8Cr13MoV Stainless Steel – Good Enough for Your Knives?

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While there are several steel materials for knives, 8Cr13MoV steel or 8Cr13 steel seems to set itself apart in terms of ongoing popularity. Many knives made up of this Chinese steel are becoming very popular, perhaps because of their affordability and manufacturing ease.

So, is this knife steel any good? To find this out, let’s perform a quick 8Cr13MoV review in this post by exploring its properties and chemical composition.

What is 8Cr13MoV Steel?

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8Cr13MoV refers to a low-end stainless-steel option, which is made in China. Based on the Japanese AUS 8 steel, this steel is a part of the Cr13 series, due to which it is also known as 8Cr13 steel. It contains a high amount of carbon and chromium. The Chinese grade is a counterpart of Aichi AUS 8 steel, with carbon being relatively more.

Composition

Cr in the name 8Cr13MoV refers to Chromium, while MoV refers to Molybdenum and Vanadium. Following are the various elements of which this steel is made up of:

  • 14.5% chromium, ensuring superb edge retention, tensile strength, and durability while augmenting resistance to wear and corrosion
  • 0.8% carbon, ensuring hardness as well as resistance to wear and corrosion; this amount of carbon ideal as anything more, tend to reduce the hardness level
  • 1% manganese, ensuring increased hardness
  • 1% silicon, ensuring improved strength and making the steel harder
  • 0.3% molybdenum, ensuring increased strength and manufacturing process
  • 0.04% sulphur, ensuring an easier manufacturing process
  • 0.25% vanadium, ensuring better hardness as well as wear resistance
  • 0.2% nickel, ensuring more toughness
  • 0.04% phosphorus for better strength

The high chromium content makes 8Cr13MoV a true stainless-steel option, which is easy to produce in bulk not only in China but also in any other country.

Using a steel option that is lower than 7Cr is futile, as this kind of steel will not even hold an edge. Similarly, choosing a 9Cr option can be costly to produce. Thus, when it comes to bargaining for quality, the 8Cr series is ideal.

Let’s now move ahead and explore its properties.

Hardness

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The hardness of 8Cr13MoV blade steel will differ as per the method its manufacturer has used to make it. Generally, on the Rockwell Hardness Scale, the hardness ranges from 57 to 62, which is high enough to ensure better sharpness as well as wear resistance. While the hardness of EDC knives ranges from 54 to 56, the premium ones are harder and have a rating between 59 and 66.

Well, this does not mean that a higher hardness rating is always preferable. This is because the more the hardness is, the less toughness will be.

If hardness is about to wear resistance and sustaining a sharp edge, toughness is needed for ensuring resistance to chipping. In simple words, a too-hard blade means it is susceptible to chipping.

Properties

To decide whether the low-budget 8Cr13MoV high-carbon stainless steel is good or not, it is essential to know its mechanical properties. These are as follows:

  • Nice Edge Retention: This is where this stainless steel is admired for its price. You will never complain about its edge retention ability if you believe that you get what you pay for. Due to a higher level of hardness than the typical EDC steel options, this steel has a better ability to sustain its edge even with frequent use. Still, this ability may not be best as compared to the upscale steels.
  • Decent Wear Resistance: The presence of high carbon, chromium, and vanadium content in this steel ensures higher resistance to normal wear than usual. On quenching, a crystalline substance call martensite develops that contributes to this type of resistance. This ability is further enhanced due to the nucleation of vanadium and chromium carbides at the time of tempering.
  • Great Corrosion Resistance: 8Cr13MoV is a kind of stainless steel. Thus, it should not rust quite easily or quickly. By definition, any steel is called stainless if it has a minimum of 10% chromium. 8Cr13MoV steel has 14%, which means it certainly has excellent corrosion resistance. In other words, you need not bother about blade rusting even if there is high humidity. Chromium is known to keep oxidation and rusting at bay. This explains why this Chinese steel is becoming popular for use in kitchens, during the rainy season, or near rivers. This is where wet stuff exists the most.
  • Considerate Toughness: It is tough but not too tough to make a knife blade brittle. The credit goes to molybdenum, silicon, nickel, and phosphorus. It can easily withstand a moderate amount of abuse before chipping or breaking. The latter is only possible if you use it for performing tough applications such as hitting or prying open. This kind of steel is ideal for normal cutting jobs.
  • Ease of Sharpening: It is incredibly simple to sharpen a blade made using 8Cr13MoV steel. Due to the low quantity of vanadium and its carbides, this steel is not that hard. Thus, it is easy to sharpen this steel quickly by using only the standard sharpening tool.
  • Outstanding Molding Ability: Due to the presence of molybdenum and small traces of sulfur, 8Cr13MoV is the choice of many knife makers. This is because it ensures great machinability. It is simple to model this steel to any shape required for the knife without invest much.
  • Weldability: Due to higher chromium, its percentage of carbides is more in this steel. This is why this steel is unsuitable for welding.
  • Lasting Quality: You can easily maintain the quality of this steel throughout its lifespan without compromising its value.

8Cr13MoV Vs Other Steel Options

Apart from properties, another way to find out whether 8Cr13MoV stainless steel is ideal for your requirements is to see how it is superior to its other equivalents or competitive steel options.

8Cr14MoV vs 8Cr13MoV

Both are almost the same in terms of ease of sharpness, toughness, and resistance to corrosion. However, the former one takes a slight edge when it comes to edge retention.

AUS 8 vs 8Cr13MoV

The former is a Japanese steel that is considered better at retaining and sharpening the edge and resisting corrosion. However, in terms of toughness, both are the same.

8Cr13MoV vs 440c

The latter has more chromium and carbon levels. Thus, 440c retains an edge better and ensures more enhanced corrosion resistance.

8Cr13MoV vs 420HC

The latter is known for better edge retention. However, corrosion resistance and toughness qualities remain the same for both.

8Cr13MoV vs VG10

The former wins in terms of toughness. On the other hand, VG10 excels in corrosion resistance and edge retention.

8Cr13MoV vs 14C28N

The latter is harder and ensures better edge retention. Due to ease of manufacturing and affordability, 8Cr13MoV remains a more popular option.

8Cr13MoV vs 7Cr17MoV

The latter has more chromium to deliver better corrosion resistance for use in survival jobs. However, the former is harder and retains its edge better for use in indoor tasks without frequent sharpening.

8Cr13MoV Uses

This steel is used in making scissors for home use, survival knives, kitchen knives, and folding knives.

Top 5 8Cr13MoV Knives

Out of the reputed knife brands only Kershaw and Spyderco make blades out of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. And as expected they are pretty cheap.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

So, Is 8Cr13MoV Steel for You?

8Cr13MoV stainless steel is for those on budget and are looking for balanced hardness, edge retention, and resistance to corrosion and wear.