VG10 steel vs. S30V steel: Which one is the better choice?

Shooting Mystery is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

There are a lot of things that can decide whether a knife is good for you or not. Among them, the choice of the blade material is arguably the most important one. In the end, the basic function of a knife lies within its blade. And the kind of steel that is used to forge the blade will be an influential factor to that subject. Nowadays, you will find a variety of option when it comes to the blade steel and that may slightly confuse you. Well, in that case, this article will be very useful to you. You will be presented with information about two popular blade steels: VG 10 and S30V

Each choice of steel is unique on its own and suitable to a wide range of uses and working conditions. Their environment resistance, sharpness and toughness will vary a lot from one to another.  But if you are looking for a good and average EDC knife, S30V and VG 10 have a good chance to meet your needs. They are both high ends steels which are well known for their performance and durability. You can find a quick comparison about their characteristic right below so check it out. Crosscheck it with your preferences and you can make up your mind on which one is better

General information

The CPM S30V (Which is an acronym for Crucible Particle Metallurgy) is a quality, high endurance steel of American origin. Employ especially on knives, its abilities to retain edge sharpness and resist rust are superb. While there are many other high ends steels with competitive performances the market, the S30V is still an excellent choice for a knife. Developed by Crucible, S30V has become the common steel for a knife blade thanks to it admirable features. It remains a favorite choice for a blade material beside late – invented steels.

Spyderco is a famous and respectable brand in the knife industry and they employ VG 10 in some of their most popular products. Produced by Takefu Special Steel in Japan, it’s a good all around steel with a comfortable price for the general public. VG 10 possesses everything that can make a good blade: Hard, strong and can get extremely sharp. Its ability to preserve the sharpness on the edge is good but not as good as the S30V. To compensate that, the VG 10 is much easier to sharpen though. Should you need a solid, robust and affordable knife, products that utilize the VG 10 will be sufficient

Steel composition


  • Carbon: 1.45 – 1.46%
  • Chromium: 14.00%
  • Vanadium: 4.00%
  • Molybdenum: 2.00%
  • Tungsten: 0.10 – 0.40%
  • Manganese: 0.50%
  • Silicon: 0.50%

The use of Vanadium in the CPM S30V composition reinforces the steel integrity and increases its sharpness. Overall resistances toward abrasion, corrosion and alike are also considerably enhanced as well.  The complex forgings and consistent heat treat processes have quite an effect on the price though. CPM S30V is a premium grade steel and that is why it is kind of expensive. In fact, it’s so expensive that it will decide the price tag of whatever knife that utilizes it.

Takefu VG 10

  • Carbon: 0.95 – 1.05%
  • Chromium: 14.50 – 15.50%
  • Molybdenum: 0.90 – 1.20%
  • Vanadium: 0.10 – 0.30%
  • Cobalt: 1.30 – 1.50%
  • Manganese: 0.50%

VG 10 also uses a small amount of Vanadium in its composition although not to the level of S30V.  However, it’s still sufficient to turn the VG 10 into a durable material that can endure a lot of abuse. The innovative and unique mixture of alloy keeps the price down but ensures that its performance is still admirable. VG 10 can get extremely sharp but also can’t hold the edge for long. It did allow for quick sharpening though. General resistances against corrosion and abrasion are great nonetheless.

Ease of use

Among the two, S30 got the better edge retention along with high durability and excellent resistant against many things.  However, S30V blade is more prone to chippings and quite expensive. It usually heat – treated so the blade is very hard and strong but that would cause some troubles later.  One notable issue is the edge will eventually wear and it will be extremely hard to sharpen it back. The S30V price tag is also quite substantial which means that your budget may not always suitable to make the purchase.

In the other hand, VG 10 performs adequately in most respects and appropriate for the average uses.   It’s not prone to chippings as the S30V but tends to bends and rolls if improperly push. While still an expensive steel material, VG 10 cost is still more affordable than the S30V. Its sharpening process is also much simpler and easier to perform compared to super steels such as the S30V. You can say that the VG 10 is more or less a balanced, cost-effective material for general tasks. It can be used on anything and will finish the job without fail.


When you buy something, you always want that to last for a long time, affordable and perform great for its purposes. The same can be said about a knife and its choice of blade material. But after all, the steel that you think is the best for your blade depends entirely on the current needs and requirements. What are you going to use the knife for? How much are you willing to spend? What are the working conditions? How often will you use the knife? Answer all of these questions and you shall have a pretty good idea about what kind of steel you want.


And that is pretty much everything, very straightforward, right? S30V and VG 10 are great material for a knife blade but it’s up to you to decide which one is better. Simply check the comparison between S30V vs. VG 10 above then you can finally decide on what type of steel you need for your knife.

About the author

Christopher Wade

Christopher Wade

Christopher Wade is a true outdoorsman. After spending most of his career as a firearms expert and instructor in Nebraska, he retreated to the great outdoors to enjoy retirement.

Christopher’s expertise in handling firearms and hunting gear are what propelled him to create the Shooting Mystery blog. He hopes for all readers to gain useful and practical knowledge for enjoying their time outdoors.