Wusthof's top-of-the-line kitchen knives, made of high-carbon steel, get excellent ratings in almost every review we saw. They are heavy and balanced, reviews say, but the grips vary by line, and the comfort level also may vary. The Wusthof Classic, the most popular line we found, has polypropylene handles riveted to the metal tang within. Although most users like these knives, several reviews note that the handles can be uncomfortable, especially for people with larger hands. The blades, however, are made of heavy forged steel that all reviews describe as durable. Reviews say that these knives can maintain a sharp edge for a long time, though they may not be sharp enough for a serious chef when they come out of the box. If you want to spend less, reviews say Victorinox Swiss Classic knives (*Est. $65 for three) are an excellent value, although these knives may require more frequent sharpening than the Wusthof knives.
We found three sources that conduct thorough tests of kitchen knives, including the Wusthof Classic: Cook's Illustrated magazine, ConsumerReports.org and the Australian consumer magazine Choice. ConsumerReports.org tests many knives but has little to say about each one; Choice and Cook's Illustrated magazines test fewer knives but offer more extensive commentary. The website CookingForEngineers.com also tests a Wusthof Classic knife, and we found positive reviews from owners at Cooking.com, Amazon.com and Epinions.com.
1. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Although we didn't find many tests of serrated knives, this one from Cook's Illustrated rates 12 knives, including the Wusthof Classic 10-inch bread knife. Knives are tested on bread, tomatoes, sandwiches, cake and sticky dough. The testers prefer knives that are slightly flexible. They also like blades that are 10 inches to 12 inches, with serrations of moderate length and uniform spacing.
Review: Serrated Knives, Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, March 1, 2008
2. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
The editors of Cook's Illustrated test 10 paring knives, including the Wusthof Classic 3.5-inch paring knife. The prices of tested knives range from $6 to $35. Knives are used for a variety of kitchen tasks and evaluated on their comfort, maneuverability and sharpness.
Review: Paring Knives, Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, April 1, 2006
Testers at ConsumerReports.org evaluate 55 knife sets, including the Wusthof Classic 8-piece set. Each set is evaluated on cutting performance, handle comfort and balance. Nine sets are recommended, including three named as Best Buys.
Review: Forged Knives Make the Cut, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, June 2009
4. Choice magazine
Australia's Choice magazine is similar to ConsumerReports.org in the U.S. Thirteen chef's knives, including the 20 cm Wusthof Classic, are tested by men and women. The knives are also lab tested for sharpness. The article includes a list of pros and cons for each knife.
Review: Kitchen Knives Review and Compare, Editors of Choice magazine, Jan. 30, 2008
5. Cooking for Engineers
Michael Chu, the website's founder, conducts a detailed and objective test of 11 popular chef's knives, including the 20 cm Wusthof Classic. Unlike most reviewers, Chu finds the Wusthof "serviceable," with good but not great performance on carrots, potatoes, tomatoes and scallions.
Review: Chef's Knives Rated, Michael Chu, Nov. 19, 2005
This undated buying guide from Brett Moore, About.com's guide to gourmet food, briefly discusses seven popular chef's knives. He praises the Wusthof Classic 9-inch chef's knife for its heavy blade that "will stand up to the most brutal punishment in the kitchen." (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Top 7 Chef's Knives, Brett Moore
In more than 90 reviews on Cooking.com, the Wusthof Classic santoku (a lighter, shorter alternative to the traditional chef's knife) gets a thumbs-up from 99 percent of users. Owners find it versatile and very sharp, with good length and balance. However, some find the grip uncomfortable, and a few say it's overpriced.
Review: Hollow Edge Santoku Knife, Contributors to Cooking.com
More than 40 owner reviews give the Wusthof Classic knife set a high average score. Users praise the knives' durability, appearance, sharpness and comfortable grip. Their only real complaint is about the high price tag.
Review: Wusthof-Trident Classic Knife Set, Contributors to Epinions.com
Amazon.com features a large number of user reviews for the entire Wusthof line, including the 3-piece Gourmet set, which features three of the brand's top-selling knives. The set receives mostly perfect scores from users, who say this high quality set has a tool for virtually every task in the kitchen.
Review: Wusthof Classic Gourmet 3-Piece Knife Set, Contributors to Amazon.com