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shun vs wusthof

Shun vs. Wusthof – Who Makes Better Kitchen Knives?

Shun and Wusthof are both knife-making brands that are very popular among home cooks to professional chefs. Because they are a very old knife making company and produce very high-quality knives for the last longer performance.

Shun is based in Japan while Wusthof is based in Germany, so of course, they use different materials and technologies.

In this article, I will talk about what materials they use, their price range, and their popular knife series. After reading this article I hope you can easily decide which brand might be best for you.

Comparison Table: Shun vs. Wusthof Knives

BrandsShun KnivesWusthof Knives
Founded Year20021814
Country of OriginJapanGermany
Design Damascus and hammered designGerman curved edge
Handle TypePakkawood, Micarta,  thermoplastic elastomer, tagayasan, or polypropylenePolypropylene, Richlite, and polyoxymethylene
Blade MaterialVG-Max, VG2, VG10, and High carbon “Blue”High-carbon stainless steel
Edge Type16 degrees on each side14 degrees on each side
Rockwell Hardness 61- Rockwell hardnessRockwell hardness of 58
Handle DesignComposite or steel tangsFull-tang design
PriceCheaper than WusthofMore expensive than Shun

History of Shun knives

Shun is a well-known company when it comes to the production of quality knives. The company was launched in 2002 by the KAI Group.

Despite this brand being launched in 2002, the KAI group has been around for many years since the group was started in 1908 by Saijiro Endo. The group is based in Seki Japan which means that Shun is one of the best Japanese knife brands on the market.

This company started by selling different types of knives from small to large kitchen knives. In 2002, the KAI Group started the Shun brand which was assigned the work of marketing their unique Japanese-style knives to the Western market.

The Design of Shun Knives

The major difference between the Shun knives and the Wusthof knives is the design. You will find that, unlike the Wusthof knives, the Shun knives have Damascus or hammered designs. The hammered finish allows the blades to slide smoothly when slicing.

These knives also feature sleek finishes and unique sharp angles which makes them easy to use. Apart from that, they are thin and very lightweight which means that you can use them for the whole day without experiencing any form of discomfort.

Blade Materials

Sharpness is one of the key things you should consider when buying a knife. In this regard, the blades of the Japanese Shun knives are made of unique stainless steel which is a blend of carbon and iron.

The blades are very sharp since they are made using the Japanese Samurai traditions. Some are made using superior steel which includes VG10, VG-Max, SG2, and high-carbon which enables them to have excellent edge retention. Due to their sharpness, you can use them to cut tough food items without applying too much pressure.

Handle Materials and Design

Another thing about the Shun knives is that most of them have round ends and they also contain thick steel end-caps while some of them are bolstered with thin steel.

Their handles are made of different materials which include Pakkawood, Polypropylene, thermoplastic elastomer, Micarta, and Tagayasan material. In order to enhance balance and control, their handles contain either composite or steel tangs.

Ease of Sharpening

When it comes to sharpening, Shun knives are very easy to sharpen because their blades are cut at 16 degrees on each side. These blades are also harder, lighter, and thinner than those of Wusthof which makes the knives lightweight.

As compared to the Wusthof knives, Shun knives provide better edge retention which means that you don’t need to sharpen them frequently.

However, they are more prone to scratching and chipping as compared to the Wusthof knives. Therefore, you should store them away from other metals or materials that can damage them easily.

Edge Type

It is not easy to find knives with better edge retention than Shun knives. Most of them have a Rockwell hardness of around 61 while the Rockwell hardness of Wusthof knives is 58. As a result, they have unmatched edge retention but they are also harder to sharpen because they are made of harder steel.

The Price Range

In terms of price, Shun knives are slightly less expensive as compared to the Wusthof knives. However, they are still reliable although they are not the best for tough cutting tasks. Most of their knives come with a $100 to $500 price range.

Most Popular Series of Shun

Shun Knife Series
If you are searching for the best knives from Shun, below are some of the best-selling series from this company.

01. Shun Classic

The Shun Classic is one of the most attractive knife series from Shun. It features the proprietary VG-MAX Cutting edge and it is also made of high-quality stainless steel.

The blade contains 34 layers of Damascus cladding which enhances the overall appearance of the knife. The blade is also hard-sharpened at 16 degrees on both sides to boost performance. In addition, it is equipped with a long-lasting and comfortable D-shaped Pakkawood handle.

  • Example: 1 – Shun Cutlery Classic 3-Piece Starter Set
  • Example: 2- Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife with VG-MAX Cutting Core and Ebony PakkaWood Handle

02. Dual-Core Series

If you are searching for top-quality Shun knives that will give you the best value for your money, the Dual Core Series will be a suitable choice.

These knives contain a layered Damascus pattern which is created from a combination of two high-carbon stainless steel materials. As a result, they are very versatile, stylish, and highly durable.

  • Example: 1- Shun Dual-core 7-Inch Santoku Gorgeous Blade of Two Chromium High Carbon Stainless Steels
  • Example: 2- Shun Dual Core VG0017 8-Inch Kiritsuke Knife

03. Shun Sora

The Shun Sora features a combination of the VG10 edge retention plus a 420J stainless steel upper. The blades are laser cut and fitted by a machine to enhance the overall balance.

This series also contains a polymer blended handle which gives you a firm grip. Shun Sora knives boast unmatched edge retention meaning that you can use them to slice even very tough ingredients.

  • Example: 1- Shun Sora VBS0260 2-Piece Knife Set
  • Example: 2- Shun Sora Chef’s Knife 8-Inch Cutlery VB0706

04. Shun Premier

This series is handcrafted and forged to give you the best performance. All the knives in this series feature the VG-MAX cutting core which means that they have excellent edge retention. The blades contain 34 layers of Damascus cladding on both sides which gives the knife a very unique finish.

  • Example: 1- Shun Premier Nakiri Knife 5.5 Inch Tsuchime Finished Blade TDM0742
  • Example: 2- Shun Cutlery Premier 8” Chef’s Knife

05. Kanso

The most outstanding thing about this series is that the blades have a Heritage finish which helps to hide scratches and to give the knife a classy appearance.

These knives also feature 16 degrees honed edge to enhance sharpness. They are also equipped with Tagasayan material handle which fits comfortably in your hands.

  • Example: 1- Shun Kanso 3 Piece Starter Kit
  • Example: 2- Shun Kanso Santoku 7 Inch Hollow Ground Premium Stainless Steel Blade

06. Shun Blue

This Series contains a carbon-steel cutting core that is sandwiched between layers of polished stainless steel material. Due to the carbon steel cutting edge, these knives require a lot of care because they rust easily. The handles are made of a stylish grey Pakkawood material.

  • Example: Shun VG0009 Blue Steel7-Inch Menkiri Knife

Advantages of Shun Knives

  • Sharpness– One of the major benefits of using Shun knives is sharpness. Their blades are cut at 16 degrees angle on both sides which means that they are extremely sharp. This blade design also enables them to maintain their edge for a longer time as compared to the Wusthof knives.
  • Materials– In terms of construction, Shun knives are made of high-quality VG-MAX, VG10, and SG2 steel blades which makes them harder and more durable.
  • Stylish– Shun knives also have unique Damascus designs and patterns which gives them a classy look.
  • Lightweight– Another benefit of Shun knives is that they are very lightweight which means that you can use them for long hours without any discomfort.
  • Japanese construction– For those who prefer Japanese models, Shun knives are among the best knives from Japan.

Disadvantages of Shun knives

  • Most of their knives are not full tang
  • For their knives, they mostly use only wood for handles

History of Wusthof Knives

Wusthof Company was established in Solingen Germany around 1814. The Solingen is also regarded as the “City of Blades” since all the popular knife manufacturers came from this place.

Wusthof is the name of the company’s founder and it has retained that name up to date. This company is among the most reputable companies when it comes to the production of top-notch knives throughout the world.

It uses an advanced superb 40-step process to produce the knives. They also make constant improvements to their knives which means that the company is among the most advanced knife manufacturers on the planet.

Their knives are highly preferred even by some of the most popular chefs meaning that the brand is highly trustworthy. The company has established itself in more than 80 countries across the world.

The Design of Wusthof Knives

The German Wusthof Knives have a traditional western design which means that they have the popular German curved edge. The curved edge allows you to rock your knife back and forth on your food for easier dicing and chopping.

They also have a full-tang design to enhance durability as well as balance. Some of them contain full bolsters to prevent slipping. The full bolsters also give you excellent balance when cutting.

Blade Materials

In terms of blade construction, their blades are made using Molybdenum-Vanadium steel. They are made using the company’s special formula X50CRMOV15 to enhance performance and durability.

Another benefit of this material is that it is highly resistant to corrosion and rusting. As compared to the Shun knives, the Wusthof blades are thicker and heavier. Due to this, they are able to withstand abuse and they do not chip easily.

Handle Materials and Design

Unlike the Shun knives, the handles of Wusthof knives contain a full or half bolster which makes them non-slip.

Their handles are more ergonomic as compared to the Shun knives which makes them more comfortable to hold. These handles contain different designs which vary according to specific models.

Edge Type

Wusthof blades have a Rockwell hardness of 58 which means that they are very sharp. Even though they are more durable than the Shun blades, they do not have the best edge retention. Their blades are also sharpened at 14 degrees on each side.

Ease of Sharpening

Another thing about Wusthof blades is that they are thicker than the Shun knives. As a result, they are heavier and more suitable for heavier tasks like when you want to cut large pieces of meat or thick vegetables.


Wusthof knives are made using a unique 40-steps process through an advanced technology known as Precision Edge Technology called (PEtec). This technology ensures that they are very sharp and it also enables the blade to have great edge retention.

The Price Range

The Wusthof knives are slightly more expensive than the Shun knives because they have a more heavy-duty construction than the Shun models.

As a result, you can use them for aggressive cutting tasks. Their knife’s price starting range between $100 and up to $700.

Most Popular Series of Wusthof

wusthof knife series
Here are some of the most popular series of Wusthof.

01. Wusthof Classic

In terms of popularity, the Wusthof Classic Series is the most popular and it is a favorite of many professional chefs throughout the world.

This series is characterized by a full-tang design, full-bolster, and a triple-riveted handle that is made of German steel (X50CRMOV12). It comprises more than 50 knives and all of them have a balanced weight to enhance your comfort when cutting.

  • Example: 1- Wusthof Classic Seven Piece Knife Block Set/ 7-Piece German Knife Set
  • Example: 2- Wusthof Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

02. Wusthof Classic IKON

This one is just like the Classic IKON series but it is more stylish than the Wusthof Classic. It comes with a synthetic or wooden handle which is highly durable.

In terms of construction, it is made using the C50CRMOV15 German steel to enhance durability. The series contains a full-tang design triple-riveted handle and it also contains a half-bolster.

  • Example: 1- Wusthof Classic IKON Knife Block 7-Piece
  • Example: 2- Wusthof Classic IKON 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

03. Wusthof IKON

The Wusthof IKON has the same shape, blade, and curves just like the Classic IKON. The only difference between the two is the handle material. Unlike the Classic IKON, this one has an exceptional African Blackwood handle known as Grenadill.

This type of wood is among the hardest and it also gives the knife an elegant look. Due to the handle, this series is sometimes referred to as the Wusthof IKON Blackwood just to differentiate it from the Classic IKON knives.

The Wusthof also refers to this series as “The Jewel of Our Collection” on their website because these knives are high-end, stylish, and very durable.

Example: Wusthof IKON 6-Inch Cook’s Knife with Blackwood Handle 4996/16

04. Wusthof Gourmet

If you are searching for a budget-friendly Wusthof knife, the Wusthof Gourmet series is recommended for you. These knives are lightweight to enhance your comfort. Unlike other Wusthof series which are forged from one piece of steel, these ones are stamped from a sheet. As a result, they do not have a very sharp edge like other series. They are also equipped with a plastic bolster to protect your finger when cutting.

  • Example: 1- Wusthof Gourmet Knife Block Set, One Size, Acacia Block 16 Piece
  • Example: 2- Wusthof 1095070703 Gourmet Knife Block Set, 7-Piece

05. Wusthof Epicure

The Wusthof Epicure is among the latest collections from this company. These knives have many similar features to other Wusthof series but their blade design is a bit different. The unique design of the blade gives it a sharper angle at the tip and it is also wider as compared to other knives.

Apart from that, this collection has a more rounded handle which makes it comfortable to hold. Due to this unique handle design, this knife is a good choice for users with larger hands.

  • Example: Wusthof Epicure Cook’s Knife 8-Inch

06. Grand Prix II

These knives feature a pebbled handle texture which makes them non-slip. This handle design also enhances their overall design. The blades of these knives are made using Precision Edge Technology which makes them 20% sharper than other knives. They have a forged design and are well-balanced which makes them easy to use.

  • Example: 1- Wusthof Grand Pix II 2 Piece Prep Set, One Size
  • Example: 2- Wusthof Grand Prix II Boning Knife, 5 inches

Advantages of Wusthof knives

  • These knives of high-carbon stainless steel to enhance durability.
  • Their synthetic handles are very comfortable since they provide excellent grip.
  • Since they are made of tough materials, they are the best for professional chefs.
  • They are equipped with different types of handles.
  • They last longer than Shun knives
  • Excellent for those searching for German knives
  • Precision edge technology
  • Ideal for heavy-duty cutting tasks
  • Full-tang construction

Disadvantages of Wusthof knives

  • A bit expensive
  • Heavier than the Shun models

Shun vs Wusthof – Which Brand Is Best for you?

In terms of performance, both Shun and Wusthof knives are highly reliable. However, they have different features which means that making a choice on the best one will depend on personal preferences.

If you prefer lightweight knives with an extra sharp blade, the Japanese Shun knives will be the best. These knives have a Rockwell hardness of 61 which means that they are sharper than Wusthof knives which have a Rockwell hardness of 58.

On the other hand, the Wusthof knives from Germany are equipped with thicker blades which make them heavier than the Shun models. They are also slightly expensive as compared to the Shun knives but they are the best for tough cutting tasks due to their sturdy construction.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any knives superior to Shun?

While Shun knives are renowned for their outstanding quality, it’s worth noting that other brands like Miyabi also reside at the pinnacle of the culinary cutting world. Although coming at a slightly higher price, it is hard to overlook the exceptional precision and artistry that Miyabi offers with each blade. As you consider your options, bear in mind that the ultimate choice greatly depends on personal preferences, cooking style, and budget. If you weigh these aspects, you will find which among the two resonates with you on a deeper level. For instance, you may find yourself drawn more towards Miyabi or Shun depending on the handle design each brand offers. Based on my personal experience as a culinary enthusiast, I can vouch that both brands are definitely worth the investment.

Is Shun the chosen knife for professional chefs?

Yes, it is not uncommon for Shun cutlery to be part of a professional chef’s kitchen arsenal. Beloved for their superior, high-quality blades, Shun knives have been a dependable companion for many chefs globally. I have gotten the chance to interview a few professional chefs and discovered that Shun knives have a special place in their hearts – they value the brand for its consistency, sharpness, and balance. Ultimately, whether you’re an aspiring home cook or a seasoned professional, one thing is clear: Shun knives can certainly elevate your cooking experience.

What would be a worthy alternative to Shun knives?

The Kasumi Chef Knife, 8-Inch, is a fantastic alternative to consider if you’re seeking a knife of comparable quality and aesthetic to Shun, but at a more palatable price. Hailing from the historically rich Seki City, the Sumikama family has been dedicating their expertise to crafting these widely coveted Kasumi knives since 1916. I’ve had the privilege to use one of these beautifully crafted blades, and the Kasumi Chef knife left a deep impression with its superb performance and unique, elegant patterning on the blade. Hence, considering such a knife can offer you an equally satisfying experience as owning a Shun knife.

What kind of knives are preferred by chefs?

Several factors combine to make the perfect knife for professional chefs. The most important factors include the blade material, thickness, weight, balance, and sharpness, which play serious roles in the knife’s overall performance. The handle design is also a significant aspect as it determines the comfort and safety during use. There are numerous brands and models available in the market, and while it varies from chef to chef, some knives gain popularity due to their exceptional craftsmanship and high performance. From personal conversations with professional chefs, they often express a fondness for brands like Shun, Miyabi, and Kasumi among others.

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