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Wusthof Classic vs Ikon vs Gourmet

Wusthof Classic vs Ikon vs Gourmet what are the differences? Manufacturer are guilty of constantly releasing new models and all that does is confused customers. While they all perform relatively well, there are some key differences. Things like the length of the tang and the quality of the steel all matter when deciding which one is the best. This article will take a closer look at the design and features of these different knives.

Wusthof Classic vs Ikon vs Gourmet Quick Summary

Wusthof Classic

Wusthof Classic Ikon

Wusthof Gourmet
TangFull TangFull TangFull Tang on Blade 4.5 inch plus
BolsterFull BolsterHalf BolsterNol Bolster
SteelForged, Stain-Resistant
High-Carbon Steel
Forged, Stain-Resistant
High-Carbon Steel
Laser Cut Stamped, Stain-Resistant
High-Carbon Steel
Blade Angle28 Degree Total28 Degree Total28 Degree Total
Rockwell Hardness585856
Place of ManufacturerSolingen, GermanySolingen, GermanySolingen, Germany
ThoughtsOne of the most popular kitchen knives. They are softer than Japanese knives which makes it less prone to chipping and easier to sharpen. While its good, the full bolster gets in the way of sharpening.Almost the same to the classic knives, however the handle are much better designed. It uses a half bolster which lets you sharpen the full length of the blade. They are more comfortable and generally better but cost more.The budget line of wusthof knives. The blades are stamped and not all the knives uses a full tang design. I would use these only as an entry level knife. The steel and handle is not as good as the classic or ikon series.
Reviewed CookwareWÜSTHOF 4582/20 Classic 8 Inch Chef’s Knife,Black,8-InchWÜSTHOF CLASSIC IKON 8 Inch Chef’s Knife | Full-Tang Half Bolster 8″ Cook’s Knife | Precision Forged High-Carbon Stainless Steel German Made Chef’s Knife – Model 4596-7/20,BlackWÜSTHOF Model 4562-7/20, Gourmet 8 Inch Chef’s Knife, Full-Tang 8″ Cook’s Knife | Precise Laser Cut High-Carbon Stainless Steel German Made

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History of Wusthof

Wusthof is a privately held company that was founded in 1814. They are one of the oldest cutlery manufacturer in the Europe. Johann Abraham Wüsthof started the company Shears Factory, Steel and Iron Works manufacturing scissors for the public. His son Eduard eventually took over and expanded the product offering to over 1,200 products. As time went on, so did their fame. In the late 1800’s their product soon reached american shores. Since then, Wusthof has planted themselves in millions of professional and domestic kitchen. Their Classic Model is one of the most popular knife model in the world.

Wusthof Classic vs Ikon vs Gourmet Design

This section will discuss the difference between Wusthof Classic vs Ikon vs Gourmet. We will go over handle, blade and general performance.


The knife in the classic and ikon uses a full tang design. A full tang is where the blade runs the length of the handle. These are generally more durable than a half tang design. All the model uses a three rivet design to securely affix the handle. Some of the gourmet bigger knife model uses a full tang design. The smaller one (4.5 inch and under) uses a half tang.

The handle on the Classic and Gourmet are very similar in terms of shape. Only the Ikon is significantly different. The Ikon handle is generally more comfortable than the other two.

All three model use polyoxymethylene to construct the handle. These are plastic and the resist shrinking and expanding like a wood handle will. In the long run, these type of handle last longer. You do not have to worry about wood rot. Nor will they stain and discolor. Note, that the Ikon Handle and the Classic Ikon handle are a little different. In the Ikon model, they uses a real African Blackwood. While the classic ikon uses the plastic one.


The bolster is the piece of steel that is between the blade and the handle. The classic model uses a full bolster, the Ikon has a half bolster and the Gourmet uses a no bolster design. In the past, a full bolster means that it is of higher quality. It was a indication that the blade was forged. This isnt true anymore and generally a full bolster design gets in the way. When you sharpen the knife, that nub gets in the way and you are left with a piece sticking out. The Ikon is the best overall because of the half bolster. The gourmet has a faux bolster design with the handle.

Wusthof Classic vs Ikon vs Gourmet Blade Design

While the blade looks pretty similar there are some key difference that you should be aware of.

Blade Shape

For the chef knife, the blade shape are pretty similar. They all have a pretty significant belly. This encourages you to rock the knife when you cut things. There is not a lot of flat surface like you will find with a Japanese knife.

In terms of angle, they all have a 28 degree total agngle. A little bit steeper than your general european knife. The classic and the ikon uses their PEtec technology which supposedly makes 20% sharper and holds an edge twice as long. The Gourmet has no such technology. I looked up what exactly this technology was. All I found was that they just sharpen it to a deeper angle…In their asian style of knives, they have a even steeper angle of 20 degree, 10 degree on either side. Only the forged lines of Wusthof knives uses the PEtec.


Most of wusthof uses the X50CRMOV15 steel. This nomeclature stands for the different chemical composition of the blade. X = Stainless Steel 50 = .5% carbon Cr = Chromium, Mo = Molybdenum, V = Vanadium, 15 = Percentage of Chromium.

Only the Ikon and the Classic are forged. While the Gourmet is laser stamped via a machine. While the Forged model are more difficult to produce, they are generally more durable and desirable than the stamped version. Usually stamped blade are made for production efficiency rather than quality. However, today stamped blades can rival that of forged knives.

On the rockwell hardness scale, the classic and the ikon has a hardness of around 58 while the gourmet has a hardness of 56. While a hardness of 58 is pretty hard for a european knife, they are not as hard as most Japanese knife. They are less prone to chipping and will keep an edge better. The softer the blade is, the more ductile it is. You can cut harder object like butter nut squash. The problem with these softer blade is that they will dull a lot faster. The upside is that they are generally easier to sharpen.

Washing and General Care

While most of these blades are high in carbon, they are generally rust resistant. What this means is that you do not have to worry about drying the knife constantly. They wont rust as readily as carbon steel knives. With that being said, I would never run these knives through a washing machine. Even though its rust resistant, this does not mean its impervious.

Wusthof Classic vs Ikon vs Gourmet Thoughts

Those are the differences between the knives. For the Classic and Ikon, the main difference in the handle. The Ikon is much more comfortable than the classic series. For the classic, the handle shape is the same as gourmet. However, not all the gourmet blade uses a full tang design. Only knives that are bigger than 4.5 inch will use a full tang. In terms of manufacturing, the classic and Ikon is forged while the gourmet is Laser Cut stamped. Whether these difference is worth it, that depends on you. I personally feel that the Ikon is better built all around. When you hold it in your hand, you do not get that cheap feeling.

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