Dalstrong vs Shun

Dalstrong vs Shun: Who’s Chefs Knife, Fillet Knife, & Cleaver is Best?

By Bobby B.  |  January 19, 2020  | Kitchen Knife Comparisons

When you’re buying new kitchen knives, one of the most difficult decisions is always which brand to do with.  There are knife makers that have been around for hundreds of years and have great brand recognition…which you’ll be paying extra for.  And, then there are newcomers or smaller companies that are priced lower.  Is it worth taking a risk on the lower priced knives, or do you just buy from the old faithful brands?  That’s what we’re here to debate today.

Dalstrong vs Shun:  Brand Comparison

Below, we’ll break down actual head-to-head battles between individual knives, but first let’s compare the brands themselves.  When were they started, where do they produce knives, and what makes them different?

Shun Logo

Anyone who’s been around kitchen cutlery much, especially if we’re talking about Japanese knives, knows Shun Cutlery well.  If you don’t, you can find tons more detailed information on the brand and their knives in our full Shun Cutlery Review.  The abridged version, for comparison purposes, is that Shun Cutlery has been in business for over 100 years.  They have skilled artisans that hand make all of their knives in Seki City, Japan.  

Shun knives are highly thought of in the kitchen knife industry.  They use very high-quality materials, make knives the right way, and stand behind their products with a limited lifetime warranty.  In this debate, the only thing holding them back is their price tag.  While no one is denying they have great knives, they can be relatively expensive when compared to an average kitchen knife.  The reason is…they really aren’t an average kitchen knife.  You’ll see more on this below.

Shop Shun Cutlery at Amazon

Dalstrong Logo

By contrast, Dalstrong manufactures several different types of knives, both Western-style and Japanese-inspired.  They’re a relatively young company, just starting out in 2014.  But it hasn’t taken them very long to start making waves.  They use quality materials in their knives and do a great job of marketing them to everyday consumers.   Dalstrong knives “look” awesome.  They’re cool, unique, and robust.  But are they any good? 

Really, it’s a fair question.  Many have never even heard of this brand, or are just hearing about them now.  In our opinion, yes, they are good.  As we mentioned above, they do use premium materials and they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back.  That’s usually a good indication of a quality product.  And, there’s no doubt that their knives are priced right.  One knock hard-core knife enthusiasts will give Dalstrong is where they are made.  They’ll say it’s not really a Japanese knife if it’s not made in Japan… and Dalstrong knives are actually made in China, not by hand, but by machine.

Shop Dalstrong Knives at Amazon

Dalstrong vs Shun:  Chef’s Knife

In our first comparison between Dalstrong and Shun’s Chefs knives, we’ll be matching up the Dalstrong Shogun Series X Gyuto (8″) vs the Shun Premier Series 8″ Chef’s knife.  As you’ll see in the head-to-head below, they are similar, yet different in many ways.  

To view the chart below on a mobile device, you may have to turn your screen on its side.

Dalstrong Shogun X Chef Knife

Dalstrong Shogun

Core Steel:  AUS-10V

Hardness:  62+ HRC

Damascus:  66-layers

Dalstrong Shogun AUS-10V Blade Detail

Warranty: Lifetime

Handle Material:  G-10 Fiberglass

Dalstrong Shogun G-10 Handle Detail

Edge Angle:  8-12 degrees/side

Mass Produced:  Yangjiang, China

Tang:  Full-Tang

Price:  $$

Shun Premier Chef Knife

Shun Premier Series

Core Steel:  VG-MAX

Hardness:  60-61 HRC

Damascus:  68-layers

Dalstrong Premier VG-MAX Blade Detail

Warranty:  Limited Lifetime

Handle Material:  Pakkawood

Shun Premier Pakkawood Handle Detail

Edge Angle:  16 degrees/side

Handmade:  Seki Ciy, Japan

Tang:  Full-Tang

Price:  $$$

Dalstrong Shogun X vs Shun Premier Series Review: 

Both of these great knives have lots of things going for them and they look great.  Read through our detailed review below to learn more about what makes each of them special.

Similarities:   

Both of these 8″ Japanese chef’s knives are well-built.  They both use very similar steels, AUS-10V vs VG-MAX.  They are also both forged and full-tang designs.  They both have an awesome-looking Damascus steel pattern with a hammered finish. 

Differences:  

Most of the differences between the Shogun X and Premier Series knives are minor.  Of course, you can see that the handles are made of different materials, but both are robust man-made materials that should withstand the test of time.  Yes, the steels are different.  VG-MAX might be slightly better, but not by much. 

The two major differences are the edge angle on the blade and where/how the knives are manufactured.  First, the edge angle… the Dalstrong uses a much sharper angle.  This is something that is just personal preference to the user on which is better.  The more pressing and differentiating fact is where the knives are made.  The Shun is made where you’d expect a Japanese knife to be made…Japan, whereas the Dalstrong is made in China.  Of course that plays a role in the cost difference between the two.

Conclusion:  

Clearly both are great chef’s knives using top-quality materials.  The fact that Dalstrong is still such a young company and made in China scares some of the purists that say Japanese knives should be made in Japan.  While that doesn’t really bother us as much as how a knife is made and what materials it’s made with, it does matter to some. 

In this particular showdown between Chef’s knives, we’d select the Shun Premier Series knife.  Yes, it’s slightly more expensive, but the materials are strong and the knife is made by hand.  A chef’s knife is one of the most, if not the most, used knife if your kitchen, so you should choose the best you can afford.

Dalstrong vs Shun:  Fillet Knife

In our next comparison between Dalstrong and Shun knives, FILLET KNIVES, we’ll be matching up the Dalstrong Shogun 6″ Fillet Knife vs the Shun Classic 6″ Fillet Knife.  This head-to-head match-up will cover the similarities and differences of these two great knives.   

To view the chart below on a mobile device, you may have to turn your screen on its side.

Dalstrong Fillet Knife Review - Shogun Series

Dalstrong Shogun

Core Steel:  AUS-10V

Hardness:  62+ HRC

Damascus:  66-layers

Dalstrong Fillet Knife - Blade Detail

Warranty: Lifetime

Handle Material:  G-10 Fiberglass

Dalstrong Fillet Knife - Handle Detail

Edge Angle:  8-12 degrees/side

Mass Produced:  Yangjiang, China

Tang:  Full-Tang

Price:  $$

Shun Classic Fillet Knife Review

Shun Classic Series

Core Steel:  VG-MAX

Hardness:  60-61 HRC

Damascus:  68-layers

Shun Fillet Knife - Classic Blade Detail

Warranty:  Limited Lifetime

Handle Material:  Pakkawood

Shun Classic Boning and Fillet Knife - Handle Detail

Edge Angle:  16 degrees/side

Handmade:  Seki Ciy, Japan

Tang:  Full-Tang

Price:  $$

Dalstrong Shogun Series vs Shun Classic Series Review: 

We’ve constructed another detailed review of both knives to show head-to-head exactly what is the same and different between these two knives.  You should have all the information needed to purchase one of these great knives after reading through this review.

Similarities:   

Both of these 6″ fillet knives are roughly the same size and shape.  Both use good blade steel and the same good, robust handle materials found in the first head-to-head challenge above.  Last but not least, both of these knives have a beautiful Damasacus pattern on the blade making them appear very high-end.

Differences:  

The biggest difference between these two fillet knives is the same as above.  It’s where and how they are made.  The Shun Classic Series has a great reputation due to the experience of their skilled artisans who have handmade these knives in Japan for many many years.  By contrast, the Dalstrong knife is mass-produced in China.

Conclusion:  

In this case, the pricing is relatively close between these knives.  Because of this and the fact that the VG-MAX is ever so slightly better than the AUS-10V and due to the experience and the handmaking on the Shun Classic Fillet Knife, we think it’s a better buy in this case.

Dalstrong vs Shun:  Best Meat Cleaver

In our last comparison between Dalstrong and Shun knives, CLEAVERS, we’ll be matching up the Dalstrong Gladiator Series R Obliterator vs the Shun Classic Meat Cleaver.  It’s time to learn more about both of these meat cleavers and what makes them tick in our head-to-head match-up.

To view the chart below on a mobile device, you may have to turn your screen on its side.

Dalstrong Gladiator R Obliterator Meat Cleaver Review

Dalstrong Gladiator

Blade Steel:  7CR17MOV

Hardness:  60+ HRC

Dalstrong Obliterator Blade Detail

Warranty: Lifetime

Handle Material:  G-10 Fiberglass

Dalstrong Gladiator G-10 Handle

Edge Angle:  14-16 degrees/side

Mass Produced:  Yangjiang, China

Tang:  Full-Tang

Price:  $$

Shun Classic Meat Cleaver Review

Shun Classic Series

Blade Steel:  AUS-8A

Hardness:  60-61 HRC

Shun Classic Meat Cleaver Blade Detail

Warranty:  Limited Lifetime

Handle Material:  Pakkawood

Shun Classic Pakkawood Handle

Edge Angle:  16 degrees/side

Handmade:  Seki Ciy, Japan

Tang:  Full-Tang

Price:  $$$

Dalstrong Gladiator Series vs Shun Classic Meat Cleaver Review: 

This comparison review is slightly different than the other two we did above.  In this case, there’s not really an apples to apples comparison between knives as the Dalstrong Meat Cleaver chosen is not really what I’d call a Japanese-Inspired knife.  Nonetheless, it’s time to pick a winner between these two capable meat cleavers.

Similarities:   

The similarities are fewer in this comparison.  Both are obviously meat cleavers and made to cut meat off the bone and even through small bones.  They are big, heavy robust blades made specifically for heavy-duty tasks in the kitchen like boning chicken or making stock.

Differences:  

There are tons of differences here and they really make one of these knives stand out from a crowd.  The Dalstrong cleaver is HUGE!  It has a 9″ blade where the Shun is only a 6″ blade.  I mean look, the knife’s name is “the Obliterator”!  It large, thick, and heavy, a full 3lbs in your hand for tearing apart whatever gets in its way.  Even the shape of the blade makes it look scary, and it’s purposeful too as it can be used to rip through meat/skin as you’re chopping away.  The ironic part here is that the Shun knife also has a price tag roughly 50% higher than the Dalstrong at the time of writing this review.

Conclusion:  

There’s hardly even a debate here in our eyes.   Your better buy between these two is the Dalstrong Obilterator.  It’d be our choice even if they were priced the same.  Our opinion is that it’s one of the best meat cleavers available anywhere and it’s a great price for what you’re getting…what a great value!

We don’t think that means the Shun Meat Cleaver doens’t have a place in a kitchen.  It’s clearly the better choice if you’re A) looking for a cleaver for smaller work (i.e. boning small poultry) or B) you already have a set of Shun Classics and want something to match.

Dalstrong vs Shun:  Review Summary

We hope you found our knife comparison and reviews for some of the best Dalstrong and Shun knives on the market.  Both companies really do make goo knives, but it’s true, Shun knives are typically a higher quality knife.  They’re handmade in Japan by skilled artisans that take over 100 tedious processes to produce.  If you’re looking for a great Japanese knife or knife set Shun Cutlery is one of your best options anywhere.  You can read more about all of their knife collections and what sets them apart here… Our Shun Cutlery Review.

There is certainly a place in the market for Dalstrong as well though.  Not everyone is looking to spend $200+ on a world-class chef’s knife.  Dalstrong brings relatively well-made knives to consumers at great prices.  You won’t find a better value of what you get for what you pay with almost any other knife manufacturer.  Sure, they’re mass produced.  Yes, they’re made in China.  But, for someone that just wants a cool knife that does the job and will last forever, they’re a great option.  Find our everything there is to know about Dalstrong the brand and their knives here… Our Dalstrong Knives Review.

Determining which is better between the two is obviously subjective.  If we’re just talking about quality and experience, I think almost anyone would nod towards Shun.  But if you’re willing to consider what value you’re getting (a good knife at a great price), Dalstrong should be part of the conversation, especially if your budget doesn’t allow you to spend too much.  Both are good knife brands fill a niche in the market.

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