Wusthof Classic 6″ Utility Knife Review (4522/16)8 min readNovember 27, 2020
Wusthof Classic (4522/16) is a 6-inch utility knife made by one of the most respected German cutlery manufacturers that has been producing kitchen knives and accessories since 1814. High-quality German steel is as famous as Damascus one. Wusthof, however, has been sticking to its own knife making philosophy which, nevertheless, keeps the best of the German cutlery manufacturing art. Besides knives, the company offers sharpeners, kitchen scissors, honing steel, blocks, cutting boards, etc. Here, I will present to you my Wusthof Classic 6-inch utility knife review which, hopefully, will help you understand whether this blade meets your requirements.
- Series – Classiс
- Blade material – molybdenum vanadium steel
- Steel grade – X50CrMoV15
- Type – forged
- Blade length – 6” (16 cm)
- Handle material – polyoxymethylene
The design of Wusthof Classic evidently is not its main advantage. The 4522/16 model has a modest design mostly focused on functionality rather than styling. From the first look, this utility knife doesn’t impress and evokes no sympathy. Furthermore, it even doesn’t seem like an expensive knife when it comes to its appearance. It looks just OK and doesn’t encourage you to buy it right away. The name of its series should be perceived as typical. In other words, the Classic design is something that won’t disappoint you because it has no bold styling solutions.
On the other side, it’s my own subjective opinion. If you prefer a strict design highlighting a real destination of a knife, you will love the Classic utility knife. Its elegant simplicity may even match your self-controlled personality, thus making the knife a continuation of you. When picking a Wusthof utility knife under $100, the design can matter and become one of the factors determining your choice. As for styling, the 4522/16 model won’t be a favorite within this budget. It, however, provides an ergonomic and functional design while using these advantages to compete with good-looking utility knives for such money.
I wouldn’t call its design mediocre since it really feels like a high-quality kitchen knife. Its assembly, engraving, and bolster let you understand that you’re holding a premium class blade in your hand. It’s ergonomic and practical by design. It, however, won’t decorate your kitchen and won’t become a separate interior design element. It looks like exactly what it is and nothing more. When choosing Wusthof Classic, you should pay attention to its reliability rather than appearance. Its simple design doesn’t make this knife worse than other ones. It just has been developed with durability in mind. That’s why in this Wusthof Classic utility knife review, I will focus on its functionality.
Wusthof Classic 4522/16 has a blade forged from a single piece of chrome molybdenum vanadium steel. With a grade of X50CrMoV15, this metal contains a large amount of carbon which makes the steel strong and solid. Improved with chrome, molybdenum, and vanadium, the alloy resists rusting. These alloying chemical elements ensure an optimal balance between steel strength and softness, thus making the cutting edge reliable and easy to hone and sharpen using a whetstone or other manual sharpening tool.
Wusthof Classic has a 6-inch long full tang blade which makes the knife even tougher, thus ensuring it won’t break in your hands after a couple of years of usage. The hardness of this utility knife equals 58 HRC which is a standard value for forged European knives. Such a high Rockwell hardness scale rate allows you to forget about sharpening for months depending on how often you use it and how carefully you work with it. Wusthof Classic provides enough blade hardness for regular cooking at home. During my testing period, I honed this knife not even once and it still showed great sharpness results.
The first thing I noticed when I had taken the 4522/16 model in my hand was that it felt much lighter than it actually was. In fact, it weighs 0.25 lbs (115 g) but feels like a laser cut blade lighter than 0.2 lbs. The reason lays in the well-balanced full tang blade that allows you to easily manipulate the knife and work with it for hours without getting tired. The blade width is about 0.8 inches (2.5 cm) and the overall knife length is 11 inches (28.3 cm).
In my humble opinion, 6 inches are the optimal blade length for a utility knife. It easily replaces a 5.5-inch blade since it enables to properly slice large meat pieces and a 7-inch cook’s knife because the latter is too short to be a universal chef’s knife. Wusthof Classic 4522/16 is also suitable for cutting both small and middle-sized products and vegetables. If I created a custom minimum required knife set, the Wusthof Classic 6-inch utility knife would definitely be in it.
A bolster is only a small metallic thickening between a handle and a blade. However, this simple element plays a huge role in knife design. The Wusthof Classic utility knife has a full bolster that secures your fingers and balances the weight of the knife, thus making it more convenient to use preventing fast hand tiredness. In addition, the bolster keeps the handle clean since product pieces get blocked by it and remain on the blade rather than get on the handle during the cutting process. On the other side, the full bolster makes the knife heavier than a half one.
Although, I would like to emphasize in my Wusthof Classic review that choosing between a half and full bolster is a matter of taste. Some cooks prefer more freedom and want to use as much cutting edge surface as possible while others need a safer knife to prevent finger cuts. Taking into account that this utility knife is equally good for both professional and home kitchens, a full bolster seems to be a wise choice for the manufacturer in this case because home cooking enthusiasts have more risks to injure their fingers while cutting than experienced professional chefs.
Wusthof Classic has handle pads made from polyoxymethylene (POM). This plastic can resist high temperatures up to 356 °F (180 °C). I don’t think you can somehow forget the knife in your oven. Although, if you’re that lucky, there’s a small chance the handle of this knife will remain intact unless you bake a pie with a higher temperature. One of the advantages of this plastic over other cheaper handle materials like polypropylene is that it’s resistant to shock loads, organic solvents, and oils. In other words, the Wusthof Classic handle will keep its appearance for no matter how long you will use it.
In addition, the POM handle pads have a special structure that prevents slipping which ensures a reliable grip even in wet hands. Along with a classical ergonomic form, the right materials make the knife comfortable to work with for hours. The handle has a special thickening on the bottom ensuring a convenient position for your fingers when holding it. Such a simple design makes the handle suitable for a palm of any size while extraordinary handle forms may require getting used to it or be best suitable for certain sizes of a cook’s hand.
One of the main disadvantages of the Wusthof Classic handle is that it comes only black with no alternatives. While the Classic Ikon series includes at least two options: black and cream besides the original wooden Ikon handle, the 4522/16 model is classic in its color as well. Black, however, is the most popular color of knife handles. The robust Wusthof Classic handle shells are securely fastened with stainless steel rivets that feel seamless along with the shells. The handle also has a so-called hand guard at the end to allow you to quickly take the knife with the right grip.
Wusthof Classic belongs to high-quality professional kitchen knives. It costs almost $100 while you also can find special offers for about $80 for a new item. Reliability, functionality, and ergonomics combined with a simple design enabled the company to deliver a magnificent cutting tool for an affordable price. For this money, you get a durable German chrome molybdenum vanadium steel with 58 HRC. Nevertheless, 4522/16 is one the best Wusthof utility knives under $100. It’s a wise choice for those willing to get a simpler design in favor of quality for an adequate price.
Wusthof Classic 4522/16 is suitable for both professional and home kitchens. It has a hard forged blade capable of keeping its hardness for a long time, the same one as more expensive knives have, for example, the Wusthof Classic Ikon 6-inch utility knife. Wusthof isn’t a design masterpiece, it’s rather a predictable cutting you always can count on.
Pros and Cons
- Forged blade
- Reliable chrome molybdenum vanadium steel
- Easy to sharpen manually
- Anti-swiping and seamless handle
- Simple design