17 votes

Quality German made knives

Hello everyone,

I'm currently living in Germany and in these few years I've discovered by chance a small but super sharp fruit knife from Solingen (I think the brand was from Rör). I was so amazed by the sharpness that now I want to buy a chef's knife for myself (budget: up to 60 or 70) and a knife for my dad (budget: up to 30 or 40) as a Christmas gift.

I've already searched the web for great German knife brands, and it seems these are the ones:

If someone is looking into this post looking for a budget (but still good) German knife brand, it seems that Rör is that brand.

But since, I’m looking for advice with this post, I’m no expert on the topic, if there are bad knife makers on this list or great knife makers missing, please tell me, and I'll remove/add them from/to my post. :)

The knives list below are all that fit the budget I've mentioned. Hohenmoorer and Windmühlen (and this brand only has wooden handles, which I don't like), are just too expensive, so only Friedr. Dick and Wüsthof are left inside my budget, but I could include two more expensive ones from Burgvogel and Friedr. Dick, if it is really, really worth it.


For myself:


For my Dad:


Last questions:

  1. Would you recommend a 20, 21 or a 23 cm blade size? Some knives have different variations of these blade sizes.
  2. Should I care about the material of the knife? I saw someone saying that it should be made of carbon steel (I think?).
  3. Should I already buy a knife sharpener from one of the brands above?
  4. Should I buy one of those knife guard/protector/sleeve to store it on a drawer or something like that?

That is all, and I want to say thank you in advance for all the replies 🙂

EDIT: I already bought a knife! Thank you so much for all the help! I've bought the Burgvogel Comfort Line 21 cm, I got a nice discount and bought for €58! I don't know how did I miss it but, Burgvogel has the Comfort Line and Series 4000 which are cheaper and also nice quality, just in case, someone in the future wants more options when looking into a new knife. :) My Dad will have a ProDynamic after reading good things about the quality of the cheaper F. Dick knife series.

26 comments

  1. [10]
    PetitPrince
    Link
    Blade size : My euro style chef knife of choice at home is 19cm. But then I'm a smaller than average and don't tend to prepare huge quantities (only for me and my wife). Specifics : I would advice...
    • Exemplary

    Blade size : My euro style chef knife of choice at home is 19cm. But then I'm a smaller than average and don't tend to prepare huge quantities (only for me and my wife).

    Specifics : I would advice you against the Premier Plus knife, because it has a this extra bit of metal of the heel of the blade that goes all the way to the edge. This makes the blade marginally safer to use (because the will is not pointy any more) but makes it more difficult to sharpen (see below).

    Also, consider Victorinox for your brand selection . Yes their more known for the Swiss army knife, but they also make decent kitchen cutlery. Some part of the Internet seems (the chef knife subreddit) seems to agree with me. I've been reliably using one for the good part of the last decade reliably now.

    Material : there's a trade-off to have between performance, maintenance and aesthetics (and what kind of food is prepared with the knife as well).

    Carbon steel can be harder and sharper but require more maintenance : you need to have a proper cleaning and drying routine (not leaving the knife in the sink for instance, or rinse immediately after cutting acidic food) lest you damage the blade with rust (nothing is irreparable in most case). It's also easier to sharpen, and I find the hammered and/or folded steel appearance of Japanese carbon steel knives super nice to look at (but your selection have none of those).

    On the contrary regular stainless steel have less potential in term of sharpening but are more sturdy ("hard" can also mean "brittle"; think glass) . So while I would never cut bones with my Japanese knife, I'm more than happy to wack and fiddle the same piece of food with my Victorinox.

    Sleeve: if you don't have a dedicated place for your knifes (I have the plastic straw one from IKEA, might buy a magnetic strip sometime in the future), this might be a good investment.

    Sharpening : Most knife nerds would tell you to buy some sharpening stone instead, but again this depends on your usecase. Nothing in life is simple and in that case you have a trade-off to make between practicality, quality of the sharpening, knife durability and skill needed to properly sharpen your knife. You can get better results with stones with minimal damage to the blade, but in other hands it can takes several times to get the hang of it (I find this a zen experience like ironing my clothes), and you can fall deep in the gear acquisition syndrome, and end up buying too much stuff for diminishing returns. And while automatic sharpeners are more damaging to the blade, I prefer having a sharp knife over a dull one, and if you don't have time for this kind of stuff that's OK.
    Oh and don't bother with honing steel, those are made for regular, daily maintenance but will not make a dull blade sharp again. Think of those like finishing pencil vs the wide brush that are the sharpeners and stone.

    Adam Ragusea has a good primer video on the whole subject

    5 votes
    1. [9]
      alcappuccino
      Link Parent
      I have a generic 20 cm long Chef knife from the supermarket, and I think it is a good size for me. 21 cm should be too. Just wanted to know if 23 cm would make a huge difference or not. I actually...

      Blade size : My euro style chef knife of choice at home is 19cm. But then I'm a smaller than average and don't tend to prepare huge quantities (only for me and my wife).

      I have a generic 20 cm long Chef knife from the supermarket, and I think it is a good size for me. 21 cm should be too. Just wanted to know if 23 cm would make a huge difference or not.

      Specifics : I would advice you against the Premier Plus knife, because it has a this extra bit of metal of the heel of the blade that goes all the way to the edge. This makes the blade marginally safer to use (because the will is not pointy any more) but makes it more difficult to sharpen (see below).

      I actually didn't understand this part, it has that extra bit of metal, and it makes it safer to use. Wouldn't that be a good thing?

      Regarding the Victorinox, I can find them easily on my home country without problems if I want one of those in the future. But the Germans knives are pretty hard to get and if I would find them it would be at a huge premium. So, I live here now, and they are very high quality and easy to get ;)

      Material : there's a trade-off to have between performance, maintenance and aesthetics (and what kind of food is prepared with the knife as well).

      This paragraph was so interesting, thank you! Nevertheless, then do you think that any knife from this list is good enough? Wouldn't you prefer one of the €60 or €80 knives, comparing to the €30 ones? Does the manufacturing process (punched, laser cut and hand-made) matter?

      Sharpening : Most knife nerds would tell you to buy some sharpening stone instead, but again this depends on your usecase.

      I have small children so, I don't really have the time to invest on using a whetstone, maybe in the future when there is more free time. Would a sharpener like this, make more sense for my non-existing skill? If not, feel free to recommend me something :)

      1 vote
      1. [6]
        PetitPrince
        Link Parent
        The term I was failing to find for this design feature is "full bolster". I quick Web search tells me it's less of a safety feature and more as a mechanical reinforcement of the blade at its heel...

        I actually didn't understand this part, it has that extra bit of metal, and it makes it safer to use. Wouldn't that be a good thing?

        The term I was failing to find for this design feature is "full bolster". I quick Web search tells me it's less of a safety feature and more as a mechanical reinforcement of the blade at its heel in case you want to cut some sturdier material. In any case, it makes sharpening the blade at the heel more difficult because it's an physical impediment to whatever you use to sharpen the knife.

        Assuming you live in the US, I heard its also fairly easy to get Wusthof :).

        Nevertheless, then do you think that any knife from this list is good enough?

        My obsessive searches were more on Japanese knives because I'm a desperate weeb for various reason (including : I cook a lot of Asian food (including Japanese) , but my guess is that they are all equally good. A cursory glance at the chef knives subreddit and you can see that most brand you cited often appears, and I still have some faith on the lesser known one. You're not buying ceramic knives at Aldi at least.

        I do think the manufacturing process matters though. Forging a blade is more expensive but you have a higher degree of freedom and control on the blade composition and structure compared to uniform sheets of metal that are stamped or laser-cut. And people tends to be more angry and give a bad PR if their expensive hand-made knife performs poorly.

        Ultimately what matters more is how it feels in your hand. As long as you have a way to make your knife sharp (be it stone, sharpener of even a ceramic mug), any steel knife can be made into a decent tool. If you can go to a shop and try or at least hold the knife you want that can be a good way to decide. If it sparks joy because it looks and feel good then you know it's a good on :) .

        I have small children so, I don't really have the time to invest on using a whetstone,

        I had an not-very-funny joke about not having time because of various reasons, including having kids... Seems I was right about this one!

        For me it initally took about 7-8 hours of practice to get it (it helped that I offered to sharpen my in-laws numerous dull knives, so I could get ton of practice in one go and with different quality of blades), but now each of my sharpening session is like 10-15 minutes. And I can use the same process on my katana so that's a plus.

        About the sharpener you linked : it's probably very good and Wusthof is a good brand.

        2 votes
        1. [5]
          alcappuccino
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          No, I'm from the EU, so my native country has fewer options due to being poorer and less population :) That is also one of the reasons to buy now in Germany. Even if they exist on my home country,...

          No, I'm from the EU, so my native country has fewer options due to being poorer and less population :) That is also one of the reasons to buy now in Germany. Even if they exist on my home country, probably they will cost double. We are twice as poor comparing to the Germans, but stuff sometimes is twice as expensive. I don't understand economics sometimes.

          I've heard German knives also take a beating better than the Japanese ones, so I also think this German knife is an amazing beginner knife for me. When I'm accustomed to all the processes (sharpening, etc), I can start looking for a nicer Japanese one because I'm a desperate weeb too. 😄

          I'm still not sure about the honing or sharpening part. My wife is telling to stop looking at this stuff, I've invested enough time 😅 So, I think when the knife starts to get dull, I'll start looking at this part and probably write another post. Probably it depends on greatly, but how many times do you sharpen your knife, just to get an idea?


          But, nevertheless, I've bought the knife already! I completely missed Burgvogel's slightly cheaper knife series! So, when I started looking at the Comfort Line 21 cm, I've discovered one website with a sale from €75 to €58; it was the last knife and I bought it as fast as I could! :) For now, the only accessory that I've bought was a knife guard from F. Dick which was cheap and it was around €5.

          2 votes
          1. [4]
            PetitPrince
            Link Parent
            Every time I feel like it; about 2-3 month, using my finer stones (I use the coarser one if I feel that the blade is really dull; but that doesn't happen often)

            how many times do you sharpen your knife, just to get an idea?

            Every time I feel like it; about 2-3 month, using my finer stones (I use the coarser one if I feel that the blade is really dull; but that doesn't happen often)

            1 vote
            1. [3]
              alcappuccino
              Link Parent
              And just curious, which whetstone brand do you use?

              And just curious, which whetstone brand do you use?

              1. [2]
                PetitPrince
                Link Parent
                I had a deal on a local retailer for the previous version ofthis kit (the grit rating is a bit different).

                I had a deal on a local retailer for the previous version ofthis kit (the grit rating is a bit different).

                1 vote
                1. alcappuccino
                  Link Parent
                  Thank you. :) When the time is right, I can search/learn more about whetstones. For the moment, I'll have fun using the knife while it is razor sharp. The knife arrived today, it's beautiful and...

                  Thank you. :) When the time is right, I can search/learn more about whetstones. For the moment, I'll have fun using the knife while it is razor sharp. The knife arrived today, it's beautiful and has a nice weight to it. After Christmas, I'll start using it :)

                  1 vote
      2. [2]
        wossab
        Link Parent
        A good sharpener you actually use is actually more important than the quality of the knife. The quality of the knife will determine how long it will stay sharp. But even the most expensive knife...

        I have small children so, I don't really have the time to invest on using a whetstone, maybe in the future when there is more free time. Would a sharpener like this, make more sense for my non-existing skill? If not, feel free to recommend me something :)

        A good sharpener you actually use is actually more important than the quality of the knife. The quality of the knife will determine how long it will stay sharp. But even the most expensive knife will need resharpening. Skimp on the sharpener and your expensive knife will never live up to its initial investment again.

        I have a bunch of different sharpeners. The one you linked is fairly shite because the V-shape gets clogged with metal filings and at some point you are just actively dulling the blade. Traditional stones are a PITA and require a lot of practice to get right. You will mess up one or two knives while learning the process. I have a Work Sharp belt sharpener that's so much of a hassle to get out I hardly ever use it. In the end, I mostly use a ceramic sharpening steel that's easy to use and gets the job done. But do your homework and see what will work for you.

        1 vote
        1. alcappuccino
          Link Parent
          Yes, I bet you are right. It's like cameras, they are important but lenses even more. Does it really work? I was also reading that it does not do much at microscopic level and for a home cook it...

          Yes, I bet you are right. It's like cameras, they are important but lenses even more.

          In the end, I mostly use a ceramic sharpening steel that's easy to use and gets the job done.

          Does it really work? I was also reading that it does not do much at microscopic level and for a home cook it is better to really sharpen it instead of honing it with a steel rod. If I'm mistaking stuff, I apologise.

          1 vote
  2. [2]
    Thra11
    (edited )
    Link
    Steel is a very complex topic, with a massive variety of different types of steel. Basically you can vary the exact percentages of a wide variety other elements in the steel, yielding lots of...

    Should I care about the material of the knife? I saw someone saying that it should be made of carbon steel (I think?).

    Steel is a very complex topic, with a massive variety of different types of steel. Basically you can vary the exact percentages of a wide variety other elements in the steel, yielding lots of different properties. However...

    When it comes to knives, a very simplistic view would be

    • Carbon steel can hold a better cutting edge.
    • Stainless steel is more resistant to corrosion.

    In the kitchen, a sharp edge is important, but most of the things you cut in a kitchen are relatively soft (compared to e.g. woodworking). It is also likely to be in contact with water and wet foods quite often. With this in mind, you generally want a nice compromise such as a stainless steel with a relatively high carbon content. If you want to get really fancy, you can get composites consisting of a carbon steel core layered in between 2 layers of stainless steel. This means that the edge benefits from being carbon steel, while most of the exposed metal surface is stainless and thus less likely to corrode or rust. For the most part however, a stainless steel with a reasonably high carbon content is probably the most practical for a general-purpose chef's knife.

    (As an example, my chef's knife is made from X50CrMoV15, which is a steel containing 0.5% Carbon and 15% Chromium. Chromium is the main additive that makes stainless stainless. This would usually be considered a 'medium carbon steel')

    5 votes
    1. alcappuccino
      Link Parent
      Very interesting, today I learnt something, thank you. So you would (or wouldn't) recommend any knife in this list?

      Very interesting, today I learnt something, thank you. So you would (or wouldn't) recommend any knife in this list?

      2 votes
  3. [7]
    Akir
    Link
    This is probably not the answer you want, but generally speaking everything about a knife comes down to your personal choices. The most important choices being the way you choose to take care of...

    This is probably not the answer you want, but generally speaking everything about a knife comes down to your personal choices. The most important choices being the way you choose to take care of your knife after you buy it.

    For the most part, as long as you choose a knife made by a reputable brand, it will be a great knife. While the kind of metal it is made of will affect your maintenance, I wouldn’t really bother the average person to buy a special alloy knife specifically. Just get good old stainless steel if you are pushed into a choice. Far more important is the shape of the handle and the way it’s weighted. If you can go to a store that will let you handle the knife ahead of time, that’s a great way to shop - though most stores that do that are upper end and may not exactly be frugal.

    The length of the blade is up to you. Personally I like my knife to be on the longer and heavier side since it helps making chopping easier.

    Far more important is the simple maintenance of regularly sharpening your blade. Yes, you can get whetstones and do it the traditional way, but I just use a good quality electric sharpener. I don’t have the patience or skill for the traditional way. Do not skip the honing step, that part is important too.

    Finally, just in case nobody else mentions, don’t bother with knife sets. They are just trying to make you spend more money on knives you don’t need. The only other knife you should need (beside tableware) is a paring knife and maybe a bread knife if you bake. Some people swear by filleting knives but I personally remain unconvinced.

    4 votes
    1. [6]
      alcappuccino
      Link Parent
      So any of the knives I have here on my list are good enough? Wouldn't an €80 knife be durable (or for life, if you will) than a €30 from the same brand? And by the way, does it make a great...

      For the most part, as long as you choose a knife made by a reputable brand, it will be a great knife.

      So any of the knives I have here on my list are good enough? Wouldn't an €80 knife be durable (or for life, if you will) than a €30 from the same brand? And by the way, does it make a great difference if the knife is punched, laser cut or hand-made? I saw maybe a €100 handmade knife from Wüsthof, but then I'm always stretching my budget...

      The length of the blade is up to you.

      I have a generic 20 cm long Chef knife from the supermarket, and I think it is a good size for me. 21 cm should be too. Just wanted to know if 23 cm would make a huge difference or not.

      Far more important is the simple maintenance of regularly sharpening your blade.

      Yes, I heard, I just don't know what to get. Whetstones seem a bit hard and time-consuming for now when you have small children, maybe in the future. Would a sharpener like this make more sense for my non-existing skill? If not, feel free to recommend me something :)

      Finally, just in case nobody else mentions, don’t bother with knife sets.

      This I read everywhere, thank you ;) That is why I just want a good quality chef knife because that is what I use the most.

      1 vote
      1. [5]
        kwyjibo
        Link Parent
        I'm not the person you're replying to, but I just wanted to chime in and say that indeed any knife you listed here will be good for you. I recently bought a knife set myself and before I did I...

        I'm not the person you're replying to, but I just wanted to chime in and say that indeed any knife you listed here will be good for you. I recently bought a knife set myself and before I did I asked my brother who's working as a professional chef at a top 100 restaurant. He uses Wüsthof and some Japanese brand that I don't remember but when I asked him what I should buy, his advice was very similar to what @Akir has told you. He didn't go into too much detail like the good folks here did (pretty informative!), but his advice boiled down to: "Buy it from a reputable brand, use a polyethylene cutting board, always wash your knife by hand and dry it off promptly."

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          alcappuccino
          Link Parent
          Thank you (and your brother) for the tips! 😉 I was actually going to ask, what about cutting boards. Polyethylene, got it!

          Thank you (and your brother) for the tips! 😉 I was actually going to ask, what about cutting boards. Polyethylene, got it!

          2 votes
        2. [2]
          Tardigrade
          Link Parent
          What's the reason for the polyethylene cutting board? Does the wood tend to blunt them more or is it just for hygene?

          What's the reason for the polyethylene cutting board? Does the wood tend to blunt them more or is it just for hygene?

          1 vote
          1. kwyjibo
            Link Parent
            Both. Polyethylene cutting boards are softer than wooden boards so they're easier on your knives. They also don't require maintenance. They're dishwasher safe, so you can just clean them that way,...

            Both. Polyethylene cutting boards are softer than wooden boards so they're easier on your knives. They also don't require maintenance. They're dishwasher safe, so you can just clean them that way, which is healthier because dishwashers reach temperatures high enough to kill the bacteria that might be living on your board. Whereas that's not possible with a wooden board. You can't put wooden boards in a dishwasher as they crack under high heat. Even if you risk it and put it in a dishwasher from time to time, it can't get healthier than a polyethylene board because wood soaks the juices from the things you cut on it. Regardless of the way you clean a wooden cutting board, you also have to dry them off promptly (and you can never truly do this, especially if you've been using the board for awhile because you will have cuts on the board) and oil it after use, just like you'd cast irons.

            You can negate (not eliminate) some of these disadvantages with a higher quality wooden board, but they get expensive fast and still require a lot more maintenance compared to a polyethylene board, which are very cheap. Despite the low maintenance required, polyethylene boards also last a long time. There are even cheap special knives that you can use to peel the surface of a used polyethylene board. So even if you abuse them, you can literally turn them into brand new boards in a jiff. (Although it will take years for you to get to that point, assuming you intend to use them at home.)

            1 vote
  4. [3]
    HotPants
    Link
    Seriously consider a magnetic knife rack. They are super convenient, especially if you can install it in a handy location next to the sink.

    Seriously consider a magnetic knife rack. They are super convenient, especially if you can install it in a handy location next to the sink.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      alcappuccino
      Link Parent
      Thank you for the suggestion. But, one of those racks means I would need to drill the wall or? I think I'm not really allowed to do that on my rented apartment (or I would need to ask permission,...

      Thank you for the suggestion. But, one of those racks means I would need to drill the wall or? I think I'm not really allowed to do that on my rented apartment (or I would need to ask permission, which I really don't have the patience to bother). What about a magnetic knife block?

      1 vote
  5. [2]
    patience_limited
    (edited )
    Link
    We've had a Wüsthof Gourmet knife block set for 25 years, and the blades have been fine. I normally use the steel about 1 - 2x/week, and the spouse (obsessively) sharpens them 1x/year. That being...

    We've had a Wüsthof Gourmet knife block set for 25 years, and the blades have been fine. I normally use the steel about 1 - 2x/week, and the spouse (obsessively) sharpens them 1x/year.

    That being said, each of us has one high-end chef's knife - mine 21 cm Japanese, and his 12" U.S. handmade carbon steel.

    If COVID-19 restrictions will allow, visit a store that sells knives and hold them in your hand (the higher-end places will actually let you demo cut an onion or potato). I can't emphasize enough how important it is to test for what fits your hand and wrist geometry best. I have large hands for a born-female, but the Wüsthof handle diameter and edges are just a little wrong for extended holding. Home cooks aren't generally risking RSD, but good knife ergonomics will help make cooking a pleasure rather than a chore.

    When I worked in a pastry/café kitchen all day, it was much more important to have a knife with decent ergonomics and the right style, rather than the absolute keenest edge. The Japanese gyuto style with a double-bevel profile allows for slightly different cutting operations than a classic French-style chef's knife, it's lighter weight and better-balanced for fine work. The rounded trapezoidal handle feels much more comfortable. I found I didn't have to switch knives or use other tools as often, once I got the hang of using it. I could control the Japanese knife as precisely as a paring knife or cutting wheel for most operations.

    On the other hand, a French-style blade, as found in the chef's knives you've mentioned, is better for general prep work, and a squared handle is easier to grip if you're working with slick or greasy materials. My spouse actually used Sugru to custom-fit and improve the grip on the Wüsthof 10" (25 cm) chef's knife.

    As to knife length, it really depends on what you're likely cooking and the geometry of your hand, wrist, and forearm, which also depends on your height in relation to your cutting surface. Again, test, test, test, and then once you've got more kitchen experience, repeat. A longer knife can make cutting large vegetables, fruits, and meat sections easier, but you need greater grip strength and a longer arm to wield it comfortably.

    And yes, get a knife protector, and always make sure your knife is absolutely clean and dry before you put it away. I can't tell you how much disgusting gunk collects inside a knife block that's left out on the counter.

    2 votes
    1. alcappuccino
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Thank you, I'll try to do it :) Any recommendation for a knife protector? EDIT: I actually bought a F. Dick knife guard for around €5. I think it is an okay price :)

      Thank you, I'll try to do it :)

      Any recommendation for a knife protector?

      EDIT: I actually bought a F. Dick knife guard for around €5. I think it is an okay price :)

      1 vote
  6. Grzmot
    Link
    I can personally recommend Wüsthof, I've been using their knives for years.

    I can personally recommend Wüsthof, I've been using their knives for years.

    2 votes
  7. tomf
    Link
    Not German, but if you're ever looking for great knives made in Japan, go to https://www.ebay.com/str/excellentservicejapan and search for Seki. I've had this one for years and absolutely love it....

    Not German, but if you're ever looking for great knives made in Japan, go to https://www.ebay.com/str/excellentservicejapan and search for Seki. I've had this one for years and absolutely love it.

    They don't have a lot right now, but anything under TS Madame is an unstamped Mac knife.

    1 vote