Kitchen knives are the most essential tools you need in the kitchen. A knife's purpose is to slice, chop, dice and mince ingredients for your dishes. And when it comes to knives, one of the absolute crucial things to consider when deciding on a kitchen knife is the steel used to make the blade.
Yes, you heard it right; people should consider the type and quality of the steel blade because it will determine the cutting properties of the knife. Furthermore, the steel used will also determine its resistance to corrosion, chipping, and losing sharpness.
To help you on your path to kitchen knife mastery, here are a small collection of the best steel types.
1. 14C28N Sandvik
Most of you may have heard about the Sandvik Steels (or at least held one), especially if you are a knife user or a maker. One of their popular steels is 14C28N. The 14C28N is stainless steel made by the Swedish company Sandvik and is specifically for knives. It is high in Chromium (14%) for excellent corrosion resistance, while its higher than average carbon content allows it to hold a strong edge. Similar to the Japanese AUS8 steel, it is a robust steel with many positive properties. Depending on quenching and forging method, hardness can vary from 56-62 HRC.
Furthermore, this type of steel is often used by manufacturers and is also a good choice for custom knife makers. The most famous example is Laguiole cutlery, famed for their timeless design and impeccable quality.
2. 12C27 Sandvik
Another steel from Swedish Company Sandvik is the 12C27. This type of stainless steel is trendy in the knife industry since it superb wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and high hardness. All these properties make good knife steel. Like its counterpart, it has a large range of achievable hardness from 54-61HRC, depending on heat treatment.
Additionally, unlike other high chromium steels that are difficult to sharpen because of the hard chromium carbides, 12C27 steel can attain a sharp edge quickly and easily.
3. S30V Crucible Steel
S30V is knife steel produced by American steel manufacturer Crucible, which has been around since 2001. Crucible has been part of the knife industry for many decades. According to the datasheet of CPM S30V, this steel is martensitic stainless steel designed to offer a superb combination of wear resistance, toughness, and corrosion resistance.
Its chemistry has been specifically created to form vanadium carbides which are tougher than chromium carbides in bringing wear resistance quality.
4. S35VN Crucible Steel
Vanadium and niobium carbides are harder and more effective than chromium carbides in providing wear resistance. CPM S35VN is commonly used in long-wearing specialty cutlery. Overall, this steel is excellent for kitchen knives, and it is one of the best high-end steels that give edge retention, toughness, wear, and corrosion resistance.
5. 1.4116 or X50CrMoV15
X50CrMoV15 is stainless Steel that has been used in Germany for a long time. Also, this German Steel is one of the mainstream German knives' most popular kitchen knife steels.
The stainless steel X50CrMoV15 is renowned for its excellent mechanical qualities, strong corrosion resilience, and toughness. X50CrMoV15 is also known as 1.4116, which is German Steel that is not an ordinary steel alloy. Moreover, this Steel is primarily used in cutlery, culinary knives, and other fine-cutting tools like scalpels.
6. Aogami Super Carbon Steel or Blue Super Steel
Aogami Super Carbon Steel is one of the greatest Japanese Carbon Steel developed and produced by Hitachi Metals Limited. Aside from containing more carbon, Chromium, and Tungsten, it also includes Molybdenum, which is effective in attaining high hardness without being brittle.
On top of that, Aogami Steel is one of the hardest steel in the world and is similar to the steel of some swords. Blue steel has three types: Blue Steel #1, Blue Steel #2, and blue super steel.
7. Shirogami or White Steel
Shirogami or White Steel is also a Japanese high-carbon steel knife, and it has the least amount of impurities in the form of Sulfur. In addition, most chefs value this type of steel for making knives because of its purest form of high-carbon steel.
Sharpening the knife gives a perfect mirror-like finish; aside from that, the edge retention is incredible. Shirogami has 3 variations; Shirogami #1, Shirogami#2 and Shirogami #3. The main difference between them is the amount of carbon in the steel.
8. AUS-10 Steel
AUS-10 Steel is a popular Japanese premium-range performance stainless steel made by AICHI STEEL. This Steel is high in carbon, with smaller percentage of vanadium, and Molybdenum increasing the edge resilience and toughness. With 13% chromium it is also rated as stainless steel, meaning less upkeep and concern over rust. Knifemakers highly favor this type of Steel as it provides excellent balance in edge retention, corrosion resistance, and price.
Not only that, but also it is an easy steel to work on, and with good heat treatment. Regardless of usage, knives made from AUS-10 Steel remain in good shape for a long time unless they have constant aggressive sharpening.
9. VG-10 Steel
VG-10 is a high-end Japanese stainless steel made by Takefu Special Steel Corporation in Fukui, Japan. VG-10 belongs to a group of various sheets of steel called “Cobalt Steels.” With this matter, this stainless steel is high in carbon and vanadium, and it is one of the most popular steels in Japan.
VG-10 has strong corrosion resistance and can provide outstanding edge sharpness and edge retention. Its high-end properties and balanced chemical composition give excellent retention, wear resistance, corrosion resistance, hardness, and toughness.
10. CROMOVA 8 Stainless Steel
CROMOVA 8 Stainless Steel is classically crafted by Yoshikin. CROMOVA 8 has high-carbon stainless steel with a combination of Carbon, Chromium, Molybdenum, and vanadium.
CROMOVA 18 stainless steel is highly suitable for making kitchen knives due to its excellent corrosion resistance, good toughness, and ease of sharpening. Moreover, the level of wear resistance of this stainless steel is enough to withstand everyday use. However, it will not be as durable as other steels with higher carbon elements.
Now that you have learned the 10 best kitchen knife steels from around the world. If you are a knife user, a maker, an enthusiast, or even an expert with this tool, you definitely know some of the steel blades mentioned in this article.
Choosing suitable quality kitchen knives will benefit not only Chefs but also those who use them as part of their job. Keep in mind that using high-end and best-quality steel blades for knives is very important as the knives themselves.