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Mundial compared to wusthof & Henckels


Dec 28, 2006
Im looking at buying a set of kitchen knives. The mundials seem ok for the price & I like the feel of them also. Just how much better are the wusthof or Henckles & how much better is the quality of the steel as they are a lot more expensive. I have also looked at the global brand but they felt a little light. I have also heard that they are a bugger to sharpen.
Thanks for any info.

Companies like Henckels have different lines .They also have had different owners and at one point the quality went down. The steel for most of the european knives is .50 % carbon stainless. I now use Shun knives which are very well made with better steel than typical european steel. ...I would suggest that you carefully try different knives to see if they fit your hand and are balanced well. You might also do better getting knives [good ones] one at a time .It's easier on the budget and make sure you get only what you need as the sets often include knives you use rarely. Knives like Henckels , wustoff often are on sale .look around.
Im looking at buying a set of kitchen knives. The mundials seem ok for the price & I like the feel of them also. Just how much better are the wusthof or Henckles & how much better is the quality of the steel as they are a lot more expensive.
You might have better luck over in KnifeForum's In The Kitchen sub-forum. But beware: You're not likely to get the answer I suspect you're seeking.

As for your question: I don't know. I do know that, as I was researching kitchen knives prior to buying one (yes, one) for my wife for Christmas, I never saw anyone, anywhere recommend Mundial. Then again: I didn't often see Wusthof or Henkles recommended, either.

In more general terms...

You're asking if you can "get away with" a less expensive brand. Maybe you can. I guess that depends on what you want out of life. Personally, my life is too dear to me to waste it on cheap products. You're asking "how much better" the more expensive brands are than the less expensive. That's a bit like asking how much better are Milwaukee or Makita power tools than Black & Decker. How much better is a Stihl or Husqvarna chain saw than a Homelite. Well, I've never seen B&D power tools on a construction job site, nor Homelite chain saws used by professional tree crews. Such people can't afford tools that either won't perform reliably or otherwise aren't up to the demands of the job. It's also been my experience, in examining these less expensive, so-called "consumer grade" tools at stores and in occasionally using those owned by friends and acquaintences, that they just don't feel as "good" or operate was well as do the professional tools. I don't know, but I'm going to guess that the same applies to kitchen knives. And while I don't cook, I figure my wife deserves tools every bit as good as those which I'd have for myself. So, when I bought her a knife for Christmas, it was a Shun Classic.
Just with the three companies you are talking about I'll choose none.

The Wusthoff and Henckles fall into the came category, 80 years ago they where the cats meow now they are running on fumes (name recognition more to the point). The steels and fridour process they use doesn't make an edge that holds up as well as their japanese counterparts. In addition the belly of the blades on either is not deep and makes for more work when chopping. When in this price range I would stick with Tojiro.

Mundial I would not own because I chose Forschner and for the price a Forschner Rosewood Handled Knife cannot be beat. Once again it it edge retention and ergonomics of the Mundial that I don't like. I have used them in various kitchens and alot of prep cooks buy them when they are starting out.

For the money try Forschner.
I do alot of cooking. Unlike alot of people,I do not eat out alot,and thus prepare food constantly for imediate meals and for leftovers to take to work.I have some of the better High End Wustoff Knives and love them.I have a 10' chefs knife,a small and large Santouku(I think that is how you spell it)and a utility and paring knife.I have had them since last Christmas and are only now due for a sharpening.I waited until Bed/Bath&Beyond sent me a couple 20% off and bought the knives.By the way,I looked and looked and read for a year before buying.I never seen the Wustoff Knives discounted.Maybe I was looking in all the wrong places.I may borrow my inlaws Shun they recieved for Christmas and compare.I will also keep tabs on how often they sharpen it.If you stick to the higher end professional series of each brand,buy what you want.

I own knives from all three companies. My Mundials are 6 years old and I don't know if they have changed anything since then.
The steel on my Mundials is very soft. It is probably the equivalent of 420J2 or 440A at RC52 or something similar. I have to sharpen them very often and I would not buy them again. The wood handles of my Mundials were also not stabilized so repeated washing caused the handles to shrink.
The Henckels Five Star and Wusthoff Culinare 2 knives I own have better steel and they tend to stay sharp longer. If I had to guess they are probably hardened to RC55 or so. These German knives also have better ergonomics
Less expensive lines like Henckels International use different steel and are not made in Germany. Henckels recently released their made in Japan Twin Cermax line. They use awesome steel (including some knives at RC66!) but they are pricey and somewhat handle heavy.

Global knives are a step from Mundial and the German knives (except the Twin Cermax line). They use harder steel (about RC57-58) and have thin blades so you should not use them or any Japanese knives to chop bones or frozen foods.

My favorite knives from what I own are the Shun and Ittosai Kotetsu. The Shun use VG10 steel at RC60-61. The Ittosai is at least RC62. These knives stay sharp a long time.
I would suggest you buy two good knives to begin with as opposed to
a large set of mediocre knives where some knives may never get used.
Most home cooks should be OK with a 4 inch or so paring knife (Petty in Japanese knives terminology) and a 7-8 inch chefs(Guyto) or a Santoku knife for most of their cooking needs.

This vendor has a lot of Japanese knives including the best value for the money Tojiro brand.

are you just guessing the RC or is it stated on the packaging?

FWIW Global use AUS118, Most German (and sheffield knives) use 440B or 440C
I don't think Global have the steel harder then good European makes
Global are very nice, yes their Global small line is pretty light but stick with their normal line and you will be fine. A pain to sharpen? Well yes they can be considering they keep to a sharper angle then other kitchen knives, believe its around 14. However Global has come out with a good hand sharpener thats pretty easy to use. Its a water wheel with ceramic wheels.

Wusthofs grand prix 2 is actually highly rated by consumer reports magazine as the best knives for your buck.

All in all though there is nothing wrong with saving a little money and getting a few Forschners, they are really a great knife.

Your choice though im really a fan of mixing up which Kitchen cutlery I keep around the house.
bas, welcome to the forums!

I had all of the knives you mention and even more from other makers. After I tried Japanese kitchen knives, I got rid of the others lickity-split-quick. Tojiro Pro makes an excellent line of kitchen cutlery in the same price range as the Henckell's and Wusthorff.
When I tried the Tojiro's, they astounded me at just how efficient they were at processing food stuff in the kitchen. They have thin edges that cut like lasers and stay sharp for a long time compared to most anything I've used from Europe or the US.
Trying the chef's knife on potatoes and onions was such an epiphany for me. It was actually FUN to use these blades! I could never describe kitchen knifework in that term before. I bought mine separately and found sets give you stuff you don't really need so buying singley worked for me. You'll find most all Japanese kitchen cutlery outperforms the cutlery from all the old mainstays. They are the new kings of the hill when it comes to this genre of cutlery. But, let me share this warning with you:

As you start buying and using Japanese kitchen knives, you will be owned. You will start looking at other maker's wares from Japan and seeing that their knives are both very beautiful and supremely functional, you may find you've become a Japanese kitchen knife fanatic. Life is too short to use crappy knives!

Here's where you can look at the Tojiro line:


Type Tojiro Pro into Froogle and you may get better prices on the 'net.

And welcome to your new addiction! :D
I'm a culinary student and went through the long ordeal of purchasing my knives. When I went to look for my knives the most important thing for me was comfort and edge retention. For one thing I use my knives for about 14 hours a day (work and school) so they needed to be very comfortable and weighted nicely.

I use a Wusthof Grand Prix 10". Among the things that I liked about the Wusthofs are that their blades are as thick as hell, if you compare it to a Henckel it makes it seem flimsy or cheap, another is at the bolster they don't have it taper down to an edge they do this for safety as a lot of people will sometimes when chopping stick a finger down there (on accident) or slide their hand down the blade almost and this will prevent some of that. However it will start to look awkward when you go to sharpen the knife after use the blade won't be level towards the end. They are difficult to get sharp but once they are they stay for a long time.

Henckel knives are fairly popular in the kitchens I have worked in, they are cheap (comparatively) and are nice looking. They do hold their edges well and are easy to sharpen. They make a very nice santoku that is great for chopping (not to my tastes).

I have a set of Forschner knives and while they are great for the value, they are light and don't hold an edge like a Henckel or Wusthof. I would however if you want a nice set get their rosewood carving knife, it looks good and is as sharp as hell out of the box.

Ceramic knives, theses things weigh almost nothing and are sharp! However, you have to send them away for two weeks to the manufacture to sharpen them and AFAIK they don't have a sharpener on the market yet (and don't go over them with a steel).

When it comes down to it the knife you choose depends on what your budget is, your comfort and how you will use it. For me I use it extensively every day and will sharpen it a couple times a month. I need something that is not so expensive that I can't replace it or too cheap that I can't use it without having to sharpen it every couple days.