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Cutco vs. Henckels: Which Kitchen Knives Are Better?

Are you shopping for new knives and wondering what the difference is between Cutco and Henckels?

Both brands have a solid reputation in the marketplace, but which one is better for your kitchen?

In this comparison of Cutco vs. Henckels kitchen knives, you’ll get an up-close look at how these brands compare in terms of materials, construction, design, performance, warranty, price, and much more.

By the end, you’ll have the details necessary to decide which knives are best for your kitchen.


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


Cutco vs. Henckels: Comparison Chart

Short on time but need the details quickly? This chart gives you a quick comparison of Cutco vs. Henckels knives. I’ll cover each category in more detail throughout the article.

CutcoHenckels
Founded19491731
Where It’s MadeOlean, New YorkChina, Thailand, Spain, and India
Blade Material440A steelGerman stainless steel (X50CrMoV15)
Handle MaterialThermo-resinPolyoxymethylene
DesignAmerican, modern, unique Wedge-Lock handlesGerman-style, varies by collection
Weight (8-inch Chef’s knife)7.2 ounces7.8 ounces
Edge Angle30 degrees30 degrees
Blade Hardness Rockwell 56 to 60Rockwell 57
Knife Collections118
WarrantyForever GuaranteeLimited Lifetime
Price$$$$ (view on Amazon)$ to $$$ (view on Amazon)

Introducing Cutco

Cutco is an American-made brand founded in 1949 and is currently the largest manufacturer of kitchen cutlery in the U.S. and Canada.

Cutco Chefs Knife

Besides knives, they also make tableware, cookware, and kitchen accessories. All Cutco products are made in Olean, a small city in upstate New York.

Cutco started as a product under Alcoa, a company with over a century of experience in aluminum innovation. But in the 1980s, Cutco was acquired and became its own entity.

Cutco comes from Cooking Utensil Company, which was the name of the company when Alcoa owned it.

Despite its long history and distinction as the top cutlery producer in the U.S., you won’t find Cutco knives in your local retail stores. Instead, you can buy them on Cutco.com, at Cutco outlet stores, or by scheduling an in-home demonstration.

You can also buy Cutco knives from third-party sellers on Amazon, although the inventory is hit or miss.

Cutco knives are best-known for their unique Wedgelock handles and Double-D (serrated) edges, which I’ll dive deeper on later in this comparison.

Introducing Henckels

Henckels boasts an even longer history than Cutco.

The brand is owned by its parent company, Zwilling J.A. Henckels, a German kitchenware manufacturer that’s been in business since 1731.

Henckels, which launched in 1895, is sometimes referred to as J.A. Henckels or Henckels International.

Henckels Kitchen Knives Review

Zwilling J.A. Henckels is well known for its use of high-quality materials, expert craftsmanship, and traditional German-style designs, featuring thick blades and impeccable balance. Its flagship brand, Zwilling, produces some of the top-rated knives in the world.

People often confuse Henckels and Zwilling, and it’s easy to see why.

They both share part of their parent company’s name, but the design and construction set them apart.

Zwilling blades are mostly forged, made in Germany, and are much more expensive. Henckels blades are mostly stamped blades, made in China, India, Spain, and Thailand, and much less expensive.

Henckels knives are still good quality, but understand that they are positioned as Zwilling J.A. Henckels’ discount brand.

If you want to know how Zwilling knives compare to Cutco, check out this in-depth comparison.

Besides knives, Henckels offers cookware, flatware, and kitchen accessories.

You can find Henckels in retail stores like Williams Sonoma and Bed Bath & Beyond or online at Zwilling.com and Amazon.

Blade Materials

When it comes to choosing the right kitchen knife, the blade is the most important element. You’ll want a steel blade that is durable, resistant to stains, rust, and corrosion and retains its edge well.

Let’s take a look at Cutco vs. Henckels in terms of steel composition.

Details are scarce on Cutco.com, so I reached out to a product specialist to get more information.

They confirmed that all Cutco blades are made of 440A steel, a low-cost steel that contains .65% to .75% carbon.

440A steel is durable and resistant to corrosion, but it won’t hold an edge as long as higher-quality, more expensive alloys.

If you look through product listings on Henckels’ website, descriptions range from an exact steel formula (X50CrMoV15) to a more general label of “high-quality stainless steel.”

A quick call to the company cleared everything up. Henckels only uses X50CrMoV15, a high-quality German stainless steel. The inconsistency on the site is the result of their promotion techniques for each line.

X50CrMoV15 is a popular German stainless steel. It is used by the likes of Zwilling, Henckels, and Wusthof.

The stainless steel (X) alloy formula boasts a carbon content of 0.5% (50) along with chromium (C.R.) and molybdenum (Mo) for stain resistance and vanadium (V) for hardness and edge retention. The 15 refers to the percentage of chromium in the alloy.

In short, X50CrMoV15 steel is ideal for kitchen knives because it’s durable, stain- and corrosion-resistant, and holds a sharp edge well.

Handle Materials

Cutco handles are primarily made from an engineered thermo-resin that is hygienic, chip-resistant, and dishwasher-safe. It’s a super-hard blend plastic that can take a beating and still look good.

Henckels primarily uses a durable, moisture-resistant plastic called polyoxymethylene, also known as POM. It’s an ultra-durable engineered thermoplastic that holds up well.

Henckels also has two collections with stainless steel handles, Modernist and Graphite, and other hybrid collections with stainless steel and POM. Cutco offers one knife with a stainless steel handle.

Both brands feature full-tang knife handles that are double or triple-riveted, which provides excellent stability.

Construction

Cutco only offers stamped blades. Most Henckels collections feature stamped blades, but the company also offers a handful of collections with forged blades.

Forged blades are more durable, hefty, and balanced, while stamped blades are lighter, less durable, but typically much less expensive.

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

Stamped blades cost less due to the manufacturing process. They are usually laser cut en masse from a large sheet of steel. That allows a knife manufacturer to make more blades at once.

Cutco blades are cut from high carbon steel sheets either by laser or blanking (punching through the sheet). The blades are then heated, frozen, and finally tempered before being buffed, cleaned, and ground. After the handles are attached, the craftspeople sharpen the edge.  Check out the process in action in this quick video.

Producing forged blades requires more steps and is a more expensive process. They start as a single piece of steel that has to be super-heated, pressed, tempered, and ground before it begins to look like a knife.

For perspective, consider Wusthof, maker of forged and stamped knives. It takes 40 steps to make a forged Wusthof knife and only 14 to make a stamped knife. Henckels knives go through a similar process.

The chart below outlines the blade construction in each Henckels knife collection.

Brand / CollectionBlade ConstructionView Details
Henckels ClassicForgedAmazon
Henckels SolutionStampedAmazon
Henckels ModernistForgedAmazon
Henckels DynamicStampedAmazon
Henckels Everedge SolutionStampedAmazon
Henckels Everedge DynamicStampedAmazon
Henckels DefinitionStampedAmazon
Henckels Forged AccentForgedAmazon
Henckels GraphiteForgedAmazon
Henckels SilvercapStampedAmazon
Henckels StatementStampedAmazon
Henckels Forged PremioForgedAmazon
Henckels Everedge PlusStampedZwilling.com
Henckels Fine Edge ProStampedAmazon
Henckels Eversharp ProStampedAmazon
Henckels Fine Edge SynergyStampedAmazon
Henckels Forged SynergyForgedAmazon

Design

One of the most significant differences between Cutco and Henckels kitchen knives is the design.

Cutco knives feature a thick, curved handle with three exposed rivets.

Cutco versus Henckels handles
Cutco handle (top), Henckels handles (bottom)

Alternatively, Henckels handles have a flat, traditional Western design and either two or three rivets, depending on the collection (some collections conceal the rivets under the handle material). 

Cutco blades are all stamped and have no bolster.

Cutco stamped blade with no bolster

Henckels forged knives include a full bolster. A bolster adds weight and balance to a knife and also provides a finger guard to protect your hands while you cut.

J.A. Henckels International Forged Premio 19-piece Knife Set with Cherry Block

The upper half of Cutco blades are have a high-sheen polished finish, while the lower half shows off its hollow ground edge.

Cutco knives blade design

The hollow grind comes to a point in the form of two types of edges: Double-D and straight. Cutco promotes the Double-D edge as if it’s something extraordinary, but in reality, it’s just a serrated edge.

Most Henckels knives feature a matte finish and straight edge, but select pieces are micro-serrated.

Henckels Solution Chefs Knife

Cutco offers a small selection of colored handles (black, pearl, and red). Henckels offers black, stainless steel, or a mix of the two.

Cutco has one of the most unique handle designs I’ve seen; it’s called Universal Wedge-Lock. 

Cutco Wedge-Lock Handle
Cutco Wedge-Lock Handle

It curves out in the middle on both sides, which provides a spot for you to lock your thumb and pointer finger and get a tight, secure grip.

Cutco curved handle

It’s designed for lefties and righties with the same curves on both sides.

Side angle of the Cutco Wedge-Lock handle

Though the Wedge-Lock design is ergonomic, the peaks and valleys make it difficult to adjust your grip, and it can be uncomfortable if your hands aren’t average size.

Henckels offers various handle designs, including options with concealed rivets and some with a classic three-rivet look, such as the Solution collection (pictured below).

Henckels full tang and rivets

With Cutco, you have a variety of blade shapes, but essentially one handle design and three color choices.

Ultimately, Henckels gives you more options in terms of design with over a dozen collections.

Below is a quick look at Henckels top collections (click the pictures to learn more about each):

Henckels Classic:

Henckels Classic 7-pc Self-Sharpening Block Set

Henckels Solution:

J.A. Henckels Solution Kitchen Knife Set with Block, 15-pc, Chef Knife, Steak Knife Set, Bread Knife, Kitchen Knife Sharpener, Black/Stainless Steel

Henckels Modernist:

Henckels Modernist 14-pc Self-Sharpening Block Set

Henckels Silvercap:

HENCKELS Silvercap Knife Block Set, 14 Piece, Black

Henckels Forged Accent:

Henckels Forged Accent 15-pc Knife Block Set

Blade Hardness

Blade hardness is important for two reasons. It gives you an indication of how long a knife will retain its edge (sharpness) and how susceptible the blade is to chipping.

Blade hardness is measured on the Rockwell Scale. The higher the score, the harder the steel. Hard steel retains sharpness better than soft steel, but it’s more brittle and prone to chipping.

Cutco blades are hardened to 56 to 60 on the Rockwell Scale. Henckels knives are hardened to around 57.

You can expect similar results in terms of edge retention and durability with both brands.

Sharpness

In terms of sharpness, Cutco and Henckels knives are similar. Both are razor-sharp out of the box with an edge angle of 15 degrees on each side.

Just know that Cutco knives that feature the Double-D edge (serrated) require professional sharpening.

Cutco knives come with a free lifetime sharpening service. When your knives become dull, you can ship them to Cutco, and they will sharpen them for free (however, you have to pay for shipping both ways). You can send up to 40 knives at a time for sharpening.

Henckels does not offer a sharpening service.

Warranty and Guarantees

When it comes to warranties and guarantees, Cutco has a clear advantage over Henckels. 

Cutco offers what they call the Forever Guarantee, which includes:

  • Forever Performance: If you are not satisfied with your knife, Cutco will correct the issue or replace it.
  • Forever Replacement: If you damage your knife, even due to unconventional use, Cutco will replace it for half of the current retail price.
  • Forever Sharpness: Send your knives in for sharpening at any time; you pay for shipping.

And, if you aren’t satisfied with your Cutco purchase, you have a 15-day unconditional money-back guarantee.

Henckels offers a 60-day money-back guarantee, but only on new and never-used products in the original packaging. Henckels does not provide a sharpening service.

Henckels offers a limited lifetime warranty. If a product is defective and was purchased in the United States from an authorized Henckels seller, you’ll full refund or replacement.

While Henckels offers a generous return policy and warranty, Cutco offers more to ensure you’re happy with your purchase. Their customer service pledge states, “At Cutco, our pledge is to guarantee our customers’ 100% satisfaction.”

Price

Another key difference between Cutco and Henckels knives is price. Overall, Cutco knives are significantly more expensive than Henckels.

In fact, Cutco’s prices are comparable to premium forged brands like Zwilling and Wusthof, even though their blades are stamped.

Henckels offers a wide range of prices, but even its forged collections are less expensive than Cutco. If you compare Henckels stamped collections to Cutco, the price gap is even wider.

For example, the Henckels Statement 15-piece knife set is roughly the same cost as one Cutco Chef’s knife.

To give you a better idea of how Henckels and Cutco knives compare in terms of pricing, check out the chart below:

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Bottom Line: Should You Buy Cutco or Henckels Kitchen Knives?

Now that you know how Cutco knives compare to Henckels knives, it’s time to decide what brand is better for your kitchen.

Before I share my final thoughts, let’s recap the major differences:

History: Henckels has been around longer than Cutco and is owned by Zwilling J.A. Henckels, one of the most renowned knife makers in the world.

Offerings: Cutco offers only one collection, and all blades are stamped. Henckels offers stamped and forged knives and more than a dozen distinct collections.

Design: Except for one table knife, Cutco handles feature the same Universal Wedge-Lock design. Henckels offers multiple handle designs, and with its forged knives, you get a full bolster for balance and safety.

Materials: Cutco blades are made from low-cost 440A steel. Henckels knives are made of X50CrMoV15, a high-quality German steel alloy.

Sharpness: Both brands sharpen their edges to a 15-degree angle per side. You can sharpen Henckels knives at home, but you will have to send Cutco Double-D knives back to Cutco for sharpening.

Guarantees: Cutco’s Forever Guarantee allows you to repair or replace your knives if you’re not satisfied with the performance or they get damaged. Henckels knives come with a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Price: Henckels knives are significantly less expensive than Cutco knives.

Bottom line — Cutco makes reliable knives with unique, ergonomic handles. They do the job but don’t expect to be dazzled aesthetically. Henckels gives you more design options, a choice between forged and stamped blades, and is backed by a trusted company that has been making quality knives for over 200 years. Plus, you can get an entire set of Henckels for the price of one Cutco knife.

Although Cutco knives are reliable with an excellent money-back guarantee and free sharpening, they are too expensive for knives with stamped blades. If you’re going to spend that much on kitchen knives, I highly recommend considering Wusthof, Zwilling, or Made In before buying Cutco.

To learn more, read other reviews, and view current prices, check out Henckels knives on Amazon and Zwilling.com and Cutco knives on Amazon and Cutco.com.

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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