Wusthof Classic 3.5-Inch Paring Knife Review – A Top-Rated Small Kitchen Knife

Wusthof Classic 3-1/2-Inch Paring Knife

Knife Style: Wusthof Classic 3-1/2-Inch Paring Knife
Our Reviewer Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
Brand: Wusthof
Buyer Rating: 4.8 out of 5 Stars with 239 Reviews
Model Number: Classic Knife 4066
Best Used For: Consumer High End Use
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Summary

The Classic 3-1/2-Inch Paring Knife from Wusthof is a quality high-end German knife to have as the main paring knife in your kitchen. As one of the most important kitchen knives for a cook, if you’re a culinary student, home cooking enthusiast or serious cooking hobbyist you’ll appreciate adding it to your prep knife set. Professional cooks also herald this as as a high-quality knife well worth the investment.

These knives are forged with the best materials and care to produce award-winning sharp knives across the entire Classic line. This size of knife is one of the most commonly needed kitchen tools to handle small detail work, and it’s a great value as an all-purpose small knife despite its higher price than budget knives of similar function and size.

After reading the extensive buyer reviews, it would also make one of the best gifts I can imagine for a home chef family member or friend, or for a wedding gift for a couple who enjoys cooking. Practically any cook — especially foodies — who could use a top quality 3-1/2-inch paring knife for prep work would enjoy using this knife.

Quality of Knife Blades:
(10.0 / 10)
Knife Balance and Weight:
(9.5 / 10)
Sharpness and Maintaining Edge:
(10.0 / 10)
Versatility of Knives:
(9.5 / 10)
Overall Value:
(9.5 / 10)
Busy Family Cooks:
(10.0 / 10)
Couples Who Entertain:
(10.0 / 10)
Cooks Working Outside Home:
(10.0 / 10)
Cooks Who Cook for One or Two:
(9.5 / 10)
Cooking Enthusiasts or Pros:
(10.0 / 10)

What’s So Good About This Wusthof Classic Knife?

This model 4066 paring knife can be the mainstay of any starter prep knife set. The 3-1/2-inch length shares its popularity with a 4-inch version as the most commonly purchased sizes because they are flexible enough to handle both smaller and larger tasks. As such, this makes them one of the best all-purpose small kitchen knives you could own.

Cooks with larger hands often prefer the Classic 4-Inch Paring Knife instead, but other cooks find the 3.5-inch version gives better control. As you’ll discover in this review, this is an excellent choice for culinary students just starting out, home cooking enthusiasts or hobby cooks, and even professional chefs looking for a German-made replacement prep knife.

This Wusthof Classic 3-1/2-inch Paring Knife is made with a straight-edge blade, and is designed for true multipurpose use. It is forged and hand-honed to an incredibly sharp edge and Wusthof won a German knife competition a few years ago for the sharpest blades created through its PEtec technology. Wusthof has created a high-carbon steel kitchen knife with a full tang, precision bolster, and polymer handle, ensuring the best strength, heft, and balance for your knife.

While this knife line says it is dishwasher-safe, I highly recommend that you do not clean this knife, or any knife, that way. You can read our article about the best way to clean your knives to find out why I feel so strongly about that. Dishwashers are just not the way to keep your high-end knives sharp, unpitted, and stain- and corrosion-free.

Pros and Cons of Wusthof Classic Paring Knives

No matter how much any of us like or dislike a particular knife, brand, or knife line, there are pros and cons to each, whether it is because of features or how you intend to use it. Here are some of my observations.

Pros:

  • Straight-edge blades like this one, rather than hollow edge or serrated blades, have the most flexible use case of all the knives in your kitchen. This pointed tip version is extremely versatile, and can handle most small knife chores with ease. Whether it’s performing as a mincing knife for mincing shallots, onions or herbs, a slicing knife for cutting vegetables, or even studding meat or coring fruit, this Wusthof prep knife can handle it easily.
  • You’ll find that these knives are constructed to the highest manufacturing and quality standards. These are forged blades, designed with a triple-riveted full tang and ergonomic composition handles, and sharpened with their special PEtec manufacturing process. This process makes them incredibly sharp — and you can keep them that way with proper care.
  • Wusthof adds to the knife’s performance by adding a precision bolster. This provides excellent heft and balance, which seriously improves your knife’s ability to slice easily. With most of the weight balanced in the handle, you’ll have wonderful control when using this knife. Because of this excellent balance, they don’t put a strain on your hand or arm, and are comfortable for extended daily use in your kitchen.
  • If you’re limited on what you can spend to round out your kitchen knives set, the Wusthof Classic paring knife can do double or even triple duty for you. You can use it in place of a Wusthof fillet knife for small fish, a fruit and vegetable knife, a substitute for a shorter utility knife, or even a produce knife. It also makes an excellent apple corer or topping knife for strawberries.
  • If you have arthritis in your hands or rheumatoid arthritis in your joints, you may find this knife a boon for you in the kitchen. It is particularly light in weight, the comfortable grip is easy on your hand, and the excellent balance can lessen the strain on your hands. I certainly can’t claim that it’s a cure to your arthritis pain, unfortunately, but one reviewer who has serious arthritis problems says that it is easy for them to use. If my grandma needed a paring knife with her arthritis, this would definitely be my first choice.

Cons:

  • Because of their ergonomic handle design, these knives sometimes don’t fit every hand size well. So a person with larger hands might need the 4″ paring knife instead of the 3-1/2″ version. Reviewers find the handles very comfortable to use for extended periods, but the proper handle length for your grip is an important consideration. I’d order the 3-1/2 version first, because some say its handle is a little longer than other brands, so you might not need the longer version to compensate. Because it has an incredible return policy, you don’t need to worry about testing it out and returning for another size.
  • If you don’t have the budget to spend $40 on a single small kitchen knife, no matter how handy, you won’t want to buy Wusthof Classic knives one at a time. You get what you pay for, as reviewer after reviewer mentions, but it’s your pocketbook and only you can decide how much you want to spend. If you’re looking to buy more than one knife in this line, be sure to check out their sets for a better combined price. You can read my reviews of the Classic 2-Piece Knife Set and 3-Piece Knife Set for an idea of how they will work for you. And if you need a solid Cook’s knife, you can read our review of the 8-inch Wusthof Classic version here, as well.
  • One of this knife line’s strengths is also a small weakness. These knives are “wicked sharp” as one reviewer puts it. If you’re used to holding the blade in one hand and pushing food through with your thumb, watch out! Even grazing your finger can lead to cuts. Another reviewer nicked his thumb and didn’t even feel it until he saw the blood welling up.

Versatility for Prep Use

If you want to do something like taking the core out of a tomato without first cutting it in half, use something smaller like a paring knife. You’d also use [that] knife when you want to make smaller, more controlled cuts, like peeling a fruit or vegetable.
(From Seasoned Advice)

As I mentioned above in pros and cons, the 3.5″ paring knife is exceptionally versatile, making it the best prep knife to buy if you can only afford one for close-in kitchen work. It serves well as a mincing knife for herbs, garlic, onions, and shallots. You can use it as a slicing knife or a fruit and vegetable knife for cleaning and cutting. Due to the pointed tip it also functions well for studding meat with garlic or bacon, or coring apples and other fruit.

In addition to the normal prep tasks, in a pinch you can use it as a replacement for a Wusthof filleting knife for small fish. It can do the regular duty of a smaller utility knife if you don’t have one handy, and it even works as a produce or fruit knife in a pinch. Basically, as your go-to small kitchen knife for delicate or intricate tasks, this Wusthof knife is a winner.

Quality and Manufacturing

No Wusthof knife review can be complete without some discussion of the manufacturing process involved in making these some of the top-rated small kitchen knives in the world. These knives are regularly rated among the top knives of any brand and Good Housekeeping gives Wusthof extremely high marks in side-by-side tests with other top brands.

Wusthof manufactures the Classic line through a forged method involving over 40 distinct steps in its Solingen, Germany, factory, and each step is monitored for stringent quality control. Using a solid piece of blade steel, Wusthof craftsmen hand-forge a knife starting from a single piece of their high-carbon steel alloy, which many professionals acknowledge as some of the best knife steel available.

Then they measure the knife using a laser process and sharpen the blade. Lastly they hand-hone the knife to a precision edge. They use a unique “Precision Edge Technology” (PEtec) that Wusthof says will give the knife the ability to hold its edge 30% longer than competing knives from other manufacturers. In German contests with measurements taken through independent testing, they have tested 20% higher than competing brands for sharpness.

After hand-polishing the final knife, the finished knife is hard enough to resist dulling and yet also soft enough to take a keen edge when honed or sharpened during your regular use. Often knives from competitors are made from a steel that is too hard, so they aren’t capable of being honed or sharpened back to a precision edge, or too soft, so that they dull easily.

The final finishing process creates an extremely stain-resistant blade that is exceptionally sharp but also allows for an easily restorable edge. The full tang makes the knife much stronger, and much less likely to snap the handle or break free of the blade with extended use. They also add a finger guard to protect your hands, and the guard improves the knife’s heft, balance, and stabilization even further.

What Buyers Say About Their Wusthof Knives

One regular comment is that buyers feel the investment in a Wusthof Classic knife is definitely worth it over purchasing lesser quality knives that won’t hold their edge. And with 211 (or 88%) 5-Star reviews, and 18 (or 8%) 4-Star reviews out of the current 239 reviews, that’s a rousing approval rating from buyers. The few bad ratings (less than 4%) seemed to cluster around price or the occasional delivery of a knife that slipped through quality control and wasn’t as sharp as expected.

One comment echoed over and over by reviewers was that Wusthof Classic knives were particularly well balanced with solid heft for easy slicing and handling. Another felt that this line is the best trade-off between price and quality compared to the less-expensive Wusthof Gourmet line (a stamped blade) or Wusthof’s Culinar line (more expensive).

One reviewer said that slicing with knives from this line was like running a hot knife through a room temperature stick of butter.

Lastly, many reviewers felt the Wusthof 3-1/2-inch paring knife was an incredibly useful knife in their kitchen, and that it made an excellent go-to knife for small detail work.

Who Should Buy This Paring Knife

Wusthof is one of the most popular knife brands among professional chefs and home cooking enthusiasts. The quality manufacturing process produces knives with incredible quality and versatility. Most serious cooks will agree that a paring knife is the backbone of any set of prep knives, and the knife you’ll use the most often for detail work.

If you aren’t on a tight budget and trying to fill out all your knife needs in one go, and especially if you are looking for a solid prep knife for yourself or family or friends, this knife is one of the best knives under $50 you can buy for your kitchen.

And if you’re looking for gift ideas for chefs or even a home cook wanting the best quality knives, I think this knife makes one of the most useful and best gifts you can buy for a cook (or yourself).

Who Shouldn’t Buy This Paring Knife

Are you on a tight budget — either buying for yourself or as a gift? While this knife offers incredible value for the price, it isn’t as cheap as other similar size knives and may not fit your budget, no matter how useful.

There are any number of knives in this Wusthof line you can purchase to round out your prep knives. For prep knife starter sets, I recommend the bird’s beak parer for digging out stems and eyes of potatoes, a 5″ serrated utility knife (sausage knife) for rolls, salami, citrus, and tomatoes, a 6″ flexible boning knife, and a straight edge utility knife for meat prep or slicing. But if you have to choose just one, go with the 3-1/2-inch prep knife in this review since it has the most uses. Adding the others, you’ll have a great starter set. You’ll probably find the blade cover and the honing steel of great use as well.

Our Recommendation and Why

In our review of the Wusthof Classic Paring Knife, we’ve covered a lot of key points, from quality and manufacturing, to flexibility of use, to the pros and cons of the knife and paring knife specifics. And any knife chosen and used by professional chefs such as Jamie Oliver or Martha Stewart is worthy of consideration.

Depending on your particular kitchen needs, especially if you are only cooking for 1 or 2, you might not even need many other knives beyond this knife for prep work and a solid chef’s knife. If you’re a cooking enthusiast or cooking for a group, this one can form the basis of a solid set of prep knives you’ll never regret buying.

And in the end, what you’ll really appreciate about this Wusthof paring knife is exceptional quality, ease of use, and value. We don’t give out 4.5+ star ratings easily but this useful knife rates. You’ll get a well-rounded, high-quality knife that will make up the backbone of your kitchen prep knife set for years to come.

And for this price, AND qualifying for Free Shipping, you’ve got to check out the Wusthof Classic 3.5-inch Paring Knife.

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