When choosing a knife, the quality and performance of the blade is critical. Two popular steel options for knives are 8Cr13MoV and AUS-8.
To help you make the right decision, let’s delve into the details and compare these two types of steel in terms of composition, properties, and performance.
8Cr13MoV is a Chinese stainless steel with a relatively high carbon content (0.8%). It also contains 13% chromium, 0.4% molybdenum, and 0.2% vanadium.
This combination of elements provides a balance of hardness, toughness, and corrosion resistance.
AUS-8 is a Japanese stainless steel with 0.75% carbon content, making it slightly less hard than 8Cr13MoV. It also has 14-15% chromium, 0.5% manganese, 1% nickel, and 0.49% molybdenum.
The higher chromium content gives AUS-8 a slight edge in corrosion resistance over 8Cr13MoV.
Hardness is a measure of a steel’s resistance to deformation. The higher the hardness, the less likely the steel will be deformed when cutting hard materials.
8Cr13MoV has a Rockwell hardness rating of 56-59 HRC, while AUS-8 ranges from 57-58 HRC. This difference is not significant, so both steels have comparable hardness levels.
Edge retention refers to how well a knife maintains its sharpness after repeated use. AUS-8 generally has slightly better edge retention than 8Cr13MoV, thanks to its higher chromium content and finer grain structure.
Corrosion resistance is the ability of a steel to withstand exposure to moisture and other corrosive environments.
AUS-8 has a higher chromium content, providing better corrosion resistance than 8Cr13MoV.
Toughness measures a steel’s ability to absorb impact without breaking or chipping. Both 8Cr13MoV and AUS-8 have similar toughness levels due to their comparable hardness and carbon content.
Sharpenability refers to how easily a knife can be sharpened. Both steels are relatively easy to sharpen, with AUS-8 having a slight advantage due to its finer grain structure.
8Cr13MoV is commonly used in budget-friendly folding knives, kitchen knives, and multi-tools. Its balance of properties makes it suitable for everyday use.
AUS-8 is often found in mid-range folding knives, hunting knives, and tactical knives. Its better edge retention and corrosion resistance make it a popular choice for outdoor and survival applications.
Pros and Cons
- Good balance of hardness, toughness, and corrosion resistance
- Budget-friendly option
- Relatively easy to sharpen
- Lower edge retention compared to AUS-8
- Slightly less corrosion resistant than AUS-8
- Better edge retention than 8Cr13MoV
- Higher corrosion resistance
- Easy to sharpen
- Good choice for outdoor and survival knives
- Slightly more expensive than 8Cr13MoV
- Not as budget-friendly
In general, AUS-8 steel knives tend to be more expensive than those made with 8Cr13MoV steel. The price difference can be attributed to the slightly better performance characteristics of AUS-8, as well as the higher production costs associated with Japanese steel.
However, the difference in price is not significant, and both steels are considered budget-friendly options.
How to Choose the Right Steel
When deciding between 8Cr13MoV and AUS-8 steel for your knife, consider the following factors:
Purpose: What do you plan to use the knife for? If you need a knife for outdoor activities or survival situations, AUS-8 might be a better choice due to its better edge retention and corrosion resistance. For general everyday use, 8Cr13MoV should suffice.
Budget: If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, 8Cr13MoV steel may be the better choice. However, if you’re willing to spend a little more for slightly better performance, AUS-8 could be worth the investment.
Maintenance: Both steels are relatively easy to sharpen, but AUS-8 has a slight advantage in this regard. If you prefer a knife that requires minimal maintenance, AUS-8 might be the better choice.
Knife enthusiasts and experts generally agree that while both 8Cr13MoV and AUS-8 are good options for budget-friendly knives, AUS-8 has a slight edge in performance.
However, the difference between the two steels is not significant, and the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference and intended use.
Is 8Cr13MoV or AUS-8 steel better for a folding knife?
Both steels are suitable for folding knives, but AUS-8 offers slightly better edge retention and corrosion resistance.
For outdoor or heavy-duty use, AUS-8 might be the better choice. For everyday carry and general use, 8Cr13MoV should be sufficient.
Can I use 8Cr13MoV or AUS-8 steel for a kitchen knife?
Yes, both 8Cr13MoV and AUS-8 steel can be used for kitchen knives. While AUS-8 might offer better edge retention and corrosion resistance, 8Cr13MoV is still a suitable and budget-friendly option for kitchen knives.
How often do I need to sharpen a knife made of 8Cr13MoV or AUS-8 steel?
The frequency of sharpening depends on how often you use the knife and the tasks you perform with it. Generally, AUS-8 steel knives require less frequent sharpening due to their better edge retention.
However, both steels are relatively easy to sharpen, so maintaining a sharp edge should not be too difficult. As a rule of thumb, you should sharpen your knife when you notice it is not cutting as well as it used to or when you feel it starting to slip while using it.
So there you have it, both 8Cr13MoV and AUS-8 steel are popular choices for knife blades due to their high durability, corrosion resistance, and ease of sharpening.
While AUS-8 steel offers better edge retention, 8Cr13MoV steel offers superior hardness and is more budget-friendly.
Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on personal preferences and the intended use of the knife. Both steels are excellent options for various cutting tasks, and with proper care and maintenance, they can last a long time.