In this guide, I provide an in-depth comparison of the best Wusthof kitchen knives.
You’ll learn the similarities, differences, pros, and cons of each Wusthof collection, including Classic, Ikon, Classic Ikon, Epicure, Grand Prix II, Crafter, and Gourmet.
So, if you’re looking to purchase Wusthof knives, but aren’t sure which collection is best, keep reading.
Use these links to navigate the comparison:
- Why Wusthof?
- Wusthof Knives Comparison Chart
- Best Overall: Wusthof Classic
- Best Knives With Wood Handles: Wusthof Ikon
- Best Sleek Knives: Wusthof Classic Ikon
- Best Eco-Friendly Knives: Wusthof Epicure
- Best Contemporary Knives: Wusthof Grand Prix II
- Best Rustic Knives: Wusthof Crafter
- Best Low-Cost Knives: Wusthof Gourmet
- Bottom Line: Which Wusthof Knives Are the Best?
Wusthof is a family-owned brand founded in 1814 in Solingen, Germany, known as the “City of Blades”—a place synonymous with high-quality cutlery.
Wusthof knives are ultra-durable, razor-sharp, and hold their edge for a long time. They boast a traditional German-style with thick blades, contoured handles with exposed rivets, and a full tang. They’re elegant, functional, and built to last a lifetime.
Over two centuries, Wusthof has established itself as one of the best kitchen knife brands you can buy. It’s one of the few brands permitted to label their collections as “Made in Solingen,” a distinction that indicates strict quality standards.
Unlike other cutlery brands that also offer cookware and appliances, Wusthof is focused on one thing: producing the best kitchen knives in the world. In fact, each year, they manufacture over 1.7 million knives.
Wusthof currently offers seven collections: six are forged, and one (Gourmet) is stamped. Forged knives go through a 40-step production process and are more expensive than the stamped knives, which are lighter in weight and undergo a 14-step process.
Regardless of the construction type or collection, you can rest assured that you’re getting quality, high-performing knives when you buy Wusthof.
Now the question is: which Wusthof collection is the best? How do they compare to each other? And which one is right for you?
In the following sections, I break down the key features of each collection and explain the pros and cons.
As I describe each collection, I reference terms like bolster, tang, rivets, and other parts of the knife. If you’re not familiar with these terms, the images below should help.
Here’s a closer look at the tang, rivets, and bolster.
Wusthof Knives: Comparison Chart
This chart provides a brief comparison of each Wusthof collection. In subsequent sections, I’ll break down each collection in detail, covering its pros and cons.
Scroll/swipe to view the entire chart.
|Wusthof Classic||Wusthof Ikon||Wusthof Classic Ikon||Wusthof Epicure||Wusthof Grand Prix II||Wusthof Crafter||Wusthof Gourmet|
|Handle Design||Triple-riveted, black, traditional||Elegant/contemporary, dark brown, sleek||Contemporary, black, glossy||Rustic, brown, curved||Contemporary, black, curved||Triple-riveted, smoky brown, traditional||Triple-riveted, black, traditional|
|Bolster||Full bolster||Double bolster||Double bolster||Full bolster||Full bolster||Half bolster||None|
|Tang||Full tang, exposed||Full tang, exposed||Full tang, exposed||Full tang, exposed on the top side only||Full tang, not exposed||Full tang, exposed||Full tang, not exposed
|Rivets||3, exposed||3, exposed||3, exposed||2, exposed||Not exposed||3, exposed||3, exposed|
|Handle Material||Polyoxymethylene (synthetic)||Grenadill (wood)||Polyoxymethylene (synthetic)||Richlite (recycled wood composite)||Polypropylene (synthetic)||Smoked oak (wood)||Polyoxymethylene (synthetic)|
|Handle Texture||Hard, smooth||Hard, smooth||Hard, smooth||Hard, smooth||Pebbled||Hard, smooth||Hard, smooth|
|Blade Material||High-carbon stainless steel||High-carbon stainless steel||High-carbon stainless steel||High-carbon stainless steel||High-carbon stainless steel||High-carbon stainless steel||High-carbon stainless steel|
|Edge Angle||14° per side||14° per side||14° per side||14° per side||14° per side||14° per side||18° per side|
|How It's Made||Forged||Forged||Forged||Forged||Forged||Forged||Laser-cut stamped|
|Warranty||Limited Lifetime||Limited Lifetime||Limited Lifetime||Limited Lifetime||Limited Lifetime||Limited Lifetime||Limited Lifetime|
|Number of Sets||33||3||16||4||10||1||23|
Best Overall: Wusthof Classic
Wusthof Classic continues to be the brand’s best-selling collection, and it’s easy to see why.
These knives boast a full, exposed tang, thick bolster, and ergonomically-designed handles with Wusthof’s red trident logo prominently displayed.
The Classic collection is precision-forged, made from one piece of stainless steel with a high carbon content to prevent rust. The black, polyoxymethylene (POM) handle has a tight molecular structure, making it highly durable and resistant to fading and discoloration.
With a Rockwell score of 58 (standard across all forged Wusthof knives) and a proprietary sharpening and finishing process called PETec, Classic knives retain their sharpness longer than the competition.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of one of the best Wusthof collections: the Classic.
Wusthof Classic Pros
Traditional German Design: These knives have a traditional German design. From the thick blade to the triple-riveted black handle with an exposed steel tang, these knives possess a timeless look that complements any kitchen style.
Track Record: Wusthof Classic has been the best selling collection for several generations. Its popularity and longevity speak volumes to the quality and performance.
Construction: The full-tang construction, full bolster, and finger guard result in a safe, stable, balanced knife.
Materials: The handle resists wear-and-tear and makes it easy to keep clean since there aren’t intricate details and crevices. The high-carbon stainless steel blade is as beautiful as it is functional.
Variety: With over 100 single knives and multi-knife sets, no other Wusthof collection has as many options as the Classic. If you choose a more limited collection and you want to add to it later, you might not find what you need and be forced to mix and match—not ideal.
Wusthof Classic Cons
Price: Classic isn’t Wusthof’s most expensive collection, but it carries a hefty price tag, which is not ideal if you are on a budget. For the price of one Classic 8-inch Chef’s knife, you could buy an entire set of a less expensive brand like Chicago Cutlery or Cuisinart.
Handle design: The design is simple but not as elegant as some of Wusthof’s offerings that feature wood handles or glossy finishes. Also, some users claim the handle feels awkward, and they don’t like the prominent curve near the butt end.
Weight: Some of the larger knives such as the Chef’s Knife can weigh a half-pound or more and may become cumbersome to use depending on the task.
Best Knives With Wood Handles: Wusthof Ikon
Wusthof Ikon is a standout collection known for its style. It’s sleeker and more modern-looking compared to the Classic, but it’s also more expensive.
Ikon knives feature African Blackwood handles with smooth downward curves as you approach the butt end and a double bolster (half bolster between the handle and blade, and another half bolster at the butt end) to add to the stability.
Known as the “jewel” of the Wusthof brand, Ikon knives are forged, full-tang, and made of high-carbon stainless steel. This collection is both visually appealing and functional.
Wusthof Ikon Pros
Design: The wood grain on the handle is stunning, and the contrast of the dark wood against the brilliance of the stainless steel is eye-catching. It’s one of only two Wusthof collections that features a steel end cap on the handle—an elegant feature that also adds balance.
Durable handles: Handles are made from one of the strongest types of wood in the world. Grenadill, also known as African Blackwood, is a highly durable material that will retain its strength and beauty for years.
Easy to sharpen: Since Ikon knives have a half bolster, it’s easier to sharpen the full length of the edge. By contrast, Classic knives have a full bolster that makes it more difficult to sharpen the part of the edge closest to the handle.
Comfortable grip: The curve of the handle makes it comfortable to hold, especially when using it for extended periods.
Wusthof Ikon Cons
Weight: While the handle grip is designed for comfort, the 8-Inch Chef’s Knife is heavy, weighing in at 9 ounces. If you prefer a lightweight knife, you may want to consider the Gourmet collection, which is 30% lighter.
Limited set choices: Ikon offers only three different sets. By contrast, Classic offers over two dozen. You can still piece together your own set by purchasing individual knives, but doing so costs more than buying a curated set.
Price: Ikon is one of the most expensive Wusthof collections due to the inclusion of Grenadill, a rare type of wood, and the extra steel used to cap the handle’s butt end.
Check the current prices of Wusthof Ikon knives on Amazon.
Best Sleek Knives: Wusthof Classic Ikon
The Classic Ikon collection is identical to Ikon with one exception: the handle material. Classic Ikon trades the Grenadill handles for a highly durable synthetic material called polyoxymethylene (POM)—the same material used to make Classic handles.
Just like the Ikon collection, these full tang, forged knives are sleek, sophisticated, and include a double bolster for balance. The handles are black with a subtle sheen, providing an aesthetically-pleasing contrast against stainless steel’s shine.
Let’s get into the pros and cons of this collection.
Wusthof Classic Ikon Pros
Hygienic, comfortable handles: The black, triple-riveted handles ensure a steady grip, and POM is ideal for those who don’t like the porous nature of wood, which can trap food particles if not cared for properly. Note: This isn’t an issue for high-quality kitchen knives with wood handles like Wusthof Ikon and Crafter, but inexpensive brands can harbor bacteria if you’re not careful.
Construction/Blade Material: Like the other forged collections, Classic Ikon boasts a high-carbon stainless steel blade and full tang. It has a double bolster for balance and safety, and, since the bolster doesn’t extend to the edge, you can use more of the blade for cutting, slicing, and chopping.
Variety: Unlike the Ikon collection, Classic Ikon has lots of sets and individual pieces available. So, if you’re looking for a specific combination of knives, you’ll likely find it within this collection. Plus, the handles come in both black and creme so you can match them to your style.
Wusthof Classic Ikon Cons
Price: Like its upscale counterpart (Ikon), Classic Ikon is one of the most expensive Wusthof collections.
Half bolster: These knives have a half bolster between the blade and the handle, which adds heft and balance, but does not protect your hand from slipping as effectively as the full bolster on Classic knives..
Weight: These knives are on the heavy side (which may be a plus depending on the chef), so if you want a more nimble knife, you might want to pass on this collection.
Check the current prices of Wusthof Classic Ikon knives on Amazon.
Best Eco-Friendly Knives: Wusthof Epicure
The Epicure collection brings together the strength of a forged, full-tang blade with the beauty and sustainability of a Richlite handle.
Epicure handles are made from a composite of recycled wood called Richlite, making it the most eco-friendly option in the Wusthof brand. It’s designed to complement the look of popular Epicurean cutting boards.
Although they’re made from recycled wood, the handles have a beautiful natural grain that makes each knife unique.
Its toasted brown color and rounded shape are appealing if you want a more earthy look. But don’t be fooled by the beauty; these knives are just as durable, sharp, and versatile as any other Wusthof collection.
Wusthof Epicure Pros
Design: These knives are designed by Björn Berger, a Solingen-born industrial designer. The handles are molded and sculpted from composite wood (Richlite), giving them a unique shape and appearance. The ergonomic design reduces hand fatigue and offers superb comfort and control for small or large hands. The blades are slightly wider than other Wusthof collections, which helps to scoop ingredients.
Sustainability: The use of recycled composite materials ensures that you are getting an eco-friendly knife.
Durable: Richlite is durable and holds up well against moisture. The two rivets reinforce the stability of the knife.
Wusthof Epicure Cons
Price: Yes, Epicure knives are expensive, but they’re more affordable than other Wusthof collections, such as Ikon.
Limited Sets: With only a dozen or so individual knives and one knife set, Epicure is one of Wusthof’s most limited collections. So, if you prefer a comprehensive collection that can offer every knife imaginable, you may want to avoid Epicure and look at the Classic or Gourmet collections.
Check the current prices of Wusthof Epicure knives on Amazon.
Best Contemporary Knives: Wusthof Grand Prix II
The Grand Prix II stands out due to its contemporary design with clean lines and minimalist appeal.
It has a black handle with a steel Wusthof logo that gently slopes downward toward the butt of the knife.
It has a different feel in your hands than other Wusthof knives, such as the Classic line, due to the pebbled texture material that encases the handle.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of Wusthof Grand Prix knives.
Wusthof Grand Prix II Pros
Comfort: Grand Prix II knives are designed to feel comfortable in your hand, thanks to the textured synthetic material (Polypropylene) that encases the handle.
Safety: Another benefit to the textured handle material—it makes these knives safer. The grippy, pebbled material prevents slipping and keeps the knife firmly in your hand, even when it gets wet.
Materials: While Wusthof uses high carbon steel for all of its blades, this collection’s handles are made from a specially developed synthetic material called polypropylene. It’s a non-toxic and heat-resistant durable material that is also BPA free.
Variety: Grand Prix II offers ten sets to choose from and a fair amount of individual stock, so you can mix and match to build your own set.
Wusthof Grand Prix II Cons
Price: Although less expensive than many other Wusthof collections, it’s still a relatively costly collection.
Feel: Although most cooks love the comfortable grip, some complain that it feels lightweight and cheap. Unlike the Classic and Classic Ikon synthetic handles, which are smooth and hard like wood, the Grand Prix II handles feel more rubbery, a texture common with discount knives.
Look: The Grand Prix II collection has a sleek design, but it’s not as elegant-looking as some of the other collections that feature exposed rivets and tangs. Even though it is an expensive knife, the rivetless synthetic handle makes it look lower-quality (perception, not reality).
Sharpening issues: If you like to use electric knife sharpeners, the full bolster may make that task cumbersome. This knife is better suited for manual sharpening.
Check the current prices of Wusthof Grand Prix II knives on Amazon.
Best Rustic Knives: Wusthof Crafter
The Wusthof Crafter collection combines high carbon stainless steel with the beauty of smoked oak and brass.
It’s a nod to the craftsman style, an architectural design that focuses on simplicity, earth tones, and natural materials such as wood, stone, and mixed metals.
Wusthof Crafter handles are created from water-resistant smoked oak, giving it a warm brown color that’s quite stunning against the brilliance of the steel. Each piece is buffed by hand before packaging.
Wusthof Crafter Pros
Handle design: This fine looking collection reminds me of the Classic, but with a wood handle, small bolster, and brass rivets instead of steel. The smoked oak is a nice touch, and the grain on the wood offers such an excellent backdrop for the three brass rivets in the handle. It has such an earthy, rustic look that would likely go well with farmhouse-style kitchens and woodsy decor.
Lightweight feel: Wusthof Crafter knives don’t have the thick, full bolster you’ll find in the Classic collection. Instead, they have a demi bolster, making the knife feel lighter and easier to perform the pinch grip.
Easy to sharpen: Another benefit to the demi bolster is that you can sharpen and utilize the entire edge. With full bolsters, you can still use the whole edge, but the part closest to the handle ends up being more like a dull wedge than a sharp blade, making chopping firm vegetables like carrots more challenging.
Wusthof Crafter Cons
Limited selection: Crafter is one of Wusthof’s newest collections; therefore, there’s a limited selection of products. There are only eight individual knives, a steak knife set, and one knife block set available. When Crafter first came out, it was only available at Williams Sonoma, but now it’s available on Amazon and at several other kitchen supply stores.
Price: Like just about every Wusthof collection, Crafter knives are not cheap. The use of oak and brass make this collection a bit more pricey than many of the others.
Weight: The slimmer bolster makes the knife lighter, which can be a good thing, but it can also be a downside if you prefer a heftier knife.
Check the current prices of Wusthof Crafter knives on Amazon.
Best Low-Cost Knives: Wusthof Gourmet
Visually, the Wusthof Gourmet collection looks a lot like the top-selling Classic line.
Both have black, triple-riveted POM handles bearing the red trident Wusthof logo. They also both boast high-carbon stainless steel blades.
The key differences are in the manufacturing process, edge angle, and Rockwell hardness score.
Gourmet knives are cut by precision lasers and stamped as opposed to forging. The result is an incredibly sharp, lightweight knife for a fraction of the price.
Let’s talk pros and cons.
Wusthof Gourmet Pros
Price: The most notable advantage of Gourmet knives is that it’s the most inexpensive Wusthof collection. Of course, this is because the blades are stamped, not forged. The laser-cut stamping doesn’t require the same number of steps and processes (it takes 40 steps to make a forged Wusthof knife and 14 to make a laser-cut stamped knife), but you still get sharp, high-carbon stainless steel blades. If you love the Wusthof Classic look but not the price tag, Gourmet is an excellent alternative.
Weight: Since stamped blades are thinner than forged blades, Gourmet knives are significantly lighter than all other Wusthof collections. For example, the Gourmet 8-inch Chef’s knife weighs 6.25 ounces, which is 26% lighter than the Classic 8-inch Chef’s knife that weighs 8.5 ounces.
Flexibility: Gourmet blades are thinner and more flexible, which helps in certain cutting situations like boning and filleting.
Wusthof Gourmet Cons
Weight: If you like the balanced feel of a heavy knife, you might want to avoid Wusthof Gourmet. The Gourmet collection has thinner blades and a synthetic bolster (rather than steel), which reduces the knives’ weight and makes them feel less balanced.
Lower edge angle: Gourmet knives are sharpened to an 18-degree angle per side, which is four degrees more than every other Wusthof collection. In other words, Gourmet knives aren’t as sharp as Wusthof’s forged knives, and since the steel isn’t as hard (HRC 56 vs. 58), you’ll need to sharpen them more often.
Durability: Since the blades in this collection are thinner and more flexible, they’re more likely to wear down from excessive sharpening and bend or break under extreme pressure.
Check the current prices of Wusthof Gourmet knives on Amazon.
Bottom Line: Which Wusthof Knives Are the Best?
Now that you know each Wusthof collection’s pros and cons, it’s time to decide which one is best for you.
The important thing to remember is that all Wusthof knives are well-made, high-performing, and durable.
Every collection is made with the same type of steel, and, except Gourmet, all Wusthof knives have the same hardness, sharpness, and edge retention.
The differences come down to the handle material and design, and price.
Wusthof Classic is the brand’s top-selling collection. With Classic knives, you get a traditional German-style design, thick full bolster, excellent balance, and a ton of options.
Wusthof Ikon is the most elegant collection, with African Blackwood handles and smooth curves. But it’s also one of the most expensive.
Wusthof Classic Ikon delivers the style and function of Ikon, but with the look and feel of black synthetic handles and a slightly lower price point.
Wusthof Epicure knives feature light-brown composite wood handles, making it the most eco-friendly collection. If you like the idea of wood handles, but if the Ikon handles are too dark, this collection is an excellent option.
Wusthof Grand Prix II knives have a unique textured handle that is comfortable and provides extra grip, but some customers complain it makes the knives feel cheap.
Wusthof Crafter knives have gorgeous smoked oak handles and brass rivets —a detail you won’t find in any other Wusthof collection.
Wusthof Gourmet knives are stamped, making them lighter and significantly less expensive. If you love the Classic collection’s look, but don’t have the budget, this is an excellent alternative.
All Wusthof collections are available on Amazon (links below), where you can read hundreds of reviews and check the current prices.
If you found this article helpful, you should also check out:
- Wusthof Classic vs. Wusthof Gourmet: Kitchen Knife Comparison
- Wusthof Grand Prix II vs. Wusthof Classic: What’s the Difference?
- Wusthof Classic vs. Wusthof Ikon: What Are the Differences?
- The Ultimate Review of Wusthof Classic Kitchen Knives
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