Excels at every task from peeling apples to hulling strawberries. Owners at Amazon.com also describe the Wüsthof Classic paring knife as incredibly versatile. One says, "This knife is good for everything from mincing herbs to slicing fruit to filleting small fish - it even makes a pretty good steak knife." Another describes using it to slice lemons, quarter apples and cut cheese. However, a couple of users think this knife's 3½-inch blade is a bit too short; they consider a 4½-inch blade more generally useful.
Both professional testers and home users say the Wüsthof Classic is very sharp, well balanced and comfortable to handle. More than one Amazon.com owner describe the balance of this knife as "just about perfect." Home users at Amazon.com and Cooking.com also say the knife holds its edge well.
A forged steel knife. It resembles a miniature chef's knife, with a curved, smooth blade suitable for mincing and a pointed tip that is great for popping the eyes out of potatoes. It has a full tang, meaning that the metal of the blade extends all the way down to the end of the handle, held in place with three rivets. It also includes a bolster (a lip of metal between the handle and the blade that protects the fingers). Most owners say this design feels very solid, but we did see a couple of complaints about durability. The outer part of the handle is made of a special plastic resin that professional testers say feels "like hard, smooth wood." Home users generally find this grip very comfortable.
A very traditional shape and design. Its appearance isn't particularly striking, but it isn't objectionable either; reviews don't mention its styling one way or the other.
In terms of performance, the Wüsthof is nearly tied with the J.A. Henckels Four Star 3-inch Paring Knife (*Est. $30). Both offer forged-steel construction, precise handling, a sharp blade that holds an edge well and a comfortable grip. However, the Wüsthof paring knife "edges" out its competitor because its slightly longer blade makes it more versatile. For any kitchen task requiring precision and maneuverability, this little knife is a winner.
1. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Report Credibility: Excellent Cook's Illustrated magazine puts 10 paring knives to the test. Each knife is used in a variety of tasks, including peeling apples and coring strawberries, and its edge is tested on sheets of paper after use. Editors find 3½ inches the ideal length for a paring blade, and they prefer a heavier handle that balances out the blade's weight. Along with the Wüsthof Classic 3½-inch Paring Knife, tested knives include pricey models from the Shun Classic and J.A. Henckels Four Star lines, as well as less expensive Victorinox Fibrox and Chicago Cutlery knives.
Review: Paring Knives, Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, Jan. 1, 2011
Report Credibility: Good In more than 50 reviews, the Wüsthof Classic 3½-inch Paring Knife earns a near-perfect score from users (4.8 stars out of 5). Owners say this knife is incredibly versatile, good for everything from mincing herbs to slicing fruit and cheese to filleting small fish. Users describe the construction as solid and the balance as "just about perfect." They also find the knife very light and responsive, and they say the sharp blade holds its edge well. We only saw a couple of complaints about durability: One owner's handle broke after two years, and another suffered a bent blade.
Review: Wusthof Classic 3-1/2-Inch Paring Knife, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2012
Report Credibility: Good The Wüsthof Classic 3½-inch Paring Knife only receives a couple dozen reviews at Cooking.com, but they are uniformly positive. Owners praise the knife's comfortable grip, excellent balance and solid construction. They also say the blade is very sharp and holds its edge well. Aside from comments about the high price tag, we saw only two negative comments about this knife. One owner says a longer 4½-inch blade is more useful, and another isn't sure how to sharpen it.
Review: 3.5-in. Classic Paring Knife by Wusthof, Contributors to Cooking.com, As of September 2012