Different Types of Steel for Pocket Knife Blades

stainless-steelMany would say that the steel is the heart of the blade because although it does not fully determine the overall knife performance, it greatly contributes in influencing the way a blade is being utilized. Steels are basically made out of alloys of carbon and iron that is often mixed by other elements to improve the characteristics. The steel is very essential in fueling the blade with capabilities to reach its maximum potential, so finding the best steel for a pocket knife entails careful discernment. As they say, there is no “best steel for everything”. It is important, therefore, to have a proper understanding of what a particular pocket knife is for so that one can find the most suitable steel for the best performance.

  • S30V – This type of steel is considered to be the best type of blade steel that offers hardness and sharpness at its finest. It is a stainless steel with corrosion resistance that promotes effective cutting and slicing with easier expediency used and preferred by many. S30V is expensive in nature due to its premium grade of blade steel which classifies it as the best type of steel available.


  • BG–42 – This type of steel, like S30V, contains premium material with better edge holding ability when compared to other steels. It also has high stain resistance among others and is the most popular type of steel that offers superior wear resistance which negatively makes the steel difficult to sharpen.


  • ATS–34 – This type of steel provides high-end performance for stainless steels, high edge retention and reported to be less rust-resistant when compared to mid-range grade of blade steels. This steel is tough and sharp enough for many different uses and is well-used among pocket knife makers and users.


  • 154CM –This steel is said to be somewhat similar with S30V in terms of origin and corrosion resistance ability and almost the same with ATS – 34 when it comes to hardness and rust resistance. 154CM is also a preferred blade steel by many pocket knife users.
  • VG10 – This type of stainless steel originating from Japan is the combination of 154CM and ATS-34 in terms of characteristics; however, VG-10 contains vanadium which makes it slightly better.


  • 440C This type of stainless steel is a modern steel famous for its high corrosion resistance and stain resistance, strength and hardness traits. 440C is best for all types of knives especially pocket knives and very ideal for an all-around performance.


  • AUS–8 – This type of steel is originating from Japan and is also highly resistant to corrosion. It has toughness and hardness, but it does not have good edge retention.
  • 420J – This type of steel belongs to the lower grade of steel quality but is still perfectly used for typical various applications. Although it does not offer any resistance to rust or weariness and may not guarantee a long-lasting blade quality, its flexibility is the key reason why many are still buying and using 420J. Of course, aside from the affordable price, 420J can be used for short-term performance while ensuring good quality among others.

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