Wüsthof and Zwilling JA Henckels are the names that leap into focus if you’re looking for leading German knife manufacturers.
Both logos enjoy global popularity, and many successful TV chefs won’t use any other brand in their shows.
On the other hand, these products come with hefty price tags, indicating top-tier production values.
As a result, people often wonder which brand is more worthy of their hard-earned cash. So, Wüsthof vs. Zwilling JA Henckels: what’s the difference?
At a glance, any of these products will fit nicely in your kitchen set. While that is 100% true, some details might tilt your affection one way or the other. However, the basic fact is that these titans produce sharp, durable, and stylish cutlery.
Wusthof vs. Zwilling JA Henckels: Comparison at a Glance
|Features||Zwilling JA Henckels Knives||Wusthof Knives|
|Country of origin||Solingen, Germany||Solingen, Germany|
|Type of steel||high carbon stainless steel||chromium- molybdenum-vanadium steel|
|Sharpness angle||15 degree angle per side||14 degree angle per side|
|Product lines||6 forged||6 Forged, 1 stamp|
|Design||Western style||Western style|
|Handle Material||Polypropylene, Grenadill Wood||Polyoxymethylene, Polypropylene, Richlite, and “Grenadill” African Blackwood|
|Blade Hardness||Rockwell Hardness of 57||Rockwell Hardness of 58|
|Warranty||Limited Lifetime Warranty||Limited Lifetime Warranty|
|Most Popular product||ZWILLING Twin Signature 7-inch Santoku Knife||WÜSTHOF Classic 8 Inch Chef’s Knife
4 Essential Differences Between Wusthof & Zwilling JA Henckels
To compare them in detail, we’ve divided their stronger suits into four categories. Next, we’ve pitted these aspects across their lines of products. These are the qualities we deemed essential:
- Manufacturing methods
- History of these brands
1. Manufacturing Methods
The comprising steel amalgams are the key to any high-quality kitchen utensils. To create competitive products, companies search for the most advanced manufacturing methods.
The story gets complicated soon when it comes to leading brands like Wüsthof and Zwilling JA Henckels.
To make their blades, Wüsthof uses elements like Molybdenum and Vanadium. Such substances add viscosity and strength to the outcome. Aside from that, they use stainless steel as well. Also, all the blades and handles are single-piece, full-tang from tip to heel.
As for the steel amalgam, Wüsthof utilizes only the special X50CrMoV15 alloy. This results in durable blades with high chromium content.
Zwilling JA Henckels
On the other hand, Zwilling JA Henckels knives are made up of 18/10 high carbon stainless steel. Also, they use advanced finishing methods to create rust-resistant blades.
For example, this company is the creator of a very high-end method that allowed them to stay ahead of the curve.
That is the unique ice-hardening technique called Friodur. In that way, they can achieve an optimal degree of hardness.
As a result of their creative approach and leading facilities, Zwilling JA Henckels takes the win here. Though Wüsthof’s more classic approach is also top-tier, their overall manufacturing methods are more common.
As a result of their different manufacturing processes, these knives vary in terms of sturdiness.
Wüsthof’s hardness rate is 58 on the Rockwell scale. This means the knife can withstand a lot of pressure, and it’d be very difficult to chip it during regular use. For context, note that the best kitchen knives have a hardness rating between 56-58.
Zwilling JA Henckels
Researchers give Zwilling JA Henckels’ knives a rating of 56 or 57 on the Rockwell scale. That means they, too, fall in the category of very hard kitchen cutlery.
The difference between these two products is very slight in terms of hardness. So, both companies aim to create strong steel amalgams that you won’t chip by accident.
Here’s a comparison between the aesthetics of these kitchen knives.
Wüsthof is famous for making durable chef’s knives that both master chefs and home cooks can use for any sort of dish.
Also, they follow a classic outline that adds to a well-balanced tool. Plus, the unique alloy makes them perfect for displaying on your new kitchen counter.
Zwilling JA Henckels
These products generally have thinner blades and slightly lower weights than Wüsthof’s offerings. Naturally, this gives them an edge in finer tasks like filleting fish or peeling fruits. However, it also means they’re somewhat more brittle.
Even if they haven’t experimented much in this regard, the classic look of Wüsthof’s knives is more than just for show. The wide blades with proper handles make these knives both beginner-friendly and an elite choice.
4. History of These Brands
Both of these brands pioneered many changes in the industry, one great invention before the next. As such, they have rich histories of overcoming obstacles and evolving their brands. This is a short summary of their success stories.
Wüsthof has been in the industry since 1814 and started as a family business. The company originated from Solingen, known as the “City of Blades” due to being the center of this industry.
Over the years, the company worked towards creating top-tier cutlery items that last a long time. In the 1930s, they switched to using stainless steel for all products.
They launched their signature Classic and Grand Prix series in that same century. Both critics and consumers took a great liking to these items. Nowadays, the company employs around 500 expert artisans.
Zwilling JA Henckels
Zwilling JA Henckels is also a legendary name in the industry. This company started in 1731 when Peter Henckels registered as the owner of Zwilling, aiming to improve the brand’s success.
Like Wüsthof, the company originated from the city of blades, Solingen. Also, similarly, they too started out as a budding family business that Peter Henckel’s son later expanded.
However, Zwilling JA Henckels broke ground in the west much sooner than Wüsthof in 1818. Next, they continue to rapidly grow their business in countries like Austria and the UK.
Hence, they were very popular on a global level at the start of the 20th century. In the early 1900s, they won a handful of prestigious accolades that secured their top market position.
Nowadays, the company has numerous subsidiaries in Canada, Brazil, Italy, Japan, etc.
Though both these brands have a lot of stories to tell, Zwilling JA Henckels is the one with a longer portfolio. However, it’s worth noting that these companies show no signs of stopping and keep on evolving with the times.
Therefore, keeping track of their latest offerings is a good idea. As for the high asking price, you can wait for a seasonal sale to land a decent deal, even on elite items like these.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Zwilling JA Henckels the parent company of Wüsthof?
No, both are different brands that originated in the city of Solingen, Germany. Also, both of these companies sport centuries-long market presence.
However, their production methods and the steel amalgams they use differ. Yet, look for their logos if you want expensive but durable kitchen knives.
2. Which brands do chefs mostly use?
Besides industry titans like Wüsthof and Zwilling JA Henckels, today’s chefs also highly respect brands like Shun, Kramer, Mercer Culinary, etc.
However, these are all costly options, so plan your budget accordingly. Naturally, they are far more durable than most other products you’ll find online.
It might be difficult to decide between Wüsthof and Zwilling JA Henckels. After all, these names are synonymous with top-quality German-made cutlery. Hence, it mostly comes down to your personal preferences and budget.
As for their longevity, you shouldn’t worry either way. All items of their respective production lines pass rigid internal tests for durability before moving to commerce.
However, note that most of their items resemble typical chef’s knives, though ones of the highest quality. As such, the most popular items might not be ideal for high-precision tasks like fileting or peeling.
Yet, they will excel in the more common tasks like chopping, dicing, and mincing. Also, ensure to inquire about the best ways to maintain these fancy knives in tip-top condition.