Is 8Cr13MoV Good Knife Steel? An In-Depth Analysis

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Last updated on August 30th, 2023 at 12:24 am

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When it comes to choosing the perfect knife, one of the most important factors to consider is the type of steel used in its construction. 8Cr13MoV is a popular budget stainless steel used by various knife manufacturers. Known for its affordability and satisfactory performance, its inclusion in knife production raises the question: Is 8Cr13MoV a good knife steel?

8Cr13MoV has gained a reputation among knife enthusiasts for its decent edge retention, ease of sharpening, and ability to withstand daily use. While it may not boast the highest level of hardness or the best corrosion resistance, it does exhibit a great combination of toughness and durability, making it a reliable choice for many knives.

8Cr13MoV Steel Composition

8Cr13MoV is a popular stainless steel with a composition that includes a variety of elements, each contributing to its overall performance. In this section, we will explore the primary elements found in 8Cr13MoV steel and discuss their effects on its properties.


8Cr13MoV steel contains about 14% chromium, which significantly enhances its corrosion resistance. Chromium forms a protective layer of chromium oxide on the steel’s surface, keeping it resistant to rust and stains. This high chromium content makes 8Cr13MoV stainless steel ideal for applications where corrosion resistance is crucial.


Molybdenum accounts for approximately 0.3% of 8Cr13MoV steel composition. Molybdenum enhances the steel’s overall strength and helps it maintain its hardness even at high temperatures. Additionally, it improves machinability and increases resistance to creeping and relaxation.


Vanadium is present in trace amounts in 8Cr13MoV steel, generally around 0.1%. Although small, this addition of vanadium contributes to increased hardness and wear resistance, allowing for a sharper, more durable edge on a knife blade.


8Cr13MoV steel has a carbon content of around 0.8%. Carbon is critical for the steel’s overall hardness and edge retention. The relatively high carbon content in 8Cr13MoV contributes to its impressive hardness and enables it to maintain a sharp edge for an extended period.


Manganese comprises roughly 0.5% of the 8Cr13MoV steel composition. It plays a vital role in improving the steel’s hardness, as well as its tensile strength and impact resistance. Manganese also aids in the steel’s overall workability.


Silicon makes up about 0.4% of 8Cr13MoV steel. It helps in the deoxidation process during steel production, limiting the number of impurities that could weaken the steel. Additionally, silicon enhances the steel’s overall strength and hardness.


The phosphorus content in 8Cr13MoV steel is typically around 0.04%. It can improve the steel’s strength and hardness, but excessive amounts may lead to reduced ductility and impact resistance. As such, 8Cr13MoV steel maintains an appropriate balance of phosphorus to ensure overall performance.


Sulfur is found in trace amounts in 8Cr13MoV steel, usually around 0.03%. While it can enhance machinability, high concentrations of sulfur can result in reduced ductility and lowered corrosion resistance. Therefore, the low sulfur content in 8Cr13MoV steel helps maintain its desirable qualities.


8Cr13MoV steel does not typically contain a significant amount of nickel. However, its presence may sometimes be used to improve the steel’s overall toughness, ductility, and corrosion resistance.

In summary, the composition of 8Cr13MoV steel includes a carefully balanced combination of elements contributing to its hardness, corrosion resistance, and overall performance. This makes it a suitable choice for various knife applications where versatility and affordability are essential factors.

Properties and Performance


8Cr13MoV stainless steel is known for its good hardness. Its Rockwell hardness score is approximately 57-59 HRC, which makes it hard enough to withstand regular cutting tasks without chipping or snapping easily. The hardness is attributed to its chemical composition, which contains carbon and chromium, contributing to its overall hardness and hardenability.


In terms of toughness, 8Cr13MoV offers decent performance. While it is not the toughest steel available, it can withstand daily use without breaking or chipping easily. The steel’s toughness is suitable for a budget knife, given its affordability.


The strength of 8Cr13MoV steel is considered adequate for its price range. Its balance of hardness, toughness, and wear resistance makes it a popular choice for budget-friendly knives. It provides sufficient strength for everyday cutting tasks, such as slicing, dicing, and chopping.

Corrosion Resistance

8Cr13MoV provides decent corrosion resistance due to its chromium content. While it is not immune to rust, especially when exposed to saltwater or acidic substances, its ability to resist corrosion is favorable for daily use in various environments. Proper care and maintenance, such as wiping the knife dry after use and occasionally applying oil, will help prolong its lifespan and prevent corrosion.

Wear Resistance

Wear resistance is another positive aspect of 8Cr13MoV steel. It offers great wear resistance due to the presence of chromium and vanadium in its chemical composition. Although it might not have excellent edge retention like some high-end steels, it is still able to maintain its sharpness through frequent use and is relatively easy to sharpen.

Knives with 8Cr13MoV Steel

Spyderco Bow River with 8Cr13MoV Blade

8Cr13MoV is a popular knife steel, known for offering a good balance of performance and affordability. It has been utilized by various renowned knife manufacturers, producing a wide range of knives suited for different purposes, from kitchen knives to tactical knives.

Kershaw Knives

Kershaw is one of the leading manufacturers incorporating 8Cr13MoV steel in their knives. Their offerings are known for their quality, durability, and reasonable pricing. This type of steel provides decent edge retention, ease of sharpening, and good resistance to corrosion, making it suitable for daily use. Compared to other steels in this price range, such as 440C or AUS-8, Kershaw’s 8Cr13MoV knives demonstrate a competitive performance.

Spyderco Tenacious

The Spyderco Tenacious is a popular folding knife featuring an 8Cr13MoV steel blade. This knife is well-regarded for its solid construction, reliability, and excellent value for money. While it may not have the same level of edge retention or corrosion resistance as higher-priced steels like S30V or VG10, the Tenacious still offers good performance for its price point. Moreover, its ease of sharpening and toughness make it a great option for users who seek a budget-friendly, high-quality knife.

CRKT Knives

Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) is another brand that has embraced 8Cr13MoV steel for their knife production. They offer a range of knives, including folding and fixed blades, designed for various applications. Similar to Kershaw and Spyderco Tenacious, CRKT’s 8Cr13MoV knives provide good quality and performance at an accessible price point. Although they may not rival high-end alternatives such as CPM 154 or D2 steel knives, CRKT’s 8Cr13MoV offerings remain a popular choice for those looking for a reliable knife that won’t break the bank.

In conclusion, whether you’re using them in the kitchen or for outdoor activities, 8Cr13MoV steel knives are a budget-friendly option that still delivers satisfactory performance and durability. Brands like Kershaw, Spyderco, and CRKT have utilized this steel to create knives that cater to a wide audience and provide good value for money.

Heat Treatment, Sharpening, and Maintenance

Heat Treatment

8Cr13MoV steel is considered a good knife steel due to its affordability, ease of sharpening, and edge retention. Its heat treatment begins with heating the steel to temperatures between 1900-2000°F (1038-1093°C). This process increases hardness while reducing brittleness. Afterward, the steel is quenched in oil or water to lock in the desired hardness, enhancing its overall durability.


Following quenching, 8Cr13MoV steel undergoes tempering, a process where the steel is heated at lower temperatures ranging from 350-550°F (177-288°C) to reduce brittleness and improve toughness. The specific temperature used in this stage depends on the desired balance between hardness and flexibility for the knife’s intended purpose.


The machinability of 8Cr13MoV steel is decent, as it can be easily shaped and ground to form various knife profiles. Its relatively low carbon content and the inclusion of chromium and vanadium make it less challenging to work with compared to high-carbon steels or those with high alloy content. However, care should be taken to prevent the steel from overheating during machining, as this can negatively affect its overall properties.


Sharpening 8Cr13MoV steel is relatively easy due to its hardness and edge retention capabilities. Using a whetstone or other abrasive sharpening tools, the blade can be honed to a fine edge in just a few passes. It’s important to maintain a consistent angle when sharpening to preserve the blade’s geometry and prolong its overall life.


Maintaining an 8Cr13MoV knife includes proper cleaning, drying, and occasional oiling. As a stainless steel, it offers good corrosion resistance, but it’s still essential to clean the knife and dry it thoroughly after use, particularly if exposed to moisture, acids, or salts. To keep the blade in optimal condition, apply a small amount of oil to the blade’s surface, which helps prevent rust and keep it looking sharp. Regular sharpening is also an essential part of knife maintenance, ensuring your blade remains sharp and efficient during its lifetime.

Comparing 8Cr13MoV to Other Steels


AUS-8 is a Japanese stainless steel known for its good corrosion resistance and ease of sharpening. It has slightly better edge retention than 8Cr13MoV but requires more regular sharpening. Both steels are affordable, making them popular choices for budget knives.


440C is an American stainless steel that offers higher corrosion resistance compared to 8Cr13MoV. It’s known for maintaining a sharp edge for longer; however, it can be more challenging to sharpen. 440C is also slightly more expensive than 8Cr13MoV.

Read More: Our Full Review of 440C


D2 is a semi-stainless tool steel that offers better edge retention than both 8Cr13MoV and AUS-8, but it lacks their corrosion resistance properties. It is a robust strength steel prone to stains and chipping. D2 is generally more expensive than budget stainless steels like 8Cr13MoV.


VG-10 is a high-end Japanese stainless steel known for its excellent edge retention and corrosion resistance. It is smoother than 8Cr13MoV and can be sharpened easily. Knives made from VG-10 tend to be more expensive than those made from 8Cr13MoV, but they offer better overall performance.


ZDP-189 is a premium Japanese stainless steel with exceptional edge retention and corrosion resistance properties. It is significantly more expensive than 8Cr13MoV, and can be difficult to sharpen, making it a choice for high-end knives.


M390 is a premium stainless steel known for its impressive edge retention, corrosion resistance, and toughness. It is a high-performance steel, but its price and toughness make it a less common choice for budget knives when compared to 8Cr13MoV.

5160 Steel

5160 is a carbon steel that offers good toughness and edge retention but is more susceptible to rust compared to 8Cr13MoV. It requires more maintenance to avoid corrosion but is known for its robust strength. It is generally found in lower-priced knives, making it a potential alternative to 8Cr13MoV for budget-conscious users.

When you visit a merchant by clicking a link on this site we may make a commission on anything you buy (at no additional cost to you).   Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to Amazon Associates and the eBay Partner Network.”