LC200N steel is one of the top steels used for manufacturing knives today. Spyderco has a bunch of knives powered by this steel. If you just came across LC200N/Z FiNit knife steel and it sounds completely new to you, this in-depth LC200N guide will enlighten you on what kind of steel it is and how knives with LC200N steel perform.
In this LC200N steel review, you’ll discover a lot of crucial stuff like the LC200N composition, Rockwell hardness, wear resistance, rust/corrosion resistance, edge retention performance, toughness, and ease of sharpening. We have also covered a comparison between LC200N stainless steel and other common knife steels.
What Is LC200N Steel?
LC200N is a high nitrogen alloyed tool steel with extremely high corrosion resistance performance. The steel is produced using ESR technology (Pressurized Electric Slag Remelting) for increased cleanliness and a refined micro-structure—giving the steel high machinability and polishability. Knives with LC200N are loved for their superior corrosion resistance and high toughness at a high hardness of over 60 HRC.
Who Makes LC200N Steel?
The Zapp Group, based in United States(US), makes LC200N stainless steel. Zapp specially engineered LC200N stainless steel for use in applications involving high static and dynamical loads in corrosive and high-temperature environments. It finds extensive use in food, recycling, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries.
LC200N steel is relatively and first appeared in 2013. But a closer look at its composition, you’ll notice that it shares an almost similar chemical composition with Krupp’s Cronidur 30 bearing stainless steel which has been around for longer and was even used by NASA to manufacturer ball bearings. The steel goes also goes by the name Z-FiNit steel, with Z standing for Zapp and FiNit stands for Fine Grain Nitrogen steel.
Amazingly, NASA now seems to be moving away from Cronidur 30 and AISI 52100 steels and embracing Zapp LC 200 N stainless steel for the production of ball bearings for their high-performance aerospace equipment.
Like many other knife steels, LC200N wasn’t initially developed for making knives but it offers amazing performance in various categories that make it suitable for knife making. Spyderco already uses this steel for knife making.
LC200N steel composition:
Percentage composition (%)
0.30% Carbon increases the tensile strength and hardness. It also enhances wear and abrasion resistance.
15.00% Chromium increases tensile strength, hardness, and toughness of this steel. Mind you, chromium is more than 12% needed to make a steel alloy stainless, so it’s safe to say that LC 200 N is stainless steel with exceptional rust resistance.
1.00% Manganese increases tensile strength, hardenability, and wear resistance.
0.95% Molybdenum increases strength hardness, and toughness.
0.50% Nickel adds to the toughness of this steel while at the same time reducing hardness.
0.50% Nitrogen offers the same performance as carbon element (improves strength and edge retention). Besides, it offers magical advantages in corrosion resistance.
LC200N Steel Hardness
The working LC200N hardness falls in the 58-60 HRC range at 600 tempering temperatures, placing it in the same categories with high-end steels like VG10, S35VN, and 154CM. This is the typical hardness level you get for knives from most high-end manufacturers. You can trust an LC200N knife blade within this hardness range to offer you great wear resistance and excellent sharpness for longer than the cheaper knives.
LC200N Steel Properties
If you’re wondering how a lc200n stainless steel knife will perform, this is your part. We have outlined the features offered by this blade steel in key areas like wear resistance, edge holding ability, corrosion resistance, toughness, and sharpenability.
Lc200n Steel Wear Resistance
This steel offers decent wear resistance, but not something comparable to steels like D2 which has tremendous wear resistance. Nevertheless, this steel still offers you a good amount of wear resistance—good enough to resists everyday tear and wear and prevents the edge from deforming as you go about cutting various materials.
LC200N Edge Retention
The edge retention in LC200N is excellent and comes close to that of Crucible CPM S30V, another stainless steel that’s well known for its exceptional edge retention. The high LC200N edge stability lets you use your lc200n knife to do a lot of daily cutting for months without losing its sharp cutting edge. The. Your knife cutting edge won't easily deform with continued use.
Cedric and Adda tested the edge retention of this steel (see the video below) and it stopped cutting effectively after a whopping 226 passes! This is slightly less than a similar test conducted on CTS-XHP and more than what Cedric found with top steels like Elmax and M4.
LCN200N is reasonably tough and offers good resistance to chipping, cracking, or breaking under stress or impact. Its toughness is pretty similar to what you get with H1 steel. Lc200n kitchen knives are known to tackle a lot of kitchen tasks like cutting fruits, working through meat bones, and other hard use without getting chippy. Likewise, this steel’s good toughness makes it good for making reliable fishing, filleting, and hunting knives.
LC200N Corrosion Resistance
If you want to feel what it’s like to have a 100% rust-free knife, get yourself an LC200N steel knife. This steel is made of exceptional corrosion resistance and can go through tons of sweat, water, saltwater without catching stains. LC200N is ultra-stainless steel. LC200N steel is rustproof!
This perfectly explains why lc200n is the top choice for making fishing and kitchen knives. previous owners of lc200n fishing knives are crazy over this steels ability to cut bait, clean it in saltwater and fillet your fish, and then leave it like that (if you want), and never spot any rust on your knife. LC200N is one of the best steel for saltwater knives.
LC200N sharpening is an easy task. This steel features a fine grain structure that enables you to effortlessly sharpen it to a hair-popping sharpness level. If you’re trying to improve your sharpening skills, you can use this steel as your launching pad. And adding to the fact that this steel features high edge retention, you won’t be sharpening it quite often, save for some touchups to keep the edge super-sharp.
What Is LC200N Steel Equivalent?
The LC200N steel equivalent would be the Bohler-Uddeholm N360 stainless steel. This steel features a very close chemical composition to LC200N, with medium carbon content and excellent stain resistance. The main difference is that N360 features Silicon in its composition, which isn’t found in LC 200 N stainless steel. Knives made using these two types of steel also come at high costs.
As we promised, we also analyzed the performance of Lc200n against that of other top steels used in the knife industry. We focused on key categories like edge retention, corrosion resistance, toughness, and ease of sharpness.
This is how LC200N compares with other steels:
LC200N Steel Vs H1
Both H1 and Lc200N are nitrogen steels and many knife steel experts believe that Lc200 is the upgraded version of H1. H1 is softer steel compared to LC200N and this gives LC200N better edge retention. H1 has poor edge stability and gets dull pretty quickly when put to hard use.
H1 outshines Lc200N with higher toughness and holds up well to tough use. However, both steels find a common ground in that they’re extremely corrosion-resistant (both are regarded as rustproof steels) and are super easy to sharpen. H1 performs better in a serrated knife while LC200N gives better performance in the plain edge.
LC200N Vs S30V
S30V is a premium knife steel and it would be interesting to see how it performs against LC200N. Both steels have fantastic edge retention performance that’s very close, though S30V still ranks higher than its counterpart. S30V is also tougher steel than lc200n and can withstand a lot of abuse and hard use.
However, lc200n outshines s30v with easier sharpening and maintenance and being rustproof. Note that s30v stainless steel also offers excellent corrosion resistance, but long-term exposure to elements might cause it to rust.
LC200N Vs VG10
CG10 and LC 200 N are almost identical in their properties, with the latter only gained an edge over vg10 in corrosion resistance. Both steels deliver fantastic edge retention, with CG10 enjoying a slight edge. Both steels offer great toughness and are quite easy to sharpen.
LC200N Vs 20CV
20CV has all-around excellent performance and is pretty much like M390. Lc200N would beat 20Cv with its massive corrosion resistance, but 20Cv features 20% chromium and will still deliver excellent corrosion resistance.
However, LC200N is no match for the 20CV’s tremendous wear resistance and edge retention. Also, sharpening 20CV is a hard task. You should only consider lc200n is you plan to use your knife in saltwater or humid conditions. Otherwise, a 20CV knife will give you an all-around performance for various applications.
Is LC200N A Good Knife Steel?
LC200N knife steel beats most other knife steels in key areas and is definitely good steel for making high-performance knives. The extremely high corrosion resistance offered by LC200N makes it a great choice for making knives for use in humid and saltwater conditions like fishing, hunting, chef, and so on.
The steel also delivers great edge retention and can tackle a lot of cutting without going dull. And sharpening LC200N is easy as pie! The Z FiNit toughness, too, is adequate to keep away chipping, cracking, or breaking problems associated with knife steels.
With the knife ticking boxes for all the key categories for knife steel, it’s no doubt great all-around steel that beats most of the other steels out there in performance.
But for this exceptional performance, you’ll have to dig deeper into your pocket as knives with lc200n come at a high premium price. Spyderco is one top brand that uses LC200N for a variety of knives which have become a favorite for many knife users.
Best LC200N Knife:
LC200N can be found in a bunch of knives on the market today, some of which have become popular among knife enthusiasts. Below, we take a look at some of the highly-rated LC200N steel knives you can get today.
1. Spyderco Caribbean Salt Leaf Folding Knife
If you’re looking for a great knife to carry every day, this Spyderco Caribbean Salt might just become your instant favorite. The knife is pretty light for everyday carry, and the excellent fit and finish makes it unique from cheaply made EDC knives.
The knife blade is LC200N stainless steel which makes this knife 100% rust-free, even when you use it in and around saltwater. The blade measures 3.66 inches. it takes a wicked sharp edge and holds it quite well and doesn’t chip easily. the full flat grind plus leaf shape of this blade enable it to form a fine tip for efficient piercing and slicing work.
This Caribbean Salt knife feels quite comfortable in your hand. It comes with a black/yellow G10 handle which is not only eye-catching but also features deep grooves for slip-free and secure grip, even in wet conditions.
You’ll enjoy the butter-smooth opening and closing action that comes with this knife. The compression lock allows you to close your knife without having to place your knife in the blade path. The lockup is also super-secure and the blade will show no signs of disengaging during use.
Oh! Don’t forget that this folding knife also comes with a titanium pocket clip that lets you comfortably carry the knife in your pocket. A lanyard hole sits on the handle to let you attach a lanyard for alternative carry.
2. Spyderco Spydiechef Premium Chef Folding Knife
This premium chef knife from Spyderco was made by knifemaker Marcin Slyszand takes the shape of an extremely refined folding knife with user-friendly ergonomics and a world-class chef knife—all in an all-purpose everyday carry folder.
Incorporated into the Spyderco’s Salt Series knives, this knife is ultra-corrosion resistant. Its blade is carved from LC200N stainless steel, the state-of-the-art knife steel with extremely high corrosion resistance. The blade features a broad profile with a full flat grind for a more precise, low-friction cutting performance.
An open-backed handle design comes with this knife to keep its weight low, optimize balance, and make the cleaning easy. The handle also features precision-machined solid titanium scales for superb grip in all conditions, including wet weather.
Blade action is smooth. And the handle houses a stout R.I.L (Reeve Integral Lock) mechanism that firmly locks the blade during use to prevent it from accidentally closing on your fingers.
You’ll discover a lanyard hole on the handle for easily attaching safety lines and lanyards to ensure you don’t lose your knife when working around water. What’s more, this knife comes with a reversible deep-pocket clip to offer you a convenient, ambidextrous carry and fast access.
3. Spyderco Pacific Salt 2 Lightweight Folding Knife
The Pacific Salt 2 is an improvised version of its predecessor, the classic Pacific Salt 1. This knife is built to perform in and around the waters without catching rust. The improved version combines highly refined ergonomics plus a grip texture, 4-way pocket clip, and corrosion-resistant materials.
This folder is powered by a 3.78-inch blade made from LC200N steel for exceptional corrosion resistance. The blade comes with a wicked sharp edge and holds it for relatively long. Like the previous knives, this blade also offers you a full flat grind for precision cutting while reducing friction during cutting.
Like the classic it is, this knife features a lock-back mechanism that ensures the blade remains in the open position during use and doesn’t accidentally engage and shut down on your fingers.
This knife presents you with distinctive green fiberglass reinforced handle. This gives it a light feel and makes it easy to carry while giving it high strength. The handle also features a high-traction bi-directional texture pattern which combines with enhanced handle ergonomics for superior grip in all conditions.
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That’s everything you need to know about LC200N steel. This relatively new steel offers great all-around performance and blows the majority of knife steels out of the water with its extremely high corrosion resistance. it’s extremely easy to sharpen and takes a hair-splitting edge.
It also offers decent performance in terms of toughness. With everything about this steel explained in plain language in this lc200n steel review, you can now easily understand the type of steel it is and decide whether your next knife should be made of this steel.