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Wusthof vs. Messermeister Kitchen Knives: An In-Depth Comparison

Are you in the market for new kitchen knives but can’t decide between Wusthof and Messermeister?

Both brands make high-quality German-style kitchen knives. However, there are key differences to know before buying.

In this comparison of Wusthof vs. Messermeister, you’ll learn how their kitchen knives differ in terms of design, materials, construction, performance, price, and more.

By the end, you’ll know which knives are right for you.


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


Wusthof vs. Messermeister: Comparison Chart

If you’re in a hurry, the chart below provides a quick side-by-side comparison of Wusthof vs. Messermeiser.

Messermeister Wusthof
Founded19811814
Where They’re MadeGermanyGermany
Product Offerings13 knife collections8 knife collections
DesignWood, metal, or polypropylene handles, full or half bolster, some exposed rivets, full tangWood or synthetic handles, full or half bolster, exposed rivets, full tang
Blade MaterialGerman X50 stainless steel, SG2 powdered steelX50CrMoV15 stainless steel
Handle MaterialWood, steel, or polypropylene, depending on knife collectionSynthetic resin, or wood, depending on knife collection
ConstructionForged or stamped bladesForged or stamped blades
Blade Hardness57-58 on the Rockwell Scale, (Kawashima collection is 65)58 on the Rockwell Scale, (Gourmet collection is 56)
Blade Sharpness15-degree angle per side14-degree angle per side
Weight (8-Inch Chef’s Knife)6.4 ounces8.5 ounces
Price$$$$ (view on Amazon)$$$$ (view on Amazon)

Introducing Wusthof

Wusthof was founded in 1814 in Solingen, Germany, by Johann Abraham Wüsthof. It originally started as a small scissors factory but has grown into one of the most recognized cutlery brands worldwide.

Wusthof chefs knife

Solingen is known as “the city of blades” since it’s the home of several renowned blade manufactures, including Boker, Güde, and Wusthof’s biggest competitors in the cutlery industry, Zwilling.

Through wars, economic hardships, and seven generations, Wusthof has remained a family-owned business. The factory is a fixture in Solingen, and the brand is synonymous with German engineering and expert craftsmanship.

Despite its success, Wusthof has not strayed from its roots. It remains focused on producing the best kitchen knives in the world using a mix of traditional techniques and modern technology.

Wusthof knives are widely available. You can find them at most kitchen supply stores and online on Amazon, SurLaTable.com, and Walmart.com

Introducing Messermeister

Messermeister was founded in 1985 by husband and wife Bernd and Debra Dressler.

The couple was working as a distributor for other cutlery brands when they decided to use their industry expertise to create a knife line of their own. They called it Messermeister.

In German, “Messer” means blade, and “meister” means master.

Messermeister Chefs Knife

Messermeister is an American company, but they hold on to German and Japanese knife-making traditions.

Like Wusthof, Messermeister makes their knives in Solingen, Germany. And, while many brands have moved on to more automated systems, Messemeister blades are still made by hand, using a hot-drop hammer-forged process.

Messermeister isn’t nearly as popular or well-known as Wusthof, and you won’t find their knives at most stores. However, you can shop all its collections on Messermeister.com, Amazon, and select kitchen supply stores.

If you want to hold the knives before buying, use their store locator to find a retailer near you.

Knife Collections

Wusthof offers 8 knife collections. The 5 most popular collections, which I highlight below, are Classic, Classic Ikon, Ikon, Gourmet, and Epicure.

They also offer the Aeon, Crafter, and Grand Prix II collections. You can learn about Wusthof’s full lineup on Amazon or Wusthof.com.

Wusthof Classic (view on Amazon): The Classic is Wusthof’s original knife collection. Forged from high-carbon stainless steel and featuring a black composite handle, the Classic is a favorite among home cooks and professionals alike.

Wusthof Ikon (view on Amazon): Wusthof’s Ikon collection has an ergonomic grenadill wood handle with steel rivets. It features a steel end cap that increases balance and adds a classy design element.

Wusthof Classic Ikon (view on Amazon): The Classic Ikon collection features the same ergonomic handle design as the Ikon collection, but the handle is made of a black synthetic POM plastic.

Wusthof Gourmet (view on Amazon): Wusthof Gourmet knives are budget-friendly, and the blades are manufactured using a precise laser-cutting process. They’re an excellent option for home cooks who want high-quality cutlery at a lower price.

Wusthof Epicure (view on Amazon): The Epicure collection is perhaps Wusthof’s most unique. It features a light-colored ergonomic handle sculpted from recycled wood, attached to the full-tang blade with two steel rivets.

Messermeister currently offers 13 knife collections. The most popular, which I highlight below, are the Meridian Elite, Avanta, Oliva Elite, Royale Elite, and San Moritz Elite.

The other collections are the Kawashima, Custom, Mu Bamboo, Four Seasons, Petite Messers, Overland Chef, and Adventure Chef collections. You can learn more about all collections on Amazon or Messermeister.com.

Messermeister Meridian Elite (view on Amazon): The Meridian Elite collection is Messermeister’s most popular knife collection. It looks strikingly similar to Wusthof’s classic collection. These knives are hot-drop forged from a single piece of German Steel. The result is a high-quality blade that holds its edge.

Messermeister Avanta (view on Amazon): The Avanta collection was developed specifically for culinary students. These knives are made from German X50 stainless steel and have triple rivet black POM handles for comfort and durability.

Messermeister Oliva Elite (view on Amazon): This knife collection features a beautiful, natural Mediterranean olive wood handle. The golden-brown handle paired with Messermeister’s German steel blades gives this knife collection a striking and unique appearance.

Messermeister Royale Elite (view on Amazon): Royale elite knives feature a vintage-style design with modern construction quality. These knives have American Walnut Burl handles attached to Messermeister’s German steel blades. Completely without rivets or bolsters, the Royale elite collection has a sleek and classic appearance.

Messermeister San Moritz Elite (view on Amazon): The San Moritz Elite collection has a contemporary design with simple black ergonomic handles and forged steel blades. They are sleek and simple knives designed to get the job done.

Although Messermeister offers more collections, Wusthof also provides plenty of variety.

Design

Wusthof and Messermeister both offer a range of designs that vary by collection. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular collections from each brand.

The Wusthof Classic collection features a brushed steel full tang blade. 

Wusthof Classic Kitchen Knives
Wusthof Classic

Its handle is made of black polyoxymethylene (POM) and is attached with three steel rivets. 

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

It has a full bolster and finger guard, which balance the knife and make it safer to use. 

The Classic has a Wusthof logo on the handle, and the collection and brand names etched onto the blade.

These knives have a classy, traditional design — an ideal mix of function and elegance.

The Wusthof Ikon collection is best known for its sleek ergonomic handles made of African blackwood called grenadill.

Wusthof Ikon Blackwood 2pc Prep / Starter Knife Set - 8

The wood is dark with subtle graining, offering an elegant look. This knife collection features a full tang and a double bolster. Like the Classic series, the Ikon collection has a brushed German steel blade attached with three steel rivets.

The Gourmet collection is Wusthof’s most economical knife series. It’s styled after the Classic with the same German steel blades and handle design. 

WÜSTHOF 1125060206 Gourmet Cook’s Set

It has black POM handles attached with steel rivets. It doesn’t have a bolster, but the handle curves to create a faux bolster behind the blade. It’s a traditional-looking and feeling knife that’s easier on your wallet than Wusthof’s other options.

Meridian Elite is Messermeister’s most classically designed collection, featuring a full-exposed tang and synthetic black handles. 

Messermeister Meridian Elite Chefs Knife
Messermeister Meridian Elite Chef’s Knife

The knives either have a half-bolster or no bolster, depending on the individual knife.

Messermeister Chefs Knife Half Bolster

The blades are attached to the handles using three steel rivets, and the brand name is prominently etched on the blade. 

Messermeister Chefs Knife Handle Design

The blades are incredibly thick. As you can see below, they are much wider than Wusthof Classic blades.

Wusthof versus Messermeister blade thickness
Messermeister (left), Wusthof (right)

The added thickness makes the knives heavier and more durable but makes them a bit less nimble.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Messermeister Oliva Elite collection is that it features a golden-brown handle made from Mediterranean olive wood. The handle has a pinch-grip design that widens toward the heel for increased control and precision.

Messermeister Oliva Elite Professional 2 Piece German 8 Inch Chef and 3.5 Inch Parer Multi Purpose Kitchen Knife Set

Messermeister Oliva Elite knives feature full-tang blades and full bolsters made from a single billet of steel. That design gives these knives the best strength and balance possible.

The Messermeister Four Seasons collection was designed to be a budget-friendly option for food prep. 

Messermeister Four Seasons Chef's Knife, 8-Inch

These knives have die-cut steel blades and feature molded polypropylene handles. While they are economically friendly, the blades are still stain-resistant and easy to sharpen.

Messermeister also offers the Adventure Chef collection, which is geared towards camping and outdoor cooking. 

Messermeister Adventure Chef Folding Chef's Knife, 6 Inch, Carbonized Maple

These knives have wooden handles and short blades, which fold into the knife. You can use them for cooking, and they can fold up and fit in your pocket or backpack.

Materials

Wusthof blades are made from X50CRMOV15, a high-carbon, stain-resistant steel commonly found in high-end German knives. This steel is well-known for its optimal hardness, ability to hold an edge, and stainless properties.

Wusthof’s handles are made from different materials depending on the collection.

Their handles are either made of oak bogwood (Aeon collection), grenadill wood (Ikon collection), smoked oak (Crafter collection), Richlite (Epicure collection), polyoxymethylene (Classic, Classic Ikon, and Gourmet collections), or polypropylene (Grand Prix II collection).

Messermeister uses 1.411d6 steel alloy for its knives, except for their Kawashima collection. Kawashima knives are made from SG2 powdered steel.

The 1.411d6 steel that Messermeister uses has the same amount of carbon and chromium as the X50CRMOV15 steel used by Wusthof; therefore, you can expect similar durability, edge retention, and corrosion resistance.

Wusthof versus Messermeister blade materials
Wusthof (top), Messermeister (bottom)

Messermeister’s handles also vary by collection. Their handles are made of various woods, like Pakkawood, walnut, bamboo, and olive, and they also make handles from polyoxymethylene (POM) or polypropylene.

The synthetic materials both brands use are moisture- and fade-resistant and can handle high temperatures without melting. They provide excellent grip and are ultra-durable.

Wusthof versus Messermeister polyoxymethylene handles
Wusthof (top), Messermeister (bottom)

The knives with wood handles provide a more elegant look but require a bit more care. If you opt for knives with wood handles, you’ll need to clean and dry them thoroughly; never soak them in water or put them in the dishwasher.

Construction

Wusthof knives are made in Solingen, Germany, in a state-of-the-art facility. Its knives are made using advanced robotics and laser cutting techniques, ensuring the highest degree of precision.

The blades are first either stamped or forged into shape, depending on the collection. The Gourmet collection features stamped blades; all other collections feature forged blades.

They are then honed and etched by an automated robotic system before being attached to handles and polished by hand.

Wusthof employs some of Solingen’s best blade-makers to work alongside their automated system to ensure quality at every step of the process. That means you get the nanometer precision of a computer-guided laser combined with the care and experience of an experienced blade-maker.

Messermeister has been able to stick with a more traditional manufacturing process in a world that is becoming increasingly automated.

Its blades are made using a traditional hot-drop hammer-forge process. The craftspeople start with a single billet of X50 steel, and they heat and shape the blade using a hammer press.

The blade is then quenched in oil, which further hardens the steel. Finally, it is honed and polished by hand before being attached to a handle, again by hand.

Messermeister’s process limits them to small batches of knives but provides the highest degree of quality control.

Blade Hardness

Wusthof’s blades are hardened to a 58 on the Rockwell scale, while most Messermeister knives fall between 57 and 58. These numbers are standard for most German knives.

Harder blades hold an edge better but are more brittle and prone to chipping.

Since Wusthof and Messermeister harden their blades to a similar level, you can expect similar edge retention and durability.

The exception is the Kawashima collection from Messermeister, which is exceptionally hard, measuring at 65 on the Rockwell scale.

This collection will stay incredibly sharp for long periods, but you need to be careful using it. If you slam it into a bone, hard ingredient, or cutting board, it could chip or break.

Sharpness

Most Wusthof blades are sharpened to a 14-degree angle on both sides, for a total angle of 28 degrees.

The exceptions are Wusthof Santoku knives, which are sharpened to 10 degrees on both sides of the blade, for a total of 20 degrees. The sharper edge makes these knives better for slicing but not as durable for thick, firm ingredients.

Messermeister sharpens its knives to a 15-degree angle on both sides for a total angle of 30 degrees.

While Wusthof knives are technically sharper, the difference is subtle and difficult to notice.

Price

Both brands are considered high-end, and their knives are priced accordingly.

The cost varies by collection, and, in general, knives with stamped blades are significantly less expensive than those with forged blades.

Wusthof’s cheapest collection is Gourmet, and Messermeister’s most affordable option is Four Seasons.

Wusthof’s most expensive collection is Aeon, and Messermeister’s is the Kawashima collection.

The point is, both brands offer a range of prices.

They also offer limited lifetime warranties, which cover any manufacturing defects for the lifetime of the knives. Check out Messermeister’s warranty and Wusthof’s warranty for more details.

For a side-by-side comparison of Wusthof vs. Messermeister’s prices, see the chart below:

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

What Others Are Saying

Wusthof and Messermeister both earn hundreds of 5-star reviews from verified purchasers. Their fan bases praise the sharpness, durability, and overall look and feel of the knives.

But what are other experts saying about these brands?

Let’s look at what product experts, chefs, and prominent media outlets have to say.

CNET recently named the Wusthof Classic 8-inch chef’s knife the best heavy knife. The product testers praised its heft and balance, calling it a workhorse in the kitchen. The only thing they didn’t love was its softer steel blade which makes it slightly duller than other knives tested. Messermeister was not included in the tests.

In Food & Wine Magazine’s roundup of the best kitchen knives, experts gave the Wusthof Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife the award of best tough workhorse. Like CNET, the experts at Food & Wine Magazine highlighted its heft, power, and overall durability. They tested the Messermeister Meridian Elite Chef’s Knife but said, “It felt clunky and unwieldy,” and weren’t impressed with its lack of sharpness out of the box.

Experts at The New York Times’ Wirecutter had nothing but good things to say about the Wusthof Classic Ikon chef’s knife. They called it sharp and sturdy and an overall good knife. They tested the Messermeister Meridian Elite Chef’s Knife but claimed the handle wasn’t as comfortable as the Wusthof Classic Ikon handle. They also complained that its blade wasn’t as sharp as other options tested. 

In its review of the best chef’s knives, Good Housekeeping awarded Wusthof Classic the best overall chef’s knife and the Wusthof Classic Craftsman Knife the most versatile chef’s knife. Twelve knives made the list, but Messermeister wasn’t featured.

Bottom Line: Should You Buy Wusthof or Messermeister Kitchen Knives?

Now that you know how Wusthof and Messermeister compare, it’s time to decide which knives are right for you.

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

  • History: Wusthof was founded in 1814 and has remained a family-owned business ever since. Messermeister was founded in the 1980s.
  • Number of Collections: Wusthof offers 8 unique knife collections, while Messermeister offers 13.
  • Design: Both brands offer traditional German-style knives, but Messermeiser also has a Japanese-style collection, Kawashima. Messermeister blades are thicker than Wusthof blades.
  • Blade Materials: Wusthof blades are made of X50CRMOV15 steel, while Messermeister uses 1.411d6 and SG2 powdered steel.
  • Handle Materials: Wusthof handles are either oak bogwood, grenadill (African blackwood), smoked oak, Richlite, polyoxymethylene, or polypropylene. Messermeister handles are either Pakkawood, walnut, bamboo, olive, polyoxymethylene, or polypropylene.
  • Sharpness: Messermeister blades are sharpened to a 30-degree angle. Wusthof blades are slightly sharper at 28 degrees.
  • Price: Overall, both brands are expensive, but prices vary across collections.
  • Accolades: Wusthof receives more accolades and awards than Messermeister.

Ultimately, Wusthof and Messermeister both offer durable, high-performing, and elegantly designed knives. And, while both brands are expensive, they provide a range of options for most budgets.

The difference between these two brands comes down to experience. Wusthof has been making knives for over 200 years, while Messermeister got its start in the 1980s.

Wusthof is regarded as one of the best knife makers in Solingen, Germany, a city famous for knife making.

If you want traditional German-style knives from one of the most renowned brands in the business, then go with Wusthof.

That said, Messermeister is an excellent choice you won’t regret. Meridian Elite is the brand’s most popular collection. It looks, feels, and performs, similar to Wusthof Classic.  

Both brands are available on Amazon, where you can read more reviews and compare the current prices.

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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