In a bout between two brands from opposite ends of the world, this Cangshan vs Wusthof article will reveal all you’ll ever need to know about these kitchen knife beasts. Perhaps you’ve heard of them. Either way, seeing a side-by-side comparison of these two manufacturers in every aspect of their offer will work wonders for your knife knowledge base.
By the end of the article, you’ll be able to choose your own winner between Cangshan and Wusthof knives!
What is Cangshan?
Cangshan has been rising in the kitchen knife industry since its recent establishment in 2015. Named after a mountain in China and the city the founder Henry Liu grew up in, Cangshan was born from the innovative efforts of its creator.
Mr. Liu was turned down to collaborate with manufacturers across the big knife-making hubs of America, Europe, and Japan. So, he returned to China, where he found an experienced and promising manufacturer on his home soil. “The rest is history,” as they say.
Now headquartered in Yangjiang, China, Liu has grown Cangshan into an elite knife manufacturer that produces quality knives made of premium materials. Although made in China, Cangshan sources its materials from the big hubs, offering hybrid German and Japanese knives.
Furthermore, Cangshan is quite versatile and abundant in its product offerings. It has 25 collections on offer, featuring a mix of stamped and forged knives as preferred.
What is Wusthof?
Needing no introduction (but I’ll give you one anyway), Wusthof is a German brand of kitchen knives established over 200 years ago. Born in the city of blades in Solingen, Germany, the brand has expanded to a global distributor of premium German steel blades.
Using a complex 40-step crafting process, all the knives that Wusthof produces are extra sharp, durable, and built to last a lifetime of use.
The iconic pitchfork logo of Wusthof is an image you likely would have seen at some point in your life. They are a highly reputable brand with knives used by Michelin-star professional cooks and chefs worldwide.
Wusthof specializes in crafting forged knives using premium German stainless steel. They also offer a range of lower-cost stamped knives in their Gourmet collection.
How are they different?
First, there is an immense age gap between these two brands. Wusthof being in the knife business for over 200 years, while Cangshan has yet to reach even a decade of operation.
The second notable difference is that Wusthof is made in Germany, whereas Cangshan is made in Southern China.
Cangshan’s manufacturing location has not stopped it from sourcing materials outside of China. Instead, their innovative edge has allowed the company to obtain materials from Germany, Japan, and Sweden. Contrastingly, Wusthof’s steel blades are sourced and crafted strictly in Germany.
Cangshan offers high alloy German steel in addition to Japanese and Swedish steel. Ultimately, it has a greater variety of products on offer.
Other differences between Wusthof knives and Cangshan knives lie in their handle designs. For example, the typical Wusthof chef knife comes with either a synthetic or wood handle. On the other hand, the typical Cangshan chef knife could be made of wood, steel, or plastic, depending on the collection.
The Wusthof Classic Ikon line comes with handle materials that you won’t find with Cangshan. Similarly, Cangshan’s N1 series comes with an all-metal hollow steel handle that you won’t find with Wusthof’s knives. Of course, these differences seep into each knife’s individual design features as well.
Wusthof knives are built with full tang triple rivets and bolsters, whereas Cangshan builds its knives with combined Eastern and Western designs.
Lastly, the performance of these knives differs significantly, with each brand excelling in its respective areas. For instance, Wusthof knives are sharper than Cangshan, offering a sharp edge of 14-degree blade angles per side compared to Cangshan’s 16-degree angle edge.
Wusthof is relatively uniform with its blade hardness across its collections, offering a hardness scale of 58 HRC. Contrastingly, Cangshan knives offer a greater range of hardness levels from a soft 56 HRC up to harder steel blades of 62 HRC.
The final difference between these two brands is their prices. Wusthof generally being the more expensive choice, though Cangshan is by no means a “budget brand.”
How are they similar?
Despite the plethora of differences between Wusthof and Cangshan, there are still a few similarities between the two brands. For instance, both brands use similar German steel to craft their blades, though for Cangshan this only applies to some of their collections.
Furthermore, both Wusthof and Cangshan offer kitchen knives with wood handles in their collections for a more aesthetic design option.
You’ll find stamped and forged blades available with both brands in terms of craftsmanship. In particular, Wusthof and Cangshan’s forged blades are built with full tang construction. As a result, they do well to resist chipping and cracking under pressure.
Also, both brands offer a variety of maintenance tools, such as sharpening steel and honing steel rods.
Regarding product offerings, Cangshan offers far more options than Wusthof, but both brands offer similar knife sets. Common knives in their best-performing sets include chef, paring, utility, serrated bread, and even a santoku knife.
Both Wusthof and Cangshan’s kitchen knives have fantastic edge retention. They provide excellent value for money, given that you are willing to pay more than average.
In terms of design, both knives have received solid feedback for their aesthetics and engravings of their logos onto their blades and handles. Furthermore, both knives are highly regarded among the world of Michelin-star chefs. The likes of Gordon Ramsay attest to Wusthof’s quality, while Thomas Keller does the same for Cangshan.
Indeed, Wusthof and Cangshan are brands worthy of the extra cost. They provide their customers with an outstanding balance, natural grip, and an ergonomic handle for a comfortable feel.
On a final note, both brands back their customers with a limited lifetime warranty when you purchase their knives. This means you are covered for any defects you experience related to manufacturing or poor material quality.
Furthermore, both knives offer bonus items with their sets such as kitchen shears, knife blocks, and sometimes a cutting board too.
What’s better about Cangshan knives?
The clear advantage of Cangshan over Wusthof knives is their sheer superiority in product offerings, which goes for quantity and variety. For example, the Chinese brand offers a whopping 25 collections of kitchen knives compared to Wusthof’s more tamed range of 8 collections.
As you’d expect, Cangshan has plenty more to choose from than Wusthof. They have blade handles coming in African blackwood designs, all-metal steel handles, and even plastic handle designs (1).
Even though both Wusthof and Cangshan offer forged and stamped knives, Cangshan simply offers much more in this regard. This makes them especially appealing to those seeking cheaper options, as Cangshan offers far more stamped knife set collections than Wusthof, which only offers one.
Cangshan also offers knives with beautiful Damascus pattern designs, a style of knife loved by many but not found in Wusthof’s range.
Another advantage of Cangshan over Wusthof is that they have a wider range of sources to get their materials. There is a sense of security that comes along with this as opposed to Wusthof, who essentially have all their eggs in one basket.
Furthermore, it allows Cangshan to offer a greater variety of knives through various blade materials and knife design styles.
Unlike Wusthof, Cangshan offers knives made of high carbon Japanese steel in addition to those made of high alloy German steel. Their German-Japanese style knives are fantastic for getting the best of both worlds. You certainly have more leeway to mix and match with Cangshan than you do with Wusthof.
Finally, Cangshan beats Wusthof in being a more innovative brand, albeit because they are still very early in their development. Nevertheless, having that flexibility and passion as a company can be refreshing for customers.
What’s better about Wusthof knives?
Sometimes, having too many choices can leave us feeling confused. That’s where Wusthof trumps Cangshan by having a narrowed-down list of knives of only the best. With many great knives such as the Wusthof Ikon chef’s knife to choose from, the German veteran places greater emphasis on quality over quantity.
Wusthof may have fewer collections than Cangshan, but with their heavy focus on optimal balance and full bolster construction. As a result, you can rest assured you will always get the quality you pay for.
While it may be true that Wusthof and Cangshan use similar German steel materials for their German blades, Wusthof knives are special in one way. That is their 40-step manufacturing process which encompasses extreme heat treatment and combined efforts of skilled craftsmen and precision technology.
The result is a crafting process that delivers the optimal balance between strength, edge retention, and durability.
Speaking of the blade, Wusthof knives are typically sharper than Cangshan’s knives, reaching razor-sharp edge angles of 14 degrees per side. Wusthof’s Classic Ikon is an ideal example of this, delivering strength in its 58 HRC German steel and slicing prowess through its extra sharpened edge.
Furthermore, Wusthof knives are not prone to chipping and cracking. Nor are they subject to snapping under pressure. That is because of its 58 HRC score, which delivers a perfectly balanced blade in all facets.
Who should get Cangshan and why?
Naturally, if you don’t want to be restricted to just the German style of knives and crave a little more variety, you should go with Cangshan. Their knives are made using materials from Japan, Sweden, and China in addition to Germany, giving plenty more options and design choices.
On that note, the brand boasts a myriad of 25 product collections compared to Wusthof knives. So, if variety and options are important to you, Cangshan is your man!
Of course, that’s not the only reason to choose Cangshan, because they also offer their knives at more affordable prices. Unlike Wusthof, a strictly high-end brand, Cangshan allows that extra bit of flexibility by offering a mixture of premium and affordable knives in its collection.
This is predominantly because they can offer a far wider range of stamped knives than Wusthof. Wusthof only offers stamped knives in their Gourmet collection.
Who should get Wusthof and why?
For a more guaranteed quality assurance, you’ll want to consider Wusthof for their proven track record. They deliver lifetime results in terms of cutting prowess and durability. In addition, the German powerhouse have been in the business for over 200 years compared to the much younger company Cangshan. This gives them a major advantage in experience and proven results.
You also won’t get the same level of blade sharpness with Cangshan knives, as Wusthof crafts their knives to an extra sharp edge of 14 degrees per side.
Wusthof’s Classic collection and all of their other collections besides Gourmet come with a full tang forged design and typically feature triple rivets on the handle. These knives are built on the back of a perfected 40-step crafting process that has been finessed to the core over 200 years. It combines the skills of talented craftsmen and precise computer technology.
Lastly, if you’re a fan of Gordon Ramsay, you should go with his recommendation for Wusthof knives.
Both Wusthof and Cangshan knife designs feature high alloy German steel for their blades. Although, it depends on the collection if we’re talking about Cangshan. Nevertheless, you can enjoy the greatness of forged and stamped knives with either of these brands.
They may use the same steel to some extent, but Cangshan also offers Japanese knives made of super steels and cheaper knives made in China and Sweden.
In comparison, Wusthof only accepts the best German steel crafting, with their main supplier located in Solingen, the German city of blades. Indeed, it’s not so much the materials that give Wusthof the advantage in blade performance, but the way they are crafted.
Their blades are forged and bolstered for optimal durability, balanced to resist chipping, and tight sharpening. This makes them the clear winner for the blade itself.
You’ll find a fair selection of forged full tang knives regardless of your brand. Both Wusthof and Cangshan offer plenty of high-quality stainless steel blades in their collections. However, when discussing their stamped knife lines, then it is a different story.
These laser-cut stamped knives are priced lower than forged ones because they are affordable and generally lower quality. For this reason, Wusthof only offers a single line of stamped knives in their Gourmet collection. On the other hand, Cangshan offers several stamped knife lines such as their TG Series, W Series, and P2 Series.
On that note, you’ll find far more product offerings overall with Cangshan. They have 25 different collections available, whereas Wusthof only offers 8 collections. Regarding the variety and richness of products, Cangshan has a clear advantage. They offer Eastern and Western hybrid knives with a greater variety of handle materials and designs too.
The previous section would have hinted (quite bluntly, actually) at this, but Cangshan has more handle materials and designs on offer than Wusthof. Their range of textures used includes African blackwood, all-metal steel, and standard plastic handles.
In this regard, Wusthof can only match Cangshan by having a collection of wood handles in their Wusthof Epicure range.
However, there is one area of the handling game where Wusthof trumps Cangshan, and it is perhaps the most critical area. Wusthof offers synthetic polyoxymethylene materials for most of their handles, a rubbery material that does more than provide a firm comfortable grip.
These Wusthof handles contain a resin too, making them highly resistant to rust and corrosion (2). In addition, it lets your knives soak in moisture with little to no damage.
Regardless of which brand is more affordable than the other, you should keep in mind that both Wusthof and Cangshan are relatively pricey. That being said, Wusthof knives are priced higher than most. Since their knives are forged, you can expect most of their range to be at that price bracket.
Fortunately, their Gourmet collection offers a line of cheaper stamped knives. Even if you aren’t getting the full benefits of Wusthof’s Classic full bolster knives.
As mentioned, Cangshan offers more variety than Wusthof regarding product selections and design choices. This has led the Chinese brand to have a greater variety of prices available for customers. It typically ranges from high-end premium prices to mildly affordable prices.
This is because Cangshan offers a greater variety of stamped knife sets and manufactures their knives in China. They are far more affordable to craft and distributes globally.
Fortunately, you can enjoy peace of mind no matter which of these brands you purchase. They both come with limited lifetime manufacturer warranties. So, whether you buy Cangshan or Wusthof knife sets, you will be covered for any defects you experience.
For any issues related to low-quality materials and craftsmanship, you can have your knife returned and repaired or replaced at little to no cost.
Cangshan vs. Wusthof FAQ
What knives are comparable to Wusthof?
There aren’t many kitchen knives comparable to Wusthof, as the brand has seen over 200 years of crafting since its establishment in the 1800s. However, one brand that can contend with Wusthof is Zwilling, another high-end German manufacturer that has been around for over 200 years.
Are Cangshan knives made in China?
Yes, Cangshan makes its knives in China and, as such, are set at more affordable price points than that of Wusthof or Zwilling. Sourcing their materials from a range of suppliers across Europe and Asia, Cangshan can offer both affordable and expensive knife sets at different levels of quality and design choice.
Are Cangshan knives forged or stamped?
Cangshan knives come as full tang forged blades and lightweight stamped blades. The company is quite innovative in its design and product offerings, with 25 different knife collections.
Can Cangshan knives be sharpened?
Yes, like most kitchen knives, Cangshan knives can be sharpened using sharpening steel rocks or using a pull-through sharpener. Unfortunately, the brand does not offer sharpening services like that of Cutco. However, you can purchase various sharpening steel and honing rod tools to help you maintain your knives at home.
(1) – https://www.wood-database.com/african-blackwood/
(2) – https://www.aboutmechanics.com/what-is-resin.htm