What is CTS 204p steel

What is CTS 204p Steel?

Wondering what kind of steel CTS 204p is? If yes, this guide is for you. More often, people shopping for a new knife come across steel they have never heard of before. With their limited knowledge about various blade steel, they get curious as to how the steel performs.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about CTS 204p steel, including what exactly it's made of, its performance in terms of edge retention, rust resistance, wear hesitance, hardness, toughness, sharpenabiltiy, and more.

What is 204P steel?

CTS-204P is US-made premium-grade steel (developed by Carpenter's), and an equivalent for the Bohler's M390 steel and the Crucible's 20CV steel. It contains more Tungsten (0.65%) than its equivalent steels, which have a 0.60% tungsten.

What is 204P steel

The 204p stainless steel features extremely high wear and corrosion resistance. It comes in the form of a fine-grained alloy and is a popular choice for making high-end fixed blades and folder knives. It also finds use in creating high-end cutlery and other applications that require high corrosion and wear resistance.

CTS 204p steel chemical composition

The MAIN alloying elements in the 204P steel include Carbon, Chromium, and Vanadium, which offer higher wear and corrosion resistance. This is what the CTS 204p full chemical composition looks like:


Composition (%)















CTS 204p Steel

1.9% Carbon improves steel hardness and wear resistance.

20% chromium improves the tensile strength, edge retention, and wear resistance. It also enhances the steel corrosion resistance.

1% Molybdenum increases the strength and machinability of this steel.

4% Vanadium improves hardenability and wear resistance.

0.35% Manganese increase hardness and brittleness.

0.6% Silicon improves steel strength.

0.65% Tungsten improves hardness and wear resistance

CTS-204p steel properties

From 204P's chemical composition, we can easily understand what key characteristics a knife blade made from this steel will offer you. Here are the key properties you'll get from cts-204p steel knife

CTS-204p steel properties

CTS 204p hardness

The CTS 204p has 62 HRC hardness, according to the Rockwell Hardness chart. This is pretty high hardness and can be attributed to the high amounts of Carbon used in its composition. The high hardness comes with a bag of goodies, as you'll discover in the properties below.

Excellent wear resistance

High vanadium and chromium content in the composition gives this steel excellent wear resistance. This assures you that your cts-204p blade won't easily deform when subject to tough outdoor tasks when you're out there camping, fishing, hunting, etc.

High corrosion resistance

The steel boasts high corrosion resistance, thanks to the high chromium volume in its composition (up to 20%).

Superb edge retention

Another great thing about investing in a knife made from cts-204p steel is that it holds its edge for noticeably longer. As we have just seen from its composition, this steel comes high in Carbon and Vanadium, which greatly increases its hardness and gives it greater edge retention. With such a feature, you can use your knife to handle tough tasks for longer periods of time without prior sharpening.

CTS 204p Steel

Great toughness

A metal's ability to take in impact and resist breaking and chipping is quite crucial when you're looking for the perfect knife for you. Despite being hard steel, 2040p boasts great toughness and will not easily break under pressure. This further makes it acceptable in the world of premier steel grades.

Ease of sharpening

Because this is hard steel, sharpening it will take you longer than the softer steels. That said, this steel will still obtain an ultra-sharp edge with the right sharpening method. And the good thing is that it will retain this sharp edge for quite a long period of time, so you wouldn't have to sharpen it more often.

CTS 204p Vs other steel

CTS 204p is premium steel designed for high performance. Its closest equivalents include M390 from Bohler and the CPM 20CV from Crucible, which are also superior steels with close chemical composition and are also known for making reliable high-end knives. The difference between these steels in terms of wear resistance, edge retention, toughness, and wear resistance is quite minimal.

CTS 204p Vs other steel

Below, we'll discuss how this steel compares with other popular high-end steels.

cts-204p steel vs m390

cts-204p has slightly better corrosion resistance and easier sharpening than cts-204p. But both of them offer the same level of edge retention, polishability, and toughness.

cts-204p steel vs m390

cts-204p vs elmax

Elmax is also a premier blade and offers you the same degree of edge retention as cts-204p and toughness. However, cts-204p has greater corrosion resistance than elmax. Elmax outshines cts-204p with high sharpenabiltiy.

CTS-204p vs d2

204P tends to hold its edge for noticeably longer than D2, has high toughness, and features high anti-corrosion properties. It offers a slightly easier sharpening experience than D2 due to the high carbides present in D2.

cts-204p vs s30v

CTS 204P offers better edge retention corrosion resistance and toughness than Crucible's S30V. It's also easier to sharpen than s30v. While s30v is pretty good steel, its performance level isn't anything close to what you get with the CTS-204p.

cts-204p vs s35v

S35V has slightly lower edge retention and corrosion resistance than Carpenter's premier cts-204p steel. S35V is also easier to sharpen than CTS-204p. But the two steels offer the same toughness.

Is CTS 204p good for knives?

CTS 204p is darn good steel for knives: it is highly popular because of its unparalleled performance in corrosion and wear resistance.  It also delivers excellent edge retention and toughness. It exists in the realm of premium grade steels. And this means it's used for making high-end or limited-edition knives.

Is CTS 204p good for knives

It's the BEST steel for making blades for handling a wide range of outdoor activities, including hunting, hiking, fishing, surviving, to name but a few. It's also great for making a premium EDC knife for use in different tasks. But being a premium steel grade, you've got to meet the high cost of CTS 204p stainless steel knives.

Best CTS-204P Knives:

1. Zero Tolerance 0456 Sinkevich Pocket Knife

Zero Tolerance 0456 Sinkevich Pocket Knife

Zero Tolerance teamed up with Belarusian custom knife maker, Dmitry Ninkovich, to produce this knife, which comes optimized with premium cutting power and looks that stand out. This makes it an ideal tool for hunters, survival experts, business professionals, first responders, law enforcement, military, and outdoor enthusiasts.

The blade features a 3-25 inch made forged out of CTS-204p stainless steel exceptional wear resistance, edge retention, and corrosion resistance. It comes ultra-sharp right out of the box and ready to use. And the clip point blade shape makes it suitable for everyday carry.

A lightweight aluminum handle comes with this knife. It also features decorative milling, which offers you great gripability in all conditions.

You'll be pleased with the knife's action, and the blade lock is extremely solid. You'll not experience any wiggle or slop occurs when you open this blade. The blue stainless steel pivot and pocket perfectly matches the aluminum spacer, adding a great pop of color.

Overall, this is a great American-made EDC knife for serious knife users. Its look and fit are nothing short of stunning and scream quality. One-handed blade deployment and great locking make this knife stand out.

Highlighted Features:

  • 3.25 Inch CTS 204p steel clip point blade
  • Lightweight titanium handle
  • Comes with a reversible pocket clip
  • One-handed blade deployment
  • Attractive sanded satin blade finish

2. Stedemon Jenova Folding Pocket knife

Stedemon Jenova Folding Pocket knife

This is a fairly priced EDC knife for budget-conscious users. It boasts a cts-204p steel blade, one of the best blade steels available on the market today. It comes in a compact style and offers you a couple of great features to satisfy all your EDC needs.

The steel blade has high wear resistance, hardness, toughness, and edge retention— all the wonderful attributes for a high-quality EDC knife. The blade features an attractive satin finish and a sheepsfoot shape for excellent cutting and slicing performance. As expected, this blade comes scary sharp out of the box.

The Jenova model comes outfitted with a dual-tone green and gray titanium handle, which feels incredibly strong, light, and has eye-appealing looks. What's more, titanium material offers high resistance to temperatures and corrosion, enhancing this handle's overall durability.

The knife action is also great, and the included flipper lets you smoothly and quickly deploy the blade with just one hand. The overall fit and finish of this knife give it a true mark of quality.

Don't forget that this knife also comes with a pocket clip, which offers you a secure tip-up pocket carry.

Highlighted Features:

  • Premium cts-204p stainless steel blade
  • Integrated titanium pocket clip
  • Titanium frame lock handle
  • Steel-reinforced lock bar
  • Satin finished sheepsfoot blade

3. Spyderco Southard Folder Plain Edge Knife

Spyderco Southard Folder Plain Edge Knife

Straight from Spyderco, one of the USA's most respected brands, we have this wildly popular Southard folder. This is a great choice for anyone looking for a high-end EDC knife. The knife has a compact 4.5-inch closed length. Add the 4oz weight, and it becomes extremely lightweight and easy for you to carry around.

Featuring a premium Carpenter 204p steel blade, this knife holds a sharp edge for considerably longer than most low-end steels. Additionally, it has great wear and corrosion resistance. The blade comes factory razor-sharp and has just the right shape for an EDC knife.

A world-class flipper is one of the things that drive users of this knife crazy. It stands for super-smooth and quick deployment. This got to be one of the most satisfying flipping actions you've ever used. The blade lock also feels really solid and leaves zero room for stick or blade play.

Thanks to the included pocket clip, you'll easily attach this knife to your pocket for hassle-freely daily carry.

With a textured earth-brown G-10 handle, you'll get great traction, and holding this knife in your hands feels good and is comfortable to use.

Overall, this is a true high-end knife EDC knife you can invest in today. The minds at Spyderco who worked on this Southard gave attention to the tiniest details, enabling them to come up with this gem of a knife.

Highlighted Features:

  • Textured Earth-brown G-10 handle
  • 3.46'' CTS 204P hollow-ground blade
  • Reeve integral lock mechanism
  • Lightweight knife; weighs approx. 4 ounces
  • 4.5-inch closed length
  • Matching stainless steel clip

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Final Verdict

The US-made CTS 204p stainless steel is awesome steel for knives! Its only equivalents are Bohler M390 or Diratech 20CV and will blow all the other steels out of water in every area.

This steel grade is one of the best performers today as far as wear and corrosion resistance are concerned. These distinctive features make this stainless steel a popular choice for making high-end folders, fixed blades, and cutlery knives.

Overall, if you're looking for a premium knife or limited edition knife, CTS 204p steel knives are a must-consider.

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