An Expert Guide to Shun Knife Sets

Published on 01/19/2024 · 11 min readElevate your culinary skills! Our expert guide to Shun knife sets dives into their exceptional sharpness, craftsmanship, and elegance for every kitchen.
Kylee Hazelgren, Kitchen Expert
By Kitchen Expert Kylee Hazelgren

Photo by didesign 021

TL;DR: Shun produces high-quality premium kitchen knives. These knives are made utilizing Japanese techniques and are known for being incredibly sharp, extremely balanced, and versatile. Each knife set is unique and caters to various needs.

My passion for cooking has led me to become a Kitchen Expert here at Curated, where I get to share my knowledge with people who are seeking guidance in a world where we have an abundance of options. My time in the kitchen has given me many opportunities to try out a variety of brands of knives and styles. I personally gravitate towards Japanese-style knives. My favorite knife I own, the Premier Sanktoku, happens to be from Shun.

When purchasing a new knife set, there are some things you’ll want to pay attention to, such as the variety of knives included in each set and the design, material, and storage options. Keep reading to learn more about who Shun is as a brand and what you can expect from their knife sets.

Who is Shun?

The brand Shun is still relatively young, but its lineage goes back much further. Over 100 years ago, in Japan’s famous Seki City, Saijiro Endo first opened up shop. Starting out, the company produced folding knives, razors, and, eventually, kitchen cutlery. Over time, the company became known as Kai Cutlery and is known today as the Kai Group. One of the direct descendants of the company's founder, Kai Chairman and CEO Koji Endo, wanted to share high-quality Japanese cutlery with the US and European markets. He went on to create the brand "Shun," which refers to the Japanese tradition of fresh seasonal eating. The original design is the logo you see, which is still used today.

What to Consider When Buying a Shun Knife Set

1. What knives will you be using the most?

One of the reasons you see so many knife set options on the market is that different people value having different knives included in their sets. So, the most important thing to think about before purchasing a knife set is what knives you will be using the most and whether you want any specialty knives included.

Typically, the most frequently used knives are a chef’s knife, a utility knife, and a paring knife. The chef’s knife is perfect for tackling most tasks in the kitchen, including chopping, dicing, and mincing. The utility knife is smaller than a chef’s knife but larger than a paring knife. Utility knives are very versatile and most often used for slicing, cutting, and chopping smaller fruits, vegetables, and meats. The paring knife is perfect for peeling, trimming, creating garnishes, and scoring or making small incisions in food.

2. How many knives are included in a set?

This plays into the topic we just touched on before. Once you have figured out what knives are the most essential to you, then you can move on to how many are included in a set.

Some people want to stick to the basics and don’t like having extra knives that they rarely use. Others enjoy having a versatile, full knife set so they can tackle any task without worrying if they have the correct knife for the task.

Some knife sets include a block that has empty spaces so that you can customize your own knife set and slowly add pieces along the way. That way, you are getting the knives that make the most sense for you.

3. Do aesthetics matter to you?

For some people, the appearance of their knives is less important, and their main priority is the performance and edge retention of their knives. Meanwhile, for others, it's important that their knife set has a certain handle, blade, or storage for the knives that they have in mind.

4. How much should a Shun knife set cost?

A series of factors can influence the cost of a knife set. These include size, material, and design. For example, Here’s a look at what you can expect:

  • Entry-Level ($150-$300): At this range, you are still getting a high-quality knife set. In this price range, you are usually getting 2 to 3 pieces included in your set. This will typically include a chef’s knife, honing steel, and a storage block.
  • Mid-Range ($300-$500): Here, you'll have some more variety in design and a few more knife options included in the set.
  • Premium ($500-$1,000+): At this tier, expect top-of-the-line materials and more pieces included in the set.

What Are the Different Types of Shun Knife Sets?

There are a variety of types of knife sets that you can get from Shun. Let’s dive into a few different options from Shun that vary in price point and what’s included for a more thorough dive into what Sun has to offer.

1. Shun Premier Build-A-Block Set: 3-Piece Set

This knife set is a great starter set for someone who is looking to slowly build their knife collection. The beauty of this set is you get the essential 8-inch Chef’s knife and the honing steel to help maintain the edge while you also have an additional four open slots in the block to add to your collection over time.

Benefits:

  • The ability to build on your knife set over time with the empty storage slots.
  • Although you only get a chef’s knife included in this set, it is the most versatile knife in the kitchen.
  • The honing steel will help keep your knife sharp to tackle daily use.

Be Aware:

  • Although this is a three-piece set, keep in mind that only one knife is included.

2. Shun Premier Blonde 3pc Knife Set

This beautiful 3-piece knife set includes the three most essential and most commonly used knives in the kitchen. By purchasing this set, you receive the Shun Premier 8-inch Chef's knife, which is perfect for most of your prep work, a 4-inch paring knife for peeling and trimming tasks, and a 6.5-inch utility knife for those in between tasks.

When people are unsure what knives they need to have to start out their collection, these are the knives I always recommend getting as they cover practically all your kitchen tasks, and then they give you room to build onto your collection with specialty knives down the road.

Benefits:

  • You get the three most essential knives included in this set. The chef’s knife, utility knife, and paring knife will have you covered for most kitchen tasks.
  • The hammered Tsuchime finish allows food to slip off the knife easily when cutting.

Be Aware:

  • This set does not come with a storage option. To protect your blades, you’ll have to purchase a storage option separately.

3. Shun Sora Basic Block Set: 6 Piece Set

Included in this 6-piece set are a 3.5-inch paring knife, a 6-inch utility knife, an 8-inch chef's knife, a 9-inch combination honing steel, herb shears, and a 13-slot bamboo block. The real beauty about this knife set is that you get those three most essential knives, honing steel to keep sharp, the added herb shears, and with those extra open slots in the block, you have the freedom to add to your knife collection over time.

Benefits:

  • The extra slots allow you to build your knife collection over time and have a safe place to store them.
  • The chef’s knife, utility knife, and paring knife are the three most essential knives that can handle almost all of your tasks in the kitchen.
  • The herb shears that are included are perfect for when you need a pair of scissors within arm’s reach.

Be Aware:

  • This set has a select few knives included, so if you want specialty knives, you will have to purchase them separately.
Selling fast

4. Shun Classic BBQ 4 Piece Set

This unique set is perfect for all your BBQ needs. Included in this set, you receive a Shun Class Asian multi-prep knife, a Japanese-style poultry knife, the Shun Classic boning/fillet knife, the Shun Classic brisket knife, and an 8-slot knife roll so you can easily transport your knives with you. These knives make it easy to trim and slice larger cuts of meat, and the brisket knife includes its own wooden sheath to help protect the blade.

Benefits:

  • The knife roll these knives come in makes it a perfect travel knife set and has extra storage slots so you can pack extra knives.
  • Each knife is perfect for helping cut large cuts of meat, making your prep work light and serving easy.

Be Aware:

  • These knives are ideal for cutting meat. If you’re looking for a more standard set, you might want to consider going with another knife set.
Selling fast

5. Shun Premier Essential 7-Piece Block Set

Included in this 7-piece set are a 4-inch paring knife, a 6.5-inch utility knife, an 8-inch chef's knife, a 9-inch bread knife, herb shears, a combination honing steel, and a block for storage. The beauty of this knife set is that you are getting all those essential knives, a bread knife, and those handy herb shears. This is a well-equipped, high-quality knife set.

Benefits:

  • You get a variety of knives, so you have a perfect knife for almost any kitchen task.
  • The hammered ​​Tsuchime finish allows food to slip off the knife easily when cutting.
  • The honing steel keeps your knives sharp after frequent use.
  • The included storage block prevents damage from happening to the blades in between uses.

Be Aware:

  • Although there are a variety of knives included in this set, if you are looking for specialty knives, you will have to purchase them separately.

How to Choose the Right Shun Knife Set

Selecting the right knife set for you doesn’t have to be overwhelming. But, if you’re still unsure, I’ve given examples of three different people I’ve helped out on Curated who represent the primary needs when figuring out what knife set to go with.

Gavin

Gavin lives in sunny southern California and takes advantage of the mild-year-round weather by primarily cooking outside. He frequently barbecues and invites his close family and friends over to enjoy whatever he has on the menu that week.

Features Gavin should look for:

  • An easily transportable knife set.
  • Knives that can easily carve and slice large cuts of meat.

Product Recommendation:

  • Shun Classic BBQ 4 Piece Set: This set features three essential knives that can trim and carve large cuts of meat with ease, so Gavin will have an easy time preparing and serving his food. Also, with the knife roll, he can take his knives wherever he goes!

Makaela

Makaela has been using hand-me-down knives for years that have gotten her by, but now she is at a point in her life where she is ready to start building her own knife collection. She wants to invest in quality, but for now, can’t afford to get a large knife set.

Features Makaela should look for:

  • Quality-made and designed knives.
  • A storage option for her knife set that has extra slots for the knives she will purchase later on.

Product Recommendation:

  • Shun Premier Build-A-Block Set: 3-Piece Set: This set comes with a storage block, honing steel, and a beautiful 8-inch chef’s knife. The beauty of this knife set is that it has extra storage slots so that Makaela can slowly build on her collection over time and have a safe place to store her knives.

Robert

Robert is looking to upgrade the knife set he’s had for over 20 years. He has recently gotten more into cooking after retiring, and he wants to get a thorough knife set that will set him up for success.

Features Robert should look for:

  • A knife set that has all the essential knives, such as a paring knife, a chef's knife, and a utility knife.
  • A safe storage option for his knives.
  • Honing steel to help keep his knives sharp.

Product recommendation:

  • Shun Premier Essential 7 Piece Block Set: This thorough and stunning knife set is a perfect upgrade for Robert. It includes all those essential knives he needs, a bread knife, and herb shears. All these knives can safely be stored in the storage block that is included, which also has a couple of extra storage slots so that Robert can invest in any specialty knives he wants down the road.

Find the Right Shun Knife Set For You!

Photo by Karepa Stock

Overall, it all comes down to preference and your individual needs! The good news is that there are plenty of options, and hopefully, this guide can be a good reference for when you decide to start looking for your perfect Shun knife set.

If you’re looking for extra guidance, message me or chat with a Kitchen Expert here on Curated for free, personalized advice! I would love to help give you recommendations that make sense for you and your kitchen setup. Don’t hesitate to reach out!

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Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Shop Kitchen on Curated

Shun Premier Build-A-Block Set · 3 Piece Set
$169.95
Shun Premier Blonde Set Knife Set · 3 Piece Set
$419.95
Shun Sora Basic Block Set · 6 Piece Set
$349.95

Browse more Shun Kitchen

Shun Classic BBQ Set · 4 Piece Set
$489.95
Shun Premier Essential Block Set · 7 Piece Set
$739.95
Shun Premier Blonde Santoku Knife · 7 Inch
$250.00
Shun Classic Blonde Paring Knife · 3.5 Inch
$125.00
Shun Classic Blonde Chef's Knife
$188.00
Shun Premier Blonde Utility Knife · 6.5 Inch
$182.00

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