Shun knives are a top-notch choice if you're looking for lightweight set of knives with a focus on agility and precision. With its roots tracing far back into Japanese Samurai sword-making, the knives are sharp as they are beautiful and widely acknowledged as among the best in class. Each knife is handmade in Japan by artisans using a process that involves about 100 steps. Starting with its PakkaWood handles, Shun developed a layering technique of fused birch and resin that has the look and feel of wood, but is more durable, then designed it with a D or tear drop shape to prevent slipping. The 33-layer steel clad construction produces an attractive variegated "wave" pattern on the sides of the blade that is not just decorative, but also helps food release while slicing. The high-density stainless steel used results in a remarkably hard, thinner blade that stays sharper longer than traditional German methods.

Traditional Japanese-style lines include the top of the line Pro Sho series, which has a single-bevel for precision slicing, the ergonomically minded Ken Onion series, and the lightweight Premier, line with its hand-hammered finish. There is even something for Western-style cutlery lovers with the best-selling Classic series, which has all the traditional western knife styles with a double beveled edge.

Your Shun knives will be sharper out of the box than any knife you own, and they'll also hold their edge longer than the average knife. But when the time comes, a whetstone will work, but the Shun Electric Sharpener is a good investment as it sharpens to the specified 16-degree angle and easily brings them back to the original cutting edge.

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