The humble knife is easily the most used tool in any kitchen.
That’s why it’s important to consider which knife suits your needs best, especially if you’re investing in a quality knife.
Two brands that certainly offer quality knives are Wüsthof and Global.
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 article should provide all the information you need to select the right knife for your needs.
Global knives are lightweight and very slim, which makes them more suitable for those with smaller hands. Wüsthof knives, like most German-style knives, are more bulky and are more suited to larger handed cooks.
|My recommendation||Current price|
|Wüsthof Classic 8-Inch||View on Amazon (opens new tab)|
|Global Classic 8-Inch||View on Amazon (opens new tab)|
Wüsthof vs Global – Comparison Table
Here is my summary comparison table for each brand. This is mostly based on the Chef’s knife from their main range; the Wüsthof Classic 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||Germany||Japan|
|Rockwell hardness||HRC 58||HRC 56-58|
|Factory edge||14 degrees (double bevel)||15 degrees (double bevel)|
|Handle material||POM (thermoplastic)||Steel|
|Price range||$150 – $170 (Classic)||$150 – $170 (Classic/G Series)|
|Main benefit||Classic robust western design||Lightweight and slim|
|My recommendation||Wüsthof 8-Inch Classic (view on Amazon)||Global 8-Inch Classic (view on Amazon)|
Wüsthof vs Global – Where are they made
|Brand||Country of Manufacture|
Wüsthof is a family-owned German company based in Solingen, a city based just outside Düsseldorf in Western German.
Wüsthof produces all its knives in the German city of Solingen and has done so for over 200 years. This relatively small German city has a population just above 150,000, its strong knife making reputation has led it to be dubbed ‘The City of Blades’.
Global may not sound it but it’s a Japanese brand. Global knives were first designed in 1985 by Komin Yamada and are part of the Yoshikin company.
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 German or Japanese knife.
Wüsthof 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|
|Wüsthof Classic||X50CrMoV15||HRC 58|
|Global||Chromova18||HRC 56 – 58|
The Wüsthof Classic range uses X50CrMoV15. This is a German steel that is used for the majority of Wüsthof knives.
It’s popular steel amongst producers of quality western-style knives. That’s because it has a particular focus on durability, whilst retaining enough strength for a sharp edge.
The main elements of interest within X50CrMoV15’s composition are Carbon, Vanadium and Chromium.
The Carbon content is 0.55%. That’s not particularly high when comparing it with other quality knives; however, it’s high enough to provide sufficient strength in the blade for a 15 – 20 degree angle on each side, which is standard for western knives.
The big benefit of not having a very high Carbon content is that higher Carbon steels are usually more brittle, therefore the 0.55% content keeps the blade durable.
That’s the same with the strong Vanadium of 0.4%, Vanadium improves the resistance to wear of the steel also adding to its durability.
The Chromium content is 15% is what the 15 in X50CrMoV15 represents. Chromium is vital for the durability of steel as it’s what makes stainless steel resistant to rust.
Steel need only be 10.5% to be considered stainless, so a 15% content is high and makes this a quality stainless steel, very unlikely to rust unless extremely mistreated by the owner.
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.
Both of the steels used for Wüsthof and Global knives are good quality, but whereas the X50CrMoV15 steel used by Wüsthof can be found in many other brands of knives, Global’s Chromova18 is unique to the brand and is what makes Global knives particularly special.
Wüsthof 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 an almost identical sharpness between both Wüsthof and Global knives over time. Wüsthof knives will hold the edge for slightly longer due to the steel being slightly harder, but Global knives will begin a little sharper due to the straighter bevel, but overall the difference is minimal.
|Brand||Factory edge||Rockwell hardness|
|Wüsthof Classic||14 degrees (double bevel)||HRC 58|
|Global||15 degrees (double bevel with straighter edge)||HRC 56-58|
Wüsthof use a standard bevel for their edge, whereas Global uses the more Japanese straight bevel. Effectively the edge angle on a Global will continue up the blade for some way, whereas the cutting angle on the Wüsthof is far focused right on the edge.
Wüsthof Classics do have a smaller angle, coming out at a very slim 14 degrees on each side. That’s a very acute angle for this hardness of steel and I would actually recommend sharpening a Wüsthof between 15 – 20 degrees when you do come to sharpen it.
I consider the 14-degree factory edge to be a bit of a marketing figure as 0.55% Carbon steel just won’t hold an edge that fine for very long.
Wüsthof Classic knives are likely to be slightly harder than Global knives, measuring 58 on the Rockwell scale which is the upper limit of the 56-58 HRC scale Global provides for their knives.
With that being said, the two steels are ultimately going to be extremely similar and will perform almost exactly the same for sharpness over time.
Global knives use a different style of bevel for their knives, which should make them sharper straight out of the factory, although as the edge may need to be sharpened more often due to the softer steel I think ultimately the slight benefits of each knife cancel each other out.
A Wüsthof blade may just retain its edge for longer due to being slightly harder, but the difference would be very minimal.
As a result, there isn’t much to choose between the two when measuring sharpness. They will both certainly be sharp enough, but neither of them offers the super sharp edge of high-Carbon Japanese knives as they both focus more on durability.
Wüsthof 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.
Here we’ll focus on the Wüsthof Classic range and Global knives as a whole since all Global knives use the same handle method.
|Wüsthof Classic||POM (thermoplastic)|
Wüsthof use a thermoplastic material called POM (Polyoxymethylene) for their knife handles.
Materials like these are ideal for knife handles due to their extreme durability.
POM is specifically designed for high stiffness and stability, and being a thermoplastic means it’s also extremely resistant to temperature and moisture changes.
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.
POM is a very durable material and is ideal for the Classic style Wüsthof aim for. Global handles are near indestructible and contribute drastically to the lightweight design of Global knives due to the hollowed handle.
Both are fantastic options, you won’t be able to damage a Global handle in normal use, and it’ll be pretty hard to damage a Wüsthof handle too.
Wüsthof 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.
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||$170 – $190 (Ikon)||$200 – $250 (SAI)|
|Standard||$150 – $170 (Classic)||$150 – $170 (Classic/G Series)|
|Value||$75 – $95 (Gourmet)||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 Wüsthof and Global are priced quite similarly; however, I think you’re generally likely to find Global knives at a lower price than their RRP.
Having said that, 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.
Wüsthof 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 Wüsthof and Global knives is the size and weight of the designs. Wüsthof knives are more robust and weighty, Global knives are more slim and very lightweight.
|Wüsthof||Classic robust western design|
|Global||Lightweight and slim|
Both these knives have been built for durability, and they are both very successful in achieving that goal.
They will both perform quite similarly in terms of their sharpness and are quite similar in price.
However; the big difference is that Wüsthof knives are much bulkier, with more weight and a thicker blade. Many people prefer this because the knife is still well balanced it is comfortable, but it’s more appropriate for those with larger hands.
Global knives are much more lightweight and slim. There is no bolster at all and the handle is hollow.
As a result, Global knives are very suitable for those with smaller hands. That’s especially useful for family kitchens, where many different people might be using the knife.
Both these brands are top quality, and Global knives are very unique, but ultimately I think the biggest difference between the two comes down to their weight and size.
Wüsthof vs Global – Which is better for you
These are both brilliant knives and they are amongst the most durable knives you can find. There is no clear winner, it’s really down to which one suits your needs the best.
Wüsthof knives suit bigger people, with larger hands. Global knives suit those with smaller hands, as is often the case with Japanese influenced knives.
That’s not to say Wüsthof knives are only appropriate for giants! They are a great knife and very comfortable, and their 6-inch Classics are well suited for smaller hands.
But they are bulkier, and Global knives are more specifically designed to be slim and lightweight in a way that is matched by very few other knife brands.
I wouldn’t say one of these brands is better than the other, it’s just about which kind of knife you personally prefer and will find more comfortable.
My Wüsthof Recommendation
The Wüsthof Classic Chef’s knife is my recommendation if you’re looking for a Wüsthof knife.
I recommend it a lot on this site as it’s the ultimate western chef’s knife. It’s super durable, comfortable to hold and use and as we’ve seen in the article above it uses top quality materials and is manufactured right in the German ‘City of Blades’, as it has been for over 200 years.
There are less expensive and more expensive Wüsthof knives, but for the money, I think this is the best.
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.