Shun Classic vs Premier [In-Depth Comparison]

We hope you’ll agree with us when we say:

 Deciding between two Shun knife lines such as Shun Classic vs Premier is tough. 

Now, if you are looking for a high-quality knife brand to purchase your knife or knife set, you should not have to look any further than Shun. But of course, if you are here, you already know that. Shun, launched in 2002, has made a name for itself over the few decades and has become one of the most well-known kitchen knife brands on the market. The manufacturers have won several awards over the years taking home the Knife of the year award over eight times!

Now while they might have a good kitchen knife, the question remains of which Shun knife line is best and for what. To answer this once and for all, we have created an in-depth comparison between the two most popular Shun knife lines called the Shun Classic vs Premier lines. We will be going over their advantages and disadvantages for you to decide on which one is better.

Read More: Ceramic vs Steel Knives

Shun Classic vs Premier Comparison Chart 2022:

If you are in a hurry and would like to be aware of the characteristics offered by both the knife lines, here is a comparison chart for you to take a look at to ultimately decide which one will serve your needs perfectly. All of the points will be further explained in the article below so we highly recommend you read all of them.

Where It's MadeSeki City, JapanSeki City, Japan
Blade MaterialVG-Max steelVG-Max steel
Blade FinishDamascusHammered top, Damascus bottom
Handle MaterialPakkaWoodPakkaWood
Handle ColorEbonyWalnut
Edge Angle16-degree16-degree
CleaningHand washHand wash
WarrantyLifetime LimitedLifetime Limited
Free SharpeningYesYes
Number of Products4128
PriceCheck on AmazonCheck on Amazon

Similarities Between Shun Classic vs Premier:

Let’s first look at all the similarities found between both of the knife lines. Now because both of the knife lines have been crafted by the same manufacturers, there are several similarities found within the core of the knife design and performance. We have mentioned them all below:

Construction Material:

It should come as no surprise that both of the Shun knife lines use the same secret ingredient blend to perfectly manufacture their knives. Both of the blades follow the same VG-Max manufacturing material that is a shun super-formula that is not found anywhere else on the market. Although Shun has used materials like the VG-10 (which is a downgrade of the VG-Max blend) for their low-budget knife lines, they always seem to use the VG-Max for knife lines that make the foundation of their brand.

The difference between the two types of steel is that the Carbon content found within VG-Max is slightly higher than the VG-10. This provides the knife with extra agility and durability. Furthermore, it also contains higher amounts of chromium and vanadium to improve edge retention and lower the chances of corrosion. Meaning you will not have to sharpen your knife’s edge very often.

Shun classic knife Collections Displayed
Shun Classic Knife Collections Displayed.

The material used for making the handles of the knife is also important and also uses the same blend. While they may differ when it comes to the design and looks, both of them are made out of Pakkawood. Pakkawood is a natural wood that is an alloy of wood and resin. It is used around the world by various knife manufacturers because of its durability, heat resistance, and waterproof properties. Not only that, but when you look into Pakkawood, you will also find that it is one of the most elegant and naturally beautiful woods that prevents warping, wearing down, and/or splitting open.


The sharpness of your blade should be a make it or break it factor. It can prove whether a knife or knife manufacturer is good at its job or not. After all, the main use for a knife is slashing through any food item put to the test. The ideal sharpness of a knife is anywhere around a 15 to 20-degree angle. This is known as the sweet spot for knives as at this sharpness, the knife is not too fragile while also not being too dull to use. You will be extremely satisfied to find out that both the Classic and Premier lines follow a strict 16-degree cutting angle per side (32 degrees total). Taking into account that the knife sharpness and material used is the same, you should generally expect the same cutting abilities from both knives.

Shun Premier Blade Displayed
Shun Premier Blade Displayed

Edge Retention:

Believe it or not, the most important factor when it comes to investing within knives is not their sharpness or durability of them. It is the edge retention. How long your knife will hold its edge when tested under immense pressure and environments is what makes a knife great. To measure the hardness of a blade, knife manufacturers usually use a Rockwell Hardness scale. The Shun Classic and Premie knives score between 60 and 61 based on their VG-Max material. For comparison, Wusthof and Zwilling, which are two of the most famous knife brands in the world have a score worse than Shun coming in around 57 to 58.

This means that the harder the steel, the better it can tolerate pressure being put upon it making it hold its edge for longer periods of time. The only disadvantage found to this incredible edge retention is the fact that the blade becomes slightly less durable.

Read More: Boning Knife vs Fillet Knife

Full Tang:

Both the high-end kitchen knife lines follow the same full tang design. A full tang is a portion of the blade that extends the steel throughout the handle. This connects both the handle and blade in such a way that it prevents the blade from snapping or breaking away when used aggressively. Furthermore, it is used as insurance that your blade will not snap. The full tang gives balance and more control to the wielder making it a great additional feature to look out for.


Lastly, you must be on the lookout for the warranty of a knife, especially if you are purchasing an expensive blade to wield. Whether you invest within the Premier or the Classic Shun line, you will get a lifetime warranty that covers any defects that may have occurred during manufacturing or shipping. Moreover, Shun has added a free lifetime sharpening service to their warranty for all their customers. The only factor you should be on the lookout for is that these warranties only apply if you buy a Shun knife from an authentic dealer or seller. This does include Amazon so you should not have to worry about it too much. If you want to, you can read more about the Shun warranty policy on their website.

Shun Premier Chef's Knife
Shun Premier Chef’s Knife.

Differences Between Shun Classic vs Premier:

Now that we know what the resemblance is between the two knife lines, let’s take a look at how they differ from one another. The main differences between the Premier and Classic lines start within the blade finishing, handle design, and ofcourse the price. However, there are several other components that make them unique to their line as well. Let’s have a look at what these Shun knife lines have to offer:

Shun Classic Western Chefs Knife on A Cutting Board
Shun Classic Western Chefs Knife on A Cutting Board

Blade Finish:

Let’s start with the most obvious difference found between Shun Premier and Classic. When first observing the blade, you may notice that the blade finish is very discreet across both of the Shun collections. This is because both of the blades have been handcrafted within Japan and are heavily inspired by century-old traditions. While they both look exquisite and functional, the finish on the Shun Classic knife collection has an extremely smooth finish with a matte glow to it. It has a Damascus pattern that travels all the way through the handle into the tip.

On the other hand, when we talk about the blade finish on the Premier Shun collection, it has a more shiny and tsuchime hammered finish at the head of the blade, As you move towards the bottom half, however, you will see a Damascus design that differs from the Classic collection as it has a more swirly and wavy texture and pattern to it. In terms of functionality, the Premier collection does a great job on the blade finish. This type of blade finish prevents any food from sticking to the knife while you chop away. It is a difference that might look insignificant, but it can save you a ton of time and frustration in the kitchen, making it a game-changer in this Shun Classic vs Premier discussion.

Handle Design:

Coming to the handle design of the blades; even though they are made from the same wood known as “Pakkawood”, the handles have been tweaked to provide different comfort levels. The Shun Classic knife line handles come with an ebony finish that is dark and looks aesthetic on any countertop. The handle design is classes the D-shape and it increases the control and stability a user feels when put into a suitable hand. The great thing about this handle is that it works for any hand size. Moreover, it is also made to be suitable for both right-handers as well as lefties because the handle is the same on both sides.

Shun Classic Collection Knife Handle Displayed
Shun Classic Collection Knife Handle Design.
shun premier handle design with labels
Shun Premier Handle Design With Labels.

The Shun Premier knife handles are a little more detailed than the Ebony design found in the Classic collection. It contains a total of four characteristics that are very rarely found on the market. First off is the walnut color that gives the knife a slight yet distinct rustic feel. It has a light color that provides the handle with the ability to make any kitchen light up with its elegance. Secondly, we have a brass band that wraps around the butt end of the handle to add an extravagant look to the handle. We also have an engraved logo by Shun plastered onto a steel cap. Finally, the Shun Premier knife line also features a moisture-resistant handle that is contoured to make the blade wieldable for long hours without causing any fatigue.

Options and Price:

Both the collections offer their customer individual knives as well as knife sets. If you want a broader range of products, look into the Classic collection. They offer 41 different products you can choose from including 10 knife sets and 31 knives that can be purchased individually. That means there are more options for you to purchase a knife that suits your needs. On the other end of the spectrum, the Premier collection has a total of 28 options available that includes 8 knife sets and 20 individual knives. This is still a large range of products if you prefer the Premier collection over the Classic one.

That being said, if you are looking for something a little specific, you have a better chance of finding it within the Classic collection. But if you favor the Premier collection, you should not have found every basic knife essential as well. If you want a Shun knife sharpener, you can check it out (View on Amazon).

To get a better idea of how the prices may differ based on what option you choose, You can check out the Shun Classic vs Shun Premier collections on Amazon by clicking the links below:

Shun Knives Review:

Founded in the early 2000s in Tokyo, Japan, Shun has made a mark on the market. Their knives have been used by hundreds of thousands of people around the world and they continue to grow every year. Professional chefs also seem to love their knives and enjoy meal prep with them. If you want a durable, elegant, and sharp knife that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg, Shun should be your perfect partner. If you want to read a full in-depth Shun Knives review, you can check it out here.

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