Zwilling Kitchen Knife Guide

This is a Thorough Look at Every Kitchen Cutlery Series and Knife Set Zwilling Makes Right Now

Zwilling is the other staple of German kitchen knives. They feel like the Pepsi to Wusthof’s Coca Cola.

Or maybe it’s the other way around. I can never remember which one is more popular these days.

The point is that Zwilling has been a reliable knife maker since the 18th century, and they offer a massive line up of knives in these modern times. We’ve tested a few ourselves, but they currently make 16 distinct designs of knife sets, and that’s not including all the stuff they make strictly under the Henkels and Miyabi brands.

So this article lays out all their different kitchen knives and explains what makes one different from the other. I don’t try to rate them, but I do my best to explain where they fit in terms of budget and function.

Questions Worth Asking

Zwilling Kitchen Knife Guide - Image 1: Zwilling Vaariety of Knife Products

I always have a lot of my own questions when I start one of these guides, and I try really hard to either find the answer or find the reason I can’t find an answer. Here’s what I came into this wondering.

Do all Zwilling blocks fit all Zwilling Knives?

No they don’t, although they do have some one-size-fits-most options. A lot of it has to do with the shape and size of the bolsters, so you can make most knives with a flat-topped bolster work in standard blocks that have flat tops.

There are blocks with angled tops that are meant to fit knives with angled bolsters like the Pro and Twin Fin II. There are also options like the magnetic blocks and strips, or the in-drawer organizers that work with any kind of kitchen knife. It’s just a matter of choosing what works best in your kitchen, and what your knife bolsters will match up with.

Do they all use German steel?

Almost all of Zwilling’s kitchen knives use their own proprietary steel which was developed in Germany, but has since been delegated to… somewhere else. I haven’t found a firm source on that. But it’s still German in spirit. Their other knives use a smattering of decent Japanese, Swedish, and American steels for particular designs.

What Does the “Twin” designation mean?

Zwilling Kitchen Knife Guide - Image 2: Zwilling Profesional S Chef Knife With Twin Logo
The Zwilling Professional S chef knife we reviewed a while back had the twin logo on the blade.

The story I heard is that Peter Henkels trademarked the Zwilling and Henkels names in the month of June, which makes the company a Gemini on the Zodiac calendar. The symbol is supposed to represent twin strongmen.

The word “Zwilling” also means “twin” in german, which means the names of knives like the “Zwilling Twin Fin II” translates to the “Twinning Twin Fin II”, and I can not stress enough how important it is that you say that out loud to yourself at some point.

What is FRIODUR steel?

This is a tricky one. They list a lot of their knives as having “Friodur steel”, but when I talked to someone in Zwilling directly they explained it as a “patented process where the steel is dipped more than once into extremely cold temperatures to make the steel harder and more stain resistant”. That essentially describes a very thorough cryo treatment, not a steel formula.

But ambitious forum sleuths argued with each other long enough to decide the steel used in a Henkels 4 Star chef knife is probably something like 1.4116 with a couple of extra twists.

The end result is a tough steel that makes knives last a long time. Zwilling patented the formula for Friodur steel process in 1939 and have managed to maintain a strong reputation for durable knives since then. Whatever the steel and process are, they’re more than good enough for kitchen work.

What is Sigmaforged

This word tends to accompany any knife sporting Friodur treated steel. I can’t work out exactly what the “sigma” part is all about. I also asked Zwilling about this, and they basically described a standard forging process back to me. I’m guessing the term refers to knives being heated to a specific temperature and hammered according to a particular setting, both of which might be treated as some kind of trade secret by Zwilling.

The important part for most of us is that it means a knife has been heated and molded from a single bar of metal, rather than cut from a sheet.

Are Zwilling Knives Made in Germany

Yes, kind of. Almost all Zwilling knives are made in Germany except for a few made in Japan, and a smoattering of budget series from Spain. Zwilling’s other brands are made in a few other countries, though.

Zwilling’s J.A. Henkel’s knives are made in various places including Spain, India, and China. Look for the single strongman on the blade. Two strongmen means it’s a Zwilling knife, and probably made in Germany or Japan. One strongman probably means it was made elsewhere.

Miyabi knives are made in Seki, Japan. Those stand out from Zwilling’s other brands easily knife, but it’s worth mentioning that a few models like the Kramer Carbon series are made in the Miyabi factory and sold as Zwillings.

High End Zwilling Series

A collage om images that show the variety of high end Zwilling knives and sets.

I’ve separated these series by comparing the prices of the 8” chef knives in each one. For the high end section the only requirement I had was for the chef knife to be over the $100 mark as listed on Zwilling’s site. It’s worth keeping in mind that a higher price doesn’t necessarily mean “higher quality” here. A lot of these knives are made with the same materials. Sometimes the price can reflect where they’re made, or something about the shape in the design might make the production process more complicated.

For this section at least, I’d recommend choosing a knife based on how you prefer your kitchen cutlery to look and feel rather than which one might have better steel, because all these knives perform pretty well.

Zwilling Pro

Zwilling Pro Series knives together with a set and sharpener.
Made in Germany
Polymer three-rivet handles come in black and white
Full tang
Sigmaforged Friodur steel
Curved half bolster
Fits Pro block sets w/ angled slots
Price of 8” Chef knife: $160

This is one of Zwilling’s bread-and-butter designs. Generally when I recommend a Zwilling knife to people, it’s from the Professional series. And when I talk about other chef knives (including other Zwilling knives) I tend to use the Pro series chef knives as a benchmark.

They’re one of the best examples of a traditional western knife both in terms of basic design and robust reliability. They also fit very neatly into a category that’s both high functioning and reasonably priced compared to a lot of other big-name brands.

Slicing an apple with the Zwilling Pro chef knife to show its scale and cutting ability.
The 8 inch Zwilling Pro chef knife is one of our most recommended chef knives.

If you’re in the market for a full block set, this is absolutely the best series to go with, because Zwilling offers this in a half dozen different kinds of blocks and block sizes ranging from massive 20-piece sets that make your countertop look like the back end of a missile cruiser to a more economic, vertically-oriented ceramic blocks that max out at 6 pieces.

We liked the Professional S series enough to include it in our Best Professional Knife Sets article. If you would like to learn a little more about the performance of this knife series check out our Zwilling Professional S Chef Knife Review.

Knives Available in Pro Series
8” Chef’s knife8” Carving knife
8” Chef’s knife traditional7” filet knife
7” Chef’s slim knife9” bread knife
7” Chinese cleaver8” bread knife
7” Rocking Santoku4” paring knife

Zwilling Pro Slim

Two versions of the Zwilling Pro chef knife. The LeBlanc version is on the top and the black version is on the bottom.
Made in Germany
The lightweight version of Zwilling Pro knives
Generally about 24% lighter than Pro designs
Thinner handles, slimmer blades
Fits all the Pro blocks w/ angled slots

Zwilling is playing with a lot of variation in this series right now, so on top of making these knives in white and black, they’ve also started making “Slim” versions. These have essentially the same profile, but less material. The handles are a little smaller, and the blades are thinned out to reduce weight. This is a really good way to go for people with smaller hands, or just want a lighter knife.

One of the big features of Zwilling knives over the years has been their big handles. That’s been both a warning and a promise for different cooks, so it makes a lot of sense for Zwilling to reorient one of their best designs for people who don’t have giant mits.

The prices are about the same for Pro Slim knives, which seems a bit suspicious since you’re paying for elss material, but keep in mind that the design and the craftsmanship are the big pulls here. The steel and plastic handles probably don’t bump the price of manufacturing all that much in this case.

Knives Available in Pro Slim
7” Chef’s Slim knife (black and white handle)
7” Hollow Edge Slim Santoku (black and white handle)

Zwilling Professional S

Collage of images that shows an example of a Zwilling Professional S knife set and four knives.
Made in Germany
Polymer three-rivet handles
Sigmaforged Friodur steel
Full flat bolsters
Fits all blocks with flat slots
Price of 8” Chef knife: $160

The Pro S series feels like the consolation set. All the knives in the Pro S line up are essentially the same as those in the Professional line up except for the full bolsters, and they aren’t available in white handles.

The blade shape is also a little different. The Pro S chef knife tapers more on the spine so you end up with a point that’s more forward facing where the spine on the standard Pro is straighter and puts the point more in line with the back of your hand. It’s a minor difference that most people don’t care about, but it’s worth noting if you do a lot of work with the tip of a knife.

On the whole I prefer the Professional series, but apparently everyone feels that way, because those are out of stock all the time. When the Zwilling Professional stuff is out, though, the Zwilling Pro S is waiting patiently in the corner for you to admit to yourself that you don’t hate bolsters that much.

Even with bolsters, these are good knives. The balance is nice, and they cut and cost the same. It’s just a little harder to sharpen the whole edge, and a little more awkward to hold the chef knife in a pinch grip. Past that, these are perfectly fine, and you can usually find the Pro S knives in the same variations of block sets except that the bolsters restrict it to the traditional block design.

Knives Available in Professional S
10” chef knife5” utility knife, serrated
8” chef knife5.5” prep knife
6” chef knife4.5” steak knife
7” hollow edge santoku5.5” flexible boning knife
5.5” hollow edge edge santoku4” paring knife
12” salmon slicing knife3” paring knife
8” slicing/carving knife2.75” vegetable knife
7” fillet knife2.75” bird’s beak peeling knife
6” utility knifeSharpening steel (10-12”, round and oval)

Zwilling Twin Four Star

Zwilling Kitchen Knife Guide - Image 3: Zwilling Twin 4 Star Knives
Made in Germany
Concealed tang
Rounded Polypropylene handle
Forged steel at 55 – 58 HRC
Full flat bolster
15 degree double bevel edge
Fits blocks w/ flat slots
Price of 8” Chef knife: $140

This is a long beloved design in Zwilling’s history. They came out with this series back in 1976, and it’s been a staple of the company ever since.

It’s one of the cheaper options in their non-budget line up, and the polypropylene handles give these knives a kind of soft feeling in a full grip that you don’t get with harder polymer wood and plastic handles you see in a lot of the other series. There’s also a good variety of knives in the Four Star style that fit well into flat-topped blocks.

Knives Available in Twin Four Star
10” chef knife5.5” rocking santoku knife
8” chef knife6.5” nakiri knife
7” chef knife5.5” prep knife
7” santoku6” meat cleaver
7” rocking santoku knife11.5” slicing/carving knife
5.5” hollow edge santoku8 and 10” slicing/carving knives
9” country bread knife10” hollow edge slicing knife
8” bread knife5.5” flexible boning knife
7” fillet knife4” paring knife
6.5” carving knife3” paring knife
6.5” chef knife2.75” birds beak peeling knife
6” utility knife2.75” trimming knife
5” utility knife

Zwilling Twin Four Star II

The Zwilling Twin 4 Star version two knives have a butt cap. This is illustrated in this image in both the single knives and the set.
Made in Germany
Full flat Bolster
Concealed tang
55-58 HRC
Sigmaforged Friodur steel
Polypropylene handles with stamped end cap
Fits blocks w/ flat slots
Price of 8” Chef knife: $120

This is the Twin Four Star knives again only with an endcap. At least, that’s the main difference I can work out from the original series. This doesn’t make a huge difference, but it will make the knives more handle heavy, kind of like on the Wusthof Ikons (although not that extreme).

I’m not sure where the difference in price comes from, but if you like the Four Star design, this is essentially the same but slightly cheaper, and they should fit all the same  blocks. Just keep in mind these will be more handle heavy.

Knives Available in Twin Four Star II
8” chef knife8” slicing/carving knife
5.5” hollow edge santoku5” utility knife
7” hollow edge santoku5.5” flexible boning knife
6” meat cleaver4” paring knife
8” bread knife7” fillet knife
6” chef knife6” utility knife
4.5” steak knife3” paring knife

Twin Fin II

Zwilling Twin Fin 2 Series knives next to a small set.
Made in Seki, Japan
N60 steel welded to stainless steel handles
Japanese style blades with Hanbazuke edges
Handles are gilled for traction and balance
Fits Pro blocks w/ angled slots
Price of 8” Chef knife: $100

This is as cost effective as you’re going to get before this guide dives into the sub $100 range, but that’s not entirely a statement about its quality. This is a unique series in a couple ways.

First, you probably noticed that all-steel make up. That’s actually the least interesting thing about these knives. Although the handles do have some great geometry for pinch grips.

You might have also noticed that “hanbazuke” word referring to the edge of the knives. That’s a sharpening term that traditionally means the knife has only been sharpened to its primary edge, leaving the microbevel to be done by the customer according to their personal use.

I get the impression Zwilling has a slightly different interpretation that can be best described by the “Knife Knowledge” page for Miyabi knives. That’s the Japanese line under Zwilling, and since the Twin Fin line is made in Japan, it’s a safe bet they’re going through the same factory as a lot of Miyabi knives.

The bottom line is these knives should have a really nice, thin edge.

Knives Available in Twin Fin II
8” chef knife9” slicing knife
7” santoku knife8” bread knife
5.5” santoku knife5” prep knife
9” kiritsuke knife4.5” steak knife
6.5” nakiri knife3.5” paring knife

Zwilling Pro Home Oak

A Zwilling Pro Oak Home chef knife together with a Pro Oak Home bread knife.
Made in Germany
Friodur steel
55 – 58 HRC
Curved half bolster
Fits Pro blocks w/ angled slots
Price of 8” chef knife: $160

This is one of the few Zwilling series with actual wood handles.

It’s a variation of the Zwilling Pro design. All the same shapes and steels are there, but the feel and weight of the handle are going to be a little different by virtue of the natural material. It’s made from holm oak, which is a pretty hard type of wood from the Mediterranean area. I would guess Zwilling is sourcing it from Spain since they have a factory there, but since these knives are made in Germany, it could just as easily be from southern France or Greece.

The important part here is that if you like the Zwilling Pro design, but want something that feels a little more natural, these offer a good option.

Knives Available in Pro Home Oak
8” chef knife5.5” prep knife
6” chef knife10” bread knife
6” carving knife8” bread knife
5” utility knife, serrated4” paring knife
7” fillet knife3” paring knife

Zwilling Diplome

This graphic shows a Zwilling Diplome knife set and two knives to give the reader a good overview of the looks and build quality of this knife series.
Made in Japan
FC61 steel
3-rivet handles w/ plastic scales
61 HRC
Hanbazuke style blade w/ 20 degree double bevel edge
Japanese style, but French inspired
Flat half bolster
Fits standard blocks w/ flat slots
Price of 8” chef knife: $175

These knives were designed in collaboration with chefs from Le Cordon Bleu. That’s probably why the chef knife is more of a gyuto than a traditional German style knife. And also likely why the steel is a lot harder than most of Zwilling’s other knives.

Between the Swedish-made steel and the blocky but minimal handles, the Diplome knives hit a lot of key points that professional cooks are usually pining for. These knives are balanced and sharpened for a long day of getting used repetitively for several hours a day.

This gets into kind of a funny cultural mix up, though, considering these were made for chefs at a French cooking school, but the knives are described as having “Japanese role models” because of the gyuto design. But the gyuto blade shape is an adaptation of the more straight-edged French chef knife. So things have sort of come back around in the Diplome series.

Knives Available in Diplome
9” chef knife7” fillet knife
8” chef knife9” carving knife
7” santoku4.5” paring knife
5.5” chef knife, compact3.5” vegetable knife
9.5” bread knife

Zwilling Twin 1731

A Zwilling Twin 1731 Knife set with profile shots of the 8 inch chef knife and 3 inch paring knife.
Made in Germany
Designed by architect Matteo Thun
Ebonywood handle w/ curved half bolster
Cronidur 30 steel w/ Friodur cryo treatment
58 – 60 HRC
12.5 degree double bevel edge
Fits standing block in 1731 set, but should work with most standard blocks
Price of 8” chef knife: $500

If you really want to throw down on Zwilling stuff, the Twin 1731 series is an “all stops pulled” situation.

The handles are made of ebony wood, the steel is cooked to around 60 HRC, and the edge is ground to 12 degrees, so there’s an all around performance upgrade from the Pro series. It was also designed by an architect, which seems like a weird direction to go, but it has resulted in some pretty knives that are incredibly comfortable to hold.

The options of knife types are minimal in this series, but the block set has a nice natural look that hugs the back of a counter well, which makes the full set surprisingly practical in terms of space, if not necessarily price.

Knives Available in Twin 1731
8” chef knife8” bread knife
7” fine edge santoku4” paring knife
8” slicing/carving knife9” sharpening steel

Budget Zwilling Series

This category works the same way as the high end section, just in the opposite direction. All these series feature 8” chef knives that fall below the $100 mark. Except for the series that don’t have chef knives at all, but those still clearly belong in a budget category.

Zwilling Twin Signature

Two Zwilling Twin Signature knives and one knife set.
Made in China and Germany
Friodur steel with 55 – 58 HRC
Stamped blades with 15 degree double bevel
Plastic handles
Shout fit most standard, flat-slotted blocks
Price of 8” Chef knife: $90

Of all the budget options for Zwilling, this is probably the most practical and complete (with the arguable exception of the Master series). The Twin Signature stuff could be considered just a step below the Zwilling Pro series by virtue of being stamped instead of forged, and at least partially made in China instead of Solingen, Germany.

I would argue that being stamped doesn’t make that much of a difference unless you plan on jumping up and down on your knives. Past that, the Twin Signature series actually has a slightly thinner blade geometry and about the same hardness, so you should see the same if not better edge retention in them.

There will be a big difference in how the handles feel, though. The swell in the scales on the Twin Signature knives will fill the hand better in a full grip, but they also make the knives a little more handle heavy. It’s a personal preference thing, but the ergonomics on these have been pretty pleasant over the many years that we’ve used ours.

Knives Available in Twin Signature
8” chef knife8” bread knife
7” hollow edge santoku5.5” prep knife
7” hollow edge rocking santoku4” paring knife
7” Chinese cleaver2.75” birds beak peeling knife
6” utility knife
5” utility knife, serrated

Zwilling Twin Master

The Zwilling Twin Master kitchen knife series is perfect for barbecuing or camping.
Made in Spain
Concealed tang
Stamped blades
50 – 54 HRC
Plastic handles
Fits most standard blocks
Price of 8” Chef knife: $50

The Master knives are low-cost, no-nonsense knives for the working professional that just needs something that works.

This is the Zwilling equivalent to knives like the Victorinox Fibrox or the Dexter Russel Basics knives. The series features soft steel with plastic handles, and not much more. The knives available in the series fill a practical range that covers pretty much any professional need, including an unusually large variety of boning knives.

It doesn’t look like Zwilling sells these knives in any kind of set, which makes sense since professional cooks and chefs don’t usually buy sets. This is more of a knife roll situation. Find the individual knives you need, pick up a roll, and get to work.

Knives Available in Twin Master
9.5” Chef’s knife8” Butcher knife
6” flex boning knife11.5” Chef’s knife
4” paring knife6” stiff boning knife
6” wide boning knife9.5” serrated slicer
11.5” slicer9.5” pastry knife
9.5” slicer2.5” birds beak peeler
8” butcher knife3” kudamono knife

Zwilling Now S

The Zwilling Now S chef knife and bread knife together with the whole set.
Made in Germany
Colorful, bare essentials block set options
Concealed tang
Laser cut blades
55-58 HRC
Polypropylene handle w/ end cap
Fits Z Now S block, but should work w/ most standard blocks
Price of 8” Chef knife: $60

For both space and cost, the Now S knives are probably the most economic choice under the Zwilling name. These knives come in 8-piece sets that sit vertically and take up a pretty reasonable rectangle of counter space. They also come in a larger variety of bright colors if you’re into the whole primary color decoration thing.

Even though these are coming out of the Solingen factory, you have to remember that these are intended to be a budget option. So when you see words like “laser cut” you need to understand that these likely don’t go through the same level of quality control, or held to the same quality standards as even the Twin Signature knives. That’s not to say they’re bad knives, but if you’re used to mid range chef knives, you’re going to feel the streamlined, budget QC in the feel and performance.

The other side of that is for either a $60 chef knife or a $250 set, the Now S knives work really well. They’re comfortable, the steel is decent and easy to sharpen, and if you deign to use one in a restaurant kitchen, you’ll always know which knife is yours.

Knives Available in Now S
8” chef knife8” bread knife
5.5” prep knife5” utility knife, serrated
4” paring knifeShears

Zwilling Gourmet

A Zwilling Gourmet 14 piece knife set together with an eight inch chef knife and a seven inch cleaver shown outside the storage block.
Made in Germany
Basic styled series with standard set options
POM handles
Laser cut blades
Friodur steel
Fits standard blocks w/ flat slots
Price of 8” chef knife: $60

These are less colorful than the Now S knives, but they sit in the same price range and they come in a lot more set variations. The handle styling is a little closer to the Zwilling Pro design, but the POM handles will likely feel cheaper and lighter, and they don’t feature the sloped half bolster that cradles the pinch grip.

But when you just need a regular knife that cuts, this is where you go. There are no color frills or super forged blades here. The steel is laser-cut, cryo hardened, and then they slap some POM scales on the tang and send it our way. These knives cut, and they’re comfortable in a very standard way. There’s nothing special to make them especially comfortable, but the design is simple enough that you won’t feel anything actively uncomfortable about them.

One neat thing about them is that, thanks to the scales being flat at the top, the Gourmet knives all fit in the same blocks as the Pro S knives so you can mix and match with that series in a single block if you want.

Knives Available in Gourmet
8” chef knife6” cleaver
6.5” nakiri knife8” bread knife
4” paring knife (plain and serrated)4.5” steak knife
5.5” prep knife (plain and serrated)3” vegetable knife
2.75” peeling knife7” hollow edge santoku
7” fillet knife6” slicing/carving knife
10” bread knife5” utility knife, serrated
8” slicing/carving knife7” Chinese cleaver
5.5” boning knife

Zwilling Twin Grip

Zwilling Twin Grip knives is a variety of styles and colors.
Made in Spain
50 – 54 HRC
Plastic handles in several different colors
Friodur steel
Stamped blades
Average price of individual knives: $6

You can stop looking for the chef knife in this series. It doesn’t exist, and probably never will. The Twin Grip knives could be said to be the add-on paring knives to the Now S knives because they’re so simple and colorful.

These don’t go in any block, though. They’re just the neat little tools you throw in the drawer or fill out a roll with. You get these either because you need a well-priced paring knife fast, or because you have a very vibrant color scheme in the kitchen that you’re adamant about sticking to.

Outside the fact that these are made in Spain and come in a lot of colors, there’s really no major selling point here. The Twin Grip knives function just barely as well as they need to, but they’re also one of those little things that last forever because, edge geometry aside, they have a comparable build to a Tonka toy.

Knives Available in Twin Grip
3” vegetable knife
4.5” utility knife
3” paring knife
3.5” paring knife

Zwilling Kramer Lines

This is the grail portion of the guide. These are Kramer-designed knives made in Zwilling’s Japanese factory, and they are all, without exception, beautiful, high-performing tools.

You can buy some of these in sets, but none of them come in blocks. Also, Zwilling has been having trouble keeping a lot of these knives in stock. That makes sense since these are labor intensive designs that take a lot of material, but keep in mind that if they’re available at any point, these are not the kind of knives you can sleep on and expect to order a week later.

Check out our in-depth review of the Zwilling By Kramer Essential Collection chef knife to see how this knife series stacks up against the competition.

Zwilling Kramer Euroline Carbon

Zwilling By Kramer Euroline Carbon knives and knife set to show the knives and magnetic storage board.
Made in Japan
Micarta or Grenadile wood handle
52100 steel
61 HRC
Price of 8” chef knife: $300

Bob Kramer and Zwilling dropped this line of knives on the kitchen cutlery world a few years ago and damn near made a black hole singularity from the density of people converging on stores to buy one. It made available a certain tier of knives on a production scale that otherwise never would have existed, and while these knives aren’t touched personally by the hand of famed designer Bob Kramer himself, they are his design and they match his specifications for the project.

Functionally these are thick-handled knives optimized for a quick kitchen work flow. They’re comfortable and quick cutting, with tall blades for good knuckle clearance, and a carbon steel that’s pretty famous among custom makers for its ability to take an amazing edge.

They are very much not the most cost effective knife you can get for the kitchen, but they easily one of the most impressive knives you can get for the kitchen before you start getting into territory that has you paying thousands of dollars for a single knife.

Knives Available in Kramer Euroline
10” chef knife
8” chef knife
6” chef knife
7” santoku
9” slicing/carving knife
9” bread knife
5” utility knife
3.5” paring knife

Zwilling Kramer Euroline Stainless Damascus

Zwilling By Kramer Damascus chef knife on a white and gray background.
Made in Japan
101 layer Damascus steel w/ SG2 core
9 – 12 degree double bevel edge
63 HRC
Micarta handles w/ exposed tang
Price of 8” chef knife: $430

These knives have all the same lines as the Kramer Euroline Carbon Steel knives, but they’re updated with a Damascus steel that uses SG2 as its core. The Damascus part is not strictly speaking a performance upgrade, although this will be more rust resistant than the 52100 carbon steel in the original Euroline knives.

However, the SG2 steel specifically makes this a bit nicer. You might see Zwilling refer to SG2 as MC63. You’ll see that a lot in the Miyabi knives (it’s also popular with Shun and Yaxell). The important part is that SG2 is a high hardenable steel with a microcarbide structure, so it has a much more stable structure than 52100 carbon, so the edge retention should be better.

Knives Available in Kramer Euroline Damascus
10” chef knife
8” chef knife
8” chef knife, narrow
6” chef knife
7” santoku
10” bread knife
9” slicing/carving knife
5.5” prep knife
3.5” paring knife
5” utility knife

Zwilling Kramer Carbon 2.0

The Kramer By Zwilling Carbon 2.0 knives shown here have a very hard steel.
Made in Japan
52100 carbon steel
61 HRC
Micarta handles with exposed tang
Latest Kramer Carbon series with improved balance
Price of 8” chef knife: $350

You might have to look twice to catch the relevant differences between the Kramer Carbon and the Carbon 2.0, but they are there. The biggest one is the straightening out of the bottom of the blade from the bolster. That’s going to make the pinch feel a little different and it should make the weight distribution a little nicer for rock chopping.

It’s just stylistically cleaner. If we’re all being honest, that little waver on the bottom of the original Kramer Carbons didn’t really need to be there.

Knives Available in Kramer Carbon 2.0
10” chef knife
8” chef knife
6” chef knife
9” slicing knife
7” santoku
10” bread knife
5” utility knife
3.5” paring knife

Zwilling Kramer Meiji

Three different Zwilling By Kramer Meiji knives and a knife set.
Made in Japan
100 layer Damascus w/ FC61 steel core
60 – 62 HRC
Welded blade
Pakkawood handles
Hidden tang
Hanbazuke edge
Price of 8” chef knife: $270

The Damascus pattern doesn’t tend to show up well on product photos of the Meiji knives, but it’s more pronounced than your typical Amazon listing is actually showing. It’s using a nice, high hardness steel as its core with a layers of nickel wrapped around it, so the Meiji knives are pretty excellent in terms of edge retention and corrosion resistance.

One really important thing to note about these knives is that even though they’re the “Japanese style” Zwilling Kramer knives, they are geared a little more for big handed people. Or, at least, people with larger hands tend to like them more. These won’t be anywhere near as heavy or meaty as the Kramer Euroline knives, but they are generally a little heavier than your typical Japanese kitchen knife. That’s partly because of the wood choice in the handle, and partly because the blade (at least on the chef knife) is a little taller.

Knives Available in Kramer Meji
10” chef knife
8” chef knife
6” chef knife
7” santoku
5” utility knife
4” paring knife
10” bread knife
9” slicing knife

Zwilling Steak Knives

Most of the Zwilling series include steak knife designs, but they have a few one-off series that seem to have been made exclusively for steak knives. That makes organization of this guide tricky, so I’ve opted for the clumsy option and made a whole new section for steak knives.

Toro Steak Knives

Graphic showing four different types of Zwilling Toro steak knives.
Made in Spain
Nitrum Stainless Steel
Stamped blades
Full tang w/ 3-rivet handles
Handle materials: palisander wood, holm oak, and blue linen Micarta
Comes in wooden case

Zwilling has gone the direction of vintage Laguiole knives with the Toro set. You have thinly carved handles with a nice curve at the butt, and a slicey edge with a clip point blade. I’ve heard mixed things about Zwilling’s Spain factory, but I know the design itself is sound concept, and the nitrum steel they use for it is supposed to be pretty hard, so these should have nice edge retention.

I feel like the Toro steak knives pull ahead a lot in terms of looks, though. The handles come in three different materials and colors: holm oak, palisander wood, and linen Micarta. So they’re only different in an understated way that seems appropriate for steak knives.

Steak House Knives

This graphic shows the wood handle and serrated blade of a Zwilling Steak House knife.
Made in Spain
Stamped German stainless steel blades
54 – 56 HRC
Inverted serrations
Full, exposed tang w/ 3-rivet handle
Usually sold as 4-piece set in a wood box

We’re in a traditional territory here that I think more Americans would be comfortable with: the Steakhouse set has big, fat wood handles and tall blades with serrations along the top curve.

The really unique thing about this set is the inverted serrations, though, which is a difficult element to catch in most product photos. Basically this little feature consists of a line of two types of serrations: larger pieces that are less pointed meant to come in contact with the plate, and smaller, sharper pieces meant to cut the meat. This allows you to cut into the meat and come in contact with the plate without worrying about dulling the edge of the knife. It’s a little gimimck-y, but it’s not a bad solution to a tricky problem where serrated knives are concerned.

Stainless Steel Set

Zwilling Stainless Steel steak knife set shown here in it's wood storage box.
Made in Vietnam
Forged high-carbon stainless steel
4.5” half-serrated blades
Sold as 8-piece set w/ wood display box

If you want a high-volume, minimal set, this is a pretty direction to go. The stainless steel set might look like just a step above silverware, but Zwilling makes these knives as single-piece knives forged from what I’m guessing is some kind of 1.4116 German steel.

They have a nice, tapered form if you’re more into light-handed ergonomics, and decent enough serrations that cutting into the meat is fairly effortless. Keep in mind this isn’t one of their high-end, super fine edged designs. It’s meant to cut well enough for a certain price and take up a certain amount of space.


Set of four Zwilling Porterhouse steak knives in a wood gift box.
Black handled: Made in Spain, Stainless Steel: made in Vietnam
High-carbon German stainless steel
Black handled: plain edge, Stainless steel: half-serrated

The Porterhouse name gets a little tricky because it looks like Zwilling makes it in two different styles without bothering to differentiate with the name at all:

There’s the stainless steel Porterhouse knives, which are all one-piece stainless steel from handle to blade, and there’s the black polypropylene handled version.

From the looks of it, the stainless steel knives are half serrated while the black-handle knives are plain edge so the choice here isn’t entirely about looks. I won’t pretend to understand the logic behind this line up, but the important information here is that the stainless steel Porterhouse knives have teeth and probably weigh a little more. The black-handle versions might be a little more comfortable and cut a little cleaner.

Gentleman’s Steak Knife Set

Zwilling Kitchen Knife Guide - Image 4: Zwilling Gentlemans Steak Knife Set
Made in Spain
Stamped German steel blades
Full tang w/ 3-rivet handles
Inverted full-bladed serrations
Palisander wood handles

Zwilling brings back the inverted serrations with this neat set up. In this case, though, they run the whole blade, and the blade shape itself has a much more dramatic curve. The cutting ergos on these are going to be a bit different from the Steakhouse that’s also sporting inverted serrations. There’s not as much length left on the blade for cutting with, but the tallness of the blade and the extreme curve will definitely give you plenty of pressure and room to cut.

The really neat thing about this set is the travel case, though. It’s a leather pouch with pockets for 4 knives and a zipper so you can throw this in your suitcase and be prepared for a meal anywhere you go.

Stainless Steel Serrated

A single Zwilling Stainless Steel Serrated steak knife on a gray and white background.
Made in Spain
Stamped stainless steel blades
Fully serrated

Here’s another “stainless steel” set  of options for you, just to confuse Zwillings deep category of steak knife sets a little more.

These are very much a budget option. That’s not to say they’re bad, but you need to understand that when you see serrations this wide on a blade this small, you’re not going to get the same kind of quality cutting that you can expect from higher-priced Zwilling options. They get the job done, though, and these definitely have an ergonomic shape you don’t get with any other set.

Bellasera Steak Knives

Zwilling Kitchen Knife Guide - Image 5: Bellasera Steak Knife
Made in China
One-piece 18/10 stainless steel
Good weight and ergonomics

Again into the budget territory, but this time we’re here with a design that looks a little more dynamic. The Bellasera knives are made from a very high chromium 18/10 steel, so the edge retention isn’t great, but the corrosion resistance is about as good as you can reasonably expect from any knife on your table.

Basically these are a step above butter knives. I very nearly didn’t include them in the guide, but the serrations that Zwilling added to the blade do make these viable as steak knives, and even though they don’t come in a display box of any kind, they do have their own kind of unique look that I appreciate.

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Avatar of Andrew North

Andrew has been a commercial writer for about a decade. He escaped from a life of writing mundane product descriptions by running away to the woods and teaching himself how to bake and chop stuff up in the kitchen. He has a background in landscaping, Filipino martial arts, and drinking whiskey.

9 thoughts on “Zwilling Kitchen Knife Guide”

  1. A question not really a comment. I have 3 Zwilling 4″ paring knives, 4 star line with the bolsters. Over the years, 25+, routine maintenance and sharpening leaves one with a blade that doesn’t lie flat on a cutting surface because it is impossible to sharpen the knives very close to the bolster. It would be great if I could have the bolster ground down so the full length of the blade could be sharpened. The Pro line has solved this issue. So, are you aware of any service that could accomplish this or do I live with the blade as is or bite the bullet and purchase new knives. BTW, I sharpen using Japanese whetstones. Nice informative review of knives.

    • You are not alone in having this problem. Most professional sharpeners offer bolster grinding services, so finding one near you would be my first suggestion. They usually don’t charge much, and it’s the safest option for your fingers and your knife.
      It is possible to do it yourself, just be sure to tape up the edge and proceed with caution.
      If you’re comfortable with a belt sander or angle grinder, the fastest way is to slap the coarsest belt or bit you have on them, grind the bolster down to about about a millimeter from the edge at the front, then taper off the sides from there at about 30 degrees (or whatever looks good to you) until you have that bottom section of cutting edge clear.
      You can also do it with a coarse file or sandpaper. It takes a lot of patience, but it’s a lot safer if you’re not used to grinders and power tools.
      Whatever you do, keep your nice whetstones away from the bolster. Japanese stones were not made for this kind of bulk work. You will grind them into dust trying to even out the bolster. You can use them to polish the bolster if you want to take off the grind lines after, but don’t use them to take off that much bulk material.
      Anyway, hope that helps, Ed. Thanks for reading.

  2. Nicely done guide. Recently I picked up a couple Zwilling Kramer paring knives, the Essential FC61 ($99) and the Zwilling Kramer Euroline Damascus ($219)
    The Kramer Damascus is a drop dead gorgeous knife, but it suffered poor quality control, one of the two pins (not the Kramer middle pin) was not ground down and kept slicing my palm. Hard to believe this 100-step knife left the factory.
    The Kramer Essential, was perfect in every way. I really wanted to keep the Damascus version, and could have ground down the protrusion being a retired aviation engineer, but returned it.

    I’m not one to complain about things, but that fit and finish had me shaking my head.

    • Definitely weird that a Kramer like that made it out of Zwilling’s Japanese factory. They normally have great QC. Every now and then I’ll hear about someone getting a warped blade, but Zwilling seems to be pretty good about returns.
      The FC61 version is definitely one of my favorite knives though. It’s a little big for my tastes, but it’s so comfortable I still like to take it out for a spin every now and then.

  3. I keep seeing a Zwilling Olymp series set of knives but I never see any of this set ona swilling site. Have you heard of this series or is it a knock-off? Same question with their “Dragon Series” (I live in a country where knock offs have been prevalent )

    • I mostly just see the Zwilling Olymp cleaver selling anywhere. I’m not sure if they discontinued that series or what. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t include it in this guide.
      Zwilling does have a series called Dragon based on Chinese cutlery designs. It came out around 2020. I missed it when I first wrote this guide because it seems to have limited distribution in the US, and I just haven’t gotten around to adding it yet.

  4. If possible could you update the guide for the newly released All*Star line? Thank you! Wonderful information and write-up!


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