Are you shopping for new kitchen knives, but can’t decide between Wusthof and Cangshan?
Wusthof is a well-established German knife maker that has been in business for over 200 years. It’s widely considered one of the best kitchen knife brands.
Cangshan is an industry newcomer, launching in 2015. Though the company is new, its knives have already won several Red Dot Awards for their elegant and functional design.
Should you pick the proven brand and buy Wusthof knives? Or is Cangshan, the award-winning newcomer, a better choice?
In this comparison of Wusthof vs. Cangshan, I explain how these kitchen knives compare in terms of design (with lots of pictures), materials, sharpness, price, and much more.
Use the links below to navigate:
- Wusthof vs. Cangshan: Comparison Chart
- Wusthof: Company Overview
- Cangshan: Company Overview
- Knife Collections
- Blade Hardness
- Bottom Line: Should You Buy Wusthof or Cangshan Knives?
Wusthof vs. Cangshan: Comparison Chart
|Where It’s Made||Solingen, Germany||Yangjiang, China|
|Blade Material||German Stainless Steel (X50 Cr MoV 15)||High alloy German, Japanese or Swedish steel|
|Handle Material||Synthetic or Wood||Wood, plastic, or metal|
|Design||Triple-riveted handle with a bolster and full tang||Eastern/Western hybrid|
|Weight of 8-inch chef’s knife (average)||8.5 ounces||8.1 ounces|
|Edge Angle Total (lower = sharper)||14-degree angle per side (all collections)||16-degree angle per side (all collections)|
|Blade Hardness (higher = harder)||58||56-62|
|Warranty||Limited Lifetime||Limited Lifetime|
|Price||$$$$ (Amazon)||$$$ (Amazon)|
Wusthof: Company Overview
Since 1814, Wusthof has been at the forefront of creating quality knives. Founded by Johann Abraham Wusthof, the company is still family-owned seven generations later.
As one of the most popular kitchen knife brands in the world, its knives are renowned for their quality, incredible durability, and traditional craftsmanship.
The craftspeople use a 40 step process to create flawless and functional knives.
The company boasts several collections, including the Classic Collection with 89 pieces, the Grand Prix II with 31, and 18 in the Ikon collection.
You can find Wusthof knives in most kitchen supply stores and online on Amazon.
Cangshan: Company Overview
Cangshan launched in December 2015 by knife innovator Henry Liu. The brand is named after a mountain located in southern China, and also the name of the city where Henry Liu was born and married his wife.
After leaving China for America, Liu began his hunt for expert bladesmiths to make his dream of creating innovative kitchen knives a reality.
But having no luck in the USA, Germany, Sweden, or Japan, he went back to his roots and discovered a knife manufacturer in Yangjiang, China, with over 1500 years of experience. Together, they collaborated to create Cangshan.
Currently, the company has 25 collections of knives made from German, Japanese, and Swedish steel. Their style is mostly a German/Japanese hybrid, some forged and others stamped, but it varies by collection. Cangshan collaborates with Michelin Star Chef Thomas Keller for an exclusive collection.
Even though the brand is relatively new, it’s already earned some impressive accolades. They developed a collection with Michelin Star Chef Thomas Keller that won the Red Dot Design Award in 2019 and their A Series collection won The Gourmet Retailer Editors Pick in 2016 and 2017.
Cangshan isn’t as widely distributed as Wusthof, but you can find almost all its knife collections on Amazon.
Wusthof has seven knife collections. The most popular include the Classic, Ikon, Classic Ikon, and Gourmet. Here’s a quick overview of their top-selling collections.
Wusthof Classic: Wusthofs signature collection boasts a traditional German design including triple-riveted handles and an exposed full tang. The knives offer fantastic balance for both home and professional cooks, so they’re easy to use. There are 70 blade shapes, so you’ll find the right knife for every task. View Wusthof Classic on Amazon or check out my in-depth review.
Wusthof Ikon: The Ikon line is similar to the Classic in that it uses the same steel. The main difference is in the handle design; it’s made from sustainable Grenadilla wood and has an ergonomic shape, providing a more comfortable experience. The downside—the Ikon is one of Wusthof’s most expensive collections. View Wusthof Ikon on Amazon or check out my in-depth comparison of Ikon vs. Classic.
Wusthof Classic Ikon: This collection is the same as the Ikon, but the handles are synthetic rather than wood. Learn more about this collection on Amazon or read my comparison of Wusthof Ikon vs. Classic.
Wusthof Gourmet: These knives have a similar design to the Classic collection, but the blades are manufactured using a precise laser-cutting process. They’re a great option if you want high-quality cutlery at a lower price.
Cangshan offers 25 collections. It’s nice that they provide lots of options, but navigating all these collections can be overwhelming. With Cangshan, you’ll need to invest some time researching, which is the best option.
To give you a general idea of Cangshan’s offerings, we’ll walk you through their most popular lines.
Cangshan Y2: The knives in this collection are durable yet precise. The ergonomic handle and sliced edge allow for a comfortable and smooth experience. The stain-resistant blades are made with high-alloy German steel that scores 58 on the Rockwell scale. View Cangshan Y2 on Amazon.
Cangshan S1: The S1 collection is a popular 2-piece carving set. Aesthetics and minimalism are the priority. The sleek, white design is beautiful in any kitchen. But they’re also practical due to their ergonomic handle and comfortable grip. Similar to Y2, this collection uses high-alloy German steel and scores 58 on the Rockwell scale. View Cangshan S1 on Amazon.
Cangshan N1: This striking collection uses an all-metal design for incredible durability and attractive sleekness. The hollow handle is both unique and comfortable. These well-balanced knives are designed for vigorous use and use high-alloy German steel. View Cangshan N1 on Amazon.
Cangshan Thomas Keller Signature Collection: Cangshan and renowned chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller teamed to create this collection. Each knife is forged from Swedish Damasteel Powdered Steel, which is finely grained, durable, and corrosion-resistant. These award-winning knives have a hard blade and sharp edge with remarkable retention. View Cangshan Thomas Keller on Amazon.
When it comes to design, Wusthof knives celebrate a traditional German appearance, especially highlighted in its Classic collection.
These knives include a full bolster, triple rivets, and an exposed full tang. The straight edge polyoxymethylene handle is durable, robust, and comfortable.
If you’re looking for an ergonomic handle, check out the Ikon or Classic Ikon collections. These handles have gradual curves to fit comfortably in your hand, ideal for lengthy meal prep.
For something that sticks out from the crowd, there’s the Classic Ikon Creme. It celebrates tradition with triple rivets and an exposed tang, but the handle is a conversation starter with its shiny cream color.
Wusthof Amici is another stunning collection. These knives feature elegant extra-wide blades, wood handles with two rivets, an exposed tang, and soft curves for optimal comfort.
Cangshan has 25 collections to provide you with plenty of options. Whether you prefer German or Japanese style, a specific color, or a blade that makes a statement in your kitchen, there’s something of everyone.
Cangshan has 17 patented and patent-pending handle designs because it believes aesthetics are just as important as the knife’s performance.
Like Wusthof, Cangshan offers triple-riveted knives with an exposed tang highlighted in the TS and Z collections (pictured below).
Cangshan’s Japanese inspired knives, including those from the Haku collection, use African blackwood for handle construction with blades finished in a Damascus pattern.
The N1 series uses a hollow steel handle to provide optimal balance, aesthetics, and comfort.
The X series boasts a sleek and futuristic appeal with its geometric dual-colored handle and a bolster free design to offer a more natural grip.
My favorite design, by far, is the Cangshan Thomas Keller collection. It’s easy to see why these knives won the 2019 Red Dot Design Design Award. They’re well-balanced and sturdy yet sleek. I’ll let the picture below do the talking.
All Wusthof blades are made from stain-resistant high-carbon steel. The official term is chromium molybdenum-vanadium steel. The specific steel formula — X50CRMOV15 — is etched onto every blade.
The elements that make up the steel include:
- Stainless steel
- 0.5% carbon to promote sharpness
- 15% chromium to promote stain resistance
- Molybdenum also for stain resistance
- Vanadium for blade hardness and edge retention
The handles vary by collection. Some have synthetic handles, while others are wooden.
For example, the Ikon and Crafter collections both have wooden handles.
The handles in the Classic Ikon and Classic collections are made of synthetic materials, including polyoxymethylene and polypropylene. These synthetic materials boast a tight molecular structure for extra durability, resistance to fading, and high heat and moisture tolerance.
Cangshan crafts their knives with premium materials, although they vary by collection. These include high alloy German steel, high carbon Japanese steel, high alloy Swedish Sandvik® 12C27, X-7 steel, or 14C28N steels. Let’s break these down:
German X50CrMov15 steel
This steel prioritizes hardness, edge retention, sharpness, and durability, scoring 58 on the Rockwell Hardness scale. This steel blend is the same as Wusthof’s, so you can expect similar quality.
This is harder than the German steel, scoring a 60 on the Rockwell Hardness scale. It can hold a sharp edge but is slightly more brittle. The knives using this steel are created with a unique Damascus pattern to give it a distinct look.
Swedish Sandvik® steels
This steel delivers an optimal balance of hardness and durability. It’s resistant to chipping while providing superb edge retention that Cangshan claims will last five times longer than the competition. These knives score 60 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale.
Cangshan’s X-7 steel is harder (61 Rockwell) than the steel used by Wusthof (58 Rockwell). It’s similar to VG10 but less brittle and corrosion-resistant. The result is excellent edge retention and minimal maintenance.
As previously mentioned, Cangshan has 17 patented or patent-pending handle designs. Because the company values aesthetics and beauty, their knives stand out aesthetically.
The handles are made with both synthetics and wood. Their wood handles are crafted from Acacia, Walnut, Teak, Ashwood, or African Blackwood.
Each Wusthof knife goes through a detailed 40 step process. This includes precision-forging blades into the shape and using a mix of lasers, robots, and expert craftsmen to sharpen the edge. Each knife is inspected multiple times to ensure quality.
All Wusthof knives are forged except for the Gourmet collection. Forged knives are heated and pounded into shape from a bar of steel, whereas stamped knives are laser-cut from a steel sheet before being honed and heat-treated.
All Wusthofknives include a full tang for extra balance and durability. Most collections expose the tang and rivets.
Bolsters vary by collection. For example, the Gourmet collection doesn’t have a bolster; the Ikon and Classic Ikon knives include a double bolster (one near the blade and one on the butt end of the handle); the Grand Prix II and Classic collections boast a full bolster.
Cangshan offers a variety of forged and stamped knives. The TG Series, W Series, and P2 Series are stamped while the rest of the collections are forged. However, Cangshan prides itself on dedication to quality throughout the construction process.
Each blade goes through a precise six-stage heat treatment that took over two years of research and development. The current heat process allows a 16-degree blade angle, making them sharp but durable enough to resist chipping and breaking.
Each Cangshan knife is handcrafted and hand sharpened by passionate bladesmiths.
Overall, both Wusthof and Cangshan rely on a detailed and dedicated process.
Blade hardness is measured using the Rockwell scale. Most knives fall between 55 and 62. The lower the number is, the softer the steel.
Softer steel is more flexible and less likely to chip. Conversely, the higher the number, the harder the steel. Harder steel can create a sharper blade, but it isn’t as durable.
Wusthof knives score a 58 on the Rockwell scale. The Gourmet collection is slightly softer, scoring 56.
Cangshan knives vary by collection. The blades made with German steel score between 56-60, and the Japanese and Swedish steel range between 58 and 62.
Cangshan encourages users to be more gentle with the higher scoring knives as they are slightly more likely to chip, but in general, they’re still ultra-durable.
A blade’s sharpness is measured in degrees per side. The lower the number, the sharper the knife.
Wusthof’s knives are sharpened to 14 degrees per side, which is exceptionally sharp, but still tough enough to slice through meat and root vegetables. For an all-purpose knife, Wusthof is a fantastic choice.
When it comes to their Initial Cutting Performance (ICP), Wusthof mentions their knives are considerably high, but they don’t disclose the actual value. However, in a Global test, the Wusthof Gourmet Santoku knife scored a 104, which is excellent in a rating system that praises anything over 110 (source).
Cangshan knives are sharpened to 16 degrees per side. It took their team over two years to research and develop their heat treatment to ensure their blade’s edges stay sharp.
The Cangshan ICP score is excellent. The Swedish Sandvik® 14C28N Steel knives scored 151, meaning it was slightly sharper than Wusthof’s cutting performance.
To sum it up, both Wusthof and Cangshan emphasize their sharpness and edge retention. Although the edge angle differs slightly, both brands provide durable, razor-sharp knives that will hold their edge for long periods.
In this section, I compare the weight of some forged 8″ chef’s knives from both brands. The weight difference varies by collection, but Cangshan knives tend to be lighter overall.
Typically, stamped knives are lighter than forged knives. So, if you prefer a lighter knife, look into the Wusthof Gourmet collection and the Cangshan TG Series, W Series, and P2 Series.
Note: Weights are according to listings on Williams-Sonoma.com and CangshanCutlery.com.
|Brand/Collection||8-Inch Chef’s Knife Weight (oz)|
|Wusthof Classic Ikon||9.0|
|Wusthof Grand Prix||9.0|
|Cangshan Thomas Keller||9.4|
The price depends on the collection, but generally, Wusthof knives are more expensive than Cangshan knives.
Wusthof can demand a higher price because it’s a premium brand with a proven and long history, and they make their knives in Solingen, Germany.
Cangshan knives aren’t cheap, but they’re made in China where the cost of production is lower, which allows them to offer low-cost options and excellent value.
Below is a look at the prices of some of Wusthof and Cangshan’s most popular knives and knife sets. These prices are pulled in real-time from Amazon, so what you see is what you get. You can click each item to view details on Amazon.
|Knife/Knife Set||Price||View Details|
|Wusthof Classic 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Wusthof Classic 7-Piece Knife Set||Amazon|
|Wusthof Classic Ikon 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-Piece Knife Set||Amazon|
|Wusthof Epicure 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Cangshan Thomas Keller Signature Collection 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Cangshan Thomas Keller Signature Collection 7-Piece Knife Set||Amazon|
|Cangshan V2 5-Piece Knife Set||Amazon|
|Cangshan S1 17-Piece Knife Set||Amazon|
|Cangshan TS 17-Piece Knife Set||Amazon|
|Cangshan J 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
Bottom Line: Should You Buy Wusthof or Cangshan Knives?
It’s decision time; should you buy Wusthof or Cangshan knives?
The truth is that both Wusthof and Cangshan are excellent brands; you can’t go wrong either.
Of course, Wusthof has proven tradition, but Cangshan provides a ton of quality choices, many of which are budget-friendly.
Before you decide, let’s recap the pros and cons of each.
- Family-owned for over 200 years.
- Traditional German crafting techniques.
- Most collections are forged.
- Durable and corrosion-resistant steel blend.
- All the knives have a full tang.
- Sharp and durable blades.
- Lifetime warranty included.
- Fewer collections than Cangshan.
- All collections are expensive (Gourmet is the cheapest since it’s the one stamped collection).
- Not much distinction between different collections. They all use the same steel, hardness, and edge sharpness.
- 25 unique collections.
- Mix of premium and budget-friendly options.
- More choice when it comes to design and materials.
- Made in China, so they’re slightly more affordable but still made by skilled bladesmiths.
- Lifetime warranty included.
- Cangshan warns against vigorous use on their harder knives, as they’re more likely to chip or break.
- Some of their collections are limited to only a handful of knives and sets.
- They’ve only been in the business for five years.
Cangshan has so many options at a variety of prices, so it’s a great choice if you’re on a budget or want something unique. But for proven performance and durability, Wusthof is the best choice. They’ve been in business for over 200 years and are a brand you can trust.
Both brands are available on Amazon, where you can read hundreds of reviews and compare the current prices.
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