A Complete Wusthof Knives Review:
Classic vs Ikon vs Gourmet
By Bobby B. | June 20, 2019 | Knife Brands
Wusthof is one of the oldest and most respected knife makers in the world. Their heavy-duty Western-style knives are an iconic part of kitchen knife history over the past couple centuries. Famous TV chefs such as Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver have been known to use Wusthof knives at points throughout their careers.
Wusthof started making their knives in Solingen, Germany over 200 years ago, and still makes them there today. Solingen is known as the “City of Blades” and is well known for very high quality knife makers, including J.A. Henckels among others. There are even laws that require knife makers in Solingen to follow very strict quality standards. Clearly Wusthof knives have proven themselves over the years and have become quite a trusted brand.
Wusthof Knife Lines
Like many other top kitchen knife brands, Wusthof makes several different knife lines to accommodate different tastes and levels of affordability. Everyone wants the best knife in the world, but not everyone wants to pay for it of course. Wusthof does a fine job of balancing high quality knives with affordability. As you’ll see below in our Wusthof knife reviews, there really is something for everyone in their line-up.
Wusthof Pro Review:
The Wusthof Pro series is the least expensive of their knife lines. Rather than forging this knife, it’s laser-cut stamped, and therefore is not as heavy-duty and will need sharpened more often than a forged knife. This also makes the Wusthof Pro knife very light and thin, similar to a Victorinox-brand kitchen knife. It has a soft-poly synthetic handle that is ergonomically designed to be slip resistant. This is an entry level knife with good balance that definitely won’t break the bank.
Wusthof Gourmet Review:
The Gourmet Series is our favorite of the “cheap Wushtof knives”. Again, it’s cheap because it’s a laser-cut stamped blade and therefore lighter-duty and thinner than a forged knife that would be much stronger and heavier. The Wusthof Gourmet knives are full-tang and have a synthetic handle designed for comfort and control. If you’re looking for an inexpensive Wusthof knife, at least the Gourmet Series gives you the classic look most are accustomed to from this great German knife maker.
Wusthof Grand Prix II
Wusthof Grand Prix II Review:
The Grand Prix II is the lowest cost knife in the Wusthof family that is forged from a single piece of German Steel, X50CrMoV15 to be more specific. You can read more on this steel below in “How They’re Made”. The synthetic handles are full-tang and triple-riveted for strength. Although it has the full bolster, the handle almost appears plastic and makes the overall weight of this knife feel lighter than the other forged Wusthof knives. It might have a good performance versus price value, but it’s definitely not the most popular knife in their lines. Perhaps this is because it doesn’t have the pzazz the others still to come in our Wusthof knife reviews do.
Wusthof Classic Review:
The Wusthof Classic Series is literally “the classic” German knife and was the original. It’s exactly what we think of when we picture a German kitchen knife. It’s a full bolster, full-tang, triple-riveted knife made out of German Steel (again X50CrMoV15). The classic look is loved by Chefs all around the world and the weight and balance from this heavy-duty German knife feels very nice in your hands. With over 50 different knives available, the Wusthof Classic line offers more options that any other. Because of this, it is the go-to series if you want all of kitchen knives to match. It’s also definitely one of our favorites in the Wusthof family with its traditional look and history.
Wusthof Classic Ikon
Wusthof Classic Ikon Review:
Another favorite of our is the Wusthof Classic Ikon. Similar to the Classic, this knife series exudes a rich, classic German knife appearance, basic yet refined and a bit more modern. Its synthetic handle gives the look and feel or wood and is exceptionally durable. It uses the same German steel, X50CrMoV15, is full-tang, and triple riveted, but only uses a half bolster. This makes the Wusthof Classic Ikon knives much easier to sharpen the entire blade than those that have the full bolster like the Classic and Grand Prix II. In addition, there’s a bolster on the butt of this knife for added balance.
Wusthof Classic Ikon Creme
Wusthof Classic Ikon Creme Review:
The Wusthof Classic Ikon Creme Series has a unique look to it. It’s basically the exact same knife as the Classic Ikon, but comes with a white, or creme, colored handle. It kind of gives the knife an “Old West” feel to it, right? Think of pearly grips on some of the pistols in those old Western films. I digress. Yes, the Classic Ikon Creme uses the same blade steel, 3 rivets, and full-tang used in the black-colored version of this knife. It also has the added bolster to the butt of the knife to improve balance and add weight. It’s a pretty sophisticated looking knife if you like the white color.
Wusthof Ikon Review:
The Wusthof Ikon Series has the same shape, curves, blade, and construction of the Ikon Classis knives. However, the handle material is different. The Wusthof Ikon uses a sustainable African Blackwood called Grenadill. It’s seamless and looks absolutely beautiful, not to mention this is one of the hardest woods in the world! Note: You may also see this series unofficially called the “Wusthof Ikon Blackwood” to differentiate its handle from the Classic Ikon knives. On their website, Wusthof calls the Ikon “The Jewel of Our Collection”. If you’re looking for a high-end gift for a loved one, the Wusthof Ikon would make an absolutely great choice!
Wusthof Epicure Review:
The Wusthof Epicure family of knives is a more recent design. The Wusthof engineers kept many of the same features their other popular knives have, but also made some major changes for this new series. For instance, it was back to basics with the full bolster between the blade and the handle. On the other hand, they slightly re-shaped the blade, making it have a sharper angle at the tip and a bit wider than previous knives. The more rounded handle is made with Richlite, a composite of recycled and sustainable wooden fibers. This makes Epicure eco-friendly and great for users that have larger hands.
here’s a quick video providing you with a closer look & more detail on Wusthof’s knife lines.
Wusthof Knives – How They Are Made
We already mentioned at the outset of this page, Wusthof and German knives in general take great pride in the quality of their processes and materials. After making knives for over 200 years, you probably learn a thing or two about the right way to do stuff. As a family owned business for 7 generations now, Wusthof has become one of the most trusted manufactures in both Germany and the world over.
In order to understand why, let’s take a look at these processes and materials.
For those who want to benefit from the quality of Wusthof, rather than just the name brand, you should pay particular attention to their forged knives, rather than those that are stamped. As a reminder…
Forged Knives vs Stamped Knives
Forged knives are made out of a “block” of steel. The steel is heated and hammered over and over, strengthening the steel during the process. This helps the blade not only stay stronger, but keep its sharp edge longer. It’s also a heavier, higher quality knife overall.
On the other hand, stamped knives are literally stamped out of a roll of thin steel and do not go through this process that strengthens the blades. It’s a quicker, cheaper way to produce knives and thus the prices are lower, but the quality is also lower.
The only Wusthof lines that use stamped blades vs forged blades are the Pro and Gourmet Series. That means, you should consider looking through the Grand Prix II, Classic, Classic Ikon, Ikon, or Epicure lines for higher-quality, stronger options. Their blades will need sharpened less, they will be heavier, well-balanced, and last much longer in your kitchen.
Blade Steel: X50CrMoV15
Every Wusthof knife blade is made from German steel. In Wusthof’s case, they always use X50CrMoV15. This steel alloy includes stainless steel as the base material and at least 0.5% carbon to increase hardness. It also adds Chromium (at least 15%) for high stain resistance and Molybdenum for further hardness and corrosion resistance. Last but not least, Vanadium is included to improve durability and hardness. This combined material, Wusthof’s blade steel, helps maintain sharpness for a long time, improves cutting performance, and ensures good resistance to corrosion.
Precision Edge Technology
If you’ve been looking around at Wusthof knives, you’ve probably seen the sales page at Amazon say that the knife includes Precision Edge Technology, or PEtec for short. This is the terminology they’ve given to their automated sharpening process. It’s really just a fancy way of saying they first measure the blades using lasers to calculate the precise sharpening angle on each blade. Then, high-tech manufacturing robots use that information to precision sharpen that blade on a whetstone and polish them on a disc.
So what does all this mean to you, the consumer?
It means sharper, more consistent blades from the factory. They will be optimal throughout the length of the blade as well, which is more difficult to do by hand unless your a very skilled artisan of that trade. It also doubles the edge retention of the blade.
Which Wusthof knives utilize PEtec?
PEtec is used on all of Wusthof’s forged knives. This includes the Grand Prix II, Classic, Ikon, Classic Ikon, and Epicure Series knives.
Sustainability and Environmental Awareness
Wusthof has shown an awareness of the environment around us and wants to make sure they do their part. Producing knives responsibly shows through in both their process and their product.
Their factories are some of the most efficient and modern in the world, limiting wastewater, emissions, and other gases. They excessively filter water as it’s removed from the site and also do their part to reduce noise pollution.
Not only do they consider the environment while building the knives, but Wusthof also shows concern for future generations in the materials they use in the knives themselves. As you saw above, they make knives with wooden handles. They have been considerate enough to always use sustainable products in this case. And further, in their latest product line, the Epicure, they are using recycled materials!
Wusthof Knife Comparison
We’ll admit, it can be a bit confusing when you start looking into Wusthof knives at first. There are so many different options and several of them look alike. In some cases they are very much similar and there are only minor differences, but in other cases, they can be of very different quality levels. In order to make sure that you fully understand the differences in Wusthof’s more popular knives, we’ve assembled the following comparison guides. If you know someone looking to buy the best Wusthof knives, make sure they see this page by using the share buttons along the side of the page.
Wusthof Classic vs Gourmet
There’s so much uncertainty when discussing these two knives. They look so much alike, yet the Classic can cost as much as twice what the Gourmet series knives do. In order to find out more about these knives and why such a drastic price difference, let’s dive deeper in to the Wusthof Gourmet vs Classic showdown!
Classic vs Gourmet Similarities
As in all Wusthof kitchen knives, both the Classic and Gourmet series use X50CrMoV15 German Steel. They also both have nearly identical handles that both give you that classic German look. You can see in these images of their relative chefs knives that they do look very similar.
With these two knife sets being so popular and synonymous with Wusthof, there are many, many knife options in both lines. There’s not shortage of knife types or sets offered with either of them. Here are our favorite sets for each…
Wusthof Classic Knife Set
Wusthof Gourmet Knife Set
Classic vs Gourmet Differences
Here’s where the rubber hits the road. Although these knives look the same and they even use the same blade steel, the quality level between these two knives couldn’t be much more different. But what is the difference between Wusthof Classic and Gourmet knives? The Classic is a forged knife, made from a single chunk of steel. It’s been heated and hammered over and over to increase its strength. It’s heavy duty, thicker, strong, and contains more steel than the stamped Gourmet knife from Wusthof. This is most noticeable when looking at the bolster between the blade and the handle, highlighted in the images below.
In addition, the bolster provides some added safety as a hand/finger guard when cutting. Besides just the bolster, you might remember that the PEtec (Precision Edge Technology) sharpening process above that gives a sharper blade and better blade retention is only included with the Wusthof forged knives, so that leaves the Gourmet Series out in the dark once again.
This difference in quality mentioned above, along with the amount of steel and the additional processes that are required to make Classic better, also come with a cost of course. That price difference is hard to quantify in a general sense. See the links below for current pricing on each.
Wusthof Classic vs Gourmet Conclusion
It’s probably easy to tell which knife we’d recommend between these two options. Even though both of them are nice looking knives, there’s a large difference in quality between them and the Wusthof Classic is so much better for all the reasons mentioned above. Does that mean you shouldn’t buy the Gourmet at all? It wouldn’t be our first choice, but if you’re looking for a budget-friendly knife set with a name brand on it, it’ll be hard to beat the Wusthof Gourmet Series. As mentioned above, they make knives for just about everybody. The Gourmet knives are for those folks that want the name, but don’t care about the quality or longevity of the knife as much. The good news is that it still uses the same German steel for the blade.
Wusthof Classic vs Ikon
In the debate between the Wusthof Classic vs Ikon Series knives, the differences are much more subtle, but they are there. in this case, the knives look more different than in the comparison made above, but they are actually more similar. Crazy, huh? These are both great knife lines by Wusthof. Let’s learn more about them now.
Classic vs Ikon Similarities
Both the Classic and the Ikon are made with the same X50CrMoV15 German steel. They both have a full-tang, are triple-riveted, and are durable, forged knives. The front half of these knives is pretty much identical as you can see in these pictures of the Classic and Ikon knives.
Wusthof Classic Knife Set
Wusthof Ikon Knife Set
Classic vs Ikon Differences
The shape, color, and materials of the handle side of these knives are all different. Certainly the most noticeable difference is the shape of the handles. This is really just a personal preference thing. The curve in the handle of the Ikon doesn’t have a lot to do with performance of the knife, but it certainly gives it a more modern look than the Classic.
Next, the bolster on these two knives is quite different. While the total added weight to the knife may end up being the same, the location of how that weight is distributed is somewhat shifted. As you can see above, the Classic has a full bolster between the blade and the handle. The Wusthof Ikon only uses a half bolster in this spot, but adds another half bolster at the butt-end of the knife as well. In recent years, it’s become more popular to cut with a rocking motion versus more of a chopping style. This added weight in the butt assists the chef with this rocking-style cut.
The last difference is in the handle material itself. Where the Wusthof Classic uses the Polyoxymethylen (POM) synthetic material in the handle, the Ikon uses a beautiful African Blackwood called Grenadill. Both are dense and hard and make great knife handles since they can withstand minimal exposure to moisture without expansion. We think the natural wood handles add to the beauty of the knife, but it also does add slightly to the cost. Click on the images below to check current pricing on both knives.
Wusthof Classic vs Ikon Conclusion
Ok, it’s time to name names. Which one is better between the Classic and Ikon Wusthof knives? The answer is more difficult than it might appear. The reality is that they are both made of very similar quality, so if you like the look or feel of one more than the other, that’s the answer. Since we’re offering our opinion here, we like the modern look and feel of the Wusthof Ikon, but you will likely have to pay a couple extra bucks for the natural wood handles.
Wusthof Classic vs Classic Ikon
This is a very similar comparison as we made above since the Ikon and the Classic Ikon are basically the same knife with the exception of the handle material. Again, two great, high-quality kitchen knives from Wusthof.
Classic vs Classic Ikon Similarities
Both the Wusthof Classic and Wusthof Classic Ikon knives are of course forged, full-tang, made of the same German steel, and of the high quality you’ve come to expect from this brand after reading this page. Neither of these knives has any shortcomings in that area.
The Classic and Classic Ikon are both popular Wuthof knives, probably the two most readily available of their forged knives. They have many different options when it comes to Wusthof knife sets and just individual knife availability. Some of the newer or less common (think Epicure or Ikon Classic Creme) knife lines by Wusthof have fewer options, but with these two, you should be able to find anything you need, especially if building a set of matching knives is important to you.
Wusthof Classic Knife Set
Wusthof Classic Ikon Knife Set
Classic vs Classic Ikon Differences
Time to discuss the difference between Wusthof Classic and Classic Ikon. Again, pretty much all the difference is in the handle and bolster. First, you can see in the images below the how they are shaped. The Classic Ikon has a rounded, humped shape that helps keep your hand secure on the knife, while the Wusthof classic has the full bolster which acts as a finger guard before the blade.
As you probably noticed, the half bolster on the Classic Ikon the weight of the steel would be less. The extra weight to balance everything out is actually on the other half bolster in the butt-end of this knife. Both handles use the POM (Polyoxymethylene), durable resin material, that Wusthof uses often.
Wusthof Classic vs Classic Ikon Conclusion
If you consider just the materials and quality, these two German knives are both absolutely great options. They’re even priced about the same. In some cases there might be a slight premium for the Classic Ikon, but the difference is usually negligible if you like it better. We love them both and can’t name a favorite in this case, We think they are equal and you should choose the one that appeals more to you. Do you like the traditional, conservative look of the Wusthof Classic knife or the sophisticated and refined appearance of the Classic Ikon? You choose!
Wushtof Knife Sets
With their knives so popular, Wusthof does a great job of offering many options and different ways to purchase their knives. Most just buy the knives they need, and over time assemble their own set of favorite knives. This is a great way to do it to be honest. You always get the type of knife you need at the time, and you can purchase the best of each knife type. The downside to that is that your knives don’t all match, and you probably don’t have a good knife storage situation. Enter the Wusthof knife sets and knife block sets. They come in many different sizes from just 2 knives up to 36+ knives! More on this below, but there are even specialty steak knife sets, paring knife sets, and chefs knife sets, all from Wusthof Cutlery.
There are far too many Wusthof knife sets to review them all, so we won’t even attempt that. We will however, review a couple of the most popular sets sold at Amazon. This means these sets should be widely available, have social proof, and include online customer feedback that we can point to for further reading and an idea of how others feel about each set.
2-Piece Wusthof Knife Sets
Several of the Wusthof knife lines offer 2-piece knife sets. They are for those who want just the basics. You want the best of the best, but don’t need all the fluff and extras. There are four different types of 2-piece sets that Wusthof offers.
Classic 2pc Sarter Set Pictured
Wusthof 2pc Starter Set
Wusthof’s 2pc starter sets include an 8″ chefs knife and a 3-1/2″ paring knife. As the name implies, this is the perfect set for starter kitchens that only need the two most basic knives. These sometimes also go by the name “Wusthof chefs knives sets”. Click the links below to see more pictures and customer reviews on each set at Amazon.
Classic Ikon Creme 2pc Prep Set Pictured
Wusthof 2pc Prep Set
The 2pc prep sets from Wusthof include a paring knife and a shorter 6″ chefs knife. These knives are perfect for preparing food. Click the links below to see more pictures and customer reviews on each set at Amazon.
Classic 2pc Asian Set Pictured
Wusthof 2pc Asian Knife Set
The Wusthof 2pc Asian knife set includes a santoku knife and a straight-edge paring knife. There several versions Wusthof offers, including some with smaller and larger santokus and even one with a Nakiri and a utility knife!
- Wusthof Gourmet 2-Piece Asian Knife Set
- Wusthof Grand Prix II 2-Piece Asian Knife Set
- Wusthof Classic 2-Piece Small Asian Knife Set
- Wusthof Classic 2-Piece Large Asian Knife Set
- Wusthof Classic Nakiri/Utility Knife Set
- Wusthof Classic Ikon 2-Piece Asian Knife Set
- Wusthof Classic Ikon Creme 2Pc Asian Knife Set
Popular Wusthof Knife Sets
The knife sets shown below are some of the most popular options sold at Amazon. The best part on these is that you can see plenty of actual customer feedback on these sets to know what you’re getting. Please take the time to read through some of the product reviews each has. Each has received an overwhelmingly positive reaction from actual customers, which has prompted us to include the set on this list. Note: several of these knife block sets come in different wood finishes. Click the images below to see other pictures, options, and customer reviews.
Wusthof Classic 7pc Slim Knife Block
Very classic Wusthof look. Small set with just the basics and does’t take up too much counter space.
Wusthof Classic Ikon 14pc Knife Block
Medium-sized knife set with lots of great knives, including steak knives. Comes in a couple different finishes.
Wusthof Classic Ikon 14pc Knife Block
Smaller Wusthof knife set with the sophisticated look of the Classic Ikon Creme. Comes in several wood finishes.
Large Wusthof Knife Sets
Wusthof has some MONSTER-SIZED knife sets available. Before you get sticker shock, they’re not cheap. Which, really should come at no surprise when you think about how many knives you’re getting in these 26pc and 36pc knife sets. The per knife cost on these is heavily discounted versus buying each knife individually and you get a huge knife block for storage.
Wusthof Steak Knife Sets
Wusthof also makes tons of great steak knife sets. Too many to try and list here. If you’re interested in finding out more about which steak knives we think are worth looking at (hint: Wusthof is towards the top!) or just browse the Wusthof steak knives at Amazon, see the links listed below.
Specialty Wusthof Knife Sets
And then there’s all the rest. These specialty knife sets include knives that you don’t get in normal sets (unless of course you get the gigantic sets, which come with every knife known to man! These sets are typically used for special occasions like carving the turkey at Thanksgiving or for cutting at a wine & cheese party!
Caring For Your Wusthof Knives
When investing in high-quality knives like the ones that Wusthof makes, it’s important to understand how to take care of them and maintain them. No one wants to spend hundreds of dollars on good German knives and then have the blade dull, handles damaged, or worse. Our best recommendations in caring for your Wusthof knives is to default to their recommendations as they’re they experts in the materials and processes that they utilize.
Washing Your Wusthof Knives
Everyone wants to know: Are Wusthof knives dishwasher safe? Technically, the answer is yes, unless they have wooden handles like in the case of the Ikon and Epicure Series knives. However, Wusfhof does not recommend putting any of their knives in the dishwasher, nor does BladeAdvisor. Dishwashers are especially hard on knives. They can move around and chip or cut each other during the wash cycle. Knives can be left exposed to moisture and/or food for extended periods of time and promote corrosion.
It’s best practice with all high-quality knives to wash them immediately after use in warm water with a damp cloth. As soon as the knife is clear of all food and completely clean, make sure to dry the knife so that moisture does not stay on the knife. Knives with wooden handles should have extra care taken to make sure they are never left sitting in water, etc.
Wusthof Knife Sharpening
As the saying goes, “a sharp knife is a safe knife”. This may seem counter-intuitive at first, but dull knives require much more force when cutting and this is when accidents tend to happen. Keeping your Wusthof knives sharpened will make kitchen tasks quicker and easier, but also keep you and your family or staff safer.
Before we go into tools for keeping your Wusthof knives sharp, let’s cover the difference between honing and sharpening. Honing is the realignment of the knife blade and does not remove any metal. If you hone your knives regularly, the blades will stay in good shape and they will need sharpened less often. Sharpening actually removes steel and creates a new edge. This should be done much less frequently. Over-sharpening can have unintended consequences and actually reshape the blade.
There are several options for honing/sharpening your Wusthof blades. Here are details on most of them.
Send to Wusthof
Certainly your safest option would be to just send your knives off to Wusthof for sharpening. You can be assured they’ll give you the best, sharpest blade possible and not damage your knives. The cost on this option is roughly $4 per knife (subject to change of course) and you can send them in using this form. There are instructions on how to do this on the form and turnaround is roughly 2 weeks using this option.
Wusthof Honing Steel
As probably the most important tool for keeping your Wusthof blades maintained, a honing steel should be your first purchase. In fact, one comes in several of the knife sets shown above. Make sure to buy a Wusthof honing steel that is as long, or longer, than the longest knife you’ll be using it on.
Handheld Wusthof Sharpeners
Handheld sharpeners are an easy way to sharpening your Wusthof knifes due to the preset built-in angle guides and easy-to-understand stages. It’s advisable to buy a sharpener that matches the brand of your knives so that the angles match. Typically, one is for coarse sharpening and one for fine sharpening. Just follow the instructions that come with whichever handheld sharpener you buy to get the best results.
Wusthof Electric Sharpeners
As with any sharpener, it’s advisable to purchase an electric knife sharpener from the same brand as your knives. This will help ensure all the edge angles and abrasive materials are compatible with your knives and you don’t accidentally cut your blades to an incorrect angle, ruining the original edge. The model pictured here is actually one of the best electric knife sharpeners of any brand. Check it out by clicking on the image. Not comfortable using an electric sharpener? There are plenty of free guides on youtube for help!
A whetstone is another route you can go to sharpen your Wusthof blades. Note, this option requires a bit more skill than the others and isn’t for a beginner. You run the risk of scratching your nice knives if you don’t know what you’re doing. Again, youtube is your friend, but be careful and don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Wusthof Knife Warranty
Wusthof kitchen knives carry a limited lifetime warranty against material defects and defects in craftsmanship. As you might expect, the warranty does not apply to damage is due to wear and tear. It would also not be covered if you were using the knife for purposes other than those intended by Wusthof. If you do have an issue, Wusthof will repair or replace the knife in question at no expense to you other than shipping charges.
If you care for your knives like you should and in accordance with Wusthof’s recommendations, you will likely have a great experience with this company!
Summary & Conclusion
Thank you for taking the time to read through our Wusthof cutlery review!
We thoroughly enjoyed taking this deep dive into one of the most respected, long-standing, and best kitchen knife brands of all time. It gave us the opportunity to learn more about them. We were also able to concisely make you a Wusthof expert by putting the brand information, manufacturing processes, our recommendations, customer feedback, sharpening details, and warranty info all in one place.
Don’t forget, we also compared and contrasted 3 of the top Wusthof knife lines including the Classic, Ikon, and Classic Ikon Series. All this info should help you make a quick, yet educated decision if you want to buy Wusthof knives. And, we think you should strongly consider it. These guys are no fly-by-night operation. They are the real deal!