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Zwilling Kitchen Knives Review: Everything You Need to Know

Zwilling is considered by many to be one of the best kitchen knife brands in the world.

But what makes Zwilling knives so special? Are they the right knives for your kitchen?

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

You’ll get the details about how they look, feel, and perform. You’ll also learn how they’re made, how much they cost, and much more. 

So, if you’re thinking about buying Zwilling knives but want an unbiased review to understand if they’re worth it, keep reading.


Use the links below to navigate this review:


Company Background

Zwilling J. A. Henckels, the company that owns the Zwilling brand, is one of the oldest and most distinguished knife manufacturers in the world.

The company launched in 1731 in Solingen, Germany, a place that’s become known as the “City of Blades” since it’s the home of several prominent knife makers, including Zwilling, Wusthof, and Böker.

Wusthof versus Zwilling kitchen knives
Wusthof (top), Zwilling (bottom)

True to their German heritage, Zwilling knives are crafted with precision and expertise only acquired by innovating for hundreds of years. Although the design and materials vary by collection, every knife is ultra-sharp, made with high-quality steel, and built to last.

Zwilling J. A. Henckels started as a knife maker but has expanded into cookware, small appliances, flatware, and kitchen accessories. Besides Zwilling, the company owns several other kitchenware brands, including Henckels International, Miyabi, Staub, Demeyere, and Ballarini.

People often confuse Zwilling and Henckels knives, but they are two distinct brands with their own collections and product offerings.

I published an in-depth comparison detailing the differences, but the key takeaway is that Zwilling is Zwilling J. A. Henckels’ premium brand, offering high-end kitchen knives, while Henckels is the more accessible brand, offering entry-level, affordable knives.

Knife Collections

With a long history and plenty of market recognition, Zwilling offers several unique knife collections with distinct features and specifications.

Before we go into detail about each of these, here is a chart detailing the brand’s most popular collections:

Swipe or scroll to view the entire chart.

Knife CollectionWhere It’s MadeBlade Construction

Handle Material
Price
Zwilling ProGermanyForgedABS (durable plastic)$$$
Zwilling Four StarGermanyForgedPolypropylene (durable plastic)$$$
Zwilling Twin Four Star IIGermanyForgedPolypropylene (durable plastic)$$$
Zwilling GourmetGermanyStampedPolyoxymethylene (durable plastic)$$
Zwilling Twin Fin IIJapanForgedSteel$$
Zwilling Professional “S”GermanyForgedABS (durable plastic)$$$
Zwilling Twin SignatureGermanyStampedPolymer-based (durable plastic)$$
Zwilling Kramer MeijiJapanForgedPakkawood (engineered wood/plastic composite)$$$$$
Zwilling Kramer Euroline DamascusJapanForgedBlack linen Micarta (linen and resin composite)$$$$$
Zwilling Pro Holm OakGermanyForgedMediterranean Holm Oak (natural wood)$$$$
Zwilling Now SGermanyStampedPolypropylene (durable plastic)$$
Zwilling Twin GourmetSpainStampedPolymer-based (durable plastic)$$
Zwilling DiplomeJapanForgedPlastic$$$
Zwilling Twin 1731GermanyForgedEbony wood$$$$
Zwilling Twin GripSpainStampedPolypropylene (durable plastic)$$

Materials and Construction

The most important part of a kitchen knife is its blade, and Zwilling takes pride in how it produces each piece.

Most Zwilling blades are forged rather than stamped. What does this mean, and does it matter?

Zwilling Pro blade spine
Zwilling forged blade

A forged blade begins as a single bar of steel, which is heated to extremely high temperatures, pressed into shape, and tempered to set the steel’s hardness. That process, while labor-intensive, results in a thicker, stronger blade that will last longer and retain its edge better. 

Stamped knives, by contrast, are “cut” from a sheet of steel in a process that somewhat resembles the cutting of cookies from a sheet of dough. It’s much easier and less costly to mass-produce stamped blades, which is why you’ll find them on most discount knives.

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

Simply put, forged knives are higher quality and more durable than stamped knives.

Although Zwilling offers some stamped collections, such as the popular Gourmet collection, most of its knives are forged.

Regardless of how the blade is made, Zwilling uses high-carbon German steel (X50CrMoV15) to make all of its knives (the same steel that Wusthof uses). It’s an alloy of carbon, chromium, molybdenum, vanadium, all of which have roles in increasing the steel’s strength and stain resistance and improving its edge retention.

Zwilling utilizes an ice-hardened process called FRIODUR. This method of cooling the hot metal in sub-zero temperatures after forging ensures a sharper, more resilient blade.

The handles of Zwilling knives are made of heavy-duty, heat-resistant plastic (ABS, polypropylene, or polyoxymethylene), wood, or steel, depending on the collection.

To see an example of the plastic handles used by Zwilling, you can refer to the best-selling Pro collection.

For wood, refer to the Pro Holm Oak collection. The Twin Fin II collection offers an excellent example of their steel-handled options.

Design

Most of Zwilling’s knives feature a classic Western design with thick, durable blades and handles, a full tang, and exposed rivets. A good example is the best-selling Zwilling Pro collection.

Zwilling Pro Chef Knife 2

That is not the only style offered by Zwilling, however. If you prefer an Eastern-influenced Japanese-style blade, you can find it in Zwilling’s ultra-premium Kramer Euroline collection, featuring a distinctive Damascus steel blade.

ZWILLING J.A. Henckels 34891-203 Chef's Knife

Some features, such as the inclusion or lack of a bolster, vary by collection. Zwilling’s forged knives include a bolster, but its stamped knives do not.

The Zwilling Pro collection features a half bolster, which provides excellent balance and tapers gradually towards the blade so you can still perform a pinch grip comfortably.

Zwilling knife tang bolster and rivets

Zwilling offers more variety in its handle designs than most knife brands on the market. That goes beyond their diversity of materials used in handle construction. For example, some Zwilling handles have an exposed tang and rivets, while others have both of these features concealed.

Zwilling handles
Zwilling kitchen knife handles. From left to right: Pro, Pro Holm Oak, Professional S, Four Star, Twin Four Star II, Twin 1731. Photo credit: Zwilling.com

The overall shape of each collection’s handles can varies, with some favoring a more rounded, traditional design and others featuring a more modern, ergonomic one.

Overall, Zwilling stands out from other knife brands via its diverse choices and attention to detail. Whether you are looking for German or Japanese-style knives, you can find a considerable variety of options with unique features in each collection.

Performance

One of the first things you’ll notice when picking up a Zwilling knife is its weight and heft — both signs of a well-crafted blade.

These knives are known for their balance and precision, which can largely be attributed to the brand’s use of a full-tang design that evenly distributes weight along the length of the blade.

You can easily balance these knives on an open palm or even two extended fingers.

Zwilling knife balance

Zwilling’s thick, durable handles are a plus, in my opinion, but they could feel too hefty if you have smaller hands.

Most collections have either a full or half-bolster, which acts as a fingerguard and adds balance. The half-bolster design, as seen in professional-grade lineups such as the Pro collection, is ideal for the “pinch grip” used by many professional chefs.

Zwilling Pro Chefs Knife handle
Zwilling Pro Chefs Knife handle

The full bolster design, as with the Professional “S” collection, grants the user added safety, weight, and balance. The downside is that a full bolster can get in the way of sharpening and prevents you from using a pinch grip.

Zwilling sharpens all of its blades to a razor-sharp 15-degree angle per side, except for those in the Japanese collections, which are honed to an even sharper 9-12 degree angle.

The knives with a 15-degree angle per side are ideal for all-purpose cutting and can handle firm ingredients and bones. The sharper Japanese blades are better suited for slicing vegetables, sushi, and more intricate jobs.

The steel used in Zwilling’s knives is hardened to a 57 on the Rockwell Scale, which means it is relatively soft (compared to Japanese-style blades). The softer steel is more durable and less prone to chipping but dulls quicker and requires more frequent sharpening.

You can find harder blades with better edge retention, such as those made by Shun, but these can become brittle and prone to chipping.

Overall, the performance of Zwilling knives is excellent and right up there with brands like Wusthof, Global, Shun, and Victorinox.

Price

Zwilling’s prices reflect the brand’s long history and reputation for quality. You can certainly find cheaper knives on the market, but few which will last as long and perform as well as those made by Zwilling.

That being said, there is significant price variation by collection.

The most expensive collections are the premium Japanese series, such as the Kramer Meiji and Kramer Euroline collections. The collections featuring natural wood handles, including Pro Holm Oak and Twin 1731, are also very pricey.

On the lower end are Zwilling’s entry-level stamped collections, such as the Gourmet and Twin Signature collections.

In the middle are Zwilling’s premium forged knives that have synthetic blades, such as the Pro, Professional “S,” and Four Star collections. Although they are still expensive, these offer exceptional value.

For an overview of Zwilling’s prices and their variation, see the chart below:

Note: The prices in the chart are pulled in real-time from Amazon. Click on the chart to learn more about each item.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Downsides

No brand is without its downsides, and Zwilling is not an exception.

One of the broader complaints is that Zwilling knives are overpriced. As you learned in the previous section, they are premium knives with a premium price tag.

Despite the high price, I believe they are a fair value given the quality materials, high performance, and durability — these knives can last decades if you treat them right. If Zwilling knives were truly overpriced, the company wouldn’t be thriving for centuries.

Another common complaint about Zwilling knives is that the thicker blades cause wet foods like vegetables to stick.

Similarly, Zwilling’s equally thick handles pose difficulties for consumers with smaller hands. Even compared to other German knives, such as Wusthof, Zwilling handles are much larger.

Wusthof versus Zwilling knife handles
Wusthof Classic handle (top), Zwilling Pro handle (bottom)

Some customers complain that Zwilling’s stamped collections feel a bit flimsy. This is a common complaint about stamped knives across all brands, so I recommend buying forged knives if you can afford them.

On the other end of this spectrum are complaints about the weight of Zwilling’s forged knives, which are quite heavy and can cause wrist fatigue for some users.

To get an idea of how hefty Zwilling’s blades are, here’s a quick comparison of several 8-inch chef’s knives currently on the market:

While weight is generally viewed as a sign of quality construction, Zwilling sits on the higher end of this scale (so to speak).

Lastly, Zwilling knives, like any other brand, won’t stay sharp forever. And, because the German steel they use for their blades is relatively soft, the edge tends to dull more quickly than with harder steel.

I use the Zwilling Pro knife daily and only need to sharpen it every three months, which is about the same sharpening cadence required with my Wusthof set. 

The point is, if you’re looking for knives with the best edge retention, Zwilling may not be the brand for you. But keep in mind that superior edge retention requires harder steel, and harder steel is more prone to chipping and edge damage.

What Others Are Saying About Zwilling

Zwilling is one of the most renowned kitchen knife brands and is a frequent recipient of awards and accolades from major outlets.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the brand’s recent mentions.

The popular cookware review site owned by USA Today, Reviewed.com, ranked the Zwilling Pro 8-inch chef’s knife the overall best chef’s knife. They praised its balance, heft, strength, and ability to handle heavy-duty tasks.

Good Housekeeping noted the durability and resilience of the Kramer collection’s 8” chef’s knife and awarded it the title of “Longest-Lasting Chef’s Knife.”

CNN named the Zwilling Pro 7-piece knife block set as the close runner-up in its ranking of the “Best Kitchen Knife Sets of 2021.” They praised its ice-hardened blades and razor-sharp edges.

CNET awarded the Zwilling Gourmet Chef’s knife the best mid-priced knife. They acknowledged that its stamped blade wouldn’t hold its edge as long as a forged blade but applauded its fair price, comfortable handle, and clean cuts.

Not all mentions are positive.

Experts at The New York Times complained that the belly of the Zwilling Pro chef’s knife was too curved and awkward to use. 

Zwilling knife curved belly

Also, testers at Food & Wine said that Zwilling’s Bob Kramer collection was not as sharp as the other brands tested, making it difficult to slice a tomato cleanly.

Bottom Line: Are Zwilling Knives Any Good?

Now that you know the pros and cons, the question is:

Are Zwilling knives any good?

The short answer is yes. With a lauded reputation, pronounced focus on quality and craftsmanship, and a diverse array of product options, Zwilling represents one of the best knife brands on the market.

The variety of designs and price points offered by Zwilling put it in a league of their own, and the use of high-carbon, ice-hardened German steel in the construction means these knives are some of the highest quality options available.

Despite complaints regarding price and weight, Zwilling maintains a reputation for producing balanced, long-lasting knife collections that retain their superior performance for many years.

Overall, Zwilling represents one of the best when you’re looking for durable, premium German knives or knife sets.

If you’re ready to buy but unsure which Zwilling collection is the best, I highly recommend Zwilling Pro.

It features a classic German knife design with a black handle, exposed rivets and tang, and a half bolster for balance. 

The handle and blade are thick and hefty, highlighting the quality craftsmanship. It’s the brand’s best-selling collection for a reason — it’s sharp, durable, and comfortable to hold.

You can learn more about all of the Zwilling knife collections on Zwilling.com and 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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