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Henckels vs. Cuisinart: Which Kitchen Knives Are Better?

Are you shopping for new kitchen knives but can’t decide between Henckels and Cuisinart?

Henckels has been making quality cutlery for over two centuries, while Cuisinart is best known for its small kitchen appliances — cutlery is just one product line in its extensive kitchenware portfolio.

But does that mean that Henckels knives are better? What are the key differences between their knives?

In this comparison of Henckels vs. Cuisinart, you’ll learn how their knives stack up in terms of materials, construction, performance, design, price, and more.

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


Use the links below to navigate this comparison:


Henckels vs. Cuisinart: Comparison Chart

If you’re in a hurry, this chart provides a quick overview of the differences between Henckels and Cuisinart knives.

HenckelsCuisinart
Founded17311971
Collections179
Blade MaterialGerman stainless steel (X50CrMoV15)3CR13 stainless steel
Handle MaterialPolyoxymethylene or steelPolymer plastic or steel
DesignTraditional German-styleModern or traditional
Edge Angle30 degrees44 degrees
Blade HardnessRockwell 57Rockwell 55
Where It’s MadeChina, Thailand, Spain, and IndiaChina
Price$ to $$$ (view on Amazon)$ (view on Amazon)

Difference 1: Company History

Henckels, sometimes referred to as J.A. Henckels or Henckels International, is owned by Zwilling J.A. Henckels.

The parent company was founded in Germany in 1731 and is one of the largest manufacturers of kitchen knives, scissors, cookware, and flatware.

Besides Henckels, Zwilling J.A. Henckels owns several other cookware and cutlery brands, including Zwilling (premium cutlery and cookware), Miyabi (high-end Japanese-style cutlery), Staub (enameled cast iron cookware), Ballarini (non-stick cookware), and Demeyere (stainless steel cookware).

While people sometimes confuse Zwilling and Henckels knives since they share part of the parent company’s name, they’re two separate brands. Zwilling is a higher-end premium knife brand, while Henckels is the more budget-friendly, entry-level option.

Although Henckels knives are manufactured in China, Thailand, Spain, and India, every knife is designed in Germany and carries the prestige of the centuries-old parent company.

Cuisinart was founded in 1973 by inventor Carl Sontheimer. Since, the company has grown to culinary prominence due to its flagship product, the food processor.

Since 1989, Cuisinart has been under the management of the Conair Corporation, and it has expanded its product offerings to include knives, cookware (check out my in-depth review of Cuisinart cookware), and all kinds of small kitchen appliances.

Cuisinart’s philosophy is to put function first. All of its products are designed with that mantra in mind.

Difference 2: Knife Collections

A major difference between Henckels and Cuisinart is their focus. Henckels is primarily a cutlery brand, while Cuisinart is best-known for its small appliances like food processors and coffee makers.

Henckels boasts 18 knife collections. Each has unique materials, construction, design, and quality.

Cuisinart offers just nine knife collections. Although Cuisinart knife collections have differences in design, the materials are mostly the same.

The table below provides a brief overview of the different knife collections offered by Henckels and Cuisinart.

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)$$
Henckels Fine Edge SynergyChinaStampedPolyoxymethylene/stainless steel$
Henckels Forged SynergyChinaForgedPolyoxymethylene/stainless steel$$$
Cuisinart ArtisanChinaStampedPolymer Plastic$
Cuisinart GraphixChinaStampedStainless Steel$
Cuisinart Marble StyleChinaForgedPolymer Plastic$$
Cuisinart NitrogenChinaForgedPolymer Plastic$
Cuisinart Non-Stick EdgeChinaStampedPolymer Plastic$
Cuisinart Triple RivetChinaForgedPolymer Plastic$
Cuisinart Advantage Colored KnivesChinaStampedPolymer Plastic$
Cuisinart ColorCoreChinaStampedStainless Steel$
Cuisinart ColorProChinaStampedPolymer Plastic$

Difference 3: Blade Materials

Henckels uses X50CrMoV15 stainless steel for all of its blades. X50CrMoV15 is high-end steel used by premium German knife manufacturers, including Zwilling and Wusthof.

Henckels knife materials

X50CrMoV15 contains .5% carbon, which increases hardness and edge retention, 15% chromium and .8% molybdenum, which helps with stain resistance, and .2% vanadium to further improves edge retention.

Cuisinart uses 3CR13 stainless steel for its blades. 3CR13 is lower-grade steel, containing .3% carbon and 13% chromium. In short, it won’t hold up as well as X50CrMoV15 over time.

Cuisinart kitchen knife blade

The primary reason Cuisinart uses this steel is that it’s cheap. Using cheaper steel allows them to sell affordable knives, even if the edge retention, stain resistance, and overall quality suffer as a result.

Difference 4: Handle Materials

Most of Cuisinart’s knife handles are made from durable plastic, except for the Graphix collection. The Cuisinart Graphix collection features hollow stainless steel handles with a bumpy texture (similar to Global knives), so they offer an excellent grip even when they are wet.

Cuisinart kitchen knife handles
Cuisinart plastic handles

Most Henckels handles are made of a durable, moisture-resistant plastic called polyoxymethylene (POM).

Henckels knife handle
Henckels knife handle

Two Henckels collections, Modernist and Graphite, have stainless steel handles.

Difference 5: Blade Construction

When looking at the construction of knives, the most important aspect to consider is whether the blade is forged or stamped.

Forging requires heating steel rods and then bending and forming them into the shape of the blade. During this process, the manufacturer also tempers the blade, which makes it harder. The process is complex, labor-intensive, and expensive.

Making a stamped blade is a much faster and cheaper process. A steel sheet is inserted into a machine, and the blade shape is punched out (i.e., stamped). The blade is then tempered and sharpened.

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

While a stamped blade is thinner and more flexible, a forged blade is much more resilient, harder, thicker, and holds an edge better than a stamped blade.

Henckels primarily offers stamped blades, but they offer a handful of collections with forged blades, too. The Classic, Forged Contour, Forged Premio, Forged Synergy, Forged Accent, and Graphite collections all have forged blades. The rest of their collections have stamped blades.

Cuisinart offers a surprising amount of forged blades, considering the price of its products. The Marble Style, Nitrogen, Triple Rivet collections feature forged blades, while blades in the Artisan, Graphix, Non-Stick Edge, and Advantage Colored collections are stamped.

Difference 6: Design

While Henckels offers more collections than Cuisinart, the company doesn’t feature as much variety in design; many of its collections look similar.

Henckels Kitchen Knives Review

Most Henckels knives have black handles with a fully exposed tang and three exposed rivets.

Henckels full tang and rivets

Two of its collections, the Modernist (pictured below) and Graphite collections, boast sleek and modern-looking stainless steel handles, which set them apart.

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

All of Henckels forged knives feature full bolsters, while their stamped blades are bolster-free.

Henckels stamped knife with no bolster
Henckels stamped knife with no bolster

If you’re not familiar, the bolster (pictured below) is the part of the knife where the blade and handle meet, and the steel thickens. It provides a smooth transition between the blade and handle and serves as a finger guard, protecting your hand from slipping onto the blade.

J.A. Henckels International Forged Premio 8-Inch Chef -,Black

Another benefit of a bolster is the weight and balance it provides. The additional steel in the center of the knife helps distribute the weight and makes for a comfortable, balanced grip.

Overall, Henckels knives have that traditional German feel — simple and functional but not flashy.

Cuisinart offers more variety in terms of design. Its knives come in several colors and blade styles.

Some of their knives, like the Advantage collection, have colorful ceramic-coated blades.

Cuisinart Advantage Kitchen Knives
Cuisinart Advantage Kitchen Knives

The Artisan collection features hammered blades, which is common among Japanese-style knives. The texture provides tiny air pockets, which prevent food from sticking to the blade.

Cuisinart C77PP-8SL Classic Artisan Collection Slicing Knife, 8", Black

And the Marble Style collection exhibits unique handles that look like natural stone.

Cuisinart C55-10PWM Advantage Ceramic-Coated Faux Knife Set, 10 PC, Marble

If you are looking for a traditional knife style, but at Cuisinart’s price point, check out the Triple Rivet or Nitrogen collections. These offer a German-style design, very similar to Henckels.

Cuisinart C77TR-15P Triple Rivet Collection 15-Piece Knife Block Set - Black

Difference 7: Blade Hardness

The hardness of a steel blade is measured on the Rockwell Scale, and the ideal rating is between 56 and 61.

If a knife is too soft, it won’t hold an edge. A blade that is too hard is prone to chipping and can break if it’s dropped since it lacks flex.

Henckels hardens its blades to be a 57 on the Rockwell Scale. That is the sweet spot for high-quality knives, providing a balance between durability and edge retention.

It’s difficult to determine the exact hardness of Cuisinart blades because different sources give different numbers, and when I spoke to a product specialist, they were not sure.

I found retailers advertising their blades at a rating of 56, but 3CR13 stainless steel is rated between 52 and 55.

Assuming Cuisinart’s manufacturers in China are hardening their blades as much as possible, 55 is still a low rating for a kitchen knife (one of the lowest I’ve seen, and I’ve reviewed dozens of brands). 

Steel this soft will dull quickly, so be prepared and have a quality sharpener on hand if you go with Cuisinart.

Difference 8: Sharpness

Henckels sharpens its edges to a 15-degree angle on both sides for an ultra-sharp 30-degree total edge angle.

Cuisinart doesn’t advertise their exact edge angle, but in demonstrations for their knife sharpeners, they advise you to sharpen their blades to a 22-degree angle per side or a total angle of 44 degrees. So, we can assume this is the angle Cuisinart knives are sharpened to at the factory.

If this assumption is true, Henckels knives are significantly sharper than Cuisinart knives. And due to the softness of Cuisinart’s steel, the edge will dull and require resharpening more often.

Difference 9: Where They Are Made

All of Cuisinart’s knives are made in China since their primary focus is to keep prices low.

Henckels knives are made in different locations depending on the collection.

The Classic and Forged collections are made in Spain, the Fine Edge Pro and Eversharp Pro are made in Thailand, and the Solution, Dynamic, Everedge Solution, and Everedge Dynamic collections are made in India.

The remaining Henckels collections are made in China.

Difference 10: Price

Henckels and Cuisinart knives are both inexpensive. However, Cuisinart knives are some of the cheapest I’ve ever seen, especially the collections with stamped blades.

For example, you could buy a complete 15-piece set of Cuisinart knives for less than the cost of one knife from a premium brand like Zwilling, Wusthof, or Shun.

So, if cost is your primary concern, Cuisinart provides plenty of options. Still, Henckels offers low-cost, high-value knives, too.

For a side-by-side comparison of Henckels and Cuisinart prices, refer to the chart below.

You can click the prices to view more details about each item on Amazon.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

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

Now you know how Henckels and Cuisinart knives compare. So, which brand should you choose?

Before I give you my recommendation, let’s quickly recap the key differences:

  • Henckels is owned by Zwilling J.A. Henckels, one of the most renowned knife makers in the world, founded in 1731. Cuisinart was founded in 1973 and is best-known for its small kitchen appliance.
  • Henckels offers 18 unique knife collections, while Cuisinart offers nine.
  • Henckels blades are made from premium German steel, while Cuisinart uses low-grade Chinese steel.
  • Both companies use durable synthetic material to make their handles.
  • Both offer a mix of forged and stamped blades.
  • Henckels knives feature a traditional German-style design, while Cuisinart offers more variety (colors, blade finish, handle designs).
  • Henckels blades are hardened to 57 on the Rockwell scale, while Cuisinart’s steel is softer, scoring 55.
  • Henckels knives are sharper with a 30-degree cutting angle, while Cuisinart’s are sharpened to 44 degrees.
  • Henckels knives are made in Spain, Thailand, India, and China. All Cuisinart knives are made in China.
  • Both brands are relatively affordable, but Cuisinart knives are exceptionally cheap.

Henckels offers more collections and uses high-grade steel blades. Cuisinart offers fewer options, and everything about their knives is designed to save you money.

Here’s the short of it: If the only thing you care about is price, then buy Cuisinart knives. However, if you care about durability, sharpness, edge retention, and overall quality, Henckels is superior.

Its blades are made with higher-quality steel, the edges are sharper and stay that way longer, and Henckels still manages to keep its prices reasonably low.

Plus, Henckels has an excellent reputation and a long, storied history.

Cuisinart is known for making small appliances. Most of its customers don’t even know they make knives, and they keep most of their manufacturing process a secret.

When buying kitchen knives, you should know what you are getting. With Henckels, you do: high-quality traditionally-designed knives at a fair price.

If you want to learn more about Henckels knives, check out my in-depth review or check the current prices on Amazon.

If you’re still considering Cuisinart knives, they’re available on Amazon.

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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