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Are Henckels Kitchen Knives Any Good? An In-Depth Review

Are you in the market for kitchen knives and considering Henckels?

In this in-depth review, I break down the pros and cons of Henckels kitchen knives.

You’ll learn:

  • The history behind the brand
  • What collections they offer
  • Where and how the knives are made
  • How the knives perform
  • How much they cost
  • The downsides to consider before buying
  • And much more

So, if you’re wondering if Henckels knives are any good and want an unbiased take, keep reading.


Use these links to navigate the article:


Introducing Henckels

Henckels, also known as Henckels International or J.A. Henckels, produces kitchen knives, cookware, flatware, and other kitchen tools. But since they are best-know for kitchen knives, that will be the focus of this review. 

Henckels is one of six brands under the umbrella of Zwilling J.A. Henckels. You may recognize the other brands, including Zwilling, Miyabi, Staub, Demeyere, and Ballarini.

Zwilling J.A. Henckels began in the 1700s in Solingen, Germany, firmly entrenching itself as one of the oldest global brands and one of the most renowned knife makers in the world.

Solingen has become known as the “City of Blades” because it’s home to several prominent knife and blade makers, including Wusthof, Boker, and DOVO, to name a few.

Because Henckels and Zwilling both share part of the parent company’s name, people often confuse the brands. But, they are two distinct entities with different positions in the market.

Zwilling versus Henckels Knives
Zwilling (top), Henckels (bottom)

You can learn more about the differences between Henckels and Zwilling knives in this in-depth comparison, but the short version is that Henckels is the company’s entry-level and more affordable brand, and Zwilling is the premium and more expensive brand.

Knife Collections

With more than a dozen knife collections, Henckels offers plenty of choices.

Each collection features unique materials, design, and construction.

Since it can be confusing to navigate all the options, below is a chart comparing key facts about each:

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)$$
Henckels Fine Edge SynergyChinaStampedPolyoxymethylene/stainless steel$
Henckels Forged SynergyChinaForgedPolyoxymethylene/stainless steel$$$

Materials and Construction

The majority of Henckels’ kitchen knives are stamped, but they also offer several forged collections, including, Classic, Modernist, Forged Contour, Forged Premio, Forged Synergy, Forged Accent, and Graphite.

Should you choose a stamped or forged knife?

To answer this question, let’s explore what both terms mean.

Stamped vs. Forged Knife Blade Construction

Stamped knives differ from forged knives for several reasons. The main distinction is how the knives are manufactured.

The stamping process is less labor-intensive than forging.

For example, stamped knives are cut out from large sheets of metal. As a result, multiple knife blades can be created at once. Forged knives begin from a single bar of steel that’s heated and pressed and pounded into shape.

The construction is noticeably different. Henckels stamped knives are thinner and more flexible, while their forged knives are thicker, heftier, and more rigid. As a result, they are suited to different cutting tasks.

Henckels stamped versus forged blade

You can grab a stamped knife and cut up vegetables for a stir fry or slice tender cuts of meat. The forged knife is your workhorse to debone a chicken and cut through firm ingredients like squash and watermelon.

To be clear: you can still have quality on both sides. But keep these differences in mind when shopping since Henckels offers both.

Blade and Handle Materials

The materials used when constructing blades matter. Here’s what you need to know about Henckels blade and handle materials.

Henckels knife materials

What kind of steel does Henckels use?

If you go to the Henckels’ website, you’ll see that some knife collections clearly define the steel, while others refer to “high-quality stainless steel.”

To clarify, I reached out to Henckels directly, and they confirmed that they use the same grade of steel across all collections. It’s a high-quality, German stainless steel known as X50CrMoV15.

This steel contains .5 percent carbon (50Cr), molybdenum (Mo), vanadium (V), and 15 percent chromium (15).

This type of steel is commonly used in German-made knives. It’s high-quality steel, suitable for home or professional use. It has high rust resistance, durability, and holds a sharp edge.

Most Henckels knife handles are made of super durable, moisture-resistant plastic, but there are a few exceptions. The Modernist and Graphite collections feature stainless steel handles. The Forged Synergy, Fine Edge Synergy, and Everedge Plus use a plastic/stainless steel hybrid handle.

Design

Overall, Henckels knives have a classic Western influence — black, double- or triple-riveted handles with an exposed tang and wide blades. All handles are ergonomically designed for maximum comfort.

Henckels Solution Chefs Knife

There are some nuances between the handle shapes and design elements throughout the collections.

Stamped kitchen knives

For example, the Modernist (pictured below) and Graphite collections have a style reminiscent of high-end Japanese knife brands like Global. Others have handles that are a mix of stainless steel and hygienic black plastic.

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

Stamped Knives

Henckels stamped knives don’t include a bolster, which is the part of the blade that becomes thicker right before the handle. Bolsters add weight and balance and serve as a finger guard.

Some, like the Solution collection, have subtle, graduated spacing between the blade and the handle.

Henckels stamped knife with no bolster

Overall, the knives are lean and sleek. Despite being stamped, these knives include a full-tang, meaning the steel extends from the blade’s tip to the butt of the handle.

Full tangs are uncommon with stamped knives. Most have a half tang (the steel extends partially through the handle) or are simply a blade affixed to a handle. The full-tang construction gives you a steady, sure grip as you work and ensures the blade and handle will never detach.

Forged Knives

By contrast, Henckels forged knives all have full bolsters. A bolster gives a knife a solid feel, adds weight for balance, and offers space to protect your fingers from the sharp edge.

J.A. Henckels International Classic Knife Block Set, 16 Piece, Black

Yet, there are some drawbacks to having a full bolster. They can make a knife uncomfortable and heavy and decrease the blade’s cutting edge (the heel of the edge too thick and can’t be sharpened).

Overall, the blades have good heft and a sturdy feel. They feature a strong, thick profile compared to the more elegantly-styled thin stamped blades.

Up Close: 8-Inch Henckels Solution Chef’s Knife

Now that you know the general design of Henckels knives, let’s take an up-close look at one of its most popular collections, Henckels Solution.

Henckels Solution Knives

Blade

The blade is precision-stamped and includes a full-tang. It’s lightweight and sharp with a fine edge perfect for precise cuts.

The blades are sharp along the entire length of the blade, with a satin-polished finish and the Henckels logo etched on one side.

The slight curve in the blade is designed to handle soft or firm foods with ease. You can be versatile with cutting styles, from rock chopping to dicing and push cutting.

Handle

Although this knife doesn’t have a bolster, the handle-blade connection is seamless.

Henckels full tang and rivets

The exposed stainless steel rivets are a nice detail, contrasting against the muted luster of the black handle.

The exposed tang also adds stability to the knife, and the slight dip at the heel of the handle offers you a good grip.

Performance

Henckels knives are sharp out of the box, sharpened to a 15-degree angle on both sides. While not as sharp as some Japanese knives, you won’t have any issues slicing through even the most delicate ingredients (including sushi).

The stamped knives don’t retain their edges as long as forged blades and will need to be sharpened more frequently. Keep that in mind when deciding which collection to buy.

In terms of performance in the kitchen:

Henckels stamped knives are lightweight. They are easier to maneuver than the forged blades. Yet, they don’t feel as solid and durable.

Compared to their forged offerings, Henckels stamped knives are unbalanced. The weight is mainly in the blade. If you try to balance one with two fingers, the blade will immediately tip downward. The forged knives have a more balanced feel, with the weight more evenly distributed.

Unbalanced Henckels knife
Unbalanced Henckels stamped knife

The stamped knives can get slippery, and the lack of a bolster on Henckels stamped knives creates a situation where your hand can slip forward onto the blade if you’re not careful.

Henckels blades have a Rockwell hardness of around 57, which is relatively soft, especially compared to Japanese knives, which can score over 60. A softer steel is more durable (less brittle and prone to chipping), but it doesn’t hold an edge as long.

Overall performance from Henckels stamped and forged knives is solid. They are sharp, feature comfortable handles, and boast quality durability.

However, when you compare them to other high-end knives, such as Zwilling or Wusthof, it’s clear that they aren’t in the premium realm.

Price

One of the greatest advantages of Henckels’ knives is the price.

Compared to other popular brands, such as Zwilling and Miyabi, Henckels knives are highly affordable.

Henckels has a lower price point because most of its blades are stamped and made in China, Thailand, India, and Spain, where manufacturing costs tend to be lower.

To see the current pricing for Henckels knives, please review the following chart:

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Downsides

In terms of downsides, Henckels stamped blades tend to get the most complaints.

The most significant drawbacks with Henckels stamped knives are:

  • The blades can bend and feel too thin and flimsy.
  • Handles can detach from the blades (rare, but possible).
  • They lose their sharp edge quickly (due to the softer steel Henckels uses; it is around 57 on the Rockwell scale).
  • They feel unbalanced. When holding a Henckels Solution knife with an open palm, it tips forward from the weight of the blade.

When it comes to Henckels forged blades, downsides include:

  • The collections with stainless steel handles can rust and discolor.
  • Using a pinch grip can be uncomfortable because the full bolster gets in the way.
  • Certain foods stick to the blade while cutting.
  • Similar to Henckels stamped knives, one of the biggest complaints is that the edge dulls quickly.

Bottom Line: Are Henckels Knives Any Good?

Now you know what Henckels has to offer — affordable and classically designed knives from a company that has been around for hundreds of years.

But are Henckels knives right for you?

Consider these scenarios before you decide.

  • You should buy Henckels knives if:
  • You like the idea of purchasing from a brand that has a long history and good reputation.
  • You want a variety of collections to choose from.
  • You want a choice of durable stamped or forged knives.
  • You like Western-styled, full-tang knives.
  • You are on a budget and want an affordable knife collection.

You should not buy Henckels knives if:

  • You want a premium knife that can last a lifetime.
  • You prefer sharpness over durability.
  • You prefer wood or recycled wood handles.
  • You want a balanced, stamped knife that feels sturdy.
  • You like knives with a fair amount of heft.

Bottom line — Henckels produces quality knives at an affordable price. These are not knives that will last for a lifetime like Zwilling or Wusthof, but they’re priced accordingly. Zwilling J.A. Henckels positions Henckels as its “value-driven” brand, and it lives up to that.

If you want premium, high-performing knives that will last for years, consider forged knives from Zwilling, Wusthof, or Miyabi. Henckels forged knives are decent, but they don’t come close to the quality of these other brands.

If you want good quality stamped knives that you don’t mind replacing later, Henckels is a solid option. Compared to other affordable brands such as Chicago Cutlery, Farberware, and Cuisinart, Henckels is a much better option.

You can read more reviews and check the current prices of all Henckels knives on Amazon or Zwilling.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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