Is AUS-8 a Good Knife Steel? (And why isn’t it more common?)

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Last updated on July 14th, 2023 at 02:46 am

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AUS-8 steel has gained popularity as a preferred knife steel among enthusiasts and manufacturers alike. Originating in Japan, this stainless steel is known for its balance between quality and affordability. While it may not be the absolute best in class, its impressive blend of properties maintains its relevance in the knife-making world.

When considering whether AUS-8 is a good choice for knife steel, it is essential to consider its properties such as hardness, edge retention, corrosion resistance, and sharpenability. The high chromium content in AUS-8 steel makes it resistant to rust and capable of acquiring a razor-sharp edge. This combination of durability and easy maintenance has made AUS-8 a popular choice among knife-users and collectors.

However, it is important to note that the quality of AUS-8 steel can be influenced by the heat-treatment process applied to the material. The heat-treatment can vary from knife to knife within the same brand, resulting in varying levels of hardness and performance. This factor can make a significant difference in a knife’s overall performance, so it’s crucial to choose a reputable manufacturer when selecting an AUS-8 steel knife.

What is Aus 8 Steel

Basic Composition

Aus 8 steel is a popular Japanese mid-range performance stainless steel. Its chemical composition consists of high carbon, vanadium, and molybdenum, making it an excellent choice for knives, scissors, medical equipment, and food machines.

The steel has the following approximate composition:

  • Carbon: 0.75%
  • Manganese: 1.0%
  • Silicon: 1.0%
  • Chromium: 14.0%
  • Molybdenum: 0.25%
  • Nickel: 0.49%
  • Vanadium: 0.11%

This combination of elements results in a steel that is both tough and durable, with the ability to hold a sharp edge over time.

Origin and Production

Aus 8 steel is made by the Japanese company AICHI STEEL, known for its expertise in manufacturing high-quality stainless steels. The AUS series of steels includes AUS 4, AUS 6, AUS 8, and AUS 10, with AUS 8 often being referred to as AUS 8A or simply 8A.

The production process involves using advanced technologies and strict quality control measures to ensure the steel’s consistency and performance. Thanks to its balanced properties, AUS 8 steel has become a popular choice among knife makers and enthusiasts for its affordable price point and desirable performance characteristics.

Performance Characteristics

Edge Retention

AUS-8 is a popular choice for knife steel due to its solid performance in edge retention. This mid-range performance stainless steel is made by AICHI STEEL, containing a high concentration of carbon, vanadium, and molybdenum. With a Rockwell Hardness of around 58-59, AUS-8 offers an excellent balance between hardness and ease of sharpening, which is important for maintaining a sharp edge. While it may not hold its edge as long as more premium steels like D2 or VG-10, AUS-8 is still an excellent choice for everyday knives.

Corrosion Resistance

Thanks to its 14% chromium content, AUS-8 steel possesses a good level of corrosion resistance. This makes it suitable for use in knives that might be exposed to moisture or other elements that could cause corrosion. Although AUS-8 is not as resistant to corrosion as some high-end stainless steels like H1 or ZDP-189, it provides enough resistance for most uses, especially when protected with proper care and maintenance.


AUS-8 steel is known for its toughness, which is an essential quality for a knife steel to handle impacts without chipping, cracking, or breaking. Its tensile strength and well-balanced chemical composition contribute to AUS-8’s ability to withstand heavy use and maintain its edge. This steel is often used in popular knife brands like Cold Steel and CRKT, demonstrating its suitability for a variety of cutting tasks and applications.

Wear Resistance

In terms of wear resistance, AUS-8 performs reasonably well, especially considering its affordable price point. The addition of molybdenum and vanadium2 to its composition helps to improve its wear resistance properties, allowing the knife to retain its sharpness over time. While not as wear-resistant as some high-end knife steels like D2, AUS-8 remains a durable option for a variety of cutting tasks.

In conclusion, AUS-8 is a reliable, mid-range stainless steel that offers a good balance of edge retention, corrosion resistance, toughness, and wear resistance. Its versatile performance characteristics make it well-suited for everyday knives and provide a solid option for those looking for a quality knife steel.

Comparing AUS 8 Steel to Other Knife Steels

AUS 8 vs 1095

AUS 8 is a stainless steel while 1095 is a high-carbon, non-stainless steel. AUS 8 provides better corrosion resistance, making it more suitable for environments with moisture. On the other hand, 1095 offers higher toughness and is an excellent choice for heavy-duty tasks.

  • AUS 8: Stainless steel, better corrosion resistance, moderate toughness
  • 1095: High-carbon steel, more prone to staining, high toughness

AUS 8 vs 8Cr13MoV

Both AUS 8 and 8Cr13MoV are stainless steels, but they have different properties. AUS 8 is a budget Japanese-made stainless steel, while 8Cr13MoV is a Chinese steel. In terms of performance, AUS 8 offers better edge retention and corrosion resistance, while 8Cr13MoV is slightly more resistant to chipping.

  • AUS 8: Good edge retention, excellent corrosion resistance, less prone to chipping
  • 8Cr13MoV: Moderate edge retention, good corrosion resistance, slightly more chip resistance

AUS 8 vs 440C

440C is another stainless steel that is often compared to AUS 8. While they both offer good corrosion resistance, 440C exhibits superior hardness and edge retention. However, AUS 8 is easier to sharpen due to its lower hardness.

  • AUS 8: Easier to sharpen, good corrosion resistance, moderate edge retention
  • 440C: Harder steel, better edge retention, good corrosion resistance

Read More: Our Full Review of 440C

AUS 8 vs D2

D2 is a tool steel known for its high wear resistance and edge retention capabilities. However, it lacks the corrosion resistance of AUS 8, making it less suitable for humid environments or circumstances where it might come into contact with moisture.

  • AUS 8: Stainless steel, better corrosion resistance, good edge retention
  • D2: Tool steel, superior edge retention, lower corrosion resistance

In summary, AUS 8 steel is a versatile and affordable knife steel, offering a balance between corrosion resistance, edge retention, and ease of sharpening. Depending on your specific needs and preferences, you may prefer AUS 8 over other types of steel mentioned here.

Best Knives Made with Aus 8 Steel

In this section, we will discuss some of the best knives made with Aus 8 steel from reputed brands like Cold Steel, CRKT, Benchmade, and Gerber.

Cold Steel Knives

Cold Steel is known for producing quality knives and their Aus 8 steel knives are no exception. One notable example is the Cold Steel Finn Wolf, a folding knife that offers exceptional edge retention and sharpness. Another popular choice is the Cold Steel Mini Tac Tanto, a fixed-blade knife with a tanto point that provides excellent piercing capabilities.

CRKT Knives

CRKT (Columbia River Knife & Tool) offers a range of folding knives made with Aus 8 steel. The CRKT CEO is a sleek and elegant EDC knife, known for its slim design and easy-to-open mechanism. Another great option is the CRKT Shenanigan Z, which features a comfortable grip, smooth opening mechanism, and a sharp blade perfect for everyday tasks.

Benchmade Knives

While Benchmade primarily uses premium steels in their knives, they also have a few options made with AUS 8 steel. One such knife is the Benchmade Vex, a folding knife with an ergonomic handle and sturdy construction, making it a reliable tool for various cutting tasks.

Gerber Knives

Gerber, a classic American brand, is known for making knives that cater to various needs, and their AUS 8 steel knives are a testament to their craftsmanship and durability. The Gerber Remix Tactical is a folding knife built for tactical situations and everyday use. Its tanto-style blade and partially serrated edge make it an ideal choice for cutting through a variety of materials.

In summary, AUS 8 steel is a good knife steel that offers a combination of edge retention, corrosion resistance, and ease of sharpening. Knives from brands like Cold Steel, CRKT, Benchmade, and Gerber provide users with reliable and high-quality options when looking for the best AUS 8 knives in the market.

Maintenance and Care for Aus 8 Steel Knives


AUS-8 steel is known for its balance of toughness, hardness, and edge retention. To maintain the sharpness of your knife, use a high-quality sharpening system regularly. Start with a coarse grit stone for removing material faster and follow up with a finer grit for honing the edge. After sharpening, stropping the blade with a leather strop will help to remove any burrs and improve sharpness.

Cleaning and Storage

Keep your AUS-8 steel knife clean by wiping it with a soft cloth or sponge and warm, soapy water after each use. Ensure that the knife is completely dry before storing it. For long periods of storage, applying a thin layer of mineral oil to the blade will help to prevent moisture buildup that can lead to rust.

When storing your knife, opt for a sheath, knife block, or magnetic strip to keep it secure and separated from other tools. Avoid storing knives loosely in a drawer, as contact with other metal objects can damage the blade and dull its edge.

Avoiding Rust and Corrosion

AUS-8 steel has good corrosion resistance due to its high chromium content. However, it is still vulnerable to rust and corrosion if exposed to moisture and humidity. To prevent rusting, always dry your knife thoroughly after cleaning and avoid submerging it in water for extended periods.

In areas with high humidity, consider using a desiccant or storing the knife in a moisture-free environment to help protect it from rust. Regularly inspect the blade for any signs of rust, and if rust appears, use a rust eraser or fine-grit sandpaper to gently remove it.

By properly maintaining, sharpening, cleaning, and storing your AUS-8 steel knife, you can ensure its optimal performance and longevity. Keep your knife free of rust and corrosion through vigilant care to preserve its integrity and cutting ability.

Pros and Cons of Aus 8 Steel

Aus 8 steel is a popular Japanese mid-range stainless steel used mainly in knives, scissors, and medical equipment. It is made by AICHI STEEL and has a high content of carbon, vanadium, and molybdenum (Knife User). In this section, we will discuss the pros and cons of using Aus 8 steel for knife blades.


  • Performance: Aus 8 steel has a good balance of hardness and toughness, allowing it to withstand impact and heavy-duty use without getting chipped or broken (Knife Venture).
  • Toughness: One of its major strengths is its toughness. The steel’s composition, including elements such as nickel and chromium, enhances its toughness and makes it suitable for various types of knives (Knifebasics).
  • Corrosion resistance: The more than 10% chromium content in Aus 8 steel gives it good corrosion resistance, providing durability even in high moisture environments (Bud Nealy Knife Maker).
  • Affordability: Aus 8 steel is known for being more wallet-friendly compared to other high-performance stainless steels, making it a popular choice for budget-conscious knife enthusiasts.


  • Wear resistance: While Aus 8 steel has many positive qualities, it lacks excellent wear resistance, meaning it may dull more quickly under constant use (Bud Nealy Knife Maker).
  • Edge retention: Due to its lower wear resistance, Aus 8 steel may require more frequent sharpening compared to other knife steels with better edge retention.

In summary, Aus 8 steel has a range of positive attributes, such as performance, toughness, and corrosion resistance, as well as affordability. However, it may fall short in wear resistance and edge retention compared to other knife steels.

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.”