Wusthof Classic vs. Gourmet – What’s the Difference?
While you cannot go wrong with Wusthof knives, this does not mean they are all made the same. Hence, you need to know which particular one of their different knife lines will work best for you.
Typically, many people find themselves having to choose between the Wusthof Classic and Gourmet, and if you are also in that situation, this piece is for you.
Here we breakdown the differences between the two knives and also show you the pros and cons of buying either to help ensure your choice will be as informed as possible.
Wusthof Classic Overview
Anyone that knows enough about knives or even just uses them a lot has probably heard about the Wusthof Classic as it is one of the most popular brand knives, and it is what a huge chunk of professional chefs prefer to use.
The Classic is one of the first knives that Wusthof made and is also one of their most successful product lines. When you think of a classic German knife this is probably what will come to your mind.
Wusthof Classic is a beautiful and well-built knife that has been forged from the finest quality German steel and will feature a full tang, full-bolster and a triple-riveted design.
Besides its pleasant classic look, what many chefs love about this knife is that it will have a well-balanced feel thanks to the extra weight and will generally feel nice on your hand making you want to cut more and more.
Because it has a smaller edge angle, it will also keep a sharp edge longer and the knives in the classic series have been built to be completely stainproof. But, all these good features come at a price as knives in this series tend to be relatively more expensive.
Wusthof Gourmet Overview
Like most other top brands do nowadays, Wusthof also tries to cater to all market segments with their products. Their Gourmet knife line is built for those shopping for high-quality knives on a budget.
Unlike the Classic knives, the Gourmet knives are laser-cut stamped which makes use of modern technology instead of the traditional knife forging technique.
When you buy Gourmet knives with blades longer the 4.5 inches you will also often get a full tang like with Classic knives.
But, what many users will appreciate most about these knives is they are designed to be more lightweight for easier handling, and they are more flexible to allow you to make cuts in odd angles.
These knives will also come with a triple-riveted synthetic handle that is designed to be more comfortable and to offer better control.
Given that these knives are not made from heavy-duty steel, they seem to be a little lacking when it comes to robustness and like many other stamped knives, they tend to dull relatively faster.
How the Knife is Made
14° per side
18° per side
Rockwell Hardness Rating
Yes, but only for some knives
Weight (based on 8-inch cook's knife)
Wusthof Classic vs. Gourmet
Given that Wusthof makes some of the best knives in the market, you can be confident that you will have a good knife whether you go for the Classic or Gourmet. But the choice between the two should be an easy one given that they differ in several aspects from how they are made to the price.
1. How the Knives Are Made
The most significant difference between these two amazing knives is how they are made, but it makes a huge difference as it determines various things including how they cut.
Wusthof Classis is made using the good old forging technique and this should explain why it looks and feels more authentic than many other knives.
The forging for these knives is also unlike what many other manufacturers will use. It is a more comprehensive 40-step process that pays close attention to every minor detail and hence ensuring the knife ends up with a thicker, harder and more durable blade.
With this forging process, Wusthof is also able to give the Classic knives a steel bolster that helps make the knife safer to use by preventing the hand from slipping when cutting.
The Gourmet knives, on the other hand, are laser-cut stamped which is an easier and more modern process of making a knife but lucks the authentic feel of the traditional forging technique.
But, the process is still meticulous enough as it will involve 14 steps whereby the knives are stamped out from a larger metal sheet using a laser cutter. Because the manufacturing process is simpler and faster, these knives tend to be more affordable.
2. Edge Angle
The edge angle of a blade determines how sharp it will be and is hence also a crucial factor that you should always consider when picking up a knife.
Wusthof Classic knives will feature a 14-degree edge angle on both sides while with the Gourmet knives you will get an 18-degree edge angle.
What this means is that the Classic knife will be significantly sharper, and if you factor in that it also makes use of other technologies such as PrecisionEdge Technology, you can be confident of always getting an ideal knife edge with this knife series.
But despite falling a little behind, the Gourmet knife still falls within the ideal and acceptable range because any edge between 14 and 20 degrees will deliver a good balance between blade durability and performance.
3. Rockwell Hardness Rating
Blade hardness is another crucial factor that you cannot afford to overlook as you choose between these Wusthof knives as it affects their performance and durability significantly.
Blade hardness is measured using the Rockwell Hardness Rating or Rockwell scale and typically ranges from 50 which is the lowest to 60 which is the hardest blade but may vary from one brand to the other.
With these two knives, the Classic ones will have a hardness of 58 which makes them significantly harder than the Gourmet knives that are rated 56. This extra hardness means that a classic knife will hold a sharper edge.
One of the easiest ways to spot a high-quality knife is a full tang, and so the fact that all Classic knives will include a full tang is a good indication that they are top-notch quality.
Like the bolster on the Classic knives, the full tang gives them some extra weight which adds to the balance. Also, the full tang on these knives will be exposed to ensure there is no doubt that it is full and will have three rivets which adds to the aesthetic appeal.
While many knives in the Gourmet series will have a full tang, it will not run through the handle's full width and will hence not be exposed.
Also, it is worth noting that with Gourmet knives, anything that has a blade less than 4.5 inches long will not have a full tang and will instead come with a half tang and with 2 rivets instead of 3.
With a slightly thicker forged blade, a bolster and a full tang, it should be obvious that the Classic knives will be relatively heavier than what you get with Gourmet.
Using the 8-inch cook knives from both series, for example, the Classic knife will weigh in at around 9.1 ounces which are more than a full ounce heavier than the 8-ounce Gourmet knife.
For knives, an ounce makes a huge difference when you pick up the knife and start cutting something. While many chefs seem to prefer the extra weight, many other knife users are more comfortable with a lighter knife, and so a heavier one is not always the best for everyone.
As mentioned earlier on, the forging process that the Classic knives go through allows the manufacturer to give them a bolster. But, with stamping, you do not get a bolster, and so the Gourmet knives will not have one.
The bolster is at the connection between the blade and handle, and it has been designed to give the knife some extra weight which then makes it feel more balanced. Also, by preventing the hand from slipping forward when doing some intense cutting, it makes the knife safer to use.
Hence, the absence of a bolster on the Gourmet knives means that their users need to be super careful when chopping to ensure the hand does not slip.
Given that the Wusthof Classic is a more superior knife in both quality and performance, it should also be obvious that it will attract a larger price tag. Also, the popularity and reputation of the knife line make it relatively more expensive.
For example, the Classis 8-inch chef knife will cost almost $50 more than what you would pay for the Gourmet 8-inch chef knife despite the two being the same size and meant for the same applications.
On average, you can expect to pay at least 30% more of what you would pay for a Gourmet knife to get a Classic knife. And in some instances and for some knife types and sizes, you can pay as much as 150% more. But given the superior knife quality you get, it will be worth it in the end.
You can always be certain that Wusthof will have a knife for you regardless of the type you are shopping for, and better yet, they will also have the finest quality you can get anywhere.
And in case you have to choose between two amazing options like the Classic and Gourmet, you will only need to understand how they differ and what gives one an edge over the other to make a more informed choice. But, this piece now makes all this clear enough.
For anyone looking for a solid and well-built forged knife that keeps a sharp edge longer and with all the bells and whistles of a traditional knife and does not might pay more to get it, the Wusthof Classic knife line will be fantastic.
But, if you are a budget shopper but still want a knife that cuts well enough from a top brand and also prefer something more lightweight, Wusthof Gourmet knife line will work for you.