In a battle between old and new, this Misen vs Wusthof review is the ultimate guide between two different worlds of kitchen knife manufacturing. We’ve gathered all the comparative information you need to help you make the best choice for your next set of kitchen knives.
We’ll run you through each brand’s company background with its various products, features, and perks.
What is Misen?
Perhaps one of the more unique rises to prominence, Misen was born through a Kickstarter campaign initiated by the founder Omar Rada in 2015 (1). Indeed, the company is still relatively young and energetic. It’s constantly pivoting its strategy to offer new ways of crafting knives and offering the best prices.
The name “Misen” derives from the French culinary phrase “mise en place,” meaning “to put in place.”
The brand’s name is a testimony to their company mission: to prepare chefs and home cooks for the perfect service. So naturally, this means having your workstations in place before setting out to craft delicious food for you and your loved ones.
Misen strives to offer better customer cooking results through proper preparation with quality tools. They practice the philosophy of ‘mise en place’ daily.
Contrastingly, Wusthof has been in the business of culinary manufacturing for over 200 years. The family-owned company was first established in 1814 during the Napoleonic Wars of Europe (2). A difficult time to launch a business!
Nevertheless, the founder Johann Abraham Wusthof was the type to see opportunity in dire situations. So he began his company, Shears Factory, Steel, and Iron Works.
Wusthof’s positive mindset was key to his exponential growth over the years. He passed on his entrepreneurial skills to his three sons, one of whom would take over the business. Eduard Wusthof expanded the business beyond scissors and shears to include a wide assortment of kitchen knives.
The German brand has honed its craft over the years and employs about 100 robots in its 40-step knife manufacturing process. As a result, they can now bring you some of the highest quality knives in the world.
How are they made
Misen makes its knives in Shanghai, China using the stamped method of knife craftsmanship. They connect the blade and handle through a full tang construction, making it out of premium AICHI AUS-10 Japanese steel.
In addition, they typically make their handles out of a synthetic material known as a thermoplastic elastomer. They also use TPEs for durability, safety, and comfort.
Misen blades are then sharpened to 15-degree angles on each side for the finishing touches. This makes for an ultra-sharp knife that can pierce through any food ingredient. The blade design features the Misen logo with the classic five dots for an aesthetic finish. In addition, the light blue handle is triple riveted for a secure fit and an iconic look.
Finally, the finished knife must pass a series of quality tests, including the Rockwell Hardness Scale, to confirm a strength level of approximately 58 HRC.
Wusthof makes its knives in Solingen, Germany, a town known as the “city of blades.” It has an abundance of competitive knife brands that source materials from the best German steel suppliers in the world. However, unlike Misen, Wusthof knives are mostly forged, notably the Wusthof Classic series, which are among the brand’s best-selling products.
The German brand uses a complex 40-step process and about 300 highly skilled knife makers to produce their high-performing premium knives.
The process for crafting Wusthof knives involves laser cutting quality stainless steel. Then, they expose it to immense temperatures of over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, a special machine is used to forge the bolster. Finally, the steel is once again heated and quickly cooled down to increase the hardness levels of the blade.
Robot machines and skilled craftsmen work together to grind the blades and hone the handles, where they are then tested for quality and shipped out to retailers.
There are several differences between Misen and Wusthof’s blades. Much of which stems from the crafting process, perhaps more so than the materials themselves. To understand the difference between these two brands, you must first wrap your head around stamped vs forged knives.
Misen blades are all stamped, meaning they are constructed by cutting out the shape of the knife from a large sheet of stainless steel and heat-treating it into shape.
Wusthof knives are made using the forging process, that is, by heating a single bar of steel and pounding it into shape using the combined efforts of man and machine. A good way to think about it is that stamped knives undergo less treatment. This is because they are already cut out into the approximate shape they need to be in from the start.
Forged knives begin with a thick piece of metal that needs to go through more trials and tribulations to get it down to the size and shape of a kitchen knife.
Thus, Wusthof knives are significantly more durable in nature. You’ll find they have greater edge retention than Misen’s stamped blades. Their carbon steel blades also have a higher chromium content, making them less prone to damage by the elements and more resistant to rust and corrosion.
On the plus side for Misen, their thinner blades mean they are more lightweight than Wusthof. As a result, they’re a more comfortable knife to use for certain customers.
Material differences (blade and handle)
As mentioned, Misen uses a Japanese steel known as AICHI AUS-10 steel, a high carbon content material. This design results in excellent durability and sharpness, and the blade’s edge is designed at a 50/50 symmetrical grind. The hardness of Misen knives is around 58 on the HRC scale, meaning it is on par with Wusthof in that regard.
Wusthof uses a German steel known as X50 Cr MoV 15 for most of their blades, including their 8-inch chef’s knife, serrated knife, and paring knife. This material is known to have a good balance of strength and durability. This means it can cut through tough ingredients while maintaining enough willpower to resist damage such as chipping and cracking.
Thus, the major difference between the blade materials of Misen and Wusthof ultimately comes down to where they are made. Both brands use premium stainless steel in their construction. However, Misen uses Japanese steel, while Wusthof uses German steel from Germany.
The materials themselves don’t cause the difference, as these blades get most of their distinctive features from the crafting process.
Misen and Wusthof’s handle materials are relatively similar, with many of their products featuring polyoxymethylene synthetic material. This rubbery texture provides a firm grip and is relatively toxin-free. While Misen makes all of its knives using this handle material, Wusthof offers a greater variety, including wooden handles and various design choices.
The first thing to be aware of with Misen and Wusthof as brands is that they both offer a limited lifetime warranty for all of their products. This means you can have your knives replaced for any defects experienced due to the manufacturing process or a lack of material quality with your knives.
Both Misen and Wusthof offer a guaranteed level of quality when you purchase. In addition, they allow you to send your knives back and have them either repaired or replaced at no cost to you.
Misen goes further with their warranty and offers sharpening services through their Lifetime Free Sharpening policy. So essentially, whenever your blade goes dull due to conventional intended-use chopping, you can mail it back to the company and have it resharpened for free.
Furthermore, Misen has a 60-day home trial period. This means you can get a full refund on your knives if you decide to return it within the first two months of use (provided you don’t break them!).
Both Misen and Wusthof build their knives to be safe for cleaning via dishwasher. However, both brands also recommend handwashing regardless. If you do choose to use a dishwasher, know that Wusthof knives are typically more resistant to corrosion as far as the blades go.
However, because of their greater range of handles (including wood), you should avoid dishwashing your knives if made of these.
How are they different?
The key difference between the American Misen and the German Wusthof (other than their countries of origin) is the style of knives they offer. Misen makes its chef’s knives using the stamped crafting process, whereas Wusthof’s makes its chef’s knife with the forged method.
This typically makes Wusthof a little more durable and (sometimes) sharper as well, while Misen has the edge in being more lightweight.
How are they similar?
Both Misen and Wusthof produce high-quality knives with a razor-sharp edge that can pierce through all kinds of ingredients. In addition, unlike other knives, both brands have a well-balanced Rockwell Hardness score of 58. This attests to the blade’s hardness and edge retention balance.
Furthermore, both brands offer similar products such as chef’s or steak knife sets. You can often enjoy bonus accessories such as a cutting board when you purchase a knife set with them.
What’s better about Misen?
The greatest advantage of purchasing Misen knives over Wusthof have nothing to do with the knives’ performance, but the surrounding benefits that the brand provides. For starters, Misen is significantly more affordable than Wusthof, and the brand always strives to make high-quality knives readily available for everyday home cooks.
Furthermore, Misen’s warranty is far more reassuring than Wusthof. They offer a forever sharpness guarantee that lets you enjoy expertly sharpened knives all year round.
What’s better about Wusthof?
What Wusthof lacks in affordability and warranty, it more than makes up for in performance and lasting results. The high-quality construction of forged German steel is second to none. In addition, they offer a greater range of knife handle designs and materials to suit a wider audience.
Also, you can purchase more sharpening tools with Wusthof. So, you can care for and maintain your knives yourself instead of waiting two weeks for them to come back to you with Misen’s sharpness guarantee.
Who should get Misen and why?
Misen is the natural choice for bargain seekers because its more affordable prices still deliver cutting-edge performance. For instance, the Misen chef’s knife is far more cost-effective than the Wusthof classic chef’s knife. It’ll be hard for most homeowners to tell the difference between these two knives.
Indeed, Misen is the people’s choice when purchasing good knives at honest prices. So, I’d highly recommend it for the everyday chef.
Who should get Wusthof and why?
Wusthof builds with supremacy in mind, forged steel blades crafted from the highest level of manufacturing methodologies. The performance and durability of the blades make them a top choice for Michelin-star chefs. This includes the legendary Gordon Ramsay himself.
Professional chefs aside, anyone who appreciates high-end culinary tools should seriously consider Wusthof knives.
Blade & Materials
Made with the highest quality German steel in the world and adored by Michelin-star chefs, Wusthof is unbeatable in terms of performance. The forging process of their knives and the 40-step procedure give them the edge in durability and cutting prowess.
On the other hand, Misen’s stamped blades are thinner and less durable, though they are more lightweight for that reason.
Design & Ergonomics
Both Wusthof and Misen offer extremely sharp knives in a full tang design that allows the user to make precise cuts most comfortably. They also provide plenty of security and hygiene in the handle’s grip. It does this through POM materials that are synthetic and firm on the hand.
However, Wusthof’s chef’s knife comes with an added pinch grip that gives a slight ergonomic edge, making it the victor in this instance.
Price & Warranty
One of the reasons Misen’s knives are so popular is their affordability and warranty. Misen prices its chef’s knife several notches lower than Wusthof’s classic chef’s knife. Many customers would not tell the difference in quality, making it an exciting choice.
Furthermore, Misen offers a forever sharpness guarantee in addition to both brands’ standard limited warranty. This makes it the clear winner in terms of price and warranty.
Misen vs Wusthof FAQ
Do Misen knives stay sharp?
Misen knives do not stay sharp forever, so the brand backs its customers up with a forever sharpness guarantee. This means whenever your blade’s edge goes dull, you can return it and have it sharpened by experts for little to no cost.
Is Misen a Japanese company?
Despite its French name and Japanese steel materials, Misen is neither a French nor a Japanese brand. The company was founded in 2015 from a Kickstarter campaign in the USA, and is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York City.
What knife does Gordon Ramsay recommend?
Gordon Ramsay is a huge advocate for German stainless steel. The Michelin-star chef recommends Wusthof and Henckels, both of which are manufactured in Solingen, the German “city of blades.”
What is the hardness of Misen knives?
Misen knives score an average of 58 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale, giving it a good balance between durability and edge retention. This score is similar to that of Wusthof, making the two brands fairly equal in terms of material hardness and strength.
(1) – https://www.quora.com/What-is-Kickstarter-How-does-it-work
(2) – https://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~rwest/wikispeedia/wpcd/wp/n/Napoleonic_Wars.htm