An Expert Guide to Zwilling Knives

Published on 10/08/2023 · 11 min readUnlock culinary precision with Zwilling knives. Explore their craftsmanship, blade types, and how to choose the perfect knife for your kitchen.
Jacob Lewis, Kitchen Expert
By Kitchen Expert Jacob Lewis

Photo by Conscious Design

TL;DR: Zwilling knives, renowned for precision and durability, feature key technologies like SIGMAFORGE®, Friodur® ice-hardening, and precision-honed edges that improve edge sharpness and durability. Key factors to look for when buying include blade type, ergonomic handles, and high-carbon stainless steel construction. Match your cooking style and budget to Zwilling's range for optimal performance.

I’m Jake, a Kitchen Expert here on Curated with over 20 years of experience working in restaurant environments. Zwilling Pro knives have been in my life for decades, and I continue to keep a few in my personal collection, including my favorite, the Serrated Utility Knife. In this article, I’ll be focusing on the basics of what Zwilling has to offer, along with their high-end knife sets.

Who is Zwilling?

Photo courtesy of Zwilling

Zwilling J.A. Henckels (“Zwilling”) is a renowned German brand established in 1731 and is best known for their high-quality cutlery. Headquartered in Solingen, the “City of Blades,” Zwilling's expertise in crafting exceptional kitchen knives stems from centuries-old tradition and innovation. They're recognized for precision, durability, and their timeless design. The Zwilling line is considered premium, typically showcasing more innovative designs and superior materials than other brands. Those who value kitchen excellence may consider Zwilling for its amalgamation of tradition, innovation, and uncompromised quality.

What to Consider When Buying Zwilling Knives

1. What size knife are you comfortable using?

Photo courtesy of Zwilling

Size is a crucial aspect of handling and comfort. Zwilling's range varies from compact paring knives to larger chef’s knives. The right size depends on your comfort, hand size, and culinary tasks. Typically, the classic handle shape of Zwilling knives is suitable for folks with smaller or medium-sized hands and, depending on grip style, can be just fine for someone with larger hands. A knife should feel balanced in your hand and cause minimal strain on your wrist. Intuitively, you can tell by holding a knife if it is comfortable for you or not, but you will definitely learn this in time by using a knife. So, it’s good to know that it might take you a few tries before you find knives that feel truly comfortable to use.

2. How much maintenance are you willing to undertake?

Photo courtesy of Zwilling

Different knife materials require varying levels of care. Zwilling's knives, especially their high-carbon steel ones, may require regular honing and proper storage. Understanding your commitment to maintenance ensures the longevity of your knife.

3. How much should a Zwilling knife cost?

Zwilling knives generally range from $50 to $300+ per knife, depending on the type, design, and materials.

  • Budget options (~$70): These are Zwilling’s smaller options, like paring and utility knives. They’re made with the same precision tech as the larger knives – they just cost less because they’re smaller.
  • Mid-range (~$100-200): Most of Zwilling’s Twin and Pro lines fit in this price range. All of these knives are made in Germany, are ice-hardened, and are rated at 56-58 Rockwell hardness (HRC), which is the globally recognized measurement for knife materials’ hardness. 56-60 HRC is ideal for kitchen knives.
  • High-end (~$300+): The premium knives from Zwilling are often made in Japan and use carbon or Damascus steel blade designs, which are the sharpest and most durable of any metal used in knife crafting. Additionally, these knives often feature hardwood handles and extra polishing on all surfaces.

What Are the Different Types of Zwilling Knives?

Zwilling offers a wide array of different kitchen knives that cater to many culinary needs. Here's a rundown of some of the benefits and downsides of each type.

1. Chef's Knife

The chef’s knife is the workhorse of the kitchen. It might very well be your first choice to use and last to wash during any meal prep.

  • Benefits: Versatile; balanced weight; sharp, durable edge.
  • Downsides: Can be heavy for some users; price point may be high for some budgets.
  • Best for: All kitchen tasks, including chopping, dicing, and mincing. Its broad, hefty blade allows for a balanced grip and swift cutting. With skill, it can manage everything from delicate herbs to tough cuts of meat.

Examples:

2. Paring Knife

The Zwilling paring knife is perfect for precision tasks like peeling, trimming herbs, and creating garnishes. It's compact and nimble, offering precise control.

  • Benefits: Great control; suitable for detailed tasks.
  • Downsides: Not suitable for large cutting tasks; needs careful handling due to its sharp, pointed tip.
  • Best for: This is great as a small cheese knife or for hand-held tasks like cleaning potatoes and onions before chopping.

Examples:

3. Bread Knife

Characterized by a long, serrated blade shape, Zwilling bread knives excel at cutting through crusty loaves without crushing the soft interior but are also great for tomatoes.

  • Benefits: Ideal for bread and hard-skinned fruits; long-lasting sharpness.
  • Downsides: Limited versatility; serrated edge can be challenging to sharpen.
  • Best for: Sawing through large vegetables and processing loads of tomatoes for sauce and canning.

Examples:

  • Zwilling Pro 9-inch Bread Knife: With its extended blade length and exceptional sharpness, the Zwilling Pro bread knives are the kind of tool that could last the rest of your life.
  • Zwilling Four Star 9-inch Country Bread Knife: Perhaps the most interesting design on this list, the arced shape of this blade makes short work of thick crusted loaves, but slightly at the cost of precision slicing.
  • Zwilling Kramer Euroline 10-inch Bread Knife: A bread lover’s dream, this knife features a longer-than-average serrated blade with outstanding edge retention for effortlessly slicing through crusty bread and delicate pastries with beautiful style and Damascus forging.

4. Santoku Knife

A Japanese-style knife, the Zwilling Santoku knife is designed for slicing, dicing, and chopping vegetables. Its shorter, wider blade differs from a typical chef's knife.

  • Benefits: Versatile; dimpled blade reduces food sticking; exceptional craftsmanship.
  • Downsides: Not ideal for large food items; requires proper maintenance to prevent rusting.
  • Best for: Smashing, peeling, and mincing garlic or just about any other vegetable, but it’s a great knife for smaller cuts of meat as well.

Examples:

5. Carving Knife

The Zwilling carving knife, used for slicing thin cuts of meat, is known for its long, narrow blade. It is designed to cleanly slice through meats without tearing, providing a high-quality dining experience

  • Benefits: Perfect for thin, precise cuts; facilitates attractive presentation of meals.
  • Downsides: Not versatile; typically used for specific occasions.
  • Best for: Finely slicing large, meaty ingredients.

Examples:

Features to Look for in a Zwilling Knife

  1. SIGMAFORGE®: A patented process where knives are precision-forged from a single piece of proprietary steel, ensuring perfect geometry, better blade stability, and less metal fatigue.
  2. Friodur® Ice-Hardening: Increasing the durability, corrosion resistance, and sharpness of the blades, you can chop, dice, and slice for longer periods between sharpening services.
  3. Precision-honed and laser-controlled edge: Ensures an optimal cutting angle that retains its edge longer.

How to Choose the Right Zwilling Knife

Photo courtesy of Zwilling

Below are a few examples of people I’ve helped in the past. They all had common needs, whether they were a professional chef or a home cook looking to expand their toolset.

Matthew

Matthew is looking for a knife set that covers the basics. He loves to cook but keeps everything minimal. He enjoys using a cleaver but wants something smaller and lightweight.

Features to look for: Forged or Damascus steel, wooden knife block.

Products to consider:

  • Zwilling Pro 9-Piece Knife Block Set: This set has all the basics of a well-rounded set, including the utility, bread, Santoku, and chef’s knives. It includes kitchen shears and a honing rod.
  • Miyabi Evolution 7-Pc, Knife Block Set: This Japanese-style set has a bi-metal construction that keeps its knives durable and looking unique, similar to Damascus steel but at half the cost.
  • Cangshan Helena 8-pc Knife Block Set: By using almost the same grade of steel as the Zwilling Pro but moving manufacturing from Germany to Taiwan, Cangshan is able to create a very similar and high-performing product for much less money.

Ellen

Ellen wants a full set that includes a steak knife (or a few) for serving guests.

Features to look for: Ease of Maintenance, mid-range, steak knives.

Products to consider:

  • Zwilling Pro 17-Piece Knife Block Set: This full set has all the basics, a few specialty knives, and includes the steak knives for serving at the dinner table.
  • Schmidt Brothers Heritage 12pc Set: Schmidt Brothers knives always have good style that pushes the boundaries of aesthetics and value. This set continues that promise while providing key basics with steak knives on the side.
  • GreenPan Ultimate 16-Piece Titanium Knife Set: A newcomer, this set has a few features that aren’t regularly seen in a knife set, including high-durability rubber handles and a titanium finish on the blades to reduce wear.

Nakia:

Nakia is a professional chef looking for a comprehensive set of prep knives that will be durable and comfortable for long days in the kitchen.

Features to look for: High-end, ergonomic, NSF certified.

Products to consider:

  • Mercer Culinary 10-Piece Renaissance Knife Set: The first set I recommend to any chef who’s looking for durability without spending more than necessary. These knives use many of the same design elements and materials as Zwilling Pro or Wusthof.
  • Cangshan Thomas Keller Signature 7-Piece Set: A truly premium knife set, these Swedish steel blades have a stretched-out design that’s perfect for extending the length to any chef who can utilize the length without compromising the outcome.
  • Zwilling Pro 9-Piece Knife Block Set: A safe bet on quality and performance, these German-made knives set the standard and offer all the essential tools for long prep days.

Find the Best Zwilling Knife for You

Zwilling’s range of knives is beautiful and fun, and it’s nice to know they’re crafted with care in Germany. That also comes with a price that many folks aren’t able to afford, so that’s why I’ve provided some comparable options here to show what else is available. If you need some help making choices for your own kitchen, please feel invited to have a chat with one of our Kitchen Experts here on Curated for free, personalized advice.

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Shop Kitchen on Curated

Zwilling Pro Serrated Utility Knife · 5 Inch · Black
$89.99
Zwilling Pro Traditional Chef's Knife · 8 Inch
$159.99
Zwilling Four Star Chef's Knife
$99.99$139.99

Browse more Zwilling Kitchen

Zwilling Twin Signature Chef's Knife · 8 Inch
$89.99
Zwilling Kramer Euroline Damascus Collection Chef's Knife
$439.99
Zwilling Four Star Paring Knife · 4 Inch · Black
$49.99$59.99
Zwilling Four Star Z15 Country Bread Knife · 9 Inch · Black Matte
$79.99$109.99
Zwilling Pro Z15 Bread Knife · 9 Inch · Black Matte
$139.99

Browse more Zwilling Kitchen

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