The quality of a good knife depends directly on the materials from which it is made, and more specifically the steel used to make the blade. A knife without a blade is nothing, so it is important to know which is the best steel for knives

There are many different variations of blades. Some blades are very strong and difficult to sharpen, but they stay sharp for a long time. While others are softer, it is much easier to sharpen them, but they blunt much faster. So, how do you know what is the hardest knife steel? 

Steel is a term that actually describes an entire group of metal alloys, it is a versatile and common type of metal with a large spectrum of action. There are a huge number of varieties of steel, but most types are divided into two main categories: carbon steels and stainless steels. The differences between the metals give each category different properties that help make the best knife steel.

What is the strongest steel for a knife?

The general characteristics of carbon steel make it ideal for blacksmiths, as this steel is often used to make traditional knives. The disadvantage is that it is not rust resistant, so higher maintenance skills are needed.

As the name implies, carbon steel has a high percentage of carbon, but does not have the necessary amount of chromium to be classified as stainless steel. As such, carbon steel knives will rust quickly if they are not dried and oiled after use. Quality carbon steel is used in making sushi knives, but a carbon steel knife blade needs a special coating to prevent corrosion for outdoor use.

Strengths:

  • Increased durability.
  • Affordable price range.
  • Wear-resistant.
  • Shock and impact resistant.
  • Safe handling and work.
  • Eco-friendly.
  • Easily recyclable metal.

Drawbacks:

  • Sometimes difficult to work with.
  • Susceptible to rust and corrosion.

What knife steel gets the sharpest?

Tool steel is used to make cutting and measuring tools, dies, and much more. There are three types of tool steel. These are carbon steel, alloy steel, and high speed tool steel.  

All types of tool steel have specific requirements that they must meet, such as high hardness, good wear resistance and proper strength. But each characteristic has its own specific properties. Workers take all the different tool steels in the manufacturing process to get the right heat treatment that will meet the steel’s property needs for different applications.

Strengths:

  • High hardness.
  • Wear resistance.
  • Suitable impact toughness under high temperature conditions. 
  • Shock resistance. 
  • Dimensional stability.

Drawbacks:

  • Low hardenability.
  • Tendency to overheating.
  • Lack of high heat resistance.

What steel stays sharp longest?

Stainless steel is a category of steel which is made with chromium and other important elements such as nickel. Stainless steel is harder to sharpen because it is very malleable and usually subject to rougher handling. It is possible to use something simple, such as sandpaper, because the higher grit will help with these larger imperfections on the blade.

Without a straight edge, some of the deformed areas of the knife become subject to more friction and therefore thinner. Such steel usually contains more than 13% of chromium, whose oxide helps form a passive film that protects against corrosion and staining. Most kitchen knives are made specifically of martensitic stainless steel.

Strengths:

  • Corrosion-resistant properties.
  • Resistant to temperatures.
  • Available in a large number of types.
  • The metal is characterized by low maintenance properties and easy cleaning.
  • Durability.
  • Eco-friendly.

Drawbacks:

  • Rather high price point.
  • It is a difficult metal to work with.
  • Leads to waste.

What two types of steel are used for knives?

The most common steels used in knife blades today are listed below:

  • 5Cr14MoV. The MoV series of steels is made in China and is comparable to AUS-8 steels, but has a little lower concentration of carbon. As a rule, you get excellent value for money with this steel, and the manufacturers of BPS Knives have mastered the heat treatment process, thus this steel is in no way inferior to AUS-8..
  • Carbon Steel 1066. Its hardness allows it to maintain amazing cutting edge retention, but unlike other steels with this hardness, it is not fragile and delicate. In fact, it’s highly wear-resistant, which means you don’t have to worry about your knife chipping or breaking.
  • Steel D2 is a tool steel often referred to as “semi-rusting” because it lacks the necessary amount of chromium (13%) to be classified as fully stainless, but it provides good corrosion resistance. On the other hand, D2 steel is much harder than other steels, and as a result, it holds sharpening a bit better. However, it is not as strong and is much harder to sharpen it.
  • 1.4116 stainless steel is a high-carbon German steel, which has a better quench hardness. Stainless steel knives have high hardness and strength in tempering and hardening conditions, as well as excellent durability and resistance to corrosion.

It is important to understand that there is no steel today that has all the advantages at once. High-carbon steel is certainly a cost-effective option, but stainless steel is most often the one that stands out for its craftsmanship. 

If you’re not sure which steel is right for you, we suggest taking a look at the unique handmade knives in our catalog. All BPS Knives are a unique design of handmade knives of different specialization.