Zwilling JA Henckels is known all over the world for its craftsmanship.
They wouldn’t have lasted centuries in the industry if not for their dedication to quality.
They have proven this yet again with two awesome series: Four Star and Pro.
Many people don’t care about tiny little details about knives – an unfortunate mindset which needs to be changed, honestly speaking.
If you’re a serious home cook and you want to be more efficient in the kitchen and come up with good dishes, knowing your options is a must.
Here are bits of salient information you should know about Zwilling’s top variants.
Crafting the Knife (The Same)
All Zwilling knives undergo the same process of 40-step construction: Sigmaforge and Friodur.
Traditionally, blades are heated and then hammered to shape. With Sigmaforge, the company utilizes machines to ensure consistency.
They start from a single piece of metal that is heated to 1000 degrees Celsius to form the blade, bolster, and tang.
Friodur involves cooling the forged piece to -70 degrees Celsius.
This is then heated back up to 250 degrees for refining the contours.
Steel Used in Construction (The Same)
Zwilling only uses one type of steel blend for most of their variants: X50CrMoV15.
X50CRMOV15 is a steel alloy that has 0.5% Carbon and 15% Chromium. It also includes two other elements – Molybdenum and Vanadium.
This clever mix of metals is what makes the blades hard, sharp, resistant to stain and corrosion, and have long edge retention.
Four Star and Pro are made with X50CrMoV15 with 55-58 HRC.
FYI: It is only Miyabi, the company’s brand for Japanese-style blades utilizes MC6/ZDP189 to uphold the Asian tradition of using high Carbon steel which results in incredibly thin and hard blades.
Blade Shape and Form (Varies Slightly)
This particular feature greatly depends on the type of knife – meat slicers are longer and vegetable peelers are shorter and smaller.
To make a clear comparison, let’s focus on a common purchase from these two variants: the 8-inch Chef’s knife.
Pro’s 8-inch Chef’s has an almost imperceptible arch on the spine and a full-on convex belly from the slanted heel.
The same blade from Four Star has a straighter spine.
The belly starts almost parallel to the spine from the 90-degree heel until it curves up to the pointed tip.
The former has a total width of 0.67 inches, making this smaller than the latter’s total width of 0.94 inches.
Edge Angles and Finishing (Almost the Same)
All the blades under these two variants have fine, V-shaped edges.
These underwent laser-assisted grinding to ensure uniformity.
The bevels are hand-sharpened to 15 degrees on each side, making these pieces some of the sharpest in the whole industry.
Bolster Style (Completely Different)
The bolster is an integral part of the Western-style knife because it provides balance to the piece, resulting in an easy, comfortable grip and wielding.
Do know that there is no one specific bolster design that is considered as the best, and Zwilling’s various styles are a very good example of this.
Let’s take another look at the two 8-inch Chef’s knives again:
Four Star has the more traditional thick, full bolster, running from the spine down to the heel.
Pro, on the other hand, has a partial bolster, leaving the heel exposed.
Bolsters also work as a finger guard, protecting your dominant (knife-wielding) hand from accidental nicks.
Because the Pro only has a half-bolster, the company has slanted the heel so it’s a bit farther from the hand.
Tang Length and Composition (Varies Slightly)
The tang is the piece sandwiched or sheathed in the handle.
Connoisseurs and master chefs will tell you to always go for fully-tanged knives because these are more durable and long-lasting.
The two are given full tangs.
This is quite obvious with the Pro because the tang is exposed, sandwiched between two pieces of hard plastic, and then riveted thrice.
Its counterpart is completely concealed. However, the manufacturers assure that the tang runs from the bolster to the end of the handle.
Handle Material and Form (Completely Different)
This is the feature that distinguishes one from the other at first sight.
Pro handles are more traditional as these are triple-riveted to the tangs:
It follows the conventional western-style handle – straight at the spine, slightly arched at the belly, curved at the end with a bit of a comma below it. This, however, is narrower than most.
Four Star handles are bonded around the tang:
Quite cylindrical as a whole, it has a slight arch on the spine, a rotund belly, and a flat end.
The hard plastic used for each is also different – the company used ABS for the former and polypropylene for the latter.
Overall Weight and Balance (Slightly Varies)
For this particular feature, let’s use the 8-inch Chef’s knife again as an example.
Four Star measures 0.47 lbs while Pro is just a tad heavier at 0.57 lbs.
Then again, the real test of a good knife is balance.
Many say that the Pro leans towards the tip (translation: the blade is heavier) while its counterpart is more well-balanced.
But the shape of the blade may have caused that issue also since the belly, as aforementioned, is more pronounced.
Price and Warranty Offers (Huge Disparity)
Pros are more expensive than Four Stars.
For better comparison, let’s go back to our usual example that is the 8-inch Chef’s knife.
As of writing, both are on sale on the company’s main website.
The former costs a little under $150 while the latter is less than a hundred bucks. That’s a $50 disparity that’s not hard to ignore.
Zwilling JA Henckels offers item replacement and payment refunds in case of factory defects and imperfect workmanship to owners who bought their pieces from authorized sellers.
To know more about their warranty policies, check out their main website.
Which is the Better Option?
To summarize, there are two obvious differences between these two variants: the bolster shape and the construction of the handle.
And it would seem that the pricing followed those two features as well.
Any master chef worth their salt won’t say which of the two will work better without holding it in their hands.
They know that knives must be held first to see which feels most comfortable. And that’s something you should know too.
The $50 disparity, as aforementioned, is quite big to ignore.
If that matters a whole lot to you, and there is absolutely nothing wrong if it does, go for the Four Star. If you can shell out that extra, then go for the Pro.
At the end of the day, these two are the same at their core.
Also, you’re getting a Zwilling. And that means you’ve got an excellent piece.
Last Updated on July 21, 2021 by Andy Wang
- Crafting the Knife (The Same)
- Steel Used in Construction (The Same)
- Blade Shape and Form (Varies Slightly)
- Edge Angles and Finishing (Almost the Same)
- Bolster Style (Completely Different)
- Tang Length and Composition (Varies Slightly)
- Handle Material and Form (Completely Different)
- Overall Weight and Balance (Slightly Varies)
- Price and Warranty Offers (Huge Disparity)
- Which is the Better Option?