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If you’re shopping for a new set of high-end kitchen knives, but you’re not sure whether to go with Wusthof or Global, you’ve come to the right place.
Wusthof is a family-owned German knife-maker that’s been perfecting their technique for over 200 years. Their western-style knives are well-balanced, razor-sharp, elegantly designed, and built to last.
Global, a Japanese company, hasn’t been in business nearly as long as Wusthof, but their knives stand out due to their proprietary blade material, lightweight handles, and modern fully stainless steel design.
In this in-depth comparison of Wusthof vs. Global kitchen knives, you’ll learn their similarities, differences, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
I explain exactly how they compare across all the important characteristics, including:
- And much more.
By the end, you’ll have all the facts and knowledge necessary to decide which brand of knives are right for your kitchen.
Let’s get started!
(Use the links below to navigate this article)
- Wusthof vs. Global: 30-Second Summary
- Side-By-Side Comparison Chart
- Wusthof Knives: A Quick Overview
- Global Knives: A Quick Overview
- Wusthof Knives vs. Global Knives: What Are the Differences?
- Wusthof Knives vs. Global Knives: What Are the Similarities?
- Bottom Line: Should You Buy Wusthof or Global Kitchen Knives?
If you only have a minute and you’re looking for a quick comparison of Wusthof vs. Global kitchen knives, here are the key differences and similarities you need to know.
What Are Their Differences?
Design: The most significant difference between Wusthof and Global knives is their design. Wusthof blades are thick and extend through the butt end of the synthetic or wood handles. There’s a bolster between the blade and handle that adds balance and prevents your hand from slipping. Global knives have a modern design with a stainless steel handle that makes the blade and handle look like one piece.
Construction: Wusthof and Global knives are both made from two pieces, blade and handle, but Wusthof blades extend through the length of the handle (full tang) to add stability and balance while Global welds their blades and handles together at the connection point. Wusthof handles are solid while Global handles filled with sand to reduce the overall weight.
Weight: Wusthof knives are heavier than Global knives. For example, Wusthof’s 8-inch chef’s knife weighs 8 ounces, and Global’s weighs 5.5 ounces.
Blade Steel: Wusthof makes their blades out of a blend of steel called X50 Cr MoV 15 that they consider the optimal formula for sharpness. Global knives are made from steel designed exclusively for their knives called Cromova 18. Global’s steel is softer but slightly more resistant to stains due to higher chromium content (18% vs. 15%).
Edge Grind: Wusthof grinds their edges with a slight bevel while Global grinds theirs straight. Global claims their method results in better edge retention but, based on hundreds of reviews on both sides, it’s hard to argue that their edges stay sharper for any longer than Wusthof’s.
Sharpness: Wusthof uses a unique process called PEtec to sharpen all of its edges to a 14-degree angle per side while the sharpness of Global edges varies by product line. Global Classic and Ukon knives are sharpened at a 15-degree angle per side, and Global SAI and NI knives are sharpened at a 12.5-degree angle per side.
Product Options: Wusthof has a total of 7 knife lines in their collection, and Global has only 4.
Price: Wusthof knives tend to be more expensive, but the difference in price varies based on which piece/set you buy and where you buy it. Both brands are available on Amazon, where you can check their current prices (Wusthof on Amazon, Global on Amazon).
What Are Their Similarities?
Durability: Despite their differences in construction, Wusthof and Global knives are both very durable and designed to withstand heavy everyday use.
Comfort: Both are easy to maneuver and have comfortable handles. Wusthof’s handles are larger and feature more curves while Global handles are smaller, straighter, lighter, and feature tiny dimples to support your grip.
Hardness: Although Wusthof blades are technically harder then Global blades (58 vs. 56 on the Rockwell Scale), both fall within the optimal range of hardness for kitchen knives and provide a balance between durability and edge retention.
Care and Cleaning: Both brands recommend hand washing their knives to avoid unnecessary damage in the dishwasher.
Warranty: Both brands guarantee their knives will be free of defects in material and craftsmanship with a lifetime warranty.
Bottom Line: Should You Buy Wusthof or Global Knives?
Unless you absolutely love the sleek modern design of Global knives, I recommend buying Wusthof. The line I like the most is the Wusthof Classic (check out our review). Wusthof knives may cost a little more than Global, but they’re razor-sharp, well-balanced, and have a classic design that will never go out of style.
You can read more reviews and compare the current prices of both brands on Amazon at the links below:
|Where It's Made||Solingen, Germany||Niigata, Japan|
|Blade Material||German Stainless Steel (X50 Cr MoV 15)||Cromova 18|
|Handle Material||Synthetic or Wood||Steel|
|Design||Triple-riveted handle with a bolster and full tang||All steel with black dimples on the handle|
|Weight of 8-inch chef's knife||8 ounces||5.5 ounces|
|Edge Angle Total (lower = sharper)||28 degree angle (all lines)||30 degree angle (Classic and Ukon lines), 25 degree angle (SAI and NI lines)|
|Blade Hardness (higher = harder)||58||56-58|
|Warranty||Limited Lifetime||Limited Lifetime|
|Price||More expensive (Current Price on Amazon)||Less expensive (Current Price on Amazon)|
Wusthof was founded by Johann Wilhelm Wüsthof back in 1814 in the town of Solingen, Germany.
Seven generations later, Wusthof is still a family-owned business operating out of their headquarters in Solingen, although they have operations all over, including their U.S. headquarters in Norwalk, Connecticut.
Since the beginning, Wusthof has been dedicated to producing high-quality kitchen knives that are sharp, durable, and elegantly designed.
Their dedication to quality is evident in the materials they use, the 40-step process it takes to produce each knife, and the hundreds of skilled craftsmen they employ to maintain their unmatched standards.
Although Wusthof came from humble beginnings, they are now one of the biggest and best kitchen knife brands in the world.
If you do a “best kitchen knives” search on Amazon, or browse the knife section at stores like Williams Sonoma, there’s a good chance Wusthof is the most prominently displayed brand you’ll see.
While the complete collection of Wusthof knives is considerable in size (7 total knife lines; 6 forged and 1stamped), there are a few common threads in every knife they make.
First, the blades of all Wusthof knives are made from the same X50 Cr MoV 15 stainless steel. This particular steel is enhanced with both molybdenum and vanadium, two metals that increase the knife’s hardness and corrosion resistance (two things that these knives have become well-known for).
Speaking of hardness, all Wusthof blades are heat-treated to a hardness of 58 on the Rockwell Scale. This is the standard level of hardness for German knives because it achieves the ideal balance between durability and edge retention—blades that are too soft won’t retain their edge, blades that are too hard will easily chip.
Each blade edge is sharpened to an angle of 14 degrees per side (28 degrees total), though there are a few exceptions to this. For example, the Wusthof Gourmet line is sharpened to 18 degrees per side and is also a bit lighter than the Wusthof Classics or the Wusthof Grand Prix II.
Finally, every Wusthof knife features full tang construction. This means that the steel blade extends through the butt end of the handle. The alternative is two-piece or partial-tang construction, which is when only a small part of the blade extends into the handle.
The advantage of full-tang construction is remarkable durability, even weight distribution, and safety (the blade cannot detach from the handle). The disadvantage—it makes Wusthof knives heavier than non-German knife varieties, including Global.
Although Global Cutlery is a knife brand owned by the Japanese manufacturing company Yoshida Metal Industry and most would consider their knives “Japanese-style,” their products are a bit more complex than that.
Traditionally, Japanese-style knives thinner, lighter, and harder, but they lack the versatility and durability of western-style knives.
When the first Global knives were designed in 1985 by Komin Yamada, he took a different approach.
Instead of creating another traditional Japanese-style knife, he decided to combine Japanese precision, German construction, and Italian design to create a knife that was unlike anything else on the market—sharp, lightweight, stylish, and durable.
Global offers many different knife lines, but all of them share several common characteristics.
Unlike Wusthof knives, which have a beveled edge, Global edges are not beveled. Instead, they are ground higher on each side, and to a steeper point.
Since their edges are longer and thinner, they stay sharp for longer, even as the outermost part of the edge begins to dull.
Global blades are designed with a slight convex (inwardly bending) gradual curve, which allows for more effective cutting and makes it easier for food to slide off the knife.
Lastly, their stainless steel handles provide a unique modern look and make it appear that the blade and handle are all one piece.
The truth is, the blade and handle are two pieces welded together during the manufacturing process.
To reduce the overall weight and achieve what Global believes to be a perfect balance, they fill the handles with sand.
Wusthof and Global kitchen knives are similar in a lot of ways; they’re made out of high-quality materials, they’re stylish, and both will get the job done in the kitchen.
But, they also have several significant differences, including their design, construction, weight, steel type, price, and much more.
Before you invest in a new set, you need to understand what these differences are and, more importantly, why they matter.
Let’s take a close look at the key differences between Wusthof and Global knives.
When you compare Wusthof and Global knives side-by-side, the first difference you’ll notice is their design.
Wusthof knives have a thick western-style blade, while Global blades are thinner, typical of Japanese-style knives.
Wusthof blades features a bolster (the thick part of the steel located right between the blade and handle), a full tang (part of the blade that runs through the handle), three rivets that connect the handle to the blade, and a black synthetic or wooden handle.
Wusthof handles are designed for comfort and safety. Most of their knife lines feature a sharp curve at the butt end to prevent the knife from slipping out of your hand. They also feature a thick bolster to prevent your hand from slipping onto the blade.
Global knives have an incredibly unique and modern design. Unlike most knives on the market, Global makes their handles out of stainless steel presents the appearance that their knives are one piece of material (they are 2 pieces welded together, more on this in a minute).
Compared to Wusthof, Global handles are rounder, straighter, smaller around, and shorter, which makes them ideal if you have smaller hands.
Small dimples improve the grip and provide a very distinct look that has become Global’s signature design feature. Without seeing them in person, it might look like these dimples are filled with plastic or rubber, but if you look closely, you’ll realize that they’re just tiny pits painted black.
Unlike Wusthof, Global knives do not feature a full tang or a bolster, and their blades are slightly thinner.
Although their bolster and tang-less design reduces their overall weight and makes Global knives easy to maneuver, it also makes them less balanced and slightly less safe.
The European tradition of knife making has always utilized full-tang construction, meaning that the steel extends throughout the length of the knife and, at the handle, it’s encased in a wood or plastic.
The purpose of the full tang is added stability and balance; however, it increases the weight significantly. This is why, on average, Wusthof knives are heavier than Global.
Another benefit of full tang construction is that, since it’s all one piece, there is no chance of the blade detaching from the handle.
Global takes a different approach to their construction style, consciously choosing more modern techniques to reduce the overall weight of the knife.
As opposed to extending the blade into the handle, Global handles are welded to the blades and smoothed over. This makes it appear that Global knives are made from one piece of steel from the tip of the blade to the butt end of the handle.
Instead of being solid steel, which would significantly increase the overall weight, the inside of Global handles are filled with sand or in some cases, a lighter metal. It’s designed this way to reduce hand fatigue in the kitchen. If you hold a Global knife up to your ear and shake it, you can hear the sand moving around.
The biggest downside of Global’s 2-piece construction is that it creates the risk of the blade detaching from the handle. Although the chance of this happening is slim, it does happen, and several reviewers on Amazon have aired their grievances about it.
Weight and Balance
On average, Wusthof knives are heavier than Global knives.
A couple of ounces may not seem like much, but that’s a difference of 45% and is very noticeable if you hold both at the same time.
Although it’s up for debate, I believe that Wusthof knives are also more well-balanced.
When you pick up a Wusthof knife, you can feel it’s heft. It feels thick, dense, and solid. Since the blade extends through the entire handle, its weight is evenly distributed.
By design, Global knives are lightweight and easier to maneuver. Your hand and wrist won’t get tired as quickly with Global knives, but they don’t feel as durable and balanced since the handle is hollow (filled with sand), and the majority of its weight is concentrated in the blade.
Blade Steel: X50 Cr MoV 15 vs. Cromova 18
With a carbon content of .5%, chromium content of 15%, and smaller amounts of molybdenum and vanadium, X50 Cr MoV 15 is exceptionally durable, resistant to rust and corrosion, and hard.
Global knives are made from a proprietary steel variety called Cromova 18 that they design exclusively for their knives.
This steel features a higher chromium content than X50 Cr MoV 15 at 18% (vs. 15%), which means it’s slightly more resistant to stains. Like Wusthof, Global’s steel also contains molybdenum and vanadium for hardness and durability.
The key difference is that all Wusthof steel is hardened to 58 on the Rockwell Scale, while Global steel ranges between 56-58, depending on the collection. Two of Global’s collections, the Classic and Ukon, are hardened to 56 (lower number = softer steel).
In general, softer steel is more durable and less likely to chip, but it will lose its edge faster. Keep that in mind if you’re comparing Global Classic and Ukon knives to any Wusthof collection.
Wusthof, like other European and Western manufacturers, utilizes a more traditional edge grind with a slight bevel on both sides. The advantage of this design is that it creates a stronger and more durable blade edge.
Global, as well as some other Japanese knife makers, ditches the bevel altogether in favor of a straight edge ground steeply up both sides about a quarter of an inch.
You can see the difference in the diagram below.
Global claims that their “straight edge results in a dramatically sharper knife which stays sharper longer.” Since the edge is ground further up the sides of the blade, it stays thin even as the outermost edge wears down.
That’s the idea anyway.
Bottom line—although Wusthof and Global have different philosophies regarding edge grind, both are known to be exceptionally sharp and hold their edges for longer than most other brands.
The sharpness of a kitchen knife depends on the angle of its edge. The lower the angle, the sharper the knife.
Out of the factory, Wusthof knives are sharpened at a 14-degree angle per side (total angle of 28 degrees) while Global Classic and Ukon knives are sharpened at a 15-degree angle per side and Global SAI and NI knives are sharpened at a 12.5-degree angle per side. This means that Wusthof knives are slightly sharper than Global Classic and Ukon knives but duller than Global SAI and NI knives.
Sharper knives are always better, right?
While a sharper edge makes your job in the kitchen easier, an edge that’s too sharp is more brittle and more likely to chip.
Most kitchen knives are sharpened between 15 and 20 degrees per side, so both Wusthof and Global fall on the sharper end of the spectrum—and the Global SAI and NI are some of the sharpest knives you can buy.
Fortunately, you won’t have to worry about chipping with either brand because they’re both made with unique blends of steel with added elements designed specifically to increase durability and reduce the chances of chipping, pitting, and any other damage.
Additionally, Wusthof has developed a unique sharpening process called PEtec that uses computers, lasers, and a special whetstone to sharpen each blade to the optimal angle while improving durability.
Bottom line—both are exceptionally sharp, but if you’re set on buying the sharpest possible knives, the Global SAI and NI lines are the way to go.
Wusthof and Global both offer a variety of kitchen knife collections, each with unique characteristics. Wusthof offers 7 knife lines while Global offers 4.
The following breakdown will help you understand the differences between each.
The Classic is Wusthof’s most popular and best-selling knife line. You can learn why it’s so popular in our recent Wusthof Classic in-depth review. In short, it features a full-tang that’s exposed along the top and bottom of the hand, a full bolster that adds balance and serves as a finger guard, and a smooth black triple-riveted handle made out of a synthetic material called Polyoxymethylene (POM) that’s exceptionally durable and resistant to fading.
The Epicure line has a wide blade and a gorgeous handle made out of Richlite (recycled wood fibers) attached by two rivets to a full tang.
The Ikon line has two bolsters, one between the handle and blade and the other on the butt end of the handle, which adds balance and a beautiful design element. Its most impressive characteristic is its handle made out of African Blackwood—absolutely stunning.
Wusthof Classic Ikon
If you love everything about the Ikon line, but you’re not a fan of the wood handle, the Classic Ikon line is the one for you. It’s the same as the Ikon, but instead of African Blackwood, its handle is made out of the same synthetic material used for the Classic line, Polyoxymethylene (POM).
Wusthof Grand Prix II
The Grand Prix II is very similar to the Classic; full bolster, triple-riveted full tang, and synthetic handle, however, its rivets are not exposed, they are encased by the handle material. Additionally, it’s the only Wusthof line with a steel Wusthof logo near the butt end of the handle.
Unlike the previous 5 lines I just mentioned, which are forged knives, the Gourmet is stamped. Forged and stamped knives have several differences, but the bottom line is that Gourmet knives are lighter, thinner, slightly less durable, and significantly less expensive than Wusthof’s other lines.
Wusthof Crafter is the brand’s newest forged knife collection. It has an earthy, rustic look with smoked oak handles and brass rivets. If you like the look of Wusthof Classic, but prefer wood handles, Crafter is an excellent option.
Coincidentally, Global’s most popular knife line is also called the Classic. Global’s signature black dimples are featured throughout each side of the handle. Its Cromova 18 steel blade has a unique convex shape that curves on both the edge and spine side for smooth cutting and easy food release. The edges are sharpened at a 15-degree angle per side.
The NI line has a slightly thicker blade and longer handle than the Classic line, both of which add weight. The most significant difference between the Classic and NI lines is the design of the blade and handle. NI blades have a longer cutting edge, and the handles only feature grip dimples on the top half. The edges are sharpened at a 12.5-degree angle per side.
The SAI line features a specially designed handle with a thumb recess to provide a secure grip. Unlike the other two lines, the blade is made with 3 different layers of steel and features a textured surface to create air pockets between the blade and food, which improves its release. The handle has a small strip of grip dimples at the bottom. The edges are sharpened at a 12.5-degree angle per side.
The Ukon line features a thick blade hardened to 56, a thumb rest for comfort and safety, and three rows of dimples on the bottom half of the handle. The edges are sharpened at a 15-degree angle per side. Read my in-depth comparison of Global UKON vs. Classic to learn more.
Wusthof knives tend to be significantly more expensive than Global knives; however, the exact difference in price depends on which line you buy, the type of knife or set, and where you buy it.
Use the chart below to compare the current prices of similar Wusthof and Global knives and set on Amazon.
|Knife / Knife Set||Price||View Details|
|Wusthof Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife||Amazon|
|Wusthof Gourmet 16-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Wusthof Classic 18-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Wusthof Classic 2-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Wusthof Classic Ikon 8-Inch Chef’s Knife||Amazon|
|Wusthof Classic 3-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Global Classic 3-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Global 7-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Global Model X 8-Inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Global 7-inch Chef's Knife||Amazon|
|Global 10-Piece Set||Amazon|
Despite their differences, Wusthof and Global have a handful of similarities worth mentioning.
Durability: Although I give the edge to Wusthof due to their full tang construction, both brands are incredibly durable. They’re made with the highest quality materials and are built to last. When you invest in a set of Wusthof or Global knives, you should expect them to last several years, if not your lifetime.
Comfort: Both brands are designed with everyday use in mind, and both are incredibly comfortable in your hand. Some may prefer Wusthof handles since they’re more curved and fit the natural shape of your hand while others prefer Global’s smaller straighter handles because they’re lighter and easier to handle.
Blade Hardness: Technically, two Global knife lines (Classic and Ukon) have softer steel than Wusthof knives (56 Rockwell Hardness vs. 58). However, most average home cooks won’t be able to tell the difference. Although the composition of the steel is slightly different, the result is virtually the same; a hard and durable blade that retains its edge very well.
Care and Cleaning: Both brands recommend hand washing their knives. Why? Because the edges could bang up against other utensils in the dishwasher and cause them to chip or dull.
The truth is, you can’t go wrong with Wusthof or Global kitchen knives. They’re both made will the best materials and brilliantly designed in their own way.
So, which brand should you pick?
You should buy Wusthof knives if…
- You prefer a more traditional design that will complement almost any kitchen style.
- You prefer a heavier well-balanced knife that’s durability is evident when you pick it up.
- You have large hands and need a hefty handle that’s long enough to fit your grip.
- You value full-tang construction that has no risk of snapping into two pieces.
- You don’t mind spending a little extra for a set you’ll love for years to come.
- You want to buy a trusted brand that continues to stand the test of time (over 200 years!).
If you’re nodding your head right now, Wusthof is the brand for you. If you’re ready to buy or you want to read more reviews and check current prices, check out Wusthof knives on Amazon.
You should buy Global knives if…
- You prefer a sleek, modern, and fully-steel design.
- You prefer a lightweight knife that you can handle easily for long periods without fatigue.
- You have small hands and prefer a knife with shorter handles.
- You are on a budget and are looking for a more affordable set.
If this sounds more like you, Global is the better option. Their knives are also available on Amazon.
If you’re still on the fence and you’re looking for a nudge in one direction, I highly recommend going with Wusthof.
Their knives have the perfect balance of performance, durability, and design. Unlike Global knives that are geared toward modern kitchens, Wusthof styles are timeless.
The other thing I love about Wusthof knives is their handles (especially the Classic line). They’re comfortable, smooth, safe, and just plain good looking.
What’s Your Take on the Battle Between Wusthof and Global?
Have you tried either of these brands? If so, which one do you prefer and why? Let us know in the comments below.
If you’re looking for even more information on kitchen knives, we’ve spent hours researching and publishing several other unbiased reviews and comparisons of the most popular kitchen knife brands in the world. Check out our most popular ones below:
- The Definitive Guide to the Best Kitchen Knife Brands
- The Ultimate Review of Global Kitchen Knives
- Wusthof vs. Cangshan: Which Kitchen Knives Are Better?
- Shun vs. Global: In-Depth Kitchen Knife Comparison
- Global UKON vs. Global Classic: What’s the Difference?
- Wusthof vs. Zwilling J.A. Henckels: In-Depth Kitchen Knife Comparison
- Best Chef’s Knife Under $100: Top 5 Compared
- Wusthof Classic vs. Wusthof Ikon: What Are the Differences?
- Wusthof Classic vs. Gourmet: Kitchen Knife Comparison (With Pictures)
- Shun vs. Wusthof: In-Depth Kitchen Knife Comparison
- Cutco vs. Wusthof: How Do Their Kitchen Knives Compare?
- Santoku Knife vs. Chef’s Knife: What’s the Difference?
- Wusthof vs. Dalstrong: An In-Depth Kitchen Knife Comparison