An Expert Guide to WÜSTHOF Knives

Published on 03/01/2024 · 11 min readCraft your culinary masterpiece with WÜSTHOF knives: Delve into our expert guide on their renowned precision, balance, and craftsmanship for every kitchen task!
Di Doherty, Kitchen Expert
By Kitchen Expert Di Doherty

Photo courtesy of WÜSTHOF

TL;DR: WÜSTHOF is a German knife manufacturer that’s been in business for more than two centuries. When buying knives from WÜSTHOF, consider whether you want a knife set, what kind of handle you want, and how to properly care for the knives.

I find nothing more satisfying than using a good sharp knife, especially right after I’ve just touched up the edge. I have a large collection of primarily Western knives that I enjoy keeping in top condition. A sharp, well-cared-for knife makes prep work much easier and is also safer to use.

Are you considering buying a WÜSTHOF knife? As the company’s been around for so long, there are a lot of different options, even within the same brand. If you’re unsure about anything or are looking for suggestions, start a free chat with a Curated Kitchen Expert! All of our Experts are well-versed in brand differences, knife care, and what type of knife is best for what task.

Who Is WÜSTHOF?

WÜSTHOF was founded in 1814, which means that the history of the German brand goes back more than 200 years. In the beginning, the founder was making scissors in the basement of his home. His sons expanded the business from there, giving the company a fascinating origin story. And even after all this time, it’s still a family-owned company.

The company is headquartered in what is aptly called the City of Blades: Solingen, Germany. All WÜSTHOF knives are made in Germany, and the company touts its dedication to keeping their production and craftsmen local.

Their manufacturing focuses on well-made kitchen knives that appeal to home cooks and professionals alike. The knives are Western style (which makes sense, as it’s alternatively called German style), meaning that they’re focused on durability. They’re heavier than Japanese-style knives but can be used even for serious tasks like hard vegetables without worrying about damaging the knife blade.

What to Consider When Buying a WÜSTHOF Knife

A WÜSTHOF brand knife isn’t going to be cheap, so it’s important to make sure that you’re getting the right knife for your needs. Here are some questions to ask yourself when picking out a knife from this brand.

What Type of Handle Do I Want?

The company has several different options in terms of handles. It largely comes down to whether you’d prefer a wooden handle or a synthetic one.

  • Wood: Several of WÜSTHOF’s knife collections have handles made from different types of wood, including African blackwood, olivewood, smoked oak, and European beechwood. While wooden handles are beautiful and have a sure grip even when wet, they do require additional maintenance.
  • Plastic: While a plastic handle makes the knife sound cheap, WÜSTHOF uses high-quality materials that are comfortable and easy to keep clean, and they are available in different colors. Plastic is used in their Classic, Gourmet, and Classic Ikon lines, all of which have the trident logo on the handle.
  • Synthetic: At the moment, only the Performer series uses the synthetic honeycomb handle design. It allows for a sure grip even when your hand is wet and gives the knife a highly modern look.

Do I Want to Buy a Set?

There are advantages and disadvantages to buying a WÜSTHOF knife set. The primary advantage is that a set is less expensive than buying each knife individually, though it will have a higher upfront cost. Most knife sets also come with a storage solution, such as a knife block.

Purchasing individual knives has the benefit of being able to spread the money you spend over time. It also allows you to get just the knives that you want or need. Knife sets always include certain knives, like chef’s knives, utility knives, and paring knives, as they’re the most used. But if you’re looking for something more unusual, such as a filet knife, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one in a set.

How Do I Care for WÜSTHOF Knives?

Making sure that you properly care for your knives will ensure that they stay sharp and last a long time. Here are a few tips to make sure that your knives stay in good condition.

  • Handwash: While some of WŨSTHOF’s knives are dishwasher safe, it’s better for the longevity and edge retention of the knife if you clean them by hand. Dishwashers are hard on knives because of the harsh cleaning agents in the detergent and how long the knife stays wet. These factors also can promote rust.
  • Proper storage: Making sure that your knife is safely stored is one of the best things you can do for it. Not only is a knife that’s left in a drawer or on the counter a potential hazard to you (WÜSTHOF’s knives are very, very sharp!), but it is easy for the knife to get dulled or damaged. If you buy a separate knife block, sheath, or drawer tray, make sure that the blades fit properly in it. A too-tight fit will dull the knives every time you force them in or out.
  • Cutting surface: Having a high-quality cutting surface not only protects your countertops, it protects your knife. Very hard surfaces like stone, glass, or metal will dull your blade and can even ding the edge (not to mention the fact that they’re loud). I prefer wood or bamboo, but a high-quality plastic board can work well.
  • Honing: A honing steel is important to keep your knives functioning properly. The blade of the knife has a very thin edge, which means that it can bend or curl when it’s used. Running the knife along a honing steel will straighten that edge out, restoring its sharpness. And as this doesn't take any metal off, it can be done every time you use your knife.

Types of WÜSTHOF Knives

WÜSTHOF has several different knife collections. All WÜSTHOF knives have a full tang, and almost all are rated at 58 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale, but there are differences in handle construction, blade material, and price.

Classic

WÜSTHOF Classic 8" Chef's Knife. Photo courtesy of WÜSTHOF

The WÜSTHOF line that has been around the longest, the Classic collection is a solid choice.

Benefits:

  • Has a wide variety of knife types and knife sets to choose from
  • Is forged with a full tang, so will last for decades

Be Aware:

  • Has a plain, utilitarian design
  • Not every knife offered in every handle color

Classic Ikon

WÜSTHOF 10" Classic Ikon Chef Knife. Photo courtesy of WÜSTHOF

This line adds an elegant twist to the Classic collection. The handle is sleek and has a double bolster for durability.

Benefits:

  • Has a sleek design that makes it clear it’s a high-end knife
  • Synthetic handle material resists fading and doesn't require any extra care

Be Aware:

  • More expensive than the Classic collection
  • Has limited handle color options

Amici

WÜSTHOF Amici 6-Piece Knife Block Set. Photo courtesy of WÜSTHOF

This series of knives offers Calabrian olivewood handles. The wood, which has natural antibacterial properties, is sourced from older trees that bear little to no fruit.

Benefits:

  • Beautiful handle is unique because of the differences in grain
  • Highly durable and designed for daily use

Be Aware:

  • Olivewood requires frequent oiling to keep it from drying out and cracking
  • This knife series is expensive

Crafter

WÜSTHOF Crafter 7 in. Santoku Knife. Photo courtesy of WÜSTHOF

The Crafter series takes the Classic’s ergonomic design for their handles and makes them out of smoked oak. The understated wooden handles have WÜSTHOF’s trident logo on them and a bolster for durability.

Benefits:

  • Oak handles are durable and biodegradable
  • Has a vintage design

Be Aware:

  • Wooden handles require extra care and oiling
  • Limited selection of knives

Ikon

WÜSTHOF Ikon 7-Piece Knife Block Set. Photo courtesy of WÜSTHOF

The Ikon series takes the Ikon Classic’s sleek, ergonomic handle and adds African blackwood. These forged knives have a visible tang, bolster, and an understated design that goes with any kitchen.

Benefits:

  • African blackwood handles add elegance to the knife.
  • Handles are comfortable and nonslip

Be Aware:

  • Wooden handles require regular oiling
  • More expensive than other lines

Performer

WÜSTHOF Performer Chef's Knife. Photo courtesy of WÜSTHOF

This series is thoroughly modern, with a synthetic handle and a black coating on the blade. The coating is water resistant and scratch resistant and gives the knife a futuristic appearance.

Benefits:

  • Coating increases the Rockwell hardness to 104 without making the blade brittle
  • Eye-catching standout design

Be Aware:

  • Only five different types of knives are available
  • Honeycomb design on the handle may be distracting to some users because of its texture

Gourmet

WÜSTHOF also offers stamped knives for those who are looking for a budget option. These knives have a full tang, though they have a lower HRC rating of 56 rather than the 58 of most WÜSTHOF knives.

Benefits:

  • Highly affordable
  • Lightweight than their forged counterparts

Be Aware:

  • Stamped knives require more frequent sharpening
  • Less durable and won’t last as long if used heavily

Urban Farmer

WÜSTHOF Urban Farmer 6" Chef's Knife. Photo courtesy of WÜSTHOF

If you’re looking for an affordable, sustainable knife, then the Urban Farmer series deserves a look. The handles are made from roasted European beechwood.

Benefits:

  • European beechwood is locally sourced, lowering the carbon footprint used to manufacture them
  • Lightweight and nimble

Be Aware:

  • Relatively expensive for stamped knives
  • Steel isn’t as hard as their forged knives, so it won’t hold an edge as well

Features to Look For

Forged

Forging is a process used for manufacturing knives. It harks back to the way blacksmiths made knives by heating and then shaping the metal. The modern process allows for a great deal of control over temperature and what is added to the iron to make the alloy.

The alternative is stamping, which involves cutting the knife out of a piece of steel with a die.

Benefits:

  • Forging process allows for a better grain on the steel, resulting in a more durable knife
  • Hold an edge for longer

Be Aware:

  • More expensive
  • Not as lightweight as a stamped knife

Wooden Handle

I prefer a wooden handle to a synthetic one. They’re beautiful and give the knife an elegant, high-end look. My opinion is that if you’re going to buy a knife from a premium brand, you should get one that looks the part.

Benefits:

  • Natural antibacterial properties
  • Non-slip, even when wet
  • Biodegradable

Be Aware:

  • Requires additional care in terms of oiling
  • Absorbs liquids and oils

How to Pick the Right WÜSTHOF Knife for You

While it’s difficult to go wrong with a knife made by WÜSTHOF, finding just the right one can be time consuming. In order to give you a leg up, I’m going to describe three people and what I’d recommend they buy.

Ruby: Cooking Enthusiast Looking to Invest in Her Pastime

Ruby loves cooking and has decided that it’s time for her to put money into her hobby. She’s looking for good-quality kitchen knives that will last a long time and help her with prepwork when making delicious dishes. She wants a sharp knife that’ll maintain its edge and will be easy to use.

Features to look for:

  • Forged knives for edge retention and durability
  • Knives that are used for prepwork

Recommended products: WÜSTHOF Classic Chef's Knife, WÜSTHOF Classic Hollow Edge Nakiri Knife

Maurice: Baker Who Wants High-Quality Knives

Maurice loves to bake and has a variety of high-end bakeware. As he likes to make fruit pies, tarts, and other desserts that require prepping fruit, he’d like sharp knives that will help with those tasks. He’d also like a knife that’s good for cutting cakes, quickbreads, and other baked goods for a clean serving.

Features to look for:

  • A serrated knife for slicing baked goods
  • A paring or peeling knife for peeling fruits for pies and cobblers

Recommended products: WÜSTHOF Classic Peeling Knife, WÜSTHOF Classic Serrated Utility Knife

Zeke: Knife Lover Looking for Beautiful, High-End Knives

Zeke has a wide variety of knives, but he’s looking to round out his collection with a few gorgeous additions. Since this is his passion, he’s willing to spend his discretionary income on it. Having to care for the knives isn’t an issue for him either, as he enjoys spending time doing it.

Features to look for:

  • Wooden handles for comfort and beauty
  • Distinct or unique knives

Recommended products: WÜSTHOF Amici Hollow Edge Santoku Knife, Ikon 6-Piece Mixed Wood Steak Knife Set with Leather Knife Roll

Find the Best WÜSTHOF Knife for You

Finding the perfect knife can be time consuming. To cut down on research time, reach out to a Curated Kitchen Expert! Every Expert at Curated is knowledgeable about brand differences, knife care, and what types of knives are best for what tasks. And since it's part of our guarantee that you’ll love what you buy from us, it’s completely free.

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!

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