Best Kitchen Knife Brands 2020
A Comprehensive Comparison of 11 Amazing Knife Makers
By Bobby B. | Updated January 15, 2020 | Knives
To understand the type of product we’re buying in today’s world, it’s important to know what the best kitchen knife brands stand for, what they’re good at, and how experienced they are. The list below includes many of the globe’s top knife manufacturers. Some of them have been around for hundreds of years and others are mere toddlers in the knife making field. Many of them make knives of very high quality, including some that are hand-made, while others pride themselves and producing an affordable product for the masses.
It’s true that materials, processes, and customer reviews are an integral part of the kitchen knife buying process. You can read all about that in our buying guide for each individual style of knife. But to truly understand the best brand of kitchen knives, we needed a place to dive deeper and compare these great companies, many of which have made knives the same way for over a century!
First we’ll cover several of the top kitchen knife brands, where they’re from, and what they are known for. If you’re interested in more information, you can follow through to a more detailed review of each particular brand’s knife models. At the bottom of the page, we’ve also provided links to some head-to-head brand comparison pages that we’ve designed around popular queries.
ZWILLING J.A. Henckels
“Crafted in the city of blades”
ZWILLING is one of the oldest knife makers in the world, founded way back in 1731 in Solingen, Germany. They are known for their German heritage, high-quality German steel, and fine craftsmanship. Like many other brands, J.A. Henckels manufactures knives of various quality levels and price points so that everyone can afford their knives.
In addition to the standard ZWILLING or J.A. Henckels brands, this company also manufactures knives under some lesser-known brands. Follow through the link below to learn more about these brands and some of the more popular ZWILLING J.A. Henckels knife sets.
Last, but certainly not least, ZWILLING is a leader in the humanities. They have programs for hiring disabled workers and a foundation for helping disabled children in India in skill development. They are well-known for giving back to their community in many ways.
“Passion – Diligence – Perfection”
Wüsthof, also based out of Solingen, Germany, has been family owned for over 200 years. They pride themselves on making very high-quality knives. While many of the processes are the same as they were many years ago, new laser measurement technology has since increased the accuracy and precision to make a more consistent product with a 20% sharper edge.
In keeping with their “brand”, Wüsthof makes some of the nicest forged, full-tang kitchen knives around. However, to cater to more customers, they also have entry level kitchen knife sets available. To learn more about the different sets, click on the link below for more details.
Wüsthof also has a long history of being environmentally conscience and producing awesome knives in a responsible manner. Some examples of this are their modern production facilities and reduction in CO2 and wastewater.
“A functional work of art”
Shun knives are actually made by the Kai Corporation in Seki City, Japan, and have been for over 100 years. Seki City, was made famous by the ancient sword makers, but now is also home to many of the world’s best kitchen knife brands, including Shun Cutlery.
Shun makes mostly traditional Japanese style knives with lighter, thinner, sharper blades. Their knives are hand-made by skilled artisans. Each one taking over 100 steps to finish, Shun knives are really beautiful and functional. For this reason, Shun-brand knives are towards the higher end. While they do offer knives in different price ranges, they do not typically manufacture the lower end, cheaper style kitchen knives.
“The new guy on the block”
As their founder, David Dallaire, puts it, “Dalstrong is the new guy on the block”. As a relatively new knife maker when compared to many others on this page, Dalstrong has a lot of catching up to do. That doesn’t mean they don’t make fantastic knives however.
Dalstrong brings modern technology and methods to knife making, providing a top-notch value proposition to its customers. The materials, builds, and looks are all world-class, but their price points are lower than many of the “big name” knife brands! We are excited to see what Dalstrong comes out with next.
They are able to keep their costs low by importing the high-end steels to China where they produce their knives in mass production. This obviously lowers the labor costs of being hand-crafted in Japan or Germany like many of the older kitchen knife brands.
“Setting the New Standard”
Zelite Infinity is another newer and smaller kitchen knife brand. They are a family trying to innovate the way knives are made. According to their website, the promise they make to their customers is to produce knives with uncompromising quality and engineering greatness while providing outstanding customer service.
Typically in the kitchen knife market, you have German or “Western-style” knives and you have Asian inspired knives. One thing that’s somewhat unique to Zelite Infinity is that they manufacture kitchen knives in both styles. Not only do they incorporate the blade shapes in these styles, but they also use traditional German and Japanese steels when they make them as well.
Along with many series of kitchen knives vaulting this brand into the spotlight, they do it at a price-point anyone can afford. Their higher-end knives are made of similar materials as the big brands, but at a must lower cost to their customers. Part of this is due to the mass production processes and the fact that they are actually made in a Chinese factories versus producing them in Germany or Japan like many other knife makers.
Global knives, manufactured in Japan, have a very unique and discernable look to them. They appear very industrial and are made almost exclusively of metal. To be more specific, they are made of Cromova. It’s a combination of the molybdenum and vanadium elements that keeps the edge sharper longer.
The two strengths that Global Cutlery touts about their kitchen knives are their edge and their balance. Like Western knives, they are typically sharpened on both sides. However, the angle of their edge is much steeper, and the blade thinner, than that of most Western knives. This makes the edge sharper and keeps it sharper even as is dulls.
Lastly, the balance of a Global knife is on point. Their handles are hollow and filled with sand to keep the weight distributed perfectly for uniform balance across the entire knife. This makes cutting and use their kitchen knives much more user friendly.
“Red Dot Award Winner”
The Cangshan Cutlery Company was stated by Henry Liu. He had a vision for making knives that were truly unique and beautiful, not just basic kitchen knives. He got just that when he found a manufacturer in Yangjiang, China where knives have been made for over 1000 years.
Cangshan combines both Western and Japanese inspiration in their knives. The design and beauty is a thing to behold. As a kind of confirmation for their passion for design, they were recently awarded some of the the prestigious Red Dot Design Awards.
Cangshan has top rated kitchen knives that are priced in the mid-range and others that would be considered more expensive and high-end. They are spectacular looking knives and a great addition to your kitchen.
“The maker of the Swiss Army Knife”
The most popular thing to come out of Victorinox was the Swiss Army Knife, designed way back in 1891. It actually was originally made for the Swiss Army. Most of Victorinox’s products, including their kitchen knives, are still made in Switzerland today.
Many of their kitchen knives sport the red or black Fibrox material handle. They are relatively inexpensive when compared to other top kitchen knife brands. They come in many different shapes and sizes and are affordable to all. Perhaps the most popular and most recognizable of all the Victorinox kitchen knives is their paring knife.
“Ichigo Ichie: Every moment is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”
Yoshihiro produces very high-end Japanese style knives. Each one is meticulously hand-forged by Artisans with many years of experience in the knife making craft. Like many other top knife brands out of Japan, Yoshihiro uses high carbon Japanese steels to create ultra-hard, super-sharp blades.
While Yoshihiro makes all kinds of Japanese slicing knives from chef’s knives to vegetable knives, and even butcher knives, they are most known for their sushi and sashimi knives. They are “THE” go-to kitchen knife brand in this market and make a wonderful knife that any sashimi chef would love to have.
“Something for everyone”
From the same company that produces Corelle dinnerware, Pyrex glassware, and CorningWare baking dishes, Corelle Brands brings us Chicago Cutlery knives.
Chicago Cutlery is a good kitchen knife brand that makes professional-grade knives for the home chef. They produce affordable knives that look nice and have good balance. They claim to be the #1 brand in forged cutlery. They have a nice product and are priced for masses, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Chicago Cutlery appears to produce at least most of their knives in manufacturing facilities in China. They don’t use the ultra high-quality materials that some of the others on this list use. With this combination, they are able to provide decent knives at a very affordable price. Their kitchen knife sets are very popular among average U.S. households.
“Knives stay sharp for a lifetime”
You may recognize the Calphalon brand name from your pots and pans, small appliances, or even bakeware, but they also produce some decent, inexpensive cutlery products. While they probably aren’t going to revolutionize kitchen knife design anytime soon, they make a good product at a great price. For those that like the brand, their knives are a good option and they can be found in kitchens all across America.
As it relates to knives, Calphalon’s claim to fame in recent years is their SharpIN technology. This is where they build in a ceramic knife sharpener in their knife block so that the knife blade is sharpened every time it’s pulled out to be used. This is what they call their “self-sharpening” technology. It’s a pretty good gimmick that makes this series of their knives pretty popular among consumers who don’t care about higher-quality materials and expensive knives.
Other Top Kitchen Knife Brands
Of course there are hundreds of brands of kitchen knives in the world. Many of them are good, but we don’t have the time or space to write about all of them here. There are obviously other high-end niche brands similar to that of Yoshihiro for sushi knives above that fit the mold in other genres. In addition, there are numerous more affordable brands available as well as some manufacturers that have products that cover all facets of the kitchen that also happen to include knives.
Some of the other best knife brands for your kitchen include Mac, Zyliss, KitchenAid, Cuisinart, Amazon Basics, Mercer Culinary, OXO, and Rada Cutlery.