There are a lot of things that can decide whether a knife is right for you or not. Among them, the choice of the blade material is arguably the most important one.
In the end, the primary function of a knife lies within its blade. And the kind of steel used to forge the blade will be an influential factor to that subject.
Nowadays, you will find various options when it comes to blade steel, which may slightly confuse you. Well, in that case, this article will be handy for you.
You will be presented with information about two popular blade steels: the VG10 and the S30V.
Each steel choice is unique and suitable for 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 fair and average EDC knife, S30V and VG 10 have an excellent 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 of their characteristics right below, so check it out. Crosscheck it with your preferences, and you can make up your mind on which one is better.
The CPM S30V (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 in the market, the S30V is still an excellent choice for a knife.
Developed by Crucible, S30V has become the standard steel for a knife blade thanks to its admirable features. It remains a favorite choice for a blade material besides 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 good all-around steel with a comfortable price for the general public. VG 10 possesses everything that can make a right 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 for 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.
- 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 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 expensive. It’s so costly that it will decide the price tag of whatever knife that utilizes it.
- 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 extraordinarily sharp but also can’t hold the edge for long.
It did allow for quick sharpening, though. General resistance against corrosion and abrasion are excellent nonetheless.
Ease of Use
Among the two, S30 has better edge retention, high durability, and excellent resistance against many things. However, the S30V blade is more prone to chippings and quite expensive.
It’s usually heat-treated, so the blade is tough and strong, but that would cause some trouble later. One significant issue is the edge will eventually wear, and it will be tough to sharpen it back.
The S30V price tag is also quite substantial, which means that your budget may not always be suitable to make the purchase.
On the other hand, VG 10 performs adequately in most respects and is appropriate for the average uses. It’s not as prone to chippings as the S30V but tends to bends and rolls if improperly push.
While an expensive steel material, VG 10 cost is still more affordable than the S30V. Its sharpening process is also much simpler and more comfortable 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 it to last for a long time, is affordable, and performs great for its purposes. The same can be said about a knife and its choice of blade material.
But after all, the steel 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 those questions, and you shall have a pretty good idea about what kind of steel you want.
And that is pretty much everything. S30V and VG 10 are great materials for a knife blade, but it’s up to you to decide which one is better.
Just go over our comparison between S30V vs. VG 10 above so that you can finally decide what type of steel you need for your knife.
CHANGELOG: September 13, 2021 - Reviewed and updated article links