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
- Introducing Global
- Introducing Zwilling
- Blade Materials
- Handle Materials
- Edge Grind
- Blade Hardness
- What Others Are Saying About Global and Zwilling
- Bottom Line: Should You Buy Global or Zwilling Knives?
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.
|Blade Material||CROMOVA 18 steel||German stainless steel: X50CrMoV15|
|Handle Materials||Stainless steel||Durable plastic, wood, or stainless steel|
|Construction||Stamped blades (except for the Classic Forged mini-series)||Mostly forged blades|
|Design||Seamless Stainless Steel with black dimples on the handle||Mix between traditional German and Japanese-style, depending on the collection|
|Sharpness||15-degree angle per side on Classic and UKON and 12-degrees on SAI||15-degree angle per side, Japanese-style collections have a 9 to 12-degree angle per side|
|Blade Hardness||56-58 on Rockwell Scale||57 on Rockwell Scale|
|Warranty||Limited Lifetime||Limited Lifetime|
|Where They’re Made||Japan||Germany and Japan|
|Price||$$$ (view on Amazon)||$$$-$$$$$ (view on Amazon)|
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.
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.
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 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.
Global produces three knife collections — the Classic, UKON, and SAI — all of which feature a similar “seamless” stainless steel design.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
The Pro Holm Oak collection has a similar design as the above Pro collection but with natural wooden handles.
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.
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.
The Kramer Meiji collection is handcrafted in Japan. It features PakkaWood handles with an elegant pin and a polished, Damascus-patterned blade.
Zwilling offers much more variety than Global, but overall, the brand sticks to traditional German and Japanese designs.
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.
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%).
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.
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 Collection||Handle Material|
|Global Classic||Stainless steel|
|Global UKON||Stainless steel|
|Global SAI||Stainless steel|
|Zwilling Pro||ABS (durable plastic)|
|Zwilling Four Star||Polypropylene (durable plastic)|
|Zwilling Twin Four Star II||Polypropylene (durable plastic)|
|Zwilling Gourmet||Polyoxymethylene (durable plastic)|
|Zwilling Twin Fin II||Steel|
|Zwilling Professional “S”||ABS (durable plastic)|
|Zwilling Twin Signature||Polymer-based (durable plastic)|
|Zwilling Kramer – Meiji||Pakkawood (engineered wood/plastic composite)|
|Zwilling Kramer Euroline Stainless Damascus||Black linen Micarta (linen and resin composite)|
|Zwilling Pro Holm Oak||Mediterranean Holm Oak (natural wood)|
|Zwilling Now S||Polypropylene (durable plastic)|
|Zwilling Twin Gourmet||Polymer-based (durable plastic)|
|Zwilling Twin 1731||Ebony wood|
|Zwilling Twin Grip||Polypropylene (durable plastic)|
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.
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’s forged knives feature a full tang, meaning the steel extends to the butt of the handle.
To provide a clear overview of the construction methods utilized in each brand’s collections, here is a brief comparison chart:
|Brand and Collection||Blade Construction|
|Zwilling Four Star||Forged|
|Zwilling TWIN Fin II||Stamped|
|Zwilling Professional “S”||Forged|
|Zwilling TWIN Signature||Stamped|
|Zwilling Kramer – Meiji||Forged|
|Zwilling Kramer Euroline Stainless Damascus||Forged|
|Zwilling TWIN Four Star II||Forged|
|Zwilling Kramer Euroline Carbon||Forged|
|Zwilling Pro Holm Oak||Forged|
|Zwilling Now S||Stamped|
|Zwilling TWIN Gourmet||Stamped|
|Zwilling TWIN 1731||Forged|
|Zwilling TWIN Grip||Stamped|
|Global Classic Forged||Forged|
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.
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.
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.
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).
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:
|Knife / Set||Price||View Details|
|Zwilling Four Star 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Zwilling Professional S 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Zwilling Pro 7-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Zwilling Pro 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Zwilling Diplome 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Zwilling Twin Signature 19-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Zwilling Gourmet 7-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Zwilling Pro 7-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Zwilling Kramer Meiji 7-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Global Classic 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Global Ukon 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Global SAI 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Global Classic 3-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Global Classic 7-Piece Set||Amazon|
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Global UKON vs. Global Classic: What’s the Difference?
- The Ultimate Review of Global Kitchen Knives
- Shun vs. Global: In-Depth Kitchen Knife Comparison
- Wusthof vs. Global: How Do Their Kitchen Knives Compare?
- Wusthof vs. Zwilling J.A. Henckels: In-Depth Kitchen Knife Comparison
- Zwilling vs. Henckels Kitchen Knives: What’s the Difference?
- Cutco vs. Zwilling: Which Kitchen Knives Are Better?
- Zwilling J.A. Henckels Pro vs. Pro “S”: What’s the Difference?
- Zwilling Pro vs. Four Star vs. Twin Four Star II: What’s the Difference?
- All-Clad vs. Zwilling: Which Cookware Is Better?
- Zwilling Kitchen Knives Review: Everything You Need to Know