80CrV2 Steel Review: Is it a Good Knife Steel?

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80CrV2 carbon steel is admired for its exceptional strength and is used in many knives. Winkler Knives is a good brand that uses 80CrV2 steel in many knives. If you are thinking of getting a knife made up of this steel, it is essential to know how it performs.

What is 80CrV2 steel?

Winkler Knives II Woodsman Black Micarta WK026 with 80CrV2 steel blade
Winkler Knives II Woodsman

80CrV2 is a type of high-carbon low-alloy steel. It is a conventionally cast tool steel featuring high chromium (Cr) and Vanadium (V). It is widely used in the knife industry for making swords, tomahawks, kitchen knives, tactical knives, hunting knives, EDC knives, bowie knives, utility knives, and other specialty knives.

These constituents in this steel are responsible for ensuring a performance comparable to more common options such as 1084. However, this comparison excludes the extra complexity added to the forging process, which may need more tools. The constituents are also responsible for high toughness and solid edge retention performance.

Most people think that 80CrV2 steel is made in china. However, it is not made in China but in Germany. It has been around for much time and has been tagged as the ‘Swedish saw steel.’

80CrV2 Chemical Composition

80CrV2 has a low amount of chromium, due to which it is not a type of stainless steel. The chemical composition instead makes it an alloy of different materials, due to which it is also a type of carbon steel.

Here is the chemical composition of this steel:

  • 0.85% carbon for durability, hardness, as well as resistance to wear and corrosion
  • 0.6% chromium for better tensile strength and retention of sharpness
  • 0.4% nickel for better toughness
  • 0.5% manganese for sharpness retention and better hardness
  • 0.3% sulfur for increasing the impact of individual constituents
  • 0.3% silicon for better strength
  • 0.25% vanadium for better hardenability as well as resistance to wear
  • 0.1% molybdenum for improved strength and better manufacturing ability (machinability)
  • 0.025% phosphorus for more strength


This high-carbon alloy steel has a maximum 57 to 58 HRC rating on the Rockwell scale. However, the actual hardness is likely to differ as per the kind of heat treatment implemented for the final product.

For testing and evaluation, specialists have reported that the Rockwell hardness rating of this alloy steel is 57 HRC. It is good to deliver decent edge retention performance and wear resistance.

Many people believe that it is better to have a harder type of steel. However, keep in mind that any very hard steel will not be tough.


The composition of this tool steel alloy dictates its properties. Here are the most important properties of steel:

  • Reliable Toughness: Toughness refers to the ability to prevent breaking, fracturing, chipping, or deforming in any other sense when under pressure. This steel is tough enough to resist all these deformations with the right tempering technique. The credit goes to the high amount of chromium content. As a result, the steel resists chipping and bending due to stress or force than a regular stainless knife. The strength of carbon is also apparent in terms of enough support while carving or cutting through the most rigid item. The toughness level of this steel is considered better than 1095, O1, and 5160. Thus, 80CrV2 steel is ideal for an outdoor knife.
  • Edge Retention: With good heat treatment, 80CrV2 retains a sharp edge for a long time. This is ensured even after making hundred rope cuts. Its edge does not become dull easily or quickly. This ability to sustain the sharpness for several months is attributed to hardness.
  • Sharpening Ease: This is one of the most overlooked properties of steel knives. When it comes to an 80CrV2 steel knife, it is easy to sharpen its edge, just like a standard carbon-steel knife. You can easily use the most sharpening tools and techniques, including electrical machines and non-bevel stones.
  • Average Wear Resistance: You can expect a good level of wear resistance from this steel. This is because silicon, vanadium, and carbon are in the steel’s chemical composition. Though It is not as high as a steel option with a hardness rating of 60 HRC or above, the performance of 80CrV2 steel is far better than many other steel options.
  • Weak Corrosion Resistance: This is where, unfortunately, the steel stays behind. However, this steel does not rust as quickly as other steel alloys but do not expect it to resist corrosion. These days, many 80CrV2 knives come with an anti-rust coating.

Comparison With Other Knife Steel Options

Winkler Knives II Crusher Belt Knife Walnut WK032
Winkler Knives II Crusher

This comparison can be made in terms of different properties: corrosion resistance, ease of sharpness, edge retention, and toughness.

80CrV2 vs. 5160

5160 is more vulnerable to corrosion than 80CrV2. It rusts more quickly than other high-carbon options. This means that you need to take more care of a 5160 blade.

Even in terms of the ability to sustain a sharp edge, 5160 is not as good as 80CrV2. Thus, you need to re-sharpen a 50160 blade more frequently than an 80CrV2 blade.

80CrV2 vs. 5160

80CrV2 vs. 1095

The latter steel is also a popular variant, but it is more brittle than 80CrV2. Well, it means that any 1095 edge is likely to be more susceptible to breaking, especially in the absence of significant steel volume behind the edge. But, on the flip side, it is easier to sharpen any 1095 blade.

80CrV2 vs. 1095

80CrV2 vs. 52100

The latter option is among the best steel materials for making knives. It is easy to sharpen, reasonably tough and retains the edge sharpness for long. The only limitation is that it is hard to source true 52100. Thus, it is not easy to spot an authentic 52100 knife.

80CrV2 vs. 52100

80CrV2 vs. D2

The latter option is also tool steel, but it belongs to the premium category. However, 80CrV2 is tougher than D2. Despite this, D2 overcomes 80CrV2 in terms of resistance to corrosion and edge retention because it is a type of semi-stainless steel. You can also expect higher resistance to wear from D2. However, re-sharpening a D2 steel edge is harder.

80CrV2 vs. D2

80CrV2 vs. CPM 3V

The latter steel is among the high-end variants and excels in many aspects. CPM 3V is better at resistance to corrosion and edge retention ability. However, in terms of toughness, the difference is not that significant. 80CrV2 is also easier to sharpen than CPM 3V.

80CrV2 vs. 3V

80CrV2 vs. 1084

The chemical compositions of both the steels are almost the same. Hence, both scores the same in edge retention, toughness and are easily susceptible to corrosion.

80CrV2 vs. 1084

80CrV2 vs. S30V

CPM-S30V is a high-end steel option. It is harder than this German steel, hence exhibiting higher wear resistance and edge retention. Consequently, 80CrV2 is tougher and easier to sharpen. S30V is pretty good at corrosion resistance too.

80CrV2 vs. S30V


So, is 80CrV2 a Good Knife Steel?

Yes, 80CrV2 is hard, tough, resists wear decently, and retains a sharp edge satisfactorily. However, as it is not that great for resisting corrosion, 80CrV2 carbon steel is not meant for use in a humid environment such as in the kitchen or amidst water. However, you can overcome it with proper care or by choosing a blade with an anti-corrosive coating.

Due to good toughness, this steel is reliable for making smaller, more refined cuts without any risk of chipping or breaking.