J.A. Henckels 31161-201International Classic 8-Inch Stainless-Steel Chef’s Knife

J.A. Henckels 31161-201International Classic 8-Inch Stainless-Steel Chef's Knife

J.A. Henckels  31161-201International Classic 8-Inch Stainless-Steel Chef's Knife Rating:
List Price: $80.00
Sale Price: $46.84
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Product Description

Classic 31161-201 8" Chefs Knife


  • Large-sized 8-inch multipurpose chef's knife for chopping, mincing, slicing and dicing
  • Made of stain-resistant carbon steel that's hot drop forged for durability
  • Triple riveted handle surrounds a full tang
  • Full bolster provides weight and ensures safety
  • Handwash with mild cleanser; lifetime warranty


  1. B. Giguere says


    I have an 8″ Wusthof Chefs knife, and got this knife for a friend…they are nearly identical! The Henckel is maybe 1/4 longer…but the build quality is awesome. The henckel also seems to hold an edge alot longer…You can get two of these henckels for the price of one Wusthof…

  2. Anonymous says


    I don’t know why anyone would spend more on a knife, unless they were looking for a status symbol rather than a useful tool. This is by far the best knife I’ve ever handled or owned. If you haven’t updated your chef’s knife for ten or twenty years (I used to have a ’70s Sabatier), check out the new ones.

    The high-carbon stainless steel used here sharpens and cuts as well as old knives without staining. It has scratched slightly during washing, but still shines spotlessly. The knife is stiff and thick — the blade is about a quarter-inch across at its base. The handle is longer than I’d like (since I grip the base of the blade, like many chefs and wannabes), but it serves to balance the knife very well. The balance is actually a bit handle-heavy, so if the knife falls, it falls handle first.

    A great cutter, but a bit heavy for everyday slicing — I’m getting the 6″ version too.

    (Update: Henckels’s warranty service also deserves praise. Eight years of continuous but gentle use after getting this knife, the handle began to separate from the steel tang. I dropped Henckels an email, they requested that I mail the knife in, and two weeks later a brand-new replacement was at my door.)

  3. GonzoRadio says


    I love this knife. It has great balance, weighted just right, plus a beautiful edge that makes light work out of the toughest jobs. It’s about the only knife I reach for these days. I’m not sure how I managed without it for so long.

    You can pay a LOT more for a good chef’s knife if you really want to, but if you’re looking for a great all-purpose chef’s knife at a great price, this is it. It’s a steal.

  4. T. Maxfield says


    The bottome line: The edges are almost if not just as good as the more expensive knives but the finish is lacking (although only somewhat). Relatively great value.

    For the chefs knives, these are wonderful tools that I believe come very close in quality and effectiveness to knives costing more than twice as much. They can be made very sharp and will keep an edge a long time. Moreover, given comparable sharpness they are just as effective and pleasureable to use as my more expensive Wusthof.

    Parer: I personally prefer the wusthof, but my wife prefers this one. It is certainly effective and fun to use. Just dont expect thinness or flexibility.

    Utility: This may be a nice knive, but I don’t use it enough to justify owning it or to be able to adequately review it. That may say something right there.

    I have owned an overgrown set of these knives for about 4 years now and waited until I had significant use and comparison to write this review. I also own these knives in Wusthof Classic and will compare directly. This review has been copied from other Henckels International Classic Reviews I wrote and has been modified slightly for the particular item being reviewed although I left comments about the other knives in.

    Disclaimer: I enjoy sharpening knives so edge retention is rarely an issue for me as I probably sharpen even my best knives too much. I did not feel like these knives were very sharp out of the box but they take a scary edge quite easily and keep it for quite a while (although probably not as long as my wusthofs). Besides stone sharpening every 6 months or so, I also steel my knives just about every time I use them.

    8 Inch Chef: This is a very nice knife if you can get over the fact that the finish is not as nice as the higher end stuff. It takes and holds an edge well. I also own a Wusthof 8 inch chefs knife and feel like this one takes just as sharp of an edge although it may not hold it for as long as the Wusthof. As much as I thought I would be enamored with the wusthof, I really don’t believe that the additional cost is worth the small amount of performance gain you might get by buying the Wusthof. In truth, I still enjoy using the Henckels International Chef’s knife as much as the Wusthof. The heft is wonderful and the curvature of the blade is ideal for chopping. I really like how the point is taperd to a very thin blade. This is right up there with the best of them and allows the user to slice with the point quite effectively.

    6 Inch Chef: My wife swears by this knife and it is consistantly one of the sharpest we own. For some reason (perhaps the thinner blade), it holds its edge like the sharp little devil it is. This knife is a true pleasure to own and use. I am becoming a knife snob, but I see no reason to buy any other 6 inch chef’s knife, as all you would be getting is a fancier name. We reach for this one multiple times each day and it retains its edge better than expected for the price.

    4 inch parer: I don’t like this one as much as my Wusthof parers but my wife likes it much better. It is always the one she reaches for (many times per day). I personaly prefer the thinness and flexibility of the wusthof parer blades. This one is quite rigid and although it is very sharp, it does not seem to be as sharp as the thinner wusthof parers, nor does it hold its edge as long. On the other hand, its size is perfect for a parer, coming in at the sweet spot between the 3.5 inch wusthof and 4.5 inch wusthof parers I compare it to. I would love to own a 4 inch wusthof parer. Aditionally, the diminished depth of the blade is probably preferable to the deeper wusthof parer blades for tasks such as peeling toward you.

    6 inch utility: I do not use this knife much. It seems to be quite redundant with my 4.5 inch Wusthof parer (which also does not see much use) or my favorite boning knife (a beat up and resurected chicago cutlery 5 inch utility that is scary sharp and a joy to use). In truth, almost every task in my kitchen is done quite well with either a parer or a chef’s knife. I really don’t see much use for a 6 inch utility. That said, this knife is sharp and pleasureable to use. Still, on this one, I would prefer an even thinner and perhaps more flexible blade. It is quite rigid and perhaps that makes me not want to use it as much. For sandwiches, cheese, tomatoes, etc. it is quite appropriate, but I would still probably prefer my 6 inch or even 8 inch chefs knives for such tasks as they are thinner at the edge and therefore seem much sharper.

  5. Ian Bruffey says


    I purchased this knife from Target about 4 years ago for about the same price. Since then, I have left it in 2 kitchens at corporate restaurants among co-workers who didn’t always know how to take care of a knife, to say the least. I can only imagine the abuse this knife saw in that time, and the only damage is the very tip, about 1/16th of an inch, is snapped off, doubtlessly from being dropped point down onto a floor.

    I still use it on a daily basis, and with use of a diamond steel it still holds an edge wonderfully. The weight is very nice, you can tell you’re holding a knife, not some piece of stamped metal with plastic handles riveted on. The balance is excellent for chopping or slicing, and it feels like an extension of my hand.

    I highly recommend this knife, it will serve you well for many years.

  6. Debbie Lee Wesselmann says


    This mid-priced line of Henckel knives, called “Classic” by the company, is a full-tang, single-piece, three-rivet line with sturdy black plastic handles. The handles are notched at the end to prevent the hand from sliding off during use. Although they are not razor sharp right from the package, their edges are sharp enough for the average cook. According to Henckel, all knives in this line are dishwasher safe, but you should expect more rapid dulling under the harsh conditions.

    The chef’s knife is perfectly weighted toward the blade for efficient chopping, especially if you use the chef’s technique of lifting the base of the blade but not the tip. The arc of the curve falls more toward the middle of the blade than it does on my other brands of chef knives, creating more of a rocking motion than a straight up-and-down. The handle is ample for even the largest of hands, but not so large to be inconvenient for those with smaller hands like me.

  7. Michael J Edelman says


    About a month ago I looked at the motley assortment of knives in my kicthen and resolved to get one decent chef’s knife. I didn’t wanted to spend a fortune, but at the same time I didn’t want a cheap piece of garbage that was impossible to sharpen. Luckily I found this Henckels.

    The handle appears to be synthetic; it grips like wood, but doesn’t swell up, loosen or stain. Fits the hand nicely, too. At 8″ long it’s a good all-around blade, suitible for almost all kitchen cutting needs. It’s got some heft to it as well. Made of high-carbon stainless, it holds a very sharp edge but it’s not impossible to sharpen. A few strokes on the steel every time I use it keeps the edge cutting like new.

    My knife block has now been reduced to just two blades: A serrated knife for bread and other tough skinned items, and this.

  8. W. Dietrich says


    This chef’s knife is the best that I have ever used. I have used it daily for the last year on everything and it has not lost its sharpness. It is the perfect size and weight. If you are looking for a do-it-all knife than your search is over. You can spend more on a knife but I doubt it will perform any better.

  9. S. C. Watson says


    I really enjoy cooking and nothing makes it more relaxing than a beautifully well balanced quality knife. I am lucky enough to own three incredible knives, a Shun 7″ Santoku, a Wusthof 7″ Santoku, and my J.A. Henckels International 8″. The Henckel is my favorite. It is beautifully made and really the best for general cooking purposes. I love, love the weight. It’s solid, and the blade is sturdy, yet tapers to a wonderful edge. And I can use it for finer cutting that a person might generally reserve for a paring knife. Really, if you are debating brands and are wondering how the more expensive knives compare, I would have to say that some of the others’ appeal is more based on trend than longevity. The Shun is beautifully made and the damascus steel is terrific, but the angle of the blade’s edge can be frustrating. I find the Henckel more effective. The Henckel Classic 8″ is the workhorse of the kitchen and such a pleasure to use.

  10. J. F. Rick says


    It’s important to note that this knife is not made in Germany (the 4 Star, 5 Star, and Pro-S series are).

    I started my good knife collection with a set of 3 of these International Classic knives. I later decided to get a larger set (9) of the 4 Star series, some of the finest knives in the world. However, I prefer this chef’s knife over the 4 Star one. The grip is heavier and makes the balance a bit nicer.

    For the paring knife, I much prefer the 4 Star one, so I wouldn’t recommend the set of 3, but this knife is great. I use it all the time. If you are starting out on a knife collection, I recommend these things:
    -a 4 Star 3-inch paring knife (or 2 if you are lazy with clean-up)
    -this Chef’s knife
    -a cheap and large bread knife
    -a medium sized 5-6in utility knife (good quality)
    -a honing steel (good quality)
    -a wood block to put them in (good knives should not be shoved into a drawer with other knives)
    -[optional]a carving set of knife and fork, if you need carving utensils (I don’t much)
    I’d weigh the cost of these together against getting a more expensive set (if you are on a budget).