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German kitchen knives have a reputation for being one of the best types of knives you can invest in for a well-stocked kitchen. In this article, I’ll be sharing with you five of the best companies that provide German knives for novice and professional chefs alike. First, we’ll be looking at specific knife sets from Messermeister, Wusthof, Zwilling J.A. Henckels, Mercer, and Boker, and then I’ll share what brand I think has the best German knives all around.

 

✅ After going through all of the German knives this is the knife set that we would buy based on all of its qualities.

 

 

Best German Knife Sets

Here are the best German knife brands and the best kitchen knife sets we could find. 

Wüsthof Classic 18 Piece Block Set

Best German Knives

 

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What’s Included

  • 3.5” Paring
  • 4.5” Utility
  • 4.5” Steak (6)
  • 5” Serrated utility
  • 5” Hollow Edge Santoku
  • 6” Utility
  • 6” Straight meat fork
  • 8” Bread
  • An 8” Hollow edge carving
  • 8” Chef’s knife
  • 10” steel to maintain sharpness
  • Kitchen shears
  • 17-slot knife block

Wusthof CLASSIC Eighteen Piece Block Set, One Size, Black, Stainless Steel

Pros

  • Kitchen shears come apart for easier cleaning.
  • It comes with enough steak knives for the whole family
  • Serrated and non-serrated utility knives to adhere to your cutting needs and preferences
  • Three different sizes of utility knives 
  • 10” steel will help maintain sharp knives

 

Cons

  • Depending on your style, it may be more types of knives than you need
  • Higher price compared to sets of similar size

 

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Overall Wüsthof Classic Eighteen Piece Set Review

Wusthof CLASSIC Eighteen Piece Block Set, One Size, Black, Stainless Steel

Wüsthof is a powerhouse brand in the cutlery industry, and rightly so. They are one of a few among German knife brands that boasts being made in Solingen, Germany, the steel manufacturing capital worldwide. It is still a note of high quality if a knife is made in Germany, but because it is made in Solingen, Germany is a step up because of the stricter manufacturing standards they have in place there.

What’s great about the Classic set is not only does it include all three of the basic knives you need in your kitchen, but it also features multiple sizes and types of utility knives, a knife I tend to use the most. The kitchen shears are also a big favorite because they are a huge staple when preparing meals. They make cutting meat, whether cooked or raw, herbs and vegetables super simple if you don’t need the precision of a knife.

If you are planning on hosting holiday dinners quite often, this set is a perfect addition to your kitchen because it features a meat fork and a carving knife. Thanksgiving turkeys would be so lucky to be carved and served using the Wüsthof brand.

Wüsthof products average 5 stars on Amazon, and this specific set has a 4.9 out of 5-star rating. Read more about Wüsthof products in our Wüsthof knives review

 

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Henckels: Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature Knife Block Set

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature Knife Set for Kitchen, 19-pc, Chef Knife, Professional Chef Knife Set, German Knife Set with Block, Light Brown

 

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What’s Included

  • 2.5” Peeling
  • 4” Paring/Utility
  • 5” Serrated utility
  • 6” Utility/Sandwich
  • 8” Chef’s knife
  • 7” Santoku, hollow edge
  • 4.5” Utility 
  • 8” Bread
  • 4.5” Steak Knives (8)
  • 9” Sharpening Steel
  • Kitchen shears
  • Block

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature Knife Set for Kitchen, 19-pc, Chef Knife, Professional Chef Knife Set, German Knife Set with Block, Light Brown

Pros 

  • Affordable price for the size of set
  • Ergonomic handles
  • Includes a block for safe storage
  • Includes sharpening steel to maintain good quality sharpness
  • Ice-hardened blades that give a razor-sharp performance

 

Cons 

  • There may be more knives than you will need
  • Kitchen shears do not come apart; it may be harder to clean.

 

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Overall Henckels: Zwilling J.A. Henckels TWIN Signature Knife Block Set Review

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature Knife Set for Kitchen, 19-pc, Chef Knife, Professional Chef Knife Set, German Knife Set with Block, Light Brown

Henckels is another world-renowned knife maker that has been around for centuries, even longer than Wüsthof. They are one of the oldest brands in the world, manufacturing their knives out of Solingen, Germany. Just like Wüsthof, a Zwilling J.A. Henckels kitchen knife is high-quality because of the strict manufacturing standards in Solingen.

What’s best about this set is it has every type of kitchen knife you need and then some. What sets them apart from the Wusthof set is that the ice-hardened blades yield a longer-lasting sharpness, which is a typical struggle among the softer steel in full tang German knives.

The paring knife has a slightly longer blade than other sets, plus a peeling knife, which is shorter than a typical paring knife. I like the idea of having both types of short knives because I am not as skilled with shorter knives. Thus, having both can be useful for fellow home cooks like me who need to keep developing their paring skills.

This set also includes two more steak knives than the Wusthof set, which is better if you tend to host more people around the holidays or for dinner parties. Overall, it is a well-rounded set of knives that is more affordable than its competition and worth keeping in mind when you’re trying to be bougie on a budget.

This set has a 4.7 out of 5-star rating on Amazon, while Zwilling J.A. Henckels products average close to 5-star ratings overall. Read more about them in our Henckels knives review.

 

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Messermeister Oliva Elite Starter Set

Messermeister Oliva Elite - 3 Pc. Starter Knife Set

 

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What’s Included

  • 8” Chef’s knife
  • 6” Utility
  • 3.5” Paring

 

Pros

  • Perfect for minimalist or starter kitchens
  • The wooden handles make for a rustic, traditional look
  • Ergonomic handles
  • Full tang, great balance in knives
  • Hot-drop and hammer forged knives

 

Cons 

  • You will need to provide a safe storage option.
  • The natural wood handle needs to be oiled regularly.

 

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Overall Messermeister Oliva Elite Starter Set Review

Messermeister Oliva Elite - 3 Pc. Starter Knife Set

Although Messermeister has been in the U.S. market for about 40 years, the company’s ties extend further back to the early 1800s in Solingen, Germany. This California-based brand manufactures its knives out of Germany, following traditional German manufacturing techniques and working to keep the German knifemaking heritage alive through their products.

The Messermeister Oliva Elite Starter set is the best option if you are looking to get high-quality knives but don’t want to commit to a full set. Or you might be a budding chef in a cramped cooking space who needs high-quality basic knives without all the clutter. Either way, this beautiful-looking set will cover all your needs in the kitchen.

I mention in the cons that the handles need to be oiled regularly, which you may not think of as a negative point if you love how the knives look with the wood material. I noted it as a con because it is one extra step in maintenance and care than other lines mentioned in this article.

 

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Mercer Culinary 8-Piece Renaissance Magnetic Board Knife SetMercer Culinary 8-Piece Renaissance Board 7 Magnetic Knife Set, 14 1/8" x 10 1/4", Stainless Steel

 

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What’s Included

  • 10” Carving
  • 8” Chef’s knife
  • 8” Wavy edge bread
  • 7” Granton Edge Santoku
  • 7” Fillet
  • 6” Stiff boning
  • 3.5” Paring
  • Magnetic board on a stand

Mercer Culinary 8-Piece Renaissance Board 7 Magnetic Knife Set, 14 1/8" x 10 1/4", Stainless Steel

Pros

  • The magnetic board displays knives for convenient access
  • The most affordable option for a kitchen knife set
  • Precision-forged, high-carbon stainless steel
  • Strong magnets for safe storage
  • Full tang for superior balance

 

Cons

  • The stand takes up more room than a traditional block
  • Honing steel sold separately

 

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Overall Mercer Culinary 8-Piece Renaissance Magnetic Board Knife Set Review

Mercer Culinary 8-Piece Renaissance Board 7 Magnetic Knife Set, 14 1/8" x 10 1/4", Stainless Steel

Of all the German knives listed here, Mercer is the only company that does not manufacture out of Germany. Mercer is an American company that creates German-style knives out of Taiwan, which makes for a more affordable brand. Although they may not be traditionally German or manufactured out of Germany itself, Mercer still models their design and construction to the traditional German style. Mercer uses high-carbon German stainless steel for its blades, a full tang design, and a durable, balanced knife.

As far as the knife set goes, it features two of the three basic knives you should have in your kitchen. Unlike other sets seen in this article, the Renaissance set includes a fillet and a boning knife, which is useful if you eat a lot of fish or other bony meats. Overall, a different array of knives can cater to different kinds of chefs.

The Renaissance line is one of the more popular options Mercer offers, which makes sense why it boasts a 4.8 out of 5-star rating on Amazon and a 4.5 average rating overall as a brand.

 

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Boker Damascus Knife Set

BOKER 130425SET Damascus Black Set

 

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What’s Included

  • 3.13” Vegetable Knife
  • 6.75” Santoku 
  • 5.75” Utility 
  • 9.13” Bread
  • 8.25” Chef’s
  • 6.13” Small chef’s knife
  • 3.75” Paring 
  • Circle knife block

 

Pros

  • Damascus series blends Japanese style with German quality
  • Good range of blade lengths
  • Magnetic knife block
  • Professional, sleek look
  • Lightweight handle and easy grip

 

Cons

  • Small reach on Amazon compared to other German knife brands
  • High price for the number of knives included in the set

 

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Overall Boker Damascus Knife Set Review

BOKER 130425SET Damascus Black Set

The Boker brand has evolved its reputation from being known for manufacturing war sabers in 19th century Solingen, Germany, to today, where they are known for manufacturing quality tactical and kitchen knives.

If you are looking to get style and good quality performance, I would recommend the Boker Damascus Knife set. Don’t mistake this set for Japanese knives, although this line admittedly is inspired by the style. The Damascus steel brings a cool look with its wavy pattern, but apply that pattern to the sleek Japanese-style blade and display the whole set on a circular magnetic knife block, and you have a modern edge to your kitchen aesthetic.

Boker has a small rating and reviews pool on Amazon for several of their products, which I listed as a negative point because most of my decision-making for buying online is dependent on what other people say about the product. Without that input, I tend to look elsewhere. However, from what I have learned about the brand, I would still recommend giving Boker knives a try regardless of the missing ratings and reviews.

 

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What To Look For In A German Knife Set?

Number of knives

There are several types of kitchen knives available these days, from vegetable, paring, bread, to steak, chef’s, cleavers–you name it. That can be a bit overwhelming when you’re not sure what you need in your kitchen. Even in this review of the best German knife brands, I’m sharing knife sets that include a range of between three and 17 German knives.

At a minimum, all you need in your kitchen are a chef’s knife, a utility knife (preferably serrated), and a paring knife. Why, then, do some sets have more than a dozen knives when all you need are three? 

Most sets have more than one of the same type of knife, which I love because then I don’t have to wash my one utility knife several times to prepare a meal when instead I can use three. Often, sets come with several steak knives that typically reflect a small dinner party or a typical family size. 

Whether you are buying knives in a set or individually, your preferences must be considered when choosing the best number of knives you need.

 

Quality of knife steel

German kitchen knives are made of high-carbon stainless steel, which allows for the blades to resist rust and corrosion while staying sharp. Compared to other styles, like Japanese knives, the softness of the steel for German kitchen knives may make them less brittle but more prone to losing their sharpness at a faster pace. Yet, with proper maintenance and care of your knives, the durable German knife brands will still last for a long time.

It’s funny to imagine that steel can range in its softness as if it can be lined with feathers, but hear me out. To measure how hard steel is, it gets rated on a Rockwell hardness scale. The Rockwell scale measures how well the metal can resist breaking when tension is applied to it. A typical rating for a German knife is between 56-58, whereas with other knives, you will see a Rockwell hardness rating of 60 or higher–hence German knives having softer steel.

 

Handle

Traditionally, wood is a common material for German kitchen knives, but with the use of modern technology, you can’t discount synthetic materials to maintain the durability and easy-grip of a German knife.

Another important thing to mention regarding German knives is they are full tang knives, meaning the blade metal goes into the handle covering through to the butt of the knife. Japanese knives, by comparison, are partial tang because the blades taper as they go into the handle. 

Full tang knives not only adds to the durability of the knife but also adds balance to the knife overall, making the handle heavier than the blade. A heavier blade makes it easier to handle the knife overall.

 

Knife block

Knife blocks are a perfect place to store and organize your knives. Don’t be mistaken by the name, however. Knife blocks come in different forms, from the typical wooden blocks with slots for each knife to a magnetic strip or fixture. Knife blocks have evolved to adhere to or enhance your overall kitchen design. Depending on your purchase, knife blocks tend to be included in a knife set.

 

Dishwasher safe

Regardless of whether a knife set is deemed dishwasher safe, it is always best to hand wash your knives to prolong the quality and lifespan of the steel. Buying good quality kitchen knives that should last decades tends to be an investment, and you would not want to waste your money replacing knives because you damaged your first set using a dishwasher.

Something important to note is that many knife companies will void the product warranty if your knives get damaged because they were washed in a dishwasher.

 

Warranty

Speaking of warranty, every knife brand mentioned in this review has a limited lifetime warranty. However, some brands will charge for the shipping and handling of defective products, and most have specific stipulations to what is not covered by the warranty.

 

Maintenance

After washing, it’s best to dry and store your knives immediately. If your German knife handle is made of wood,  oil it regularly. Be sure to use honing steel regularly as well, but if the knife edges are no longer sharp, it is beneficial to get your knives professionally sharpened. Generally, knives can be sharpened professionally once or twice a year.

Proper knife maintenance will keep the high quality of your German kitchen knives for a long time.

 

What makes a knife a “German knife”?

In summary, its design, materials, Rockwell scale, and construction make a knife a German knife.

 

Why German Kitchen Knives?

I prefer German knives because they are known to be more all-purpose than other types of knives, like the more delicate, precision-based work that Japanese knives yield. That does not make German knives any lesser in quality, though.

It means that German knives have the sturdiness and durability to either withstand the clumsy, heavy hands of a novice cook or complement the practiced hand of an expert chef. As an average home cook, I can rely on German knives to help me get the job done without the fear of breaking them (as I would if I were handling Japanese knives) or feeling as though I am mishandling them.

 

German vs. Japanese Knives

We go into depth on the differences between Japanese vs. German knives here. Between the two knives, German kitchen knives have the edge over Japanese ones. They are versatile and perfect for my comfort zone but also much sharper than their counterparts because they cut into everything like butter! The lightweight balanced design is great for those who enjoy cooking authentic dishes from Japan or any other country in Asia where these types of blades are popular.

I’m a proud member of German knives not only do I prefer them to others, but it’s what I am most comfortable with due to its versatility that suits me well as an all-arounder chef at home on weekdays and restaurant work when time permits during weekends or holidays. So if you’re looking for your first knife purchase ever then get yourself one made by Germans just like myself. 

If you want to learn more you read more about the best Japanese knives here. 

 

Which German Knives Are the Best?

After extensive research and reading different reviews for each brand, hands down, I think the Wüsthof Classic set of knives–rather, the whole Wusthof brand– is the best German brand available. The Classic set has just that: classic German knives that are well-balanced, durable, high-quality knives.

Although I was tempted to choose the Zwilling J.A. Henckels line, which has razor-sharp knives and features a wider range of blade lengths at a competitive price, I had to go with what I know, love, and trust: Wusthof. 

The Wüsthof brand is my personal favorite among the brands mentioned in this article because not only did I grow up using Wüsthof knives, but I also proceeded to buy my own set when I moved out of my childhood home. 

The set I have is smaller and more affordable than the Eighteen-Piece mentioned here, but I probably would have invested in the bigger set if I had more funds at the time.

Still, it is difficult to choose the best German knife brand when each company has something great to offer. 

 

✅ After going through all of the German knives this is the knife set that we would buy based on all of its qualities.

 

This article is by Serena Valdez.