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JA Henckels Knife Set Review 2018

JA Henckels Knife Set Review

Here, we are going to look at Henckels, a world-class knife maker, the sets they offer, and how to find your way to the perfect set for your kitchen – Henckels are determined to offer many choices, so the right one is waiting to be yours, but that can make it difficult to wade through their other offerings. Let’s look at Henckels!!!

If you have your eye on something, click right on it, or just keep on reading for all the information you need!

If there’s one tool that makes the biggest difference in the kitchen, to any home cook or professional chef, it is having a quality set of knives to work with. A kitchen knife means to a chef, what a hammer means to a carpenter. It’s an essential tool. And the person using such a tool is either enhanced, or limited by its type, quality, and condition.

You can have the latest, greatest, and most expensive, kitchen appliances and gadgets in the world. Yet those things probably won’t elevate your cooking skills, boost your proficiency, or improve the quality of the meals you create.

What makes the biggest difference is the most basic of all kitchen tools – the knives you choose to use!

Having a complete set of quality knives makes easy work of any kitchen task. It saves time and effort and allows you to prepare a wide range of mouth-watering snacks and meals for you and your family. For the professional, it’s about being better equipped to serve your customers or guests

Whatever kitchen you’re working in, you cannot do your best work with poor quality tools. In fact, you’re behind the eight-ball from the start, because every kind of cooking begins with preparation. And prep work is something that always requires the use of at least one knife, often several.

Cheap tools won’t inspire you to create any culinary masterpieces. But get your hands on a set of quality knives, and it will lift your game to a whole new level. In fact, I’m willing to bet that with your new knives, life will never again be quite the same.

You can buy kitchen knives anywhere, and to some, they’re all the same. But the actual difference between a quality set of knives, and the run-of-the-mill sort, the big box stores sell is like night and day.

Ask any skilled tradesman, in any industry, and they’ll tell you just how important it is to have the right tools for the job. The same thing applies to cooking. You can do the job much more effectively – and expertly – with the proper tools.

A solid, well-designed and manufactured knife should last you a lifetime. But those cheap inferior knives will need to be replaced repeatedly. When brand new, they might be sharp. But that edge will soon be gone and even new, that kind of knife won’t perform like a top-of-the-line model can.

Cheap knives don’t last. They bend and break. Handles fall apart. Edges are quickly lost, causing you to force your way through foods. Cheap knives never perform with the ease and effectiveness of quality knives. Over time, “cheap” ends up costing you plenty in frustration, limitation, and potential injury.

But a quality knife set lasts forever. The trick is to use your knives properly and to take good care of them.

Wherever quality kitchen knives are mentioned, it seems one brand – Henckels – is always part of the conversation and with good reason. They’ve been making quality knives since 1731. With their nearly perfect design, steel selection, hardening processes, blade shaping, and sharpening, they’ve mastered knife making.

Henckels’ knives provide optimum balance, comfort, impressive cutting capability and superior durability. In the eyes of many foodies, and professionals the world over – you won’t find better knives than those produced by JA Henckels.

In this short review, we will look at some of the most popular sets. But before we do so, let’s help ease any confusion you may have encountered while searching online.

Henckels has several different lines of kitchen knives, in each of two distinct brands.

 

Zwilling J.A. Henckels –

  • is their PREMIERE BRAND. These are the best quality knives they make, and they are exclusively manufactured in Germany. To help you identify them visually, what separates these premium knives from the others is their “twin” logo – a red, double stick figure symbol embedded on each handle.

 

J.A. Henckels International –

  • is distinctly different in that it represents all of the company’s “entry-level” lines. These lines are made in Asia (mostly China) and Spain and designed for the budget-conscious shopper. You can identify the International line by the single stick figure on the handle.

 

Which Henckels Knife Set is Best?

There’s no quick or easy way to answer this question. It all depends on your specific needs and budget. There’s a wide variety of packages available by JA Henckels, and this is continually being updated with more product. They are sure  to have a combination of knives to suit you.

Yes, it can be quite confusing. The best advice I can give you to get the most bang for your buck is simply this: buy the best set you can find that fits your budget.

Each of the packages offered by Henckels is different in some way to the others. Those differences are largely among the following:

  • – The number of pieces included in the set (scissors, sharpening stones, steak knives and storage block are all considered pieces of a set. But the real value is in the professional kitchen knives themselves)
  • – The style or make-up of the knives (forged or stamped)
  • – The design (typically, the blades are the same. But it’s usually the handle design that separates one line from the next)
  • – The degree of quality built into each knife (Premium knives are of the highest quality)

JA Henckels has pretty much nailed it. They make several excellent professional chef knife sets and they’re a well-known brand worldwide. Just remember that there are substantial differences between the two brands sporting the same Henckels name.

We will look at some of the most popular sets below. But whatever Henckels package you settle on, you can count on getting a quality, well-built set of knives constructed of special formula, high carbon, no-stain steel. This “special formula” appears to be top secret information, akin to the secret collection of herbs and spices perfected by Colonel Sanders, or Coca-Cola’s secret recipe. It only makes sense to protect a formulation, that has produced some the strongest and best knives available for the last 280+ years.

Henckels is best known for its quality, precision, traditional designs, German engineering, triple-riveted handles, rust-resistant materials, balance, superior steel, sharp edge retention, and the ergonomic handles that provide such a comfortable grip.

 

How Henckels Knives Are Made

There are primarily two kinds of blades in the kitchen knives you can buy – forged or stamped. Henckels makes both. But they are best known for their forged steel knives. It’s hard to tell them apart (forged or stamped) by sight alone. But make no mistake, these two types of knives are completely different in their performance and function.

Each method has its own attributes. But overall, if you were to choose one over the other, I would have to say a forged set of knives is a better buy and more useful than a stamped set. That’s not always the case, however. Where flexibility is required, such as slicing a thin halibut fillet to drop into a deep fryer – a stamped filleting knife can be a particularly helpful specialty tool. So there is room for a mix of blade depending on the use of the knife, and some sets do offer this.

It also comes down to personal choice. But for many chefs I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to, given the choice between one, or the other, the majority opted for a forged set.

Forged knives are the traditional, foundry-made knives. These knives are created from individual pieces of steel. A blank of steel is placed into a fiery-hot oven and heated to extreme temperatures. Then it’s extracted, molded into shape, hardened and ground to produce a fine cutting-edge. The act of shaping not only turns a plain piece of steel into a knife blade, it also helps to strengthen it in the process. The result is a more durable blade.

Stamped knives are cut from a large, single sheet of rolled steel. Blade shapes are cut out, by a large press, in one shot. It’s similar to the cookie-cutter approach. Once cut, each piece is polished and the blade is ground to a sharp edge.

 

How To Get the Most Out of Your JA Henckels Knife Set

Be sure to sharpen your blades regularly. Fresh out-of-the-box, Henckels knives are razor-sharp, and many buyers have shared that this sharp edge has lasted for several months at a time. That’s all good. But eventually every blade needs sharpening and it’s important that you do it right.

Learn about knife sharpening, and how to do it properly, or leave it to the professionals. Either way, maintaining a sharp edge will ensure that you get the best possible experience out of your knives.

I recommend using only wooden or plastic cutting boards. This is important because you want a backboard that’s made of softer material than the metal blade of your knife. Glass cutting boards are a no-no for this very reason, and definitely no cutting directly on your kitchen bench!

As with any prized knife, yours should be hand-washed and dried immediately. Do not allow your knives to sit on the counter or in the sink with food particles attached. Clean them off immediately after use, rinse and dry.

Store your knives separately in a wooden block, like the convenient hardwood one that’s provided with your set. Or hang your knives on the wall. Never put quality knives inside a drawer, where blades can make contact with one another or other objects. Nothing can ruin your quality knife faster than poor storage.

It’s also important to avoid harsh detergents, and dishwashers altogether. Although knife sets are often sold to the public as being “dishwasher safe” – don’t make the mistake of putting your high-quality Henckels in a dishwasher. A quality knife set is an investment that needs to be protected. And the best way to protect it is to avoid dishwashers and the harsh chemicals dishwasher soap they use.

I also recommend keeping your knives to yourself. Don’t share them with friends who happen to realize that you’ve scored an impressive set of kitchen tools. Going down that road ultimately leads to problems – problems that could easily be nipped in the bud.

Just say no!

This isn’t being selfish in any way. It’s simply protecting the most valuable kitchen tool you will ever own. Heck, a mechanic doesn’t share his tools with others for the same reason. A doctor doesn’t share her stethoscope. Your quality knives represent a significant investment, and your ability to create masterful dishes is at least partly dependent on the quality of tools you have to work with.

 

What People Love About Henckel’s Knife Sets

One thing I’ve heard stated repeatedly is that what they have now (with a JA Henckel’s knife set) is better than anything they’ve ever had before. Clearly, it’s a quality brand that delivers a noticeably improved kitchen experience.

Many people have owned the same Henckel set for 5 to 25 years – or longer – and they’re happy to recommend them to anyone. There’s a huge difference in the quality of these knives from the mass-market ones sold in stores. And they’re well worth the price.

Having top quality knives gives you a wide selection for virtually every cutting need. And owning a JA Henckels set provides you with every conceivable tool to get the job done – and create culinary delights for years to come.

Incidentally, this brand has been rated number one by Consumers Reports. They make sturdy knives that stand the test of time. They’re not cheap, of course. Nothing of value is. But generally speaking, when it comes to buying kitchen knives – you get what you pay for. That’s why one of the premium lines is your best bet – as long as it fits your budget. I don’t recommend over-spending. But when considering a quality set of knives, think of it as a lifetime investment.

Henckels knives offer a good balance. You’re getting a solid knife that’s lightweight and easy to handle. These are well-designed, superbly balanced and sharp looking knives that speak volumes about you. They feel extremely comfortable in your hand and you can sense how well constructed they are.

 

What Some Don’t Like About Henckels Knives

This brand is quite confusing. Henckels produces multiple sets, and it’s difficult for consumers to sort it all out. There are so many options available, so many different sets, and price points that the average person has a difficult time deciphering all that information, and making the best choice for them personally.

Another complaint I’ve heard is that some of the accessories that are shipped with these quality knives are not quite up to par. Specifically, I’m referring to the scissors and the knife block. To some, it feels like these elements were simply (lower-cost) add-ons.

The scissors have been reported as being somewhat “average”, while the knife block is often nothing special. Not a big deal to most. But others have said that the quality of this block doesn’t match the quality of the knives. Perhaps it’s difficult to get such quality in a knife block?

Another complaint is that, on occasion, items have arrived in damaged condition. That seems to be a fact of life in virtually any industry. It may have been a slip-up by quality control, or the item was banged up in shipping. At any rate, all the buyer needs to do is notify the seller and request a replacement, or refund. But’s its a bit of a hassle when this kind of thing happens.

It’s also been noted that there are excessive materials used in the packaging. But you’ve got to realize that there’s a fine line between having too much packaging (which ultimately ends up in a landfill) and having not enough protection for the quality merchandise inside. Frankly, I’d rather have a little extra packaging that I have to deal with then have my knives arrived in damaged condition.

 

Which Henckels Knife Does What?

There are several different knives available to both home, and pro chefs. Most serve a distinct purpose while others, like the Chef’s Knife, are multifunctional. Let’s take a quick look at the various knives that are available online from Henckels:

Peeling Knife– A peeling knife does exactly that – it peels potatoes, apples and many other fruits and vegetables. It’s a useful tool for removing blemishes and other imperfections.

Vegetable Knife– A vegetable knife has a straight blade, which makes it perfect for slicing and cleaning fruit and vegetables.

Paring Knife — The paring knife (sometimes referred to as an office knife) can be used to clean, peel, cut, or garnish vegetables. Its sharp tip makes this knife an excellent for removing problem spots on potatoes and other vegetables and fruits.

Utility Knife– The utility knife is excellent for those foods that have a crusty, or hard exterior and a soft center. This knife is able to cut through both surfaces without effort, to provide a clean separation.

Boning Knife- The boning knife is good for loosening bones, and removing the fat and tendons from meats and poultry.

Filleting Knife — A filleting knife has a thin, flexible blade and it’s perfect for cutting thin slices of fish, or meat.

Bread Knife — The bread knife has a long blade, with serrated edges. It’s those edges that enable it to cut through bread of various types, including those with a hard crust. A quality bread knife is able to cut any loaf thinly and cleanly.

Chef’s Knife — The chef’s knife is an all-purpose knife and it’s the most common knife of professional chefs. Once amateurs learn what a chef’s knife can do, they’re all over it. The chef’s knife is perfect for dicing vegetables, raw meat and fruit. It’s also ideal for cutting and chopping herbs.

Slicing — The slicing knife is a long knife used for large meats like roasts. It’s also quite useful for portioning raw meat into serving sizes

Santoku – The santoku knife is an Asian design, with similar function to the chef’s knife. It’s a multipurpose tool often used for cutting vegetables, fruits, meat, and fish.

 

If you could only add one quality knife to your arsenal – it should be a chef’s knife if you don’t already have one. A chef’s knife would be my ultimate choice because it’s amazing just how versatile this tool can be. However, there’s no replacement for having a complete set of quality kitchen knives with each with a specific purpose.

There are few brand names with as rich a history as JA Henckels. This company has been making knives since 1731. And they continue to be a global leader in manufacturing quality nice for professionals and serious home chefs.

 

Zwilling JA Henckels Review

 

Zwilling Pro 12 Piece Block Knife Set

This quality premium set includes the following:

4” Paring Knife

5” Serrated Utility Knife

7” Santoku

8” Chef’s Knife

8” Bread Knife

4 Steak Knives Kitchen Shears

9” Sharpening Steel and Hardwood Storage Block that measures 7” long x 4.5” wide x 10.5 “ high.

The sharpening steel is made of a single piece of high-quality steel that has been hardened using the Friodur ice hardening method. According to Henckels, this helps makes the steel sharp and flexible at the same time. It’s a classic design with a triple-riveted handle. The curved bolster provides added comfort.

Overall, these knives offer a terrific balance of weight, grip, and control.

 

Zwilling JA Henckels Pro S Stainless-Steel 10-Piece Set

A favorite of professional chefs everywhere, this set includes a:

4″ Paring Knife

5″ Serrated Utility Knife

5.5″ Boning Knife

5″ Hollow-Edge Santoku Knife

6″ Utility Knife

8″ Bread Knife

8″ Chef’s Knife

Honing Steel

Kitchen Shears

These excellent quality “made in Germany” forged steel knives offer superior balance for safe and secure cutting, chopping, slicing, dicing, cubing, skinning or portioning. The ergonomic handle feels naturally comfortable in your hand. Measures a 57 on the Rockwell hardness scale. This package offers a convenient choice of “tool” for any chef’s cutting needs.

 

Zwilling JA Henckels Twin Four Star 7-Piece Set

For optimum quality and superb value – this might be the best package Henckels offers. You get the same, German-made, high carbon, no stain steel blade with the added stainless steel end cap on a super-smooth handle that delivers added balance. Included in this set is the following:

4” Paring Knife

5” Santoku Knife

5” Serrated Utility Knife

8” Chef’s Knife

Cutting Shears

Sharpening Steel

Hardwood Storage Block.

No steak knives are included in this package. But you still get those really important kitchen knives – without paying for 4-8 additional knives that would only be used sparingly. There’s superb value in this outstanding set. These are wonderful to hold in your hand and you prepare another stunning dish.

 

Zwilling Henckels Twin Signature 19-Piece Set

This is a premium set that is stamped instead of forged. You still get an outstanding set of knives, featuring Henckels special formula, high carbon, no stain steel. But it’s lighter in weight and value-priced, giving you an opportunity to own a set of professional chef knives – for less.

Included in this set are:

2.5″ Peeling Knife

4″ Paring/Utility Knife

5″ Serrated Utility Knife

6″ Utility/Sandwich Knife

8″ Chef’s Knife

7″ Santoku Knife Hollow Edge

4.5″ Utility Knife

8″ Bread Knife

9″ Sharpening Steel

8 Steak Knives

Kitchen Shears

Hardwood Storage Block

 

JA Henckels International Forged 18-Piece Set

As an “International” brand package, this one of for the value-conscious shopper. You still get the Henckels name and a package of reasonable quality to suit your everyday needs. But you’re getting it at a much more affordable price. This set is made in Spain, and features the same kind of design Henckels is known for, like the triple-riveted handles and high carbon, rust resistant steel. The kitchen blades are all forged, while the steak knives are stamped.

Included in this package are the following:

3” Paring Knife

5” Serrated Utility Knife

6” Utility Knife

7” Santoku Knife

8” Chef’s Knife

9” Sharpening Steel

8” Bread Knife

5” Boning Knife

8 Steak Knives

Kitchen Shears

Hardwood Storage Block

 

The Verdict

Whether you’re a professional or a serious foodie, you can only be as good as the tools you use. But making that choice is a personal thing. You want something that suits you – something that feels good when you pick it up and while you use it.

Ideally, each of the knives in your set should be well balanced and provide a comfortable grip that gives you full control while performing the cutting job effortlessly.

So much of what is done in the kitchen requires the use of knives. JA Henckels offers plenty of quality knife sets. They’re an established brand with a long-standing tradition. A fine Henckels set can provide you with as much as you’ll ever need.

Most first-time buyers admit sooner or later that they should have bought these quality knives years earlier than they actually did. Are you holding back and cheating yourself out of the ultimate kitchen experience?

 

I recommend buying the best quality tools for the job – as long as it’s within reason. You’ll never regret buying quality, and Henckels serves up some of the best.

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  • George says:

    This is such a thorough review. I’m learning a great deal about how to shop for knives. I’m wondering, is it possible to buy each knife individually, or is it necessary to get the whole set at once. If possible, I would purchase one or two knives at a time and end up with a full premium set over say a few years? Thanks again for all the great information!
    George recently posted…Solar Portable Generators – The Future Of Emergency PowerMy Profile

  • mike r says:

    This is a great review. very helpful for shopping. I particularly like the part about the handle. I’ve always felt this is an overlooked part of shopping for knives, yet it is much more important that it fits well than it looks – cool. thanks for the tips.
    mike r recently posted…Shun Hikari – 2016 Kitchen Knife of the YearMy Profile

    • Bec says:

      Hi Mike – yes – I agree – the handle is often overlooked, and yet comfort is so important when cooking. We use knives so much the handle is definitely something to make sure you like! Thanks for your comment.


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