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Global vs. Zwilling: Which Kitchen Knives Are Better?

Are you shopping for new kitchen knives but can’t decide between Global and Zwilling?

In this comparison of Global vs. Zwilling, you’ll learn how their knives differ in terms of look, feel, performance, price, and much more.

After testing both brands for several months, I’ll explain the pros and cons of each and the factors to consider before buying. 

So, if you’re looking for a comprehensive overview of the differences and similarities between Global and Zwilling knives, keep reading.


Use the links below to navigate this comparison:


Global vs. Zwilling: Comparison Chart

If you’re in a hurry, the chart below provides a quick comparison of Global vs. Zwilling knives. I’ll dive into the details in the following sections.

GlobalZwilling
Blade MaterialCROMOVA 18 steelGerman stainless steel: X50CrMoV15
Handle MaterialsStainless steelDurable plastic, wood, or stainless steel
ConstructionStamped blades (except for the Classic Forged mini-series)Mostly forged blades
DesignSeamless Stainless Steel with black dimples on the handleMix between traditional German and Japanese-style, depending on the collection
Sharpness15-degree angle per side on Classic and UKON and 12-degrees on SAI15-degree angle per side, Japanese-style collections have a 9 to 12-degree angle per side
Edge GrindStraight-EdgeDouble-Bevel
Blade Hardness56-58 on Rockwell Scale57 on Rockwell Scale
Edge RetentionBetterGood
WarrantyLimited LifetimeLimited Lifetime
Where They’re MadeJapanGermany and Japan
Price$$$ (view on Amazon)$$$-$$$$$ (view on Amazon)

Introducing Global

Global launched in 1985 by Japanese businessman Mino Tsuchida and renowned industrial designer Komin Yamada.

Tsuchida and Yamada combined their knowledge and expertise to design and produce high-end knives inspired by the ancient steelmaking traditions of Japanese Samurai warriors.

Global Kitchen Knives Review
Global Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife (view on Amazon)

The knives continue to be manufactured in Japan, though their designs have a sleek, “Western” twist that provides a one-of-kind appearance.

Besides the Japanese-Western hybrid design, three factors make Global knives stand out.

First, they are created with steel from the tip of the blade to the butt of the handle, and the handle features black dimples to add grip. Other brands have since mimicked this look, but Global is the original and most popular.

Second, Global knives have a straight edge grind, which results in a sharper blade that retains its edge well.

Lastly, Global knives are lighter, less bulky, and easier to maneuver than most brands. The handles are hollow, relatively short, and filled with sand for balance.

Introducing Zwilling

Zwilling is a company with a long history beginning in 1731 in Solingen, Germany, one of the cutlery capitals of the world and home to Zwilling’s biggest competitor, Wusthof.

As one of the oldest knife manufacturers in the world, Zwilling knows a thing or two about making knives.

The company consistently tops the charts as one of the best kitchen knife brands in the world, known for exceptional durability, cutting performance, array of offerings (over a dozen knife collections), and elegant design.

Zwilling Pro Chefs Knife
Zwilling Pro 8-Inch Chef’s Knife (view on Amazon)

Zwilling is owned by Zwilling J. A. Henckels, which also owns Henckels International, Miyabi, Staub, and several other cutlery and cookware brands.

People often confuse Zwilling and Henckels knives, but they are very different. If you want all the details, check out my comparison of Zwilling vs. Henckels. Here is the short of it: Zwilling knives are of higher quality, offer superior durability and performance, and are more expensive.

Most of Zwilling’s blades are manufactured in Germany, with a few exceptions being crafted in Japan using traditional methods similar to those employed by Global.

Besides knives, Zwilling boasts a popular cookware line, small appliances, flatware, and glassware. Check out the full product lineup at Zwilling.com.

Design

Global produces three knife collections — the Classic, UKON, and SAI — all of which feature a similar “seamless” stainless steel design.

Global Kitchen Knives Construction

Despite appearing to be made from one solid piece of steel, Global’s knives are made from three separate components welded together to offer a sleek, modern look.

Global knife handle and blade welded

These knives feature hollow stainless steel handles, which keep the design cohesive while providing a lightweight grip and feel. To prevent these lightweight handles from unbalancing the blade, Global fills them with sand.

If you hold the handle up to your ear and shake, you can hear the sand moving.

Global’s handles also feature a series of small black “holes,” which are actually painted divots to promote a strong grip. Despite these dimples, the handles can still be slippery when wet.

Global knife straight handle

Since the handle is straight with no curve at the butt end, your hand is more prone to slipping off if you’re not careful.

The grip design varies by collection. Classic knives have diagonal rows of divots throughout, while the UKON collection features three lines of dimples. The SAI collection has just one line near the base of the handle.

Global UKON versus Classic_differences
Global UKON (top) versus Classic (bottom)

Global Classic and UKON blades feature a similar smooth finish, and the SAI blades have a unique hammered finish. The textured look of the SAI collection is the result of layering CROMOVA18 along with 18/8 stainless steel and pounding the blade into shape.

Global SAI-02 Chef's Knife, 8", Silver

Zwilling offers a wider variety of designs across its more than ten collections.

The collections made in Germany (Pro, Pro Holm Oak, Four Star, Gourmet, Professional “S”, TWIN Signature, TWIN Four Star II, Now S, and TWIN 1731) feature traditional western design techniques, including thick blades, hefty handles, full tangs, bolsters, and rivets. 

Zwilling knife tang bolster and rivets

The collections made in Japan (TWIN Fin II, Kramer – Meiji, Euroline Stainless, Euroline Carbon) boast traditional Japanese designs, including layered blades with Damascus patterns, wood handles, and sharper edges.

I won’t get into the details of every collection (you can see for yourself on Zwilling.com), but I’ll call out a handful of unique design features within the most popular collections:

The Zwilling Pro collection features an exposed, triple-riveted ABS (durable plastic) handle with a full tang and half-bolster, making it ideal for the “pinch grip” favored by professional chefs.

Zwilling Pro Chef Knife 2
Zwilling Pro

The Pro Holm Oak collection has a similar design as the above Pro collection but with natural wooden handles.

ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Fine Edge Prep Knife

The Four Star collection is designed with black plastic handles like those featured in the Pro collection, but with the rivets concealed along with the tang and a full bolster.

ZWILLING Four Star 2-pc Prep Knife Set

The Twin Four Star II collection is a modern remake of the original Four Star collection. The only significant design difference is the addition of a steel cap on the butt of the handle.

Zwilling J.A. Henckels 7&quot Hollow Edge Santoku Knife, 7", Black/Stainless Steel

The Kramer Meiji collection is handcrafted in Japan. It features PakkaWood handles with an elegant pin and a polished, Damascus-patterned blade.

ZWILLING J.a. Henckels Kramer By Meiji 8" Chef's Knife, 0.6 Lb, Silver

Zwilling offers much more variety than Global, but overall, the brand sticks to traditional German and Japanese designs.

Blade Materials

While both Global and Zwilling produce knives made from pure, high-grade steel, the materials used by each brand are unique.

Global’s blades are crafted from a single piece of CROMOVA 18 steel. The metal is a proprietary formula used exclusively for Global knives.

Global blade steel CROMOVA18
Global blade steel CROMOVA18

This type of steel contains 18% chromium content, which adds sheen to the blade and prevents stains. The blades are ice-hardened, which means the metal is taken straight from the forge and quenched in frigid, sub-zero water to harden the steel and increase the metal’s resiliency.

Zwilling blades are made of German steel (X50CrMoV15). This steel is similar to CROMOVA 18 but contains slightly less chromium (15% vs. 18%).

Zwilling knife blade

Like Global, Zwilling blades go through an ice-hardened process called FRIODUR. This process results in a durable, sharp, and resilient edge.

The key takeaway is that Zwilling and Global both use quality steel, but Global’s CROMOVA18 has higher chromium content which means it boasts superior stain resisting qualities.

Handle Materials

All Global handles are made of stainless steel, whereas Zwilling offers more variation with plastic, wooden handles, and steel handles.

Below is a breakdown of the handle materials across each brand.

Brand and CollectionHandle Material
Global ClassicStainless steel
Global UKONStainless steel
Global SAIStainless steel
Zwilling ProABS (durable plastic)
Zwilling Four StarPolypropylene (durable plastic)
Zwilling Twin Four Star IIPolypropylene (durable plastic)
Zwilling GourmetPolyoxymethylene (durable plastic)
Zwilling Twin Fin IISteel
Zwilling Professional “S”ABS (durable plastic)
Zwilling Twin SignaturePolymer-based (durable plastic)
Zwilling Kramer – MeijiPakkawood (engineered wood/plastic composite)
Zwilling Kramer Euroline Stainless DamascusBlack linen Micarta (linen and resin composite)
Zwilling Pro Holm OakMediterranean Holm Oak (natural wood)
Zwilling Now SPolypropylene (durable plastic)
Zwilling Twin GourmetPolymer-based (durable plastic)
Zwilling DiplomePlastic
Zwilling Twin 1731Ebony wood
Zwilling Twin GripPolypropylene (durable plastic)

Construction

Global knives look like they’re made from a single piece of steel.

In reality, they’re constructed from three parts, with the blade and handle welded together (rather than riveted).

Global knives don’t have a tang or bolster.

Global Knife Top of Handle

A tang is the extended portion of the blade that’s “sandwiched” between the handle slabs (often made of plastic or wood rather than metal).

The bolster is the endpoint of the blade, and it takes the form of a “ridge” of metal delineating the tang from the blade.

Bolsters and tangs add weight and balance to knives, but, as I mentioned, Global knives don’t have either.

Global blades are stamped as opposed to forged, except for the Global Classic Forged mini-series.

Stamped knives are “cut” from a sheet of metal, whereas a forged blade starts as a single bar of steel that’s heated and pressed or hammered into shape.

You can learn all the details about the differences between forged and stamped knives in this guide, but the key difference is that forged blades are typically more durable, heavier, and boast better edge retention than stamped blades.

Most Zwilling knives have forged blades, although they offer more affordable stamped collections, too. 

Zwilling Pro blade spine
Zwilling forged blade

Zwilling’s forged knives feature a full tang, meaning the steel extends to the butt of the handle.

Zwilling Pro handle

To provide a clear overview of the construction methods utilized in each brand’s collections, here is a brief comparison chart:

Brand and CollectionBlade Construction
Zwilling ProForged
Zwilling Four StarForged
Zwilling GourmetStamped
Zwilling TWIN Fin IIStamped
Zwilling Professional “S”Forged
Zwilling TWIN SignatureStamped
Zwilling Kramer – MeijiForged
Zwilling Kramer Euroline Stainless DamascusForged
Zwilling TWIN Four Star IIForged
Zwilling Kramer Euroline CarbonForged
Zwilling Pro Holm OakForged
Zwilling Now SStamped
Zwilling TWIN GourmetStamped
Zwilling TWIN 1731Forged
Zwilling TWIN GripStamped
Global ClassicStamped
Global Classic ForgedForged
Global UKONStamped
Global SAIStamped

Sharpness

Global and Zwilling sharpen their knives to a similar edge angle, resulting in similar sharpness out of the box.

The Global Classic and UKON collections are honed to a 15-degree angle on each side, and Zwilling’s German-produced knives feature the same sharpness.

Knives in Global’s SAI collection have a 12.5-degree angle per side, while Zwilling’s Japan-made collections feature a sharper edge, honed to between 9 and 12 degrees per side.

Edge Grind

While the edge angle across Global and Zwilling is similar, each brand takes a different approach to edge grind.

There are two main ways to grind a knife’s edge: straight-edged and beveled.

Beveled edges come to a steep “V” right before the end of the blade. The advantage of this grind type is that it results in a stronger and more durable edge.

Beveled edges are more traditional in the West, and Zwilling sticks to this design.

Global takes a unique approach and hones a straight edge on all of their blades. This approach provides the benefit of better edge retention because the edge is thinner further up the blade. If you look closely, you can see that the edge extends about a quarter of an inch up the blade.

Beveled vs. straight edge

The disadvantage of Global’s straight edge is that it’s more prone to chipping and won’t hold up as well as a beveled edge against bones and other firm ingredients.

Blade Hardness

As with blade sharpness, both Zwilling and Global share similar levels of blade hardness.

Global tempers their blades to 56-58 on the Rockwell Scale, and Zwilling tempers their knives to a hardness of approximately 57.

These hardness levels provide an ideal balance between durability and edge retention. Overly soft blades dull quickly, and too-hard ones become brittle (resulting in frequent chips).

Price

As premium knife brands, both Global and Zwilling utilize high-quality materials and expert craftsmanship in the manufacture and design of their products. Their collections are priced accordingly.

Pricing also varies significantly between collections. Some Zwilling collections carry a much higher price point than those offered by Global and others are much less.

For example, Zwilling’s ultra-premium Kramer-Meiji collection, made in conjunction with master bladesmith Bob Kramer, carries a heftier price tag than any Global collection.

In contrast, Zwilling’s stamped knives, such as those in the Gourmet collection, are much cheaper.

The following price chart gives you an idea of what to expect when it comes to each collection:

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Downsides

Global and Zwilling both offer premium knives, but they aren’t perfect. Let’s review the downsides and common complaints about both brands.

Let’s start with Global.

Stamped Blades: Global blades are stamped, except for the Classic Forged mini-series. Stamped blades are thinner than less durable than forged blades.

Small Handles: Global knives are much shorter than the average, which can be an issue if you have large hands.

Global knife short handle

Lightweight: Global knives are balanced and lightweight, which may seem like an advantage. But if you’re looking for a hefty, solid-feeling knife, you need to search elsewhere.

No Tang or Bolster: Since the blades are stamped and welded to the handle, they don’t feature a tang or bolster. Tangs add weight and balance to knives and prevent the handle and blade from detaching. Bolsters can protect your hand from slipping onto the sharp edge.

Steel Design: Global’s signature all-steel design is sleek and modern but strays from the traditional look that many cooks love.

Limited Options: Unlike Zwilling, which offers several unique knives, Global only offers three collections, and the differences between them are subtle.

Now, let’s take a look at Zwilling’s downsides:

Heavy and Bulky: Zwilling knives are built with thick blades and large, hefty handles. They’re designed to be the workhorse in your kitchen, but all that extra heft means they aren’t the most nimble knives and can be tiring to use for long periods.

Wusthof versus Zwilling knife handles
Wusthof Classic handle (top), Zwilling Pro handle (bottom)

Large Handles: While Global handles may be too small for large hands, Zwilling handles are the opposite; too large for small hands. Even compared to another German knife brand, Wusthof, Zwilling handles are much thicker and larger. 

Expensive: Zwilling knives are ultra-premium and not cheap. If you’re on a budget, you won’t be able to afford many Zwilling collections. The knives designed by Master Bladesmith Bob Kramer (Kramer Meiji and Kramer Euroline Stainless Damascus) are the most expensive.

Too Many Options: While having so many choices is usually advantageous, parsing through Zwilling’s ten-plus knife collections can be confusing and stressful. It’s especially confusing because there are some significant differences between collections (forged vs. stamped blades, German vs. Japanese design).

What Others Are Saying About Global and Zwilling

What are other experts saying about Global and Zwilling knives? Let’s take a look at each brand’s recent accolades.

Reviewed.com tested 15 knives and named the Zwilling Pro 8-inch Chef’s Knife the Best Overall Chef’s Knife. They loved how solid it felt, coupled with its precise control and sharp edge.

In that same review, they tested the Global Classic chef’s knife. Although it didn’t win an award, they praised its sleek design and balance. They also noted that it struggled with heavy-duty tasks because it was too lightweight.

Gear Patrol recently named Zwilling one of the Best Kitchen Knife Brands for its traditional Western-style design, quality materials, and long legacy. They also praised Global for its slicing ability, durability, and overall uniqueness of its steel design.

Food & Wine awarded Global the Best Lightweight Knife, admiring its grippy handle and overall nimble and lightweight nature. They also mentioned Zwilling knives, complimenting them for their sturdy German blades and classic Western design.

Good Housekeeping gave Zwilling Gourmet knives a score of 85 out of 100 for their balance, sharpness, and affordability. The one thing they didn’t love was the square, angular handles, saying they’re slightly uncomfortable and too small.

The Strategist consulted with head chefs at Michelin Star restaurants, restaurateurs, and Top Chef judges and awarded the Global Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife the title of “best Chef’s knife.” The experts love its edge retention, handsome design, and lightweight handle, saying it “feels like it disappears into your hand when you use it.”

Bottom Line: Should You Buy Global or Zwilling Knives?

Now that you know the key differences between Global and Zwilling knives, you should feel confident deciding which brand is best for your kitchen.

To recap the major differences between these brands:

Design: Global features a sleek, modern stainless steel design, while Zwilling has a more practical, “workhorse” look.

Construction: Global blades are mostly stamped, aside from the Global Forged mini-series, while Zwilling blades are mostly forged.

Handle Materials: Global handles are stainless steel, whereas Zwilling offers knives with plastic, wood, or steel handles, depending on the collection.

Edge Grind: Global knives are manufactured with a straight edge grind, whereas Zwilling knives feature a more traditional beveled edge.

Edge Retention: Global’s straight edge grind ensures better edge retention.

Price: Zwilling and Global are both expensive, but Zwilling offers a broader range of prices across collections.

Global is a high-end Japanese knife brand with a slight Western influence. Their designs are sleek and modern but are very distinct and not for everyone.

Zwilling produces both German and Japanese knives in various styles and materials, so you will likely find an option that suits you.

Ultimately, Global and Zwilling are two of the top kitchen knife brands in the world due to their quality materials, expert craftsmanship, and high-end performance. The truth is, you really can’t go wrong with either one. The right brand for you comes down to the look and feel you prefer.

If you’re looking for a nudge in one direction, I recommend Zwilling because they offer sturdier and heavier knives with a more traditional look.

My favorite collection is Zwilling Pro. These knives feature a black handle with exposed rivets and tang and a half bolster.

Global knives are excellent, too. But they’re lightweight and don’t feel as sturdy in your hand. While they are certainly more nimble than Zwilling knives, most of the time, I prefer a sturdy workhorse knife that can power through ingredients with ease.

If you’re ready to buy, or just want to learn more, check out Global and Zwilling knives at the links below:

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He’s been studying consumer buying behavior for over a decade and has managed marketing campaigns for over a dozen Fortune 500 brands. When he’s not testing the latest home products, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn or via email.

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