Victorinox vs. Wenger: Which Is Best?

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a new Wenger Swiss Army Knife (SAK) in today’s market since the company ceased to exist in 2005, and the entire line was discontinued in 2013. 

For consumers who have actually had the privilege of owning both Victorinox and Wenger, it’s unlikely they noticed significant differences between the two brands. 

Even though their design and construction are quite similar, there are a few differences worth noting. 

Origins and Current Location

Wenger swiss army knife
An original Wenger. Source: D-M Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Swiss Army knife was constructed out of necessity in the late 1890s for Swiss soldiers to use both in camp and on the battlefield. Unable to find a single company in Switzerland that could mass-produce the quantity needed, the Swiss government turned to Wester & Co. out of Solingen, Germany.

Meanwhile, Karl Essenger of Victorinox strived for many years to produce the knives in Switzerland but found it difficult to compete with German pricing. At the same time, Wenger was also vying for a foothold in the market. 

Essenger finally patented the spring-loaded SAK in 1897, and when the government’s contract with Wester & Co. ended in 1908, the Swiss government signed a new deal with both Victorinox and Wenger to mass-produce the knives in Switzerland. 

The Offiziersmesser became quite popular for soldiers, making routine chores much easier. From opening cans to small repairs and even weapon maintenance, Swiss Army knives grew in popularity. Reaching America following World War II, they became as popular as Daisy’s Red Rider. 

By the 1970s, Swiss Army Knives had become so ubiquitous they were included in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and the hit TV series MacGyver ensured their popularity well into the 80s. By 2017, Victorinox had manufactured 500 million SAKs.

Although Victorinox was the original inventor of the Swiss Army Knife, Wenger continued to enhance its design and functionality. Unfortunately, with the tightening of security regulations following the September 11 attacks, Wenger reportedly lost 50% of its revenue within a few short weeks. 

Since the majority of Wenger’s sales resulted from duty-free airport shops, profits plummeted, and the company was forced to file for bankruptcy. Although Victorinox was equally impacted by the loss of sales, it was a much larger company with a wider network of sales and a substantially larger financial reserve that helped it withstand the profit decline.

As a result, Victorinox acquired the Wenger company in 2005 to ensure Swiss Army Knives remained exclusive to Switzerland. Victorinox was generous enough to allow Wenger to continue producing its line of Swiss Army knives until 2013, when it decided to incorporate Wenger into its lineup. 

Wenger production totally ceased in 2014. Although Victorinox continues to produce a Delmont Collection inspired by Wenger designs, they have significant differences from the original Wenger Swiss Army Knives. 

Where Are the Knives Made?

Victorinox continues to manufacture its knives in Ibach, Switzerland. What started as a small company that made knives for the Swiss Army more than 130 years ago is now a registered trademark in over 120 different countries worldwide.


Victorinox offers several more models than Wenger did, and all of its Swiss Army knives generally produce a slightly longer version of its Wenger equivalent. Wenger SAKs usually run a tad bit wider in the scales, making the Victorinox models a little more compact.

The main blade on the Victorinox is also longer with a thicker spine, but the Wenger features a broader blade with more belly. Both brands feature slip joints on all the tools, but the springs on the Wenger tend to be weaker than Victorinox. 

However, Wengers do have a locking mechanism on all standard-sized knives, whereas Victorinox only features a locking blade on its larger sizes. Because of their smaller profile, Victorinox’s Swiss Army knives usually weigh less than Wenger’s models. 

See Swiss army knives on Amazon.


Wenger knives feature scales that are more ergonomically comfortable and many provide rubber or plastic inlays for a better grip. On the other hand, on some of its models, Victorinox features Plus scales that provide additional tools, such as a ballpoint pen and a stick pin.


The corkscrews are nearly identical to one another, with no significant difference between the two, although Victorinox’s Economy Line corkscrew, in particular, was made of an entirely different material. Before 1919, Victorinox used a groove corkscrew.


The awls are significantly different. Victorinox features an eye in the center of a drop-point blade and has an added cutting edge. Wengers display a traditional awl with a spear pattern without the added edge. 

The absence of the edge gives Wenger the slight advantage in that you don’t have the blade to contend with when trying to punch holes. 

Can Openers and Bottle Openers

There are also significant differences between the construction of the can openers and bottle openers. Most Wenger can openers resemble a hawkbill tip that’s also useful for opening boxes and can be used to make holes similar to an awl or reamer. 

However, the Victorinox features a flat edge that can also serve as a flathead screwdriver, which will even fit some Phillips-head screws. 

While both bottle openers are shaped almost identically and also include a wire stripper, the Victorinox bottle opener is a bit more challenging to release from the spring tension, but there is little to no difference in their functionality. 


Both SAKs typically feature Lobster claw fingernail files that swing out on a back spring behind the blade. Older Victorinox knives from the 60s feature a bijou file with a cross-etched pattern and scalloped end. In the mid-70s, Victorinox introduced the diamond powder composite, but the newer knives simply consist of a straight line file.

Both Wenger and Victorinox files have a beveled tip, but the Wenger provides enough extra length to act as a Phillips head. The nail nick on the Wenger is not as long or tall as the Victorinox.

Pliers and Scissors

The Victorinox scissors use a leaf spring as the opening mechanism, and the jaw opens wider than the Wenger, with plain edges that cut smoothly. Wenger uses a lever instead of a spring leaf in addition to serrated jaws that provide more sturdiness. While the Wenger scissors and pliers appear sturdier, the reality is Victorinox performs better. 

While it uses the same spring on its pliers as it does its scissors, which is easy to bend or break, the spine is substantially thicker, and overall the pliers are a little longer, giving you more reach. Additionally, the teeth of the Victorinox pliers are larger with more spacing, resulting in a much better bite. 

Toothpick and Tweezer

Both brands house their toothpick and tweezers in the scales, albeit slightly differently. Victorinox knives access these tools from the outside of the scales, but Wengers have them on the inside.


Both Wenger and Victorinox feature LEDs on some of their Swiss Army Knives, but many users report that Victorinox LEDs are better functioning and much brighter than those that Wenger produced. 

Overall Performance

Although there are subtle construction differences, both of these knives are generally regarded as quality SAKs. They use the same materials, including aluminum separators and a martensitic stainless steel alloy, for their blades, which provides additional rust resistance secondary to their higher chromium content. 

Both blades are also heat treated for added durability and better corrosion resistance, and they both feature blades that hold an edge well and require minimal sharpening.

Additionally, both brands are essentially constructed the same way, using brass rivets for connecting the separators, springs, and tools, as well as each tool possessing its own spring and separator. 

Still, when comparing the overall design and functionality of Swiss Army Knives, Victorinox seems to etch out the win. The snappiness of the walk and talk, the blade retention, spring strength, and tool functionality all perform better with Victorinox models. 


Victorinox guarantees its stainless steel with a lifetime warranty against materials and/or workmanship except for any electronic components. It does not cover daily wear and tear or misuse of the product. 

Wenger provided a similar warranty while it was in existence. 


A small-sized Victorinox Swiss Army Knife currently falls anywhere from $25–$80. Except for the Swiss Champ XXL, most of the medium- and large-sized knives are currently in the one hundred dollar range, give or take a few Hamiltons. 

Wenger knives are currently only available in a few locations, predominantly on eBay and Etsy. The prices vary drastically depending on the type and condition.

The Winner?

In this case, “winner” is in the eye of the beholder. From a quality and functionality standpoint, Victorinox has always held a slight edge over Wenger. But that’s not to say Wenger didn’t produce a quality SAK. Both manufacturers can claim an array of quality blades, and most wielders truly can’t tell the difference between the two. 

On the other hand, Wenger SAKs draw a premium price point that will only rise since they are no longer in production. With their iconic status, these knives are guaranteed to become coveted collector’s items due to their rich and fascinating history. So if you’re looking for a better investment, Wenger might be the way to go. 

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