Best Steel For Knives And Their Characteristics

Chef Knife 9.5" | Double Bevel | Black Acacia Wood Sheath | Ronin Series | Dalstrong behind an oni maskChef Knife 9.5" | Double Bevel | Black Acacia Wood Sheath | Ronin Series | Dalstrong

Choosing the right knife steel is crucial for ensuring your blade meets your needs. When exploring properties of knife steel, several factors come into play. The best steel for knives combines wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and toughness. Let’s dive right into it!

1. Properties Of Knife Steel

Chef Knife 8" | Double Bevel | Black Acacia Wood Sheath | Ronin Series | Dalstrong inside it's premium packaging.Chef Knife 8" | Double Bevel | Black Acacia Wood Sheath | Ronin Series | Dalstrong

Heat treatments play a pivotal role in enhancing these properties. Different blade steels undergo various heat treatments to optimize their performance. For example, high carbon steels offer excellent wear resistance, while corrosion-resistant steels are popular for their ability to resist rust.

When searching for the best steel for knives, it's crucial to consider various characteristics that align with specific needs and preferences. The properties of knife steel play a pivotal role in determining the blade's performance, durability, and overall quality.

Cutting Ability

Understanding the type of steel used is essential for assessing a knife's cutting ability. Tool steels, such as Swedish steel, are known for their exceptional toughness and edge retention. On the other hand, carbon steels like high-carbon German steel strike a balance between wear resistance and ease of sharpening.

When it comes to edge retention, factors like steel hardness and edge geometry play a vital role. Premium steels like CPM S110V are known for holding a sharp edge for extended periods. The steel's composition, including vanadium carbides, contributes to its wear-resisting capabilities.


Wear resistance is a critical factor to weigh in your decision. Blades crafted from steels with high wear resistance, like the American forged BD1N-VX hyper steel, are excellent choices for tasks involving continuous cutting and abrasion. These steels maintain a sharp edge over extended use, making them ideal for utility knives and tasks requiring prolonged cutting ability.

Corrosion resistance is another crucial aspect, particularly for knives used in environments with high humidity or exposure to water. Stainless steel blades, like those made from VG10 steel, are known for their resistance to corrosion, ensuring the blade remains in top condition even in challenging conditions.


Toughness is essential for knives that may undergo heavy use or encounter impact. Steels like CPM 3V, known for their high toughness, are favored for applications where the blade may face stress or potential chipping. This property is especially important for outdoor and survival knives.

Edge Retention

Edge retention is a key consideration for those who value a blade that stays sharp for an extended period. Premium steels like Japanese steel, are renowned for their exceptional edge retention, making them popular choices for users who prioritize a blade that requires less frequent sharpening.

The composition of the steel, including alloying elements, significantly influences its overall performance. Elements like vanadium and chromium contribute to hardness and corrosion resistance. For example, high levels of vanadium carbides in CPM S110V enhance wear resistance, while chromium provides corrosion resistance.

Different steels offer varying levels of hardness, measured on the Rockwell hardness scale. Harder steels, such as those in the CPM M390 family, can withstand higher levels of stress and maintain sharp edges but may be more challenging to sharpen. On the other hand, lower hardness steels, like AUS-8, are easier to sharpen but may require more frequent maintenance.

Sharpening and Maintenance

The ease of sharpening is a crucial consideration for those who prefer maintaining their blades at home. Steels like 154CM strike a balance between wear resistance and ease of sharpening, making them suitable for users who want a blade that can be readily maintained with basic sharpening tools.

Alloy steels, like D2 steel, are known for their overall versatility. They combine various elements to provide a balanced set of properties, including wear resistance, toughness, and corrosion resistance. D2 steel, for instance, is a popular choice for custom knives due to its well-rounded performance.

In Summary…

Powdered metallurgy (PM) steels, such as CPM S30V and CPM S110V, are manufactured using advanced techniques that result in a fine-grained structure. This process enhances the steel's performance, offering a combination of wear resistance, toughness, and corrosion resistance.

When it comes to specific knife applications, understanding the type of steel that suits the task is crucial. 

Read about how to clean a knife, here.

2. Best Steel For Knives And Their Characteristics

Chef's Knife 8" | Shogun Series ELITE on a burning black sand and pebbles.Chef's Knife 8" | Shogun Series ELITE

Selecting the best knife steel can be a bit like choosing the perfect superhero – each has its own set of superpowers. Let's embark on a knife steel adventure, exploring some popular types used in Dalstrong knives, from the mighty Damascus steel to the reliable stainless, German, and Japanese steels.

Damascus Steel

Imagine a blade that not only cuts through everything effortlessly but also looks like a work of art. That's Damascus steel for you! It's not just a steel; it's a masterpiece. Composed of multiple layers, it showcases a unique pattern that's as stunning as it is functional. Dalstrong's Shogun Series made of damascus steel excels in both edge retention and corrosion resistance, making it a top choice for those who want a blend of beauty and brawn in their knives.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is like the superhero that never rusts – always ready for action! When you hear "corrosion-resistant," think stainless steel. Dalstrong's Night Shark Series made of 7CR18MOV Stainless Steel, is a prime example, boasting excellent resistance to rust and wear, making it perfect for outdoor adventure. The same thing with Dalstrong's Frost Fire Series made of high-chromium 10CR15MOV steel, as well as Dalstrong's Shadow Black Series made of 7CR17MOV-X, and Delta Wolf and Valhalla made of high-carbon 9CR18MOV steel. It's like having a sidekick that ensures your knife stays in top-notch condition, even when faced with the challenges of moisture and humidity. No wonder why this steel is very popular among knife makers and knife enthusiasts.

German Steel

Picture a knife that embodies precision and durability – that's the magic of German steel. It's like the reliable friend you can always count on. Knives from Dalstrong's Gladiator, Vanquish, and Crusader knife series made of high-carbon German steel exhibit wear-resisting capabilities, perfect for withstanding the demands of daily use. German steel is known for its toughness, ensuring your knife can tackle various cutting tasks with ease.

Japanese Steel

Enter the world of finesse and sharpness with Japanese steel. It's like the ninja of the knife world – swift and precise. CPM S30V is a shining example, offering exceptional edge retention. Japanese steel focuses on achieving the perfect balance between hardness and sharpness, making it a favorite among chefs and enthusiasts who appreciate the art of precision cutting. Dalstrong has several knife series made of Japanese steel namely the Phantom series, Ronin Series, Scorpion, and Shogun Series - each having a wide collection of different knife types and designs. 

Swedish Steel

Swedish steel is renowned for its high quality, durability, and ability to hold a sharp edge. It is often used in the production of high-end knives due to its superior performance characteristics. Swedish steel knives are known for their strength, corrosion resistance, and excellent edge retention, making them ideal for various cutting tasks. Dalstrong's very unique Barbarian Knife Series delivers exceptional durability and toughness with it's premium Swedish steel.

American Steel

American steel used in knives is celebrated for its toughness, hardness, and resistance to wear and corrosion. It is often preferred for its exceptional performance in demanding cutting tasks. With a focus on quality and innovation, American steel like Dalstrong's Omega, Quantum1, and Spartan Ghost Knife Series, delivers reliable performance and long-lasting sharpness, making it a top choice for knife enthusiasts.


Now, let's talk about the rockstar – CPM S110V. It's not just steel; it's a performance powerhouse. With its high chromium content, this steel boasts outstanding corrosion resistance. It's like having a shield that protects your knife from the elements, ensuring it stays as sharp and shiny as the day you got it.


If you want a knife that can endure the toughest challenges, CPM 10V is the hero you need. With exceptional wear resistance, it's like the knight in shining armor that stands strong against abrasion. This steel is perfect for those who demand longevity and reliability in their knives.


Say hello to the multitasker – CPM 20CV. It's the steel that excels in edge retention and corrosion resistance. Think of it as the all-in-one solution, ready to tackle various cutting tasks without breaking a sweat. Whether it's slicing through vegetables or carving a masterpiece, CPM 20CV has got your back.


Meet the tough guy – CPM 3V. If you want a knife that can handle rough conditions without losing its edge, this is the steel for you. It combines toughness and edge retention, making it perfect for outdoor adventures or demanding kitchen tasks. It's like having a companion that thrives in challenging situations.


Now, let's talk about a steel that's a cut above the rest – CPM M4. With its high carbon content, it's a heavyweight in the world of edge retention and wear resistance. This steel is for those who demand peak performance, whether they're slicing through tough materials or showcasing their knife skills in the kitchen.


Picture a steel that's not just sharp but stays sharp for a long time – that's CPM S90V. It's like the marathon runner of the knife world, ensuring your blade remains razor-sharp through extended use. This steel is perfect for those who want to spend more time cutting and less time sharpening.

In the realm of Dalstrong knives, each steel has its unique strengths, catering to different preferences and needs. Whether you're drawn to the artistry of Damascus steel, the reliability of stainless steel, the precision of Japanese steel, or the toughness of German steel, there's a superhero waiting to join your culinary or outdoor adventures. So, pick your hero, and let the slicing and dicing begin!

    3. Best Dalstrong Knives For Your Kitchen Needs

    1. Chef Knife 8" | Double Bevel | Ronin Series | Dalstrong

    Chef Knife 8" | Double Bevel | Black Acacia Wood Sheath | Ronin Series | Dalstrong

      Unleash culinary mastery with the Dalstrong Ronin Series 8” Chef Knife, a true standout in precision and performance. Crafted from Japanese AUS-10V steel, this blade achieves an impressive 60+ Rockwell Hardness for enduring sharpness. The classic curved design, optimized rock chop, and fiercely pointed tip make it the ultimate kitchen companion. 


      • Masterfully designed for a smooth and efficient rock chop, enhancing culinary precision.
      • Precision-forged from Japanese AUS-10V steel for maximum robustness, longevity, and stain resistance.
      • The etched blade pattern and Lionhead logo offer a visually stunning and refined aesthetic.
      • The meticulously engineered black and red G-10 handle ensures superior hand control and lifelong durability.


      • The exceptional quality comes at a higher cost, making it a significant investment for budget-conscious buyers.

      2. Chef Knife 9.5" | Double Bevel | Ronin Series

      Chef Knife 9.5" | Double Bevel | Black Acacia Wood Sheath | Ronin Series | Dalstrong

        Elevate your culinary experience with the Dalstrong Ronin Series 9.5” Chef Knife, where form meets function seamlessly. This extended version offers an additional 1.5”, perfect for tackling any culinary challenge with precision. Crafted from Japanese AUS-10V steel, the blade boasts a 60+ Rockwell Hardness, ensuring a razor-sharp edge for extended periods. The black and red G-10 Garolite handle, meticulously designed for heat resistance and durability, features an engraved Lionhead logo for added balance. 


        • The 9.5” blade offers additional reach for versatile culinary applications.
        • With a rating of 60+, the blade maintains sharpness for extended use.
        • The unique blade pattern enhances beauty while minimizing drag during cutting for a smooth experience.
        • Includes a premium Acacia wood sheath, exemplifies culinary excellence.


        • While enhancing grip, some users may prefer a full tang for added robustness.

        3. Santoku Knife 5" | Shogun Series ELITE | Dalstrong

        Santoku Knife 5" | Shogun Series ELITE | Dalstrong

          Experience precision like never before with the Dalstrong Mini-Santoku Knife, a compact 5” marvel designed for precision work and medium-sized cutting tasks. The 67-layered Damascus blade, sharpened under the ancient 3-step Honbazuke method, showcases Dalstrong's commitment to cutting-edge technology and exceptional craftsmanship. With a Tapered bolster, full tang construction, and engraved end cap, this knife combines durability with striking elegance.


          • The 5” Mini-Santoku excels in precision tasks and medium-sized cutting, making it a versatile addition to your kitchen.
          • The Japanese super steel core with a 62+ Rockwell rating ensures scalpel-like sharpness, extraordinary performance, and extended edge retention.
          • Impervious to heat, cold, and moisture, the G10 handle provides a non-slip grip, ensuring superior hand control and durability.


          • The compact 5” size may not be suitable for larger cutting tasks, limiting its versatility in certain scenarios.

          4. Nakiri Vegetable Knife 6"| Shogun Series X | Dalstrong

          Nakiri Vegetable Knife 6" | Crimson Red ABS Handle | Shogun Series X | Dalstrong

            Unleash culinary mastery with the Dalstrong Shogun Series X 6” Nakiri Knife, a vegetable slicing powerhouse that marries the strength of a cleaver with razor-sharp precision. Crafted over 60 days, this knife boasts a 55mm wide blade precision-forged from 66-layered damascus high-carbon stainless steel, featuring an ultra-premium Japanese AUS-10V steel cutting core. 


            • The Nakiri knife combines the strength of a cleaver with razor-sharp precision, ideal for slicing through root vegetables and squash.
            • Crafted from 66-layered damascus high-carbon stainless steel with an AUS-10V steel cutting core, ensuring exceptional strength, flexibility, and durability.
            • Not just aesthetically pleasing, the hammered Tsuchime Finish reduces drag for smoother slicing and minimizes food sticking.
            • The durable Red ABS handle is highly impervious to heat, cold, and moisture, the ergonomic handle offers superior hand control, comfort, and longevity.


            • The Nakiri knife is specially designed for vegetable slicing, making it less versatile for other cutting tasks.

            5. Extra-Long Bull Nose Butcher Knife 14" | Gladiator Series| Dalstrong

            Extra-Long Bull Nose Butcher Knife 14" | Gladiator Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong

              Dominate the kitchen with the Dalstrong Gladiator Series Extra-Long Bull Nose Butcher’s Knife, a formidable 14” workhorse designed for precision and power. Crafted from high carbon German ThyssenKrupp Steel, the blade boasts a 56+ Rockwell rating, ensuring wear resistance and long-lasting sharpness. The hand-sharpened edge at 16-18° per side strikes the perfect balance between sharpness and resilience. 


              • The 14” length extends the scalpel-like blade edge for longer, cleaner cuts, making it ideal for large-scale food preparation.
              • Precision-forged from ThyssenKrupp Steel with a 56+ Rockwell rating, ensuring wear resistance and lasting sharpness.
              • The full tang construction enhances robustness and quality, providing a balanced feel and superior durability.
              • The laminated G10 Garolite handle offers superior strength, refinement, and beauty, complemented by an ergonomic shape for maximum comfort and grip.


              • The size and design of the knife may make it less suitable for precision tasks and smaller cutting activities.
              • The extra-long size may result in a heavier weight, which might not be preferred by all users depending on their cutting preferences.

              4. Frequently Asked Questions

              What is the best steel to make knives out of?

              The best steel for making knives is subjective and depends on preferences, but premium German steel and Japanese steel are popular choices.

              What is the best knife steel called?

              The term "best" for knife steel is subjective, but high-performance options like Japanese steel, German, steel, and Stainless steel are widely regarded as top choices.

              What steel does the military use in knives?

              The military commonly uses 1095 carbon steel in some knives for its durability and resistance to wear.


              Written by Ananya Tiwari
              Ananya loves the fine things in life. When she isn’t penning down poetry or song lyrics, she spends her time cooking and creating recipes while also enjoying new cuisines.

              Best Steel For Knives And Their Characteristics

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