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Mar 1, 2011 06:43 PM

Shun or Global knives? Which brand do you like?

I haven’t started a fun thread for awhile. We have a few threads about comparing German knives to Japanese knives, but Iet's try something in a narrower scope. The title said it: Shun knives vs Global knives. I am mostly referring the Shun Classic knives versus the Global G series knives.

Which one do you like better? Please provides one or two reasons if you can.

We know some potential advantages of Shun knives are:
Harder steel, fewer breakage reports, free hand sharpening service…
While Global knives have:
Slightly convex ground for edge holding, thinner blade, unusual yet stylish design…

Be respectful and have fun at it.

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  1. While I like the idea of an all metal, seamless, cool-looking kitchen knife, I can't get past the uncomfortable handle of the Global. That said, I'm not crazy about the Shuns either. There are lots of other Japanese knife brands I would rather buy.

    2 Replies
    1. re: The Loaf

      "There are lots of other Japanese knife brands I would rather buy."

      I agree. I think I should have clarified that I picked these two brands for discussion because they are the best known Western-Japanese style knives in North America and possibly Europe, and almost everyone have seen them in person.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        I like the Global handle, my veg knife is just like an extension of my (small) hand. Very comfortable. The Shun have always looked dauntingly large to me.

    2. I'll play.

      Global. At least for a chefs knife. Cause I can't stand the Shun's big German beer gut. Shuns have slightly better steel and are easier and more fun to sharpen. But that curved edge is a deal breaker for me, and I like a slightly thinner knife as well.

      On the other hand, I'd rather have the Shun paring knife. Probably also their bread knife.

      1. I'll play. Shun.

        I actually built my base knife kit on Shun Classic before supplementing with Pros and other brands. Picked over Global because of the handle (I find the Global handle not as comfortable even though I pinch), balance of specific knives, hardness and cost (at the time, Globals were significantly more expensive than Shuns were).

        That Global flexible fish knife however, is amazing.

        1. Odd that you neglected MAC with its design/price range.

          10 Replies
          1. re: Kagemusha

            Not really. MACs are certainly nice knives. But that's not the point of this thread. It's just comparing the two most popular Japanese knives made for mass market American consumption.

            Also, if you start adding MACs or Tojiros to the list, the responses get more predictable, at least among the knife enthusiasts here.

            1. re: cowboyardee

              MAC's not popular or mass market? Why not broaden the discussion for a change?

              1. re: Kagemusha

                You're still missing the point. Chem asked Coke or Pepsi. You're answering RC cola. I have nothing against RC cola. If you want a discussion on the matter, start a thread. You can do that, right?

                In general, I think our discussions about knives on this board are plenty broad. Just not this one particularly.

                1. re: cowboyardee

                  The 3 brands tend to cluster and compete in the same market segment, as I'm guessing you might know?

                  1. re: Kagemusha

                    I'd never heard of MAC until reading this. The other two have been known to me for years.

                    1. re: Kagemusha

                      They compete in the same market, but MACs are a little less common and less well known. Probably on account of not having as strong a presence on Amazon and at Sur la Table and Williams Sonoma, at least recently.

                      I'm not telling people not to buy MAC knives. It's just that the point of this thread is to compare two brands that most people interested in cookware have experience with. They're reference points, not recommendations.

                      1. re: Kagemusha


                        Will you let this go? I know MAC is competing the same price range (more or less) as Shun and Global, but they are not known to most Americans in the same level. This thread is supposed to just be a fun thread to share opinions. Many people have not heard of MAC. For example, if you look at the knife brands offered by Williams Sonoma, Sur La Table, Bed Bath and Beyond, you will see they offer Shun and offer Global:




                        They don't readily offer MAC.

                        If you really feel leaving MAC is being unfair, you can start a new thread. I cannot change the title of this thread.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Right, CK, I'm a pretty savvy kitchen utensil consumer and they had escaped my notice so I'm sure there are a lot of people in the same boat.

                2. re: Kagemusha

                  Opps, forgot. I do just see Global and Shun knives more often in the stores. Also, I think Global and Shun are competing the same market space. Afterall, Tojiro is more like Shun from a steel/construction point of view. Maybe next time/thread then?

                3. Chem do you know what the hardness rating and steels are for Global and Shun?

                  23 Replies
                  1. re: la2tokyo

                    There are different lines, but if we are talking about their flagship knives, then Global G series has CROMOVA with a HRC 56-58 and Shun Classic series has a VG-10 core hardened to HRC 60-61.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      I've used both Shun and Global (but not owned) and my vote goes to Shun.Up here in Canada MAC's are very popular more so than both Shun and Global :)

                      1. re: petek

                        Interesting that MACs are more popular there. Had no idea. Could explain the dismay upthread about them not being included as reference points.

                        Which line of MACs are most popular there? I've sharpened up some MAC mightys and superiors (they seem to be fairly popular with line cooks considering limited availability here) but have no experience with their other lines - strangely, I've never seen a MAC pro in person.

                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          Couldn't tell ya which MAC line is most popular up here,but most cooks/chefs that I know have at least 1 MAC pro.

                          Chem: I hated the feel of the Global in my hand,just didn't sit right with me.The Shun's were better,except the hideous Ken Onion line.They felt even more awkward to hold and they're real ugly to boot. :P
                          IMHO Shun's and Globals attract the home cook crowd(present company excluded) who want a smart looking knife to hang on the wall.The MAC's ain't pretty but they're a little more robust and functional, again just my humble opinion.

                          1. re: petek

                            I believe it's the MAC Mighty that's very popular here in Canada. Most of the Canadian cooking shows on Food Network are sponsored by MAC as well, which could explain the popularity.

                            I vote for Global just because I love the handle. I love my G4:)The Shun I handled was ok, but I never used it, so...shrug...

                            1. re: petek

                              I love the Ken Onion knives. They fit my hand beautifully,super sharp and i keep them that way. To me and a # of chefs i know, they are the first choice.

                          2. re: petek

                            Why the vote for Shun?

                            Good to know MAC is more popular up North. This may explain why Kage questioned about the absence of MAC. In the USA, Shun and Global dominates the Western-Japanese knife markets -- I believe Shun has a stronger presence than Global. I cannot remember the last time I saw a MAC knife in a brick and mortar store.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Until only a couple of years ago, one couldn't buy Shuns in Canada outside of the House of Knives chain in British Columbia and a single retailer in Winnipeg.

                              Global and MAC were generally in plentiful supply and I have seen the MAC Professional and Ultimate series; they're nice but I'm unwilling to pull the trigger on any of them since i'm in the hunt for *the* sujihiki.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                I'd be interested to know if the Global handle appeal is gender-related (as a female Global-fancying "home cook" myself).

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  Doesn't appear to be. Of all the chefs and line cooks I know who use Global, it's an even split across gender.

                                  Global very popular with monied homeowners who don't cook because of those easily-recognizable handles (irrespective of gender or couple pairing).

                                  1. re: wattacetti

                                    "Global very popular with monied homeowners who don't cook because of those easily-recognizable handles (irrespective of gender or couple pairing)."
                                    You don't think Shun's damascus cladding and D-shaped handles have the same effect and intent?

                                    You're right that these knives are popular with well to do people who don't cook due to price/looks/reputation, but to be fair they do work reasonably well. I know some pretty good professional cooks who like their Globals or Shuns just fine. You could get much crappier knives for your money. Better too, IMO, but I assume you know that.

                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                      No, because in a *wooden* Shun-brand knife block, the pakkawood handles are black cylinders and the cladding is covered.

                                      Globals in a metal Global knife block stand out when the kitchen is viewed from elsewhere and the handles are immediately recognizable. One of the reasons why lots of kitchen reno magazines did product placement with Globals when touting high-end kitchen design.

                                      1. re: wattacetti

                                        Oh, psshaw. Cause wall magnets are considered gauche among the wealthy?

                                        I could see Globals as a fixture of futurist kitchen styling or fitting in with all-stainless design that seemed popular a few years ago. Not every design major who wouldn't know the difference between a braise and a bucket of chicken subscribes to that style.

                                        They both clearly serve as status symbols. Read some amazon reviews if you're wondering whether everyone who buys a Shun knows their way around a kitchen.

                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                          Wattacetti and cowboy,

                                          I am going off topic for a second. Although Global and Shun may seems expensive compared to Tojiro and others, they are not that much more expensive than Henckels and Wusthof -- and those are still the standard.


                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            Chem, that reminds me - you're gonna love this.

                                            Henckels went and outdid themselves with the Rolls Royce of knives for people who don't know much about knives.

                                            That's right. I introduce the $1000 Henckels. It's 8 inches; it's pretty; it costs a grand - what else could a person want in a knife? I considered making a thread about it, but it seems to fit here.

                                            1. re: cowboyardee


                                              I thought the Henckels 1731 was overpriced, but this is just wow.

                                              You should still make another post for it. It deserves attention.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                "You should still make another post for it. It deserves attention."

                                              2. re: cowboyardee

                                                This is even more ridiculous -- the Damascus "bread knife". Who needs a $900 knife to slice bread? Now I have seen everything.

                                              3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                And we weren't OT? BTW, why is the Henckel's Twin considered the standard?

                                                Cowboy: have seen several "live" kitchen renos over the last 18 months ranging from very modern to country. Wall magnets seem to be verboten among designers.

                                                1. re: wattacetti


                                                  I don't know. That is the impression I got from people that Henckels is the industrial standard. It does not mean they are the best, but they are good and popular. Something easy to measure against, like KitchedAid for stand mixers, and John Boos for cutting boards.

                                          2. re: cowboyardee

                                            did you know that that D shaped handle is available in right and left handled knives. They are designed for lefties and right handed people. If your source only supplies right handed knives in their Shun line ask them to order a left handled knife for you if you are a lefty.

                                        2. re: buttertart

                                          I am well versed in knives and have fairly small female hands and I can tell you I LOVE the handle on my Global chefs knife. I tried Shun but it just didn't feel right in my hand to me. The shape and lightweight of the Global does it for me.

                                          My giant handed husband is on rare occasion my stand in chopper and he loves it too (but I think its more because he knows its a "fancy" knife)

                                          1. re: jmorri26

                                            i like the ken onion handles on shun.