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Wusthof vs Henckels (Zwillling), who makes the best german knife? These two companies are considered to be the best german kitchen knife on the market. Wusthof Flagship model is the Classic series while Henckels is the Pro model. Both share a similar grind profile and hardness. However, little differences like bolster, blade geometry, handle and even balance point is what set them apart. What a consumer should buy is based on their preference. This review will take a closer look at their difference and see who makes the best german cutlery.
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Wusthof vs Henckels Zwilling Knife Set Quick Summary
|Wusthof Knife Set
|Henckels Knife Set
|Composite or Oak
|28 Degree Total 14 on either side
|30 Degree Total 15 on either side
|Place of Manufacturer
|One of the most popular knives among kitchen professional. It has a full bolster design and is durable for daily use. However, the bolster gets in the way of sharpening.
|A knife with a interesting profile. The extra work lets you do fine tip work with ease. It has no bolster that makes it easier to sharpen.
|Wusthof Classic 7-piece Slim Knife Block Set
|ZWILLING Pro 7-pc Knife Block Set
History Wusthof vs Henckels
Wusthof was founded by Johann Abraham in 1814. He started out making shears in a makeshift factory. They called it the ‘Shears factory, steel and iron works’. While making these scissors, their fame and reputation grew. His trade was eventually passed on to his three sons. One of the son Eduard eventually took over and expanded the selection to over 1200 models of various knives. Like with all company, it went through many ups and down. Even at the face of bankruptcy, they managed to pull through. Currently, it is being runned by the 7th generation of the family. Exporting their knife to all over the world form their headquarter Solingen.
Zwilling was founded by Peter Henckels in 1731, one of the oldest trademark in the world. Not much is known about the early part of the company. With their company timeline having obscure tidbits of history. However, what they do have is a history of winning awards. In 1851, they were awarded a prize in the World Fair. in 1855, they wont another world fair in Paris. These types of awards were basically sprinkled throughout its history. For the most part, they were a cutlery company. However, in recent years, they have been acquiring other cookware brands like Demeyere, Staub and even TWEEZERMAN a manicure company. Instead of just focusing on cutlery, they are more of a conglomerate than anything else.
Wusthof vs Henckels Zwilling Design
This section will discuss the various design and features of the Wusthof Classic and Henckel Pro line. We will go over blade, handle, shape and overall performance.
This section will discuss the handle and balance point of the knife.
The handle on the classic series uses a black composite material (Polyoxymethylene). In other word, plastic. These plastic handle do not shrink or expand like a wood one does. They also resist molding or fading. It has a slight texture that helps with grip even if your hand is greasy. While most would prefer a wood handle, the plastic is actually better for the general consumer.
The handle encases the knife with three rivets on either side. At the end of it, there is a slight notch that prevents it from slipping out.
The balance point of the handle is toward the handle, this makes the knife feel heavier than it really is. I personally prefer a balance point in the center so that it feels a lot more light.
The main series uses a plastic handle much like the wusthof series. It offers the same mold, shrinkage and fading resistance. They are comfortable and helps provide grip even if your hand is greasy. They also have a different series called the pro oak holm where you can get a oak handle.
Like Wusthof, it has a three rivet design with a notch at the end. Balance point is also toward the end making it feel heavier than usual. In terms of german knives, you will find that their handle is all pretty much similar.
Wusthof vs Henckels Bolster
A bolster is the notch at the end of the blade. Traditionally, it is there to enhance the strength of the blade. However, due to modern forging technology, that is pretty much pointless. It really depends on the manufacturer and user whether they need it or not. It use to a sign of forged knife. But stamped knife these days can have bolster as well.
The Bolster on the Wusthof is a full bolster design. It runs from the top of the knife to the base. While it does get in the way, with use, you wont notice that its there. I personally prefer a knife without bolster. This way when you go to sharpen it, it does not become mishapen. It wont happen for a few years, but eventually as you run it down, that bolster will remain while the blade will shorten.
Henckels on the other hand has no bolster. It is a seamless transition that is very comfortable. I personally prefer this design as it makes it easier to sharpen the knife. Although this can be a personal preference thing, I think that the Henckels Pro knife has a better bolster design.
The knife geometry is the shape of the blade. This affects how you cut and the style of cutting. Since both of these knives are a german blade, they have a german profile. Which translate to a more belly like shape. This promotes a rocking type of cut.
In terms of length, Wusthof is a little longer with less of a belly. If you put it side by side, the knife runs straight with a raise at the tip of the blade. Henckels on the other hand has a very big angle towards the tip of the blade. This makes you exaggerate the rocking motion. Whether it is good or not is dependent on the user. However, this type of profile makes cutting things with the tip a lot easier. You have more blade area when you try to carve things out. Which one you choose is dependent on you, but I personally find that its unnecessary to have the big ridge that Henckel has.
Both knives have a full tang profile. This means that the blade runs through the length of the handle. This ensures that it is more durable and wont pop out like other knives. Usually, when manufacturer try to save money, they would make it half tang, where it only runs halfway through the handle. Although the Japanese knives are a exception.
Wusthof vs Henckels Blade Angle
The angle of the blade affects how easy it is to cut things. In general, the lower the angle, the easier it is to cut. However, this also means that it will dull faster. You can offset this by making the metal harder or softer. It really is a balance that you need judge. Wusthof has a total angle of 28 degree with 14 degree on either side. On the Henckels pro, it has a total angle of 30 degree or 15 degree on either side. As a consumer, you wont tell the difference. However, if you use a automatic knife sharpener, the 15 degree is more common.
The rockwell hardness is how tough a steel is. The harder it is, the more prone to chipping it becomes. However, it also holds the edge better. Softer knives are more dutcile and less prone to chipping. But it also dulls faster, on the bright side, they are easier to sharpen. If you do a lot of hard cutting, like bones or butternut squash, a softer knife is better. This reduces the chance of your knife chipping or snapping. Wusthof has a hardness of 58 and Henckels has a hardness of 55-58. Almost the same and as a consumer, you wont notice a difference. One thing to note, is their hardening technology. Both company has their own name. The sigma forge or the ice hardening one. I would just ignore that and just focus on the number.
Sharpness and Durability
The sharpness and durability really depends on the angle and hardness of the knife. Since both knives share similar specification, the durability and sharpness should be about the same as well. They will all be sharp during the initial stage. Even a cheap dollar store knife will the same sharpness. What sets them apart is how long the keep that edge.
Wusthof vs Henckels Thoughts
Overall, which one you should buy is really dependent on your taste and preference. Both knives are very similar. The biggest difference is the bolster and blade geometry. If you like the blade style of Henckels get that one. But if you want a more traditional knife, get the wusthof. I personally prefer the Henckels because of the no bolster design. It really does get in the way.
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