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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?
8Cr13MoV refers to a low-end stainless-steel option that is made in China. Based on the Japanese AUS 8 steel, this steel is a part of the Cr13 series, 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.
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:
- 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, tends to reduce the hardness level
- 1% manganese, ensuring increased hardness
- 1% silicon, providing improved strength and making the steel harder
- 0.3% molybdenum, ensuring increased strength and manufacturing process
- 0.04% sulfur, 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 in China and any other country.
Using a steel option 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.
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 and 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.
This does not mean that a higher hardness rating is always preferable. Instead, this is because the more the hardness is, the less toughness will be.
If hardness is about to wear resistance and sustain a sharp edge, toughness is needed to ensure resistance to chipping. In simple words, a too-hard blade means it is susceptible to chipping.
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 you get what you pay. 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 everyday 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 has excellent corrosion resistance. In other words, you need not bother about blade rusting even with high humidity. Chromium is known to keep oxidation and rusting at bay. This explains why this Chinese steel is becoming popular 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 regular 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 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. In addition, it is simple to model this steel to any shape required for the knife without investing much.
- Weldability: Due to higher chromium, its carbide percentage is higher 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 determine 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 ease of sharpness, toughness, and resistance to corrosion. However, the former takes a slight edge regarding 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. But on the other hand, VG10 excels in corrosion resistance and edge retention.
8Cr13MoV Vs. 14C28N
The latter is harder and ensures better edge retention. However, 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.
So, Is 8Cr13MoV Steel for You?
8Cr13MoV stainless steel is for those on a budget looking for balanced hardness, edge retention, and resistance to corrosion and wear.
Hi, I am Jay. I am the creator of Knife Guides, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I am a computer engineer by profession, knife aficionado by passion. Here I work with a group of people who’ve always had a passion for knives and blades. Over the years we’ve kind of become experts and decided to share our knowledge and ideas. I am also an avid hiker and enjoy offshore gamefishing.