An Expert Guide to Henckels Knife Sets

Published on 10/18/2023 · 8 min readUnleash your inner chef and elevate your kitchen game with our expert guide to Henckels knife sets. Get ready to slice and dice like a pro!
Jacob Lewis, Kitchen Expert
By Kitchen Expert Jacob Lewis

Photo by Henckels

TL;DR: When buying Henckels knives, consider your specific needs, usage frequency, and budget. Renowned for quality and craftsmanship, Henckels offers knives with features like Friodur ice hardening, SIGMAFORGE one-piece construction, and ergonomic handles. Match the knife’s type and size to your cooking style for the best results.


I’m an expert in the kitchen department with over 20 years of experience in restaurant environments. I grew up using Henckels and Zwilling knives and continue to keep some of them around in my personal set because they’re durable, easy to sharpen, and cost effective. In this article, I’m highlighting some of the best sets available from this brand and will also include some comparable options to consider.

Why Henckels?

Photo courtesy of Henckels

Zwilling J.A. Henckels, a German company founded in 1731, is renowned for its high-quality cutlery. Hailing from Solingen, Germany's "City of Blades," founder Peter Henckels' legacy is built on centuries of craftsmanship, offering precisely engineered knives and kitchen tools. These days, Henckels knives are owned by Zwilling and are manufactured in China and Spain (which helps reduce the cost of production.) Still known for their balance, sharp edge, and durability, Henckels products are a top pick for both home cooks and professional chefs worldwide. Henckels’ reputation for premium-styled knives with mid-range prices ensures they are a worthwhile investment for anyone seeking to upgrade their kitchen tools without breaking the budget.

What to Consider When Buying Henckels Knives

1. What Types of Cooking Do You Frequently Do? How Often?

Different knives serve different purposes — a chef's knife is great for a variety of tasks, while a paring knife is designed for more precise cuts. Knowing your needs will help you pick the right knife to dice and mince with ease. It’s good to remember that it’s common for your knife collection to evolve over time as your cooking preferences develop. You may find one type of knife to suit you for certain tasks and find a subtly different knife perfect for different tasks. It’s totally normal to hold these preferences!

If you cook often, investing in a durable, higher-end knife, like those in the Henckels Forged Premio series, might be beneficial. For less frequent use, a more affordable model may suffice.

2. What Size Knife Are You Comfortable Using?

Knife sizes can affect comfort and functionality. A smaller knife might offer more control, whereas a larger one can handle bigger items. Henckels provides a range of sizes to fit your needs. Either way, a knife should feel balanced in your hand and not cause strain on your fingers or wrist. Discovering this could be instant, but it could also take many months of use before deciding if a knife is actually comfortable for your needs — it’s okay if you don’t know right away!

3. What Handle Type Do You Find Most Comfortable?

Comfort is crucial when it comes to knives. Henckels knives come with different handle designs and materials. You’ll most commonly see triple-rivet handles or full stainless construction for durability. Finding a handle that fits your hand comfortably will make food preparation more enjoyable and efficient. Don’t worry if it takes you a couple of tries to find the right set!

4. How Much Maintenance Are You Willing to Undertake?

All knives require care, but some need more maintenance than others. Higher-end models might require regular honing and special cleaning, while lower-end knives might be more forgiving and dishwasher-safe.

5. How Much Should Henckels Knives Cost?

Henckels is not exactly a premium brand, focusing mostly on high-value, low-cost knives, but they do offer some better-quality knives (mentioned later in the article). They have a range of prices depending on the type, design, and materials, and ultimately the number of knives included in the set will set the discount (typically anywhere from 10%-30% off the retail cost of the individual knife). With full chef’s blocks (15+ pieces), the cost of each knife is significantly reduced to around $20 per knife. Sets with fewer pieces might charge closer to $30-$40 per knife.

What Are the Different Types of Henckels Knives?

There are several types of Henckels knives that mostly differ in the way they are constructed. They have an all-stainless construction that feels modern and is easy to clean. Then there’s the traditional riveted and stamped metal construction, which is the most affordable while still feeling aesthetically relevant. Last, we have fully forged knives that hold strength and durability as a top priority. Below are three sets with all the essentials. Each has a different construction type and some info on why one might prefer one or the other.

1. Henckels Modernist 13-Piece Knife Set With Block

With an all-stainless construction, the Modernist knives are great for anyone who wants simple and easy-to-clean knives. While I never recommend putting your kitchen knives in the dishwasher (neither does any knife manufacturer), there are still tons of people who insist on doing so. These all-metal knives are going to fare slightly better than other knives because at least the handles won’t fall apart in the wash cycle.

2. Henckels Statement 12-Piece Kitchen Knife Set With Block

Henckels’ solution for affordability is these stamped metal knives with a blend of mostly traditional and some modern aesthetics. Unlike the Modernist knives above, I would recommend never putting these in the dishwasher (hand wash only!).

3. Henckels Forged Premio

The forged construction of these knives places them in the upper tier of quality (and cost) with Henckels, yet they’re still quite a bit more affordable than most forged knives from other manufacturers. Premio knives tend to blend modern and traditional aesthetics, blurring the lines between affordable and premium knives that provide top precision and full-tang construction.

How to Choose the Best Knife for You

Photo by Forty Forks

The following are examples of people I’ve helped to find their ideal knife sets, whether they were professional chefs or home cooks. In these cases, Henckels was offered as a budget option that held comparable value next to more expensive options.


Needs: A full chef’s block with steak knives

Features to Look for: Affordable yet stylish, would love a built-in knife sharpener but is open to having a sharpener on the side

Products to Consider:

  • Henckels Statement 20-Piece Self-Sharpening Block: This is my top choice for affordability while providing a good blend of practical utility and a variety of knives. I don’t love that the steak knives use serrated edges — let’s keep that to the bread and utility knives.
  • Cangshan Helena 23-Piece Block Set: My overall top choice for value and variety at a fair price, this set uses German steel similar to Zwilling Pro at about half the cost. The steak knives use a fine-edge design, which is my personal preference for easy slicing.
  • Zwilling Twin Signature 15-Piece Self-Sharpening Set: German forged but still affordable, this set focuses on the core chef knives and a set of steak knives for serving.


Needs: A knife block set with kitchen shears

Features to Look for: Affordable but open to spending more for a nicer set, just doesn’t know what he’s looking for

Products to Consider:


Needs: New kitchen knives to replace a set from 30 years ago; would love to have steak knives included

Features to Look for: German stainless steel, but open to anything and might want to spend less, so would also like a couple of budget options

Products to Consider:

Find the Best Henckels Knife for You

Photo courtesy of Henckels

I hope this list gives you a decent Henckels knife review, some clarity on what’s good, and also a couple of other similar brands to put your eyes on. I typically don’t recommend budget knives of any kind unless someone is strict about their budget. Otherwise, I do suggest that it’s worth spending a few hundred more on a set that has more refinement. If you’re unsure about what Henckels knife is going to best suit your needs, please chat with me or one of my fellow Curated Kitchen Experts, and we’ll help you find the perfect option!

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