Guide to Global Knives

Do consider a Global knife if you

Want extremely sharp knives
Want a knife that’s relatively easy to sharpen
Like blending Japanese craftsmanship and ultramodern aesthetics
Are willing to care for your knife
Need to do precision cutting and slicing
Looking for a lightweight, thin, knife brand

Look for something else if you

Tend to drop or abuse your cutlery
Are looking for that super hard, edge retaining Japanese steel
Want something you can clean in the dishwasher
Looking for a chop-friendly, hefty knife

History of Global Knives

In 1985, the Yoshida Metal Industry Co. Ltd (a.k.a. Yoshikin) decided they design something a little different. 

Founded in 1954, Yoshikin was a post-war Japanese company located in the Niigata prefecture that specialized in the production of traditional Japanese-styled hollow-handled knives for Western markets.  By the mid-1960s, the company had gained some renown for the use of an innovative steel alloy (a corrosion resistant mixture of molybdenum and vanadium) and by the early-80s they had decided that they needed to take things to the next level.

Contracting famed industrial designer Komin Yamada the company, the company gave his team the complex task of blending modern Italian aesthetics, Japanese precision and sharpness and German durability, all while using the latest materials and advanced manufacturing techniques coming out of Japan. 

A tall order for anyone.

Yamada’s team, however, were up to the task and in 1985 they revealed their creation: a sharp and durable stainless-steel knife with a sand-filled hollow handle and a unique, ultramodern dimple-handled design that remains immediately identifiable to this day. 

With an eye towards international expansion, Yoshikin called their new knife line Global. 


In general, Global knives aren’t cheap.

Price varies depending on collection, sales, knife type, and where you buy them but you can typically expect to pay $80 to $400 or more for a Global knife.

They are well-built and easy to care for, and come from the factory with an extremely sharp edge. They are comfortable to hold, especially for those with smaller hands, and their lightweight nature makes them particularly good for those with weaker grips or for people who require very fine knife control.

To be certain, Global knives aren’t the most premium knives you can get out of Japan but for the money, Global knives provide good value especially for those getting into kitchen knives and are looking for something functional but aesthetically a little different.

Global Knives Steel 

All Global knives are made from Cromova 18 stainless steel.

Cromova 18 is a proprietary Yoshikin alloy made of three metals: Chromium, Molybdenum and Vanadium. 

Now, Chromium is what typically gives stainless steel its rust resistance. For a steel to be classified as stainless, it has to have a minimum of 10% chromium. Cromova 18, as the number suggests, contains 18% Chromium. That’s pretty high for kitchen knives in general and contributes to Global’s reputation for being corrosion resistant. 

In addition to Chromium, the steel also contains Molybdenum and Vanadium. These two metals are added to further increase toughness and edge-retention and allow Global knives to use thinner blades while staying durable.

Global knives rockwell hardness

Officially, Global knives’ Cromova 18 steel is hardened and ice tempered to a Rockwell hardness (HRC) of C56- 58. Compared to other higher end Japanese knife steels, that’s actually fairly soft (relatively speaking of course – average kitchen knives tend to be HRC C52-55). 

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing for a kitchen knife.

Harder knife steels can be honed to a keener edge, will resist deformation and keep their razor edge sharp for longer (meaning you don’t have to sharpen them as frequently). They tend, however, to be more brittle – accidental drops and sudden twisting/inappropriate chopping can cause significant damage to your expensive knife.  

Softer knife steels, on the other hand, tend to be easier and cheaper to sharpen and tend not to be as susceptible to the same catastrophic failures that extremely hard ones are. They tend to flex and bend under sudden force rather than snapping, chipping or cracking. 

At C56- 58, Global knives are decently hard but not overly so. It’s not ceramic or high carbon, but they are certainly not soft. They are durable enough to stand up to most kitchen use and hold a 15 degree edge very well, giving them a razor sharp edge that can last with a minimum of periodic honing.

Ok, but what does that mean for me in my kitchen?   

What it all means is that Cromova 18 lets Global knives be good all around knives for the home kitchen and day to day use. They are lightweight and easy to handle, they withstand rust and corrosion extremely well, they are thin but durable and can withstand most of the everyday drops and bumps and chops you’ll put them through.

You can sharpen them to a very good level of sharpness, they’re fairly cheap and relatively easy to sharpen and they can stay sharp for longer, sometimes for months of kitchen use.

Global Knife Construction

The Classic Global Knife Series (G-series)

Global G Series knives are typically put together in what’s called a three piece construction. The blade is stamped out of sheets of steel of a proprietary stainless steel alloy, while the two handles are created and welded together separately. The blade and handle are then welded together into one solid piece of stainless steel.

What makes these Global knives a bit unusual is that they start off empty. The blades are welded on without a tang and the handles are actually hollow. Instead, to maintain balance, they are filled with a very precise amount of sand.

Now it’s quite unusual and you might just write this off as Japan being Japan and doing things differently because…well, they’re Japan, but it seems to work very well for them. 

Image of Global santoku knife

The ability to inject a precise amount of weight (sand, in this case) as needed directly into the knife has led to them getting a reputation or having very precise and excellently balanced knives across their range of products. 

That said, ergonomics are always personal. Global G Series knives tend to feel very lightweight and evenly balanced. Some people tend to prefer a knife that is more weighted to the back for a firmer grip, or to the front for chopping action. 

Global NI Series (GN – series)

The NI series (ni being 2 in Japanese – as in second generation) takes what makes the Classic series so popular-  lightweight, super sharp,  and ultramodern- and gives them a few updated changes. Essentially, these knives are heavier than the Classic series, and are slightly longer overall. 

Global NI blades are a little more angular in appearance and thicker, giving them more durability when put through their paces. They are factory sharpened to 12.5 degree angles per side, making them a little sharper than the Classic series (which come with 15 degree angled edges) and also have fewer dimples on the handle, making them look a little sleeker. 

Otherwise, they are constructed in the same Cromova 18 steel, by the same stamped method and maintain their balance with the same sand filled hollow handles. 

If you prefer your knives to have a bit more of a classic Asian style to them, Global’s NI series might be more your preference than the classic series. 

Global Ukon Series (GU – series)

In Japanese, Ukon roughly means a union of the new and the traditional. Broadly speaking, we feel they fall somewhere between the NI and the Classic series. 

Still stamped out of Cromova 18 steel, they have thicker blades and are slightly larger than the Classic series, but come factory sharpened to a 15 degree angle per side, rather than the 12.5 degree angle of the NI series. 

They also have a built in thumb rest, which is a nice touch and adds a bit of extra comfort. 

Global Sai Series (SAI)

A newer line of knives from Global, the Global Sai series are actually made a little differently than the G-Series in that they are a 3-ply construction. That means they use their patented Cromova 18 stainless steel as the “core” of the knife blade and then wrap both sides in a layer of 18/8 steel, a softer stainless steel made of 18% chromium and 8% nickel. 

The outer layer of these knives is given a hammered, dimpled finish, which not only looks really nice but has the added effect of helping prevent food from sticking to the knives while you cut. 

Like the G-Series, the Sai Series is hollow handled and injected with sand to give it a good, even balance. The handles are otherwise smoother and sleeker and more comfortable to hold. They have fewer dimples for grip but have a more prominent grip and even a thumb-rest that let you comfortably hold on to them for longer periods.  

Image of Global Sai knife collection

Sai Series knives tend to be a little harder than the G-series, with an HRC of about C58-59, letting them be honed to a slightly keener edge and letting them hold that edge for longer but making them slightly more chip-prone. 

The added layer of steel makes them slightly thicker, however, and heavier than the G-series.

With a different construction and a more updated ergonomic look and feel, Sai series knives also tend to be more expensive than their classic G-series counterparts. 

Global Forged Series (GF)

Global knives also have a drop forged line of knives, called the GF series

These knives use the same Cromova 18 steel as the GS Series, except they are drop forged and not stamped. That’s when a piece of steel is hammered into a die to create the knife’s shape. They have a full tang, which gives them extra rigidity and strength but also makes them relatively heavier and more expensive and are therefore best for more heavy duty, professional kitchen use. 

Their handles sit on that tang and are evenly balanced, like other Globals, with sand.

Because they are made of the same Cromova 18 stainless steel as the stamped G-series, the GF series of knives have the same hardness, around HRC C56-58.

Knife Edge Geometry

Like other Japanese knives Global knives tend to come from the factory with a fairly steep angled edge – typically 15 degrees on each side for the G-Series and GF series, and an even steeper angle, 12.5 degrees for the Sai series. 

For reference, the majority of kitchen knives are sharpened to a 17-20+ degree edge.

A Global knife’s slim, high angled edge makes it razor sharp and good for very precise cutting, although ultimately makes it a little less robust and prone to chipping and cracking. Expect Global knives to therefore let you cut easily and finely, but you really won’t want to slam them around too much or throw them in the dishwasher by accident.

Global knives tend to have a convex edge. Tending to look a bit like the cross section of an airplane, these edges tend to be sharper and more durable than a traditional V-shape but become a little trickier to sharpen at home.

Global Design and Ergonomics

Global knives have a very distinct, seamless and almost ultramodern look to them, especially the newest Sai series. 

Global blades are generally thinner and more lightweight than their competitors, especially when compared to some German knife brands. They are quite durable and lightweight, making them very easy to maneuver, especially for people with arthritis or people starting out in cooking, but it does take some time to get used to the thinness if you are someone who likes to use a pinch grip. 

If you prefer a heavier knife, they do have a forged line (the GF series) that increases the weight and thickness of the knife. 

Their handles are made of stainless steel as well. Typically they run a little smaller than other brands and people with smaller hands tend to find them more comfortable to use.

They have distinctive dimples on them that not only look cool but help give a non-slip grip when the knives get wet. They have a reputation for being fairly comfortable for day to day use, although less so if you spend many hours in the kitchen chopping and slicing.   

Some of Our Global Knife Recommendations

Global Classic 3.5” Paring Knife

If you need to peel an orange, deseed jalapenos, mince some garlic or do any other delicate or intricate knife work, you need a knife that’s small and light enough to use with one hand and sharp enough to do a variety of prep work over and over again. That’s why no kitchen and no chef can really do without a good paring knife.

Global’s way of knifemaking really becomes an asset when it comes to paring knives. Being made of a durable stainless steel they’re easy to maintain, easy to sharpen and will last for some time, which is great since you tend to use paring knives pretty frequently. Global knives’ construction also means they are very lightweight and evenly balanced so you should have no issues dexterously maneuvering it with one hand around whatever needs slicing, cutting, peeling or dicing.   

Now, every Global series has a paring knife. The one we would recommend you go with is the Global Classic 3.5” paring knife. 

The 3.5” Classic series paring knife is very lightweight and is made of the same high quality and durable Cromova 18 steel as the other lines, but is the most affordable option of all the lines while still keeping that beautiful, Global-style ultramodern luxe look to it. 

The 3.5” blade is straight and small enough to really do intricate knife work but long enough to handle more complicated jobs around the kitchen, and we find it more useful than the 3” blades Global also offers. Their acute edge angle also makes them super-sharp, which helps with making more precise cuts, but if you’re new to using Global knives – watch your fingers. 

Some of the other Global series, like the Ukon and Sai, have thicker blades but for intricate prep tasks like deveining shrimp and making very precise slices we actually prefer a thinner and lighter blade. We feel they can be better suited for the type of close-in, light and precise work you’ll be doing- you shouldn’t be chopping too much with a paring knife so the added strength of a thicker blade isn’t much of a benefit here. 

Finally, the handles on the Classic series also have the most grip-enhancing dimples of the Global lines, which we found to make a big difference with paring knives since things tend to get messy and wet very quickly and they better help prevent slipping with these all steel knives. 

Recommended: Global Classic 3.5” Paring Knife

Most affordable of the Global series, good for a high-use knife
Durable, corrosion resistant Cromova 18 stainless steel construction
Extremely sharp 15 degree angle slices through prep work
Most lightweight paring knife by Global
Thin blade excellent for delicate work
Lots of dimpling on handles gives best slip-resistance in wet conditions

Global SAI series 7.5” Santoku Knife

Santoku knives are a great all-purpose kitchen knife typically used for chopping, mincing and dicing- hence their full name Santoku-Bocho or “three uses knife.” Smaller, lighter and thinner than traditional Western chef’s knives, Santoku knives have become popular in kitchens around the world due to their versatility, cool looks and easy handling. 

Because of the many different ways in which you might be using a Santoku, we recommend the SAI series Santoku knife. The way in which its constructed gives it a number of advantages over other Global Santoku knives. 

With Santoku knives you generally want a harder steel construction, letting them hold as sharp an edge as possible so as to more easily slice and cut through food. Global’s Sai Santoku knives are harder than those of other Global Santokus, with a HRC of about C58-59. In fact, they come from the factory with a razor-sharp 12.5 degree angle, as opposed to the company’s usual 15 degree factory sharpened angles. 

Normally, with a harder steel you might worry about brittleness and chipping, especially if you plan on using your santoku for chopping. The Sai Series knives get around this by sandwiching their hard Cromova 18 core in softer 18/8 steel, making them more durable and resistant to damage compared to pure Cromova Global Santokus. 

Because of this 3-ply steel construction, the Sai Santokus are a little heavier than the Classic and Ukons. They still have that Global lightness and ease of handling but that extra weight feels sturdier and we feel it gives the knives a bit more heft and force when chopping, pushing and slicing their way through more dense foods. 

We also like the hammered finish of the Sai Series, which has the added benefit of helping prevent food sticking to it when in action. We find it more attractive than the other Global lines more traditional fluted/hollow ground Santokus and find that it works just as well, letting the knife glide through sticky and difficult foods with less resistance. 

Hey, when you’re paying for a premium workhorse knife, aesthetics counts. 

The handle doesn’t have as many grippy dimples as the Classic series or the Ukon (it has 7- apparently for the seven codes of Bushido), but it does have a well positioned and deep thumb grip, which helps a great deal in maintaining firm control during the back and forth cutting motions typically associated with these kinds of knives.

Size wise, we’d go with the 7.5” versions as they are large enough to do the job as an all purpose knife but still compact enough to be easy to handle. 

Recommended: Global SAI 7.5” Santoku 

3 ply construction makes it durable and is harder than other Global Santokus
Can be honed to be extremely sharp edge, comes from the factory with a 12.5 degree angle
Heavier than most other Global Santokus, giving it more heft when slicing, chopping and dicing
Hammered finish prevents food sticking to it,  is more aesthetically pleasing
Thumb grip gives it excellent handling with forward and back slicing motions

Global Forged 8” Heavyweight Chef Knife (GF-33)

Sometimes you just need a large, solid all-purpose chef’s knife. Whether it’s cutting tough meat, dicing vegetables, slicing through stubborn foods or even disjointing large cuts, nothing makes you feel more unstoppable than a good, dependable chef’s knife.

Because a chef’s knife is put through a lot of tough use and is often called upon to deliver a good amount of force, we recommend Global’s GF-33 Forged 8” Chef’s knife for the task.

The GF Chef’s knife is Drop forged out of a single piece of steel and has an actual tang. This makes the knife heavier and feel sturdier than other Global chef’s knives.

The GF Chef’s knife blade is a little thicker than other Global chef knife variants, too, letting it withstand more pressure and deal with more difficult cutting situations. You can chop, wiggle, slice and saw through things with a little more vigor than with other Global knife lines without worrying as much about catastrophic failure.

In addition, the added weight that the GF series has gives the chef’s knife a little more force behind it, although the knives are still injected with sand to give them that characteristic Global balance. 

While the Sai series does make a harder chef knife, the Drop Forged series hardness of 56- 58 will be just fine for most purposes and will be faster and easier to touch up and sharpen as needed. Also consider that a chef’s knife is a workhorse knife after all and may need a little more give in the steel to prevent damage.

The GF series has several sizes of chef knives available. We recommend the 8” knife as we feel it is the best balance of size, capability and ease of handling. There are up to 12” chef knives, but we think for most purposes and kitchens a foot-and-a-half long (total length) knife would be a bit much to use. 

Finally, it should be noted that Global’s drop forged knives are typically more expensive than other series of Global knives. That’s because they are designed for more heavy duty use…and we can’t really think of a more heavy duty use than a chef’s knife. If you spend a lot of time in your kitchen, your chef knife will become your closest friend.

Recommended: Global Forged 8” Heavyweight Chef Knife 

Durable drop forged construction
Heavier knife can exert more force
Thicker, heavier duty blade than other Global chef knives
Still finely and evenly balanced for control
Classic, luxe Global looks
Dimpled handle gives a better grip than more smooth options


Steph Acevado Having previously worked as a line chef for almost 5 years, Steph is our go-to expert for all things food and meal prep related and is a self-described knife nerd. When she’s not helping people learn to prepare exquisite dinners at home, she’s probably serving up some hot pockets for her twin boys or jogging with her pup Moose around her house in upstate New York.