Best Steel For Kitchen Knives | The Complete Guide [2024]

Best Steel For Kitchen Knives | The Complete Guide [2022]

If you’re looking forward to purchasing several high-quality knives, one of the main factors you need to consider is the steel used in making the blade; this is because the steel of a knife determines the cutting properties of a blade.


Furthermore, it also will give you a fair idea of whether or not the steel used is rust-resistant.

However, choosing the best steel for kitchen knives is quite impossible because it varies depending on a person’s needs.

What’s the Best Steel for Kitchen Knives?

To find the most suitable steel for your kitchen knife, you need to weigh several factors because there are trade-offs.

The only way to find out is by finding a proper balance within various properties.

Best Steel For Kitchen Knives

Popular Steels For Kitchen Knives

There are numerous types of steels used in making blades. Our list comprises the best steel for kitchen knives. Most of these steels are used in the construction of the best Japanese knives for chefs

Different knives have different properties; therefore, you’ll be able to choose a steel that suits your needs best.

After reading this comprehensive article, you’ll never purchase a knife that has a weak blade.

Well, without further delay, let’s dive in.

[1] AUS-6


  • Made in Japan
  • Hardness Scale of 55-57
  • Stainless Steel

AUS-6 is not popularly used in kitchen knives. Besides, it’s very cheap, and it doesn’t have excellent cutting properties.

Also, it doesn’t hold an edge well. You can compare this steel to the 420 series steel.

Therefore, this steel is primarily used in cheap knives, and for this reason, it’s quite hard finding knives made from this steel.


[2] AUS-8



  • Made in Japan
  • Hardness Scale of 57-59
  • Stainless Steel

This steel is well known for making blades of knives. AUS-8 provides an outstanding balance between corrosion resistance, price, and hardness.

This steel is mostly used in mid-range Japanese knives. Moreover, consumers are often happy with blades made from this steel.

This steel is used on knives such as Dalstrong Phantom and Zelite razor edge knives.


[3] AUS-10



  • Made in Japan
  • Stainless Steel
  • Hardness of 58-60 HRC

 AUS-10 offers superior quality among all the AUS series steels. This steel is almost similar to popular steel known as VG-10 steel.

However, AUS-10 is not as hard as VG-10. It’s more delicate. This steel is used in mid-range Japanese knives.

If you’re observant, you may notice some knives made from this steel have an indication that reads AUS-10V.

That V means the steel was Vacuum heat treat to make it more durable and enhance the knife’s properties. 


[4] VG-1



  • Stainless Steel
  • Made in Japan
  • Hardness of HRC 58-60

 For years, VG-1 was the go-to for Japanese steel knives, and because of that, it’s referred to as the Japanese Super Steel knife.

This steel is similar to AUS-10 because they both have 14 percent chromium and 1 percent carbon.

This material is hard, but it’s prone to chipping and breaking, especially when it hits hard surfaces.

This steel was later replaced with the VG-10 steel; therefore, it’s not mainly used in making kitchen knives. 


[5] VG-10



  • Hardness of HRC 60-62
  • Made in Japan
  • Stainless Steel

As we mentioned earlier, VG-10 took over as the top dog of the VG steel series. Previously, the most used VG steel was VG 1. However, that changed, and VG-10 is the most popularly used VG steel.


VG-10 steel has edge retention, durability and sharp edges. Moreover, it’s constructed from 1% carbon, 15% chromium, 1.5% cobalt, 1% molybdenum, 0.5% manganese, and 0.2% vanadium.


Its fine steel structure makes it hassle-free to sharpen. Furthermore, it uses a substance known as “clad” to improve blade corrosion resistance.

The best steel kitchen knife that uses this steel is Tojiro and Enso HD series.


[6] VG-MAX



  • Stainless Steel
  • Made in Japan
  • Hardness of HRC 60-62

VG-MAX is the latest addition to the VG series. This steel is based on VG-10.

However, the manufacturers added Carbon to increase strength and Chromium to increase Corrosion resistance.

Furthermore, they also added tungsten and vanadium provides carbides to improve the steel’s texture by making it more fine-grained.


[7] SG2


  • Made in Japan
  • Stainless Powdered Steel
  • Hardness of HRC 63-64
  • Under Powder Steel Series 

This steel is very hard due to the powdered stainless steel; this adds an advantage to this steel by giving it increased scratch resistance and edge retention. 

Blades constructed from this steel are hardened. It’s highly recommended not to use them on frozen foods or bones.

Various well-known knives that use SG2 steel are Shun Premier knives. These knives are recommended for experienced professional chefs.


[8] Aogami/ Blue Steel



  • Carbon Steel
  • Made in Japan
  • Hardness of 62-65
  • Blue Paper Steel series

This high carbon stainless steel is considered a “Carbon steel” instead of “stainless steel,” unlike the Steels we have covered.

Aogami is the most hardened steel; this explains why it’s primarily used in many swords. This steel is exceptionally pure and has very few faults.

This carbon content steel is mainly used in high-end and expensive Japanese knives. For instance, the best Yoshihiro knives are made from this material.

And this is indeed the best carbon steel chef knife material. 

Aogami/ Blue Steel

[9] Shirogami/White Steel



  • Made in Japan
  • Carbon Steel
  • Hardness of 60-65 HRC
  • Falls under the White Paper Steel Series

This steel is characterized into two groups. The first group is White steel #1, and the second group is white steel #2.

White steel #1 is more rigid. White Steel #2 with at HRC 65, while the other steel ranges at HRC 60-61. As expected, white steel #1 is more expensive compared to White steel #2. 

Shirogami/White Steel

[10] X50CrMoV15 / Krupp 4116



  • Stainless Steel
  • Made in Germany
  • Hardness of HRC 54-57

This blade steel is commonly used in making German knives. It has 0.4 percent Carbon and 15 percent chromium.

Of course, this knife’s hardness doesn’t come near Japanese steels, but it’s good enough for German knives. An example of a knife that uses this steel is Wustof.

X50CrMoV15 / Krupp 4116

Types of Steel

There are various kinds of blade steels available for kitchen knives. Knowing them will help you to choose which steel knife is suitable for your needs. 

The main 3-types are:

  1. Stainless Steel
  2. Powder Stainless Steel
  3. Carbon Steel

There is another animal available, which is Damascus Steel. Read below to understand the differences.

Stainless Steel

This steel is primarily used for making knives because it takes minimal effort to keep it in good condition.

The presence of chromium has to be 10% to consider steel as “stainless.” Chromium also makes steel corrosion-resistant and rustproof; this is indeed the right choice for home chefs.

Powder Stainless Steel

This blade steel also has chromium, but powder stainless gives an excellent grainy structure.

The powder metallurgy with high carbon makes the steel super hard to make a thin blade and sharp edge.

But chefs need to properly handle this material knife because of falling on a hard surface or using frozen foods or bones; it can crack easily. 

Carbon Steel

It’s not stainless steel but carbon steel. So it has lots of carbon in it—this steel used for super sharp knives. But proper care is essential for this material because it can get rust easily.

We recommend this as the best kitchen knife material for experienced chefs looking for the best carbon steel chef knife for high-performance.

Damascus Steel

This steel is not a type, but multiple sheets of steel are welded together in this process.

This high-temperature bonding process gives it a light/dark wavy pattern on the knife blade.

Then to keep the oxygen out, a flux is joint. Then core steel is used to clad the welded steel.

Are you looking for the best Damascus chef knife?

Don’t fall for super-cheap Damascus steel knives. Most of them look like Damascus steels but not made of real Damascus steels.

Steel Alloy Additives/Elements

Does it matter!

Whether it’s super expensive or super cheap, Japanese Knives or German knives- the main two elements to make knives are iron and carbon.

To make these materials harder, have better wear resistance, more durable, and sometimes cost-effective, artisans modify them with some additives and elements. Those are-

  • Carbon
  • Chromium
  • Molybdenum
  • Manganese
  • Vanadium 
  • Nickel
  • Tungsten
  • Cobalt

Final Thoughts

After extensively explaining the types of steel, we hope that you’ll use the knowledge while buying a Knife, that way, you can end up with a knife that works well for you!

We highly recommend staying away from knives that don’t list the type of steel used in making the blade.

Remember, the best steel for kitchen knives is suitable for steel and adheres to your needs. 

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