What Is The Best Steel For Knives

Do you own a restaurant? Are you a chef? Or perhaps you simply love cooking?

Regardless of the answer, there is no doubt you have a great love for food. But creating scrumptious dishes not only requires the best ingredients, it also demands the finest kitchen materials.

The type of cooking utensils that you use affects the quality of food that you consume.

And when it comes to the type of knives, the sharpness of your knife also matters, among other factors. But what is the best steel for knives?

Continue reading below as we slice into the truth behind knives and the best types of steel for making them.

What is the Best Steel for Knives?

Since steel makes knives, you need to know the elements that make the steel. These include the likes of iron, carbon, chromium, manganese, and cobalt, just to name a few.

Now let’s take a look at some of the best steel options out there:

1. Stainless Steel

This type of steel is one of the favorites because of its ability to resist corrosion. Stainless steel knives feature chromium. This element is what helps fight off corrosion.

Most stainless steel knives use martensitic grades of steel. Though they contain fewer amounts of chromium, they still have enough to meet the requirements for steel knives. You can only consider steel as stainless if it features at least 13% of chromium.

There is also the precipitation-hardening stainless steel. It offers an impressive combination of corrosion resistance and durability.

One of the most popular stainless steel kitchen knives is the ELMAX. It is a high-end steel alloy that offers a high content of chromium as well as molybdenum and vanadium. This unique combination translates to superior resistance against wear and corrosion.

Another option is the M390. It has corrosion and wear resistance as the ELMAX. It also features remarkable sharpness and edge retention.

It uses a third gen power metal technology that provides this level of toughness. The downside, however, is that it is one of the toughest knives to sharpen.

There is also the AEB-L stainless steel. It features a fine grain with edge stability and good edge holding. Unlike the M390, the AEB-L is easy to sharpen.

2. Upper Range Steels

If you are coming from the cutlery industry, then the upper range steel knives are enough to cut it for you. Though they are not like the premium steels we discussed above, they still bring a lot to the table.

First, there is the 154CM, which is stainless steel with high carbon content. The main difference is the use of molybdenum. Compared to other types of stainless steel, the 154CM offers better edge retention.

Unlike the AEB-L, it's a bit harder to sharpen. It is the United States’ equivalent of the Japanese ATS-34 super steel. It is also one of the more expensive knives out there.

Another good option is the VG-10. It is a steel alloy that offers remarkable hardness. It also gives a very sharp edge. The downside, however, is it is prone to chipping.

3. Carbon Steel

Lastly, there is the carbon steel grade. These knives feature high levels of carbon that provide superior strength against extreme wear and high impact.

One great example of carbon steel is Blue Paper Steel. Also called Aogami, this carbon steel offers corrosion resistance. It can also withstand chipping and wear.

Regardless of the type of steel knives you choose, you give them the right amount of attention in terms of maintenance. Even if you use a knife that is less durable, proper care will extend its years of service.

Factors to Consider

Before buying a new set of kitchen knives, there are key factors you need to consider. Here are seven of the most important ones:

1. Toughness

If you are looking to buy a knife for some intense and high-impact kitchen use, then go for tough blade steels. A knife’s toughness will ensure performance during a hard beating, torsion, and twisting. These knives also provide superb resistance against chipping.

2. Edge Retention

This basically refers to the strength of the knife. It pertains to your knife’s ability to keep and retain its sharpness while in use. You can check out different cut tests online when comparing knives’ edge retention.

3. Resistance to Corrosion

Are you living in a very humid area? Do you frequently prepare foods that have citrusy ingredients? Then expect rust and corrosion to affect your knives, especially if you use the carbon type.   

If you use carbon knives, you can increase its protection against corrosion. Simply apply a thin coat of mineral oil to keep the rust and corrosion at bay.

4. Geometry and Sharpening Ease

If you are the type who hates sharpening, then go for a knife that is fairly easy to sharpen. It is important to note that the blade’s geometry affects the easiness of sharpening. An inclusive edge of 30 degrees means you need to sharpen each side of the blade to 15 degrees.

5. Heat Treatment

This refers to the hardening and tempering of the blade under extreme heat levels. The more intense the heat, the better the steel’s edge retention. However, the downside is it becomes more brittle.

On the other hand, the lower the hardness level is, the tougher the blade becomes.

6. Cutting Task

Last but not least, you need to consider the main purpose of the knife. Generally, all sorts of kitchen knives are capable of slicing through almost any type of food.

But if you are looking for a knife that you can also use to cut through cardboard, you should go for something hard and offers remarkable edge retention.

Learn More About Knives, Today!

Now that you know what the best steel for knives is, your next step is to find the best knives available. As a restaurateur, you want your knives to deliver top-notch performance. As someone who loves cooking, you want them to make your life in the kitchen easier.

We invite you to check our comprehensive buying guide. We can help guide you in some of the best knives from reputable manufacturers.

Learn more about knives and start slicing better, today!