Two Japanese knife brands that have a reputation for innovative design are Mac and Global.
As a result, people are often trying to choose between the two, but which is right for you?
In this article, I’m going to tell you the differences between these two great brands. I’ll go in-depth into the details of each, talking about where they are made, what materials are used and the difference in price.
This should be all the information you need to select your perfect knife.
Mac knives offer a far superior, sharper cutting edge but Global knives are much more durable and lightweight making them well suited to busy family kitchens.
|My recommendation||Current price|
|Mac Professional 8-Inch||View on Amazon (opens new tab)|
|Global Classic 8-Inch||View on Amazon (opens new tab)|
Mac vs Global – Comparison Table
Here is my summary comparison table for each brand. This is mostly based on their main range of knives; the Mac Professional and the Global Classic (G Series) Chef’s knife.
For a more in-depth look at each category then check out the rest of the article below.
|Country of Manufacture||Japan||Japan|
|Rockwell hardness||HRC 59-61||HRC 56-58|
|Factory edge||~15 degrees (double bevel)||15 degrees (double bevel)|
|Handle material||Pakkawood (wood/resin composite)||Steel|
|Price range||$160 – $180 (Professional)||$150 – $170 (Classic/G Series)|
|Main benefit||Sharper with better edge retention||Very durable, lightweight and slim|
|My recommendation||8-Inch Professional (view on Amazon)||Global 8-Inch Classic (view on Amazon)|
Mac vs Global – Where are they made
|Brand||Country of manufacture|
All Mac knives are manufactured in the Japanese city of Seki. Seki is known as the knife capital of Japan, with a population of only 90,000 it lies around 150 miles from Toyoko but is the central hub for all of Japan’s major knife manufacturers.
Mac has been making knives since 1964, selling over 25 million of their fantastically designed East-meets-West knives.
Global knives are manufactured in the city of Niigata, on the North-Western coast of Japan.
Niigata is where the Yoshikin metal manufacturing company has been based since 1954, so they have a good span of heritage making Japanese steels.
Both of these brands produce their knives in the homeland of their heritage, an added bonus for anyone looking for a genuine Japanese knife.
Mac vs Global – What steel do they use
Knowing which steel a knife is made of is one of the most important things to understand when buying a knife.
The steel used will give you a very good indication of what the manufacturer has focused on as the most important aspect of the knife, such as durability or sharpness.
|Brand||Steel type||Rockwell hardness|
|Mac Professional||VG-5||HRC 59-61|
|Global||Chromova18||HRC 56 – 58|
The Mac Professional range uses the Japanese steel VG-5. All Mac knives are made from some version of the Takefu V-Gold (VG) steel varieties.
It’s a very hard steel, which allows for a very sharp cutting edge.
We can see why when we look at VG-5’s levels of Carbon, Vanadium and Chromium.
The Carbon level is much higher at around 0.75%. That makes the blade harder, allowing for a finer edge, but it also makes it more brittle and prone to chipping.
The Chromium content is high at around 14%, it’s not super high but it still makes this a quality stainless steel that will be very resistant to rust.
Global knives are made from their own specially formulated steel, Chromova18.
You’ll only find Chromova18 in Global knives and it’s a very unique steel. To understand why let’s look at some of its Chromium content.
The 18 in Chromova18, represents the steel’s Chromium content, which is 18%. That is a huge level of Chromium by any standard and it’s an amount you’ll rarely see in another knife.
That means that Global knives are especially resistant to rust, making them particularly durable. That’s really the theme of Global knives, they are Japanese knives but they have a focus on durability.
The Carbon content is quite high at 0.75 – 1.05%. Usually, that would lead to a very hard knife, which could hold a super-sharp Japanese style edge, but that’s not the case with Global.
The rather unique composition of Chromova18 actually results in a rather soft steel, with a Rockwell hardness between 56-58 HRC.
I don’t regard this as a bad thing though, it plays directly to the strengths that the brand wants from their knives; durability over sharpness.
A softer steel is less likely to chip and snap, and it’s easier to sharpen (although you would need to sharpen it more often).
Combine that with the 18% Chromium content and this is a knife that will last a very long time.
Mac vs Global – How sharp are they
Once again I’m going to focus on the most popular knives from each brand for this comparison.
You will experience a sharper edge using Mac knives than Global knives due to the steel of the Mac knives being much harder and its off-center angle edge design.
|Brand||Factory edge||Rockwell hardness|
|Mac Professional||~15 degrees (double bevel)||HRC 59-61|
|Global||15 degrees (double bevel with straighter edge)||HRC 56-58|
Sharpness is vital when looking for a knife, but in this case, there’s a bit more to it than just looking at which knife has the smallest angle of its edge.
Usually, the smaller the angle the sharper the blade. However, there are other considerations that are particularly important when comparing these two knives.
Harder knives will hold a sharper edge for longer. The Mac uses much harder steel than the Global.
Mac uses Japanese steel and that tends to have a focus on hardness, in order to create a sharper edge.
So, even though Global knives are made with a similar factory edge of 15 degrees, the Mac knife will actually hold its edge for much longer.
Mac also design the edge of their knife in an unusual way.
Whereas Global knives use a bevel edge, with each side of the knife slanting at the same 15-degree angle to form a point, Mac knives have an off-center angle to the edge.
That means that one side of the knife has a smaller angle than the other, a technique that results in a sharper blade.
It’s a mix between the Japanese style of a single bevel edge, which are incredibly sharp, and a western double bevel edge.
The combination of this edge design and the hard steel means that you will experience a sharper edge using Mac knives.
Mac vs Global – What are the handles made from
The material used for handles is a vital and often overlooked feature of any knife.
A quality handle is often the sign of a quality overall knife. Handles need to be made from a durable material that can withstand all the heat and moisture fluctuations knives can experience in the kitchen.
|Mac Professional||Pakkawood (wood/resin composite)|
Mac use a wood/resin composite called Pakkawood for their knife handles.
Pakkawood is extremely common in knife handles for quality Japanese knives, although many non-Japanese knife manufacturers around the world have begun to use it as well.
Pakkawood is a great material for knife handles, it’s more dense and durable than real timber. That means it’s more resistant to wear and tear and won’t crack over time as timber handles might.
The versatility of design also makes it a popular choice, it can be dyed all sorts of colors and will often give the appearance of a true wood finish.
Pakkawood is very resilient to temperature and moisture changes and makes a terrific material of choice, it also adds to the Japanese influence of the knife with Pakkawood being a popular Japanese knife handle material.
Global knives use their own steel, Chromova18 to create the handle, and form the whole knife out of a seemingly single piece of steel.
Technically the knife isn’t made from one piece of steel. The blade is made in one piece. The handle is made from a further two pieces, the handle is hollow and filled with sand in order to offer the perfect counterbalance weight to the blade.
All the pieces are then welded together to form a seamless knife, with the blade and handle becoming one.
It’s a fantastic design and results in the most durable handle you’ll find in any knife, it’s basically impossible to damage this handle unless you were pretty determined to.
As the stainless steel on its own would be difficult to grip, Global handles are always dimpled to provide extra friction. It’s a technique that works well and for home use, providing the cook with plenty of control over the knife.
Global handles are near indestructible and contribute drastically to the lightweight design of Global knives due to the hollowed handle.
Both the Pakkawood and continuous steel are fantastic handle options, you won’t be able to damage a Global handle in normal use, and it’ll be pretty hard to damage a Mac handle too.
But for pure indestructibility, Global wins.
Mac vs Global – How much do they cost
Both these brands have wide ranges of knives all at differing price ranges.
To allow for a fairer comparison I’ve categorized three of their major ranges that represent their highest and lowest cost knives.
I’ve tried to compare similar knives, sticking to 8 Inch Chef’s knives or the closest equivalent they have in the range. E.g. The Mac Ultimate is actually a 9-inch knife.
In brackets next to the general price range you’ll see the name of the range.
These prices are rough estimates. Prices do change over time but this is intended as a rough guide.
|Premium||> $200 (Ultimate)||$200 – $250 (SAI)|
|Standard||$160 – $180 (Professional)||$150 – $170 (Classic/G Series)|
|Value||$80 – $100 (Chef’s Series)||No value range (although often discounted)|
The first thing to know is that Global doesn’t really have a ‘Value range’, their Classic range is about as low as they offer price-wise.
However; they do offer significant discounts on their knives quite often, so there is a good chance you’ll get a Global Classic for less than the RRP.
Overall both Mac and Global are priced quite similarly and so I don’t think the price difference is enough to make a distinction between these two brands.
However, there is one notable difference that might help you choose which is best for you, so let’s look at that next.
Mac vs Global – What is the difference
Now that we have looked at the design, materials, background and price of these brands we can fully understand the difference, and you should be able to make an informed decision on which knife is correct for you.
The main difference between Mac and Global knives is that Global knives are made with a high focus on durability. The main focus of Mac is the sharpness of their knives. Global knives are also quite a bit lighter than Mac.
|Mac||Sharper with better edge retention|
|Global||Very durable, lightweight and slim|
The Mac is by far the sharper blade.
It’s a clever mix between a Japanese single bevel and a Western double bevel makes it sharper out of the factory, and the Japanese steel used, with its 0.75% Carbon content and HRC 61, means it will hold its sharp edge for significantly longer than a Global knife.
However, with its far harder steel in comparison with the Global, the Mac will also be more brittle and prone to chipping.
That’s fine if you are able to take care of the knife, it won’t chip very easily.
Whilst the Global’s steel can’t compete with the Mac on sharpness, it is the more durable of the two. It’s extremely rust resistant and less like to chip along the blade.
That’s important if you don’t want to worry too much about maintaining your knife.
With that understood, it should now be easy to choose between the two knives.
Mac vs Global – Which is better for you
This is down to what you want from your kitchen knives.
For someone looking for an extremely sharp blade, the Mac is the obvious choice. But you do need to take more care to maintain it.
Caring for a Mac is not exactly hard, all you need to do is store it individually, such as in a knife block, using a blade sheath, or on a magnetic strip.
Essentially, you want to avoid knocking the blade edge against other hard objects when you’re not using it.
In busy family kitchens, where knives are likely to be thrown into the kitchen sink, cutlery drawer, or dishwasher without a second thought, this can be difficult.
But you’re aware of how to look after the blade, and just ensure it is properly stored after use, then the Mac will provide a superior cutting edge.
For a busy family kitchen, where multiple people might be using the knife or it’s a risk of being damaged or left soaking in water, then I would recommend the Global.
It’s more durable than the Mac and will require less care and attention.
It’s also lightweight and slim so can be easily used by a range of different sized people, often useful in a family kitchen.
As it’s a Japanese knife, the blade is still very sharp, it’s just not as sharp as the Mac.
My Mac Recommendation
For my Mac recommendation, I’m also going to the mid-range priced Professional Chef’s knife.
It uses hard steel and unique blade design, allowing for a sharper edge.
The side of the knife is also dimpled, which reduces the surface area and thus stops food from sticking to the blade, another clever design touch.
The materials used are all premium quality and for a Japanese knife with a large Carbon content it is actually very durable and at 14% Chromium is a good quality stainless steel too.
Some high-Carbon Japanese knives contain almost no Chromium at all and can begin to rust overnight if left wet, this Mac is a far cry from those.
When it comes to Japanese blades this Mac is a great balance between amazing sharpness and durability.
My Global Recommendation
The Global Classic 8-Inch is one of the most durable knives you can find.
It’s made from a 18% Chromium stainless steel that is pretty much un-matched in the knife world.
But its biggest selling point is its size and weight. Global knives are very light and because they are entirely steel, the handle is actually hollow, with just some sand to counterbalance the blade.
It has no bolster and is slimmer than most knives, which makes it perfect for those who want a lighter, easier to control knife and is especially suited for people with smaller hands.
It’s a great knife, and one of a kind.