The Best Knife Brands of 2023
This is an extensive guide to the best kitchen knife brands in the market today: Dalstrong, Wusthof, Misen, Shun and Zwilling. Whether you’re looking for a traditional approach, a disruptive vision, a premium blade that will change your life, or an affordable solution; we will walk you through the process of choosing the best kitchen knife for you.
What makes a great brand? Is it the quality, the reputation, the customer service, the price, the intention? A combination of all of the above? Or is it all relative, and it comes down to the chemistry you develop with their products?
It’s a complex matter and the truth is everyone will talk about a different experience. At the end of the day, the decision is yours and is no one’s job to judge it.
There are, however, informed decisions and blind decisions, and I suggest you go with the first one, especially when we’re talking a chef’s knife or any kitchen knife for that matter, since it’s not just a t-shirt or a pair of earrings you can choose not to wear - this is something you are buying to use every day and in as many culinary situations as possible.
Read on to ensure you choose a brand that is closer to what you need, prefer and want.
1. Why You Need The Best Kitchen Knife
It may be tempting to get the cheapest knife, or the first kitchen knife that crosses your path at the store without further research (especially if you’re single, or just a home cook - or maybe that’s just me…). But it won’t be long after that when you realize that a knife is never “just a knife”.
We have stated before that a knife is probably the single most essential tool in any kitchen and you will need it for almost any recipe; even if it’s just cutting bread for a sandwich.
Well, the quality and appropriateness of the kitchen knife you’re using also have a direct effect on how the recipe ends up; and on how pleasant the experience of having this meal actually is. If it already sounds logical in theory; wait for you to hold a great blade in your hand.
To sum it up, choosing a good kitchen knife brand means you will end up with a good knife; and owning the right knife is important because:
- Cooking becomes considerably more enjoyable
- Cutting and slicing tasks become effortless
- Meal preparation will be faster
- Cleaner cuts mean less chance of ruining food
- Good knives feel comfortable in your hand
- The best kitchen knife brands worry about your safety when planning a design
- A high-quality knife performs better for longer
2. How To Choose The Best Knife Brands
Having established that having the right knife is a game-changer, here’s another fact: choosing the right brand will dramatically increase your chances of ending up with the knife of your dreams.
We’re not saying the brand determines 100% of the experience (there are other factors at play) but it is definitely a good start when you’re assessing a knife purchase. Here are a few things to consider when comparing brands.
Quality, materials, features
One of the most decisive characteristics of a knife is the type and combination of materials used to fabricate the handle and the blade. Many of the qualities of the blade, such as sharpness, hardness, edge retention or resistance, will depend on this point.
That is why the choice of the materials will commonly represent a cutlery brand and what they have to offer in terms of quality. Some of the best materials you want to look for in the descriptions are Damascus steel, carbon steel, stainless steel or high-carbon stainless steel.
Don’t overlook the handle. It defines how nice it will be to actually use a knife. They can be made of classic wood, plastic, metal and other materials.
Knives can also be stamped or forged. Most professional chefs and expert cooks will certainly prefer forged knives (shaped from a single bar of steel) but many will also have a high-quality stamped blade in their arsenal.
A forged knife has excellent edge retention and will last a very long time. Stamped knives are not as top-level as forged knives; but to be fair, today there are excellent versions with great materials and finishes.
A wise purchase doesn’t always mean an expensive one. There are workhorses in the market at a very good price-quality ratio if you look well enough.
For example, Dalstrong manufactures knives in China, where the production costs are lower, and that enables them to make quality products at prices more affordable than other brands with a similar or superior quality level.
That being said, price is usually an indicator of the kind of materials they used and the manufacturing process, so be wary of knives that are suspiciously cheap.
Variety and innovation
It’s been a long time since knives were made of rock and bone thousands of years ago.
I don’t have anything against traditional, conservative brands, but I think kitchen knives need to constantly adapt and evolve because lifestyles have evolved, and technology has evolved. It’s also natural to make changes to improve performance, durability and maintenance.
The use of technology, the baldness to try innovative ideas, (hey: the ability to surprise you) is also something to consider when choosing a brand.
Dalstrong creates knives that allow you to express your individuality in the kitchen or out by the grill. Yes, we have the traditional style knives too, if thats your thing. But we strive to design innovative knives that are not only high quality, but also allow you to have fun in the kitchen.
Is there a way for you to communicate your questions, feelings and concerns about a knife after you buy it? And will there be an answer from the other side? Is there a real team with a real voice backing that great knife you just invested in?
There are ways to deduce if a brand is client-oriented and offers excellent customer service. First, you can always read reviews to see other’s experiences. Then, a limited lifetime warranty, a 70 day money back guarantee, a variety of means and platforms for feedback and communication, easy access to technical support, delivery tracking service… are all great signs.
You can always reach out to Dalstrong at email@example.com
3. Global Knife brands of 2023
Zwilling is a German knife brand belonging to a solid worldwide group of brands present in more than one hundred countries. What started as a family business, has grown after almost 300 years of history into an international emporium and a very important reference in the western culinary market.
It’s important to distinguish between Zwilling and JA Henckels, two different brands of knives belonging to the same family. People often confuse them but each brand has its own designs and target market. For example, JA Henckels knives are more simple and affordable, while Zwilling offers more premium products.
Zwilling, as a registered trademark, was born on June 13, 1731, in Solingen, Germany. Fun fact: their logo and their name refer to the zodiac sign of Gemini, ruling at that time. In 1818, Johann Abraham Henckels, the heir to the family business, renamed the brand and made it international, exporting cutlery products to various parts of the world.
During the 20th century, Zwilling expanded to the United States and the rest of the world. Currently, “Zwilling” actually stands for a group of more than twelve different brands and has expanded into the industry of kitchen and barbecue utensils, scissors and even beauty products.Price range
The cost of Zwilling products can vary, but on average, most of their products are higher than other brands on the market and a bit too expensive for some cooks.
However, it is also true that Zwilling offers several collections with different price points, some more premium, such as the Zwilling Pro line; and others more moderately priced like the Staub series, and even affordable options such as the popular Twin collection.Materials and technology
Zwilling uses high quality materials and advanced technologies in the development of its products. They own the rights to the process of ice hardening in blades.
Most Zwilling knives are forged from a single piece of German steel with a carbon content of 0.55%. Their steel is somewhat “soft”, but durable.
Knives come in a variety of shapes and handle materials (Zwilling has more variety in terms of knife handles than most brands...not not as much as others ;) ).What are they known for?
They’re known for their long history: Zwilling is one of the oldest registered trademarks in the world. Also, their German knives are good-quality and 100% forged, which is not a minor detail.
You probably already heard of Wusthof’s knives as they’re a well known and respected name in the industry. They are based in Germany and offer a traditional western approach.History
The brand founded by Johann Abraham Wüsthof has been creating knives since 1814 in the city of Solingen. (Sound familiar?) They still manufacture all their knives there, which are then sold in 80 countries worldwide. Funny, though: North America is the main market for Wüsthof German knives.
The company has been owned by the same family for seven generations. The Wüsthof plant survived the city’s destruction during World War II and the activities resumed very soon after the end of the war.
Today, they are one of the most famous knife manufacturers.Price range
Wüsthof knives are not on the low-price end of things. Even their cheaper products are mid-priced, ranging all the way to very-expensive.Materials and technology
Because they are a traditional company, the manufacturing process is also quite traditional. Their 40-step process works very well, though, because their products are of the finest quality.
They use German stainless steel with limited, classic handle designs. They offer both forged and stamped knives. Wüsthof’s “classic” series includes approx. 70 different items, covering almost all the brand’s available models.What are they known for?
Wusthof offers consistent, high-quality products and has done so for a long time, that much has been proven by history. Their knives are popular among professional chefs around the World. Think of them as the Toyota of the knife making world.
Check out a full breakdown of Wusthof vs Dalstrong here.
Shun cutlery is a relatively young Japanese brand. The name comes from the Japanese word meaning “fresh”, “ready” or “at its best”. Japanese chef knives in general have a strong history and reputation on their own; and Shun is a fine representative of all that.
They’re headquartered in Tokyo and manufacture their knives in Seki City (the knifemaking capital), which are later distributed to over 30 countries. Their products include more than 10,000 types of cutlery and knives; even cosmetic and surgical accessories.History
The Shun brand itself is young, but its history goes back a long time, when its parent company “Kai Cutlery” was founded in the early 20th century (today known as the Kai Group).
Kai’s CEO came up with the idea of exporting Japanese cutlery to western markets under the brand Shun. Kai finally launched Shun knives in the market between 2002 and 2003.
A Shun knife is not exactly cheap or entry-level. However, this is a premium kitchen knife brand backed by Japan’s long knifemaking tradition and their high prices are, in most cases, justified.
Materials and technology
Shun is a traditional company, and so are their design and styles.
The different collections in Shun’s extensive catalog will offer different characteristics; but they all share a few things: They are Japanese knives almost exclusively, and their blades are always forged.
Regarding materials, the blades are made of quality Japanese steel (some better than others, as it’s to be expected). The handles are from either PakkaWood (a combination of wood and polymer resin), Tagayasan wood or durable PP/TPE polymer.
In general, Shun’s production process is complex and they claim it involves 100 different stages. They use a traditional knife making method called “Kasumi”, in which hard high-carbon steel is covered with exterior layers of another steel.
What are they known for?
Shun is known for making very high-quality knives for lovers of Japanese-style blades (thinner, lighter) or for more conservative, traditional cooks looking for a classic, yet efficient design. They are well known among chefs, and even though they may not be the most surprising or avant-garde of all the brands; they are reliable and have a solid fan club.
Misen is a young, modern and practical brand. They are definitely a child of the “Millennial generation”. Their aim is to create high-quality, yet affordable knives.
Misen was born in 2015 on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform, with the goal of making knives that are simple, but of excellent quality and at a lower price than other names in the market.
Since then, the company located in New York City has grown by leaps and bounds under the leadership of its CEO, Omar Rada.
Misen is not an expensive brand, especially when talking about quality chef knives. They’re not considered fancy or premium (and they don’t want to be). Their kitchen sets and cookware can be a little pricey though.
Materials and technology
Misen knives are manufactured outside Shanghai, China. Their offer is not as extensive or diverse as other brands. They offer a few blade types and sizes to cover basic kitchen needs.
The design of Misen knives is meant to be minimalist and comfortable. They use Japanese AICHI AUS-10 steel; blades are usually hardened at 58+ Rockwell. It is not a premium quality steel but it offers a great cutting edge.
Their knives feature a sloped bolster (which they claim is unique). As for handles, they are made of alloy steel in a traditional style and available in a few colors.
What are they known for?
Misen is probably best known for offering good products at popular prices. They also like to keep things simple. Misen is a good option for chefs who are just beginning to explore their culinary skills or starting to build their kitchen arsenal.
You can check out a Misen vs Dalstrong comparison here.
4. Why Choose Dalstrong?
- Top quality: Dalstrong is a young brand, but easily competes in the big leagues with more historical, household brands. And the design, construction, and materials used to make their knives reveal that they’re playing to win. Even though characteristics vary in the many series, all their blades are made of high-quality German, US, Japanese, or SINO steel.
- Extensive catalog. Every possible essential knife is offered by Dalstrong, but their catalog extends to more specific, rare, specialty knives too. The same happens with blade sizes, handle shapes, style (Western or Japanese). It’s clear that the brand is ambitious about covering every chef’s demand.
- Extremely varied designs. Seriously. From the ethnic, colorful look of the Valhalla Series, to the all-black, futuristic looks of the Shadow Black Series; navigating the minimalist approach of the Crusader; and the traditional style of the Gladiator. And I’m leaving many more examples out. Whatever your personality, you will definitely find something that matches your vibe.
- Innovation driven. Always looking to move to the next level, bringing the latest technology for enhancing their products and making chefs’ life easier and more enjoyable. Some brands like to stick to what they know, trapped in an endless comfort zone. Dalstrong is not one of those brands.
- Customer Service. They make sure their community is always able to reach the team. Moreover, Dalstrong products come with a 70 day money-back guarantee and a limited lifetime warranty against defects. They stand behind their products but have your back at the same time.
- Price point. One of the best things about Dalstrong is that the price range they cover is pretty wide. Whatever your budget is, it is probable you will find a high quality product that's perfect for you. From affordable, solid models to more premium, unique propositions.
5. Products That Prove Dalstrong’s Commitment to Quality1. 18 Piece Colossal Knife Set with Block | Gladiator Series
This premium set is all you’ll ever need. These knives feature German high carbon steel and Rockwell 56+ hardness. The blades are hand sharpened to 16-18° per side to ensure a sharp, long lasting edge. Versatility and comfort are what characterize the Gladiator series.
The set includes a 9" carving/slicing knife, a 9" bread knife, an 8.5" kiritsuke chef knife, an 8" chef knife, a 7" santoku knife, a 7" nakiri knife, a 6" boning knife, a 6.5" utility knife, a 6" serrated utility knife, 6 (six) 5" straight edge steak knives, a 3.5" paring knife, a 2.75" bird beak knife and a 10" gladiator series honing steel.
Because of its high quality and functionality, this knife set is suitable for both home and professional cooks, covering very specific purposes and including all the cutting tools to prepare any recipe with ease. The pieces are designed for easy cleaning and maintenance.
The classic, elegant style will look good in any kitchen environment.
Furthermore, they also come with a honing steel and a beautiful handmade Acacia Wood Block to keep your knives neat and easily accessible, while adding a touch of class to your kitchen.
This slicing and carving knife is a true gem from Dalstrong that brings together all the qualities of a precision cutting tool. Premium quality, aesthetics and top performance in one piece, built to last a lifetime.
See its power in action when cutting roasts, steaks, pork chops, ham, poultry, large fruits and vegetables, or even thin slices of bread.
Forged from 67-ply Damascus steel and featuring a high-carbon, super steel core, this 2 mm thick blade is strong, yet flexible with an 8-12 degree double bevel edge that ensures perfect, clean cuts.
The ergonomic, non-slip handle allows for greater hand control and agility. The tapered bolster provides perfect balance and a pleasant grip while protecting your fingers.
The Tsunami Rose pattern engraved into the blade is unique to the Shogun series, giving the final, finest touch to this Dalstrong flagship product.
5-layer stainless steel, 60+ Rockwell hardness and razor-sharp to 8-12 degrees. This blade is made for Gods. It’s resistant to wear, stains, scratches, impact, extreme temperatures and chemicals. It really does feel almighty and eternal.
A high quality chef’s knife is what you need to mince, slice, chop everything from meat to vegetables. This is the perfect multi-purpose blade to invest in; it doesn’t matter the type of cook you are or how often you get your apron on.
Visually, this is a striking acquisition as well. It’s almost an art statement, with its wooden and blue resin handle. The included leather sheath also features a rustic, original design. It’s like the knife has a personality on its own (if you’re a conservative chef, you may not actually like this part).
When you look at a knife like this, you immediately understand that this is not just another knife. This piece is really unique, and not for aesthetic reasons only.
The handle is like no other, with a geometric design and aerodynamic lines that fit comfortably in the palm of your hand while you make fast and definitive cuts. The blade is deadly-sharp, honed by craftsmen to 16-18°. All that, coated with midnight black titanium to make sure no one forgets it.
Another focal point in this design is balance, ensured not only by this special geometry but by the carefully planned weight and shape of the blade. It offers maximum equilibrium between strength and flexibility; sturdiness and sharpness. NSF certified and it comes with a protective, perfect-fit sheath.
A good paring knife is just as important as a good chef’s knife, in my opinion. Their versatility makes them invaluable, especially for day-to-day things like peeling fruits and vegetables, mincing garlic or deveining shrimp.
Look at this monster.
Let the numbers speak for themselves: High-carbon 7cr17mov steel, heat treated to 60 HRC, 9" long, 6mm thick and 2.9lbs weight. There’s more: sharpened to 16-18° per side, grade G10 handle. A quick look at this knife and you already know it honors its name.
Ferocious, brutal, menacing… may not be qualities to look for in your next date… but it’s definitely what you want to read when looking for a meat cleaver. This heavy-weight gladiator will tame any beef, poultry, pork, and hard crusts.
There is a finger protective bolster for safety and balance. The ergonomic handle also enhances maneuverability.
As an extra, this unique cleaver comes with the team it deserves: a handcrafted acacia wood stand and an elegant black Dalstrong sheath.
Written by Eva ContrerasFood & travel writer based in Buenos Aires. Superpowers include relentless curiosity and high tolerance to spicy foods.