Understanding The Knife Steel Chart

A man with arpron is holding the Chef's Knife 8" | Shadow Black Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong and a dry aged meat on the other handChef's Knife 8" | Shadow Black Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong

Choosing the right knife steel is crucial for crafting a blade that meets specific requirements. Knife enthusiasts and makers often consider five key properties when evaluating steel options. Let's delve into these and learn all about it! 

1. The Five Key Properties Of Knife Steel

Santoku Knife 7" | Double Bevel | Black Acacia Wood Sheath | Ronin Series | Dalstrong inside of its premium packaging.Santoku Knife 7" | Double Bevel | Black Acacia Wood Sheath | Ronin Series | Dalstrong

Carbon Content

One of the fundamental aspects of knife steel is its carbon content. Carbon steels, known for their durability, contain varying amounts of carbon. This element influences hardness and edge retention. Blades with higher carbon content, like Dalstrong's Gladiator Series, Shadow Black Series, as well as the Delta Wolf, and Valhalla Series, are well-regarded for their wear-resisting capabilities.

Corrosion Resistance

Corrosion-resistant steel, crucial for longevity, is a sought-after quality. Alloys like 7CR18MOV Stainless Steel used in Dalstrong's Night Shark Series, are designed to resist corrosion, ensuring the blade remains in top condition even in challenging environments. Knife makers often prioritize this feature, especially in survival knives meant for outdoor use.

Edge Retention

Edge retention is a key factor in determining a knife's overall performance. Steel elements like vanadium carbides contribute to excellent edge retention. Premium Japanese steel, recognized for its superior edge-holding abilities, is a prime example. This property ensures that the blade maintains its sharpness over extended periods.

Wear Resistance

Wear resistance is vital for knives subjected to rigorous use. Tool steels, such as American forged BD1N-VX hyper steel, high-carbon German steel, high carbon 7CR17MOV-X Stainless Steel, are renowned for their wear-resisting characteristics. This property is particularly valuable for applications where the knife encounters abrasive materials, ensuring a longer lifespan.

Toughness and Edge Retention

Achieving a balance between toughness and edge retention is crucial. Steels like 7CR18MOV Stainless Steel strike this balance well, providing both durability and the ability to hold an edge. This is essential for knives that may face impact or stress during use.

In understanding these properties, it's important to delve into knife terminology and steel compositions. Alloying elements like chromium and vanadium play a significant role in determining a steel's characteristics. For instance, chromium content contributes to corrosion resistance, while vanadium enhances hardness.


Furthermore, proper care and maintenance are vital for ensuring the longevity of the blade. Knowing the steel rating, considering edge geometry, and understanding the heat treatment process are key aspects of maintaining a knife's performance. Knife steel nerds and enthusiasts often explore metallurgy processing and steel standards to gain insights into the intricacies of different steel types.

In conclusion, the world of knife steel is vast and diverse, with each type offering unique advantages. Whether you're into kitchen cutlery, survival knives, or pocket knives, understanding the properties of steel can guide your choice. 


From the toughness of Swedish 14C28N Steel to the corrosion resistance of stainless steel, each steel type has its own story to tell. So, the next time you're exploring the realm of knives, keep these essential properties in mind to ensure you find the perfect balance for your needs.

Read about how to stor your knives the right way, here.

2. Best Knife Steel Comparison

Slicing & Carving Knife 12" | Barbarian Series | Dalstrong beside it's sheathSlicing & Carving Knife 12" | Barbarian Series | Dalstrong

Creating a knife steel comparison chart can be a valuable resource for enthusiasts looking to make informed decisions about the best steel for their knives. Let's delve into a detailed comparison.

Steel Types and Wear Resistance:

  • Stainless steel, German Steel, American stee, as well as CPM M4 and CPM S110V are recognized for their exceptional wear resistance, making them suitable for tasks involving continuous cutting and abrasion.
  • VG10 steel, known for corrosion resistance, also offers decent wear resistance, making it versatile for various applications.

Corrosion Resistance and Edge Retention:

  • Stainless steel blades, like those made from VG10, excel in corrosion resistance, ensuring the blade remains unaffected by environmental factors.
  • Japanese and German steel, as well as CPM S110V and CPM S90V, premium steels, are celebrated for their superior edge retention, making them ideal for users seeking a blade with prolonged sharpness.

Toughness and Durability:

  • For heavy-use scenarios or potential impact, CPM 3V and Swedish steel stands out with its high toughness, providing durability in challenging conditions.
  • D2 steel, an alloy steel, offers a balanced combination of wear resistance, toughness, and corrosion resistance, making it a versatile choice.

Hardness and Ease of Sharpening:

  • Steels like Japanese steel exhibit high hardness, contributing to edge retention and the ability to withstand stress. However, they may require more effort to sharpen.
  • 154CM strikes a balance between wear resistance and ease of sharpening, appealing to users who want a blade that can be maintained easily with basic sharpening tools.

Alloying Elements and Composition:

  • Vanadium carbides, present in CPM S110V, enhance wear resistance, showcasing the importance of alloying elements in steel composition.
  • D2 steel, as an alloy steel, combines various elements to provide a well-rounded performance, emphasizing the role of composition in overall steel quality.

Powdered Metallurgy (PM) Steels:

  • CPM S30V and CPM S110V, both PM steels, exhibit a fine-grained structure due to advanced manufacturing techniques, leading to enhanced wear resistance, toughness, and corrosion resistance.

Specific Applications:

  • Kitchen knives may benefit from steels like CPM S30V, balancing corrosion resistance and edge retention for culinary tasks.
  • Outdoor enthusiasts may prefer CPM 3V and stainless steel for hunting knives, emphasizing toughness and durability in challenging conditions.

Custom and Premium Options:

  • For those seeking custom knives, D2 steel offers versatility and performance.
  • Premium steels like CPM S110V cater to users who prioritize top-tier performance and are willing to invest in high-end options.

3. How To Choose The Best Steel For Your Knife

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

Choosing the best steel for your knife might seem like a daunting task, but fear not! It's like picking the perfect sidekick for your culinary or outdoor adventures. Let's break it down step by step.

Understand Your Needs

Just like superheroes have different powers, knives come in various styles for different purposes. Are you a kitchen maestro, a survival enthusiast, or an all-around hero in need of a versatile tool? Consider your needs before diving into the world of knife steel.

Know Your Steel Types

Steel is the magic behind a knife's performance. Familiarize yourself with the types, such as carbon steels like German steel and stainless steel, corrosion-resistant options like CPM S35VN, and wear-resistant varieties like American steel and CPM 10V. Each has its unique qualities, so understanding them is like knowing the strengths of your superhero team.

Consider Corrosion Resistance

If your knife will often face moisture or humidity, corrosion resistance is your superhero power. Look for steels like CPM S35VN and stainless steel that resist corrosion, ensuring your blade stays in top condition even in challenging environments.

Evaluate Edge Retention

Imagine having a blade that stays sharp through thick and thin – that's the magic of edge retention. Steels like Japanese steel and CPM S110V excel in this area, ensuring your knife remains razor-sharp even after numerous cutting sessions.

Think About Wear Resistance

For knives that will tackle tough materials or endure frequent use, wear resistance is the key. Consider steels like stainless steel and German steel, known for their wear-resisting capabilities, providing longevity and durability.

Balance Toughness and Edge Retention

Like a superhero needs both strength and agility, a good knife requires a balance between toughness and edge retention. Steels like Japanese steel and American steel strike this balance, ensuring your knife can handle various tasks without compromising its sharpness.

Explore Alloying Elements

Dive into the world of alloying elements like chromium and vanadium. Chromium contributes to corrosion resistance, while vanadium enhances hardness. Knowing these elements is like unlocking the secret powers of your knife steel.

Understand Knife Metallurgy

Delve into the world of metallurgy processing, where steel is forged into a blade with specific properties. This knowledge is like understanding the origin story of your superhero – it gives you insights into how your knife came to be.

Know the Steel Composition

Familiarize yourself with the composition of knife steel. Whether it's CPM 9V, CPM 20CV, or CPM S30V, each has a unique composition that contributes to its performance. It's like knowing the superhero's backstory – understanding where it came from and what it's made of.

Consider Heat Treatments

Just as superheroes undergo training to enhance their abilities, knife steel undergoes heat treatments to optimize its performance. Knowing about the heat treat process is like understanding your knife's training regimen – it ensures it's ready for action when you need it.

Think About Blade Geometry

The shape of your knife's blade matters too. Consider the edge geometry – how the blade is designed. Proper edge geometry ensures efficient cutting, making your knife a true hero in the kitchen or outdoors.

Know the Rockwell Hardness

Rockwell hardness is like the superhero's resilience. It measures how tough or hard your knife is. Understanding this aspect ensures your knife is suited for its intended tasks.

Consider Your Maintenance Routine

Just as superheroes need care and attention, so do your knives. Think about how much time you're willing to invest in maintenance. Some steels, like those with excellent edge retention, may require more care to keep them in top condition.

Explore Knife Brands and Models

Every superhero has a unique costume and set of skills. Similarly, different knife brands and models offer varied features. Explore reputable brands like Dalstrong and their range of knives to find the one that aligns with your needs and preferences.

Seek Advice from Knife Experts

Superheroes often seek guidance from mentors, and you can do the same. Connect with knife enthusiasts, experts, or even the "knife steel nerds" who have a wealth of knowledge. Their insights can be like the wise words of a superhero mentor guiding you in choosing the best steel.

In conclusion, choosing the best steel for your knife is an adventure in itself. With the right knowledge and understanding of your needs, you can find the superhero steel that complements your culinary or outdoor endeavors. So, gear up, explore the world of knife steel, and let your chosen blade become the superhero in your kitchen or on your outdoor quests!

4. Different Dalstrong Knife Steels

Shogun Series

Dalstrong's Shogun Series knives, featuring high-carbon Japanese AUS-10V super steel, are culinary masterpieces. With exceptional edge retention and a mesmerizing Damascus pattern, these knives blend artistry and functionality. Whether you're a seasoned chef or a home cook, the Shogun Series ensures precision and sharpness in every cut.

Chef's Knife 8" | Shogun Series ELITE

Chef's Knife 8" | Shogun Series ELITE

Introducing Dalstrong's kitchen powerhouse, a 66-layer Damascus marvel on a Japanese Super Steel Core. This razor-sharp blade features a stunning hammered Tsunami Rose Damascus pattern that prevents food from sticking. With a hybrid bolster for comfort, full tang for robustness, and an engraved end cap for stability, Dalstrong blades are the epitome of excellence.


  • Exceptional 66-layer Tsunami Rose Damascus pattern for strength and beauty.
  • LionShield-treated blade ensures longevity, rust resistance, and corrosion prevention.
  • Tapered bolster for superior control and pinch grip, reducing wrist fatigue.
  • Military-grade G10 handle with a non-slip grip for strength and safety.


  • While the blade's sharpness lasts longer, occasional sharpening may be required.

Santoku Knife 5" | Shogun Series ELITE | Dalstrong

Santoku Knife 5" | Shogun Series ELITE | Dalstrong

Introducing the Ultra-Versatile Mini-Santoku Knife, a 5” culinary marvel designed for precision work and medium-sized cutting tasks. With a 67-layered Damascus blade featuring Dalstrong's Tsunami Rose pattern, the knife is a blend of cutting-edge technology and inspired design. This mini-santoku is a perfect balance of form and function, making it a must-have for culinary enthusiasts.


  • Tsunami Rose Damascus blade pattern for striking beauty.
  • Crafted from ultra-sharp AUS-10V Japanese super steel, this knife boasts a 62+ Rockwell hardness for extraordinary performance and edge retention. 
  • Military-grade G10 handle for durability, heat resistance, and a non-slip grip.
  • Tapered bolster provides a 'zero-balance' balance, finger protection, and encourages a natural pinch grip.


  • The precision of the 8-12° degree angle per side may require careful handling to avoid accidental cuts.

    Phantom Series

    Dalstrong's Phantom Series, equipped with high-carbon Japanese AUS-8 steel, is a stealthy addition to your kitchen. Sharp, durable, and boasting a unique black non-reflective titanium nitride coating, these knives make a statement. Elevate your cutting experience with the Phantom Series – a perfect blend of style and substance.

    Kiritsuke Chef's Knife 9.5" | Phantom Series | Dalstrong

    Kiritsuke Chef's Knife 9.5" | Phantom Series | Dalstrong

    Unlock culinary excellence with the Dalstrong Phantom Series 9.5” Chef Knife. Its kiritsuke shape, reminiscent of a sword, boasts a straighter edge for precise push cuts, making it a lethal tool in any chef's hands. Elevate your culinary prowess with this stunning and versatile addition, perfect for everything from slicing fish to chopping vegetables.


    • Kiritsuke shape for versatile and precise push cuts.
    • Crafted with a precision-forged 9.5” blade from premium Japanese AUS-8 steel at 58 HRC, this knife offers superior resilience and a razor-sharp scalpel-like edge. 
    • The laminated pakkawood handle, with a traditional Japanese D-shaped design, ensures superior control and comfort. 
    • Stainless steel hand-polished end cap adds counterbalance and distinction.


    • The larger 9.5” size may require some adaptation for those accustomed to smaller chef knives.
    • The meticulous craftsmanship and premium materials contribute to a higher price point.

      Paring Knife 4" | Phantom Series | Dalstrong

      Paring Knife 4" | Phantom Series | Dalstrong

      Elevate your precision with the Dalstrong Phantom Series 4” Paring Knife, a culinary specialist engineered for coring, mincing, and peeling fruits and vegetables. Beyond the ordinary, it excels in detailed cutting tasks, from slicing shallots to scoring patterns on dough.  With an included premium-quality saya, this paring knife is both functional and exquisite.


      • Precision-forged 4” blade with premium Japanese AUS-8 steel at 58 HRC, each blade is meticulously hand-sharpened using the traditional honbazuke method for a razor-sharp 13-15° edge.
      • The black pakkawood handle, with a traditional Japanese D-shaped design, ensures superior control, complemented by an elegant red spacer and brass-copper mosaic.
      • Hand-sharpened to a razor-sharp 13-15° edge using the traditional honbazuke method.


      • The shorter 4” size may require adaptation for those accustomed to longer paring knives.

      Gladiator Series

      Dalstrong's Gladiator Series, featuring high-carbon German steel, is the reliable companion every kitchen needs. With durability and a full tang design for balance, these knives are built for the culinary arena. Whether you're a home cook or a professional, the Gladiator Series ensures you're well-equipped for any cutting task.

      Chef's Knife 6" | Gladiator Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong

      Chef's Knife 6" | Gladiator Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong

      Experience the relentless performance of the Dalstrong Gladiator Series 6” Chef's Knife – a smaller, yet equally powerful companion for culinary enthusiasts. With a tall blade height for knuckle clearance and a water-resistant PerfectFit sheath, this Gladiator is your dependable kitchen warrior. Triple-riveted and NSF certified, this knife balances strength and refinement, making it an indispensable tool in any kitchen.


      • Precision-forged high-carbon German Steel at 56+ Rockwel for durability and wear resistance.
      • The ergonomic black G10 Garolite handle offers maximum comfort and ambidextrous use, while the hand-polished bolster provides finger protection and balance.
      • Hand-polished bolster adds finger protection and ensures a perfectly engineered balance.
      • NSF certified and triple-riveted for strength and durability.


      • The 6” size may be shorter for those accustomed to larger chef's knives.

      Santoku Knife 5" | Gladiator Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong

      Santoku Knife 5" | Gladiator Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong

      Unleash culinary precision with the Dalstrong Gladiator Series 5” Santoku Knife, a compact powerhouse designed for medium-sized cutting tasks. Crafted from high-carbon German ThyssenKrupp Steel at 56+ Rockwell, this santoku blends the versatility of a chef's knife and a cleaver. The PerfectFit sheath adds convenience to this aesthetically pleasing and robust kitchen essential.


      • Precision-forged high-carbon German ThyssenKrupp Steel for sharpness and wear resistance.
      • Ambidextrous food-grade ABS Polymer handle for comfort and maneuverability, complemented by a hand-polished bolster for finger protection.
      • NSF certified and triple-riveted for strength and durability, this knife combines premium materials and design for kitchen flexibility. 
      • Tapered design and hand-polished bolster for balance and finger protection.


      • The 5” size may be shorter for those accustomed to larger santoku knives.

      5. Frequently Asked Questions

      What grade steel is good for knives?

      ​​Good grades of steel for knives include AUS-10V, German steel, and CPM S35VN, offering excellent edge retention and durability.

      What is the best steel for making knives?

      The best steel for making knives often includes premium options like Japanese steel, German Steel, and Stainless Steel, known for exceptional wear resistance and edge retention.

      Is 7cr steel good for knives?

      7cr steel is decent for knives, offering reasonable performance, but it's essential to consider specific needs like corrosion resistance.



      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.

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