What’s the Difference Between Zwilling and J.A. Henckels Knives?
By Bobby B. | Updated Dec 8, 2020 | Knife Brands
There can be a lot of confusion around the brand names Zwilling and J.A. Henckels. Ultimately, there are one single company that has two brands of knives that they manufacture, As a company, they have been around producing knives for over 250 years starting in Solingen, Germany way back in 1731. As time went on, Zwilling found a need to start new brands for marketing different types of products and products in different price ranges. You may recognize some of their brands: Zwilling, Staub, Ballarini, Miaybi, Demeyere, Henckels International, BSF, and Fontignac.
Their most popular knife brands in the United States are Zwilling, Miyabi, and Henckels International (AKA J.A. Henckels or J.A. Henckels International). Miyabi is exclusively Japanese-style knives with a much different flare than the others. The main differences between Zwilling and J.A. Henckels is primarily their materials, where they are made, and of course their respective price points. Read on for more details about both brands.
Zwilling in German actually means “twin”. You can easily determine when a knife is branded Zwilling by the twin (or “double man” as some call it) logo. It’s changed slightly over the years, but the premise has always been true… the twin logo means Zwilling. This is their premium knife brand.
Zwilling products are primarily produced in Germany and are higher-end knives made to exacting standards where performance matters. This also means they command a premium price. Some of the collections in the Zwilling line-up include the Twin Series, Twin Select, Twin Professional “S”, Five Star, Twin Cuisine, Four Star, Twin Gourmet, and Twin Signature. Most of these are forged knives, with the exception of the last two, Twin Gourmet and Twin Signature, which are stamped.
All Zwilling knives are Friodur ice-hardened for strength and also use a special high-carbon German steel that uses their own formula and is exclusive to the brand. In addition, Zwilling stands behind all of their knives with lifetime warranty protection.
J.A. Henckels International
Just like above, J.A. Henckels International knives can easily be deciphered by a logo similar to the one shown above. Or, more specifically, a logo with a single person rather than the twins shown on the Zwilling knives. This brand was split off in 1895 as a value-driven brand intended to provide “the same durability, design, and ease of use for which the global company is known”.
…that’s marketing-speak for they are made in lower-cost factories by similar standards and materials to provide the consumer with a lower price-point. These knives are less expensive, and in most cases, you’re giving up at least something (i.e. they are thinner blades or lower-quality steels) versus the Zwilling counterpart.
Similarly to the Zwilling brand above, the J.A. Henckels International branded knives are their own design. However, the difference in Henckels knives is that they are sourced from all over the world. The majority of them end up being produced in either Spain, China, Thailand, or Japan, depending on the collection of knives in question. Here are several of the more popular ones, if they are forged or stamped, and where they are made.
- Classic (Forged) – Made in Spain
- Eversharp Pro (Stamped) – Made in Thailand
- Everedge Plus (Stamped) – Made in China
- Forged Synergy (Forged) – Made in China
- Fine Edge Pro (Stamped) – Made in China (w/ German Steel)
- Fine Edge Synergy (Stamped) – Made in China
- Premio (Forged) – Made in China (w/ German Steel)
- Statement (Stamped) – Made in China
Even though these are a “value-driven” brand, there are several collections within it that are pretty nice knives for the money. If you really want to buy for the Henckels name or just want a good knife at a great price, don’t be afraid to give J.A. Henckels International knives a chance.
Zwilling vs Henkels International
We’ve spelled out all of the main differences between Zwilling and J.A. Henckels International. Now you should be able to make your own decision on which is the right fit for your kitchen. No one knows better than you what you’re looking for and which will better fit your needs. The long and short of it are this…
Zwilling is a premium brand, uses very high-quality materials, has high standards, tons of experience, and is made in Germany with their proprietary high-carbon stainless steel.
J.A. Henckels International is a value brand. They still have high standards and designs come from the same company, but their factories could be anywhere in the world and the materials, while still good and above average, are not the same as what is used by Zwilling.
Only you can decide if kitchen knives are important enough to you and your family to spend the extra money on the real deal or to save the money and buy some pretty nice knives that look almost identical to the real thing. Either way, we think you’ll be happy with your “Henckels” knives.
As mentioned above, there is a 3rd cutlery brand within the Zwilling/Henckels family, and that’s Miyabi. Miyabi is premium Japanese-style cutlery that primarily focuses on larger slicing knives with very high-end Japanese Super Steels. These knives are handmade by artisans in Japan and each knife takes over 100 steps and 42 days to produce!
If you’re interested in more about Miyabi, check out this page where we do a deep-dive comparison between them and their closest competitor, Shun Cutlery…
Other Kitchen Knife Brands
All of these Zwilling/Henckels brand knives are great and almost any one can find something that they like between the value and premium collections, even the Japanese knife lovers. For those of you that still aren’t sure or want to look for something a bit different, we’d recommend checking out our page that details out many of the top kitchen knife brands beyond Henkels. Check it out…
How do Zwilling and J.A. Henckels Knives Compare with Wushtof?
Combined, these are the premier German-made kitchen knives on the planet. The brands have been around for hundreds of years, and as explained above, Germany is a hot-bed for skilled knife makers. You might be surprised as to just how similar these brands compare with one another, and perhaps even how alike some of the knives themselves are. Check out our full compare/contrast in the link below.