Choosing the perfect knife for your needs has a lot to do with the type of steel its blade is made from. This explains why you'll always find knife users asking whether steel A is better than steel B. In your case, you're most probably looking to learn how 4116 stainless steel knife performs from an experienced user.
We have come across many other knife users and knife makers looking for information about this German steel and getting varied opinions. So, we figured it would be good to do a full, unbiased review of this metal. Our German 4116 steel review below will answer all your questions regarding this steel.
What is 4116 Steel?
4116 is fine-grained stainless steel produced by German ThyssenKrupp manufacturers. The steel was initially developed for hygienic applications like the medical industry, pharmaceutical industry, and food industry (makes a highly suitable option for kitchen knives) due to its incredible resistance against corrosion, unbeatable strength, and excellent edge retention. Cold Steel is one of the top-rated knife manufacturers that extensively uses this steel for their knives.
4116 stainless steel composition
The German ThyssenKrupp 4116 stainless steel features a good balance between Carbon and Chromium, which is the secret behind its exceptional corrosion resistance, edge retention, and added strength.
Here's the complete 4116 steel chemical composition:
0.55% Carbon increases tensile strength, hardness, and wear/abrasion resistance. It increases the steel's edge retention.
15% Chromium increases hardness, toughness, and tensile strength. It also increases resistance to corrosion and wear.
1% Manganese increases tensile strength, wear resistance, and hardenability. Larger quantities increase hardness and brittleness.
1% Silicon increases strength and corrosion resistance.
0.8.0% Molybdenum increases the toughness, hardness, and strength. It also improves machinability and corrosion resistance.
0.15% Vanadium increases toughness, strength, and wear resistance. It improves the steel chip resistance.
0.04% Phosphorous improves the machinability, strength, and hardness of this steel. This element is used in smaller quantities because too much of it causes increases brittleness.
0.03% Sulfur is added in small quantities to improve the steel machinability.
4116 stainless steel properties
4116 steel hardness
The 4116 stainless steel has a hardness of 56HRC, making it less hard steel. Most chef knives have a hardness around this value, which means 4116 steel is hard enough to withstand kitchen use.
This German steel holds its edge reasonably well. But it doesn't offer the best edge retention compared to most of the low-end knife steels on the market today. This is probably due to its softer nature, which directly affects any given steel's ability to retain its cutting edge.
The steel also boasts high toughness due to the high levels of Chromium it holds. Also, the high toughness comes from this steel hanging in the lower end of the Rockwell hardness chart. The less hard the steel, the tougher it becomes. If you're looking for tough low-end steel, you can't go wrong with this 4116 stainless steel.
The steel also delivers high corrosion resistance. It contains high volumes of Chromium—up to 15%, to be precise, making it stainless and enabling it to resist rusting and corrosion. This simply means that knives forged out of this steel will do well in humid or marine environments where corrosion probably is quite high.
The 4116 Krupp steel is also easy to sharpen, as it's the case with all steels consider softer (or with a hardness of less than 60HRC). This compensates for the not so good edge retention in the sense that you can always give your knife an ultra-sharp edge if it gets dull when in use. Standard sharpening systems are all you need to make this knife super-sharp in minutes.
4116 steel vs other steels comparison:
4116 steel vs 8cr13mov
8cr13mov will offer you better edge retention and wear resistance compared to 4116 steel. 4116 outshines 8cr13mov with better toughness and easier sharpening. However, both steels feature the same level of corrosion resistance.
4116 steel vs d2
4116 steel has better corrosion resistance and slightly higher toughness than D2 steel. But the high carbon content in D2 gives it high edge retention and excellent wear resistance than 4116 steel. Sharpening D2 might be a bit challenging due to its high hardness compared to 4116 steel.
Is 4116 stainless steel good for knives?
4116 is a good stainless steel for making knife blades. It features high corrosion resistance, making it ideal for making knives used in humid or marine conditions, say your kitchen knives or dining knives.
It also offers good edge retention than most low-end steels available. It has great toughness and will not easily give in to chipping or rolling when under abuse.
The knives made of this steel are highly affordable, making it good steel for anyone looking for a budget-friendly knife that offers you value for money.
Best 4116 steel knives
1. Cold Steel Peace Maker Tactical Fixed Blade Knife
If you're looking for an inexpensive boot blade, this Cold Steel Peace Maker was made for you. It's designed to easily clip to the top of your boot, where it will stay concealed by your pant leg While remaining highly accessible whenever you need it.
The Peace Maker comes with a 5.5-inch blade made from German 4116 stainless steel with superior corrosion resistance, good edge retention, and high toughness—resulting in a high-performance blade.
This blade comes sharp out of the box and features compound-ground bevels, which are incredibly easy to re-sharpen. Their stiff, distal tapered points deliver excellent piercing performance even for the thickest materials.
The lightweight knife is full-tang—as easily seen through the lanyard hole—for added strength and sturdiness. The lanyard hole lets you attach a Paracord to ensure you don't accidentally drop and lose your knife. Cold Steel sends this knife to you alongside an ambidextrous polymer sheath with a custom-made stainless steel belt clip for effortless carry.
Whether you're in the military, law enforcement, or ride horses, this knife is for you. You can use it for a wide range of tasks ranging from the utility, hunting, emergency rescue, fishing, survival, and even self-defense.
2. Ka-Bar 2-1232-1 Sheath Knife
This beautiful, classic-looking knife from Ka-Bar also comes in the perfect size for everyday carry or camping. Featuring a great price tag, this knife comes with a lightweight and compact design for easy carry and will look good on your belt with the included leather sheath.
One of the highlights of this knife lies in its quality German 4116 blade steel. This material retains its edge much better than most steels in its price range and offers maximum resistance against corrosion. The blade comes wicked sharp right out of the box and ready to function. It features a super-slim tip for excellent piercing performance.
You'll also like that the knife handle feels highly comfortable in your hands, unlike what you get with the military Ka-Bars. It perfectly fits in most user hand sizes and features leather washers that feel great in your hands. It also comes contoured to offer you a more secure grip even in wet conditions.
A finger guard also comes with this knife to keep your fingers from slipping and cutting yourself when using your knife. This knife comes with a well-made, high-quality leather sheath reinforced with metal rivets to offer you a safe and secure way to carry your knife.
3. German 4116 Krupp Stainless Steel Chef Knife
This knife was specially made to handle all your kitchen cutting tasks, including slicing, mincing, dicing, chopping, and even deboning. This makes it the perfect choice for every kitchen and restaurant.
If you're tired of using kitchen knives that don't retain their sharpness, you should consider upgrading it with this chef knife today. Besides a good price point, this knife features the German 4116 stainless steel blade, which has good edge retention to enable it to keep a good cutting edge for longer.
Even better, this blade steel works great when it comes to enduring strength and offers high corrosion resistance, making it ideal for the wet kitchen environment.
The pakkawood handle that comes with this knife offers attractive looks and offers you exceptional comfort when using the knife.
Since both the pakkawood handle and 4116 stainless steel can withstand water, detergents, and high temperatures, you can easily wash this knife in the dishwasher without bringing any harm to it.
Probably the best part about this kitchen knife is that it comes with a couple of bonus items for your own convenience. A gourmet meat tenderizer is one such bonus item and doubles as finger saving veggie holder. You'll also get an odor-neutralizing stainless steel soap that pops right out of the handle.
Above all this, you get a designed gift box that makes the knife highly giftable to your loved ones.
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Hopefully, this guide has answered your question on how good is 4116 stainless steel for making knives. It scores well in corrosion resistance, decent edge retention, easy sharpening, good hardness, and high toughness. But its edge retention and wear resistance aren't the best compared to other low-end steels. By weighing the good and bad sides of this steel, you'll be able to make a more informed decision on whether it will meet your expectations or not.