Tropical cyclones (TCs) cause devastating damage to life and property. Historical TC data is scarce, complicating adequate TC risk assessments. Synthetic TC models are specifically designed to overcome this scarcity. While these models have been evaluated on their ability to simulate TC activity, no study to date has focused on the model performance and applicability in TC risk assessments. This study performs the first model intercomparison of four different global-scale synthetic TC datasets in the impact space, comparing impact return period curves, probability of rare events, and hazard intensity distribution over land. We find that the model choice influences the costliest events, particularly in basins with limited TC activity. Modelled direct economic damages in the North Indian Ocean, for instance, range from 40 to 246 billion USD for the 100-yr event over the four synthetic hazard sets. We furthermore provide guidelines for the suitability of the different synthetic models for various research purposes.