Last updated 03.23.23 — Wusthof knives are one of the most well-known and trusted in the kitchen-knife universe. Enter any kitchen supply store from Macy’s to Sur La Table and you will see the name “Wusthof” dancing out of the glassed-in wall cabinets. Peek into any professional kitchen of note, and odds are, you will see someone slicing a julienne with a Wusthof Classic—one of the best chef knives you can buy.

Wusthof Ikon chef knife, 6-inch_full
Manufactured in Solingen, Germany, since 1814, Wusthof knives, along with the other major German maker, Henckels, have all but dominated sales of knives around the world for the past 50 years. And there is good reason (other than smart marketing)—they are well-made with a very high nod to quality. Wusthof takes pride in its relentless pursuit of excellence. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the company is currently run by Viola and Harald Wüsthof, seventh generation of the same Wusthof family that founded the company 200 years ago!

All this said, there is one very important caveat to be made: Wusthof makes quite a few lines/models of knives. And if you desire to benefit the most from what the brand offers, you should stick to the forged lines (as opposed to the stamped/laser-cut) and be fully aware as to what those lines are.

BUYER’S GUIDE If you don’t have time for small talk, CLICK HERE to skip down to my recommended Wusthof knives.


Wusthof Knives—Forged and Stamped Lines


ClassicLooks like it sounds, with a triple-riveted polypropylene handle that feels like wood.
Classic IkonCurvy, ergonomic polypropylene handle that feels woody as well.
Classic Ikon CremeSame Classic Ikon design, but creme-colored handle instead of black.
Ikon (Blackwood)Original African blackwood handle design—not only feels like, but is wood.
AmiciMajor new design with olivewood handle; very similar to the old Epicure, but improved.
CrafterNew! Similar to Anniversary Edition; classic look, smoked oak handle with brass rivets.
PerformerNew! Coated blade, Darth Vader look; ergonomic handle with honeycomb grip.
AeonLimited edition. Coated blade with bog oak handle; only three knives in entire line.
CulinarCurvy, pure stainless steel handle.
EpicureCustom-designed for Sur La Table—appears to be discontinued.
Gran Prix IIModern molded polypropylene handle and looks and feels like it; probably discontinued.



GourmetLooks like a Classic, but it’s not.
Urban FarmerNew! Playful style with dark beechwood handles.
ProLight and thin like a Victorinox. Discontinued?


Again—Wusthof’s forged knives are what I recommend and will concentrate on in this article. So, unless otherwise noted, I am always talking about their forged knives.

Are you with me?

FORGED VS. STAMPED A forged knife is made from steel that has been heated and hammered and heated and hammered some more, so as to realign its molecular structure and make it stronger and more resilient. While a stamped knife is literally stamped out of a roll of steel and thus lacks this strengthening process. With modern manufacturing techniques the lines have now blurred. But in the case of Wusthof, their forged knives are higher quality and will stay sharp longer.


Wusthof Knives—How They’re Made

Wusthof knives all use the same X50CrMoV15 stainless steel—with molybdenum and vanadium added to enhance their hardness, durability, and resistance to corrosion. There is nothing out of the ordinary about this steel, but it’s tough and definitely won’t rust. Each knife is drop forged from a single billet of steel, the blade and handle one solid piece, thus they are all full-tang (one piece of steel from the tip to the heel). The knives are heat-treated to a Rockwell hardness of 58 which is the norm for German-style knives. Finally, they are all sharpened (with a few notable exceptions) to an angle of 14 degrees per side. This is much sharper than what German-style knives used to be sharpened at (around 22 degrees) and shows the influence of the Japanese invasion.

FULL-TANG Read How to Buy a Great Chef Knife to learn more about the tang and other kitchen knife terminology.

Wusthof knives heat treatment oven

(Above: Future blades emerging from heat treatment at the Wusthof factory in Solingen.)


All the various forged lines share the same manufacturing process. . .
This recipe for knife-making creates a durable blade that can withstand a lot of stress and still not chip and will retain a sharp edge for a respectable amount of time. It can’t quite match the blistering sharpitude of many Japanese knives which are usually made of steels with higher carbon content. But for a home kitchen (and most professionals as well), it’s more than sharp enough. Plus, it won’t require the maintenance and vigilance demanded by many Japanese blades.

Wusthof factory_blanksWhat’s important to remember about Wusthof knives is that all the various lines (forged, that is) share the same manufacturing process, the same forged blade at their core. But they are customized into a spread of styles that distinguish themselves from each other by their handles and their balance and feel. (Left: Blanks that will become Wusthof Classic chef knives.) So if you’re in the mood to splurge and spend $300 on an Ikon chef knife with a African blackwood handle (a gorgeous knife), please understand that the extra money you’re spending is going to the handle and the feel, not to the engineering of the blade. And understand that a Wusthof Classic chef’s (which costs significantly less) should slice through a carrot just as effortlessly as the Ikon Blackwood, hold it’s edge just as well, and have just as long a life cycle. The same is true for the Classic Ikon, the Performer, et al. The blades should all perform similarly.

There is one mild exception to this rule—the Japanese hybrid models (within each line). The santoku, nakiri, and chai dao are all slightly thinner than the corresponding chef knife and are sharpened to 10 degrees per side (instead of 14). This allows them to slide through food with slightly less resistance.

PEtec (PRECISION EDGE TECHNOLOGY) Wusthof’s patented system of high-tech sharpening that guarantees each and every knife leaving the factory floor has been sharpened to their specs. By measuring with lasers and using robots to do the sharpening, the aim is to insure every blade is evenly sharpened from tip to heel and that there is consistency from knife to knife. This would be exhausting to verify, but my impression is that if you want a knife with a guaranteed sharp edge out of the box, your odds are good with Wusthof.


Wusthof Buyer’s Guide Contents


• • •

For the purpose of this article (and because we’re awash in knives), I’m going to focus on 8-inch chef knives and their Asian-style counterparts. But with each chef knife, I’ll give you a snapshot of what other knives come in that style/collection.

To review: All Wusthof knives are forged from the same steel. All are full tang. All are tempered to 58 HRC (Rockwell hardness), and all, except the Asian hybrids, are sharpened to 14 degrees per side.

KNIFE PRICES Because the prices of many name-brand kitchen knives can fluctuate wildly—sometimes up to 50 percent—please understand my quotes have to be ballpark. But if you click on the link to the seller’s website, you will get the exact current price there.

Wusthof Classic Chef Knife

BUY NOW $155–200 @ Sur La Table / Amazon
Wusthof Classic chef knife

The original—with a traditional triple-riveted polypropylene handle (but it looks and feels like wood) and a full bolster. Well-balanced and not too heavy. Holding it in your hand, you feel like a pro.

BOLSTER In a traditional forged knife, the bolster is that narrow wedge of steel that separates the handle from the blade. It’s supposed to protect the cook’s fingers from slipping on to the cutting edge. Many modern forged knives have minimal bolsters or none at all. For more details, read How to Buy a Great Chef Knife.

Wusthof Classic 14-inch chefThe Classic line boasts the largest collection—roughly 70 types of knives in all (not including accessories like forks). Everything from an ultra-narrow salmon slicer to three cheese knives to a bird’s beak paring knife. And chef knives, Lordy! It sports 8-, 9-, and 10-inchers and, in case you’re cooking for an army, 12- and 14-inchers, too. And, of course, it has a full range of santokus, and a nakiri as well. (Right: An 8-inch chef knife next to a 14-incher at the Wusthof outlet store in Norwalk, CT.)

If all your kitchen knives simply must match (mine don’t), that would be a definitive reason to go with the Classic line. It’s the most comprehensive collection of knives Wusthof manufacturers. As you grow your kitchen knife collection, adding specialty knives, etc., you can rest assured you’ll find it in the Classic series. If you can’t find it in Classic, Wusthof doesn’t make it.

Wusthof Classic Wide Chef Knife

BUY NOW $150–225 @ Sur La Table / Amazon
Wusthof Classic wide chef knifeThis bad boy is a fantastic option for cooks doing some serious slicing. A wider blade can power through large fruits and vegetables (like butternut squash or heads of cabbage) or large quantities (think cubing up pork tenderloins) without being overcome by the food. The Classic wide blades are a 1/4-inch wider than regular blades. So a regular chef’s, at its widest, is 1 3/4 inches, while a wide chef is 2 full inches. (Just don’t forget that the extra width might prevent Big Boy from fitting in the usual slots of your wood block. A small price to pay for the extra chopping power.)


Ikon Series Knives

A contemporary answer to the Classic with a curvy, ergonomic handle. It comes in three versions, each identical, except for the color of (and material in) the handle: 1) Classic Ikon, 2) Classic Ikon Creme, and 3) the Ikon (Blackwood). (Below: Classic Ikon chef knife, hollow edge.)

wusthof classIkon_chef7


The Ikon series totes a half bolster which offers a slightly different balance/feel than the Classic and makes it much easier to sharpen. It also has, what Wusthof calls, a second half-bolster at the very end of the knife where the steel core spreads out to cover the entire butt and which aids greatly in the balance act.

The handle really is something. It not only looks graceful as a deer antler, but fits into your hand (or mine, at least) like a kid-leather glove. This is my favorite Wusthof knife. (Tip: If you can afford it, you might want to spring for the 9-inch chef which, to me, feels even better and more balanced than the 8-inch. The handle is exactly the same size as the 8-inch, so it looks like they designed the handle with the larger knife in mind.)

What’s so cool about the Ikon series is that they’re not only beautiful, but serious tools that you can plan on having in your kitchen for decades.

Wusthof Classic Ikon Chef Knife

BUY NOW $180–200 @ Sur La Table / Amazon
Wusthof Classic Ikon chef knife_2

Black polypropylene handle that (like the Classic) looks and feels like stained/varnished wood. A stylish, yet workhorse, knife. Medium-sized collection: 28 knives, including 9-, 10-inch chef, and 6 1/2-inch santoku.

Wusthof Classic Ikon Creme Chef Knife

BUY NOW $150–180 @ Amazon
Wusthof Classic Ikon Creme chef knife

Ditto the Classic Ikon, but with a creamy-white handle. Kind of Western, no? Harking back to pearl-handled pistols and what not. Small collection, only 17 knives—6-, 8-, 9-inch chef, and 6 1/2-inch santoku.

Wusthof Ikon (Blackwood) Chef Knife

BUY NOW $250–285 @ Amazon
Wusthof Ikon (Blackwood) chef knife

Why the heck, for the sake of clarity, didn’t Wusthof officially name (or rename) this knife the Ikon Blackwood? At any rate. . .this top-of-the-line version comes with a genuine wooden handle made of Grenadilla wood (African blackwood)—one of the hardest woods in the world. Classy stuff and it’s an eye-catcher in an understated sort of way. And, yes, you can feel the subtle difference of the natural wood in your palm. What’s more, the blades tend to be ever-so-slightly thinner and lighter than the Classic Ikon. I assume it’s for balance, to match the lighter weight of the Grenadilla wood.

This is the knife to buy for that very special person who’s passionate about cooking and appreciates fine things. Medium-to-small collection: 20 knives including a 6-, 8-, 9-inch chef; 5-, 6 1/2-, 7-inch santoku.

BUYER BEWARE Wusthof is such a powerful brand that it does attract knock-offs. Please be aware that the best way to guarantee you’re buying a genuine Wusthof blade is to buy from an Authorized Wusthof Retailer.

Wusthof Amici Chef Knife

BUY NOW $280–300 @ Amazon
Wusthof Amici chef knife

The Amici is one of Wusthof’s newest kitchen knife creations which seems to be cashing in on the olive-wood-in-the-kitchen craze. Nothing wrong with that—who doesn’t have a thing for the swirling grain and golden tones of olive wood?

To my eyes, the design of the Amici seems very close to Wusthof’s old Epicure line (which appears to have been discontinued). The long gentle arch of the spine and handle; the full-sized bolster (to protect your fingers from the blade); the top-exposed tang and two rivets (on the handle); the asymmetrical, organic-shaped grip—all hark back to the Epicure.

It’s a beautiful, artistic design—immaculately finished, no rough edges or gaps. Plus, you can count on a roomy handle (longer than the Classic) with decent knuckle clearance. The olive wood is naked, not oiled or sealed, which gives it a marvellously tactile feel and an excellent grip. But it will require a little TLC—you’ll need to regularly rub in a light coating of mineral oil (like with a cutting board) to protect it.

Wusthof Amici chef knife handle

One major improvement over the Epicure—the Amici is perfectly balanced. Hurray! It’s also a bit lighter—and lighter than the Wusthof Classic chef and the Classic Ikon as well (the Ikon weighing 1.5 ounces more).

There is only one big negative—you guessed it—the price! No way around it, Amici is one expensive chef knife. And please be crystal clear that the steel and the cutting performance will be exactly like the Wusthof Classic and the Classic Ikon. Period. Oh, because of the price point, the factory might spend an extra minute or two on quality control to guarantee the edge comes perfectly sharpened. (Mine was unusually sharp for a German knife, more like your average Japanese.) But, other than that—exactly the same as the other knives above. You’re spending an extra $100-plus for the beauty of the design and an olive wood handle. Viva l’Italia!

Wusthof Amici kitchen knife line

Small collection: 7 knives total including an 8-inch bread knife, 6- and 8-inch chef knives, 7-inch santoku, serrated sandwich blade, a utility and a paring.

Wusthof Crafter Chef Knife

BUY NOW $255–275 @ Amazon
Wusthof Crafter chef knife

You can trace the Crafter’s vintage vibe—dark wood handle, brass rivets—back to Wusthof’s Anniversary Limited Edition set issued a few years ago (see further down the page). Except the carbon steel has morphed into Wusthof’s more standard stainless, and the handles have evolved from rosewood to smoked oak.

It’s still a handsome look and a heck of a lot easier to maintain than having to regularly oil a carbon steel blade in order to stave off rust. So, there! Small collection: 8 knives including a 6-, 8-inch chef; 7-inch santoku, 2 bread knives, 2 utility knives, and a paring.

Wusthof Performer Chef Knife

BUY NOW $350-375 @ Amazon
Wusthof Performer chef knife

Wusthof leans to the dark side with this bad-ass concoction designed for Darth Vader devotees when they want to impress (or scare the crap out of) their friends at the grill station. Everything about it screams bold—from the total black of both blade and handle, to the huge, ballsy Wusthof logo (trident in circle) seared into the back side of the blade.

Salient facts. . .
1) DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) coated blade offers strength and durability—extra protection from water, tomato juice, getting scratched, etc. Although. . .with German steel at HRC 58, you’re already tough as nails. And I do have concerns about how this DLC coating (Rockwell hardness 104—almost twice that of the steel in the actual blade) will handle serious sharpening. Especially if whoever’s doing the sharpening, desires to improve on the factory bevel.

2) Ergonomic, high-tech, honeycomb handle: Supposedly, grips like a mother, and guarantees the knife won’t scoot out of your olive-oil-coated fingers when you least expect. Niffy!

Hey, don’t count me out—it speaks to the tough-guy in us all. Of course, then there’s the price tag. . . . Small collection, only 5 knives: 9-inch bread, 6-, 8-inch chef; 7-inch santoku, and paring.

Wusthof Culinar chef knife

Wusthof Culinar Chef Knife

BUY NOW $165–180 @ Amazon
Honestly? I just don’t get this knife. Why would I want a cutting/slicing tool with a handle made of polished steel so smooth (without a single gripping texture) that at any moment it might slither out of my fingers like a Brook trout? True, it’s a sleek, contemporary design—like a Classic Ikon with a handle that’s morphed from polypropylene to steel. But can you imagine cutting up an avocado with it? No fun at all.

However . . . if smooth steel handles are your thang, rest assured the blade will have the exact same quality as all the other Wusthof forged knives. Medium-small collection: 20 knives; 6-, 8-, 9-, 10-inch chef knives, plus santokus.

Wusthof Double-Serrated Bread Knife

Wusthof Classic: BUY NOW $125–150 @ Sur La Table / Amazon
Wusthof Classic Ikon: BUY NOW $160–200 @ Sur La Table / Amazon
Double-serrated might sound like a gimmick, but it’s not. The cutting edge of this bread knife has larger serrations and then smaller ones within the larger ones which adds up to one smokin’ bread knife. If you are sick and tired of your bread knife sliding off crusty peasant bread loafs, or smooshing down baguettes before actually carving into them, your time has come. This knife is meant for you. Even angel food cake! (So the promo goes.)

Wusthof Classic double-serrated bread knifeWhen I visited the Wusthof outlet store for the first time last spring, my Wusthof guide raved about this knife. I didn’t let on, but went, “eh” inside. But as I shopped for other flashier items, I mulled it over and gradually realized it was a brilliant idea and a powerful tool. So I put it in my shopping basket, along with too many other cool knives that my heart wanted but my wallet didn’t, and, unfortunately, it didn’t make the cut.

When I got home that night and whipped out one our bread knives to slice up a warmed-up ciabatta loaf, and could feel the edge barely grip the crust as I gingerly sawed, trying not to smush it down to nothing, I realized I’D MADE THE WRONG DECISION. But it’s on my calendar to return to the next major outlet sale and NOT LEAVE WITHOUT IT. [Update: I did eventually nab this knife, and after five years and counting, it’s still wicked sharp!]

If you eat any kind of baked items on a regular basis that need to be hand sliced—this bread knife will make you smile and keep on smiling.


• • •

Wusthof Japanese-Style Knives—Recommended Models

Although I’ve already touched on these Japanese-style knives above (in my encapsulations of collections), I think it’s important to spotlight them because they are so terribly useful. And many are discovering they have a hankering for the slightly reduced length and weight of this style of knife versus the traditional chef knife.

Wusthof’s Japanese-style knives generally come in two sizes—5-inch and 7-inch. I recommend the 7-inch because it’s closest to an 8-inch chef and can handle most kitchen tasks. For me, a 5-inch is a bit too small to be my go-to knife. But if small works for you, then you’ve got options.

As the chef knives above, the blades are all forged, full tang, and pass through the same rigorous manufacturing process, the only difference being they are 1) slightly thinner, and 2) sharpened at a 10-degree angle instead of 14. What does that add up to? Improved sharpitude, these babies can slice!

Wusthof Classic Ikon Santoku, 7-Inch

BUY NOW $160–200 @ Sur La Table / Amazon
Wusthof Classic Ikon santoku

I’ve featured this wicked beauty for years as one of my favorites in my article: Best Knives—Six Recommendations. So all I can do is gush. It’s nimble, it’s sharp, it’s sexy, and it’s got that wonderfully comfy Ikon handle. It’s the babe of my kitchen. It can slice through melons, split an avocado, and chop up oregano. If you’re looking for a slimmed down go-to knife for your kitchen, you will never regret buying it.

It comes in the Classic line as well (with a different handle, of course). And if you need a paring knife and can’t resist a deal, you should consider the Asian two-knife set. You get the santoku along with a 3-inch, straight-edge paring knife for around $40 less than buying them separately.

SANTOKU (sahn-TOH-koo) KNIFE Santoku in Japanese translates as “three virtues” or “three uses.” Traditionally, Japanese knives were highly specialized, each designed for a specific task (slicing sushi, dicing carrots, etc.). But the santoku blade was invented for a variety of tasks—cutting, chopping, mincing—most everything done with a chef knife in the West.

Wusthof Classic Chai Dao (Hollow Edge), 7-Inch

BUY NOW $120–140 @ Amazon
Wusthof Classic chai dao (hollow edge), 7-inch

Strictly speaking, the chai dao is Chinese, not Japanese, but let’s not mince cultures. Santokus and Japanese-Asian-style blades come in a range of shapes—some pointier, some longer or wider than others. But the most important distinguishing factor of this blade, versus your average santoku, is the smooth, round curve of the cutting edge. This allows you, without lifting, to rock it back and forth when you dice veggies. Which can save hand and arm energy. It’s a technique that needs to be practiced, assimilated—and, I must admit, I’m still assimilating.

Regardless—the other thing I love about this knife (and santokus in general) is the “scoopability factor.” You know, the way you can use the wide blade to scoop up what you you’ve just chopped and toss it in the pot. This baby’s got a high scoopability factor—3/8” wider (or taller) than the Ikon santoku above. If you’d like to save $30 and don’t care about the scalloped edge (it only comes into play when you’re pull-cutting through something thick anyway), buy the model that’s not “hollow edge.”

In Chinese, “chai dao” means vegetable knife.

Wusthof Amici Santoku, 7-Inch

BUY NOW $280–300 @ Sur La Table / Amazon
Wusthof Amici santoku

Although billed as a santoku, if you compare the shape and width of the Amici santoku’s blade to the chai dao above, it’s pretty similar. The main distinction would be a straighter cutting edge. And it has a wonderful scoopability factor, too—all good things.

Compared to the Classic Ikon santoku (see above), you’re getting seriously more blade—mainly in the width—along with a chunkier handle. If you desire a svelte, agile santoku, this is not the one for you.

On the other hand, next to the Amici chef knife, this santoku is lighter (by an ounce) and more compact. Yet it carries the same amount of cutting power. At the heel, the blade is a full half-inch wider than the chef, and it retains most of that width all the way down to the tip. So even though the Amici santoku is, technically, an inch shorter than the chef, it should be able to handle the same amount of food prep. So if you were looking for a more agile go-to blade, but didn’t want to sacrifice your ability to speed chop a stack of zucchinis, this santoku might be a way go.

Performance-wise this knife is extremely promising. Mine came from the factory uber-sharp (sharper than the Amici chef). And although the thickness of the blade at the spine is rather German (i.e. on the thicker side), by the time you reach the cutting edge the metal slims down to Japanese thin.

Like the Amici chef, the olive-wood handle is comfy, the balance perfect (better balanced than the Classic Ikon santoku), and the finishing impeccable. But it does carry the same lofty price tag. If you’re looking for beauty and performance, there are better values to be had. (Miyabi comes to mind, but most of their knives are made with Japanese steel.) Otherwise—if you’re seeking a Western-Japanese hybrid, hewn from German steel with Mediterranean style—the Amici santoku is highly worth investigating.

Wusthof Classic nakiri

Wusthof Classic Nakiri, 7-Inch

BUY NOW $150–170
@ Amazon / Sur La Table

The Classic Nakiri has gotten raves on Amazon and near to nil negative reviews—which is rare nowadays with so many opinions out there. So, it definitely has something to say for itself.

I own this blade myself and find my hand reaching for it often for small, everyday tasks. Like cutting up a pickle for lunch—and then the sandwich I’ve just assembled. Stuff like that. I think the fact it’s compact and lacks a sharp point (nothing to dodge) is what makes it so companionable. Although it’s also great for typical meal-prep tasks like chopping up onions (preferably not too large) or quartering a cantaloupe.

The blade is two inches wide which makes it wider than the Classic Ikon santoku (1 3/4”), but a touch narrower than the chai dao at it’s widest. (To give you some perspective—your average 8-inch chef knife is 1 3/4” wide at the heel.) What’s nice about this size is that, although it’s wider than a standard chefs, it’s not as wide and cumbersome as a traditional Chinese cleaver. So, you can chop and scoop without banging into things or catching yourself with the edge of the blade. Plus, it’s got a rounded tip which, again, makes it a touch safer.

This is the ideal knife for someone who does a whole lot of chopping and dicing in the kitchen, but not humongous quantities. And, look out—you might get hooked! Many of the Amazon reviewers have been converted to using the nakiri for almost everything they do.

JAPANESE CHEF KNIVES For more of the skinny on Japanese chef knives, please visit Best Japanese Chef Knives — Six Recommendations.

• • •

Wusthof Knife Sets and Knife Block Sets—Recommendations

Kitchen knife sets are always tricky because it’s nearly impossible to get exactly the knives you want. You invariably get a knife (or honing steel or kitchen shears) you don’t really need—the 6-inch utility knife being the classic culprit. (Although after 20 years of neglect, I’ve finally found a couple of uses for mine. Woo-hoo!)

Nonetheless, a knife set can serve the purpose of jump-starting your kitchen with a bevy of blades without having to go through an exhausting series of buying decisions. And it can also make quite a splash as a gift. So sets have their place. (Please note: If your knife set does not come with a block, you should buy one, or a knife storage drawer, or at least some knife covers. Protect those edges!) (Below: Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-piece block set.)

Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-piece knife block set

Here’s the roadmap: First, I’m going to divide the knife collections into three basic categories: 1) two-piece chef and paring knife sets, 2) medium-sized sets, and 3) full-sized sets. Then, within each category, I’ll focus on the six Wusthof knife lines I’ve recommended above, touching on sets/blocks worth considering, and drawing some distinctions.

Oh, one other important detail. Just because a Wusthof knife set isn’t in this listing, doesn’t mean I wouldn’t recommend it. This is not a definitive list, just a sampling of sets to consider with some useful guidelines.

On your mark, get set, go!

THE CORE THREE A bare-bones kitchen can get by with just three essential knives. Curious? Check out How Many Knives Do You Really Need?

Wusthof Chef and Paring Knife Sets

This is my favorite type of knife set to recommend because you get two out of the three core knives every kitchen should have—a chef and a paring knife. Pure muscle, no fat.

Wusthof Classic 2-piece setThe sets below feature an 8-inch chef and a 3 1/2-paring knife. An 8-inch chef knife is the standard for home kitchens and there’s a reason why—it’s big, but not too big. These sets run from around $225 to $290. There are cheaper chef-paring knife sets that feature 6-inch chef knives. But unless you know for sure you want a shorter chefs, I don’t recommend them. (Right: Wusthof Classic 2-piece starter set.)

Wusthof Classic 2-Piece
Starter Knife Set
@ Amazon / Sur La Table


As I’ve already mentioned, santoku knives (and the other Japanese models I recommend) can stand-in for traditional chef knives. The size I recommend (comparable to an 8-inch chefs) is a 7-inch blade. And that’s the size that comes with the sets below.

Wusthof Classic Ikon 2-Piece Asian Santoku and Paring Knife Set
@ Amazon

Wusthof Classic 2-Piece Asian Santoku and Paring Knife Set
@ Amazon
(Below: the Classic 2-piece Asian santoku and paring knife set.)
Wusthof Classic 2-piece Asian set


For those who already own an 8-inch chef and are adding on, or are certain they want a smaller chef knife, here’s a set with a 6-inch chef:

Wusthof Classic Ikon 2-Piece Knife Set (6-inch chef)
@ Amazon / Sur La Table

Wusthof 200th Anniversary, Limited Edition, 2-Piece Knife Set

@ Amazon
In celebration of 200 years of knife making (since 1814), Wusthof issued a limited edition 2-piece set in a vintage style circa 1920. Wusthof’s way of making whoopee.
Wusthof Anniversary 2-piece set handlesThe handles are real wood, rosewood to be exact, the rivets are brass, and the blades, and this the most important part, are forged from carbon steel—not high-carbon stainless. Carbon steel is what most knives were made of before the stainless revolution. This sets these knives apart from all the other forged knives I’ve covered in this article and here’s why: 1) carbon steel is harder (HRC 59) than high-carbon stainless and will take a sharper edge and stay sharp longer; 2) unlike stainless, carbon steel corrodes and is susceptible to rust if you do not keep it dry after using. It will also gradually develop a dull patina that will give it a cool, vintage look. (The set comes with a little bottle of oil you should use to protect them.)

Wusthof Anniversary 2-piece knife set

Excuse me while I effuse, but these are seriously beautiful knives. Well-conceived and painstakingly executed. I think I like the feel of this chef knife even better than the Classic Ikon—something about the balance and the natural wood. Please be aware that it’s a 9-inch chef and a 4-inch parer, but don’t let that extra inch on the chef scare you. The blade’s so light and nimble in the hand, you’ll hardly be aware.

Wusthof Medium-Size Knife Sets

If you need the core knives for a home kitchen and you want them all to look alike and fit in their own block—this is the type of set you’re looking for. Most often it will come in the same configuration: paring, chef, bread, utility, shears, honing steel, block. You can often find different types of wood for the block, Acacia being my personal fave. These sets range from around $495 to $900.(Below: Wusthof Amici 6-piece knife block set)

Wusthof Amici Olivewood set of six

Wusthof Amici 6-Piece Knife Block Set
@ Amazon
Core three, plus santoku (yay!), and a serrated sandwich knife—which I think is much more useful than a utility knife. And the handsome Italian cowhide leather block. Bought separately, these would all add up to $100–200 more.

Wusthof Classic 7-Piece Knife Block Set
@ Amazon

with Acacia Slim Block
@ Amazon

The slim design and Acacia block might be worth paying extra for—it is a beauty. And not as massive.

Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Knife Block Set (also with a Walnut block)
@ Sur La Table / Amazon
same in Classic Ikon Creme (with slim block)
@ Amazon

Wusthof Ikon (Blackwood) 7-Piece Knife Block Set
@ Amazon

Beautiful, top-of-the-line set. Four knives: 3 1/2-inch paring, 6-inch utility, 8-inch bread, 8-inch chef—and shears, honing steel, block.

HONING STEELS I am not crazy about the honing steels that come with most knife sets. They are usually made of a ridged steel that is tougher on your knives’ edges than is necessary. I recommend using a ceramic hone—for more info see my article What’s a Honing Steel?

Wusthof Large-Size Knife Sets

These jumbo knife sets define “pricy” and are a bit over the top. One of the main elements bumping up the price are the steak knives. Those who really really crave forged, high-quality steak knives along with their kitchen knives will need to pony up.

Steak knives aside—if you’ve got the budget, enjoy cooking, and have more than one chef in your kitchen (like our house), you’ll probably find the extra blades come in handy. Especially on special occasions and crunch cooking times like holidays and big dinner parties. These big-boy sets run from (take a big breath) $1,000 to $2,500. (Below: Wusthof Classic 36-piece knife block set.)

Wusthof Classic 36-piece knife block set

Wusthof Classic 36-Piece Knife Block Set
@ Amazon

This puppy’s in a league of it’s own. I can’t imagine ever needing another knife to do anything. Multiple paring knives, multiple chef knives and santoku knives, multiple carving knives, a cleaver, the list goes on and on, and, of course, for good measure, a couple of those really weird-looking cheese knives.

Wusthof Classic Ikon 22-Piece Block Knife Set
@ Amazon

This is just about the largest set you can buy in the Classic Ikon line. (OK, there’s one larger featuring 26 items.) What I like most about this set is that you get two chef knives and two santokus. It’s fun to have lots of options! The official list: paring knife, two utility knives, bread knife and sandwich serrated, 6- and 8-inch chef knives, 5- and 7-inch santoku, boning knife, 8-inch granton carver (no fork), and eight steak knives. Plus, the shears, steel, and block.


• • •

Wusthof Steak Knife Sets—Recommendations

I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of paying a premium for steak knives. Most of us don’t use them often enough for their sharpitude to be a major issue. They just need to look nice and cut reasonably well. Thus, in this one instance, I’m not a stickler about recommending only the premium Wusthof forged lines (Classic, Ikon, etc.) for a steak knife set.

Below is a sampling of sets that cover a range of blade quality as well as style, fit, and finish. In my opinion, any one of them could do the job. Priced from $55 to $375.

Wusthof stainless-steel steak knives, set of 6

Wusthof Stainless-Steel Steak Knives, Set of 6
@ Amazon
Set of 8, with Wooden Case
@ Amazon

Rave reviews, best value, serrated blade. And, unlike everything else Wusthof-ian, they’re made in China. All the sites that sell these say they’re forged, which doesn’t make sense. I’m sure they’re stamped, but it’s been hard to verify. So what? They’re only steak knives :)

Wusthof Gourmet steak knives, set of 6
Wusthof Gourmet Steak Knives, Set of 6 & Storage Block
@ Amazon

The Gourmet line is stamped, not forged. Rave reviews as well.
Wusthof Classic steak knives, set of 4
Wusthof Classic Steak Knives, Set of 4
@ Sur La Table / Amazon

Forged . . . and you pay for it.
Wusthof Ikon steak knives, set of 4
Wusthof Classic Ikon Steak Knives, Set of 4 with Wooden Case
@ Sur La Table / @ Amazon (no case)
Classic Ikon Creme w/case
@ Amazon
Ikon Blackwood w/case
@ Amazon

Top of the Pops!
Wusthof Ikon steak knives w/leather case
One can dream, can’t one. . .?

• • •

Wusthof Wrap-Up

Hope you’ve had a successful tour through the world of Wusthof! I’ve tried to give you a roadmap that you can return to again and again when you’re feeling lost. Don’t worry if at the moment it all feels like a blur. Just remember this one, most important, thing—stick to the forged lines. That’s where Wusthof’s reputation lies.

Oh. . .and have fun in the kitchen with!

Wusthof chef knives rack

  1. I looked all over the net for info on Wusthof knives in order to make an informed decision on purchasing a set. Your article was exactly what I was looking for, thank you!

    • You’re welcome, John! And thanks much for letting me know. It took around nine months to research, write, and design/publish. Whew :)

      What did you end up buying?

      • I would like to second the above comment! Super helpful :D

        In case you’re wondering about the above question: I believe I have settled on an Ikon chef 20cm and paring 8cm. If I can somehow source them in this country!

        Here’s hoping my partner loves them as much as you do!

        Thanks a ton!

    • Hi :),

      Thank you very much for very useful article. I have a question. I’m a beginning a cook and I don’t know what is better—if I buy a santoku knife or classic 8-inch chef’s knife.

      I’d like to buy a Wusthof Ikon Classic Creme, but I don’t know which option is better for me now.

      Can you tell me your opinion?

      Thank you very much,

      • Hi Filip,

        Either knife could work for you. A classic chef knife will be more versatile (it has a sharper point) and in some situations (like skinning a melon) a touch more maneuverable. A santoku will feel more compact and will be great for chopping. It depends on your needs and what knife feels the most fun.

        And, finally, if you want to be more traditional, then a chef knife would be the way to go.

        Best, KKG

  2. What is the difference between a regular carving knife and a hollow edge?

    • There really isn’t that much difference. But a hollow edge is supposed to prevent food from sticking to the blade—which it can do to some degree. But it’s far from perfect. It also depends on just how sticky/clingy the food is. . . :)

  3. Thank you so much for this post! I was nearly sold on the Classic Icon, but wanted to understand the difference between it and the Classic. This was exactly what I was looking for.

    I ended up going with the Icon – the 8-piece, 17-slot walnut block set. I’m thrilled!

    • Glad I could help, Megan! You’ll love using those Classic Ikon knives every single day :)

      Best, KKG

      P.S. Please consider buying a ceramic hone. It will not be as hard on your knives as the steel that comes with the set and will make their factory edges last much longer. See What’s a Honing Steel? for more details. . .

  4. Thank you for this excellent and very informative tutorial. I have been collecting Wusthof knives for years—bargain-hunting them at TJMaxx, Marshall’s, Home Goods, etc. Of course one can go for many months without sighting even a Silverpoint parer. My big score has been an Ikon creme hollow-ground 10″ chef’s knife for $49.00. I may never be quite that fortunate again!

    Completely agree with your opinion about the various lines, and I have learned so much more! Now I want one of those bread knives….

    • You don’t happen to live in the NYC area do you? Because there’s a tremendous Wusthof outlet sale going on right now (in Norwalk, CT), from today (Thursday) thru Saturday. Everything generally runs 1/4 of the Amazon price. Seriously. Whether or not you can get there or not, you’d probably get a kick out of reading my post: Wusthof Knives — Outlet Store Bonanza for details…
      Best, KKG

      • No, darn it, I’m on the opposite coast. But one of these days..! A road trip would definitely be in order.
        Thanks, I’m looking forward to reading about your shopping bonanza :-)

        • Ah, well. . . .yes, a road trip! As far as this year’s Wusthof stash is concerned, it was restrained. It’s not really post-worthy. . .especially because I bet most of my readers are probably getting tired of Wusthof talk. But the highlight of the sale was a large collection of Ikon Blackwood knives—chefs, slicers, santokus, parers—with minor imperfections in the handles, going for a song. As a present, I bought a 6-inch Ikon Blackwood chef that normally goes for $180 on Amazon for, get this, $41.50. Kind of takes your breath away, no?
          Best, KKG

  5. I’m going to travel to Hong Kong (from Sweden) in April, and HK is a foodies heaven, both when it comes to utensils and great restaurants. You have rekindled my interest in Wüsthof knives, and I’m adding the extra wide classic variety to my list of purchases, thanks to this great list of yours.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Hey David,

      Glad to be of service and thanks for letting me know!

      If you’re going to be in the East, it would make sense to also consider some Japanese knives. While there are tons of smaller companies and custom outfits that I am not up on, even the larger knifemakers (MAC, Shun, Miyabi, Global) would be worth investigating—you might get some terrific deals.

      If you haven’t already, check out these two posts for more ideas: Best Chef Knives—Six Recommendations, Quality Chef Knives on Sale.

      Best, KKG

      P.S. One thing I’d be very very careful about is knockoffs. . .especially of Wusthof. Try to buy from reputable sellers and if the price seems too far out of line with everyone else, consider passing it by :)

      • Oh, I love Japanese knives, I have a couple of KAI knives that I use often, and I’m also looking for Yoshihiro, Tojiro and Suisin knives in Hong Kong. I will be renewing my knife rack. My favorite is my Chinese chefs knife (KAI), is enormous and incredibly versatile.

        I will be reading your other post thoroughly, looks great as well, thank you for that!

        Knockoffs are a problem in HK, no doubt about that, but I know where to look and what stores that carry serious hardware. Good advice though, it’s a tricky market! Tell you what, if you’re ever planning a trip to HK, let me know and I’ll give you some tips regarding stores and restaurants. It’s the least I can do. :)

      • Hi, Guru! Can I have your opinion of Windmuehlenmesser’s 1922 series knives? They are also from Solingen. Thank you, Darren.

  6. Great article…Been using a Gerber chef 8-inch since mid-1980’s and needed some guidance on a new knife. Having read your article I decided on a Wusthof Classic 8-inch chef. Absolutely love it! Thanks again.

  7. This is a very informative article.

    Just bought a 7-piece set of the Wusthoff Classics and I’m itching to start cooking pretty much everything. I’m female and like the heavier feel of the Classic line, so go figure.

    I would recommend to anyone considering a cutlery purchase to go get a feel for the knives if possible. I was really interested in Global, for example, until I actually picked one up. They are high-quality knives, no doubt, but the tactile feedback I was looking for just wasn’t there.

    Anyway, enough babbling. Time to slice and dice!

    • Hi KBC, thanks for sharing your experience!

      I totally agree that, ideally, you should try to actually handle the knive(s) you intend to buy. Especially if you’re doing a whole set.

      But depending on where you live, it may hard to try out certain brands you might be interested in. In that case, I think it can be worth taking a risk—especially if the retailer you’re buying from has a generous return policy (like Amazon, for instance). Also, if you’re only investing in a single knife, it’s not such a big deal if your purchase fails to knock it out of the park. As long as it’s a quality choice that cuts well and stays sharp—your body may adapt.

      I love my Wusthof blades, but I also love my Global santoku :)

      Best, KKG

  8. I agree with the first comment, hands down the most helpful article/guide on all things Wusthof. I wish it was around when I was looking to buy my first grown-up knife set a few years ago. I ended up getting the 7pc Ikon Classic set, and added a 7″ santoku (a great find on Amazon for $70!).

    I just recently bought their 3-stage electric sharpener and am very satisfied with it (it definitely does a much better job than I would ever be able to do on a stone by hand).

    The question I have for you is, where/how do your sharpen your Classic Ikon santoku? The electric sharpener is set to 14 degrees where as you mentioned the santoku is a much sharper 10 degrees. Would you trust William-Sonoma to do it, or rather send it to Wusthof?

    Thanks in advance.. and again kudos on a great article!!

    • Hi Vitaliy,

      Glad to hear you’ve found my Wusthof journey useful!

      – Please don’t be upset with me. But, to be honest, I’m sorry to hear that you’re using Wusthof’s electric sharpener (which looks like a licensed version from Chef’s Choice) as your knife sharpener. I am not a fan of this type of sharpener because, although it does work and is convenient, it tends to take off more metal than is needed to produce a sharp edge. And, thus, your knives wear out more quickly. The diamond wheels it uses are aggressive and the design gives you minimal control (basically how quickly you pull the knife through). You might want to read my page, The Sharpening Cycle, on the KKG website to learn more about these issues.

      – If you are set on using the Wusthof/Chef’s Choice sharpener, I don’t think the difference between 14 and 10 degrees will be that noticeable. I would go ahead and sharpen your santoku on it as well.

      – You may be shocked to hear this, but I would not let either Williams-Sonoma or even the Wusthof outlet store sharpen any of my knives. My understanding is that they use fast-turning sharpening wheels and that they are not manned by expert professional sharpeners. A bad combination.

      – My choice for sharpening has been to use high-quality professional sharpening services. Combining their sharpening know-how with my regular honing on a ceramic hone/steel has yielded excellent results. . .sharp knives in my kitchen! See my recommendations: Reviews of Professional Knife Sharpening Services.

      The KKG website is full of articles on how to better understand how to maintain your kitchen knives. Reading Why Use a Professional Sharpening Service? or Knife Edges 101 might be good places to help you begin to learn more. . .

      Best, KKG

      • Thanks for the reply! After reading the suggested links on sharpening you provided, as well as the reviews of the different sharpening services, I’m now considering returning my electric sharpener and trying out the Seattle sharpening company you were so impressed by :)


        • This is music to my ears, Vitaliy! Long-term you will never ever regret it. And if it makes you feel any better, a few years ago I ended up doing the same thing you might do. I bought a fancy-schmancy Chef’s Choice electric sharpener, was freaked out by it, and sent it back. That experience sent me on my way to discovering a better solution to sharpening which I think I’ve found.

          If you go this route, please make sure to buy a ceramic hone, learn how to use it, and use it regularly. This is a must for success and is easy to achieve as long as you store your hone in a very convenient spot.

          Also: You might want to read—Kitchen Knife Sharpening Action Plan—to help cheer you on, as well as my articles on honing (under the “Hones/Steels” tab at the top of every KKG page).

          All the best, KKG

  9. Do you know if the Wusthof hollow-edged knives are able to be used by left-handed people? Many Japanese knives are honed [“beveled” or “sharpened”] in such a way that lefties can’t use them properly. European knives are typically the same on both sides of the blade. I’d love a hollow-edged knife but can’t find out if the European hollow-edged knives are the same on both sides of the blade.

    • Hi Chris,

      Wusthof knife edges are all created Western style, with the same bevel on both sides. It makes no difference if you are right- or left-handed.

      Also—just so you know—although the hollow edges (or grantons) look cool and are supposed to keep food from sticking, they only work to a limited degree. It all depends on the way you are slicing (ideally, push/pull cuts) and what kind of food you’re slicing (not overly gooey).

      Best, KKG

  10. What a wonderful, informative and well-researched article, thank you! But I have one more question about one more Wusthof knife that I can’t seem to find info on anywhere. Crate & Barrel is currently have a sale on Wusthof’s “Urban Farmer” series. I can’t find any specifics about the “Urban Farmer” knives and I’m wondering if they’re forged or stamped? They’re priced like forged knives ($52 or $80 Canadian is the current 20%-off sale price for a 5-inch serrated utility knife), but the bumph doesn’t say anything about their manufacture. Any thoughts or recommendations on that series? Would I just be paying for its good looks? (The bumph *does* go on about its Scandinavian-born designer and its nice wooden handle.) Cheers, –Adele

    • Hi Adele,

      Thanks for the rave :) And thanks for the heads up on Wusthof’s Urban Farmer series!

      My take on the Wusthof Urban Farmer is that it is probably stamped—because when I compare the Amazon prices for the various Wusthof lines, the Urban Farmer seems more in sync with Wusthof’s top stamped line, the Gourmet. (Although, looks-wise, it looks a lot like Wusthof’s Epicure line, doesn’t it?)

      Here’s a list of current prices for various Wusthof 8-inch chef knives (which, of course can fluctuate like airplane fares). Notice the Urban Farmer comes in close to the Gourmet:

      Wusthof Urban Farmer: $80 (reg $100)
      Wusthof Classic: $130
      Wusthof Classic Ikon: $160
      Wusthof Gourmet: $85
      Wusthof Corden Bleu: $80 (a steal!)
      Wusthof starter (chef/paring): $100 (big bargain!)
      Wusthof Epicure: $190

      This said, I have an embarrassing confession to make. And that is, after spending hours and hours researching and writing the article above, I have since made a discovery regarding the manufacturing of the Wusthof “forged” lines versus the “stamped” Wusthof Gourmet. First off, the “forged” lines are, nowadays, not individually drop-forged from a rough blank, but laser-cut from rolls of high-quality steel. Buuuut, they do go through an additional step of getting a drop-forged bolster (in the spot where the blade meets the handle) which gives them more heft than the “stamped” Gourmet. I don’t believe this drop forging of the bolster substantially affects the quality of the steel in the blade though. Thus (as I was told), both the stamped Gourmet line and the other forged lines should perform similarly.

      How this applies to the manufacturing of the Urban Farmer series I do not know. I don’t know if it has a forged bolster. It doesn’t look like it and judging from the price, probably doesn’t. But, nonetheless, my best guess is that the performance (not the feel) of the Urban Farmer may be very similar to the other Wusthof “forged” lines.

      Hope this helps! Please feel free to follow up with any addition questions.


  11. Amazing article, thanks!

  12. I would like to know the pros and cons of the Wusthof Classic 6″ chef knife versus the extra wide. My daughter owns the 8″ Classic and the 3 1/2″ paring knife which she purchased as a set. She would now like a 6″ chef knife.

    There is a two-piece set currently available which includes the 6″ knife with a regular blade, I believe, and a 3 1/2″ paring knife. The decision I am trying to make is whether to buy this set or splurge on the extra wide 6″ chef knife. What are your thoughts? I would like to know which is more versatile and which is the better knife. I would also like to say that this article was fantastic and thank you for the tip about the Norwalk outlet store. I live in NYC and never knew it was there.

    • Hi Karen,

      First off, let us revel in the utility of a 6-inch chef knife! It closely follows, after my chef and paring knives, as Most Used Kitchen Knife. I bet if I ever logged the actual hours spent using each of these three, my 6-incher might even win out. For every-day tasks, it rules supreme. And there are so many small jobs, especially when fixing lunch or a side like guacamole, that I’ll favor my 6-inch over a bulky 8.

      Buuuuut. . . figuring out whether your daughter would prefer an extra wide 6-inch chef over a standard width is a tough call. It really depends on her individual needs, what she will use it for. If she really wants nimbleness, then maybe an extra wide will slow her down. On the other hand, it’s usually length, more than width, that gets in the way. As a matter of fact, an extra-wide 6-inch chef is very close to a santoku-sized blade which many chefs prefer over the classic 8-inch chef and find extremely handy for a variety of tasks. A wider blade can help with chopping herbs and greens, slicing up an onion—and the width makes it easier for you to scoop up what you’ve chopped. On the other other hand, you really can’t go wrong with a regular 6-inch chef. So, if you want to play it safe, maybe that’s the best choice.

      Qualitywise, if you’re buying either knife from the Wusthof Classic line, they will be totally equal. The extra wide will just be slightly heavier because of the extra steel on the blade.

      Wüsthof – Two Piece Chef Set- 3 1/2″ Paring Knife and 6″ Cook’s Knife

      Wusthof Classic Two Piece Extra Wide Chef Set

      Hope this helps a little. . .

      Best, KKG

  13. Thanks for the knowledge! I feel good about my purchase of an expanded medium-sized Wusthof Classic knife set: 8 knives + 6 classic steak knives. I pieced them together individually looking for good deals on Ebay and Amazon. I used your guide as a road map. Thanks again!

    • You’re welcome, Chris! You sound like an expert shopper. . .and probably have even more patience than me . . . I fizzle out :)

      Best, KKG

  14. Expert?! lol Nah…..but I found a few sellers who had multiple items I wanted and worked out bundle deals, saved money that way.

    I lucked into one seller who was selling a set of 4 new classic steak knives for 100. Then he had 2 more he sold me at the same price….so I did get lucky. If anyone if looking to put together a nicer set and doesn’t want to pay $600, cobbling a set together through eBay is the way to go. Like you mentioned, being patient is the key.

  15. Quick search just now found 4 classic steak knives for $109. That’s $27 bucks per! You cannot beat that! Seriously….. And there are multiple sets available…..

    Hope someone on here can take advantage!

  16. Wusthof – 4690/26 – bone splitter, 26 cm. Can you please help me so as to find info about sharpening angle and blade quality? And does it belong to the Classic series? A few words would be helpful.

    Thank you, Dimitris

    • Hi Dimitris,

      I’d never heard of this knife before. . .kind of a retro concept though. Going back to the old days when Western cooks used one heavy-duty chef knife for everything—from butchering a chicken to chopping up onions. You must realize that the trend, nowadays, is towards specialization, the Japanese way. Using one knife for filleting and another for slicing a tomato.

      Anyway, this is what I can tell you: This knife is NOT in the Classic series because it has no bolster. It’s a Gourmet. No matter. . .the quality of the steel is comparable, so you don’t have to worry about that. It should hold up quite well.

      Regarding the edge angle: 1) Because it’s a thick blade, and 2) because it’s meant to function as a cleaver, my guess is that the edge angle would need to be rather wide for modern standards, probably around 20-22 degrees. Any steeper than that would risk bending and knicking the edge all the time while powering through bones and whatnot. (For the record, most of Wusthof’s knives these days have edge angles of 15 degrees or sharper.)

      I suppose if you do a lot of butchering, cleaver-type work, in the kitchen, and don’t want to have to switch knives all the time when you go to prep veggies, then this blade might be useful. Otherwise, I think you’re making things harder on yourself and you’d be much happier with two knives. Because a thinner and sharper chef knife, could make the majority of your kitchen prep easier and more fun.

      Wusthof Gourmet 10-Inch Cook’s Knife

      Wusthof Gourmet Carbon Stainless Steel Heavy Chinese Cleaver, 8-Inch

      Hope this helps! Why do you favor this knife?

      Best, KKG

  17. I purchased the Grand Prix II 10-piece set and purchased Grand Prix II knives on sale thanks to this article!

  18. If I want to buy a Wusthof knife set on Amazon, what do I look for to know they are an authorized dealer? You mentioned to be aware of knockoffs. . .

    I was reading a few reviews, one of someone who had purchased a Wusthof set on Amazon. She put her knives in the dishwasher. They showed rust. There were many that condemned her for being foolish to do so. I would not put my knives in the dishwasher, however if they are stainless steel why should they rust? Did she end up purchasing a knock off or can this happen with a stainless steel blade?

    Thank you for any help on this. Your article has been very helpful and thorough.

    • Hi Regina,

      Good question (i.e. how to know if a Amazon seller is an authorized Wusthof dealer). I was wondering if someone would ever get around to asking me about this! Here are some possible approaches/solutions:

      1) Don’t bother worrying about it and order from whomever. Although Wusthof has told me they know for a fact that there are retailers on Amazon selling black market goods, I’m betting it’s a small percentage. So if you just can’t deal with it, your odds are still very very good you’ll buy genuine Wusthof.

      2) When you’re on the product page in Amazon, see who it is shipped and sold by. Then, go to the Wusthof website’s store locator page and see if the retailer is listed in Wusthof’s database. If it’s there, then you’re in good shape. . .except for the fact that Amazon—without warning, because of product inventory flux—may switch out who is actually selling and shipping you the product.

      3) AFTER you receive a product from Amazon, call or email Wusthof and ask them to look up the serial number on your knife(s). Every authentic Wusthof knife has one. If the number is in the database, enjoy your new Wusthof knife. If it’s not, mail the counterfeit back to Amazon (no charge).

      4) Skip ordering from Amazon and order directly from one of Wusthof’s authorized retailers online. Many of them can match Amazon’s prices and service.

      Hope this helps!

      RE Dishwashers and knives
      You should never put quality kitchen knives in a dishwasher. Why?

      #1) You could accidentally cut yourself.

      #2) You can easily ding up their fine cutting edges knocking around in the silverware basket and hitting against silverware, plates, etc.

      #3) And, most important of all—you can wear down and weaken the steel (and edges).

      Not all stainless steel is the same and designed for the same purpose. There are many different kinds and grades of stainless steel. For example, surely you have noticed that the type of stainless on the front of your fridge, or stove, or dishwasher, is very different from the kind your pots and pans are made of, or your flatware.

      The kind/grade of stainless steel that kitchen knives are made of has been designed (forged and heat treated) for a very specific purpose—to take a very fine edge and hold it. . .NOT to survive under multiple hot-water baths followed by super-hot drying. In addition to this, the edges of knives—because they are used for cutting and live in a world of friction—are never, for long, polished, sealed, and smooth. They are rough, sawlike, and exposed. That’s their job. They are susceptible to corrosion (like rust). You can see the roughness of the edge with the naked eye if you inspect it under bright light.

      Soooo. . .your friend’s knives may, or may not, be Wusthof. My best guess, is that they may not be. (Have her call or email Wusthof to find out.) Regardless, if she wants them to last, she should NOT put them in the dishwasher.

      Hope this gives you some clarity! And please continue poking around the KKG website—there’s a wealth of information stockpiled here :)

      Best, KKG

  19. Nice article! Since you mentioned other discontinued lines, I wonder why you didn’t include the “Grand Prix” (with a “d”)? Where does it stand in the line-up? Thanks!

    • Hi Jane,

      Thanks so much for catching the “d” typo. . .how embarrassing! I’ve just fixed it.

      Grand Prix is just Wusthof’s older version of the current Grand Prix II line. I believe they simply tweaked the handle design some and updated the name with a “II”. It seemed self-evident to me that the “II” indicated an update of the original, so the discontinued Grand Prix (without the II) didn’t seem worth mentioning.

      In my book, the original Grand Prix (sans “II”) stands pretty much the same in the line-up as the updated Grand Prix II. The steel is the same and the feel very similar. But if you’re aware of significant ways they differ, especially in feel, please let me know. I’d be very curious. . .

      Best, KKG

  20. I prepared my first full meal when I was 10. It was delicious and I’ve been cooking ever since.

    When I turned 60, I gave myself what I had always longed for: a good set of knives. I chose Wusthof Culinar. In the subsequent fifteen years that I’ve been using them, not a one has slivered out of my hand like a trout. Nor have the screws come out of the wood handle, or the wood or plastic handle become dislodged from the blade where they meet. Of course, that is because the blade and knife are one piece of steel. That, sir, is the attraction.

    The Wusthof Culinar design produced the best and most effective cuttingly tool that I’ve come across in my 65 years of cooking. I gave my children sets for their weddings and my sister a set for her 70th birthday. We all agree that there isn’t a knife made by Wusthof or anyone else that tops a Wusthof Culinar knife.

    • Thanks for sharing your point-of-view, Virginia. Well said! You’re not going to convince me, but your passionate commitment certainly explains why Wusthof continues to manufacture the Culinar line :)

      Best, KKG

  21. Thanks for such an informative, comprehensive and easy to follow Wusthof bible! Your overall website is amazing as well.

    Questions regarding the “wide” Wusthof Classic chef knives: What are the differences, benefits, and is it worth the cost?

    Thank you Guru!!!

    • Hi Matthew,

      As already mentioned in the article above, the only difference between the Wusthof Classic Wide chef knife (8-inch) and the regular is pretty straight ahead—the blade is a 1/4-inch wider. (As a side issue, because of the extra steel, it will also be a touch heavier.)

      As I see it, there are two basic reasons to buy a “wide” chef knife:

      1) to give your gripping hand more knuckle clearance, and

      2) to allow you to chop through larger quantities of food with ease.

      For example: If you’re chopping up a mess of large onions, the wider blade will not get lost in the mounds of onions as easily as a regular-width blade. A regular 10-inch blade will accomplish the same thing (it will be wider), but it will also be longer and more cumbersome. An extra-wide 8-inch blade gives you the width, in a more compact length. Similar to a Chinese vegetable cleaver, or a Japanese santoku or nakiri.

      If the two reasons above do not relate to your kitchen knife needs, then there’s no reason to pay the extra $50 for a wider blade. But if they do, then the long-term extra cost is negligible.

      It all depends on what works best for you ;)

      Hope this helps,

  22. I have enjoyed reading all the comments here.

    What is your opinion of the hand held knife sharpener? I have never used a steel or a ceramic sharpener and would that do the same job?

    • Hi Lori,

      Excellent question!

      I’m not big on handheld knife sharpeners. Although they are handy, most often:
      1) they’re designed to work at low grits and, thus, remove more metal than necessary
      2) they’re unable to refine or polish the edge any
      3) they’re created with one standardized bevel which cannot properly adapt to the ever-changing landscape of knife blades and the special needs of individual knives
      4) they cannot thin down a knife blade when necessary—which ALL knives eventually need as the cutting edge gradually wears down.

      For all of the above reasons and more, my solution is to use a top-notch professional knife sharpening service, and then hone regularly. For more about this, read:
      Why Use a Professional Knife Sharpening Service?
      Finding a Professional Sharpening Service
      Reviews of Professional Knife Sharpening Services

      RE steels/hones and sharpeners and their differences
      If you read these articles, they will help bring you out of your knife-edges darkness and into the light :)

      What’s a Honing Steel?
      The Sharpening Cycle
      Knife Edges 101


      • Hi, KKG,

        I just read about your recommended professionals for knife sharpening and also your video on how to hone a knife.

        Wusthof knives are either 14 degree edge for their regular styles or 10 degree for their Asian styles. From what I understand, it is important to hone and sharpen to the factory degree edge, or one is creating a different edge.

        I called Wusthof and spoke briefly to their knife sharpening dept., they said they sharpen to the correct edge for the German or Asian style knife.

        I also saw on at least one of the professional knife sharpeners website, they do a standard 20 degree sharpening. So I don’t know how that would work for Wusthof knives that have either 14 or 10.

        • Hi Kay,

          First off, if you haven’t already, please read my article on How to Hone a Knife (especially the section titled “Honing Angle”). I think it’s more up-to-date than my video (sorry!). Sometimes info online is either wrong or out of date.

          Secondly, don’t stress–sometimes you need to guesstimate and use trial and error. As long as you’re not pushing too hard with a lot of weight, you’ll be fine. Hone some at what you think is the correct angle and feel the edge. Has it improved? Does it feel sharper? Test it out on a tomato or a red pepper, etc. If not sharp, correct the angle some. You will get the hang of it.

          For a 14-degree, or 10-degree edge, you can’t use my folding paper trick. . . because that’s only 25 degrees. But you can give that same paper an extra fold and bring it down to 12.5 degrees. You can also use a pack of matches. . .they will be closer to the angle. And. . .you can simply visualize, that’s where you want to end up.

          Honing, and sharpening, are both crafts and arts. They aren’t quite scientific and exact. Mainly because you’re dealing with something you can’t actually see with the naked eye. That’s what’s kind of cool about it.

          Does this help? Please let me know and feel free to ask more questions :)


  23. Love this article. Just outstanding.

    I’m wanting to put together my own set of Wusthof Classic knives because the sets are indeed pricey and sometimes overly redundant. I also want to include knives that don’t show up in their sets. If I buy a Wusthof knife block to house their knives, I realize I need to make sure the slots are wide enough and long enough to accommodate the size of each knife.

    Any idea where I can find this information on Wusthof’s knife blocks? Or are the lengths inside the blocks all the same?

    Thank you for any help or insight you can provide.


    • Hi Tom,

      You know I have to laugh. . .I’ve been meaning to publish a blog post on knife blocks for four or five years. I did all the research and never have found time to finish it.

      In the meanwhile, I think you’re just going to have do some trial and error and buy more than one block until you find the right fit. (Or fits.)

      OK, I’m going to just dump some core research right here in this comments section. Please understand it’s my rough notes and I cannot be responsible for any inaccuracies or anachronisms. I might need to delete it later if I ever publish the post so that Google doesn’t punish me for duplicate content. But here you go. . .


      Large and Large Knives Solutions

      Wüsthof 22-Slot Knife Block
      Beechwood block has room for three cook’s knives (including wides) up to 10″ long. [SurLaTable website is incorrect. The top three slots can handle a 10-inch blade.] Eight steak knife slots in base. Ten remaining slots allow you to mix and match knives and accessories for a customized knife set. Wipe clean. 12″ x 5½” x 9″. Made in Germany.
      Pros: Solves all knife needs, especially large chef’s
      Cons: Quality of wood might not be as nice as some; pretty massive.

      The dimensions are as follows are the same as our Sur La Table 22-slot Knife Block.
      There are 12 smaller slots on this block that measure approx 1″ long X 1/8″ wide. These are set aside for your smaller knives such as your steak knives, utility and paring knives as well.
      The slot for the scissors measures approximately 1 1/4″ L X 1/4″ W
      The slot for the honing steel measures approximately 3/4″ X 3/4″
      The remaining slots measure as follows:
      2 1/2″ X 1/4″ [10″ deep]
      1 1/8″ X 1/8″ [10″ deep]
      2 1/8″ X 1/4″ (X2) [10″ deep]
      1 3/4″ X 1/16″
      1 1/4″ X 1/16″ (2)
      3 1/8″ X 1/4″ (mini-cleaver slot)

      Sur La Table 22-Slot Knife Block
      “Safely store your knives within arm’s reach on your countertop or shelf. Block has slots for 22 knives, including three chef’s knives, eight steak knives, a wide cleaver and shears. Mix and match your favorite, most-used knives and create your own perfect set that neatly tucks away in this beautiful wood block.”

      Beechwood block has exact same specs as the Wusthof—but more nicely-finished.

      The dimensions are as follows:

      There are 12 smaller slots on this block that measure approx 1″ long X 1/8″ wide. These are set aside for your smaller knives such as your steak knives, utility and paring knives as well.

      The slot for the scissors measures approximately 1 1/4″ L X 1/4″ W
      The slot for the honing steel measures approximately 3/4″ X 3/4″
      The remaining slots measure as follows:
      2 1/2″ X 1/4″ [10″ deep]
      1 1/8″ X 1/8″ [10″ deep]
      2 1/8″ X 1/4″ (X2) [10″ deep]
      1 3/4″ X 1/16″
      1 1/4″ X 1/16″ (2)
      3 1/8″ X 1/4″ (mini-cleaver slot)

      Shun 22-Slot Bamboo Knife Storage Block
      Bamboo block slots are not quite as large as the above blocks from Sur La Table. But it does have a cleaver slot.
      “This Shun Bamboo Knife Block has 22 knife slots, which includes slots for shears and a sharpening steel. Also includes a slot for a cleaver and 6 slots for steak knives. Here are some specific stats on the block:Size: 13″ D x 9″ H x 6″ W. Weight: 8.75 lbs”

      2″ Slots 5
      1 1/2″ Slots 3
      1 1/8″ Slots 5
      Cleaver Slot 1 (4 inches wide)
      Steel Slot 1
      Shears Slot 1
      Under the face there are 6 Steak Knives Slots.9 lbs
      4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (21 customer reviews)


      Wusthof Hardwood 35-Slot Knife Block

      Comment:“I did notice that the 12″ roast carver knife when installed in the longest slot (on top) was touching my granite counter top. So that knife had to go into a drawer. I suppose if I had bought the swivel version, that extra raised space would have helped. Still, the block is actually about 11-1/2″ at its longest, and my 12″ roast slicer blade is more like 12-1/2″. So beware on your extra long blades if you don’t have the swivel base.”

      There are 9 horizontal rows, and I’m calling the top row “1” and the lowest (vertical) row “9”. All slots are slightly over 3/16″ high (thick?) except as stated. All measurements are in inches so when I err – it’s understating the slot size. I suspect the damn thing has metric dimensions, which is an abomination of a different color. I’m knocking it down from 5 to 4 stars because of the kinda narrow slots on rows 2, 3, and 4. They could provide more variety here.

      1. 9/16 square; 2 9/16; 2 9/16
      2. 2 1/16; 2 1/16; 2 1/16
      3. 2 1/16; 2 1/16; 2 1/16
      4. 2 1/16; 2 1/16; 2 1/16
      5. 1 1/2; 1 1/2; 1 1/2; 1 1/2
      6. 3 9/16; 1 5/16 X 1/2
      7. 1 5/16 X 3/8; 1; 1 1/2; 2 1/16
      8. 1; 1; 1; 1 5/16; 1 7/16
      9. All 8 slots are 1″ high and on 27/32 centers.

      Sur La Table 35-Slot Knife Block, Cherry
      Cherry knife block: The 35 slot knife block has a knife slot area that is 7 1/2″ wide by 7″ tall. Overall, it is 10″ tall by 13″ wide.
      The top two slots can handle 12” blades. The 9 slots below can all handle 10” blades.


      Let me know if this helps any. . .I’d really like to know :)


      • I hope you will publish something on your thoughts about knife blocks. In various discussions there is much discussion about dulling or damaging the blade—a valid concern, but one I have a solution to via sharpening. What I’ve found is that no matter how careful I am, it is way too easy to hit the tip of the knife into the block on occasion, so, over time, the tip becomes rounded. I’m not sure if one block is better than another for this problem. I will likely research magnetic blocks and look for those less prone to scratch the knives. I’d appreciate your thoughts/recommendations (I’d love to design and build my own).

        • Hi Alan,

          Personally, I think knife blocks are just fine for storing kitchen knives, even those with super-fine edges. Most of my knives are stored in blocks. But it does matter how you use the wooden block. If you are constantly shoving your Shun chef knife into a snug-fitting slot and grazing the cutting edge against the wood, then that’s dumb. You are gradually dulling the edge for no good reason. All my knives are ALWAYS at least a 1/4-inch narrower than the width of the slot they’re stored in to give them plenty of clearance. Plus, I ALWAYS make a point of gently pushing the spine of the knife against the side of the slot as I insert the blade into the block, so that I can be certain the cutting edge is not rubbing against the wood. This kind of care protects knife edges.

          As far as the tips are concerned, I don’t think any of my knives touch the base of the slot they’re in, so there’s never any contact to wear the tip down. And it doesn’t seem that hard to get a knife into a slot without bumping the tip. Are you sure you’re not rounding your knife tips through incorrect honing? If, when you hone, you put too much pressure on the tip as you finish your stroke, you can gradually round it. Instead, you should consciously reduce pressure at the end of your stroke and allow the knife tip to lightly slide away from (and off) the steel/hone.

          Magnetic bars have their own set of problems. Wooden bars that do NOT allow the knives to touch metal on metal are fine. The magnets are hidden and protected by wood. But magnetic strips that allow knife edges to slap up against the metal magnetic strip seem like a very bad idea. Even if you are super careful, the magnets have a tendency to grab and slap the knife edge up against the magnet. Every time you do this you are lightly dinging the super-thin cutting edge of the knife. And the same thing goes when you pull it away from the metal magnetic bar. You constantly run the risk of allowing the cutting edge to press into the metal before you pull it away. You are adding unnecessary dings to your knife blade edges which tend to slow cutting down.

          That’s my two cents at least!

          Below are links to some magnetic wood bars that should not damage knives. I cannot personally vouch for their quality because I have not used any of them. (Please beware that sometimes the magnets are not strong enough.) But I can say that they appear to be correctly designed in order to not damage knife edges.

          Powerful Magnetic Knife Strip, Solid Wall Mount Wooden Knife Rack, Bar. (Walnut, 20″)

          Eco friendly Bamboo wood magnetic knife holder, 17 inch knife strip or bar in gift box

          Schmidt Brothers – Acacia 24″ Magnetic Knife Wall Bar, Universal Cutlery Storage Fits 12 – 16 Knives

          Magnetic Wooden Knife Bar Holder: 12 INCH WALNUT, Danish Design Inspired

          Walnut Magnetic Knife Holder

          Coninx Magnetic Knife Holder with Powerful Magnet – Bamboo Wood Magnetic Knife Guard Holder


  24. Thank you! Very helpful.

  25. Thank you for the article. I’ve been going back and forth between Wusthof and Henckels… and can’t decide. Why do you like Wusthof over Henckels?

    Thank you

    • Hi Clay,

      Actually, I don’t categorically prefer Wusthof over Henckels. In my article, Best Chef Knives—Six Recommendations, I say that some people do, but I don’t mean to imply I’m one of those people.

      I think that Wusthof and Henckels are pretty comparable. As long as you’re comparing similar lines—very important. So, for example, you’d need to compare the Henckels Pro S to Wusthof’s Classic or Classic Ikon for an even comparison.

      I inherited a Henckels Pros S chef knife that I love and have used for years. After being sharpened by Seattle Knife Sharpening (and honed regularly), it used to be my go-to knife. It still has an amazingly sharp edge on it that can slice tomatoes cleanly without having to saw back and forth.

      I also currently own a Wusthof Classic Ikon chef and santoku, both of which I like. The santoku came from the factory much sharper than the chef knife, but after getting the chef knife professionally sharpened, they both now perform similarly.

      I really wouldn’t sweat the details of brands so much. What’s more important is to buy a quality line from a quality brand and then don’t abuse the edge and hone regularly. And when it gets too dull, get it sharpened by a quality professional sharpening service. Done!

      You should also check my article Quality Kitchen Knives on Sale for more ideas. . .

  26. Good day. First of all, I apologize for the fact that this text is translated by Google translators because I cannot speak English. Now the question. . .

    A year ago I bought a 9-inch chef knife recommended by this article—for a good price I chose Wusthof Cordon Bleu. But I was not happy with it because it was thin and did not even have basic finger protection. I sold it and now want to buy a 9-inch Classic Ikon chef knife. But I’m worried about it being as thin as the Cordon Bleu because I’ve read that it’s thinner than the Wusthof Classic. Can you please confirm or refute this information?

    And one more question: What three basic knives should I have in my household as a fan of cooking?

    Thank you for the fantastic article and for the advice. Have a nice day.

    • Hi Ivan,
      Sorry the Wusthof Cordon Bleu didn’t work out for you. But there are so many excellent chef knives out there, I’m sure you’ll fine the right one(s) for your needs. To your question. . .

      1) I own a Wusthof Classic Ikon and just measured (with a caliper) the thickness of the spine near the heel. It’s 3.0 mm.

      2) I do not own a Wusthof Classic, but I do own a Henckels Pro S which is very very similar to the Wusthof. It’s thickness is 3.0 mm.

      3) I seriously doubt that the Wusthof Classic Ikon is any thinner than the Classic. I bet they are both 3.0 mm.

      4) I do not own a Wusthof Cordon Bleu chef knife, but I know it’s designed to weigh 30 percent less than the Wusthof Classic. The Cordon Bleu lacks a bolster (that extra hunk of metal at the heel of the blade that protects your fingers from slipping onto the blade) which makes it weigh less than the Classic. But the absence of a bolster cannot, alone, account for 30 percent less weight. Thus, the blades on the Wusthof Classic and the Classic Ikon must both be thicker than the Cordon Bleu. I’m sure of it.

      5) If you miss not have the finger protection of the bolster, then I don’t understand why you would want to buy the Classic Ikon. Because the Classic Ikon, like the Cordon Bleu, does NOT have a bolster. Of the three knife lines in this discussion, only the Classic line has a bolster.

      Also, please be aware, a thin blade is not necessarily your enemy. . .it offers less resistance as it cuts, and therefore, can be your friend.

      To your second question, What are the most essential knives to have in your kitchen? They are: A chef knife (8-inch minimum), a paring knife, and a bread knife. Next on my list would be a 6-inch chef and a boning knife. See How Many Kitchen Knives Do You Really Need? for more info :)

      Best, KKG

  27. Good day! Thank you for your response.

    I chose the 9-inch Classic Ikon because it has finger protection for only half of the blade height. I do not want to protect my fingers from the entire blade because when sharpening on a stone, the protection (the bolster) will make it harder to sharpen the blade.

    I still have one question: How long should the Wusthof Classic Ikon paring knife be? 9 cm or 12 cm?

    Thank you,

    • Hi Ivan,

      First off: 9 cm = 3.5 inches; 12cm = 4.75 inches

      Most paring knives come with either 3.5-inch or 4-inch blades. 4.75 inches is really long for a paring knife blade and the knife becomes more of a short utility knife.

      My understanding is that the Wusthof Classic Ikon line is no exception and the paring knives are either 3.5-inch or 4-inch. Wusthof calls the 4-inch a “wide” paring knife, but, to my eyes, the blade pretty much looks the size and shape of your average 4-inch paring knife.

      Hope this helps :)

      Best, KKG

      P.S. By the way, where are you from. . .I’m curious.

      • I’m just going through the agony of choosing a fixed set (for economy) and individual pieces (for utility). I think 3.5 inches is the sweet spot for paring knives. I’m considering a 3.5-inch—half bolster. My 3-inch with full bolster sees a lot of action so it gets sharpened a lot. Between size and sharpening issues of the full bolster, it’s starting to look more like a baby boning knife.

        Instead of a larger paring knife I’ll go with the 4.5-inch kitchen surfer (aka Asian utility knife). That pairing (…sorry) will work well for me.

  28. I am from Slovakia, I am 56 years old and I like to cook and your site was fascinated by the most practical advice. Thank you again for all the answers. I decide between 9 cm and 12 cm because I want this knife to use universal as a paring, pricking and boning knife

  29. I purchased a small serrated Wusthof from Williams and Sonoma. I noticed the little red label starting to peel off of the handle and became concerned that maybe I was sold a fake. A little research and I found that that is normal and nothing to worry about. But what I then noticed is that all the Wusthof knives I see have their logo engraved or marked on the blade and mine does not. There is no marking whatsoever on the knife. Should I be concerned? Should I contact Williams and Sonoma about this knife?

    • Hi Steve,

      I don’t think you have anything to worry about. If you’d bought it from Amazon online, that might be a different story—Wusthof has had some complaints about piracy from Amazon customers (nothing rampant). Did you buy it from a bricks-and-mortar store or from the W&S website?

      I have a number of Wusthof knives. My chef knife, santoku, and large bread knife all have the red logo/name embossed on the blade. But my small, super-narrow bread knife and my paring knife do not. They have a black, monotone logo/name printed on the blade. My guess is that it depends mostly on the size of the knife blade.

      Best, KKG

  30. Hi, how does the Wusthof Classic 8″ Chef knife compare to a K Sabatier German style chef knife? Thx!

    • Hi Steve,

      Although I own a Sabatier carving knife, I have no personal experience with the K Sabatier brand. Sabatier is a particularily odd brand in that it never was properly trademarked. So there are numerous companies that are allowed to operate under the “Sabatier” name.

      This said, my research tells me that the Wusthof and K Sabatier should be similar, but have some subtle differences:

      – They are both forged. But the Wusthof’s steel has an HRC of 58 while K Sabatier’s is 54-56 which is a bit softer. Thus, the Wusthof should have slightly better edge retention, but not be quite as quick to hone or sharpen.

      – The shape of the blades will differ slightly. The K Sabatier should be thinner, shorter, and pointier than the Wusthof. The belly of the Sabatier will have less curve (making it not as easy to rock) and the width will be narrower allowing less knuckle room. On the other hand, the K Sabatier should feel a touch nimbler and lighter. Which features do you prefer?

      – And, finally, Wusthof prides itself for being on the cusp of technology and its brand name carries more weight than K Sabatier. For example: Wusthof has its PEtec patented sharpening system which helps ensure knives come from the factory as consistently sharp as possible.

      – Oh, and Wusthof will cost you more.

      Remember: 1) there is no, one perfect chef, and 2) if you’re finicky about feel and design, you should probably try your future chef knife out, hold it in your hand.

      Hope this helps. Happy shopping!

      Best, KKG

  31. Any thoughts on finding discontinued Wusthof patterns? We have a ton of the Grand Prix pieces (before the Grand Prix II came out) and recently a well-meaning house guest accidentally melted the handle of one of the steak knives in the dishwasher. The smell was horrible and it’s been ridiculous trying to find a replacement. Plus, any online searches always point me to the Grand Priz II.

    Thanks for your expertise in advance!

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Wow, what an annoying house guest. You should charge them :)

      All kidding aside. . .no, I’m sorry I’m not aware of any secret, insider’s websites where you could find a single, original Grand Prix steak knife—or even a set of originals. They’ve been discontinued for much too looooong.

      So, if it were me, I offer two solutions:
      1) Buy 4-piece set of Gran Prix II steak knives and mix and match. You could get them on Amazon, or even cheaper (and still new), on eBay.

      OR. . .

      2) Take a step down and buy a box of the Wusthof stainless steel steak knives. They won’t perform as well as the Gran Prix, but will probably be more than respectable (they get great reviews). Plus, IMHO, they look just as nice or nicer.

      Best, KKG

  32. Hi, I want to say your article is extremely thorough and written in a very clear, easy to read language. Thanks!

    I have owned a set of Classic knives for 8 years or so and I’ve used a “wild game” set they make which came with Gourmet knives at the time.

    I want to get my brother a starter knife set for his first apartment, but the $350 I paid for my Classic set is out of reach. Currently, there are sales on a 12-piece Gourmet set (with the stamped knives) for $150, including a block and steak knives. Have your thoughts changed on the Gourmet line?

    I considered getting him a 3-piece set of Classic, however the utility of a complete knife set will likely outweigh the benefits of a quality knife set for him at this point in his life. So if I would be wasting my money with the Gourmet set, I will get him a Henckels or Chicago cutlery set for half the price to tide him over until he will appreciate finer knives.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Michael,

      1) Whatever you do, please don’t buy Chicago Cutlery. Buy a lesser line Wusthof or Henckels first. BTW. . .there is NO difference in quality between Wusthof and Henckels. They are the same steel and very, very similar manufacturing process. But you must compare comparable lines. . .apples to apples.

      2) Since finishing my definitive article on Wusthof, I’ve heard conflicting reports from the manufacturer about how much difference there really is between the stamped and forged lines. So the Gourmet might wear pretty well. They definitely will feel lighter than any forged line though.

      3) I’m still a big believer in quality over quantity. (For example, your brother doesn’t need steak knives to start with. You can give him some next year if you want.) Sooo, its it were me, I’d build on the core three:

      But you know your brother best. If you think his needs would be better served by quantity over quality, then go for it!

      Here are some other quality ideas I would consider (some require stretching your budget):

      Global 3-piece

      Probably my first pick as far a quality and sharpitude are concerned.

      Henckels Four Star 12-piece

      Yes, there are steak knives. But the quality of the blades should be higher than the Wusthof Gourmet.

      Wusthof Classic 6-piece

      Less is more ;)

      Henckels Four Star 3-piece

      Fantastic deal. . .

      Please feel free to ask more questions! Also, consider a high-quality two-piece set—chef and paring knife—and supplement with an inexpensive bread knife (now or later).

      Best, KKG

  33. I am a fuss-pot and research everything before buying. When it came to choosing home kitchen knives though, I have been overwhelmed by all the brand choices. I live in Ontario Canada and not conveniently close to a large city. So other than Bed-Bath-Beyond, few stores carry top-of-the-line knife brands.

    Then I stumbled on the Wusthof line after watching a couple of chefs on YouTube. So I started researching but again, was confused by the large selection from their various lines (Classic, Grande Prix, Creme, etc). No sites clarified the differences. And, then…I found this website and it has answered all my questions—even about sharpening! I can’t thank you enough for all your expertise!

    I still haven’t chosen which of the Wusthof lines I will purchase, but being drawn to the Creme colour, I may choose my basic 3-4 pieces from that line. Just wondering, however, since the handles are a lighter wood colour, would staining ever be a possibility?

    • Hi Susan,

      Thanks for sharing your journey. . .I don’t think you’re alone. There are soooo many knife brands and models out there that it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in a ocean of knives :)

      Regarding the Wusthof Classic Ikon Creme:
      Remember that, like the Classic and Classic Ikon, the handle is not actually wood. So it will be easier to clean and should resist staining much better than wood. Nonetheless, even plastic—especially in light colors—can stain. So if you let it soak in raspberry juice it might not survive scot-free. But let me query one of my sources at Wusthof and see if I can confirm.

      In the meanwhile, let me also remind you that the Classic Ikon Creme is one of the smaller collections. . .although it does pretty much have the basics, around 18 knives :)

      Best, KKG

    • I heard back from my contact at Wusthof who said she has owned a set of Cremes for nine years and has experienced “zero staining.” So it looks like it’s not something to worry about :)

  34. I’m researching quality knives of multiple lifetime durability to add to my wedding registry and your analysis here is absolutely comprehensive. I cannot thank you enough for sharing your expertise!

  35. Great read!

    I have now been led down the path to quality knife ownership. I started off with 4″ extra wide paring, 4-1/2″ cooks knife, and the 8″ extra wide cooks knife all in the Classic line. I was able to get a great deal from a local brick-and-mortar store for $200! I shopped online for a week prior to going in and the best deal I found was $295 for those three. Armed with this knowledge, I went in to the store and found that they were able to beat the best online deal I found without even asking. The store have been around since 1959, and I will buy every knife I need from them for life.

    • Hey Delta! Thanks for sharing your story. Glad KKG was able to lead you down the path. Yes, you never know how competitive a store might be willing to be.

      Have fun cooking with your new knives!

      Best, KKG

  36. Do you know if the Wustoff Classic 9 inch carving knife will fit in the Wusthoff knife block without hitting the bottom thereby damaging the tip?

    • Hi Sue,

      Yes, yes, yes! That’s one reason why I love it. There’s a 9-inch Wusthof Classic Ikon resting in my 22-slot Wusthof knife block as I write. And I just tested it out in my slightly smaller 17-slot block and it fits fine as well. As far as any smaller blocks, I cannot guarantee. But my best guess is that if you use the top slot, the tip should clear.

      The only possibly problem I can forsee is that the top slot (as many of the upper slots) is designed to handle the width of a chef knife. So your narrow slicer will be looser and more wobbly than necessary. But it will still work :)


  37. Have you any thoughts on the Legende collection?

    • Legende came out right after I’d posted (what I thought was) my definitive article on the Wusthof brand and I did have gumption to dive back in and update. Especially since it was a WS exclusive.

      Here’s my long-distance take (having never seen or felt one in the flesh): It’s not stamped like the Gourmet, so it’s higher quality like the the Classic, Classic Ikon, or Grand Prix II. I think there are three things that differentiate it: 1) the handle–different texture and shape, 2) the shape of the blade–more of a continual curve with not much flat area, perfect for rocking, and it might be wider, 3) the thickness of the blade–this is just a wild guess. But it might be thinner than those other three mentioned above. And then again, it might be much like a Classic Ikon with a different handle.

      Hope this helps!


  38. Thanks for the wonderful review. There’s a lot to absorb!

    I have $250 to spend and need the three basic kitchen knives (and apparently a ceramic hone). I cook for myself and husband 6-7 nights a week and am vegan. I chop a lot of veggies, and obviously, I don’t cook meat. I bake artisan bread, but we rarely have bagels or pastries.

    I’m pretty sure I want to go with a Wusthof for the chef knife, but beyond that I’m uncertain. Even though I cook a lot, my knife skills aren’t great. We have terrible knives, and I’ve never learned proper technique. I hope to study some videos on knife skills (we live in the middle of nowhere, so no in-person classes) once I have decent tools!

    Any recommendations you could give would be greatly appreciated. Since we are socially isolating, I’ve spent the day reading about knives. My head is spinning!


  39. Again, thank you for the comprehensive reviews! After much reading online I have come to like the Crafter Series, particularly the chefs Knife, but I could not find any Info on your site about them. Is that because you see an issue with them? Could you recommend them? I could only find that some people thought it to be too light for a “workhorse” chef knife. I wont be handling gigantic cuts of meat but I’d like to butcher a chicken or cut through squash without thinking I´ll abuse the knife somehow. Thank you in advance for your opinion!


  40. First of all, let me thank you for your super review.
    I am interested in Classic Icon Chef knife. Do you know if there’s an extra wide blade chef knife in the Classic Icon line?

    • Hi Rudolf,

      I just double-checked. In the Classic Ikon line, Wusthof only offers the six-inch chef knife in an extra-wide model, not in the standard eight-inch model. Which is rather odd, because the eight-inch chef is the most popular knife model ever. And you would think they would start there, no? Tis’ a pity. . .

      I don’t know if this has always been the case or if this is a recent development. But if you really love the extra-wide size and need it in an eight-inch knife, I would simply buy the Classic. If it doesn’t match your set, that’s OK. My knives are a total mish-mash and I think it’s fun!

  41. Thank you veru much for your info. I am disappointed but I will have to take your advise and go with the Classic one.

  42. Thanks so much for this guide! Really helps to figure out the differences in the ranges.

  43. I bought a Wusthof 4564/20cm knife in a thrift store for 50 cents!

  44. Hi, I have just purchased a classic two knife set. On the 20cms chef knife there are three numbers after made in Solingen/Germany 7/21/20. I was expecting to see two numbers (20/20). Any ideas what the three numbers mean? Thanks

    • Hi Graham,
      Sorry, but I have no idea what the numbers you’re referring to mean. And why were you expecting to see “20/20”?

      I just checked two of my Wusthof knives and they don’t have any numbers after “Solingen/Germany”.
      – One (my Classic IKON santoku) has the make up of the steel: “X50CrMoV15”.
      – Both have what I believe is their serial number and length of blade.
      – So my Classic IKON santoku reads: “4176/17cm”. And my Classic Nakiri reads: “4193/17cm”.

      Perhaps you’ll find this interesting ;)

      All the best,

  45. Greetings from Athens, Greece.

    After having researched on internet and read that there are slight differences between a “Cook’s Knife” and a “Chef’s Knife,” I finally ordered a 16cm “Chef’s Knife” at €66.08 via Amazon.

    I have just received a 16cm Wüsthof “Cook’s Knife” (1040100116 Kochmesser) and have the sense that I have been tricked, but I may be wrong…

    In your opinion is there a difference between the two?

    Many thanks in advance,

    • Hi Norman,
      As far as I know, the terms “chef’s knife” and “cook’s knife” are interchangeable—two ways of saying the very same thing. So enjoy your new your Wusthof knife and cook up a storm in your kitchen!

      Best, KKG

  46. Hi, do you know if there is any difference in the ‘performer’ model of the Wusthof compared to the silver-coloured Ikon? The website mentions a DLC (diamond-like coating) but don’t know what difference that makes. It is the 16cm blade for context.
    Many thanks,

    • Hi Calum,
      – Don’t know what you mean by “silver-coloured Ikon, so I can’t comment on that.
      – I wasn’t familiar with the Wusthof Performer line, so thanks for bringing it to my attention. That is one mean-looking knife. The diamond coating is a new high-tech process which I’ve never heard of before. But it’s pretty amazing how it’s transformed a knife from HRC 58 to HRC 104. I’ve never heard of a knife being that hard before. That extreme hardness implies one positive and two negatives. Positive: It will not have to be sharpened very often, but keep its edge for a long time. Negatives: 1) It could be rather brittle and require quite a bit of TLC in order to avoid chipping or cracking. 2) It might be hard to sharpen.

      Best of luck,

      • Hi,

        Sorry I should have been clearer, by ‘silver coloured’ I just meant the normal silver/grey colour of steel on the majority of knives.
        Thanks for your response about the coating, maybe something you could do a small review on in the future about new tech in the world of knives? Must feel sharper than the MAC which many people love! Love your content on your website too I should mention, including the chopping board blog!

      • The blade edge doesn’t appear to have DLC coating, so I imagine sharpening will be the same. The nonstick and corrosion resistance of the coating seem to be real. The HRC rating for the knife that doesn’t extend to the cutting edge seems more like a gimmick to me. I love the look of the knife. Just not sure I want to spend that much unless the knife is absolutely amazing.

  47. Hi KKG!

    I’m looking to buy a new santoku knife. I’ve spent the past month or two reading everything I came across about knives. And I am loosing my mind trying to figure out which brand and line to choose! I keep going back and forth between Henkels and Wusthof while also considering Lion Sabatier.

    I handled (in store) a Victorinox Classic chef’s knife and it felt too light. Then I handled (in store aswell) a Henkels Pro santoku knife which was on the verge on being too heavy for my liking. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any Wusthof in the stores I visited to give them a feel.

    I cook pretty much every meal for my family, meals that are often vegetarian or vegan. So I mostly use my kitchen knives on fruits, vegetables and herbs while still occasionnaly cuting up fish or meat.

    I don’t think japanese blades would be a good fit for me since 1) In season, I tend to cook a lot of squash and 2) I’m afraid I’m too clumsy/rough to handle such a brittle blade (read: I have butter fingers…).

    Also, if that’s relevant, I’m currently in France.

    Would you by any chance have any piece of advice that might nudge me in one direction or another?

    And thank you for this blog by the way! So helpful!

    • Hi Julie,

      I’ve got some feedback/suggestions for you brewing. . . . I’ll try to get back to you week of July 4th :)

      Best, KKG

  48. Thank you for such a well-researched and clearly presented review. Good work.

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