The Shun Chef Knife Reviews - Will This Knife Be Your New Kitchen Companion?
If you’ve ever used a flimsy knife to cut a piece of raw chicken then you quickly realize that a good knife can make all the difference in the world.
If your task requires you to chop, mince, cut, slice or dice - you don’t have to be an Iron Chef to appreciate how much easier it is to do this when you have the right tool.
Having a proper chef’s knife for your kitchen is like having a decent laptop for work - you have to have it to get the job done. And just like a laptop, if you have one that is low quality and inefficient, then it slows you down and causes massive frustration. Sure, you can still technically complete your work but it takes a lot longer to get to the end result because you have an ineffective tool.
Try to think back to when you last thought about investing in a good knife set - or have you ever given knives any thought to begin with? Was it when you were putting together your wedding registry? Did someone have to remind you to add it on to your list and so you just selected what you thought would look the best on your counter-top?
Or did your mom give you her used set of knives as you were trying to piece mill a kitchen together for your first apartment? Whatever the case may be, let’s help you put thought into why you need a high - quality chef’s knife for your kitchen. Then we are going to take a look at the Shun chef knife reviews and determine if they are worth bringing home to be your next kitchen tool.
What Makes a Great Chef Knife and Why Do I Need One?
Think of the chef’s knife as your kitchen companion, your work horse, your helper - you get the idea.As mentioned earlier, a chef’s knife is a knife that is specifically used in the kitchen for slicing, dicing, chopping, cutting and mincing. The chef’s knives usually are found in a 6 inch, 8 inch or 10 inch blade configuration. Although you can also find them in different lengths such as 7.5, 8.5 or 10.5 inches.
A chef’s knife typically has a broad blade, making it ideal to cut meats or fruits and vegetables.
The blades are made of different materials depending on the brand - they can be forged from steel, carbon or stainless steel or a combination of these metals. The handles can be made of wood, plastic or really strong resin.
Where chef’s knives differ from other knives in the kitchen is not only the blade style, but also the weight distribution of the knife. Chef’s knives are designed to distribute weight evenly so it’s more ergonomic for your kitchen tasks.
Think of them as being properly balanced so you don’t experience fatigue as quickly as you might while cutting with a bread knife or paring knife. When looking for a chef’s knife here are the factors you’ll want to consider before making the purchase:
As with many items in your kitchen, there are literally hundreds of brands of knives available for your consideration. There’s also a knife for every budget as you will quickly find out when you begin your search.
In your research, you’ll probably notice the different countries of origin that manufacture these knives. There are German, Swiss, Japanese, and Chinese knives. Each country brings a unique quality of manufacturing when it comes to knives.
What Makes the Shun Chef Knives Unique?
Let’s specifically look at the Shun (rhymes with “moon”) brand of chef knives.
The Shun brand follows the Japanese tradition and principles of sword making and incorporates that into each handmade knife. The knives are manufactured in Japan still and to this day go through a 100 step process to produce each individual knife.
The company that owns Shun, the Kai Corporation, has been making these knives for over a hundred years.
To say that they take their production of knives seriously would be a correct statement.
The lineup of Shun Chef Knives is quite extensive. The Shun chef knives are divided into 6 different collections:
There are also exclusive lines with slight variations available at various retailers but these are the 6 that are most widely distributed.
Each collection has a different set of features that make it unique. Briefly, here’s an overview of what makes each collection special.
The Sora Collection
- 3-piece build-a-block set includes a 4-slot bamboo knife block, 8-inch chef's knife and combination honing steel
- Sora knives feature a VG10 cutting core with stainless steel on either side, creating a san mai edge that provides stain...
- Blades have a mirror-polished Japanese 420J blade upper and a 16-degree cutting edge on either side
This is the “value” line within the various collections. The handles are made of polymer and blades are made from stainless steel. Features a 16 degree cutting angle. Even though these are the least expensive knives in the Shun Chef Knife lineup, they appear to be anything but basic.
The Kanso Collection
- The Shun Kanso 7-inch Hollow ground Santoku is a beautiful, Asian-inspired chef’s knife that is fast becoming a...
- Blade steel is Japanese aus10a—highly refined, high-carbon, vanadium stainless steel that takes, and holds, a...
- Full-tang construction provides strength, balance, and cutting control. Many cooks swear by their Santoku for easy food...
This is the line that embodies “simplicity.” The steel used in this collection is highly refined high-carbon stainless steel. The handles in this collection are made from Tagasayan wood. This collection was born out of the philosophy that nothing non-essential is to be included. It is supposed to be the simplest form of a chef’s knife but still retain the highest quality.
The Premier Collection
- 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)
These knives feature a blade made from Damascus steel. The blades are also constructed with a hand-hammered process so it’ll have a “wavy” appearance. The handles are made of Pakkawood, which is a rich, walnut finish. This series also uses a clay-baking technique, similar to the way swords are made.
The Classic Collection
- Set includes: 3.5-inch Paring Knife, 4.5-inch Honesuki Knife, 5-inch Hollow Edge Nakiri Knife, 6-inch Utility Knife,...
- VG-MAX cutting core with 34-layers (each side) and stainless Damascus cladding
- Rockwell Hardness: 60-61; hand-sharpened Japanese double-bevel blade angle 16° (each side)
Like the Premier collection, the blades are also made from Damascus steel but it actually has 32 layers of steel. There is also the addition of carbon in the blade, so the blade is actually made from 2 different materials. The handle is also made from the Pakkawood.
The Edo Collection
- 5-Inch Edo Santoku Knife by Shun; Santoku (meaning 3 virtues in Japanese) perfect for chopping, slicing and dicing
- Precision forged from one solid piece of VG10 "Super Steel" and "zero-balanced" allowing knives to do all the work
- Hammered "tsuchime" finish creates air pockets for natural food-release, reducing knife drag
This is very similar to the Premier collection with many of the same features, including the 32 layers of steel. The biggest difference with the Edo collection is the handle is made from a resin, instead of the Pakkawood.
The Hiro Collection
- SG2 Japanese steel cutting core and clad with 32 layers of a Damascus nickel and stainless pattern on each side for a...
- 64° Rockwell Hardness; hand-sharpened Japanese double-bevel blade angle 16° (each side)
- Ambidextrous handle is made of dark charcoal PakkaWood with deep crimson striations and an inlaid mosaic Samurai family...
This is considered the ultimate, and most luxurious of the knives within the Shun family of knives.
The blades are forged from 32 layers of Damascus nickel but the core is made of stainless steel. The blades have a total of 65 layers of metal and also feature the hammered finish. The dark charcoal handle is also made of Pakkawood and features a mosaic Samurai family crest. The end cap of the knife is finished in nickel silver.
There is an 8 inch and a 10 inch size available.
One important note worth mentioning is that all of the Shun knives includes a limited lifetime warranty. If you end up purchasing a Shun knife you will definitely want to review the details of the warranty with the retailer.
How Are the Shun Chef Knives Priced?
The Sora collection begins at $69.95 each but this is for the 6 inch version. If you want to purchase the 8 inch Shun Sora chef’s knife then it will cost around $79.95.
The Kanso collection begins around the $89.95 price point. This is for the 8 inch version.
The Premier collection begins at $129 and increases in price as you increase the size. The $129 is for the 6 inch chef’s knife. Depending on the size you choose, the options in this collection could cost up to $209.
The Classic collection will cost around $135 for the 6 inch knife. The 8 inch versions will cost up to $165.
The Edo collection starts off around $165 but this is for the 6 ½ inch size. If you want the larger versions then expect to pay upwards of $199 each.
Lastly, the Hiro collection starts around $249 for the 6 inch piece. As with the other collections, the longer the blade, the larger the price tag. If you want the 10 inch chef’s knife within the Hiro family, then expect to pay $349 each.
Tell Me about the Shun Chef Knife Reviews - what Do Others Say?
With so many variations of chef’s knives under the Shun name and so many different price points, it’s not too difficult to find numerous opinions and reviews.
The general consensus is you get what you pay for and Shun chef knives are no exception. Consumers have found these knives to be of such high quality that most feel it’s worth the price.
The comments that you will see over and over are that it retains its sharp edge after months and years of use, it’s lightweight and perfectly balanced.
The Shun chef knife seems to have earned the reputation of being the kitchen workhorse.
Overall, it’s hard to argue with so many positive consumer experiences with the Shun chef knife collection.
How Do Shun Chef Knives Compare to Other Brands?
As you can probably imagine, there is a lot of competition with chef’s knives since there are so many different brands available to purchase. Each brand will certainly try to differentiate themselves from all of their competitors.
In the price range that the Shun chef knives are found in, the Wusthof German - made knives also seem to be popular among consumers. These knives also have very high ratings. There seems to be strong opinions on German engineered knives versus Japanese or Swiss made products.
When you start shopping for a high quality knife, whether it’s the Shun brand or another, you may experience a bit of sticker shock for the price.
The Shun Chef Knife - What Do We Think?
The bottom line is you most likely need a strong, reliable chef’s knife to include in your kitchen arsenal.
Whether you are just starting to learn to cook or are a professional chef, the shun chef’s knife collections can be an excellent choice.
You are going to want a chef’s knife that you can count on for your most basic kitchen needs. As minor as it may seem, chopping and dicing are essential when it comes to fresh ingredients. Why not go ahead and make sure you have the right tool.
With the numerous product iterations of the Shun chef’s knives that are available, the overall positive reviews, the lifetime warranty and the heritage of the manufacturing process of these knives - it seems you can’t go wrong with an investment in a Shun chef knife.
While there are several different brands to choose from even within these prices, it would be our recommendation to purchase a Shun chef knife so you can be certain you are getting one of the best. If you are going to need to purchase a chef’s knife that can truly be your workhorse then a Shun chef knife is ready to stand up to the test.