Wusthof Knives Review – What Makes Wusthof Knives Unique?
Are you considering investing in a set of Wusthof kitchen knives? Before you buy, it’s crucial that you research the brand to make sure you’re spending your money wisely. We conducted significant research into Wusthof knives as well as their competitors so we could provide you with an honest and accurate review to help you make your decision.
What are Wusthof Knives?
The Wusthof knife company was founded in Solingen, Germany is 1814. It’s been in the Wusthof family for seven generation, and direct descendants of the original founders—Viola and Harald Wusthof-still run the company. Each Wusthof knife is still crafted in Solingen, which has been nicknamed the “City of Knives.”
The trident logo on Wusthof knives stands for the three driving principles the company stands for, passion, diligence, and perfection. You'll know a knife is an authentic Wusthof if it has the trident logo stamped on the blade.
The Wusthof brand is synonymous with high-quality kitchen knives, and many professional chefs prefer them over any other brand.
What Makes Wusthof Knives Unique?
Wusthof makes two kinds of kitchen knives—precision forged, and laser-cut stamped. The precision forged knives are the high-end, professional models used by famous chefs like Martha Stewart, Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, and Emeril Lagasse. The laser-cut stamped models are the budget-friendly knives that any home chef can afford. Both types of knives are made with high-quality German craftsmanship.
All Wusthof knives are sharpened using their exclusive Precision Edge Technology, or PEtech. This process uses computer-controlled robotics and lasers to ensure a precise cutting edge that doesn’t have any of the irregularities common with hand-sharpening.
Wusthof’s German-style knives are all sharpened to an angle of 14 degrees per side. They sharpen their Asian-style blades to 10 degrees. All of the knives have a formula etched into the side: X 50 Cr Mo V 15. This is the formula for the composition of the steel blades: 0.5% carbon, 15% chromium, and smaller amounts of molybdenum and vanadium.
Models and Pricing
There are seven total lines of Wusthof knives; five precision forged lines, and two laser-cut stamped lines. Rather than reviewing each individual type of knife in each of those lines, we will examine the line as a whole. When comparing prices, we considered the seven-piece set available in each line.
First, we’ll look at the precision forged Wusthof knives.
The Classic line is Wusthof’s traditional collection, the original knives they've been creating for over two hundred years. These knives are triple riveted, with a full-tang handle, meaning the steel of the blade runs all the way through the handle.
Classic knives have a full-bolster, which means the weighted, dull section of the blade at the base that protects your hands from getting cut extends across the entire width of the blade. They make the handle out of a black polyoxymethylene material, which is resistant to bacteria.
There is a total of 70 different types of knives in the Classic line, but each one contains the above characteristics.
Ikon is Wusthof’s "jewel," meaning it's their top-of-the-line series of knives. These beautiful knives are made of African blackwood handles, which is an incredibly dense wood with a distinctive grain. They are also triple-riveted and full-tang, giving them the strength to deal with any task.
The Ikon has a double-bolster; the half-bolster at the base of the blade is designed to protect your fingers while still allowing the entire length of the blade to sharpen more easily. The full-bolster at the butt of the handle provides a counter-weight while also adding some symmetry to the look of the knife as a whole.
The Classic Ikon is, as the name implies, a combination of the best aspects of the Classic and Ikon lines. The handle is similar to the Classic knives, ergonomically designed with a fully exposed tang, and composed of polyoxymethylene.
The handles are available in black, cream, or wood-colored. They have a double-bolster of the Ikon line, with a half-bolster at the base of the blade and a full-bolster at the butt of the handle.
The Classic Ikon collection is a great marriage of form and function.
The Grand Prix II line of knives looks very similar to the Classic; however, the difference is in the feel of the knife. Grand Prix II knives have a fully enclosed tang and rivets, making the handle more comfortable to hold.
The full-bolster at the base of the blade allows you to grip the handle closer to the blade for precision cuts. The handle itself is black polypropylene, with a pebble-grain texture that makes them more comfortable and easier to hold.
The Grand Prix II knives are for serious chefs who need both comfort and utility.
The Epicure collection is the newest line of knives from Wusthof. They were in development for over two years, as the Wusthof company set out to create the most technologically advanced and environmentally sustainable kitchen knives in the world.
The Epicure’s handle is made from recycled wood fibers called Richlite, with a full-bolster and fully visible tang. The handle is longer and thinner than other Wusthof knives, making them more comfortable for chefs with bigger hands.
The Epicure’s blade is a little different as well—they’re coated in ceramic to provide extra protection and allow food to slide off easier, and the spine is slightly arched to create a more steeply-angled tip.
The Epicure line was custom designed for Sur La Table, which carries the full collection.
If you’re more of a beginner cook who is looking for a set of inexpensive knives to help you improve your knife-handling skills, you should consider the laser-cut stamped lines. They combine the quality craftsmanship of all Wusthof knives with a simpler construction that costs less to produce.
The Pro series is designed for ultimate comfort, making them a great starter series for a home cook. The handle is a soft poly material, with an ergonomic, non-slip design that allows them to fit comfortably in your hand.
The stamped knives don't have a bolster on the blade, instead extending the handle to create a hand-guard. The Pro knives only have a partial tang, so they're not as strong as any of the other lines, but they have a lighter weight that you'll appreciate after a long night of chopping.
The Gourmet line is the least expensive of all Wusthof knives. They're essentially identical to the Classic line, with the only difference being the laser-cut stamped construction rather than precision forging. The Gourmet blades are also missing a bolster, but as with the Pro, the handle extends to provide a hand-guard.
These knives have the same polyoxymethylene handle with a full tang, making them a little stronger (but heavier) than the Pro line. The Gourmet series is a little less expensive than the Pro line, and it also comes with a knife block.
These knives are triple riveted, with a full-tang handle, meaning the steel of the blade runs all the way through the handle
These beautiful knives are made of African blackwood handles, which is an incredibly dense wood with a distinctive grain.
a combination of the best aspects of the Classic and Ikon lines.
have a fully enclosed tang and rivets, making the handle more comfortable to hold.
made from recycled wood fibers called Richlite, with a full-bolster and fully visible tang.
designed for ultimate comfort, making them a great starter series for a home cook.
the least expensive of all Wusthof knives.
All good chefs know the name Wusthof. The company has a stellar reputation for crafting high-quality knives, and you can find them in almost any high-end kitchen.
Wusthof has somewhat recently limited which retailers can carry their knives, most likely due to companies like Amazon allowing them to be re-sold at significantly lower prices. Because of that crackdown, any Wusthof blades you see on Amazon are unauthorized resellers or knockoffs. You can see a list of authorized retailers on Wusthof’s website.
The overall consensus is that these knives are worth the premium price. Wusthof knives consistently receive incredibly high ratings on retailer websites: 4.75/5 stars on Sierra Trading Post, 4.9/5 on Sur La Table, and 5/5 on Williams Sonoma. Also, customers have given Wusthof knives a 4.9-star rating on Consumer Reports.
A common theme in customer reviews is how solid and heavy the knives feel. As soon as you pick up a Wusthof knife, you can feel their strength and durability. Reviewers also love how sharp they are right out of the box, and how long they keep their edge.
How They Compare to the Competition
We compared Wusthof knives with three other high-end kitchen knife makers: Shun, Zwilling J. A. Henckels, and Global knives.
Wusthof vs. Shun
If you hold these two knives side-by-side, you’ll notice an immediate difference: Shun’s Japanese knives are much more stylish and attractive. Their blades are a combination of VG10 and high-carbon stainless steel, which are pressed together to create a ripple effect in the metal that's very visually pleasing. The handles are made from PakkaWood, which gives them a sophisticated look.
However, Wusthof’s German engineering ultimately wins out over Shun’s style. Shun blades don’t tend to hold up as well over time; customers have complained that the blade edges chip and break off fairly quickly, even when they’re cared for correctly.
If you want an attractive set of knives that will sit in your kitchen and only get occasional use, Shun’s knives might be right for you. If you need heavy-duty knives that will hold up over time and provide you with years of quality cutting, you should stick with Wusthof.
Wusthof vs. Zwilling J.A. Henckels
Henckels is another German company that was founded in Solingen, just like Wusthof. Henckels was actually started almost 80 years before Wusthof! As you can imagine, these two companies have a bit of a rivalry going, which has pushed each of them to produce the highest quality knives.
Both Henckels and Wusthof have forged, full-tang blades with a variety of handle types to suit the preferences of each chef. There are only a couple significant differences between the two blades.
Wusthof blades have a hardness rating of 58 Rockwell, while Henckels blades rate at 56-57. That means Wusthof’s blades are a harder steel and hold their sharpness longer, and Henckels are a little easier to sharpen but lose their edge quicker.
The other big difference is the angle of the blades’ edges. Henckels knives are sharpened to a 40-degree angle, while Wusthofs are sharpened to 32 degrees. The smaller angle means Wusthof knives are significantly sharper.
Overall, both brands are very similar, and you'll have to choose between them based on your preferences.
Wusthof vs. Global
Global is another Japanese knife-maker that competes Wusthof. Their knives are more affordably-priced, making them a popular choice for home chefs. They make their knives out of a single piece of stainless steel, including the handle. They look high-tech and are very lightweight and easy to clean.
Many customers prefer Global knives simply because they look cool and they’re lightweight and easy to hold. However, Wusthof knives have a more comfortable handle for cooks who will be spending a lot of time slicing and chopping. Wusthof’s also have significantly sharper blades and are weightier than Global’s knives.
The difference in price between Global and Wusthof makes it hard to make a real 1-to-1 comparison. For the cost, Global’s knives are high-quality and attractive. If you have the extra cash to spend, though, Wusthof is going to give you a better all-around knife.
What We Think
From everything we’ve seen and read, Wusthof deserves its outstanding reputation. If you’re a home cook looking to upgrade your kitchen knives, we recommend starting out with one or two forged Wusthof knives like a chef's knife or a Santoku. That will allow you to get a feel for the blades to determine if you want to continue investing in a Wusthof collection.
Any of the Wusthof lines will give you fantastic quality and strength with one of the sharpest blades in the world. Which one you choose should depend on your personal preferences. We hope our honest review of Wusthof knives helps you make an informed decision you’ll be happy with for decades to come.