One of the secrets to performing better in the kitchen is having a great set of kitchen knives.
And while there are a lot of viable budget-friendly brands out there, if you’re a budding professional or just a home cook who takes their tools very seriously, you might want to consider investing in a top-tier set of blades.
After all, they are the most important tools that one can have in the kitchen.
In this article, we’re going to be comparing Shun and Wusthof, some of the most recognizable and respected brands in the knife market today.
One of these companies is the go-to brand for Japanese style knives, while the other is known for making high-quality German knives.
And you’ve been struggling to figure out which brand is more suited to your needs, then you’ve come to the right place.
Read on to learn more.
Shun – A Brief History
Shun is a brand that a lot of people think is new to the knife game since it only launched in the West during the early 2000s.
However, the manufacturer of these products, the KAI Group, has actually been around for a fairly long time.
The KAI Group was established in 1908 by Saijiro Endo in Seki City, Japan.
The company began by selling various types of knives of cutlery through the entire 20th century, making kitchen cutlery, folding knives, and razors.
In 2002, the KAI Group launched the Shun brand, which was intended to market their impressive Japanese style kitchen cutlery to the Western market.
And currently, the brand has a wide selection of kitchen cutlery that is all exquisitely made by crafts folk in Seiki City.
Wusthof – A Brief History
Wusthof, on the other hand, can trace its roots back even further than Shun.
The company began in 1814 in Solingen, Germany.
Solingen is also known as the “City of Blades” because of all the great knife manufacturers that hail from there.
Wusthof is the family name of the company’s founder, and over 200 years later, the company is still family-owned.
The brand is known for making some of the best kitchen knives on the planet, with an exquisite and arduous 60-step process being used to make their knives.
Some of the best chefs in the world are seen to be using Wusthof knives, and considering how respected and popular the brand is today, it doesn’t seem like that will be changing any time soon.
Shun Vs Wusthof – How Do The Brands Compare To Each Other?
In this section, we’ll be taking a close look at some of the features of the brands and how they compare to each other to help you decide which brand would fit your needs the best.
First things first, we’re going to talk about how these knives are made.
Most of the knives made by these brands will be forged.
That means that the blades are made from a single piece of stainless steel, which makes them very durable, sharp, and gives them great edge-retention.
While forged blades are preferred by most chefs, they also tend to fetch a pretty high price tag.
To counter that, both Shun and Wusthof have cheaper knives that are stamped, which basically means that the blades are cut, or “stamped” out from a large sheet of stainless steel.
This makes for a lighter and less durable knife, but it also makes for a more affordable product.
The knives from Wusthof’s Gourmet collection and Shun’s Blue Steel collection are stamped.
Shun tends to use PakkaWood for their handles, which is real wood that is infused with resin, which is both very comfortable to grip and durable.
Wusthof handles, on the other hand, will be made out of a variety of materials.
Some blades use synthetic materials, while others use real wood.
There is no “best” material for a handle, but as long as it’s durable and feels comfortable in your hand, that should do.
Now let’s talk about how these knives are designed.
Since Shun is a Japanese brand, they tend to take most of their influence from Japanese knife-making techniques.
This means that the blades will be a bit smaller, be sharpened to a finer edge, and the handles will either be rounded or octagonal.
That being said, the brand still takes some influence from German design to create a fusion of sorts that combines the best of both worlds.
Wusthof, on the other hand, is known for having very traditional German designs that haven’t changed too much over time.
After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
These knives will tend to be heavier, have a different handle shape, and will be more ideal for large prep jobs.
One of the most famous collections from this brand is the Shun Premier.
It features a traditional Japanese tsuchime finish, which is a hammered finish that gives the face of the blade a unique texture.
This result is a blade that is more durable overall and one that food doesn’t stick to as well, which can make things much easier in the kitchen.
These knives will come with a PakkaWood handle and a look that is truly unique to the brand.
The combination of the Damascus pattern that swirls near the edge and the hammered top is something that would make knife enthusiasts drool.
If you’re into traditional-looking Japanese chef knives, then this might be your best pick.
The Most Well-known Wusthof Collection
When talking about Wusthof, you have to mention this collection.
It is the brand’s best-selling collection, and it’s easy to see why.
The knives from this collection use high-carbon German stainless steel that is forged and created using the brand’s signature process that has remained unchanged for some time now.
As the name implies, the products have a very traditional look to them, which is very reminiscent of how old-school chef knives used to look.
They have sleek handles and a very clean finish on the blade.
On top of all that, they perform like a dream in the kitchen.
This collection of blades is truly one that you would look forward to being used every single day.
Shun Pros & Cons
- Incredibly sharp
- Expertly crafted
- Great for those who prefer Japanese style knives
- Comfortable to grip
- Beautiful and unique designs
- Relatively expensive
Wusthof Pros & Cons
- Large and easy to use knives
- Very sharp
- Ideal for professional chefs
- Great edge retention
- It may be too large for some
Our Verdict – Which Brand Should You Choose?
These two brands are really close, both providing high-quality knives that both professionals and home cooks alike would love to use.
But everyone has different tastes, and that’s really the only factor to consider when choosing between the two.
If you are one who prefers traditional German knives that are large and have a good weight to them, then Wusthof is the brand for you.
While their knives might be expensive, it’s an investment well worth making, especially if you take cooking seriously.
However, if you prefer precision, speed, and are looking for an extra-sharp blade, we recommend you go for Shun knives.
This is because they are Japanese chef knives that are made to handle the precision that is needed for Japanese and Asian cuisine.
But at the end of the day, as long as you are comfortable with the brand you chose and their knives are tools you enjoy using, then without a doubt, you have chosen the best knife brand for you!