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Shun vs Global vs Miyabi who is the best Japanese Knife Maker? All of these knife uses a Japanese design in their knife. There is a slight belly to promote a rocking type of cutting. They uses a steeper angle than your standard western knife. They also tend to be sharper and cut better than a western knife. However, the question is who exactly makes the best. These different knives all have their pros and cons. The one that you choose should depend on your preference. The price point is a little different as well. This article will compare and contrast the difference between these knives.
Shun vs Global vs Miyabi Quick Summary
|Shun Premier Chef Knife
|Global Chef Knife
|Miyabi Birchwood SG2 Chef’s Knife
|Pakkawood Handle Round
|Karelian Birch D shape
|VG Max Core with Stainless Steel Exterior (SUS410/SUS431)
|Cromova 18 stainless steel (Chromium, Molybdenum and Vanadium) Single Layer Steel
|101 Damascus with SG2 Core
|Place of Manufacturer
|Seki City Japan
|A well built knife, however the price is a little high. I personally do not find the hammered look to be too attractive but the handle uses a comfortable and functional pakkawood construction.
|A unique knife with an all metal handle. It is the softest and easiest to use. However the handle can get slippery and make it slippery. I would not recommend it for prolong use. My hand develop a cramp sometimes.
|The best knife of the bunch. It is the hardest knife of the bunch and holds the edge the best. However, be careful of chipping. If you cut hard stuff, it can develop micro chip along its edge.
|Shun Cutlery Premier 8” Chef’s Knife
|Global 8″ Chef’s Knife
|Miyabi 34373-203 Chef’s Knife, 8-inch, Birch/Stainless Steel
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While all of these knives are made in Japan. Only Shun and Global are still Japanese owned. Miyabi is a brand under the Zwilling Coprporation, a German cutlery manufacturer. Having said that, there are knife are still made in Seki City Japanese. A famous city known for their knife manufacturing.
Shun and Global are a brand under a bigger parent company. Kai Group is the parent company for Shun and they have a few different brands under them. Some more notable one is Kershaw and Zero tolerance.
Yoshikin is the parent company for Global. They focus more on the Global brand and have managed to propel themselves as one of the most distinct japanese knife maker around. Their metal dimple knife is truly unique.
Shun vs Global vs Miyabi Design
This section will discuss the design and characteristic of these different knives. We will discuss the handle and blade construction.
The handle affects how comfortable the knife are. It affects how the knife is balanced and the general feel of it.
Global knife are made of two separate pieces that is welded together. Once together, they weld it to the blade and they add sand to give it a center balance. When you grip it via a pinch grip, it feels like an extension of your hand. The only problem is that this metal knife means that it can become slippery if you cut greasy food. The dimple does help a bit but its not as grippy as a wooden one.
Miyabi Birchwood uses a Karelian birch wood. It is resistant to shrinking and expanding generally holds up well. The beautiful marbled wood color makes it one of the most beautiful knife out there. It is shaped like a D like a traditional Japanese knife. While this is more suited for right handed user, there are reports that people who are left handed can use it as well.
Shun handle uses a Pakkawood which is a plastic wood composite. These are a durable alternative to a natural wood design. They resist rot, shrinking and discoloration. Unlike a D shape, it has a comfortable rounded handle. In terms of functionality, I would say that Shun handle is the most versatile. It is the most comfortable and easiest for the vast majority of users.
The tang is the length of the blade that extends to handle. A full tang design means that the whole length of the blade ends with the length of the handle. These are generally the most desirable and they are typically the most durable. Although some
High End Japanese knife uses a half tang design.
Since the blade is welded onto the handle, there is no actual tang. Although it is arguably the most durable out of all the different design. It is unlikely for it to fall off.
Miyabi calls their knife a concealed tang. I assume that its a full tang but just concealed. It seems like Shun uses the same time of design as well. You do not see the length of the blade like some of the other knives.
The bolster is the transition point between the knife and the blade. It use to be that a full tang design means that it is of better quality. However, these days that is not true. In fact, a Full Tang Design can actually make it worse. They make it more difficult to sharpen. Eventually, there will be a left over nub due to the bolster.
Luckily, all these manufacturer uses a half or no bolster design. This lets you sharpen the full length of the blade. This will give you the most mileage out of your knife. Generally I would avoid knife with a full bolster design.
Shun vs Global vs Miyabi Blade
The blade of these knife uses a gyuto design. Which is a Japanese take on a western chef knife. They are thinner and have a more rounded belly. This forces you to rock chop instead of tap chopping. Whether this is better depends on your style of cooking.
Angle and Hardness
The angle is the degree of how the knife is sharpen. Most Japanese knife are sharpened to an angle of 15 degree and less. This makes the knife sharper and better suited for delicate food. They slice rather than wedge.
The Global uses a 10-15 degree angle, Shun Premier uses a 16 degree and the Miyabi uses a 9-12 degree angle.
These steeper angle does come with a trade off. The steeper the angle, the quicker it is to dull. To get around this, blade smith will make their knife harder. This helps it retain its edge for longer but it causes it to chip and generally makes it more difficult to sharpen. For this reason, these sharp angle hard knife are better suited for more delicate task.
Global uses the softest design at around 56-58. Shun comes in second at 60-62 and Miyabi is the hardest at around 62-64 degree.
Steel and Finish
The steel is a bit of a personal thing. It seems like every knife collector have their own preference. All these Japanese knife uses their own blend of steel. They call it various name but they are all high in carbon so that they can retain their edge better. None of these knives are prone to rusting, but they can still rust. You should always hand wash your knife and dry immediately. Leaving it soaking in water can ruin and destroy your knife.
Shun uses a VG max core with 34 layers of stainless steel to give it that Damascus look. They took it one step further and gave it that hammering finish. I personally do not like it because I think it looks tacky. But other people taste may differ.
Global is the most plain of all and uses their own Cromova 18 stainless steel. Some version of the knife might have a granton edge. They are there to reduce weight and help with the sticking. My experience is that those edge does not help with sticking…
Finally the Miaybi uses a sg2 core with 101 layer to give it that Damascus look. While I do not like how shiny it is, I would still argue that it is the most beautiful out of all of them.
Shun vs Global vs Miyabi Thoughts
Overall, the knife you should choose depends on your preference. That can vary depending on the blade hardness, feel and general appearance. If I had to pick, I would go for the Miyabi, the blade takes on a really sharp edge and its beautiful. For the best buy, I would say that the global is the best. They are softer than the other knife and more forgiving than the other two. It is also quite a bit more affordable.
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