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German knife brands compared

The kitchen knives from Solingen, Germany, are famous around the world. Because these brands' kitchen knives have been so popular for such a long time, they sometimes look very similar. Which brands are out there? And what are the differences and similarities? We compared Zwilling, Böker, WMF, Güde and Robert Herder.

Zwilling J.A. Henckels is one of the most famous names in the world of kitchen knives. Zwilling was registrered in 1731 by Solingen knife maker Peter Henckels. He named his company after his own zodiac sign: Twins (Zwillinge in German). Later on, the company was taken over by Johann Abraham Henckels, to whom the brand owes its current name: Zwilling J.A. Henckels. Often, however, this is abbreviated to Zwilling.

Zwilling: pros

  • Very large range, including Japanese kitchen knives
  • Excellent price-quality ratio

Zwilling: cons

  • Quality of finish depends on the series
  • Large engravings on the side of the blade

Check out all Zwilling kitchen knives


Güde has been making high-quality German kitchen knives for over a century. What's so special about this brand is how much of the work is still done by hand. Over 30 steps in the production process require a check from one of Güde's master knife makers. This brand made the conscious decision to go for craftsmanship rather than mass production, and one design rather than multiple series with different designs. The result is perfect kitchen knives that give you years of enjoyment in a professional capacity or home kitchens. Due to the large pommel - the steel part on the back of the handle - these knives are relatively heavy.

Güde: pros

  • One perfect design
  • Excellent quality

Güde: cons

  • Not a lot of choice in models
  • Can be pricey

Check out all Güde kitchen knives


The history of WMF, or Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik, dates back to 1853. By 1900, WMF's range already consisted of more than 20,000 unique products! These days, they produce everything you need in the kitchen. From kitchen knives and cutlery to pans and kitchen gadgets. WMF kitchen knives are very stylish. Form follows function. In other words: no unnecessary fuss. Functional, high-quality, affordable yet stylish. What more could a cooking enthusiast ask for?

WMF: pros

  • Choice of traditional or modern design
  • Large range, including pans and cutlery

WMF: cons

  • Quality of finish depends on the series
  • Depending on the series, can be relatively pricey

Check out all WMF kitchen knives


Mostly famous for their small and razor-sharp 'mill knives'. Many of these kitchen knives have a blade made from carbon steel. Carbon steel might not be corrosion resistant, and it might require careful treatment, but the cutting properties are so good that Robert Herder decided to go with carbon steel anyway.

Robert Herder: pros

  • Razor-sharp thanks to the hand-sharpened 'Dünnschliff' grind.
  • Elegant wooden handles

Robert Herder: cons

  • Carbon steel requires maintenance
  • Depending on the series, can be relatively pricey

Check out all Robert Herder kitchen knives


Böker kitchen knives have been known for their Solinger quality for over a hundred years. Böker's logo is a stylised chestnut tree. This tree stood in front of the original factory, and founder Heinrich Böker thought it would make a nice symbol for the company. Böker was founded in 1869 and has since grown into one of the world's leading knife brands. Also in the world of pocket knives! Böker offers a wide range of kitchen knives with different materials and styles.

Böker: pros

  • Excellent quality
  • Extensive range

Böker: cons

  • Not many kitchen knives in each series
  • The kitchen knives from the Forge series are made in Asia

Check out all Böker kitchen knives


Conclusion

Despite all having their roots in Solingen, these brands clearly have their own characteristics. Hence, your preference is very personal. Weight, length, handle material: all things that play an important role when choosing a knife. Luckily, with these German knife brands, you have plenty of choice!

Still unable to make a choice? View all kitchen knives from Germany here.