Cutco vs. Wusthof: How Do Their Kitchen Knives Compare?

Cutco vs. Wusthof

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Are you in the market for a new set of kitchen knives? Do you want to support an American company, but you aren’t sure how Cutco knives compare with German powerhouse Wusthof?

In this article, I provide an in-depth comparison of Cutco vs. Wusthof kitchen knives and break down their similarities, differences, pros, cons, and more. By the end, you’ll have all the key information to decide which brand is right for you.

If you’re looking to quickly compare the price of Cutco and Wusthof knives, both are available on Amazon at these links: Cutco knives, Wusthof knives.

Let’s get right into it.

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Cutco vs. Wusthof: 30-Second Summary

If you only have a minute, here’s what you need to know about Cutco and Wusthof kitchen knives.

Longevity: Cutco has been in business for almost 70 years and makes all of their knives in the United States. Wusthof has been in business for 200 years and makes all of their knives in Solingen, Germany.

Price: Cutco and Wusthof knives cost about the same, but the exact amounts depend on which type of knife or set you buy. With Cutco, you can schedule an in-home demonstration while Wusthof knives are widely available in retail stores, but I’ve found the best deals for them on Amazon.

Manufacturing Process: Cutco knives are considered “stamped knives” because their blades are laser cut out of a sheet of steel. Wusthof has two stamped knife collections, but the majority of their knives are considered “forged knives” because they’re manufactured through a 40-step process in which they are heat-treated and molded from a single piece of steel. The process of forging increased hardness, durability, and overall quality.

Knife Handles: Cutco knife handles are comfortable, but they only offer one style. Wusthof offers seven different handle designs in both synthetic materials and natural wood.

Knife Blades: Cutco offers three different blade styles. Wusthof offers seven different blades, although several of those are very similar to each other.

Warranty: Cutco will repair or replace their knives for any reason forever (even if they were passed down or gifted) as long as you use them as instructed. Wusthof’s warranty protects the original owner from defects in material or craftsmanship.

Overview of Cutco

In this section, I cover everything you need to know about Cutco, including its history, blade styles, warranty, care/cleaning, and more.

Cutco’s History

Cutco launched in 1949 in Olean, New York. Even though many would assume that the name of the company came from the use of the product, Cutco originated from cutting letters from the phrase Cooking UTensil COmpany. Cutco is the largest manufacturer of kitchen cutlery in the U.S. and Canada, and it employs over 600 employees at their factory and headquarters in New York.

Where to Purchase Cutco Knives

Cutco’s knives are primarily sold through sales reps employed by their wholly-owned subsidiary, Vector Marketing. Vector Marketing hires college students and people just starting their career to sell Cutco knives face-to-face, often to family and friends. 

There are rumors that Vector Marketing is a multi-level marketing company, which is synonymous with a pyramid scheme or scam, but those rumors are entirely false.

With multi-level marketing companies, sales reps are required to recruit and hire other sales reps. Their pay is based on their sales and any sales made by the reps on their team.

Vector is NOT a multi-level marketing company. In fact, they are a direct sales organization, and their sales reps are not responsible for hiring reps to work under them. 

If you’re interested in buying Cutco knives, you can schedule a demo on their website, or you can purchase their products at one of the few retail centers sprinkled throughout the central and eastern parts of the U.S.

If you don’t mind purchasing a knife sight unseen, you can either buy Cutco products directly from their website or on Amazon.

Cutco’s Forever Guarantee and Forever Sharpness Guarantee

Before we get to their knives, it is important to know that Cutco offers a Forever Guarantee.

It doesn’t matter if your Grandmother originally purchased your Cutco knives and then handed it down to you, or if you received the knives as a wedding gift. If you are not satisfied with the performance of your knife at any time, you can return it to the company, and a company representative will correct the problem or replace the product.

This guarantee only applies if you use the knives conventionally. If you break your knives cutting something you probably shouldn’t be, Cutco will replace them for half the cost, plus taxes. Damage due to unconventional use completely voids almost every other knife maker’s warranty, including Wusthof. 

Cutco also offers a Forever Sharpness Guarantee. Customers can send their knives and a small fee to the company, and they will return your sharp knives to you.

The fee is nominal and is required to cover shipping. To have up to 10 knives sharpened, it only costs $9. If you send more than ten but less than 26 knives to be sharpened, the fee is $11, and up to 40 knives are $13. Not too shabby for practically brand new sharp edges.

In addition to their Forever Guarantee and Forever Sharpness Guarantee, Cutco knives also come with a 15-Day Unconditional Money Back Guarantee, which allows you to return your knives for any reason and get a full refund within the first 15 days of receipt.

One cool thing about Cutco knives is that you can have the blades engraved or monogrammed. This option makes for an extraordinary gift for friends and family members that love to cool. Unfortunately, the 15-Day Unconditional Money-Back Guarantee does not apply to knives that are engraved.

Cutco’s Manufacturing Process

Cutco knives are made in America through a process called stamping, or laser cutting.

Stamped knives are manufactured by laser cutting the blade design from a large sheet of stainless steel. Once cut, they are heat-treated, buffed, ground, cleaned, and treated with a protective coating.

Their handles are molded from engineered thermo resin and are attached to the blade by nickel silver rivets. The complete knife is then sanded to smooth all surfaces. Finally, highly skilled craftsman sharpen the edge to a perfect 30-degree angle (15 degrees per side).

In the end, every knife is inspected and must pass 25 quality standards before it’s shipped off.

Here’s a look behind the scenes at Cutco’s process:

Although Cutco’s manufacturing process is efficient and results in high-quality products, stamped knives are generally less sturdy and durable compared to forged knives that are made from a single piece of steel. All of Cutco’s knives are stamped; however, Wusthof makes both forged and stamped knives.  

Care of Cutco Knives

Cutco Cutlery is dishwasher safe, but the company website recommends that you hand-wash your knives in hot water with a mild dishwashing liquid. Yes, you can throw your knives in the dishwasher, but you may damage them in the process. The dishwashing detergent and water mineral content can affect the shine of your cutlery, and the blade can become damaged when it goes through a dishwasher.

Cutco’s Three Blade Styles

Cutco offers three styles of knives blades, including Double-D Edge, Straight Edge, and Santoku. Here’s what you need to know about each.

Double-D Edge

Cutco Double D Edge Chefs Knife
Cutco Double D Edge Chef’s Knife (Image Source: Cutco.com)

Cutco’s featured style is the Double-D edge. Even though Double-D edges look serrated, this is not an accurate way to describe the design. Double-D edges are recessed. The teeth provide three sharp surfaces with which to cut, and the teeth protect the central part of the knife. One benefit of this design is that it allows the chef to cut at any angle. You may cut straight down, forward, or backward.

The Double-D edge can be sharpened but needs to be done so by the company. Cutco promises that you won’t need to sharpen the Double-D knife as often as its straight-edged counterpart. Cutco makes the blades with a 440A high-carbon, stainless steel.

The Double-D Cutco knives feature an ergonomic handle that fits any sized hands. It’s is appropriate for left-handed and right-handed chefs and features a fatigue-resistant design. The handles are available in a variety of colors, which can include dark brown, red or pearl white.

Users of the Double-D knives will enjoy the strength and balance that comes with having the blade extend the full length of the handle.

Straight-Edged Knives

Cutco Straight Edge Chef’s Knife (Image Source: Cutco.com)

Cutco also offers straight-edged knives that come sharpened at a 15-degree angle per side. Most kitchen knives are sharpened between 14 and 20 degrees per side, so 15 is normal.

One benefit of this style over the Double-D is that the user can sharpen the straight-edged knives at home. They can also be sent back to the company to be sharpened and polished. All you have to do is pay the minor shipping fee.

Cutco’s straight-edged knives offer an ergonomic handle that fits any sized hand. Regardless if you are a leftie or rightie, it is easy to lock your thumb and forefinger into place so you can safely and precisely cut your food.

The straight-edged blades extend the full length of your knife’s handle. This style, described as full tang, gives your knife balance and strength. The blades are made of 440A high-carbon stainless steel.

The Cutco handles are made of highly engineered thermo-resin, and are available in a variety of colors, depending on the style you choose. Customers can also add personalized engraving to their knives to cut down on family fights over who left their knife at Mom’s house on Christmas.

Santoku Knives

Cutco Santoku-Style Knife (Image Source: Cutco.com)

Cutco also offers Santoku-style knives. Santoku knives are not unique to Cutco. Instead, it is a style of knife that originated in Japan. Santoku knives are typically between five and eight inches long and have a sheepsfoot blade. Sheepsfoot blades have a straight cutting edge with an unsharpened curved back spine. The spine curves to meet the straight edge and producing a sharp, functional tip. Santoku knives are usually used to slice, dice, and mince.

Cutco uses the same materials in manufacturing the Santoku knives as the other Cutco products. Their Santoku knives are also backed by the Forever and Forever Sharp Guarantees. No receipt is ever required to reap the benefits of these promises.

What Cutco Customers Are Saying

Since Cutco knives were traditionally sold door-to-door, some chefs are quick to overlook this product; however, Cutco customers are usually pleased with their knives. The blades tend to hold their sharpness, and since the company offers such a good warranty and “free” sharpening for the life of the knife, there seems to be little risk in purchasing these knives.

Although the average consumer may not be knowledgeable about knife production, experts say that Cutco knives are inferior because they are stamped instead of forged. Stamped knives are cut from a sheet of steel instead of being manufactured from a single piece of steel. Stamped knives are less costly to produce and are not as durable, sharp, and substantial-feeling as a forged knife.

Experts also question the quality of the 440A stainless steel that Cutco uses to manufacture its blades. Other knife companies that are at the same price point as Cutco use 440C steel. In general, 440A steel is usually used in cheaper knives.

Now that you know a bit more about Cutco,  let’s take a look at one of their biggest competitors, Wusthof.

Overview of Wusthof

In this section, I cover everything you need to know about Wusthof, including its history, warranty, and a break down of each of its product lines.

Let’s dive in!

Wusthof’s History

The Wusthof family has owned and led this German company since 1814. Wusthof is located in Solingen, Germany, which is known as the “City of Blades.” Solingen received this nickname because there are several other knife companies located in the same town, including Wusthof’s main competitor, Zwilling J.A. Henckels.

Where to Purchase a Wusthof Knife

Even though it would be a fun trip, you do not need to travel to the “City of Blades” to buy genuine Wusthof knives. Unlike Cutco knives, customers can purchase Wusthof products anywhere that premium kitchen products are sold, including Crate and Barrel, Williams Sonoma, and, of course, they are also available on Amazon.

Wusthof’s Warranty

Wusthof products are guaranteed to be free of defects in material and craftsmanship upon the purchase of the knife. The company does not cover any damage or defect that occurs due to normal or abnormal wear or use.

Wusthof, like Cutco, will also sharpen your knives through their mail-in program. The company charges $4 per knife for this service, and they’ll have them back to you in about two weeks. 

Wusthof’s Manufacturing Process

Most of Wusthof knives are forged from a single piece of high carbon stainless steel that is heat-treated and molded into a thick and durable blade. This 40-step process, which Wusthof has refined over the last 200 years, involves careful coordination between over 300 skilled craftsmen and modern proprietary technology.

During the process of making a forged knife, molecules in the steel are rearranged, making the blade stronger and more durable. Forged knives tend to be thick, heavy, and hold on to their edges for a long time.

Here’s a quick look behind the scenes at Wusthof’s manufacturing process:

In addition to their forged knives, Wusthof has two collections of stamped knives. Unlike forged knives that are molded out of a single piece of steel, stamped knives are cut out of a sheet of steel similar to shaping dough with a cookie cutter. The process of making stamped knives is more efficient, which lowers the cost. However, they tend to be thinner, lighter, and less durable.

Care of Wusthof knives

Wusthof recommends that you hand wash your knife immediately after use. Putting your Wusthof knives in the dishwasher can damage the blades, other items in the dishwasher, or the dishwasher itself. The company also recommends that users carefully dry the knife immediately after it’s washed.

Wusthof’s Styles

Wusthof has an extensive product line. They offer five forged-blade styles and two laser-cut stamped styles.

All Wusthof blades are made out of high carbon stainless steel, and their blade edges are sharpened at a 14-degree angle per side. They infuse their steel blades with alloys and elements to increase durability and resist rust, stains, and corrosion.

Below is a quick rundown of all Wusthof product lines. The first five styles in the following list are forged-blade knives.

Epicure

Wusthof Epicure Chef's Knife
Wusthof Epicure Chef’s Knife (see on Amazon)

Wusthof’s Epicure handles are made with Richlite, a combination of recycled and sustainably-grown wood fibers. The handles feature a fully visible full tang and are slightly curved to provide the user with added comfort. The bolster (the thick part of the knife located between the blade and the handle) is full and protects the fingers. The blade is wider than the other Wusthof knives, which gives users easier, more agile handling.

Ikon

Wusthof Ikon Chef's Knife
Wusthof Ikon Chef’s Knife (see on Amazon)

The Wusthof Ikon’s curvy handle is made of African Blackwood called Grenadill. The Ikon’s bolster is smaller, which makes it easy to sharpen the knife all the way to the end of the blade.

Classic Ikon

Wusthof Classic Ikon Chef's Knife
Wusthof Classic Ikon Chef’s Knife (see on Amazon)

Wusthof’s Classic Ikon offers a triple-riveted full-tang handle. The curvy, synthetic handle offers premium hygiene and a good fit. The blade is forged from one piece of high-carbon stain-free steel.

Classic

Wusthof Classic Chef's Knife
Wusthof Classic Chef’s Knife (see on Amazon)

The Classic’s handle is also made of synthetic materials, but it feels like wood. The shape of the handle differs from the Classic Ikon, but they both are manufactured with the same materials.

Grand Prix II

Wusthof Grand Prix II Chef's Knife
Wusthof Grand Prix II Chef’s Knife (see on Amazon)

This knife has a different look compared with the others made by Wusthof. Its triple rivets are encased with a full tang, polypropylene handle. It looks and feels like a synthetic handle.

All of the forged knives are sharpened with PEtec technology. Even though the company has been around for 200 years, they are quick to embrace new techniques to leave their knives sharper than ever before. PEtec sharpening uses precision robots that sharpen the blades on a whetstone. Computers calculate the precise sharpening angle for each blade.

Wusthof also offers stamped knives, which are worth mentioning as Cutco’s knives are also manufactured in this same process.

Gourmet

Wusthof Gourmet Chefs Knife
Wusthof Gourmet Chef’s Knife (see on Amazon)

Wusthof’s Gourmet line offers a full tang handle for all blades longer than 12 cm. The synthetic handles hold the blade that is laser-cut out of one piece of high-carbon steel. It looks like a classic Wusthof, but it is stamped instead of forged.

Pro

Wusthof Pro Chefs Knife
Wusthof Pro Chef’s Knife (see on Amazon)

This stamped knife has a slip-resistant handle made from soft-poly synthetic material. Its light and thin design allow for premium comfort and control.

What Wusthof’s Customers Are Saying

Wusthof customers love their knives, as evident by their nearly perfect reviews on Amazon. The company has a long track record of customer satisfaction. Although their warranty is not as forgiving as Cutco’s, under typical use, there is hardly ever a need for a replacement.

Wusthof customers rarely complain, but those that do usually have unrealistic expectations based on the premium price they paid. The interesting thing about these complaints is that Wusthof’s prices are typical for high quality forged knives and are right in line with Zwilling, Shun, and even Cutco, whose knives are not forged.

Anyone complaining that Wusthof’s knives are too expensive should opt for one of their cheaper lines, like the Gourmet or Pro, or buy lower quality brands altogether.

Similarities Between Cutco and Wusthof

Cutco and Wusthof have been perfecting the craft of knife making for decades and share many similarities. The following are the most notable similarities:

Performance: Both companies produce high-performing knives that are durable and last a lifetime.  

History: Both companies have stood the test of time. Wusthof has 200 years under its belt, and Cutco has been making knives for almost 75 years.

Ergonomic Handles: Both Cutco and Wusthof offer ergonomically-designed handles made from a variety of materials.

Sharpening: Both companies offer a mail-order sharpening program at a minimal cost.

Caring and Cleaning: Both companies recommend that consumers hand wash and dry their products to keep them in tip-top shape.

Customizable: You can personalize Cutco and Wusthof knives by engraving or monogramming the blades.

Price: Even though there are many different levels of Wusthof knives, on average, Cutco and Wusthof are priced similarly. Check their current prices on Amazon (Cutco on Amazon, Wusthof on Amazon).

Differences Between Cutco and Wusthof

Now that you understand the similarities, let’s take a close look at what makes Cutco and Wusthof kitchen knives different.

Manufacturing Process: Wusthof offers five forged-knife lines and two stamped-knife lines. Cutco only offers stamped knives.

Durability: Due to their manufacturing process, Wusthof forged knives are more durable and hold their edge longer than Cutco’s stamped knives.

Sharpness: Wusthof knives are sharpened at a 28-degree angle (14 per side), which is slightly sharper than Cutco’s, which are sharpened at a 30-degree angle (15 per side).

Handle Design: Each of Wusthof’s seven knife lines have a slightly different handle designed for function, safety, comfort, and aesthetic. Custo’s handles all have the same ergonomic design but are available in a variety of colors.

Wusthof handles
Wusthof handles
Cutco knife handle
Cutco knife handle

Handle Material: All of Cutco’s handles are made out of an engineered material called Thermo Resin, while the material of Wusthof’s handles varies by style. Most are made out of a synthetic material that is very similar to thermo resin called Polyoxymethylene; however, their Ikon and Epicure lines are made out of natural wood that is exceptionally stable, hard, and beautiful.

Warranty: Although Wusthof guarantees their products will be defect-free, Cutco’s Forever Guarantee, Sharpness Guarantee, and 15-Day Unconditional Money Back Guarantee give you more protection against unexpected issues.

Where They Are Made: Cutco’s products are made in the USA, and Wusthof’s are made in Germany.

How They Are Sold: Cutco offers in-home demonstrations while Wusthof allows you to test their products in retail stores such as Crate and Barrel and Williams Sonoma.

Our Recommendation

Even though Cutco backs their knives with a fantastic warranty, who wants to mess with contacting a company to replace your knives? Wouldn’t you rather purchase a high-quality product that consistently ranks high on customer and expert reviews?

If you’re willing to invest in high-quality kitchen knives, I highly recommend going with one of Wusthof’s five forged knife lines, which are all available on Amazon.

They are sharp, durable, and come in several different handle designs that not only look great but are also comfortable and safe. Even if you’re picky about the design and how it feels in your hand, Wusthof has enough options to satisfy your needs.

Wusthof product lines
Wusthof forged knives. Top to bottom (links to see on Amazon): Epicure, Ikon, Classic Ikon, Classic, Grand Prix II.

The thing I like the most about Wusthof knives is the fact that they offer five different forged knives. When you pick up a forged knife in one hand and a stamped knife in the other, you can feel the difference.

The forged knife is heavier, more balanced, and feels (and is) more durable. Although Cutco knives are also quite durable, they can’t match the sturdy feeling you get with Wusthof.

To give Wusthof or Cutco knives a try for yourself, you can check them out on Amazon at the links below.

Wusthof knives on Amazon.

Cutco knives on Amazon.

To learn more about Wusthof knives, check out the articles below:

What are your experiences with Cutco and Wusthof knives? Do you agree or disagree with this review? What is your favorite brand of kitchen knives? Leave a comment or contact us directly.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Hi I just wanted to let you know that. Although Vector may seem like an mlm company. It’s just direct sales no one gets paid off another person. I’ve been working there over a year now 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment! Do you sell Cutco knives? If so, anything you’d like to share with our readers about their knives?

  2. Wusthoff calls Chef’s knives as Cooks on their website…what is the difference between their Chef ie Cook’s and the Utility ones….for example 4522 is Utility vs 4582 is Cook’s knife….Amazon has 4522 around $85 but a combo of 4582 and 4066 for like 99. If the 4522 and 4582 are comparable the combo appears to be a better deal.

    • Hi Kal – great questions.

      “Chef’s knives” and “Cook’s knives” are the same. Some manufacturers call them Chef’s and others call them Cook’s. Most often, you’ll see them called Chef’s knives.

      Utility knives are mid-sized knives, bigger than paring knives but smaller than Chef’s/Cook’s. Chef’s/Cook’s knives are the most versatile and work well with all sorts of cooking. Utility knives are better for smaller vegetables, herbs, bagels, and sandwiches.

      Hope this helps.

      -Andrew

  3. Great article, thanks for the reviews.

    Whether you like a student coming to your home to sell knives or not is a personal thing.

    It is, however, an often an opportunity to help a young person get an education. That is not something you can often do in a transaction.

    • I agree with you on this. I just brought a Gourmet set through my son refer for a college student and love it! I was thinking of getting another set as a gift in the future.

  4. I just thought I’d mention that there is a fourth part to the Cutco guarantee: If your knife is damaged through unconventional use it can still be replaced for half price. I appreciate your fairness to Cutco throughout your unbiased review, although it seemed as though some of your rhetoric favored Wustoff early on which may color people’s perception of both brands before they have a chance to examine them equally. It seems like the selling point for Cutco is this: Wustoff is better quality. But Cutco is only slightly less quality with a killer guarantee.

    • Hi Adam – thanks for sharing that additional benefit of the Cutco Guarantee. I’ll add that to the post so others know. You’re absolutely correct about the bottom line. Wusthof knives are forged which makes them higher-quality and more durable.

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