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D2 vs 1095 Steel: Which One Is the Better Blade Material?

D2 vs 1095

When it comes to a knife, the steel of its blade can be a rather influential factor in its effectiveness. There is a wide range of materials available on the market with different characteristics. It can be hard to make a decision right away.

If this is something you’re going through, then this article can introduce you to two excellent examples: D2 and 1095.

These two are great materials from AISI and possess admirable performance. We reviewed both of them and provide you with additional information on their composition and features.

D2 vs 1095, which one should you go for?  It’s easy to answer this question if you know the knife’s purpose and the conditions you use it in. Everything has its pros and cons, the same logic can be applied right here.

Crosscheck the steels with your needs and requirements then you can come up with a wise decision. As long as it fits your preferences and purpose, your choice of blade material will not disappoint you. Now, let’s take a closer look at the steels and see what they have to offer.

D2 vs 1095: General Information

Both the D2 and 1095 are products of AISI or the American Iron and Steel Institute. For their composition, D2 is high on chromium steel, while 1095 has substantial levels of carbon. As a result, D2 can be called more or less a semi-stainless material, and 1095 is a classic high carbon steel material.

In comparison, D2 is not as tough as 1095, but it can retain its edge for much longer. When it comes to sharpening, 1095 also takes far less time and effort to return its sharpness compared to D2.


AISI D2 blade

  • Carbon: 1.50 – 1.60%
  • Chromium: 11.50 – 12.00%
  • Molybdenum: 0.60 – 0.90%
  • Vanadium: 0.90 – 1.10%
  • Manganese: 0.15 – 0.40%
  • Silicon: 0.10 – 0.40%
  • Phosphorus: 0.00 – 0.03%
  • Sulfur: 0.00 – 0.03%

D2 appeared for the first time back in WW2 and until this day, it remains popular with knife makers all around the world. Its corrosion and rust resistances are fairly decent, though it’s not technically stainless steel. With approximately 12 % of chromium, D2 falls short of the usual 14% requirement to be stainless steel.

The presence of carbon ensures that the toughness of D2 is respectable, though not exactly the best. It tends to chip out, therefore it’s more suitable for compact knives and alike.

For large-size fixed blades such as choppers and survival knives, D2 is probably inadequate for the job. The edge retention rate is great, although sharpening it can be quite difficult.

AISI 1095

AISI 1095 blade

  • Carbon: 0.90 – 1.03%
  • Manganese: 0.30 – 0.50%
  • Phosphorus: 0.03%
  • Sulfur: 0.05%

With high carbon steel, 1095 is normally utilized by heavy-duty knives. Its composition makes it vulnerable to rust and stain, which is why regular maintenance is required. To fix these issues, many 1095 blade models and products apply a layer of coating.

With high endurance, chipping resistance, and able to hold its edges well, 1095 is easy to sharpen and is a good choice for choppers and as a survival knife. As long as you can keep it clean, a knife with 1095 material will serve you well because of its durability and reliability.

Applying a thin layer of lubricant or oil before storage and frequent cleaning are good ideas to deal with 1095 drawbacks.

Ease of Use

D2 Blade

Just what you can expect from a semi-stainless steel blade, a D2 blade won’t require too much support from the user. It’s nearly immune from rust and stain, which are annoying problems for any knife owner. In fact, D2 is even tougher than most stainless steel thanks to the carbon material.

Its ability to keep its edges for a long time is easy to appreciate for any knife user. However, it’s quite a bothersome task to sharpen a D2 blade back to its original sharpness. Although, the superb general resistance against wear and tear is what makes D2 blades great.

1095 Blade

If you prefer a tough and dependable blade for your knife, you can’t go wrong with 1095 steel. Its only major shortcoming is that 1095 steel tends to rust and stain. But with proper maintenance and use, this rust issue can be minimized. With the additional coating which is usually applied, the issue can be reduced even further.

If strength and toughness are the top priorities, a 1095 blade is an excellent candidate. It should perform well in average working conditions. As long as you wield and store it correctly, a 1095 blade can be extremely effective.


Keep in mind that there isn’t anything that can satisfy everyone. Take into account your own personal situation instead of depending on others. You are buying something for your use so take some time to think before deciding on a purchase. Diverse user demands and requirements mean many people might feel one is superior while the rest think differently.

It would be best to ensure that whatever you buy will give you actual benefits and become a wise investment.

As with any purchase, you want to own a knife that’s usable and practical.  You should take some time to think and consider whether which steel material is good enough for you.

To come up with a logical choice, there are a couple of things you should ask yourself: How you are going to use the knife? What kind of task do you expect your knife to perform? How much are you willing to spend on a knife?

To end up with the most suitable product for you, it’s essential to answer all these questions beforehand. Take advantage of the information above, and hopefully, you’ll come to the best decision.


That pretty much covers the basics when it comes to D2 vs 1095 steel, quite easy to understand, right? It can be challenging to determine a winner if you don’t know much about these two choices.

With this article, we hope you learned more about the characteristics of both steel materials and end up with a logical and informed conclusion.

FINAL TIP: If you’re interested in more knife steel guides, we also have a Full Review of 14C28N Steel.



May 23, 2022 - Added 1 new article link
March 30, 2022 - Made minor revisions to content
September 13, 2021 - Reviewed and updated article links

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