In this guide, I provide an in-depth comparison of the best Zwilling kitchen knives.
You’ll learn the pros and cons of the brand’s top collections, including Pro, Professional S, Four Star, TWIN Four Star II, Twin Signature, Gourmet, Kramer Meiji, and Kramer Carbon.
If you’re ready to buy Zwilling knives but need help deciding which collection is best for you, keep reading.
Use the links below to navigate the comparison:
- Best Zwilling Knives: Comparison Chart
- Zwilling Pro
- Zwilling Professional S
- Zwilling Four Star
- Zwilling TWIN Four Star II
- Zwilling Twin Signature
- Zwilling Gourmet
- Zwilling Kramer Meiji
- Zwilling Kramer Carbon
- Bottom Line: Which Zwilling Knives Are the Best?
If you’re in a hurry, the chart below shows a side-by-side comparison of the best Zwilling knife collections. I provide more detail about each collection in the following sections.
Swipe or scroll to view the entire chart.
|Pro||Professional S||Four Star||TWIN Four Star II||Twin Signature||Gourmet||Kramer Meiji||Kramer Carbon|
|Blade Steel||German steel||German steel||German steel||German steel||German steel||German steel||FC61 steel||52100 carbon steel|
|Handle Color||White or black||Black||Black||Black||Black||Black||Walnut||Brown/Black|
|Edge Angle Per Side||15 degrees||15 degrees||15 degrees||15 degrees||15 degrees||15 degrees||9 to 12 degrees||9 to 12 degrees|
|Number of Knives/Sets||92||52||49||20||20||29||9||9|
|Where It’s Made||Germany||Germany||Germany||Germany||Germany||Germany||Japan||Japan|
|Top Reason to Buy||Half bolster enables comfortable pinch grip||Full bolster protects your hand from slipping||Black uniform handle||Elegant design with steel end cap||Affordable and lightweight||Affordable and lightweight||Gorgeous blade finish||Superior edge retention|
|Top Reason to NOT Buy||Curved belly makes precise cuts difficult||Full bolster prevents full-edge use and sharpening||Full bolster prevents full-edge use and sharpening||Limited stock||Stamped blades are thin||Unbalanced due to lack of bolster||Thin edges are prone to chipping||Carbon steel blade is prone to corrosion|
|Price||$$$ (Amazon, Zwilling.com)||$$$ (Amazon, Zwilling.com)||$$$ (Amazon, Zwilling.com)||$$$ (Amazon, Zwilling.com)||$$ (Amazon, Zwilling.com)||$$ (Amazon, Zwilling.com)||$$$$ (Amazon, Zwilling.com)||$$$$ (Amazon, Zwilling.com)|
Pro is one of Zwilling’s best-selling knife collections, celebrated for its outstanding balance and durable German forged steel. Zwilling worked with Matteo Thun, a renowned Italian architect and designer, to create this collection.
Each blade goes through Zwilling’s FRIODUR process, which is a method of cooling the hot metal in sub-zero temperatures after forging. This process ensures a sharper, more corrosion-resistant blade with better edge retention.
The handles have a traditional shape, featuring three exposed rivets and a rounded butt end encased in black or white Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS).
This durable plastic is trusted for use in cars and helmets, and its moisture and fade-resistant properties make it ideal for knife handles.
The exposed tang extends along the handle providing a nice contrast against the black plastic.
The steel used for the blades has a Rockwell scale score of 57. The Rockwell Scale measures the hardness of knife blades (and other materials).
German steel, like Zwilling, is relatively soft compared to Japanese steel. Softer blades are less likely to chip and easier to sharpen, but they don’t hold their edge as well as harder blades.
Pro is one of Zwilling’s most extensive collections, with over 90 individual knives and sets available.
Half bolster: The main advantage of Pro knives is their unique half bolster. It’s designed perfectly for the pinch grip, and unlike knives with a full bolster, it allows you to cut and sharpen the entire blade.
Rounded belly: The edge of these knives (also referred to as the belly) features a prominent curve, which enables a smooth rocking motion. Knives with flatter edges are better for up-and-down chopping.
Handle variety: All Zwilling Pro knives are available with a black handle, but some let you choose between black and white handles.
Range of products: Pro is Zwilling’s most comprehensive knife collection, with 92 knives or knife sets available. The next most extensive collection is the Professional S, with 52 knives or knife sets.
Rounded blade: Despite being a benefit when you want to rock the blade, the curved edge makes up-and-down chopping and straight cuts more difficult. This design is much more pronounced than it is in traditional German knives. There are better knives than these for julienning carrots or slicing sashimi.
Thick handles: Pro handles are large and bulky and may feel too big if you have small hands.
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Heavy: Pro is one of Zwilling’s heaviest knife collections. For example, the 8-inch Pro chef’s knife weighs 9.4 ounces, and the 8-inch Professional “S” knife weighs 8.7 ounces.
Zwilling Professional S is similar to the Pro collection in many ways. They both feature durable German-forged steel with FRIODUR ice-hardening.
The polymer plastic handles are almost identical, with three exposed rivets and a full tang. But unlike Pro, Professional S handles only come in black.
The main difference between Professional S and Pro knives is that Professional S knives feature a full bolster.
The full bolster provides additional balance and protection to prevent your hand from slipping but inhibits the ability to use the entire blade.
Full bolster: The full bolster on the Professional S knives offers greater hand protection when cutting. The full bolster also adds weight to the center of the knife, improving the balance between the blade and handle.
Sturdy and durable: The Professional S 8-inch chef’s knife weighs 8.6 ounces — average for high-quality forged knives — so it’s not too heavy or too light. It’s sturdy enough to chop through tough meat or melons without causing hand fatigue. For comparison, the 8-inch Pro chef’s knife weighs 9.4 ounces.
Traditional blade profile: Professional “S” knives have a traditional blade profile with a slightly curved belly and spine. The edge on these knives has a much smoother curve than Pro knives. This design makes the knife well-rounded — you can use all cutting techniques, including rocking and straight up-and-down cuts.
Blade deformation: Although the full bolster has benefits, it also has drawbacks. You can’t sharpen the back end of the blade, also known as the heel, because the bolster gets in the way. In other words, the steel at the blade’s heel is too thick to sharpen on a whetstone or pull through a manual or electric sharpener.
Long term, this can compromise the blade’s shape as the remainder of the knife is shaved down, and the bolster remains at its original width. After several years of continued use and sharpening, you may find that the bolster protrudes past the blade’s edge, impacting the knife’s ability to make complete contact with the cutting board.
Can’t cut with the entire blade: The full bolster also means that you can’t use the heel of the knife blade like you could with a half bolster or bolster-free knife.
Four Star is Zwilling’s best-selling collection worldwide, and it’s easy to see why.
Like Zwilling Pro and Professional S, the Four Star collection features German-forged steel blades and black handles.
The handles are made of black-colored polypropylene, a durable and moisture-resistant plastic.
These knives are almost the same as Zwilling Professional S but with two main differences. First, the plastic material covers the rivets and tang on the handle, so you only see black (no exposed metal).
Second, the butt end is squared and flat rather than round.
With nearly 49 knives and knife sets available, Four Star is one of Zwilling’s best-selling collections.
Full bolster: As mentioned when assessing the Professional S collection, the full bolster offers the most hand protection when chopping. It also makes for a more balanced tool, with additional weight concentrated in the center of the knife.
Ergonomic handle: An ergonomic handle makes the knife comfortable and lessens hand fatigue.
Concealed rivets: The rivets are hidden within the handle plastic, making the knife easier to clean as it has less exposed metal that could rust or corrode over time.
Blade deformation: As with Professional S knives, the full bolster doesn’t allow you to sharpen the blade’s heel, which may lead to structural issues with the knife in the long term. This design element also means you can’t make use of the back end of the knife blade.
Thick handle: Although many cooks love the design, the handles are large and thick. The squared butt end helps balance the knife but also makes the handle bulkier. If you have small hands, you might want knives with thinner, sleeker handles (consider the brand Global).
TWIN Four Star II is advertised as an enhanced version of the Four Star collection. The blade steel, blade profile, handle design, and handle material are exactly the same.
The main difference between the two collections is TWIN Four Star II knives have a steel end cap on the handle.
The steel end cap contrasts nicely with the black handle and features an engraved Zwilling logo.
Besides that, the only other difference is the options available. Only 20 knives and knife sets are available in the TWIN Four Star II collection, while Four Star has almost 50.
This collection shares the same pros and cons of Four Star but with the added benefit of a more high-end finish thanks to the steel end cap.
Compared to Four Star, TWIN Four Star II knives look more elegant and premium. However, this difference is purely aesthetic and doesn’t impact performance.
Twin Signature is one of Zwilling’s most affordable collections. These knives have no bolster and an ergonomic, triple-rivet polymer handle.
With 20 available knives and knife sets, you can buy a complete set without breaking the bank or sacrificing quality.
Unlike the Pro, Professional S, and Four Star collections which are forged, Twin Signature blades are precision stamped.
In general, forged blades are thicker, more durable, easier to sharpen, better quality, and more costly. However, stamped blades are often sharper, lighter, more flexible, and much less expensive.
Affordable: The main draw of the Twin Signature collection is the price. It’s one of Zwilling’s most affordable collections.
Lightweight: Another benefit is that these knives are lightweight. For example, the 8-inch chef’s knife is only 7.2 ounces. Chef’s knives in the Pro and Professional S collections weigh 9.4 and 8.7 ounces, respectively.
Dishwasher safe: These knives are dishwasher safe, making them easy to clean.
Stamped blade: As opposed to the other three collections we’ve examined so far with forged steel, the Twin Signature line is made of stamped steel blades, which are thinner and less durable.
Stamped blades differ from forged blades in a couple of key ways. Stamped knives are more lightweight and typically more affordable, but forged knives tend to be stronger, better balanced, more durable, and have longer edge retention.
No bolster: There is no bolster on knives in the Twin Signature collection, so your hand is not protected if it slips while cutting. Additionally, the lack of bolster makes these knives unbalanced. The blade will tip forward if you try to balance the knife with one finger under the center point.
Lightweight: The stamped blade lacks the heft needed to easily cut through denser ingredients like squashes or bones.
Gourmet is another affordable knife collection that shares many similarities with Twin Signature.
These knives feature stamped blades made of German steel. The handles have a full tang with three exposed rivets encased in black Polyoxymethylene.
The handles are shaped almost exactly like Pro and Professional S with a sharply curved butt end and flat sides.
As with most Zwilling knives, the Gourmet collection benefits from FRIODUR ice-hardening techniques to make the blades harder, sharper, and more durable.
There are 29 products available for purchase in this collection.
Affordable: Gourmet is one of Zwilling’s most affordable knife collections due to its stamped blades which are easier to mass produce. For comparison, these knives are more than two times cheaper than comparable knives in the Professional S collection.
Lightweight: The 8-inch chef’s knife weighs 6.5 ounces, significantly lighter than the Pro, Professional S, and Four Star collections.
Stamped blade: Knives in the Gourmet collection have stamped blades, which are thinner and provide less weight to cut tougher vegetables and meat.
Light and unbalanced: Although lightweight knives are more nimble and won’t cause as much hand fatigue, they’re also less balanced. If you’re used to a hefty forged knife, the Gourmet collection will feel flimsy and unbalanced.
No bolster: Without a bolster, your hand could slip onto the blade if you’re not careful. Similarly, if you choke up on the handle or perform a pinch grip, your index finger and thumb will dig into the blade’s heel, which can be uncomfortable. Knives with bolsters provide a flat, more comfortable surface to rest your hand.
Kramer Meiji is one of two Zwilling collections designed by Master Bladesmith Bob Kramer and handcrafted in Seki, Japan.
Although Zwilling is a German company known for its traditional Western-style knives, this collection is inspired by Japanese traditions.
Instead of the relatively soft steel used to make its other knives, Kramer Meiji blades are made of a unique FC61 fine carbide stainless steel blade with a distinctive Damascus ladder pattern.
The edges are sharpened to a 9-12-degree angle, 3 to 6 degrees sharper than any other collections Zwilling creates.
The handles are made of walnut-colored Pakkawood, a moisture-resistant wood composite. In other words, it features the beautiful grains of natural wood, but it’s as easy to maintain as plastic.
With a 61 on the Rockwell score scale, these blades are harder than most Zwilling blades.
Sharper blade: The Kramer Meiji knife collection has a sharper edge (9-12 degrees on each side vs. 15 degrees on each side for all other Zwilling collections except the Kramer Carbon).
Superior edge retention: The steel used to make Kramer knives is harder than other Zwilling collections, scoring 61 on the Rockwell Scale (compared to 57). Harder steel stays sharper longer, so you won’t need to maintain these edges as often.
Unique Japanese style: These knives are sharpened using Japanese Honbazuke methods (three-step hand sharpening) and feature distinctive etched ladder Damascus patterns.
Expensive: Kramer Meiji is the second most costly collection offered by Zwilling. It’s almost double the price of Pro and Professional S. The only collection that is more expensive is Kramer Carbon, which I’ll talk about next.
Difficult to sharpen at home: Due to the extremely sharp edge, this collection is more difficult to sharpen to the same edge at home.
Limited knife offerings: There are only nine knives available in the collection. Although all the essentials are available, sizes are limited, and there’s only one set.
Prone to chipping: The edges are more prone to microchips because the steel is rigid, and the edges are fine. You need to be extra cautious when cutting hard ingredients and bones. Unlike Zwilling’s other collections, these knives are not durable workhorses; they’re better suited for precision cuts and slices.
Like Kramer Meiji, Kramer Carbon knives are designed in partnership with Master Bladesmith Bob Kramer.
As the name suggests, the blades in this collection are made of high-carbon steel 52100. This steel is incredibly hard, which results in long-lasting edge retention.
The knives are made in Seki, Japan, and go through a 3-step hand-finishing process that generates a uniquely sharp product. With a 9 to 12-degree edge angle per side, Kramer Carbon knives are sharper than almost all Zwilling collections.
An elegant brown and black hand-shaped micarta handle complemented by exposed brass rivets further sets these knives apart.
Sharper edges: The Kramer Carbon knife collection has a sharper edge (9-12 degrees on each side vs. the 15 degrees per side of most other Zwilling collections).
Superior edge retention: The Kramer knife collections are also harder. They score 61 on the Rockwell Scale, compared to 57. The harder the blade, the better it will hold its edge. You don’t need to sharpen these knives often.
Unique Japanese style: The Kramer collections offer knives with uniquely Japanese hand-honed Honbazuke blades and distinctive etched ladder Damascus patterns that set them apart from Zwilling’s other German-style knives.
Knuckle Clearance: The blade is unusually wide, especially towards the heel. Because of that, these knives provide plenty of knuckle clearance. If you have large hands, your knuckles won’t hit the cutting board as you chop like that might with other knives.
Expensive: Kramer Carbon is the most costly collection offered by Zwilling. An 8-inch chef’s knife costs 20 percent more than the same knife in the Kramer Meiji collection and over four times the cost of the Gourmet collection’s equivalent product.
Difficult to sharpen at home: Due to the sharp edge, this collection is more difficult to sharpen to the same edge at home due to its tighter angle of 9 to 12 degrees.
Limited knife offerings: There are only nine knives available in the collection. Compared to Zwilling Pro’s 92 options, this collection is limited.
Hard to maintain: Carbon steel blades are more challenging to maintain than stainless steel blades. They take more diligent care (like building a patina with acidic washes and oiling the blade) to avoid rust and stains.
Now that you understand the pros and cons of each Zwilling collection, it’s time to decide which is best for you.
It’s important to remember that Zwilling has been in business for over 300 years. All its knives are well-made, durable, and get the job done.
Before I offer my recommendation, let’s quickly recap:
Zwilling Pro boasts a wide selection of 92 knives and sets, features a rounded blade for rocking, a thick handle with black and white color options, and a unique half bolster shaped perfectly for the pinch grip.
Zwilling Professional S Is a sturdy and durable collection featuring a full bolster, flat blade profile, and 52 knives and sets.
Zwilling Four Star is the brand’s best-selling collection featuring a black ergonomic handle, full bolster, and concealed rivets.
Zwilling TWIN Four Star II is an upgraded version of Four Star. The only difference is that this collection features an elegant steel end cap on each handle.
Zwilling Twin Signature is affordable, with stamped blades and no bolster.
Zwilling Gourmet is another affordable option with stamped blades. These knives are lightweight and nimble.
Zwilling Kramer Meiji is one of two Zwillinger/Kramer collaborations that showcases a unique Japanese design style. It is an expensive option but offers sharp blades with a gorgeous Damascus pattern.
Zwilling Kramer Carbon is the second in the Kramer/Zwillinger collaboration. The carbon steel blades maintain their edges for long periods. But with little chromium content, the steel is prone to corrosion and rust and requires more maintenance. This collection is also the brand’s most expensive.
When I think about Zwilling knives, I group them into three categories:
- German forged knives (Pro, Professional S, Four Star, TWIN Four Star II)
- German stamped knives (Twin Signature, Gourmet)
- Japanese forged knives (Kramer Meiji, Kramer Carbon)
The German forged knives are workhorses. The blades are thick, the edges are durable, and the handles are hefty. These are the ultimate everyday knives because they can handle significant abuse in the kitchen.
The German stamped knives are for beginners. If you’re on a budget or new to cooking, it’s wise to start with more affordable knives. Although the blades are thinner, the edges are sharp and the steel is durable. These knives can handle most tasks but won’t slice through a butternut squash as easily as the forged collections.
The Japanese forged knives are designed for professional chefs and serious home cooks. Not only are these collections more expensive, but they require more maintenance and skill. Due to the ultra-sharp edges and hard steel, these knives are ideal for delicate ingredients like vegetables and fish.
If you’re still on the fence, I recommend the Pro collection. The sloped bolster makes the pitch grip comfortable and easy, and the curved belly enables a smooth rocking motion. These knives are sleek and modern while maintaining traditional design elements, such as the triple-riveted full-tang handle.
All Zwilling collections are available on Amazon and Zwilling.com (links below), where you can view the current prices and read hundreds of reviews.
- Zwilling Pro (Amazon, Zwilling.com)
- Zwilling Professional S (Amazon, Zwilling.com)
- Zwilling Four Star (Amazon, Zwilling.com)
- Zwilling TWIN Four Star II (Amazon, Zwilling.com)
- Zwilling Twin Signature (Amazon, Zwilling.com)
- Zwilling Gourmet (Amazon, Zwilling.com)
- Zwilling Kramer Meiji (Amazon, Zwilling.com)
- Zwilling Kramer Carbon (Amazon, Zwilling.com)
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