There is no doubt that knives keep evolving in terms of design, functionality, and build material. One of the recent introductions is a titanium knife that is proving useful for tactical users, cooks, and Everyday Carry (EDC) enthusiasts. So, is it the next preferable option when you wish to buy a new blade? Let’s check out in this post by exploring its properties, pros, and cons and a popular few choices for titanium knives.
Overview of Titanium
Titanium is an abundant chemical element that a non-professional Cornish geologist William Gregor discovered in the late 18th century and named so after the Greek mythology’s Titans. It is extracted from sand or a specific black ore found in several regions across the globe.
Titanium is found in the chemical composition of the meteorites as well as the sun. It is a ‘transitional metal’ due to its exclusive atomic layout of the electron orbits.
Since the past few decades, its alloys are increasingly in use in different industries such as daily tools, aerospace, manufacturing, automotive, and marine. The credit for this goes to the metal’s extraordinary strength and durability. These are the two main properties why titanium is used in making blades and handles of knives.
The blades of these knives tend to extend beyond the tangible section within the handle. If not entirely made up of titanium, the handle is crafted using sturdy composite materials and corrosion-resistant to endure the harsh ocean water. It is also supported by titanium fasteners and/or bolts.
The metal is not mainly a precious one unless it comes to EDC gear. When it is the matter of knives, titanium is believed to be a fabulous material for EDC blades. With it, you get a comfortable knife that is extremely durable, ensures less fatigue, is pretty in looks and is usually softer than expected.
Due to these attributes, titanium is considered to be one of the ideal handle materials ensuring a safe grip. However, for a blade, it is not that preferable, as it cannot hold an edge. This is why most knives come with a steel blade and a titanium handle to perform suitably while still reflecting the typical titanium sparkle.
Although soft, it is possible to make a titanium blade sharp and sharpen it to retain the edge. However, this retention will not be for a very long time, though, because due to the inherent soft edge. While it means to sharpen a titanium blade more often than expected, it has restricted but handy uses.
They are useful for processing veggies, fruits, mushrooms, and bread pieces. Due to the soft edge, they are just not ideal for prying or any other task that demands steep force on the blade.
Reviews of 3 Best Titanium Knives
You can make all kinds of knives with Titanium. We have three knives below made of titanium. The first one is a kitchen knife set, the second one is a diving knife, and the last one is an outdoor folding knife.
Tomodachi Rainbow Titanium 10 Piece Kitchen Knife Set
The splashes of colorful blades and handles, giving a lively presence, lasting quality, and handy features make these knives to welcome anyone in the kitchen.
Like a good friend, this set features blades having a titanium coating and bright colors to add some fun without compromising accessibility, quality, and affordability. The set comes with a 7-Inch Santoku, a 5-inch serrated knife, a 6-inch general knife, a 3.5-inch parer, and a 3-inch santoku. All of them have a blade guard.
Due to the non-stick coating of titanium, these blades slide through almost any food item with ease. The slices come on the cutting board without sticking to the edge. The food item can be fruits and veggies, including hard ones such as carrots and radishes.
These blades are sharp, last long, are durable and are resistant to wear as well as corrosion. Each of them is factory ground to a precise edge to get you clean cuts. It also possesses a unique gradient of mixed colors, nicely paired with bright handles.
Apart from the natural light titanium blades, each handle features an ergonomic design to ensure a comfortable grip, which adds to a fun and comfortable preparation experience. It represents different colors in a rainbow with stylish hues paired with the blades.
The handles are made using molded acrylic due to which they are not so heavy as the full tang knives having wooden handles. They feel great in hand. All cutting happens on contact that keeps slipping or pushing off at bay.
All knives are well balanced and cozy for the hands of any size. The handles, covers, and blades match together so that you which knife to take. Re-usable blade covers are always there to protect your blade.
- Well balanced
- Bright colors
- Razor-sharp blades
- Easy to clean
- Value for money
- Susceptible to tarnishing if kept for long in the water
- Lack of sharpness retention
Aqua Lung Argonaut Titanium Diving Knife
If you are looking for an authentic, tough titanium knife for diving or spending maximum time in the water for some research, consider this diving knife from Aqua Lung. Coordinating with the globe’s premiere maritime commandos, the brand has designed and crafted its diving knives.
Thus, there is no reason to question the quality and reliability of this titanium knife. Being 9.75-inch long, this knife is made using a single piece of titanium that is 4mm thick and highly resistant to rust. This means you get all the benefits of titanium. The knife and blade both are four 7/8-inch long.
Once the blade is cut and given the right shape, the titanium metal is darkened by applying a black EDP coating and is then sharpened. The blade is available in blunt or Spartan style.
On the other hand, the handle is enfolded with 7 feet of nylon paracord that is 5 mm thick. The handle’s butt comes to a point for crushing and hammering.
The knife comes with a sheath that is crafted using thermoformed Kydex of aircraft-grade and is 2 mm thick. When all parts are assembled, the logos are imprinted on the sheath and knife using laser technology.
- Super tough
- Nice feel
- Well balanced
- No rusting, chipping or losing the edge
- Sheath and leg straps included
- A bit pricey
Catalina Creations Summit Knife Half Dome 6”
This is the knife with a titanium handle and steel blade, which is designed for outdoor enthusiasts, passionate climbers, and tactical users. The brand tags this knife as the knife for the mountains. This is because of its superb edge retention, high toughness, and corrosion resistance.
The fascinating part is that this knife is designed by Tommaso Rumici, a famous knife designer and maker. Made at Fox Knives of Italy, the titanium knife seems to reflect high quality. The blade is made using satin M390 steel of ultra-premium quality.
It is the Bohler’s super steel that is known for its high corrosion resistance, excellent hardness, superb edge retention, and superior wear resistance. The handle is made up of titanium that is strong and lighter than steel to ensure efficient performance while using it daily.
The Half Dome design features a striking finish of titanium beads. There are also screws of anodized titanium that form an additional oxide layer to apply a unique fit and finish to the design.
At the tactical position is the clip-on that possesses good retention power without getting too tight. You also get a titanium frame lock that works similar to a liner lock but is more durable. It is known for its strength and sturdiness due to its titanium build material.
- Made by a knife designer
- Comfortable design and grip
- Perfect weight
- Small size
- Premium quality
- Good balance
- Very tough
- Great edge retention
- Highly durable
- No corrosion
- A bit awkward to close
Reasons to Choose a Titanium Knife
If you are looking for one of the most lasting knives, it is sensible to add a titanium knife to your artistic or functional collection. You must be wondering what is there to be amazed by the presence of titanium.
Well, the reasons are its handy properties. There are mixed reviews for the knives made merely using titanium. As a build material, titanium is used in making both blades and handles. You can make an informed choice if you comprehend the properties of it.
Fortunately, titanium has many promising properties that make it most suitable for a myriad of uses and applications. So, let’s check them out now!
- Resilient: Titanium is a resilient element that is significantly reactive. When exposed to a few environmental elements such as chlorine, hot nitric acid, extreme temperatures, and saltwater, it results in titanium oxide. This result is seen on its surface, and it is likely to occur quickly. It then acts as a strong, lasting, and almost impassable barricade to safeguard pure titanium beneath it from additional corrosion.
- Visual Appeal: Titanium is reactive, which means it is possible to alter its characteristics via external influences. Heat-treating it or dipping it into an electrolyte solution with positive as well as negatively charged color boosts the visual appeal of the metallic surface. The amount of charge or heat is changeable by the amount of direct application, which identifies the color hue of the handle’s surface.
- Low Conductivity: Titanium is known for its low thermal as well as electrical conductivity. Thus, it does not impose any significant electrical risks when in use.
- Resistant to Corrosion and Rusting: It is known to most of us that metals tend to rust and corrode due to breaking down when exposed to unfavorable elements such as extreme temperatures, wet substances, and acidic items. Eventually, all metals pass through this kind of break down. Nevertheless, a few metals are more resistant to it than others. This applies to titanium, which is widely in use today. Pure titanium is entirely immune to corrosion and rusting due to chemicals, gases, saltwater, and acids due to the oxide barrier. Sadly, this pure form is rarely found or produce. Several titanium parts and items are made using a titanium alloy encompassing a blend of different quantities of titanium and other metals. As they are not made using pure titanium, they are vulnerable to rust and corrosion. However, as being more resistant to corrosion and rust than other metals and alloys, titanium in use today is generally believed to be resistant to corrosion in natural environments as well as more durable than other metals. Titanium blades first appeared as a tempting alternative to divers due to its property. This is also the reason why the U.S. Navy SEALs is one of the biggest consumers of these knives. If titanium is suitable for the military, it is equally useful for EDC consumers, right? Contrary to what most knife users know or think, even a high-carbon steel blade of high quality is vulnerable to rust if it is not cleaned well or regularly. On the other hand, a titanium blade does not rust even if you only wipe it off on your shirt or dip it in a stream.
- Lighter: Titanium is 45% lighter than steel. Its alloy has a low weight due to very low density. This distinctive strength-to-weight ratio is a key point while selecting an EDC knife or any other item such as a ring, pen, watch, and wallet. This advantage is instantly evident in a world that values light EDC tools. The strength-to-weight ratio is superior to steel or ceramic. The low-density titanium helps retain the weight of a knife within a reasonable margin. Not only does this ensure you a more comfortable carry but also renders a perfect balance in your hand. You will not be handling too heavy handles.
- Strength: Titanium gives high-performance knives due to it being lighter and stronger than steel. Its alloy is known to have a high tensile strength, which means it is not going to break even under pressure.
- Hard: Titanium is harder than steel and ceramic. Thus, it will not ding and dent at the time of storage or use. Titanium is nearly unbreakable. Even steel is tough, but is it virtually indestructible? Perhaps, no! A steel blade is likely to shatter from its edge or snapping in half if it accidentally falls on a hard, ceramic floor. However, this is something that a titanium blade will never suffer from.
- Thermally Stable: Titanium is known for its ability to stay stable in hot or cold temperatures. It is far more thermally stable than the commonly used metal, steel. It does not break in subzero temperatures. On the contrary, steel is likely to shatter at -65 degrees F, while ceramic becomes brittle at room temperatures. In short, titanium supports a big thermal range due to which it works well in both freezing and boiling temperatures without cracking or shattering. Thus, it is tough at any given temperature point. Toughness refers to the relative resistance to chipping or breaking under stress or impact. As a result, a titanium alloy knife is useful in any weather condition, unlike steel or a ceramic knife.
- Resistant to Abrasion: Titanium is a self-healing element, as it generates a titanium oxide layer on itself upon scratching. Thus, it is five more resistant to abrasion than steel. This helps it to retain an edge and resist erosion when coming into contact with materials such as ice, sand, dirt, nylon, mud, and rope.
- Highly Ductile: Being ductile means having the ability to endure tensile stress or a force pulling the two ends of an item away from each other. This tug-of-war is the deformation that triggers in titanium due to the induced strain. In simple words, you can stretch titanium into thin strips without becoming brittle in the process. The U.S. Navy SEALs are unable to break their MPK12-Ti titanium knives in 20 years of their service. This is accredited to its ductility, toughness, and flexibility, even under stress.
- Flexibility: It is possible to bend or flex titanium repeatedly without viewing any kind of rupture. This helps in giving the desired knife shape.
- Non-toxic/Bio-Compatible: Titanium is non-toxic and biologically inert. Thus, its touch and use do not harm any human or animal. This is one of the primary characteristics of titanium needed while touching human skin and tissues. Due to this feature, titanium is used in medical implants and fasteners to minimize irritation. Titanium knives and other EDC items also provide this benefit.
- Non-magnetic: Titanium is inherently magnetically inert, which means it has a very low quantity of iron. Thus, it has no magnetic property due to which it remains safe if kept in a pocket with other small items that otherwise would get attracted.
These properties make titanium apt for making knives. It is available in different grades, of which the highest ones are widely used for making blades.
Titanium knives were first introduced as alternatives to diving knives. The ability of the metal to resist corrosion when in saltwater was pretty tempting to the field manufacturers who found a formerly unknown and potentially priceless possibility to fulfill the requirement of reliable tools of divers.
The toughness level of titanium made it an ideal fit for underwater tasks, such as cutting through shells and corals. Thus, the scuba divers started to find them pretty appealing.
For divers, titanium knives became amongst the few consumer products made entirely using titanium or its alloys. Beta alloys were found to be preferable because of its toughness superior to the other titanium alloys.
It became common for the makers to employ dedicated treatments for boosting the metal’s natural properties.
Even the military personnel were attracted to the non-magnetic properties of this element because they could quickly deal with the magnetic sea-mines on their way. Titanium soon became a famous build material for the military industry wherein lots of things became easier in survival and defense-demanding conditions.
During the success of diving knives made using titanium, several other types of knives were made and sold. In those days, it was more common for users to use titanium due to its increasing popularity rather than focusing on the benefits of its intrinsic properties.
Sooner, these knives got an esteemed place in the kitchens for cooking. The main reasons here seemed to be the longer lifespan of the cutting edge and the practical benefit of the absence of maintenance that other build metals or materials need to preserve their original edge as well as the state for a long time.
Titanium knives also started acting as a reliable tool in situations where its properties could be put to good use. These are the scenarios in which knives are less likely to get proper cleaning and care, which include camping and hunting.
Titanium knives are ideal for those who spend much time in and around water or do tasks in which blade requires frequent cleaning. Divers and anglers may find this knife more useful than a steel or ceramic knife due to its more corrosion resistance power and tough blade.
This is because they spend more time in the highly corrosive water of the sea. Navy SEALs are using titanium knives for years. Thus, these knives are apt for military uses.
Titanium blades allow divers, civilian, or military to handle underwater jobs easily. These jobs include cutting strong ropes and coral pieces, cutting shells, and splitting wood elements hardened due to exposure to prolonged saltwater.
Titanium is also ideal handy for campers and boaters. Blades made using any other build materials are susceptible to rust and are likely to lose their sharp edge if proper care is not taken. However, these issues fade away with titanium blades.
Being lighter than steel counterparts, titanium knives are more useful for patients with arthritis or having any disorder related to arms, wrists, or palms. This is because they help reduce strain at the time of use.
Similarly, they are useful for backpacking and other applications where a rise by each kg or ounce is a concern. Titanium is also useful for folding handles of knives as well as for the inner workings of these tools.
These small, moving components are perhaps challenging to care for. If they are made up of stainless steel, they will finally rust. However, with titanium, rusting does not occur if minimal care is taken.
Titanium Alloys in Use
On a large scale, the kind of titanium alloy in use for making EDC items is believed to be of aerospace-grade. An alloy is a blend of different elements included in a metal. Ti4Al4V or Ti6Al4V titanium alloy is widely used in making high-end knives and assorted EDC gear.
The alloy of Ti4Al4V consists of 89% to 90% titanium, 4% vanadium, 6% aluminum, and trace amounts of 0.25% iron and 0.2% oxygen. Apart from that, hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon are also a part of it, although in small quantities.
On the other hand, Ti6AL4V (Grade 5) titanium alloy carries a similar composition. However, it has a bit of variance in the share of each element. For instance, the percentage of titanium can be anywhere between 88% and 91%.
Grade 5 titanium is tagged as the alloy workhorse due to which it is frequently in use. It is widely used in different industries such as aerospace, jewelry, high-end sporting items such as knives, medical implants, marine, and automotive.
Limitations of Titanium Knives
Although the benefits of titanium knives are extraordinary and superior to other knives, they have some limitations. It is vital to know them so that you can make the best use of these knives. Following are these limitations:
- Soft: A grade 5 knife has a Rockwell hardness scale is 36, which means it is softer than hardened steel blades whose RH range is 56 to 61. This variance is such that it can result in wear over a prolonged period. This wear minimizes the level of tolerance and is likely to trigger lock interface problems. Due to this limitation, hardened lock interfaces were introduced for knives with frame locks. These interfaces tend to improve the life of the primary bar lock knife while giving the benefit of the light and strong frame made up of titanium.
- Furthermore, titanium alloy may possess inferior surface wearing characteristics known as galling. The term refers to the molecular friction, which is problematic for those with locks of titanium frames and knives having spinning parts such as pivot while coming into contact with a few other metals. This is often evident with lock stick in knives.
- Not for Hard Stuff: While pure titanium is harder than steel, titanium alloy is not! Its hardness is not that adequate. Thus, it is not an excellent alternative to a working knife blade used for dealing with hard things. Further, an alloy does not hold an edge for recurrent use due to the absence of sufficient carbides. However, a blade from a titanium alloy is useful for short-term cutting or as a dive blade in marine environments.
- Expensive: Titanium alone is temperamental; it is relatively costly despite its profusion. It is costlier than resin composites and aluminum alloys typically in use for making the handles of affordable knives. This is because of the tough process of its removal from the ore. This is known as the Krull process and is more tedious as well as difficult than those used for extracting other metals. While abundantly available, titanium’s strength and toughness tend to make it hard to work with. Thus, knives made up of only titanium are expensive. Considering the distinct titanium properties, high-temperature engineering and welding need to be performed in the absence of oxygen and within an argon or helium atmosphere. These special manufacturing conditions make titanium knives expensive. Thus, you are likely to end up paying a lot for just one knife, which is not what several users and collectors can afford. As an economical solution, consider adding a titanium coating on the core of an affordable knife. This will give you all the titanium benefits at a significantly lower price.
- Unclear Markings: Many blades have a label of ‘Titanium.’ However, this can refer to its coating or simply a trade name. This can be confusing, as nothing is stated clearly. If you are looking for a titanium blade or handle, ensure that it clearly states what is made from.
- Difficulty in Sharpening: Yes, titanium blades are not that easy to sharpen. Doing it on your own can ruin the edge or the sharpener. It is worth getting it done by a professional. However, if you check online forums such as tormek.com, many DIY enthusiasts suggest using any synthetic diamond sharpener. Logically, this is true, as even a synthetic diamond is the hardest of all metals.
One of the frequently asked questions about titanium knives is whether they are dishwasher safe. Well, it is not recommended using a dishwasher. The less its usage is, the better it is. It is okay to resort to it sometimes. However, just ensure that the blade does not get exposed to other dishes. Or else, they will have to face the damage, with a few being an exception to this outcome.
Titanium knives are lighter, stronger, more durable, and more resistant to heat, cold, chemicals, saltwater, and acids than steel. Despite this, they are more flexible and lighter than steel knives. They are also less susceptible to corrosion than other alloys or metals and are capable of withstanding extreme temperatures.
You can get knives made up of more quantity of titanium only if you are willing to spend lavishly. This is because titanium is a costly metal. For those on a tight budget can choose a knife with titanium coating on handle and/or blade.