VG10 Knife Steel – A Full Review (Not As Good As You Think)

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Last updated on August 30th, 2023 at 01:03 am

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VG-10 steel is a high-end Japanese stainless steel, synonymous with top-quality knives. It’s a popular choice for chefs and knife enthusiasts alike due to its exceptional sharpness, edge retention, and durability. Manufactured by Takefu Special Steel Corporation in Fukui, Japan, this steel contains a unique blend of elements that contribute to its superior performance.

Containing higher amounts of carbon and vanadium, VG-10 steel is considered the “gold standard” in stainless steel for knife blades. The impressive composition of this steel allows it to maintain a razor-sharp edge, even after extended use. Furthermore, its corrosion resistance makes it an excellent choice for those who require a low-maintenance knife with reliable performance.

In the world of cutlery, a VG-10 knife guarantees outstanding quality and performance. Designed to meet the demands of chefs and culinary enthusiasts alike, knives made from this steel are a worthwhile investment that will stand the test of time while providing unparalleled precision and cutting efficiency.

My Favorite Knife That Uses VG10 Steel

Origin of VG10 Steel

VG10 is a premium stainless steel that finds its origins in Japan. The steel was originally designed by the Takefu Special Steel Co. Ltd., a renowned Japanese steel manufacturer based in Takefu, Fukui Prefecture. This area in Japan has a rich history as a former cutlery and sword-making hub, known as Echizen.

The development of VG10 took place in the 1980s, with the aim of creating an exceptional steel alloy to cater to the high demand of the Japanese cutlery market. The company’s V-series of laminated steels, which includes V1, V2, V-Toku1, V-Toku2, V-Gin1, and “V Gold,” features VG10 as one of the prominent members. In VG10, the “G” stands for “Gold”, which signifies its gold-standard quality in terms of sharpness retention, corrosion resistance, and overall performance.

VG10 quickly gained popularity in the Japanese cutlery market, becoming a favorite choice for chefs and knife enthusiasts who rely on its edge retention and corrosion-resistant properties. Many Japanese knives, such as those produced in the famous Seki City, are well-known for their utilization of VG10 steel.

Apart from satisfying the demands of the Japanese cutlery market, VG10 steel has also gained worldwide recognition for its outstanding qualities. Today, numerous knife makers and brands from different parts of the world rely on VG10 steel for crafting high-quality knives used in both kitchen and outdoor activities.

Chemical Composition

VG10 steel, a high-end stainless steel originating from Japan, is known for its excellent properties, and its composition plays a significant role in providing these advantages. The key elements present in VG10 steel are chromium, carbon, vanadium, manganese, cobalt, molybdenum, and phosphorous.

Chromium is a crucial component of this steel, making up 15% of its composition. The high chromium concentration is responsible for giving VG10 steel its superb corrosion resistance. This characteristic makes it an excellent choice for both kitchen and outdoor knives that are exposed to various elements.

Carbon is another critical element in VG10 steel, with a high carbon content of 1%. The presence of carbon contributes to the hardness and edge retention properties of the steel, allowing knives made of VG10 to maintain their sharpness for extended periods.

Vanadium is also present in VG10 steel, with a concentration of 0.2%. This element adds to the wear resistance, toughness, and edge stability, making VG10 knives even more durable.

Manganese, cobalt, and molybdenum are other elements found in smaller amounts in VG10 steel. Manganese promotes the steel’s hardness and strength, while cobalt helps intensify the effects of other elements, making VG10 a well-rounded steel with excellent performance. Molybdenum, on the other hand, provides additional corrosion resistance and enhances the steel’s overall strength.

Lastly, phosphorous is typically found in trace amounts, which can help increase the steel’s tensile strength but should be carefully balanced to avoid potential brittleness.

In summary, the chemical composition of VG10 steel combines high amounts of chromium and carbon, along with smaller amounts of vanadium, manganese, cobalt, molybdenum, and phosphorous to provide a balanced mix of hardness, toughness, corrosion resistance, and edge retention. This blend of elements has contributed to the popularity of VG10 steel, especially in the manufacturing of high-quality kitchen knives and outdoor cutting tools.

Properties and Characteristics

Hardness and HRC

VG-10 steel has a Rockwell Hardness (HRC) rating of around 60, which constitutes a high hardness level in knife steels. This increased hardness contributes to the durability and wear resistance of the material. In essence, a higher HRC ensures that VG-10 knives maintain their sharpness for an extended period.

Sharpness and Edge Retention

One of the outstanding qualities of VG-10 steel is its ability to maintain a sharp edge. This can be attributed to the high carbon content (around 1%) in the steel. The combination of carbon and other elements present in VG-10 results in an excellent balance between hardness and edge retention. This means that knives made of VG-10 steel can be honed to a razor-sharp edge that lasts longer than that of many other steel types.


VG-10 steel exhibits a good level of toughness for a stainless steel. While it might not be the toughest steel available on the market, it provides a decent amount of resistance against chipping and breakage during heavy use. With its combination of hardness and toughness, VG-10 knives strike an optimal balance for a wide range of applications.

Corrosion Resistance

Thanks to the high chromium content (around 15%), VG-10 steel boasts excellent corrosion resistance, making it particularly resistant to rust and oxidation. This quality makes VG-10 knives well-suited for use in humid environments or when exposed to moisture, acids, and corrosive substances.

Ease of Sharpening

The sharpenability of VG-10 steel lies somewhere in between that of high-carbon and stainless steels. While it may not be as easy to sharpen as some high-carbon steels, it still offers a manageable sharpening experience. The material’s high hardness might necessitate the use of specialized sharpening tools, but it is still capable of being honed to a finely-sharpened edge.

VG10 in Knife Making

VG10 steel is a high-end Japanese stainless steel that is known for its excellent edge retention and corrosion resistance. Produced by the Takefu Special Steel Corporation in Japan, VG10 has become popular in the knife-making industry due to its properties that offer durability and sharpness.

Kitchen Knives

VG10 steel is widely used in making kitchen knives, particularly in Japanese chef’s knives like Santokus. This steel’s high carbon content (0.95-1.05%) allows the blade to maintain its sharpness, while chromium (14.5-15.5%) provides corrosion resistance, making it ideal for kitchen cutlery.

Some popular kitchen knives made with VG10 steel include Damascus and Kiritsuke knives. Although the price of VG10 knives might be higher compared to other knives, their performance, sharpness, and durability provide good value for money.

Hunting Knives

VG10 is also a popular choice for hunting knives, owing to its wear resistance and ability to hold an edge. These properties make VG10 suitable for making knives that can withstand the tough conditions of hunting and outdoor activities. The hunting knives made from this steel type are known for their strength and reliability.

EDC and Pocket Knives

For everyday use, VG10 steel makes an excellent material for EDC (Everyday Carry) and pocket knives. Brands like Spyderco are known for their VG10 steel knives that offer a perfect balance of durability, edge retention, and corrosion resistance. These knives are well-suited for daily tasks and can withstand regular use without showing signs of wear.


Although VG10 steel is primarily known for its use in knives, it has also found applications in sword making. VG10 swords benefit from the same features of edge retention and corrosion resistance that make it ideal for knives. These swords are made with precision, ensuring optimum performance.

To sum up, VG10 steel is a versatile and reliable material for knife and sword making. Its properties make it perfect for a wide range of applications— be it kitchen cutlery, hunting knives, or EDC and pocket knives.

Popular VG10 Knives

If you’re interested in experiencing the quality of VG10 steel, there are several popular knives that showcase this material. One notable example is the Spyderco Dragonfly 2, a versatile folding knife that combines strength, sharpness, and durability with a compact and lightweight design.

Japanese chefs, known for their precision and skill in the culinary world, prefer high-quality cooking knives made with VG10 steel. This is due to the steel’s exceptional edge retention and sharpness, making it perfect for slicing, dicing, and chopping in fast-paced kitchen environments. VG Gold 10 steel is often used in crafting blades of knives used by Japanese chefs, ensuring optimal performance in the kitchen.

In addition to the Spyderco Dragonfly Signature Folding Knife, there are several other knives that utilize VG10 steel. For instance, the FANTECK Damascus Professional Chef Knife is an impressive kitchen knife made with VG10 steel. The blade features a beautiful 67-layer Damascus pattern and an ergonomic Pakkawood handle, making it suitable for both professional and home chefs.

Regardless of the specific knife model, VG10 knives are valued not only for their gold quality but also for their performance in the art of cooking. Whether you are a culinary expert or an everyday cook, investing in a VG10 knife is a decision that will enhance your cutlery experience and elevate your skills in the kitchen.

Comparing VG10 to Other Steels

VG10 steel is a popular option for high-quality knives due to its exceptional edge retention, sharpness, and corrosion resistance. However, it is essential to compare it with other notable steels to have an informed decision. In this section, we will compare VG10 steel with S30V, S35V, D2, 154CM, and SG2.

VG10 vs. S30V & S35V: Both S30V and S35V are premium stainless steels produced in the US. They offer excellent wear resistance, edge retention, and resistance to corrosion. While VG10 is known for being impressively sharp and durable, S30V and S35V steels are even tougher and hold an edge longer. However, they may be a bit more challenging to sharpen than VG10.

VG10 vs. D2 SteelD2 steel is a high carbon tool steel known for its hardness and durability. It has excellent wear resistance but falls short in corrosion resistance compared to VG10. VG10, on the other hand, contains a higher amount of chromium, which significantly improves its resistance to corrosion while maintaining excellent sharpness and edge retention.

VG10 vs. 154CM: 154CM is a popular American-made stainless steel known for its great wear resistance and toughness. It has slightly lower corrosion resistance than VG10, but still performs well in many applications. VG10 is generally considered to have a finer edge and superior corrosion resistance, while 154CM offers more toughness and durability.

VG10 vs. SG2SG2 is a Japanese powder metallurgy steel known for its exceptional sharpness, edge retention, and corrosion resistance. It is often regarded as a better option than VG10, but it may not be as widely available and is typically more expensive. Both steels excel in high-end cutlery, but SG2 often holds an edge slightly longer than VG10.

When it comes to handle materials, micarta is a popular choice for knife handles. It provides a comfortable and secure grip even in wet conditions. Although not directly related to the steel types, considering the handle material is crucial for a well-rounded comparison.

In conclusion, VG10 is an outstanding steel for high-quality knives, offering an excellent balance of performance characteristics. Comparing it to other steels, such as S30V, S35V, D2, 154CM, and SG2, allows users to determine the best option for their specific needs based on factors like edge retention, corrosion resistance, and price.

Caring for and Sharpening VG10 Knives

VG10 knives are known for their sharpness and durability, making them popular in both professional and home kitchens. To maintain their performance and longevity, it is essential to take proper care of these knives and sharpen them regularly.

Sharpening VG10 Knives with a Whetstone One of the most effective tools to sharpen VG10 knives is a whetstone. Begin by selecting a whetstone with the appropriate coarseness level; for most VG10 knives, a 400/1000 grit stone is an excellent starting point. Wet the stone in water before beginning the sharpening process. Hold the VG10 knife at the correct angle (typically about 15-20 degrees) and gently glide the blade across the stone, applying even pressure. Remember to sharpen both sides of the blade evenly for consistent results.

Choosing the Right Cutting Surfaces In addition to regular sharpening, the cutting surface you use can also impact the performance and lifespan of your VG10 knives. Avoid cutting on surfaces such as glass, metal, or hard countertops, as these can dull the blade faster. Instead, opt for cutting boards made from softer materials such as wood or plastic. Wooden cutting boards are particularly suitable for maintaining edge retention as they are gentler on the blade.

Maintaining VG10 Knives through Honing To keep your VG10 knives in optimal condition between sharpening sessions, consider using a honing rod. This simple maintenance process helps to realign the blade edge without removing material, allowing your VG10 knife to remain sharp for longer. Hold the honing rod in one hand and the VG10 knife in the other, placing the blade at the appropriate angle. Run the blade down the rod a few times on each side to achieve a smooth, sharp edge.

When taking care of your VG10 knives, remember to clean them thoroughly after each use with a mild detergent and warm water, avoiding the use of abrasive materials, as these can cause scratches. With regular care, maintenance, and proper sharpening, your VG10 knives will continue to perform their best for years to come.


VG-10 steel is a high-quality material commonly used in Japanese cutlery. It boasts excellent edge retention and sharpness, making it ideal for a superior cutting experience. With its notable carbon content, VG-10 steel offers hardness that ensures the blade’s durability.

The steel’s strong rust resistance can be attributed to its chromium content, which prevents oxidation and gives it a stainless quality. As a result, VG-10 knives are low maintenance and suitable for various environments.

Despite its advantages, it is important to note that VG-10 knives may be prone to brittleness in certain situations. This can lead to potential chipping if used improperly or subjected to excessive force. Nonetheless, taking proper care while using and maintaining the knife will alleviate these concerns.

When it comes to functionality, VG-10 steel knives are an excellent choice for both professional and home cooks alike. The combination of sharpness and durability ensures that the knives will perform well in various cutting tasks, making them a reliable and versatile option.

In summary, VG-10 steel is a dependable and high-performing option for those seeking a knife with remarkable cutting abilities and rust resistance while being mindful of proper care and usage to prevent brittleness or chipping.

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.”