So you want to be a chef. Okay, not a professional chef, but the best chef your own kitchen has ever seen. You want superb knives, top-notch tools, and creative freedom. You know that Dalstrong and Wusthof are two of the biggest names in the knife industry, but how are you supposed to know which brand is best for your needs?
Worry no more! You go ahead throw out those crooked, rust spotted knives that your mom gave you when you moved out of the house while I take care of researching the differences between Wusthof and Dalstrong.
- Dalstrong and Wusthof Popular Knives
- The Staple Knives for Every Kitchen
- What Are These Brands?
- So What’s the Verdict?
Dalstrong and Wusthof Popular Knives
Dalstrong Shogun 8″ Chef’s Knife
- Chef's Knife Perfection: A Dalstrong...
- Unrivaled Performance: Ruthlessly sharp...
- Dalstrong Power: This chef knife...
- A Chef's Knife Engineered to Perfection:...
- Dalstrong Trust: Rocksolid 100%...
According to the Dalstrong website, this is the “flag bearer of the Shogun series.” It’s definitely one of their best sellers and is popular with both professional and casual, at-home chefs.
What sets this knife apart is the gorgeous Tsuchimi finish – the hammered “dots” you see all over the blade. There are few knives in this category with this type of finish and Dalstrong enthusiasts love it for its visual appeal and functionality. This particular finish repels stuck-on food all over the blade, not just towards the edge as most hollow-edged knives do. Another brilliant detail is the copper mosaic embedded in the middle rivet on the handle.
While this knife is a visual stunner, it can feel rather heavy in the hand and therefore become difficult to use. The handle is made from military grade G-10 (glass-based epoxy resin) and the knife has a full tang (the metal blade carries all the way back through the center of the handle). These features mean that it’s incredibly durable, but they also add to the weight. Small-handed chefs do not enjoy this knife.
- Beautiful Tshuchimi finish.
- Extremely durable.
- Full tang.
- Heavier than expected.
- Not good for small hands.
Dalstrong Gladiator Series 7″ Cleaver
- Versatile multi-purpose cleaver...
- Incredibly razor sharp cleaver,...
- Award winning design, with satisfying...
- Engineered to perfection at 56+ Rockwell...
- Take Pride in your Knives: See why...
The cleaver is an incredibly multifunctional tool; Dalstrong has added a serious contender to its Gladiator line. Just having one of these in your kitchen will make you feel like a prestigious chef of world renown.
This knife weighs in at a hefty 446 grams, according to this YouTube review, giving the wielder a true feeling of power. It has the most beautiful handle made of imported Spanish black Pakkawood, which is laminated for sanitary and stain resistance purposes, and is slip-resistant as well, even when handling with wet hands. The hand-sharpened edge is a fine 14-16 degrees on each side and measures 55 on the Rockwell hardness scale. This allows the user to slice through the toughest, densest of fruits and vegetables with ease. Pineapples, squashes, and all different kinds of meats are a breeze for this tool.
Unfortunately, although chefs often use cleavers to chop through a whole chicken, Dalstrong recommends this cleaver not be used to cut through poultry bones or any other bones. And although the rectangular blade is polished to an almost satiny finish, some find that it scratches surprisingly easily. This reviewer was disappointed to find that even just hanging the cleaver on his magnetic knife rack caused it to scratch.
- Beautiful, sturdy Pakkawood handle.
- Very fine, sharp edge.
- 55 Rockwell hardness.
- Not recommended for cutting through bones.
- Scratches more easily than expected.
Wusthof Classic Ikon 7″ Santoku
- Comfortable and highly-durable...
- Styled after the Japanese Cook´s Knife...
- Forged from a single piece of...
- With hollow edge.
- The hollow edge creates pockets of air...
Several years ago, Rachael Ray sang the praises of this gorgeous Japanese knife and it was suddenly flying off the shelves. It’s not hard to see why Rachel Ray is so enamored with the Classic Ikon Santoku. For starters, its blade boasts an insanely precise 14 degree sharpness, thanks to Wusthof’s specialty sharpening method, a process called Precision Edge Technology (PEtec) that involves lasers.
This reviewer found that even with constant use, the edge retention for this knife is an impressive 4 to 5 days. The handle is also a work of art, contoured to perfectly fit the chef’s hand. Along with being comfortable, the polypropylene handle is bacteria proof, waterproof, and will not warp. It’s also double bolstered, making it extra balanced and extra comfortable.
America’s Test Kitchen, however, reports that this Santoku knife didn’t feel particularly sharp. Because of its super thinness, it can actually be difficult to dice things; you’ll have to use more force than expected. Another issue is the Wusthof company itself: they make Japanese knives that aren’t made in Japan at all. They’re made in Germany, which is not a concern for most users, but chefs who want an authentic Japanese knife experience should look elsewhere.
- Doesn’t need constant sharpening.
- Bacteria-proof handle.
- Double bolstered.
- Not sharp for its category.
- Too thin to use for dicing.
- Not an authentic Japanese knife.
Wusthof Classic 10″ Bread Knife
- Made in Solingen, Germany
- Triple riveted handle
- Full tang, high-carbon stainless steel...
Although Wusthof’s bread knives come in several sizes, the 10” option is a favorite. This length means you’ll never have an issue with bread, no matter if it’s a long French loaf or a tiny pan of banana bread.
Wusthof’s Classic 10” bread knife is a favorite in countless kitchens. The high carbon content of this blade allows it to stay sharp for a surprisingly long time. It also means the blade is easy to sharpen, as far as bread knives go. In fact, this bread knife’s blade is double serrated, giving it extra scallops for cutting through even the crustiest bread with great ease and little mess.
On the downside, this knife doesn’t have an end cap to counterbalance the blade weight, but it does have a bolster. That bolster sometimes gets in the way of cutting the bread, though, as it is quite a wide piece of the metal. Another point to consider is how to clean the knife. Although Wusthof says that this knife will be just fine in the dishwasher, it retains its quality best if it’s hand washed. And while it certainly isn’t the most expensive bread knife on the market, it’s far from the cheapest. It will cost you a pretty penny.
- Extra long blade cuts all lengths of bread.
- Extra scallops for crusty bread.
- Stays sharp.
- Awkward, unbalanced weight.
- Not dishwasher safe.
I know what you’re thinking. “Why is it important to have good quality knives in my kitchen anyway? Why aren’t the generic ones I got for a wedding present from Great Aunt (and cheap aunt) Matilda good enough?”
Well, the Huffington Post said it best: “A Chef’s knife is the single most important tool in any kitchen.” Yes, you can make your family dinner with those generic knives you’ve had for 15 years, but they just might be making the process take longer and require more work. A good quality, sharp, comfortable knife can make all your cutting, slicing, dicing, chopping, and even hacking efforts nearly effortless. Great Aunt Matilda may have had good intentions when she gifted you that ugly knife block, but you’re a busy person who likes to do things quickly and properly the first time! Time to replace those suckers.
What’s It Made Of?
One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing knives for your kitchen is the type of steel they’re made with. The bottom line is that the harder the steel is, the less often you’ll have to sharpen it. It’s kind of like you, when you think about it: the harder and tougher you are, the more likely you are to do the job well and not crack under pressure.
All Wusthof knives are made from chromium-molybdenum-vanadium steel. It may be a mouthful to pronounce, but it’s truly a trifecta of essential characteristics, including stain resistance, corrosion resistance, and increased durability.
Dalstrong uses several different steels when crafting their knives. The Shogun series is made from Japanese AUS-10V super steel and cladded with SUS410 stainless steel. The Phantom series is crafted with an engraved Japanese AUS-8 high-carbon steel, the Gladiator knives contain a high-carbon German steel, and the Omega series of knives is made from an American forged BD1N-V hyper steel.
How Does It Feel?
Steel isn’t the only consideration you should weigh, however. You’ll also want to consider how comfortable a knife will be to use. If it’s super heavy and has a splintery wooden handle, you’re unlikely to use it and are therefore wasting time and money. Look at whether the knife in question has bolsters that help to evenly distribute the weight, and check to see what materials the handle is made from.
As with their blades, Dalstrong knife handles are made from a variety of materials, including military-grade G-10 Garolite, red Rosewood, and black Pakkawood. They’re all incredibly beautiful and have specific features that add to your cooking experience.
Wusthof also uses a variety of materials in their different knife handles, including African Blackwood, Polyoxymethylene (a durable synthetic material), and polypropylene. For its Epicure line, Wusthof uses a special wood composite material that’s made from recycled materials.
The Staple Knives for Every Kitchen
Okay, so now that you’ve decided to get rid of Great Aunt Matilda’s relics, you’re probably wondering what type of knives you should buy to replace them. You can just buy a block full of the standard set of blades, or maybe you’d rather buy only the individual pieces you’ll actually use in your kitchen. Here are a few knife styles to consider.
Even if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, there’s a very good chance that you’ll need at least one steak knife to complete your kitchen collection. Despite the name, these knives are not just for use with steaks but can be helpful when cutting dense veggies, other meats, and even slicing through rolls or small pieces of bread.
This post from MomDot reviews 10 different brands of steak knives and provides all the details you need for choosing the best set for your needs.
It doesn’t matter if you and your family are gluten free, carb free, allergic to nuts, low sugar, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or even Presbyterian – chances are that you regularly slice some form of bread or loaf. Especially if you have kids!
Check out this video from America’s Test Kitchen where they study and test more than 50 bread knives to find the perfect specimens.
Everybody needs a stellar paring knife! How else are you going to peel that apple or hull those strawberries? Yes, I know that you can buy strawberry hulling tools, but why bother when you can have this multipurpose tool in your kitchen? A kitchen is not complete without at least one perfect paring knife. Most kitchens have several!
Watch here as knife aficionado Ryky Tran discusses his favorite – and his wife’s favorite – paring knife.
This is a term often used to describe many different types of multipurpose kitchen knives, but its proper definition is a knife with a curved cutting edge and pointed tip that is frequently used for slicing meat. The common and most useful length for a chef’s knife is 8 to 9 inches.
For more information on the chef’s knife, read this previous post from MomDot that discusses the merits of chef’s knives and Santoku knives.
What Are These Brands?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the brand names available for chef’s knives. Few are as renowned as Dalstrong and Wusthof, though. Their company profiles speak for themselves.
Dalstrong admits that it is the “new guy on the block,” but this doesn’t mean they are any less passionate about their product or craft.
They are a relatively small, family-run business that’s only been around since 2013. David Dallaire is the current CEO and founder of Dalstrong Inc.
This company focuses solely on selling top quality knives and kitchen blades. It hasn’t yet branched out into any other type of product, which indicates that they are a serious force in the knife world. Their passion for the product is evident.
The Dalstrong manufacturing facilities are located in Yang Jiang, China, along with more than 1500 other knife and scissor manufacturers. According to their government website, Yang Jiang is known as the “China Capital of Knives and Scissors” and the “China Production Base of Knives and Scissors.” Considering this information, it should come as no surprise that a young, eager company like Dalstrong chose to set up shop within such a knife and steel-centered environment.
Unlike the newbie Dalstrong, Wusthof has been an established name in the knife industry for more than 200 years. The company was founded by Abraham Wusthof in Solingen, Germany, and is now run by seventh-generation family members Harold and Viola Wusthof.
First founded as a “factory for fine steel wares,” the Wusthof company has dedicated itself to creating top quality knives and accessories since 1814. Even now, all of their products are crafted in their origin city of Solingen, the “City of Blades,” where blacksmiths have been forging blades for centuries.
Their Precision Edge Technology (PEtec) involves lasers that measure the blades, precise angle sharpening, and specialized polishing. This patented process was developed by Wusthof’s own engineers.
The company’s signature emblem is a trident within a circle, symbolizing Wusthof’s three core values: passion, diligence, and perfection.
Q. What is the best way to sharpen my knives?
A: There are a few different kinds of sharpening tools that you can use yourself, or you can take your blades to be professionally sharpened (a simple Google search will help find sharpening facilities in your area). Wusthof sells a variety of sharpening implements, including handheld and electric sharpeners, sharpening steels, and whetstones. Serrated knives are a bit tricky and need to be sharpened with a manual sharpening tool.
If you’re desperate, you can even use this tip from Cooks Illustrated and sharpen your knives on the bottom edge of a coffee mug!
Q: Are Wusthof or Dalstrong knives dishwasher safe?
A: Wusthof clearly says that their products should not go in the dishwasher. Instead, they recommend washing them by hand. with warm water, a damp cloth, and regular dish soap. Similarly, Dalstrong advises against using the dishwasher to clean your knives as they may get damaged. Instead, hand wash your knives immediately after use to help preserve their quality and sharpness. You should also hand dry them, carefully.
Q: Where can I buy these knives?
A: Currently, Dalstrong knives are only available for purchase via their website and Amazon. They are not available in any online or brick-and-mortar retail stores.
Wusthof knives, on the other hand, are sold both online and in stores through various retailers. You can find a list of those retail stores here.
Q: How should I store my knives?
A: The typical methods of knife storage include a knife block, a magnetic strip, and in their individual sheaths. There are also drawer inserts available that have perfectly sized slots for your knives to slide into. Wusthof makes blocks, magnetic strips, and sheaths, as well as different kinds of attache cases for both storing and transporting knives.
Whichever way you choose to store your knives, be sure that the blades have minimal contact with other surfaces (other than sharpening surfaces). Don’t ever put your knives into their storage locations when wet as this can cause damage. Check out this MomDot post that discusses knife storage in more detail.
So What’s the Verdict?
To be honest, comparing Dalstrong and Wusthof knives and choosing a “winner” is an impossible task. It’s like comparing Volkswagen to Mitsubishi: one is an iconic specimen of German engineering and the other is a gorgeous example of Japanese craftsmanship. Both have unique features that will serve different purposed for different users, so it really boils down to personal preference.
The likely result is that professional (or wannabe professionals) who value traditional tools and European influences will prefer Wusthof products, while up-and-coming chefs who like trying new products and techniques will gravitate towards the Dalstrong knives.