It’s the battle of the beasts in this Cutco vs Wusthof article as we break down two of the biggest giants in the kitchen knives industry. From company backgrounds to product offerings and features, you can leave this article feeling like a culinary expert that your family and friends will seek out for advice.
Indeed, it’s the ultimate showdown between the two experienced manufacturers. They both insist on only the best knives for their customers, but there can only be one winner!
What is Cutco?
The American giant of kitchen knife manufacturing, Cutco knives, was established in 1949 in Big Apple itself. However, the New York-based company found its footing developing kitchen cutlery across the U.S.A. and Canada.
Currently, the Cutco brand has hundreds of employees with factories across the continent.
You can purchase Cutco knives through their website, Amazon, or physical retail stores across the United States. They also offer two warranties: Cutco’s Forever Guarantee and their Forever Sharpness Guarantee.
This means you can purchase Cutco knives with the peace of mind that you can return them at any point if you are unsatisfied with them.
What is Wusthof?
Wusthof is the German superpower of knife manufacturing. Established in 1814 in Solingen, Germany, Wusthof has been distributing knives for over two centuries. They’re one of the top brands in Germany alongside Zwilling J.A. Henckels.
Wusthof has expanded to offer knives worldwide and established itself as a high-end premium brand of kitchen knives.
Wusthof knives are backed with a manufacturer warranty that covers its customers for any defects related to the crafting process. However, unlike Cutco, Wusthof does not offer a Forever Sharpness Guarantee. This means it’s up to you to care for and maintain your knives.
Fortunately, they offer a range of tools to help you with this, including knife sharpeners and honing steel rods.
How are they made
Having been in the business for over 70 years, Cutco continuously improves its knives with developing technologies. Their manufacturing process involves laser cutting large sheets of steel in the shape of knife blades. From there, they are exposed to high temperatures of heat and molded into shape. Then, a layer of protective coating was added.
Cutco manufactures its handles through a molding process using engineered thermo-resin that is secured onto the steel blade using nickel silver rivets. The surface of the knife is then sanded across the blade and handle for a smooth finish all around. Then, the blade is sharpened to 15 degrees per side by an expert craftsman.
Before shipping to retailers, Cutco undergoes an inspection test with high-quality standards.
Unlike Cutco’s stamped blades, Wusthof constructs its knives using the forging process which involves a 40-step procedure. This process involves a combination of intricate handyperson skills and modern crafting technology.
In a nutshell, Wusthof’s forged knives are made from a piece of high-carbon stainless steel that is melted and molded into a sturdy blade.
The forging process shifts molecules in the steel into the optimal arrangement for maximum strength and durability. Furthermore, Wusthof knives are often thicker and more heavy-duty than standard stamped knives. As a result, they can retain their edge for long periods of time.
Keep in mind that despite this specialization in forged knives, Wusthof also offers two lines of stamped blades that perform exceptionally well.
While Cutco knives are more affordable because of their cost-efficient manufacturing process, Wusthof’s forged blades are stronger and more durable. Generally speaking, forged knives are more expensive than stamped knives but offer a better experience. As a result, they are the preferred choice for professional chefs.
However, Cutco may be a more appealing choice to the everyday home cook. Most importantly, you won’t notice the difference between a good-quality stamped knife and a premium forged blade.
It may be difficult for the everyday home cook to tell the difference between a Cutco knife and a Wusthof knife. For starters, the fact that Wusthof forges its knives and Cutco stamps its knives make the German blades more durable.
This means Wusthof knives can typically hold their edge longer than Cutco knives. For the most part, Wusthof and Cutco offer very sharp knives in their collections. However, the German brand has some even sharper options.
Most knives from either brand are sharpened to 15-degree angles per side. However, Wusthof also offers a line of super sharp knives that go beyond a razor-sharp edge of 14-degrees per side. Furthermore, Wusthof offers both forged and stamped knives, whereas Cutco only offers stamped knives in its entire collection.
Wusthof knives generally have a thicker, more durable blade than Cutco knives. This results from its complicated crafting process that is expensively intricate in nature. Contrastingly, Cutco knives have thinner blades which is part of what makes them less durable than Wusthof blades’ long-lasting edge.
The benefit of thinner knives is that they tend to be more lightweight than forged knives.
Material differences (blade and handle)
Essentially, both Cutco and Wusthof make their knives using stainless steel metals shaped into a blade design and attached to a handle. However, one could argue the quality of the Wusthof blades are stronger and more durable. Despite being made of the same stainless steel material as Cutco, the forging process makes a huge difference.
Wusthof’s expert craftsman uses the 40-step heating and molding process instead of simply stamping it like Cutco.
While both brands indeed use stainless steel for their blades, they source their materials from different locations. As the European superpower in culinary manufacturing, Wusthof sources its materials on home soil. As a result, they sport some of the world’s highest quality German steel blades.
Furthermore, Wusthof makes high-carbon stainless steel blades with more tungsten and chromium content than Cutco’s knives. This gives it a stronger edge that is longer-lasting.
More notably, you’ll find a spectrum of differences between the handle material of Cutco and Wusthof knives. For example, most Cutco knife handles are made of a material called thermo resin whereas Wusthof knife handles are more varied in their fabrics.
More often than not, your typical Wusthof knife comes with a synthetic material known as polyoxyethylene. Essentially, a black plastic-like material found on most kitchen knives.
Some of Wusthof’s knives go out of the norm, however, notably the Wusthof Classic Ikon series which utilizes a natural wood material for its handles. These handles have a more traditional, vintage look (1). They are simply beautiful to gaze at, providing a warm and cozy atmosphere to complement your home decor.
On the other hand, the advantage of Cutco handles is that they are dishwasher-safe due to the corrosion-resistant nature of the thermo resin material.
Cutco simply cannot be beaten when it comes to a lifetime of support with your knives. Its Forever Guarantee and Forever Sharpness Guarantee are the perfect complements to your knives’ well-being. In addition, the opportunity to send in your knives whenever they go blunt is a perk not many knife brands offer.
Wusthof’s warranty is more standard in that regard. However, it only covers its users for any defects experienced resulting from material quality, craftsmanship, or the manufacturing process. As such, the brand is not as supportive as Cutco regarding ensuring your experience is free of issues.
However, what Wusthof does better than Cutco is they offer a greater range of sharpening tools and honing rods to maintain your knives on your own. This also means you can save more time shipping your product back and forth to the manufacturer so that you are never without your set of knives.
In terms of cleaning, both brands always recommend handwashing, regardless of whether your knives are dishwasher-friendly or not. To clean your knives effectively, simply apply some light detergent and rinse them under some warm water.
Use a sponge or a damp cloth to scrub the blade and handle, ensuring your hand is not in contact with the blade’s sharp edge. We recommend wearing latex gloves.
The above cleaning method can be applied to both Wusthof and Cutco knives, but if you prefer to use your dishwasher, here’s what you need to know. First, Wusthof’s blades are naturally more corrosion resistant than Cutco’s due to their higher carbon content. So, for that reason, they’d be more compatible with dishwasher cleaning.
However, since they make their knife handles out of various materials, you should not use your dishwasher unless the handle is made of thermo resin.
On the other hand, Cutco knives are just about all made with thermo resin handle material, so they are quite safe to clean in the dishwasher. However, you would benefit from alternating between dishwasher and handwashing once in a while. Also, the blade is lower in chromium content than Wusthof.
This means Cutco’s knives are not quite as resistant to corrosion as Wusthof knives. So, I’d recommend using an eco-mode that uses less water if your dishwasher possesses this feature.
How are they different?
There are quite a few distinctive features of Cutco and Wusthof knives, and both excel in unique areas. First, of course, Cutco is based in the USA, and as such they tend to use American steel to manufacture their knife blades.
In contrast, Wusthof is based in Solingen’s German “city of blades” in Solingen. Here they have access to some of the best German stainless steel materials and knife makers worldwide.
Right off the bat, Wusthof has the edge over Cutco regarding the quality of materials. Speaking of “the edge,” their blades are also superior to Cutco in terms of durability and edge retention. This is due to the premium materials and crafting process used. Wusthof makes their knives using the forging process, while Cutco uses stamping.
In terms of sharpness, Wusthof also has a slight advantage in offering blades with sharp edges of 14 degree angles, whereas Cutco’s sharpness caps at 15 degrees.
On that note, it can be easier to maintain the sharpness of your knives with Cutco than with Wusthof. This is because Cutco’s Forever Sharpness warranty offers a mailing program to send in your knives for maintenance whenever the edge quality goes down.
While Wusthof doesn’t offer the same benefits in their warranty as Cutco, they have a greater range of maintenance tools available. These tools include blade sharpeners and honing steel rods to help you maintain your knives yourself.
This benefit is that you can sharpen your blades closer to your ideal angles. In addition, you won’t waste any time with shipping your knives back and forth to the manufacturer.
How are they similar?
Wusthof and Cutco have in common that their blades are typically built with full tang construction. In addition, they feature an incredibly sharp blade with an ergonomic handle. Furthermore, there are quite a few similarities between Cutco and Wusthof products as far as their individual items and knife sets go.
Both brands offer bundles that include a variety of knives, such as a chef’s knife, a paring knife, utility knives, and steak knives.
Without a doubt, Cutco and Wusthof are both manufacturers of high-quality kitchen knives. Both are established knife companies with plenty of experience. In addition, both brands have a limited lifetime warranty and offer serrated edge and straight edge knives in their collections.
You will also find plenty of comfort in Cutco and Wusthof’s handle materials, which both offer dishwasher-safe thermo resin material.
While Wusthof is considered more expensive, they offer plenty of products that can be just as affordable as Cutco. On that note, plenty of cheaper knives are available outside these two brands. So, by no means are either of them designed for budget buyers only.
For both Wusthof and Cutco cutlery, you will need to meet a certain price point threshold to get your hands on their high-quality knives.
What’s better about Cutco?
Cutco is the better choice for budget buyers, despite not necessarily being a “cheap brand.” Simply put, the American brand is more affordable if you compare Cutco with Wusthof’s price tags.
Making high-performing knives readily available for the masses is what Cutco is all about. You will be quite pleased with the quality to your kitchen tasks.
Cutco wins by a landslide for their Forever Sharpness Guarantee if we’re talking about warranty. Essentially, you can ship your product back to the manufacturer for free and have them sharpen your knife’s cutting edge and return it to you.
Wusthof does not offer this service, so it is up to you to maintain the sharpness of your knives if you choose the German brand.
What’s better about Wusthof?
As discussed throughout this article, Wusthof knives are superior for performance and quality results. In addition, the forged bolster design of the blades provides an enhanced cutting experience through a sharper edge that retains its prowess for longer.
They make their perfectly balanced knives using a 40-step crafting process. This involves highly skilled knife makers coordinating with computer programs for precise crafting.
The Wusthof brand may not offer the same level of warranty as Cutco, but they have a greater range of maintenance tools that come with their knife sets. From sharpening tools to honing steel rods, you can maintain your blade’s edge in the comfort of your kitchen.
Wusthof also has a greater variety of knives in its product offerings.
To elaborate on that, you’ll find that Wusthof specializes in forged knives. However, they also offer stamped knives in one of their collections. On the other hand, Cutco does not offer forged knives at all.
Additionally, the Wusthof family offers far more variety of knife handles, while Cutco only offers one design with differing colors.
Who should get Cutco and why?
People who are not willing to pay large sums of money for a knife set can go for Cutco. For many home cooks, new knives that can just get the job done and last a long time are more than enough for their purposes.
Cutco is also the preferred choice for its awesome warranty guarantee. After all, sometimes it’s best to leave the maintenance to the experts. With Cutco, you can simply mail your knives back to headquarters and have blade sharpened and sent back to you completely free of charge.
This also saves you even more money on tools like sharpeners and honing steel rods.
Who should get Wusthof and why?
There’s no doubt, professional chefs would be the first to have a preference for Wusthof due to their collection of high-quality forged blades. Offering more strength, durability, and sharpness, Wusthof knives are the perfect knife for flawless slicing and dicing tasks for optimal ingredient preparation.
Of course, the everyday homeowner can benefit just as much as any old chef, provided they are willing to pay that extra bit for quality.
With a greater variety in blade handles and more options for forged and stamped knives, you’re more likely to get yourself a complete set with Wusthof. Furthermore, it’s more probable that you’ll find a set that suits your home decor. The brand offers a huge range of handle designs and colors to cater to all preferences.
Wusthof would also suit anyone who prefers to maintain their knives on their own. They offer a good variety of sharpening tools to help you get the best out of your knives all year round.
There’s no doubt that Wusthof is superior regarding the materials used for their blade and handle. Sourced from some of the world’s best craftsmen, the brand employs premium German stainless steel that is crafted using the forged process. Thus, Wusthof blades are more durable, harder, and sharper than the average blade, including Cutco.
In Cutco’s defense, their thinner blades allow the knife’s overall weight to be lighter, making them easier to use for some customers. Furthermore, all of Cutco’s knives are made with thermo resin, meaning they are all dishwasher-safe, whereas you need to be a little more careful with Wusthof (2).
However, this advantage alone is not enough to negate the vast benefits of Wusthof’s blade performance. That makes them the clear winner in this instance.
As mentioned, Wusthof blades are superior in terms of strength, durability, and edge retention. One of the reasons for this is their higher carbon content which is richer in chromium. This allows the blade to be more resistant to damage by the elements.
For this reason, Wusthof blades are significantly more corrosion-resistant than Cutco, meaning they are more suitable for dishwashers in that aspect.
Both Cutco and Wusthof offer very comfortable and ergonomic handles with their knives that promote safety, security, and maneuverability. They also offer thermo resin handle material options that are compatible with dishwashers for an added advantage in the cleaning process.
Where they differ is in range, and Wusthof offers far more options and variety in terms of handle designs, materials, and colors.
The forged bolster design of the Wusthof knife is complemented by a triple rivet design that wraps around the full tang blade. This material can be made of plastics or wood and there are enough options to suit a greater audience of users and their different-sized hands.
Cutco knives are all made with the same handle material and design, making them inferior to Wusthof in the ergonomics department.
Naturally, Wusthof’s premium level of knife production makes them significantly more pricey Cutco. While they do offer some cheaper options, particularly their stamped blades collection, Cutco is by far the more affordable option. In Wusthof’s defense, the quality of their materials and craftsmanship means a lesser need for maintenance.
Regardless, Cutco effectively counteracts this with their Forever Sharpness Guarantee, so it doesn’t matter how much maintenance your knives need. Ultimately, you are covered for a lifetime when you choose Cutco. You can rest assured that you will always have free access to their maintenance services no matter how you obtained your knives.
Wusthof offers more DIY maintenance tools, but this simply incurs more costs on top of your knife purchases. This makes Cutco the victor in price and overall cost-efficiency.
Wusthof and Cutco offer a limited lifetime warranty with their knives, covering their customers for various product-related circumstances. These manufacturer warranties typically cover the user for any defects that result from manufacturing defects or a lack of material quality.
In such circumstances, you can have your product replaced or refunded at little to no charge.
Cutco goes one step further with their Forever Sharpness Guarantee, allowing the user to have their knives resharpened for free. But, again, so long as the user adheres to Cutco’s recommended use, that is, not cutting anything they shouldn’t be cutting, then this warranty applies.
Thus, Cutco once again takes the cake on this occasion, offering a little more in their warranty policies than their German competitor.
Cutco vs Wusthof FAQ
Does Cutco have a good reputation?
Cutco has one of the best knife manufacturing reputations in the United States and the world at large. Known for their high-quality kitchen knives and affordable prices, they have been in the business for over 70 years as a highly acclaimed cooking utensil company.
Are Cutco knives a rip off?
While they aren’t the cheapest brand on the market, Cutco knives are well within the average person’s budget. Their knives are reasonably priced for the most part, though they do offer some items that are several notches up the price brackets.
Are Cutco shears worth it?
Cutco shears are relatively cheap and designed to be comfortable and durable. Built with high-carbon stainless steel and a Micro-D serrated edge, they can prove to be worth every penny for the right customer!
(1) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vintage_(design)
(2) – https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/materials-science/thermosetting-resin