Zwilling JA Henckels is one of the oldest and famous knife manufacturers in the world. It is a German company with a world reputation for excellent knife making. The brand has won awards from top publications and TV shows and continues to produce some of the bestselling and most sought-after knives in the market.

Zwilling J. A Henckels has been around since 1731, when Peter Henckels first registered the company. It is based in Solingen, which is known as the steel capital of the world. The company expanded and even branched to producing other kitchen accessories like flatware, cookware, and small appliances. The company also has several brands like Miyabi, Ballarini, Henckels International, Demeyere, and Staub. The company makes all kinds of kitchen knives, including chef knives, slicing and carving knives, bread knives, paring knives, boning knives, and others. It also makes accompanying knife accessories like knife blocks, sharpeners, and cutting boards.

During this period, Zwilling knives have set standards redefining what you have come to expect from kitchen knives. They are known for three distinct qualities, which are the result of several design and construction objectives.

Henckels knife

Sharpness

  • They have an acute edge angle for optimal sharpness
  • They are hand polished edge
  • The edge is also thin and smooth
  • The high carbon content ensures they retain the sharpness longer

Durability  

  • They use corrosion-resistant steel
  • One-piece precision forging
  • Thick blades prevent chipping and can withstand heavy use
  • Use full or ¾ tang
  • The handles material and construction add durability

Ergonomic design

  • They have a comfortable bolster that aids in secure handling
  • There is a seamless connection between blades and handles
  • Handles are comfortable
  • Even distribution of carbides
  • Even weight distribution which promotes better balance

Material and construction of Zwilling J.A Henckels Knives

Zwilling makes their knives through stamping and forging. Since Zwilling is the company's premium brand, most of its knives are forged though a few collections use stamping. The two methods are significantly different and have different results.

With forging, the process starts with a single bar of steel that is then heated at high temperatures before being pressed into shape. The craftsmen then temper the steel bar to set the steel’s hardness. The process is labor-intensive, and it results in a thicker and stronger blade, which makes it durable and allows it to retain its edge longer.

On the other hand, stamping involves cutting the knives from a sheet of steel in almost a similar manner to cutting cookies from the dough. It takes less time, and it is less costly to mass-produce. You will still get quality knives at a durable price; only that forged knives will have higher durability.

As for the material, Zwilling uses X50CrMoV15 which is a quality German steel with high carbon content. It contains 5% carbon, molybdenum, vanadium, and 15% chromium. The steel provides excellent quality for professional and domestic. It has high resistance to corrosion and stains, and it is also durable and retains a sharp edge

Zwilling knives further go through FRIODUR, which is an ice-hardening process. It involves cooling the hot metal in sub-zero temperatures. As a result, you increase the sharpness and resilient qualities of the blade.

The handles, too, have quality materials for a completely durable and professional product. The company's main options are heavy-duty and heat resistant plastic, wood, and steel, with the material choice depending on the specific collection. For the plastic handles, the materials include ABS, polyoxymethylene, and polypropylene.

Design

Zwilling JA Henckels knives feature a predominantly western European design with thick, durable blades and handles. Most also have exposed rivets and a full tang. However, the brand does have other designs, including eastern European influence styles and Japanese-styled blades. For example, the Kramer Euroline collection features a prominent Damascus steel blade.

Some other aspects depend on the collection and construction of the knife. For example, stamped collections do not have a bolster, while forged collections have either a full or half bolster. In terms of design, Zwilling provides more diversity than most other knives in the market. Customers get options to have knives with exposed rivets and tangs or to have them concealed.

The overall shape of the handles also varies, with some favoring rounded, traditional designs and others preferring modern ergonomic options. You have enough options whether you are looking for a German or Japanese design.

Performance

As for performance, the Zwilling knives deliver on all fronts you would expect. The first impression holding any knife is the weight and heft, which point to a well-crafted blade. The brand has made a name for delivering knives with utmost balance and precision. The full tang design is a significant contributor to this aspect as it allows for even weight distribution across the knife. Their handles are also thick, which adds to their durability-though they may feel hefty in small hands.

If you choose a full bolster design, you get added safety, balance, and weight. The downside is that it prevents a pinch grip because of the way it is sharpened. Thus, professional chefs who need the pinch grip are better off with a half bolster design like the Zwilling Pro.

As for its sharpness, Zwilling sharpens all the blades to a 15-degree angle per side save for the Japanese collections, which are honed to a further 9–12-degree angle. Both angles provide razor-sharp results. The thicker 15-degree angle per side is excellent for cutting through firm ingredients and bones.

On the other hand, the thinner blades are for intricate tasks such as cutting sushi and slicing vegetables. All the blades have V-edge honing, which uses laser control to achieve precision and outstanding sharpness straight from the box.

The knives have a hardness of 55-57 on the HRC Rockwell scale, which is soft compared to Japanese models but provides durability and resistance against corrosion and chipping. It is also hard enough to provide long edge retention.

Zwilling Twin Fin II Knives

Difference between Zwilling and Henckels Knives

Zwilling and Henckels are often confused with each other partly because of the naming. They are essentially two brands under the same company Zwilling JA Henckels. They are also in different grades. Zwilling is the premium brand in the company's portfolio, while Henckels, also known as JA Henckels or Henckels International, is the entry-level brand. There are several distinguishing features between the two brands you can use to tell them apart.

Appearance

You can easily distinguish the two by the logo on the knife's blade. Zwilling translates to twin in English, and its logo features two stick figures. Henckels' logo, on the other hand, only has one sticky figure.

Place of manufacture

The two brands have distinctive locations where they are manufactured. The company manufactures Zwilling knives in Germany and Japan. The company's factory at Solingen, Germany, makes most of Zwilling's collections, while the collections that use traditional Japanese methods are crafted in Seki, Japan.

In contrast, Henckels' knife collections are manufactured in Spain, Thailand, India, and China. The wide reach explains why the brand is known as Henckels International. More importantly, the brand can sell its products at a lower price by manufacturing in areas where the labor costs are low, unlike Zwilling.

Material

While they all use the same high-quality German stainless steel, Zwilling knives' steel gets treated with a special formula to further increase its stain resistance. The blades also go through Friodur, a unique ice-hardening process that increases their corrosion resistance and durability.

There is also a difference in the material used to make the handles. All Henckels knives save for the Modernist collection use highly durable and moisture-resistant plastic. The modernist collection uses sleek steel handles. Zwilling, on the other hand, uses heavy-duty plastic, wood, and steel for its knives handles.

Price

All the extra additions and features that make Zwilling the premium brand add to the extra cost of production. The ice-hardening, the handcrafting of the Japanese-made collections, and the extra quality material make the brand pricier than the Henckels brands.  

Top Zwilling Henckels Knives

ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Twin Fin II Paring Knife

This 13cm knife is the perfect tool for all peeling tasks, whether vegetables or fruits. It can also handle other minor delicate tasks like decorating baking items and de-veining shrimp. It blends German design and Japanese craftsmanship, and they are handcrafted in Seki, Japan. Other attributes include;  

  • N60 Stainless steel brings improved hardness and stain resistance
  • Razor-sharp edge
  • Excellent balance thanks to the unique blade, bolster, and handle design
  • Lifetime warranty

ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Twin Fin II Paring Knife 13cm

ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Slicing Knife

This knife brings comfort and eases to all the slicing food tasks in the kitchen. It is especially excellent for cutting through roast beef with precision, and its long length also means you can carve larger meat pieces. Other top qualities of the knife include;

  • Uses two-level V-edge grinding, which provides lasting sharpness and high precision
  • It has an ergonomic synthetic handle.
  • It uses one-piece precision forging with the SIGMAFORGE® knife technology
  • The edge is ice-hardened to offer durability and corrosion resistance

ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Slicing Knife 20cm

ZWILLING JA Henckels Four Star Carving Knife Set 2 Pc

If you want to improve your carving game to professional levels, you will appreciate this two-piece set. It has a 20cm carving knife and an 18cm carving fork. The set is made in Germany, and it is part of the Four-Star series, which has revolutionized the quality of chef knives. Other top features include;

  • German high carbon stainless steel
  • One-piece precision forging
  • Laser-controlled sharpness
  • Hand sharpened and polished on each side at 15°
  • Lifetime warranty

ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Four Star Carving Knife 2 Pc Set

ZWILLING JA Henckels Four Star Chef's Knife

This knife is one of the best-selling items in the Zwilling catalog. At 26cm, it is finely suited for its purpose as a chef knife, the most versatile knife in the kitchen. You can use it to chop, mince, slice, and even disjoint a range of food items. Its top features include;

  • It is made in Germany using high carbon German stainless steel
  • Ice-hardened FRIODUR® blade
  • Ergonomically aligned slim handle
  • V-edge honing with laser-controlled sharpness
  • Lifetime manufacturer warranty

ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Four Star Chef's Knife 16cm

ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Pro Knife 3 Pc Set

This set is perfect for someone looking to start their professional kitchen knife collection or improve on a significant portion. That’s because it contains three of the most used knives in the kitchen. The set has a 9cm vegetable knife, a 16cm slicing knife, and a 20cm Chef knife. Each of the knives contains the features of Zwilling’s Professional ‘S’ series, including;

  • Ice-hardened FRIODUR® blade
  • SIGMAFORGE structure
  • Handle and bolster are ergonomically aligned
  • Traditional 3-rivet handle design with a full tang
  • Lifetime warranty

ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Pro Knife 3 Pc Set

ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Pro Santoku Knife

A santoku knife is well-suited for three functions; chopping, mincing and dicing. It is almost as versatile as a chef knife, only that it is smaller, lighter, and thinner, making it ideal for people with smaller hands. This ZWILLING JA Henckels Pro Santoku Knife measures 18 cm and brings German design and craftsmanship to a favorite tool in the Japanese chicken. Top attributes include;

  • One-piece precision forging
  • Laser-controlled sharpness
  • German high carbon stainless steel
  • Full tang and bolster with slip resistance
  • Excellent weight distribution

ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Pro Santoku Knife 18cm

Is Zwilling JA Henckels a good brand?

The short answer is yes, primarily because they produce high-quality knives with excellent craftsmanship and incredible performance. They have been industry leaders for decades which is a testament to their quality and reputation. Their lifetime warranty also backs up any claims they make, and we also like the continuous innovation they employ.

Zwilling JA Henckels knives also feature in all reviews of top kitchen knives, and many professional chefs work with them. The brand also has a varied collection catering to the different needs of customers. While most of the knives may be pricey, they pay in the long run with their durability and consistent performance.

Zwilling knife block

Pros and cons of Zwilling Knives

To further appreciate the quality of Zwilling knives, here is a look at their pros and cons.

  • They are razor-sharp straight from the box
  • Excellent edge retention
  • Over two centuries of experience
  • Broad knives collection
  • Lifetime warranties
  • Excellent balance
  • Durable thanks to high-quality steel and ice hardening construction
  • Comfortable and secure handle
  • They are available in major stores
  • One of the best brands of German knives

Cons

  • They are pricey
  • They can feel bulky and heavy due to thick handles and blades
  • The options can be overwhelming

Tips for taking care of your Zwilling J.A Knives

The care and maintenance you show your Zwilling JA Henckels knifes heavily impacts their performance and longevity. Given that you invest in them, it is only prudent to practice diligence when using, cleaning, and storing your knife set. Here are a few tips to start you off.

First, always keep your blades sharp and in top condition. Fortunately, the knives come with a razor-sharp edge straight from the box, and the edge can last for a couple of months. However, with time you will need sharpening. Before sharpening, it is recommended to regularly hone the blades whenever you want to use the knives.

Honing does not chip away metal from your knife but rather realigns it, thus keeping your knife sharp while extending its life. Any chef knows the importance of a sharp knife, so you should get help from an expert or learn the proper sharpening techniques.

The cutting surface is also a concern. Choose cutting boards that are softer than your knives’ blade such as, silicon and plastic boards. Never use glass boards or the countertop as a cutting surface as they are likely to damage the blade.

When it comes to cleaning, hand washing is the preferred method as there is a risk of the knives clanging with each other or other utensils in a dishwasher. Wash and rinse your knives immediately after use, and do not let them sit in the sink with other dishes and food particles as it could lead to corrosion. Use warm water with mild detergent.

Store your knives in a JA Henckels block or use a magnetic board hang on the wall. These keep the knives separate and safe. Take care to ensure the knives are dry before placing them in the knife block slots.

Finally, you do not want to share your prized items with everyone as you have no guarantee they will take the same care as you. As a chef or cooking enthusiast, your knives are a prized possession not to be lent out like any other container or kitchen item.

Where to buy Zwilling J.A Henckels knives

There are many places online and in local retail stores where you can get Zwilling Henckels. The only challenge is to find a place where you will get original products and a variety of them. You can only get such at House of Knives, where you get all Henckels knives straight from the manufacturer. You enjoy all the discounts and the warranties from the manufacture. We also stock a wide variety of knives and knives accessories from the manufacturer.

You will also find other leading brands at our online store, allowing you to make your comparisons and selection from one place. Shop today and enjoy a seamless shopping experience and the best knives globally.    

Zwilling Knives