The Deluxe and Ikon sets from Wusthof Classic and the Twin Professional and Twin Profection sets from Zwilling J.A. Henckels are top-rated knife sets. Both Consumer Reports and America's Test Kitchen prefer Wusthof knives to Henckels knives.
Produced in Germany, all four sets of knives share features recommended by Consumer Reports, such as forged blades, synthetic handles and full tangs. The primary difference is in their forging processes: Wusthof knives are forged from a single piece of steel, while Henckels knives are forged from multiple pieces of steel welded together.
Consumer Reports prefers forged blades over cheaper stamped blades because of their higher durability. Stamped knives lack balance features found in forged knives, and are more likely to bend over time. Forged knives are produced by beating molten steel into each individual knife, while stamped knives are stamped out of sheets or coils of steel.
Synthetic handles also contribute to the durability of top-rated knives. Natural wood handles are vulnerable to heat and water damage, particularly when washed in a dishwasher. Knives with wooden handles are more vulnerable to corrosion; water can seep under the handle and rust the steel. Synthetic handles are also more resistant to splintering and warping.
The tang is the portion of the blade inside the handle. A full-sized tang provides a knife with more balance.