5Cr15MoV Steel – Is it a Good Knife Steel?

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Are you looking for a knife that will not break your bank and is yet reasonably sharp as well as easy to sharpen when dull? If yes, chances are high for you to come across 5Cr15MoV knives. So, what does this alphanumeric phrase mean?

Well, 5Cr15MoV is a type of steel that is considered a quite affordable option for those on a strict budget. It is commonly used in making kitchen or chef’s knives, although you can find folding knives as well. So, is it the right steel for your kitchen knife too? Let’s find out through a quick review.

What is 5Cr15MoV Steel?

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5Cr15MoV steel is a type of made-in-China stainless steel. It was specially made for making knives for use in kitchens where they could easily keep rust and corrosion at bay. It is a common belief that this steel is the Chinese form of the German X50CrMoV15 steel that is widely used for making kitchen knives in the country. The Chinese manufacturers came up with a tailored version by somewhat twisting this.

Just as any other standard Chinese item, this steel version is reasonably priced while it ensures good value for your hard-earned money. 5Cr15MoV is rightly admired for its great corrosion resistance power, due to which it is a part of numerous kitchen knives. There is also no need to bother if this blade gets wet, which is a common incidence in any kitchen.

Composition

5Cr15MoV is chemically composed of carbon and chromium along with small quantities of other metals. Cr15 in the name of this steel indicates the percentage of chromium content. The level of chromium chiefly determines the level of corrosion resistance of that steel. Indeed, stainless steel is known for its ability to resist corrosion has a minimum of 10% chromium.

Similarly, 5 in the name of this steel represents the percentage of carbon in this steel. Following are the various elements of which this high-carbon steel is made up of:

  • 15% chromium for boosted edge retention, tensile strength, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance; this high quantity of chromium make it more resistant to corrosion than other stainless steels in which chromium content is less
  • 0.5% carbon for enhanced hardness, edge retention, and resistance to wear as well as corrosion; this percentage is ideal for boosting hardness; it is not much carbon at all
  • 0.6% molybdenum for boosted strength as well as machinability, the latter being the main benefit, which means easy to work with this steel while manufacturing it
  • 0,4% manganese for boosted toughness, hardness, and perhaps even brittleness
  • 0.1% vanadium for enhanced hardness as well as resistance to wear

Hardness

This steel is not too hard. On the Rockwell HRC scale, most 5Cr15MoV steel varieties have a hardness rating between 55 and 57. The exact rating depends on the type of heat treatment the manufacturers implement in making it. This is also the reason why a few 5Cr15MoV knives have a bit higher rating of 58 HRC. However, on average, the hardness level of this steel is around 54 HRC.

This rating also indicates that this steep is easy to sharpen. Practically, its hardness is sufficient to ensure that the knife resists regular wear, has a very sharp edge, and lasts longer than expected. On the flip side, this level of hardness restricts the ability to retain the sharp edge, due to which you may have to sharpen the edge often.

Properties

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The aforementioned chemical composition, as well as the hardness rating, easily help in determining the most useful properties of this high-carbon steel. Following are its most significant properties of 5Cr15MoV stainless steel:

  • Superb Corrosion Resistance: This is perhaps the biggest benefit you can expect from a knife made of 5Cr15MoV steel. It is truly unrivaled! The top secret is the high chromium content present in this steel. This is just incredible for steel options belonging to the category of affordable steels. So now, if your knife is going to get wet during use, you simply can continue to use it without any fear of rusting or corrosion.
  • Good Toughness or Tensile Strength: 5Cr15MoV steel, although having a low level of hardness, is correspondingly tough. In other words, it provides reasonably good tensile strength, due to which it is not brittle at all. This steel can flex a bit and endure shock and lateral forces that may otherwise cause some less tough and harder steel to break. A primary issue with a harder steel variant is that it is not sufficiently tough. This means it is more susceptible to chipping than other less hard steels. Now, this is an issue if you chop more than cutting. However, 5Cr15MoV sets itself apart here. With it, you can chop with a peaceful mind, as it will not chip. This is because of its good level of toughness, due to which it can hold itself well during even mid-tough cutting jobs. However, do not use it more for cutting jobs, as that may increase its risk of chipping. The steel’s toughness directly informs which tough tasks it can handle. It is directly related to the level of hardness.
  • Superb Ease of Sharpening: This is another great benefit of 5Cr15MoV steel. It is a breeze to sharpen the edge of this blade, which initially comes razor sharp out of the box. This ease is truly appealing to beginners. Even for sharpening, there is no need of using a special sharpening tool. All you have to use is a standard sharpener that can easily deliver an extreme level of sharpness. This softer steel is a relief to those who have used a super-hard steel variant that is always vulnerable to crack while sharpening.
  • Okay Edge Retention: 5Cr15MoV is not that hard, due to which it lacks the ability to retain a sharp edge for a long time. If edge retention is an important factor for you when it comes to finding the best blade steel, there is still some good news for you. This steel will ensure decent edge retention although it scores lower in this ability than the more expensive or premium steels. Due to low carbon and vanadium quantity, this stainless steel is not an ultra-hard one, and thus, cannot hold an edge well for a long time.

5Cr15MoV Steel vs Other Steel Options

Apart from exploring the properties, one more effective way of measuring the performance of 5Cr15MoV stainless steel is making a comparison. We compare them based on edge retention, corrosion-resistant, and ease of sharpness.

5Cr15MoV vs 7Cr17MoV

7Cr17MoV is harder than 5Cr15MoV, as it contains more carbon. It is also better in terms of the ability to retain a sharp edge. On the flip side, it is pricier than 5Cr15MoV.

On the other hand, the softer 5Cr15MoV steel is easier to sharpen than 7Cr17MoV. Further, it is tougher, which means it is less susceptible to chipping at the time of chopping food. In short, if there is no need for a steel sheet that is as corrosion-resistant and hard as 7Cr17MoV, choose 5Cr15MoV for saving money.

5Cr15MoV vs 440

The 440-steel variant contains more carbon content than the 5Cr15MoV steel. Around 0.65% to 0.75% carbon is present in its form of the lowest grade, 440A. As a result, even its lowest variant is harder than 5Cr15MoV hence better edge retention capability. Nevertheless, 5Cr15MoV is easier to sharpen.

5Cr15MoV vs AUS 8

AUS 8 is also commonly used steel for making knives. Due to more carbon content that ranges from 0.7% to 0.75%, it is a bit harder than 5Cr15MoV. This also means a better ability to sustain a sharp edge. On the other hand, 5Cr15MoV wins when it comes to ease of sharpening. As AUS 8 has less chromium below 15%, 5Cr15MoV becomes relatively more resistant to corrosion.

5 Best 5Cr15MoV Knives

Here are few knives made of 5Cr15MoV steel available on Amazon.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

So, is 5Cr15MoV Steel Good for Your Knives?

Well, the answer is dependent on the purpose of usage. For outdoor uses such as camping and survival, 5Cr15MoV stainless steel is truly not the best option. Using its blade to cut tough things such as cans and ropes will result in quick dulling of the blade.

As a result, you are likely to sharpen this blade often, which is troublesome when outside. After all, it is not a too-hard knife! This explains why it is an affordable stainless-steel option.

However, this steel is good for performing the tasks of a small pocket knife such as cutting strings, and opening packages and adhesives. Above all, it is the best option for kitchen knives meant more for chopping instead of cutting things. The credit goes to great rust-resistance ability. It will not stain easily, due to which your kitchen knives retain their aesthetic appeal for a long time.

Right now, it is a favorite of several home cooks and chefs for whom ease of sharpening, affordability, and corrosion resistance are priorities.