When looking for a brand new knife, the type of steel its blade is made of is crucial for deciding whether the knife will meet your needs or not. You might have already heard the narrative about good steel and bad steel. But when you think about it, all the steels are good in certain areas, and the good one for you is one that fits your standards.
Today, we'll focus on one of the steels that have been used in the knife industry for a long time—9Cr18MoV Steel. Our guide will focus on the steel composition, properties, and equivalent steel grades available. By the time you're done reading this guide, you'll have decided whether this is a good steel for you or not.
What is 9Cr18MoV steel?
The 9Cr18MoV is a Chinese made stainless steel with high Chromium and carbon content for great hardness and unparalleled corrosion resistance. It's mainly used to make corrosion vulnerable cutting tools like stainless steel knives, surgical blades, etc.
The steel gives you good value for money for the good balance it strikes between quality and pricing.
The stainless steel features high amounts of Chromium Carbon and Molybdenum in that order—giving it extreme hardness and corrosion resistance. The 9Cr18MoV steel composition also includes a variety of other elements, as shown in this table.
The 9Cr18MoV shows Chromium as the most abundant element in the steel composition. It qualifies the 9Cr18MoV as stainless steel. But most importantly, it enables the steel to exhibit greater tensile strength and edge retention ability. Additional benefits of having Chromium in the steel include enhanced corrosion and wear resistance.
The high amounts of carbon increase this steel's overall hardness and its ability to resist wear and corrosion.
Nitrogen and phosphorous help increase the steel strength. Nitrogen goes a step further to improve its edge retention.
Silicon improves the 9Cr18MoV strength.
Molybdenum appears in high amounts in this steel to ensure high machinability and increased strength. And the 0.03% Sulfur further increases the machinability of this steel.
Vanadium has a composition of 0.12%, which is great for boosting the 9Cr18MoV hardenability and improving its resistance to wear.
9cr18MoV Steel Properties
Having studied this Chinese stainless steel composition, it's now easier to bring out the key properties it will offer you when used to make a knife blade.
The 9cr18MoV hardness stands at 58-60 HRC according to the Rockwell Hardness Chart. Without a single doubt, this is a great amount of hardness and is precisely what you find in high-quality knives from popular brands like Spyderco, Buck, Cold Steel, and others,
The high carbon content in the composition of this steel is responsible for the high hardness. The presence of Vanadium in the composition boosts the steel vanadium carbide content, improving its overall hardness and wear resistance.
This high hardness degree gives the stainless steel a handful of amazing benefits, including the ability to hold an edge for pretty long.
The high levels of Carbon (close to 1%) give the steel a solid build and the ability to withstand friction. In conjunction with high hardness (rated 60HRC), it constitutes the perfect recipe for keeping a good cutting edge for a long period of time.
Don't forget that Vanadium plays a role in creating vanadium carbide. This extremely hard substance further enhances the steel edge retention ability.
The rule of thumb is that the harder a steel is, the more brittle it becomes. And the more brittle it becomes, the less tough it is. With that said, you don't expect this steel to be the toughest guy around.
However, the manufacturer has included key elements like Nickel and Manganese in its compensation to increases its tensile strength. This enables a 9CR18MoV steel knife to deliver decent toughness.
Firstly, this is stainless steel, which tells you something about it: it's good for corrosion resistance.
The steel boasts a high amount of Chromium (at 18%), which is more than what's needed to make a steel stainless. Needless to say, this propels the steel corrosion resistance to a whole new level.
What's more, the steel features additional elements like Nickel and Molybdenum, which help fight against corrosion.
So, we've just mentioned that this is hard steel. While this is good for knife longevity and ability to keep its edge, it does come with a sacrifice, which is sharpening difficulty. Yes, hard steel knives are pretty hard to sharpen, especially for beginners with little or no sharpening experience.
But then again, the 9CR18MoV knives have great edge retention and don't dull easily. It will take long before you can think about re-sharpening. The advanced sharpening systems on the market today will help you give the knife a razor-sharp edge and maintain it at that.
9CR18MoV vs other steels in its class
9cr18mov vs 440c
440c is the most similar grade of steel to the 9cr18mov. They share a very close chemical composition to that of 9cr18mov. Both have great edge retention and corrosion resistance properties and feature the same price range, giving you value for money.
Is 9Cr18MoV steel good for knives?
From the above discussion, we can agree that 9Cr18MoV is a great steel for knives. It boasts high hardness, good edge retention, and extreme corrosion resistance. It also delivers a decent amount of toughness. These characteristics make it good steel for EDC or kitchen knife.
However, the high hardness compromises the steel toughness and might not make a good knife used for camping, hiking, hunting, etc. This is because the less tough blade will not hold up to tough tasks associated with these outdoor tasks.
With such great features, this steel is slowly building a following of the world of knife users. In the next section, we'll review some of the best-rated knives made with this steel.
Best 9Cr18MoV steel Knives on the market today
1. CIVIVI Liner Lock Folding Knife
The CIVIVI is a good folding pocket knife for hunters, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. The highly-rated knife comes equipped with a 9Cr18MoV drop-point blade with excellent corrosion resistance. It also sharpens easily while retaining a sharp cutting edge for a long time.
It comes with a sturdy pocket clip with a deep carry design to ensure it remains fully concealed and hardly noticeable when inside your pocket. Since the pocket clip is also reversible, it allows you to carry the knife on your right or left-hand side, whichever feels comfortable for you.
With the integrated smooth flipping action, you just need to apply light pressure with only one hand to deploy this knife's blade. What's more, the knife features a reliable liner lock that keeps the blade locked in position for your own safety.
The beautiful G10 handle with latitudinal texturing offers you a firm grip and feels good in your hands. The blue liner and CIVIVI logo on the handle gives this knife an eye-pleasing look. For a solid pocket knife at a budget-friendly cost, you can't go wrong with this CIVIVI
2. Schrade SCH305 8.2in Ultra-Glide Folding Knife
This is another solid and sturdy folding knife you can trust to meet your needs for any adventure you get yourself in.
This knife comes with the same blade length of 3.5 inches as our previous model. It is made from the dependable 9Cr18MoV stainless steel metal for great anti-corrosion, easy sharpening, and edge retention performance.
The knife has an overall lightweight design, weighing 5.3 ounces, which makes it easy to carry. And as a complete pocket knife, this Schrade also comes with a dependable pocket clip to make it ideal for everyday carry. Besides, it comes with a lanyard to let you carry your knife with a lanyard if you wish to.
The handle part features a black G10 material with texturing to offer you a comfortable and secure grip. The knife is also designed with generous jimping plus finger guard for non-slip handling, assuring you of your own safety.
3. KUNSON Survival Folding Pocket Knife
This survival pocket knife is relatively new on the market but has started gaining some good traction from knife lovers. Like the previous models, this is a folding pocket knife designed to meet your hunting, hiking, traveling, and household knife needs.
It features a 3.4-inch blade length designed from the high-strength 9Cr18MoV for maximum corrosion resistance, so you can use it in all conditions, including wet weather. Additional aspects of this stainless steel blade include high wear resistance and good edge retention.
A quality G10 handle comes with this knife to offer you an overall secure and comfortable grip in various conditions. Since the handle comes in 4 divergent color options, you can choose the one that appeals to your personal preferences or one that's highly visible in case your knife gets lost in the woods.
The overall length is 8.3 inches, and the weight is 4.1oz, making the knife portable enough for easy carry. And with the included pocket clip, carry thing knife will be a breeze for you.
Also available on:
The Bottom Line
9Cr18MoV steel is a pretty good choice for a knife, depending on what you plan to use your knife for. Its outstanding corrosion resistance and great edge retention are some of the great benefits you get from a knife made with this steel. It offers you these desirable features without costing you an arm and a leg, making it great if you want value for money.