing herbs, dicing onions, or slicing squash can help you understand your style.
What Makes a Shun Chef Knife a Cut Above the Rest?
Shun is a Japanese cutlery company, known the world over for its high-quality, handmade blades. The word “shun” in Japanese means the moment that food is at the height of perfection. Therefore, a Shun chef knife is intended to help take your food to that level of perfection.
A Shun chef knife will differ slightly depending on the product line. Shun chef knives are available in all the various lines of Shun cutlery. Their classic 8-inch chef’s knife gets 4.5 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon and costs $ to $$ depending on sales and vendor.
1. Cook’s Knife
- Enjoy the luxurious, handcrafted Classic Western Cook’s Knife featuring Shun Cutlery’s innovative technology and…
- Influenced heavily by Japanese traditions and ancient sword smiths, Classic Cook’s Knife reflects meticulous designs and…
- Western Cook’s Knife includes a beautifully sculpted, ebony, patented PakkaWood handle that provides controlled,…
Some Shun product lines may also include what the company calls a “Cook’s Knife.” An “Asian Cook’s Knife” is a knife style known as a “gyuto,” and is analogous to a Western-style chef knife. Gyuto is agile knife, suitable for cutting through a variety of foods. These knives tend to be lighter in weight than a Western chef knife.
Shun also offers a “Western Cook’s Knife” in their “Classic” product line. This Shun chef knife has the same profile as its other chef knives. The cook’s knife features a Western-style 22-degree angle. In contrast, Shun sharpens its other knives to 16 degrees. This Western-style edge is to help cooks cut through items that may need more heft, like hard squashes.
The Western cook’s knife gets 3.7 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon and costs.
2. Shun Classic
- The 10-inch Chef’s Knife offers a longer blade than other models, providing increased reach and leverage, which…
- Instead of a forceful up-and-down motion that rips or tears, push the blade forward and down to cut, then pull it…
- VG-MAX cutting core is supported by 68 layers of Damascus cladding, formatted by a process of layering various metal…
The Shun Classic line features contemporary styling with classic function. These blades are Damascus steel with a pakkawood handle. This yields a sharp edge with a beautiful pattern.
Shun Classic offers three versions of the Shun chef knife. First, the Classic 10-inch comes in at 4.4 out of 5.0 stars with a price of $$ to $$. Then there’s the Classic 8-inch Chef Knife mentioned above. Last, there’s a stainless 6-inch version, with a price of $ to $$ and an Amazon rating of 4.4 out of 5.0 stars.
3. Shun Premiere
- With all the versatility of a chef’s knife, this nimble 6-inch blade provide exceptional power for hassle-free, everyday…
- With a smaller blade than other chef’s knives, the Shun 6-inch Chef’s knife is an easy-to-control blade with enough…
- Shun’s VG-MAX steel is an innovative and exclusive formula with extra carbon, cobalt, tungsten, vanadium and chromium…
Shun Premier knives are distinctive, eye-catching knives with their hammered, tsuchime finish. They are VG-MAX steel with Damascus steel cladding. The Shun Premier line offers a chef knife in three lengths: 6-inch, 8-inch, and 10-inch. They also have a 7-inch Asian Cook’s Knife.
Seven-Inch Asian Cook Knife
4. Shun Sora
- An all-purpose knife enhancing every kitchen, the Shun 6-inch Chef’s Knife is capable of a range of cuts on a variety of…
- The hand-sharpened, 16-degree blade, a signature of Shun kitchen knives, retains its edge over long durations of time…
- Lightweight blade fashioned with a slightly curved belly enhances versatility of the Sora Chef’s Knife and provides…
The Sora line is Shun’s foray into the budget knife line. These knives are made from composite steel and have a polymer handle. Shun Sora offers a chef’s knife in two lengths: the 6-inch Sora Chef Knife and the 8-inch Sora Chef Knife.
The 6-inch version costs $ to $ and earns a 4.2 out of 5-star rating on Amazon. The 8-inch knife, also priced at $ to $, got 4.3 out of 5.0 stars.
5. Shun Kanso
- High-carbon, vanadium stainless steel blade takes a razor-sharp edge, holds it longer, 8-inch blade is easy to maneuver;…
- Modeled after the traditional Japanese gyuto, this all-purpose kitchen knife is handcrafted and hand sharpened in Japan….
- Wood handle is slightly contoured, enabling an easy chef’s grip; chop, slice, dice, peel, carve, mince and pare in…
For those looking for more traditional styling, look to the Shun Kanso line. These knives are AUS10A steel with a heritage finish that effectively hides scratches. This line features full-tang construction with an ironwood handle. There is only one Shun Kanso Chef Knife, available in 8-inch size. It’s rated at 3.6 out of 5 stars with a price around $$ to $$ on Amazon.
- Lightweight, precisely balanced 8-inch or 20cm chef’s knife
- Blade made of high-tech molybdenum/vanadium stainless steel
- Edge retains razor sharpness exceptionally well
Global is a Japanese cutlery company, known the world over for their high-quality, single-construction knives with stamped blades. The company offers three different product lines, all of which feature at least one chef’s knife.
The Global Classic 8-inch Chef Knife is an all-purpose workhorse of a knife. As a Global Classic knife, it is a single-piece construction blade with a hollow handle with a non-slip grip. It is CROMOVA 18 steel. This knife retails for between $$ and $$ online. You can find it at Amazon, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Chef’s Catalog. It has an Amazon rating of 4.6 out of 5.0 stars.
The Global Classic Chef Knife generally gets good reviews. Food and Wine magazine named the Classic 8-inch their “Best Lightweight Chef’s Knife Pick.” Likewise, New York Magazine also named this knife their Best Chef’s Knife.
Reviewers on Sur La Table love the Global Classic 8-inch chef knife. Most reviewers comment on its lightweight and easy maneuverability. Another reviewer says that their Global Classic is their go-to professional knife.
- Handcrafted in Seki, Japan
- Fabricated from revolutionary FC61 fine carbide stainless steel – 61 Rockwell hardness
- Ice-hardened FRIODURx2 blade offers exceptional durability, cutting edge retention, and corrosion resistance
Miyabi is a brand of J.A. Henckels knives, combining German engineering with Japanese craftsmanship. These knives come from Seki, Japan.
The Miyabi Koh 8-inch Chef’s Knife is an example of the seamless integration of German and Japanese expertise, supporting both Western and Asian knife handling. It is made from FC61 carbine stainless steel, scoring 61 on the Rockwell hardness scale, with a 9.5 to 12-degree edge. It has a Pakkawood handle.
You can find the Miyabi Koh online for between $$ and $$ at Amazon, Chef’s Resource, and Sur La Table.
On The Gas gave Miyabi knives an overall glowing review. In their review, they note that Miyabi’s extremely sharp 9-degree edge is not only far sharper than most Western knives but also sharper than many Japanese-made knives.
Amazon customers also found the Miyabi Koh Chef’s Knife to be good for their use. One reviewer gave it a 5.0 out of 5-star review, noting that the octagonal handle was comfortable in their hand.
Unfortunately, not everyone is a fan of the Miyabi. In 2012, Wired scored it a 7 out of 10 on its review scale. While they liked the design, they ultimately found the knife too cumbersome to work with comfortably.
- Damascus pattern on each blade is created by forging 37 layers of both low carbon and high carbon stainless steel folded…
- Bolster adds heft and balance while the blade and edge is still thin and razor sharp
- Micarta handle with three stainless steel rivets
Tojiro is a Japanese knife brand, specializing in Asian-style knives for both Western and Asian consumers. While this is a somewhat lesser-known brand than some of the other knives on our list, it is popular among professional chefs for its quality and price.
The Tojiro DP 8.2-inch Chef Knife is an Asian-style chef knife, or “gyuto.” It has three layers of steel with a VG-10 steel core. It is a double-beveled edge knife, sharpened at a 9 to 12-degree angle. It has a full tang with a riveted handle. The Tojiro DP Damascus Chef Knife is available online for between $ and $$. You can find it on Amazon, Cutlery and More, and Hocho Knife.
This knife gets some great reviews from knife websites. Chef Resources gave the Tojiro DP Gyuto a 4.0 out of 5-star rating, calling it a “superior quality professional knife.” They performed many tests, finding that it performed well throughout all of them.
On The Gas also liked the Tojiro DP Damascus Chef Knife; however, overall they found that the Tojiro knives, in general, can be somewhat unfinished. The website notes that users recommend “finishing” the blade with a bit of sandpaper on the spine. Also, they find that it is easily scuffed, so take care when cleaning it.
Shun Chef Knives Pros and Cons
- Forged from Japanese steel
- Known to keep an edge nicely
- Will do well with proper care
- Tendency to chip
How we compared
To compare the Shun chef knife with other knives, we first looked for other Japanese brands that produce chef knives, either Western- or Asian-style. From there, we chose one chef knife from the brand, examining its material and construction. We also took a look at what professionals had to say about the knife as well. Finally, we looked at customer reviews to see what customers had to say about their knives.
Comparison with Other Major Brands
How does a Shun chef knife compare to other brands? Let’s take a look.
In general, expect to pay anywhere from $60 to $210 online for a Shun chef knife. Pricing for a Shun chef knife will depend not only on the product line but also on the length of the Shun chef knife. For example, a shorter blade will cost less than a longer blade of the same product line.
For those looking either for their first kitchen dance partner, or an upgrade to a newer one, a Shun chef knife is a decent choice. Keep in mind whether your cutting style works better with a European or Japanese style grip and edge. Either way, you can likely find your new match in a Shun chef knife.