In this Global vs. Wusthof knives review, we’re here to see how two of the most distinctive kitchen knife brands weigh up against each other. Germany’s Wusthof resides on the European center of the world map, while you can find Global in the East on the islands of Japan.
On close inspection, you’ll find myriad differences between their high-quality kitchen knives and some similarities you’ll want to keep note of.
What is Global?
Global knives are a Japanese brand of knife manufacturing that was established in 1985 in Niigata on the North-Western coast of Japan (1). Unlike most Japanese-style knives, Global uses a design that incorporates Japanese, German, and Italian craftsmanship traits. The resulting knives deliver sharpness, a lightweight feel, and a stylish design that lasts a lifetime.
Most Global knives are stamped, despite their appearance that resembles a full tang construction. In addition, their stainless steel handles give the impression that they design the blade and handle to appear as a single entity. That said, Global does offer some forged knives in their collection, including their 12-inch Chef’s knife and 8-inch Vegetable knife.
Global knives source their materials from the Yoshikin metal manufacturing company in Niigata, founded in 1954. With a long heritage in making Japanese steel, Global knives use Chromova18 steel for their blades.
Furthermore, Global knives come with sand-filled steel handles to achieve an optimal balance between the handle and blade. This makes it easier to use and delivers better results.
Read more about their knife lineup in our Global Review.
What is Wusthof?
As we mentioned in our Wusthof review, Wusthof is the German superpower of European knife making, with many of its blades enjoyed by professional chefs today. Established over 200 years ago in Solingen, its known as the “city of blades” because of its history in blacksmithing.
Wusthof is a family-owned German company founded by Johann Wilhelm Wusthof.Their knives have received worldwide recognition: sharp, durable, and ergonomically friendly.
Wusthof have seven collections of forged knives and one collection of stamped knives, offering the customer a variety of choice. They build most of their blades using the same German X50CrMoV15 steel. They are typically hardened to 58 HRC and sharpened to 14 degrees per side.
While this means you get less variety when you buy Wusthof knives, you will get a well-balanced blade and comfortable handle.
Unlike Global knives, Wusthof builds all its knives (excluding the Gourmet collection) with a full tang construction. This means the steel blade connects to the handle as a single entity. It also means the knife is less prone to snapping under pressure when you chop more challenging ingredients like thick meats and bones.
In addition, Wusthof offers a line of lower-cost stamped knives in their Gourmet collection. These are more lightweight and affordable than their Classic knife collections.
How are they made?
Both Wusthof and Global make their knives using the forging and stamping process. Wusthof knives are made in Solingen, Germany, while Global makes its knives in Niigata, Japan.
Typically, Wusthof makes its knives out of 100% pure German knives. Global knives feature a combination of design architectures with a Japanese base-level design.
Komin Yamada constructed the first Global knife in 1985. He took a different approach to the traditional crafting process of Japanese knives. Instead, the knife maker decided it would be best to incorporate Japanese precision with German construction and Italian design.
The result was a knife that could deliver optimal results on all fronts. Global produces blades in sharp, lightweight, aesthetic, and durable knives.
Unlike most knives, Global crafts its blades using its specially formulated steel, Chromova18. As implied by its name, this steel contains an abnormally high amount of chromium. The standard chromium content for most kitchen knives is around 10%, whereas, for Global knives, it’s a whopping 18%.
The result of these high chromium blades of Global is that they are super resistant to rust and corrosion. This makes them more durable than most other brands. Most Japanese-style knives focus on sharpness and aesthetic wooden handle materials.
In addition, the softer steel blade of Chromova18 gives Global knives a Hardness Rockwell Scale rating of about 56-58. It depends on the collection but generally makes them less prone to chips and cracks.
Global stamps most of its knives, meaning they are not full tang. Instead, they build the blade and handle separately and then attach them. As per stamped knife procedures, Global makes its knives by laser cutting the shape of the knife from a large sheet of their special Chromova18 stainless steel.
This steel is then heat-treated and molded into shape. Then, it is then cooled down, hardened, and then sharpened to a 15-degree blade angle on each side.
Wusthof builds its knife in a full tang, whereby the blade and handle are essentially one piece. This makes it harder to snap the blade from the handle. In addition, it allows you to perform more challenging tasks without damaging the steel edge.
Wusthof makes its knife lines using the 40-step crafting process that the brand has perfected over more than 200 years in the business.
First, this process involves coordinated efforts between highly skilled artisans of Solingen. Then, advanced computerized programs precisely mold each blade. The forging process typically involves a large piece of X50CrMoV15 German steel exposed to high temperatures and molded into shape.
Unlike the stamped process of Global kitchen knives, Wusthof’s crafting process does not involve cutting out the shape with laser cutters.
Since Wusthof uses extreme temperatures to melt and reshape larger pieces of metal into blades, their knives have more density. Like Global, Wusthof knives also have a higher than average chromium content, with 15% chromium in their steel blades. This makes them more resistant to rust and corrosion.
The X50CrMoV15 material also includes a small amount of Vanadium content (2). The element improves the resistance to wear and tear and contributes to the overall durability of Wusthof knives.
The benefit of lower chromium content is that the blade is less susceptible to stains. As a result, Wusthof embodies the “stainless steel blade” concept more than Global knives.
Furthermore, Wusthof blades are made with a Rockwell Hardness Score of 58 HRC, making them harder than most of Global’s knives. This means you typically get a stronger cutting edge with Wusthof knife sets. In addition, it allows you to tackle tough ingredients without compromising the blade’s sharpness.
The key differences between Wusthof and Global knives in terms of the blade ultimately come down to their material, design, and elemental compounds. In the case of Wusthof, they make their steel blades of X50CrMoV15 German steel. In addition, they harden the knife to a Rockwell Hardness Score of 58 HRC.
Furthermore, Wusthof sharpens its knives to an extra sharp edge of 14 degrees (the lower the angle, the sharper the knife).
Global knives are made with Chromova18 Japanese steel and hardened to a Rockwell Hardness Score of 56-58 HRC. This makes them slightly softer than Wusthof in terms of blade hardness.
Additionally, Global sharpens its edges to about 15-degree angles per side. This gives it a sharper edge than most kitchen knives, but not quite as sharp as Wusthof.
Wusthof knives are sharpened to 14 degrees per side, while Global Classic and Ukon sharpen their knives to 15 degrees per side. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, Wusthof sharpens its Santoku knife to a 10-degree angle.
Similarly, the Global SAI and NI knives are sharpened to 12.5-degrees per side, making them sharper than their respective Chef’s knife collections. Global knives also tend to have a thinner blade than Wusthof, making them more lightweight.
To better understand the weight differences between Wusthof and Global, consider each of their 8-inch Chef’s knife. Wusthof’s Chef’s knife weighs 8 ounces, whereas the Global chef knife weighs in at a significantly lighter 5.5 ounces.
Thus, while using a Global knife for most people may be easier, you lose Wusthof’s thicker blade’s cutting power and durability. Diving deeper into the elemental compounds of each blade, we can see that Wusthof makes its X50CrMoV15 blades with a chromium content of 15% and a Vanadium content of 0.4%.
In contrast, Global’s Chromova18 steel blade has a chromium content of 18%, making them more rust resistant than Wusthof’s. Therefore, you’ll have fewer issues if you use a dishwasher to clean Global knives than Wusthof knives. However, both brands recommend handwashing.
Next, Global’s blades have a higher carbon content than Wusthof’s. It reaches as high as 1.05% carbon compared to Wusthof’s 0.55% (lower than Global’s 0.75% minimum).
Normally, a higher carbon content results in a harder blade. However, global keeps its HRC score lower than Wusthof due to the unique composition of its Chromova18 steel. As per Global’s mission to produce more durable knives, the softer steel blade creates the perfect opportunity to avoid chipping and cracking for a lasting product.
Other differences between the Wusthof vs. Global blade include the edge grind. Global’s blades are ground with a straight edge, while Wusthof grinds its blades to a slight bevel. Both brands claim their edge designs to be superior, but it ultimately comes down to aesthetic preference.
The final difference between Wusthof and Global blades is their type of construction. The Wusthof blade steel extends through the length of its handle. This results in a full tang construction that promotes stability, balance, and endurance.
Comparatively, Global knives are stamped by melding the blade and handle together. Using this process gets you a lightweight knife that is equally balanced thanks to the addition of the sand-filled steel handles.
Material differences (blade and handle)
As you’re aware, Wusthof uses X50CrMoV15 German stainless steel for its blades, while Global uses Chromova18 Japanese steel. As denoted by the numbers in their chemical names, Wusthof blade steel comprises 15% chromium content, while Global comprises 18% chromium content.
Ultimately, this makes Global knives more resistant to rust than Wusthof knives, though both knife brands are well above average in that regard.
Other differences in their blade materials include their differing carbon contents. Wusthof maxes out at 0.55% carbon, while Global knives are at least 0.75% carbon with a maximum of 1.05%. On that note, Wusthof knives still have a harder blade than Global because of the differences in the overall composition.
Keep in mind, Wusthof’s knives have a more powerful cutting edge. In contrast, Global’s softer steel knives can bend around tough ingredients that would otherwise cause chipping and cracking.
Looking at the handle material, you’ll notice that Wusthof knives change handle designs based on the collection. In contrast, Global handles remain the same across the board. This is because they make synthetic materials or wood handles for the German brand. Most people prefer synthetics for their greater durability.
Global handles take on a different approach, using a stainless steel handle design that is highly durable and maintains a nice streamlined aesthetic.
In terms of appearance, the Global handles give off the illusion of a full tang blade. However, you should remember that they are stamped, making them only half tang. Another exciting aspect of Global knives’ handles is that they are filled with sand to counteract the off-balance nature of their lightweight, thinner blade.
This also helps to reduce hand fatigue when using Global kitchen knives, allowing you to tend to your tasks for a longer duration before tiring out.
As two highly reputable kitchen knife brands, it’s only natural that they each come with a limited lifetime warranty upon purchase.
In addition, Wusthof and Global back their products with a quality guarantee. This ensures no defects or lack of quality in your knives’ materials. If you experience any defects, you can return your knives for a free replacement or repair, though you may have to pay the shipping cost.
Unfortunately, neither brand warrants sharpening services as part of its guarantee. So maintenance of your knives is pretty much all up to you.
However, both brands try to provide many maintenance tools for the performance of your knives. These tools include sharpening stones and honing steel rods, and frequently they come as part of your knife set bundle as a bonus accessory.
Generally speaking, dishwashers are typically a “no-go” zone for kitchen knives, but there are some workarounds. Fortunately, both Wusthof and Global blades have high chromium content, making them very resistant to rust and corrosion by moisture. As such, you are more likely to damage the handles than the blades if you use a dishwasher.
The most serious case for not using a dishwasher is knives with wooden handles. Fortunately, there are no Global knives with wooden handles. Given their design of steel handles, you won’t have to worry about any damage happening to it.
On the other hand, Wusthof has a variety of wooden handle-based knives. You want to ensure you never use those products in the dishwasher as the handle could expand and chip away.
Regardless, Wusthof and Global both strongly urge their customers to handwash their knives. They even go so far as to state that the blade could be damaged as a result. Although, some customers argue against this.
Thus, to maintain the wellbeing of the whole knife, you should clean them by rinsing it under the sink with some warm water. Next, apply a light detergent or soap and wipe down the blade and handles, keeping your bare skin away from the sharp edge, then dry accordingly.
How are they different?
Global and Wusthof’s main differences lie in their product offerings and the different ways they make their products. Think of Wusthof as the masters of forged high-end knives while Global provides fantastic stamped knife options.
In addition, the German brand uses a traditional European design that has stood the test of time for over 200 years. On the other hand, the Japanese brand uses a sleek modern design.
Global stamps most of its knife lines. However, they also offer a few forged knives, such as their 8-inch vegetable knife and 12-inch Chef’s knife. All other Global lines are stamped, meaning the blade and handle come as two separate entities. These are then attached together, despite their single steel appearance.
On the other hand, with Wusthof knives the blade extends through the handle in a full tang knife construction, except for their stamped Gourmet collection.
Other major differences lie in the materials used for each brand, with Wusthof incorporating X50CrMoV15 German stainless steel. Contrastingly, Global uses Chromova18 steel specially formulated by their brand, giving them a sense of uniqueness and exclusivity.
Wusthof knives have a chromium content of 15%, while Global has a chromium content of 18%, making them the more rust-resistant choice.
If you buy Global knives, you’ll notice something interesting about the handles: they fill them with sand. This is because the knife is significantly light compared to other kitchen knives. The added weight on the handle makes it easier to maneuver.
In addition, Wusthof makes its handles with POM thermoplastic synthetic materials. This makes it more ergonomic as the rubbery texture is easy to grip and control.
How are they similar?
Whether you buy Wusthof or Global, you are guaranteed some of the best knives in their respective fields. They make their high-quality knives with expert craftsmanship. They have each proven they can stand the test of time with lasting durability.
Furthermore, each knife brand has a similar number of product offerings, and both feature stamped and forged knives in their collections.
In terms of their knife sets, you’ll find similar knives in both Wusthof and Global packages. Both provide you with a chef’s knife, paring knife, utility knife, and bread knife. You’ll also often find a bonus accessory such as kitchen shears, a sharpening stone, or a knife block.
Both Global and Wüsthof knives back their users with a limited lifetime warranty, and both recommend handwashing as the ideal cleaning procedure.
What’s better about Global knives?
The clear advantage of Global knives is their greater variety of knives available, despite their smaller collection. What this means is their knives differ more from each other than Wusthof knives differ from theirs.
Wusthof knives are all made of German stainless steel and are mostly forged. Global, on the other hand, has hybrid combinations featuring Swedish, German, and Japanese designs.
Furthermore, Global knives are priced at a significantly more affordable price range, sporting a greater degree of low-cost stamped knives. Also, their blades are more rust-resistant than Wusthof blades. This is because of the high chromium content found in their specially formulated Chromova18 stainless steel.
Global also offers all-metal steel handles that are exceptionally aesthetic with a textured pattern, a concept not commonly found among Wusthof knives.
What’s better about Wusthof knives?
Being in the business for more than two centuries certainly has its perks, and in Wusthof’s case, it’s the perfection of their 40-step crafting process. Using the best steel sourced from Germany’s steel capital and crafted with the best handypersons and automation in Europe, there is little to fault in the craftsmanship of Wusthof knives.
On top of that, their blades are sharper than Global and also harder on the Rockwell Scale, meaning they can penetrate tough ingredients more effortlessly.
Another advantage of Wusthof is their synthetic handles which provide more durability than most other brands, not to mention providing a comfortable and secure grip.
Wusthof is also highly regarded by Michelin-star chefs like Gordon Ramsay, who attests to their cutting-edge performance and durability. In addition, Wusthof has more product offerings than Global, and their knives have stood the test of time due to their longer lifespan in the market.
Who should get Global and why?
Global is a brand that suits various people, including those on a tighter budget and those who prefer lightweight stamped blades over heavy forged knives. With Japanese construction, Italian design, and Swedish ergonomics, you get the best of everything when you go with Global.
They’re also a relatively young company with a greater innovative edge. So, you’ll find more variety in their collections than Wusthof, despite having a smaller range of products.
Choosing Global means affordability and variety, two concepts that aren’t very prominent if you buy Wusthof knives. You also get relatively easier-to-use knives as they are more lightweight, and for those that like dotted patterned grips, you’ll love Global’s handle designs.
All-in-all, Global wins the bout regarding aesthetics and visual appeal, so definitely consider them if those things are important to you.
Who should get Wusthof and why?
Wusthof are the powerhouse of performance, and if your greatest concern is maximizing how well your knives can cut and how long they can last, you’ll want to go with Wusthof. Of course, you also need to have the budget for it, but if it is within your range, you are guaranteed never to look back.
Their knives are sharper than most, and they have a thicker blade hardness that is bound to last far longer than any other knife on the market.
Even if you prefer stamped knives, you can still opt for Wusthof for their Gourmet collection. This is because they offer lower-cost stamped blades that still give you the benefits of German stainless steel. Another reason to choose Wusthof is for their durable and comfortable synthetic handles, a type of material not commonly found in younger brands like Global.
Last but not least, you get the backing of Gordon Ramsay, among other world-class chefs. All of whom attest to the long-lasting quality and exceptional results of Wusthof knives.
The blade is perhaps where these two brands differ the most because of the materials used and how they craft them. Both use high-quality steel in their construction and have fantastic bladesmithing processes. However, Wusthof’s process has stood the test of time and is a little more intricate and specialized than Global, giving them an advantage in this area.
On that note, Wusthof restricts themselves only to German stainless steel. Global, on the other hand, sources its materials from Japan, Sweden, and Germany. However, variety does not always mean quality, and Wusthof knives are sharpened and hardened to a higher degree than Global.
Due to their greater durability, edge retention, and sharper edge, Wusthof knives are the clear winner. When it comes to the blade, offering better, more effortless cutting results than Global.
As mentioned, Wusthof is restricted to German steel and handle materials, whereas Global lives up to its name by being “global” in this regard. Using a combination of sources to construct their knives, Global offers a great knife with a traditional European design that begs for daily use.
They also offer aesthetic patterned steel handles that you won’t find with Wusthof, not to mention a greater variety of design choices.
Wusthof has synthetic handles, which are great for ergonomics, but in terms of aesthetics, it pales compared to Global. Furthermore, Global’s blades have a higher chromium and carbon content. So, while their blades aren’t as sharp or hard as Wusthof’s, they are significantly more resistant to rust and corrosion.
Thus, due to their greater variety of materials used and, in some cases, their higher quality of said materials over Wusthof, Global certainly takes the cake in this area.
As far as design goes, you’ll find more variety with Global as they place a lot of emphasis on aesthetics and durability. This is in contrast to Wusthof, which places its focus on performance. Comparing product for product, we can see the Global Classic Chef’s knife is far more visually appealing than the Wusthof Classic chef’s knife, regardless of which one performs better.
This is because Global offers steel handles with beautiful patterns that give off a full tang construction vibe as the blade seemingly extends through the handle. So you could say, Global knives look more full tang than Wusthof knives, despite the opposite being true.
It can be difficult for the everyday home cook to tell the difference between stamped and forged knives. Ultimately, Global has a more modern design than Wusthof that better complements contemporary home decor. This makes them the clear winner in terms of design and aesthetics.
While both Wusthof and Global provide comfortable, secure grips with their knives. They use different materials, which ultimately impacts their limitations in that regard. For example, the steel handles of Global knives mean they’ll be cold to the touch every time you use your blade.
Unfortunately, Global does not offer any alternatives in terms of the handle. So, no matter what knife you buy from them, you will be stuck with the same handle material and design.
That said, Wusthof has a far better range of materials and design choices regarding handles. For instance, they offer Pakkawood handles that give a unique aesthetic to their collection and synthetic materials for a warmer, firmer grip.
Due to their greater variety and more practical choices, Wusthof is certainly the winner over Global in terms of handle ergonomics.
Wusthof and Global knives’ product offerings are lower than other knife brands. However, when you consider that brands like Cangshan have at least 25 knife collections in their product range, you can see they’re similar in the big picture.
That said, Wusthof still has more product lines than Global, but Global has more variety in design choices and blade materials.
However, Wusthof’s quality of products far outweighs that of Global, boasting a solid edge that lasts longer and a sharper tip that penetrates any ingredient. In addition, while their products aren’t as diverse as Global, they still have more choice overall, albeit all being 58 HRC blades with 14-degree sharpness.
Due to the greater quantity and quality of their products, Wusthof wins the bout of product offerings, albeit having less variety than Global.
There is a significant difference between the pricing of Wusthof knives and Global knives. This likely stems from the differing lengths of time they’ve been on the market. Unlike Global, Wusthof has a proven track record of over 200 years, whereas Global is still in their first few decades of operation.
Thus, it makes sense for Wusthof to be priced significantly higher, but for many home cooks, Global knives are more than sufficient to get the job done. While Wusthof offers a lower-cost collection of stamped knives in their Gourmet range, even these knives are more costly than some of Global’s most expensive ones.
Furthermore, Global knives are still relatively durable compared to most brands. Therefore, many customers would be willing to pay for a cheaper knife even if it’s going to have a shorter lifespan than Wusthof. As such, Global have a better price-for-quality ratio that is more widely accessible to a larger customer base, making them the clear victors of pricepoint.
Cleaning & Maintenance
Both brands highly recommend handwashing. However, some customers claim that dishwashing is harmless for some knives. This is particularly true when you consider Global knives’ high chromium content, which gives them better rust resistance.
However, this alone should not deter you from handwashing. It’s generally much safer for your knife’s wellbeing and ensures you follow the brand’s code of conduct and recommended use.
In terms of cleaning, you can expose your Global knives in water for longer than Wusthof without sustaining any damage. That is because of a combination of Chromova18 and the handle design.
Since Global have all-steel handles, you don’t need to worry about compromising them through moisture exposure. This is only an issue for some of Wusthof’s wooden handle knives. That said, you should generally have a less stressful time cleaning and maintaining your Global knives than Wusthof, making them the winner on this occasion.
Both Global and Wusthof knives have a limited lifetime warranty when purchasing their products. This warranty covers any defects related to manufacturing or lack of material quality, allowing you to have your product replaced or repaired at little to no cost.
Keep in mind that neither brand offers sharpening or maintenance services, so if that’s what you’re after, you may want to consider Cutco knives instead.
Global vs Wusthof FAQ
What knives are better than Global?
In terms of design choices and affordability, Global knives are tough to beat. That said, brands like Wusthof and Zwilling are great alternatives for stronger and sharper knives that can last longer than Global.
Is Zwilling the same as Wusthof?
No, despite both being German brands based in Solingen, the city of blades, Zwilling and Wusthof are different brands. However, they have plenty of similarities in product offerings, performance, pricing, and warranty.
Are Wusthof knives any good?
Wusthof knives are essentially the “cream of the crop” of European knife making. Their range of knives delivers superior sharpness, strength, balance, and durability than most knife brands. As a result, Wusthof knives are used on shows such as Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen nightmares by Michelin-star chefs such as global icon Gordon Ramsay.
(1) – https://www.nvcb.or.jp/multilingual/
(2) – https://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/23/vanadium