Wusthof Vs Mac: Which Brand Is Actually Better?

By Ryan Leavitt •  Updated: 07/19/21 •  6 min read

It is quite difficult to say which is the better brand between Wusthof and Mac because they are polar opposites in so many ways. However, these two come from the well-known City of Blades – Solingen and Seki, respectively – so you can be sure you’re getting a quality knife whichever between the two you will choose.

Wusthof of Solingen, Germany is one the best cutlery companies in the whole world, many admit that it is difficult to compete with their technology and craftsmanship. But if there is one brand that has the same drive for innovation and talented artisans under their wing, it’s Mac of Seki, Japan.

 WusthofMac
HeadquartersSolingen, GermanySeki, Japan
Steel UsedX50CrMoV15Molybdenum High Carbon
Knife ConstructionMostly forged, a few stampedStamped, Forged
Premier CollectionsClassicOriginal, Professional
Best AssetIndustry reputation

 

Incredibly long history

High-quality pieces

Lightweightness and sharpness
Price PointA bit priceyA bit pricey

Let’s get to know them better…

Wusthof: A Solingen Pride

In 1814, Johann Abraham Wusthof began making shears in his small cottage.

At this time, he only had one employee and would work on commission for other bigger companies in town.

In 1836, one of his sons added the pocket knife as a mainstay in their product line.

By 1869, they were making different other blades and cutlery pieces – daggers, forks, cleavers, penknives, and so on.

When the steam engine was invented, they automated their factory.

And by 1881, Johann’s other son brought their wares to New York.

Today, they have thousands of different knives globally available through their sister companies in different countries. But up to this day, their main headquarters is in Solingen.

Related: Wusthof knife sets

Formulating the Steel, Crafting the Knife

The essence of any blade is its steel. The company understands this well that’s why they use only the best: X50CrMoV15 (58 HRC).

Every single one of the 1.7 million knives that they create every year goes through the laborious 40-step process.

And while several of the steps in this process are mechanized and laser-assisted for consistency, the need for manual work with human touch and sight was never eliminated.

The combination of the two is the secret to their success.

The Most Highly-Acclaimed Series in the Wusthof Line

The company currently has thirteen different variants – seven are mechanically forged (the hammering and cooling down is helped by a machine) while four are stamped.

Classic is still considered by many as the best of all their cutlery lines. Many experts laud this because of its functionality and elegance:

This line consists of over 70 different pieces organized into 30 or so sets that range from 2 to 36 items per set which may include accessories like blocks, honing tools, and shears.

Wusthof at a Glance

Mac and Its Humble Beginnings in Seki

T. Kobayashi, Mac’s chairman, had troubles when he used a traditional German knife in a professional kitchen abroad.

It’s too heavy and quite bulky making it hard to use on the chopping board, and slightly dangerous with its extremely pointy tip breaking off easily when dropped.

In 1958, he returned to Seki, Japan, and began designing a knife that is just as functional as the German ones he used but lighter, sharper, and less pointy.

By 1965, he registered two patents that featured the general look of Western-style chef’s knives but with a curved tip.

His plan paid off because today, he sold millions of that design worldwide.

Formulating the Steel, Crafting the Knife

Mac uses VG-5 steel, a blend that contains a lot of Carbon for hardness (measuring 59 to 61 HRC) and sharpness and quite a bit of Molybdenum for rust resistance.

The process isn’t as lengthy as Wusthof’s with only 15 steps. But this doesn’t mean that they cut back on quality.

The whole procedure is made or supervised by professional Seki craftsmen from hammering the steel to shape, hand grinding the edges, and sharpening the pieces on water-cooled whetstones.

The Most Highly-Acclaimed Series in the Mac Line

Compared to its German counterpart, Mac only has seven different variants which still include the very first design T.Kobayashi came up with – the Original Series.

Many connoisseurs agree that their best is the Professional Series with its straightforward knives that just cut extremely well.

Mac does not have a whole lot of pieces per variant. The Professional Series only has a dozen or so.

Focused on quality over quantity, you wouldn’t find sets of 10 in a block like other brands.

Mac at a Glance

Which Works Better for You?

When it comes to knives, it’s hard to say which is the best because users will always have different requirements.

What you need to do is find out what exactly you need and match that up with the tool that can provide those.

Both Mac and Wusthof are possibly in the top 10 list of the best knives of all time.

Both are a bit pricey, true. But this splurge – whether you get the German or the Japanese one – is an investment that you won’t regret.

Ryan Leavitt

Hi my name is Ryan Leavitt a Marine Corps Veteran and currently an over the road trucker (Long Haul). I am no expert chef but am enjoying preparing my own meals on the road and testing all the different knives.

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