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Cangshan vs. Henckels Kitchen Knives: 10 Key Differences

Are you comparing Henckels and Canshan kitchen knives but not sure which to choose?

Both brands make quality knives and have solid reputations, but there are significant differences you need to know before deciding which to buy.

In this comparison of Henckels vs. Cangshan, I break down those differences in depth. You’ll learn how their knives measure up in terms of materials, design, performance, price, and more.

By the end, you’ll be able to decide which knives are right for your kitchen.


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


Cangshan vs. Henckels: Comparison Chart

If you only have a minute, here’s a quick side-by-side comparison of Cangshan vs. Henckels. I dive much deeper into their differences in the following sections. 

CangshanHenckels
Founded20151731
Number of CollectionsOver 20Over 15
Blade MaterialGerman, Japanese, or Swedish steelGerman stainless steel (X50CrMoV15)
Handle MaterialWood, plastic, or metalPolyoxymethylene or steel
DesignEastern/Western hybridGerman-style; varies by collection
Edge Angle16 degrees per side15 degrees per side
Blade Hardness56-62 Rockwell57 Rockwell
Where It’s MadeChina, Germany, and JapanChina, Thailand, Spain, and India
WarrantyLimited LifetimeLimited Lifetime
Price $$$ (View on Amazon)$$$ (view on Amazon)

Difference 1: Company History

Cangshan was founded in 2015 by innovator Henry Liu who named the company after his hometown in China.

Today, Lui runs the business from his new home in America. However, all Cangshan knives are manufactured in Yangjiang, China, a region with over 1,500 years of knife-making history.

Although it started small, Cangshan now employs over 800 people, and its knives have won prestigious awards, including several Red Dot Design Awards.

Cangshan’s early success is impressive, but if you want kitchen knives from a brand with centuries of history behind it, look no further than Henckels and its parent company, Zwilling J. A. Henckels.

Zwilling J. A. Henckels was founded in 1731 in Solingen, Germany, making it one of the oldest brands in operation.

The company started out only selling Zwilling-branded products but has since expanded, launching several brands, including Henckels, Staub, Miyabi, Demeyere, and Ballarini.

Henckels operates out of Germany but is an international manufacturer with operations all over the globe. In addition to knives and other cutlery, they produce flatware, pots and pans, cooking accessories, such as spatulas, and more.

Difference 2: Number of Collections

Both Henckels and Cangshan offer plenty of options.

Cangshan offers 21 unique knife collections, and Henckels offers 15. Each collection features unique materials, construction, and design.

Since it can be overwhelming to sort through all the options, I’ve put together this chart, which outlines the key features of each Henckels and Cangshan collection.

Swipe or scroll to view the entire chart.

Knife CollectionWhere It’s MadeBlade Construction

Handle Material
Price
Henckels ClassicSpainForgedPolyoxymethylene (durable plastic)$$$
Henckels SolutionIndiaStampedPolyoxymethylene (durable plastic)$$
Henckels ModernistChinaForgedStainless steel$$$
Henckels DynamicIndiaStampedPolyoxymethylene (durable plastic)$
Henckels Everedge SolutionIndiaStampedPolyoxymethylene (durable plastic)$
Henckels Everedge DynamicIndiaStampedPolyoxymethylene (durable plastic)$
Henckels DefinitionChinaStampedPolyoxymethylene (durable plastic)$$
Henckels Forged AccentChinaForgedPolyoxymethylene (durable plastic)$$$
Henckels GraphiteChinaForgedStainless steel$$$
Henckels SilvercapChinaStampedPolyoxymethylene (durable plastic)$
Henckels StatementChinaStampedPolyoxymethylene/stainless steel$$
Henckels Forged PremioChinaForgedPolyoxymethylene (durable plastic)$$$
Henckels Everedge PlusChinaStampedPolyoxymethylene/stainless steel$
Henckels Fine Edge ProThailandStampedPolyoxymethylene (durable plastic)$
Henckels Eversharp ProThailandStampedPolyoxymethylene (durable plastic)$$
Henckels Fine Edge SynergyChinaStampedPolyoxymethylene/stainless steel$
Henckels Forged SynergyChinaForgedPolyoxymethylene/stainless steel$$$
Cangshan Thomas KellerYangjiang, ChinaForgedSynthetic polymer$$$$
Cangshan KitaJapanForgedHo wood$$$$
Cangshan PrazisionSolingen, GermanyForgedDark walnut$$$
Cangshan TN1Yangjiang, ChinaForgedSteel$$$
Cangshan TCYangjiang, ChinaForgedSynthetic polymer$$$
Cangshan TSYangjiang, ChinaForgedSynthetic polymer$$$
Cangshan TV2Yangjiang, ChinaForgedSynthetic polymer$$$
Cangshan JYangjiang, ChinaForgedAfrican blackwood$$$
Cangshan S1Yangjiang, ChinaForgedSynthetic polymer$$
Cangshan TGYangjiang, ChinaStampedSynthetic polymer$$
Cangshan H1Yangjiang, ChinaForgedTeak wood$$$
Cangshan XYangjiang, ChinaForgedSteel & Synthetic polymer$$$
Cangshan SYangjiang, ChinaForgedSynthetic polymer$$
Cangshan S+Yangjiang, ChinaForgedSynthetic polymer$$$
Cangshan WYangjiang, ChinaStampedTeak wood$$$
Cangshan NYangjiang, ChinaForgedSynthetic polymer$$$
Cangshan N1Yangjiang, ChinaForgedCopper plated$$
Cangshan V2Yangjiang, ChinaForgedSynthetic polymer$$
Cangshan ZYangjiang, ChinaForgedSynthetic polymer$$$
Cangshan DYangjiang, ChinaForgedSynthetic polymer$$$
Cangshan Saveur SelectsYangjiang, ChinaForgedSynthetic polymer$$$

Difference 3: Construction

There are two types of blades: forged and stamped.

I dive deep into the differences between the two in this guide, but here’s what you need to know.

Forged blades start as a rod of steel that is heated and pounded into shape. By hammering the hot metal into the desired shape, artisans can create the desired blade thickness without sacrificing any strength.

Stamped blades, by contrast, are “cut” from a sheet of metal. The process looks similar to the way a baker might cut cookies from a sheet of dough. The cut blade is then attached to the other knife components through rivets or soldering.

Zwilling versus Henckels Knives
Forged blade (tops), stamped blade (bottom)

In most cases, forged blades are thicker, more durable, and retain their edges longer. But, since the forging process is more complex, knives with forged blades are more expensive.

Cangshan primarily offers forged blades throughout its collections, but a few — such as the TG and W series — are stamped. Regardless of the manufacturing method utilized, all Cangshan knives undergo a strict 6-step heat-treatment process that results in optimal hardness (more on this later in the comparison).

Henckels takes the opposite approach and mainly produces stamped blades, with a few forged collections.

Henckels stamped blade
Henckels stamped blade

Its forged collections include the Classic, Forged Contour, Forged Premio, and Graphite series.

Regardless of the blade-making method, Henckels owns all of its factories, utilizes the highest-quality steel, and is transparent about its crafting processes.

Difference 4: Blade Materials

Cangshan uses three steel varieties to manufacture its blades, including German X50CrMov15, Japanese VG10, or Swedish Sandvik® steel.

The Japanese VG10 steel is harder than the German X50CrMov15 steel, and Swedish steel is in the middle, designed to be durable, chip-resistant, and hard enough to earn a rating of 60 on the Rockwell scale.

Henckels only uses one high-grade steel for its knives — German stainless steel, known as X50CrMoV15 (the same steel Cangshan uses for several collections).

This steel consists of .5% carbon, 15% chromium, .8% molybdenum, .2% vanadium. Each ingredient plays an essential role in either hardness, edge retention, or stain resistance.

Difference 5: Handle Materials

A knife’s handle represents one of its most defining features, and both Cangshan and Henckels take care when selecting the materials they use in crafting their knives’ handles.

Cangshan uses various materials, including five types of wood — Acacia, Walnut, Teak, Ashwood, or African Blackwood — and patented designs that feature plastic or metal.

Henckels chooses to focus on two basic, reliable materials for its knives. Most of its collections feature handles made of durable, moisture-resistant black Polyoxymethylene (a type of plastic).

Henckels knife materials

Two of its collections, Graphite and Modernist, have stainless steel handles instead.

Difference 6: Design

Looking between Cangshan and Henckels knives, you’ll see quite an array of designs and styles.

Cangshan truly brings design to the forefront of its branding and reputation. The company offers 17 different patented or patent-pending knife designs, and, as previously mentioned, they utilize a wide variety of handle materials.

Across Cangshan’s collections, you’ll find both full-bolstered knives, like those in the TS and S1 collections, and half-bolster knives, such as those in the Thomas Keller collection (pictured below).

Cangshan Thomas Keller Signature Collection Swedish Powder Steel Forged, 8-Inch Chef Knife, Black

If you are a fan of unique, distinct-looking knives, Cangshan will not disappoint. 

Worth noting is the gorgeous indigo handle and sheath designs featured in the Kita series’ design.

Cangshan Kita Series 1026177 VG10 Damascus Indigo Handle Chef's Slicing Knife with Sheath, 9.5-Inch, Made In Japan

Also eye-catching are the dark walnut handles and stern German character of the Prazision collection.

Prazision Collection By Cangshan, German MA5 Steel 8-Inch Chef's Knife, Made in SOLINGEN, Germany

Lastly, the sleek, almost futuristic look and feel of the TN1 series earned Cangshan a Red Dot Design award.

Cangshan TN1 Series 1021974 Swedish Sandvik 14C28N Steel Forged 17-Piece Knife Block Set, Walnut

Henckels is not as focused on design variety, but that isn’t necessarily a negative. This brand, in particular, is known for its prioritization of quality and practicality — typical of its traditional, German roots.

Henckels Kitchen Knives Review

Most Henckels’ collections feature black POM handles with a full tang and three exposed rivets.

Henckels full tang and rivets

The stainless steel Graphite and Modernist (pictured below) collections present a more unified, modernist appeal, and all of their stamped and forged knives feature a full bolster.

HENCKELS J.A International Modernist 13-pc Knife Block Set, Black

One of the best ways to get a feel for the significant design variations between Cangshan and Henckels knives is through a more in-depth comparison of their similarly-constructed collections.

In the forged category, the Henckels Classic (pictured below) collection is almost perfectly mirrored by the TV2 series offered by Cangshan.

J.A Henckels International Classic Kitchen Knife Set for Beginner, 3-pc, Chef Knife, Utility Knife, Paring Knife, Stainless Steel Knife Set, Black

The austere and practical style of these collections is displayed through large, visible steel rivets.

The only noticeable difference lies in the slightly more “rounded” handles and slanted bolster in TV2 knives (pictured below).

Cangshan TV2 Series 1022735 Swedish Sandvik 14C28N Steel Forged 8-Inch Chef Knife and Wood Sheath Set

When comparing stamped knives, you’ll note the thin blades of both Cangshan’s TG series and Henckels’ Solution collection.

Both feature black resin handles, but that is where the similarities end — the Henckels’ Solution collection is plain and practical, whereas Cangshan’s TV series features a unique, squared-off handle design and ornate details, such as a mosaic-printed center rivet.

Difference 7: Blade Hardness

The hardness of a knife’s blade determines not only its durability but also its edge retention.

A quality knife is neither too hard — which would make the edge brittle — nor too soft, resulting in a blade dull quickly.

The hardness of Cangshan blades varies by collection, but all fall between 56 and 62 on the Rockwell scale.

Blades in its German or Swedish steel categories (ex. N1 and TC series) score 58 on this scale, while those in their Japanese-inspired collections (ex. Kita series) are harder, between 60 and 62.

Henckels’ blades are uniform in hardness. Regardless of the collection, they score 57 on the Rockwell scale. That is an optimal middle ground typical of German-produced cutlery.

Difference 8: Sharpness

Henckels sharpens its blades to a 15-degree angle on both sides, while Cangshan sharpens its knives to a 16-degree angle.

That makes Henckels knives slightly sharper than Cangshan, but not by much.

Difference 9: Where It Is Made

All Cangshan’s knives are made in China, except for the Kita series (Japan) and Prazision series (Germany). The rest are produced in Yangjiang, China, at the facility first scouted by the brand’s founder.

Henckels manufactures its knives worldwide, in countries as varied as India, China, Thailand, and Spain.

Still, the majority of its collections are made in China. Here’s a quick breakdown of where each Henckels collection is made:

  • India: Dynamic, Everedge Solution, and Everedge Solution
  • China: Modernist, Definition, Graphite, Silvercap, Statement, Forged Premio, Everedge Plus, and Fine Edge Synergy
  • Thailand: Fine Edge Pro and Eversharp Pro
  • Spain: Henckels Classic

Difference 10: Price

Neither Cangshan nor Henckels are particularly expensive, especially when compared to brands like Wusthof, Zwilling, or Shun.

That said, Cangshan tends to be the more expensive, primarily due to its focus on forged rather than stamped blades.

The actual price ranges will vary depending on collection and retailer, so shop around before making your purchase.

Both Cangshun and Henckels provide customers with a limited lifetime warranty on all their knives, and these warranties cover all out-of-the-box defects or damage.

However, your purchase will not be covered if you damage your knife through improper use or poor care.

To get a better idea of how Henckels and Cangshan prices compare, check out the chart below.

Click the prices to view more details on Amazon.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Bottom Line: Should You Buy Cangshan or Henckels Knives?

Now that you know how Henckels and Cangshan knives compare, you should feel more confident about making a buying decision.

As you’ve learned, there are several key differences between the knives offered by each manufacturer. These include:

  • The number and variety of collections offered, with Cangshan offering 21 different and highly varied collections and Henckels offering 15 with similar design styles.
  • Cangshan focuses on forged blades (outside of the TG and W collections), and Henckels mainly produces stamped ones (aside from the Classic, Forged Contour, Forged Premio, and Graphite series).
  • Cangshan utilizes three types of steel (German X50CrMov15, Japanese VG10, or Swedish Sandvik®), and Henckels solely uses a high-grade, the German formula X50CrMoV15.
  • Cangshan varies its handle materials and designs widely by utilizing several kinds of wood and plastic or metal. Henckels knives feature either black plastic or sleek stainless steel handles.
  • Henckels features a traditional look and feel across all of its collections, while Cangshan boasts numerous patented or patent-pending designs.
  • Henckels scores a 57 on the Rockwell scale. Cangshan’s collections vary within a range of 56-62.
  • Henckels produces knives in multiple countries, and Cangshan manufactures its products in China (except for the Kita series (Japan) and Prazision series (Germany)).
  • Cangshan is slightly more expensive overall due to its focus on forged blades.

Ultimately, Cangshan stands out for its unique, award-winning designs. And Henckels is a well-established brand that’s earned every bit of its reputation for reliability and performance. 

If you’re on the fence, I recommend Henckels. While its designs are not as eye-catching, you get consistent performance, durability, and comfort at an affordable price. If you’re on a budget, it’s hard to beat the value of Henckels knives. 

That said, Cangshan boasts hundreds of positive reviews and boasts a loyal fanbase. The company’s knives look, feel, and perform much like Dalstrong, another relatively new cutlery brand offering a mix of bold German- and Japanese-style designs.

If you’re ready to buy or want to learn more about these two brands, you can read reviews and check the current prices on Amazon at the links below.

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He’s been studying consumer buying behavior for over a decade and has managed marketing campaigns for over a dozen Fortune 500 brands. When he’s not testing the latest home products, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn or via email.

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