Are you shopping for kitchen knives and considering Global?
With an all-steel design, razor-sharp edges, and proprietary materials, these knives really stand out.
But are they right for you?
In this review, I break down the pros and cons of Global kitchen knives.
- How Global knives are made
- What they’re made of
- How they look, feel, and perform
- How much they cost
- What the experts are saying about Global
- The most common complaints
- And more
By the end, you’ll know all the important facts necessary to decide if Global knives are right for your kitchen.
Use the links below to navigate this review:
- Company Background
- Knife Collections
- Materials and Construction
- What Others Are Saying
- Bottom Line: Are Global Knives Any Good?
Mino Tsuchida, Global’s founder, was born and raised in Japan and grew up with a strong appreciation for tool making. In 1985, he partnered with Komin Yamada, an industrial designer, to construct the first Global Kitchen knives.
Yamada developed a range of all-steel knives that was new and revolutionary, using only the best materials and a mix of modern manufacturing techniques and traditional procedures inspired by Japanese sword-making.
Like Samurai swords, each Global knife is weighted to ensure it is balanced perfectly in hand.
These knives are unlike traditional Japanese-style knives because they combine Japanese precision with German durability, thus creating a unique knife: strong, sharp, balanced, and durable.
Decades later, Global’s parent company, Yoshida Metal Industry Co. Ltd, still manufactures all Global knives in Niigata, Japan.
Unlike some cutlery brands that offer several collections, Global keeps it simple with three: Classic, SAI, and UKON.
Let’s look at what makes each collection unique.
Classic (view on Amazon): The Classic collection features a clean and efficient design. It’s the original and most extensive Global collection with over 60 knives and knife sets. It’s also easy to use thanks to the ergonomic handle, no bolster, and hygienic slip-free grip. The handles are covered with tiny circular black dimples on each side to provide grip and give it some warmth in an otherwise fully steel design.
SAI (view on Amazon): SAI is the newest collection, designed by Komin Yamada. It’s inspired by the Samurai sword, featuring a three-ply textured blade, which is individually hand-hammered to help with easy food release while you’re prepping ingredients. There are seven recessed black dots on the handle to represent the seven Samurai codes of honor and moral principles. The knives are also cleverly contoured for easy cleaning.
UKON (view on Amazon): UKON knives are 10% sharper, as verified by C.A.T.R.A. testing (industry-recognized testing standard). These knives also have a thicker blade for added performance, a thumb rest, and a textured but smooth ergonomic handle with three rows of black dimples. Read my in-depth comparison of Global UKON vs. Classic to learn more about this collection.
Materials and Construction
Global knives are unique due to their stainless steel handles that feature the brand’s signature dimple pattern for a comfortable and non-slip grip.
The blade is stamped, rather than forged, and made with a unique steel blend called CROMOVA18, which is 18% chromium, making it extra stain-resistant (for contrast, Wusthof knives contain 15% chromium). The steel also contains molybdenum and vanadium, which promotes a sharp edge.
Although Global knives appear to be one singular piece of steel, they’re actually made with three parts.
The handle is two pieces welded together. The blade is then cut from a sheet and welded to the handle.
The handle is hollow, making these knives lightweight but unbalanced. To add some heft, Global fills the hollow handles with sand. If you hold the handle up to your ear and shake it, you can actually hear the sand moving around.
The last step is to grind a straight edge rather than a beveled edge, which keeps the blade sharper longer.
The blade is tempered to a Rockwell hardness between 56 and 58, which provides the ideal balance between durability and edge retention.
The lower this number, the softer and more durable the steel, making it less likely to chip. The higher this number, the harder the steel and the longer the edge retention, but it’s more likely to chip. Global knives fall in the middle.
Unlike most kitchen knives that feature plastic or wood handles, Global knives have distinct steel-dimpled handles for a slip-free grip.
There are subtle differences between each collection, but overall, the designer, Komi Yamada, developed incredible unique and modern knives.
Global knives are technically Japanese-style, inspired by the Samurai sword, with thinner blades and lightweight composition. But what makes Global stand out is the integration of German durability and simplicity.
The handles feature signature iconic black dimples that look like small holes, but they’re actually small circular indentations painted black. These provide a slip-resistant grip, but they also add interest and break up the steel design.
The number of dimples and the placement varies by collection. For example, Classic handles are completely covered with these black dimples. The UKON collection features three rows of them. And the SAI collection only has seven on each side.
The handles are also straight with a rounded top and bottom.
Blades in the Classic and UKON collections have either a smooth or Granton edge finish.
The Granton edge is a series of vertical, oval-shaped dimples on both sides of the blade. These dimples create air pockets between the blade and the food, so the food easily slides off. It’s especially helpful when cutting cheeses and other sticky foods.
With the SAI collection, each blade is hammered by hand to create small hollows. These hollows prevent food from sticking to the knife’s surface and give the blade a stunning and unique look.
The tang is the part of the blade that extends through the butt end of the handle. It adds heft and balance and prevents the blade and handle from detaching.
The bolster is the thick part of the blade right before the handle. It adds weight and balance and also acts as a fingerguard.
Without these two elements, Global knives are much lighter. For example, the Global Classic 8-inch Chef’s knife weighs 5.5 ounces, while the Wüsthof Classic 8-inch Chef’s knife weighs 8.5 ounces (54% more).
Global knives are incredibly sharp. Out of the box, the Classic collection and UKON collection knives have an angle of 15 degrees per side (30 degrees total). The SAI collection is sharpened to 12.5 degrees per side (25 degrees total).
In comparison, Shun edges are sharpened to a 16-degree angle per side, and Wüsthof edges are 14-degrees per side.
Global is unique in that they grind the blade steeply to a point at an acute angle rather than the beveled edges that you’ll find with Western and European knife brands.
That style of edge results in a sharper knife that stays sharper for longer.
Besides the edge grind, molybdenum and vanadium in the blade steel help maintain the edge.
Global’s premium knives are made by craftsmen in Japan. They use high-quality materials and apply particular attention to the small details. Therefore, Global knives are expensive, but they’re not as pricey as some competitors such as Wüsthof and Shun.
The price varies by collection, too. The SAI and UKON collections are more expensive than the Classic collection.
Below is a price comparison chart so you can check out the current prices.
Before ordering your Global kitchen knives, you should be aware of some of their downsides.
The all-steel look is Global’s signature, but it’s not for everyone. It’s unique and modern, but it doesn’t always complement traditional kitchen decor, and the handle can get slippery when it’s wet (even with the dimples).
The handles are shorter than some of Global’s competitors, which can be an issue for people with larger hands.
This makes it easy to maneuver these knives, but they lack the heft of a German knife-like Wüsthof and Zwilling. It can make it difficult to cut through firmer ingredients, and you might feel like the knife is lacking balance.
Global blades are stamped rather than forged, which means they’re not as thick or durable. However, the Classic collection includes an additional mini-series called the Classic Forged. The blades in this mini-series are forged (but more expensive).
Although the knives look like they’re made from one piece, the blade and handle are separate, meaning there’s no full tang. Without a full tang, there is a greater risk of the blade separating from the handle. This type of knife isn’t as durable or safe as a knife with a full tang.
These knives lack a bolster. Bolsters add heft, balance, and act as finger guards. On the flip side, without a bolster, it’s easier to sharpen the entire edge.
Some customers complain that the edge is brittle and tends to chip. You need to be careful with such sharp edges when cutting into meat with bones and other hard ingredients.
Unfortunately, there are dozens of poorly-made counterfeit Global knives on marketplaces like eBay and other auction websites. If the price is suspiciously low, or they’re packaged in a black knife roll or case, there’s a good chance they’re counterfeit.
Counterfeits are such a problem with Global that a page on their website is dedicated to warning you against it. To avoid buying counterfeit Global knives, shop at a trusted retailer like GlobalCutleryUSA.com or Amazon. Avoid eBay and other unauthorized dealers.
What Others Are Saying
Global earns a lot of praise from product testers and media outlets. Here’s a quick look at some of the brand’s recent accolades.
In Good Housekeeping’s article, 12 Best Chef’s Knives, According to Cooking Experts, the reviewers put Global Santoku 7-Inch Chef’s Knife in fourth place as the sharpest chef’s knife. They loved it for being sharp enough for any task and its Granton edge blade, which prevents food from sticking.
In Food & Wine’s article, The Best Chef’s Knife, the Global 8-Inch Chef’s Knife came in fourth for the best lightweight knife. The reviewers described it as an excellent knife for beginners since it’s easy to take care of and use. They love the sand-filled handle because it provides a subtle and shifting balance that’s also very easy to grip.
The Wirecutter dismissed Global G-2 Gyuto in their article, The Best Chef’s Knife. The experts said it would have been a top pick, but the testers’ opinions were split. Some loved it for its lightweight and sharp blade, but others hated it because of the dimpled steel handle, which they claimed became slippery in wet hands.
In The Best Chef’s Knives, Tested and Reviewed by Epicurious, Global Classic Chef’s Knife came in as the runner-up. They called out the fact that it was lightweight but well-balanced and resistant to rust and staining. It helped cooks achieve the thinnest slices, and they loved how sharp it stayed.
In CNET’s review of the best chef’s knives, the Global G-2 Classic 8-inch Chef’s Knife came in first place due to its sharp edge and nimble weight. They loved the unique design and how the entire body was made from stainless steel. Slicing, mincing, and chopping were easy tasks for this knife.
Bottom Line: Are Global Knives Any Good?
Global is one of the best kitchen knife brands due to the unique steel design, high-quality materials (CROMOVA18), razor-sharp edges, and commitment to traditional Japanese knife-making techniques.
But are Global knives right for you?
You should buy Global Kitchen knives if you value:
- A modern design that’s more plain and simple than traditional Japanese knives
- The dimple-patterned non-slip handle
- Sand-filled handles for balance
- Knives without a bolster, which makes sharpening easier
- Razor-edges that allow for precise cuts
- High-end knives that aren’t too expensive
But you should not buy Global knives if you don’t value:
- Steel design; it’s modern and might not suit your traditional kitchen
- Shorter handles, which are often too short for larger hands
- Lightweight construction, which doesn’t provide the heft and feeling of durability you get with the German competitors
- The stamped blade, which isn’t as thick or durable as forged blades
- Knives without a tang
- Knives without a bolster
- The risk of edges chipping
Overall, I highly recommend Global. It’s one of the best kitchen knife brands and has a record to prove it.
As much as I appreciate the finer details, the biggest question is whether you like the steel handles or prefer a more traditional wood or synthetic handle.
If the steel works for you, Global knives are the best on the market. If you prefer something more traditional, consider brands like Wüsthof, Zwilling, and Shun.
Learn more about Global by reading reviews and checking out current prices on Amazon.
- Global UKON vs. Global Classic: What’s the Difference?
- Shun vs. Global: In-Depth Kitchen Knife Comparison
- Wusthof vs. Global: How Do Their Kitchen Knives Compare?
- Global vs. Zwilling: Which Kitchen Knives Are Better?
- Best Kitchen Knives NOT Made in China: The Definitive Guide
- Wusthof vs. Zwilling J.A. Henckels: In-Depth Kitchen Knife Comparison
- Best Chef’s Knife Under $100: Top 6 Compared
- Made In 8-Inch Chef’s Knife Review (With Pictures)
- Wusthof vs. Victorinox: How Do Their Kitchen Knives Compare?
- The Ultimate Review of Wusthof Classic Kitchen Knives
- Are Kamikoto Knives Any Good? An In-Depth Review