Wusthof Grand Prix II vs. Wusthof Classic: What’s the Difference?

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Are you shopping for new kitchen knives but can’t decide between Wüsthof’s Grand Prix II and Classic lines?

Classic has been Wüsthof’s best-selling knife lines for decades, while Grand Prix II is a newer, more modern alternative.

The most significant differences between Wusthof Grand Prix II and Classic knives are the handles’ shape, texture, and details.

  • Wusthof Classic handles are flat on the sides with a distinct curve at the butt end, while Grand Prix II handles are more rounded on the sides with a gradual curve toward the end.
  • Wusthof Classic handles are made of polyoxymethylene, which has a smooth texture, and Grand Prix II handles are made of polypropylene, which has a pebbled texture for added grip.
  • Wusthof Classic handles feature a fully-exposed tang and three steel rivets. Wusthof Grand Prix II handles are wrapped in the black polypropylene material with only the small steel Wusthof logo exposed on both sides near the butt end.

Now you know the basic differences, but there are several other details to consider before deciding which one to buy.

In this in-depth comparison of Wusthof Grand Prix II vs. Classic, I’ll dive deeper into those details.

Keep reading to learn how these popular Wusthof knife lines measure up in terms of performance, design, durability, price, options, and much more.

Let’s get started!

Use the links below to navigate the comparison:

Side-by-Side Comparison Chart

The chart below shows the key specifications for the Wusthof Grand Prix II and Classic for a quick side-by-side comparison.

 (Swipe left and right to view the full chart)

 Wusthof Grand Prix IIWusthof Classic
Handle DesignContemporary, smooth curves, blackTriple-riveted, distinct curves, matte black.
BolsterFull bolsterFull bolster
TangFull tang, not exposedFull tang, exposed
RivetsCoveredExposed
Handle MaterialPolypropylenePolyoxymethylene
Handle TexturePebbled textureHard, smooth
Number of Sets934
Blade MaterialHigh carbon, rust-resistant steelHigh carbon, rust-resistant steel
Edge Angle14-degree angle per side14-degree angle per side
Rockwell Hardness5858
How They Are MadePrecision forgedPrecision forged
Caring and CleaningHand washHand wash
WarrantyLimited Lifetime WarrantyLimited Lifetime Warranty
Price (8-in Chef's Knife)View on AmazonView on Amazon

Wusthof Grand Prix II vs. Classic: Differences

The most significant differences between the Wusthof Grand Prix II and the Classic knives are the shape, material, texture, and design of the handles. Let’s explore these differences in more detail.

Handle Shape

Grand Prix II handles are more ergonomic, designed to fit nicely in your hands. Grand Prix II handles have more gradual curves compared to Classic. The shape resembles one of Wüsthof’s other lines, the Classic Ikon.

Wusthof Grand Prix II versus Wusthof Classic_handle shape
Wusthof Classic (top), Wusthof Grand Prix II (bottom)

Classic handles feature flat sides and a straight top side with a downward curve at the heel to prevent slipping—an extra safety feature.

The handle shape of the Classic line will seem more familiar to most home cooks than the Grand Prix II since many other brands have adopted similar designs.

Ultimately, the best one for you depends on your personal preference and how it feels in your hand.

Handle Material

Wusthof Grand Prix II handles are made from a black synthetic material called polypropylene that’s durable, comfortable to hold, and dishwasher safe. However, Wusthof strongly discourages putting their knives in the dishwasher.

Classic handles are made from a dense synthetic material called polyoxymethylene (POM). POM is highly durable, and, with its tight molecular structure, it’s heat, water, impact, fade, and discoloration resistant.

It’s also non-porous, so germs and bacteria penetrating it isn’t a concern. POM is stronger than polypropylene (the material used to make Wusthof Grand Prix II handles), so you’ll never need to worry about a Wusthof Classic handle breaking.

Handle Texture

Wusthof Grand Prix II handles have a pebble-grip texture providing slip resistance and more control and comfort while chopping, slicing, dicing, or mincing. One drawback— this texture has a rubbery and synthetic feel.

Wusthof Grand Prix II versus Wusthof Classic_handle texture
Wusthof Classic (top), Wusthof Grand Prix II (bottom)

By contrast, Wusthof Classic handles are hard and smooth. They’re made from a synthetic material, but have a similar feel to natural wood. Classic handles don’t offer the same grip as the Grand Prix II line, but they’re reliable and comfortable.

Handle Design

The most notable difference between Wusthof Grand Prix II and Classic knives is the handle design.

Wusthof Grand Prix II versus Wusthof Classic_handle design
Wusthof Classic (top), Wusthof Grand Prix II (bottom)

Knives in both lines are constructed with rivets and a full tang. Rivets are the steel bolts that fasten the handle to the blade, and the tang is the portion of the blade that runs through the handle. However, handle designs are very different.

The Classic handle exposes the tang and rivets while the Grand Prix II’s black polypropylene handle hides these elements.

Wusthof Classic Exposed Tang and Rivets
Wusthof Classic Exposed Tang and Rivets

The Wusthof Grand Prix II handle sports a more contemporary appearance with a sleek solid black color apart from the embedded Wusthof logo.

The Wusthof logo on the Classic handles is a bright red sticker. If you like this detail, note that the sticker wears down over time, and at some point, you will probably just want to peel it off.

The Classic handle is slightly heavier than the Grand Prix II to provide extra control and durability. The exposed tang and triple rivets give the knife extra shine, so the appearance is more classic.

Options

In terms of options, the Grand Prix II line is no match for the Classic line.

With the Grand Prix II line, you can choose from 15 individual knives and nine knife sets. The sets include knives that are not sold individually, such as a 6″ meat knife, a 3″ flat cut paring knife, and steak knives.

Classic is Wusthof’s most extensive knife line by far. With the Classic line, you can shop 70 individual knives and 34 knife sets ranging from two to 36 pieces. If you’re looking for a specific knife, whether it’s a traditional 8-inch cook’s knife or 5-inch soft cheese knife, you’ll find it.

If you’re looking for more choice and want to customize your own set completely, then I recommend shopping in the Classic line—your options are virtually unlimited.

The Classic collection is widely available in stores and on Amazon and SurLaTable.com.

The Grand Prix II collection isn’t sold in as many stores as the Classic, but you can shop every piece and set on Amazon.

Wusthof Grand Prix II vs. Classic: Similarities

Now that you understand the differences, let’s dive into how Wusthof Grand Prix II and Classic knives are similar.

Price

The price of Wusthof knives reflects this craftsmanship, quality, and tradition.

Buying a Wusthof knife is a pricey purchase but worth the investment if you’re looking for high-quality knives that will last.

The Grand Prix II and Classic lines are priced very similarly, but they can vary depending on what product you choose and where you buy it.

To get a better idea of how these two lines compare in terms of cost, check out the current prices at the links below:

Blade Material

All Wusthof knives, including the Grand Prix II and Classic lines, feature stain-resistant high-carbon steel blades.

The steel formula—X50CRMOV15—is etched onto every blade.

The elements that make up the steel include:

  • Stainless steel
  • 0.5% carbon to increase hardness and sharpness
  • Chromium to increase stain and rust resistance
  • Molybdenum for strength and corrosion resistance
  • Vanadium increases hardness and edge retention

Blade Profile

Wusthof Grand Prix II and the Wusthof Classic knives have the same blade profile.

Take the cook’s knife, for example:

Wusthof Grand Prix II versus Wusthof Classic_full bolster
Wusthof Classic (top), Wusthof Grand Prix II (bottom)

The spine curves slightly downward to meet the bottom edge of the knife in a sharp tip. The bottom edge has a steep curve that flattens towards the handle to offer consistent, easy slicing and chopping. This blade profile allows for a rocking motion, useful for slicing meat or chopping vegetables.

Both lines have a full bolster offering sturdiness and finger protection. This wedge of steel separates the handle from the blade so if your fingers won’t slip onto the sharp edge.

The bolster also adds weight to the center of the knife, adding balance and sturdiness.

Sharpness

Wusthof Grand Prix II and the Wusthof Classic knives are both sharpened at a 14-degree angle on each side (28 degrees in total), so you get the same cutting performance from both lines.

A 14-degree angle per side is somewhat revolutionary for a Western knife. Japanese knives typically fall within this range, but Western knives are traditionally sharpened to a 15 to 20-degree angle per side.

The smaller the angle, the sharper the edge. So, Wusthof Grand Prix II and Classic knives are much sharper than traditional German knives.

The downside to knives this sharp is that the thinner edge can be more prone to chipping. However, Wusthof uses high-quality materials and a unique sharpening process, so it’s unlikely your Wusthof knife will chip.

Wüsthof’s PrecisionEdge Technology (PEtec) uses laser-guided sharpeners to make the knives unbelievably sharp. With this new technology, Wusthof knives offer superior cutting performance, stay sharper for longer, and have a consistent edge angle throughout the blade.

Edge Retention

Since Wusthof Grand Prix II and the Wusthof Classic knives both have the same blade steel, they both score 58 on the Rockwell scale, and have equally excellent edge retention.

You won’t need to sharpen either of these knives often. Of course, the more you use your knives, the more often you’ll need to sharpen them. But, for average home cooks, you can expect the edge to last several months.

Forged vs. Stamped Knives

Wusthof Grand Prix II and Classic knives are forged, as opposed to stamped. Forged knives are more durable but more expensive.

Forging a knife means it’s heat-treated and hammered into shape from one sheet of steel. A stamped knife, however, is cut out from one large sheet of steel. The blade is tempered and hardened before being finished.

A forged knife is more durable and less likely to bend when cutting dense ingredients.

Both the Grand Prix II and Classic lines have full-tang construction meaning the blade runs from handle to the tip. This provides ultimate balance and sturdiness.

How They Are Made

All Wusthof knives go through a rigorous 40-step process involving over 300 skilled craftsmen before it’s ready to ship.

Below is a quick summary of Wusthof’s manufacturing process, but you can get more details and a virtual factory tour on Wusthof’s website

  • First, the steel is heated and then precision-forged into shape. Once the knives have cooled, they’re hard but still too brittle to be used.
  • In another oven, the blades are annealed—heated and cooled slowly for additional strength. Now the steel is hard but flexible.
  • Next, robots feed the grinding machines, so the blades are precisely tapered and pointed. The spine of the blade is finished and polished for beauty and shine. The blades are cleaned and inspected by workers to make sure they meet quality standards.
  • Only perfect blades get the approval for sale. If they pass the inspection, the handles are added. Afterward, skilled craftsmen examine each knife. The handle then gets its final touch so that it’s smooth and comfortable to hold.
  • The knives are angled using PEtec technology to create a sharp, clean edge. The knives are cleaned once again.
  • You guessed it—the knives are inspected one more time to make sure they are perfect in quality. Logos are added, and then the knives are packaged and shipped to warehouses.

Lifetime Warranty

All Wusthof knives, including the Grand Prix II and Classic line, have a limited lifetime warranty. All knives are guaranteed to be free of defects in material or craftsmanship. But, this warranty doesn’t cover damage from normal wear or misuse. You can read further details of Wüsthof’s warranty here.

Bottom Line: Should You Buy Wusthof Grand Prix II or Classic?

Now that you know all the key facts about Wusthof Grand Prix II and Classic knives, it’s time to decide which one is right for you. 

Grand Prix II knives have contoured handles to fit more comfortably in your hand, but they have a rubbery, synthetic feel. Classic handles are more durable, hard, and smooth, but their straight top doesn’t fit as ergonomically into your palm.

Besides the small steel Wusthof logo toward the butt end, Grand Prix II handles are wrapped entirely in black polypropylene. Classic handles have a more traditional look with exposed rivets and tang.

If you’re looking for a nudge in one direction, I recommend the Classic line because of its timeless design. The three-rivet design and exposed full tang is traditional and appealing. Combine this with its extensive range of options, and it becomes clear there’s a reason it has been Wüsthof’s best-seller for decades.

You can check the current prices and read dozens of other reviews of both lines on Amazon and SurLaTable.com using the links below.

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