Aus 8 vs 440C

Both Aus 8 and 440C stainless steels have earned their reputations as reliable materials for knives and tools, leaving many consumers wondering which is the superior option. 

The answer, however, lies not in a simple comparison but in understanding each steel’s unique properties and how they align with individual needs and preferences. 

In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of Aus 8 and 440C stainless steel, evaluating factors such as hardness, corrosion resistance, edge retention, and ease of sharpening to provide you with the knowledge necessary to make an informed decision.

Aus 8 Steel: An Overview

Origin and Composition

Aus 8, a Japanese stainless steel, is known for its balance of performance and affordability. The steel’s composition includes elements such as carbon, chromium, molybdenum, and vanadium, which contribute to its various properties.

Hardness and Toughness

Aus 8 steel typically has a Rockwell Hardness (HRC) of 57-59, making it a moderately hard material. 

This level of hardness contributes to the steel’s overall toughness and ability to resist chipping or breaking under stress.

Edge Retention and Sharpness

Aus 8 offers a fair balance between edge retention and ease of sharpening. While it might not hold an edge as long as some high-end steels, it can be easily sharpened, allowing users to maintain optimal performance with minimal effort.

Corrosion Resistance

Thanks to its 14-15% chromium content, Aus 8 offers a good level of corrosion resistance, making it suitable for use in humid or wet environments.

440C Steel: An Overview

Origin and Composition

440C, an American stainless steel, is part of the 440 series, which also includes 440A and 440B. The steel contains high carbon content and higher levels of chromium compared to its counterparts, providing it with superior properties.

Hardness and Toughness

With an HRC of 58-60, 440C is slightly harder than Aus 8, offering increased wear resistance and toughness. This hardness allows for better overall durability and resistance to deformation.


Edge Retention and Sharpness

The high carbon content of 440C contributes to its impressive edge retention, outperforming Aus 8 in this regard. However, this increased edge retention comes at the cost of more challenging sharpening.

Corrosion Resistance

440C’s 17% chromium content provides it with excellent corrosion resistance, making it a suitable option for use in harsh environments where corrosion is a concern.

Head-to-Head Comparison

Hardness and Toughness

While both Aus 8 and 440C exhibit similar hardness levels, 440C’s slightly higher HRC makes it the winner in terms of hardness and toughness.

Edge Retention and Sharpness

440C outperforms Aus 8 in edge retention, but this comes at the expense of ease of sharpening. 

Therefore, if edge retention is a priority, 440C is the better option; if ease of sharpening is more important, Aus 8 is the way to go.

Corrosion Resistance

Both steels offer good corrosion resistance, but 440C’s higher chromium content gives it the edge in this category.

Aus 8 vs 440C: Comparison Table

PropertyAus 8440C
Hardness (HRC)57-5958-60
Edge RetentionFairGood
Ease of SharpeningEasyModerate
Corrosion ResistanceGoodExcellent
PriceAffordableSlightly higher


Which steel is better for a folding knife, Aus 8 or 440C?

The choice between Aus 8 and 440C for a folding knife depends on personal preferences and intended use. 

If edge retention and corrosion resistance are priorities, 440C is the better option. However, if ease of sharpening and affordability are more important, Aus 8 may be the ideal choice.

Is Aus 8 or 440C more suitable for a survival knife?

Both steels have their advantages for survival knives. Aus 8 is easier to sharpen and typically more affordable, while 440C has better edge retention and corrosion resistance. 

The decision ultimately depends on the user’s preferences and the specific survival situations they anticipate encountering.

3. How do I decide between Aus 8 and 440C for my knife?

Consider your specific needs and preferences, such as edge retention, ease of sharpening, corrosion resistance, toughness, and budget. Assess which steel best aligns with those priorities to make the most informed decision.

Final Thoughts

When choosing between Aus 8 and 440C stainless steel, it is crucial to evaluate each material’s unique properties and how they align with your individual needs and preferences. 

While 440C offers better edge retention, hardness, and corrosion resistance, Aus 8 is easier to sharpen and more budget-friendly. 

Ultimately, the choice between these two steels will depend on your specific requirements and the intended use of your knife or tool.

I'm Justin, co-founder of AllofKitchen and your knife and steel specialist. My extensive experience ensures accurate and hands-on advice on every topic. Turn to me for insights on selecting the best knife or maintaining your steel tools to perfection. Knives aren't just tools; they're an extension of the chef, and I'm here to guide you to the perfect fit.

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