Best Steel for Kitchen Knives: Get To Know Your Blades

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Expanding your food prep skills? To maximize your potential, you need to invest in a variety of kitchen knives.

More than anything, purchasing a knife requires knowing about the various steel types they come in.

With this knowledge, you get to distinguish which is the best steel for kitchen knives and go from there.

Let’s sift through some knife steel options that can turn your kitchen into a more functional kitchen.

Best Steel for Kitchen Knives

For many, the best metal for kitchen knives corresponds to their individual expectations of a knife.

Nevertheless, where these blades are concerned, there are certain steel types most may consider as one-size-fits-all solutions.

1. Blue Paper Steel (Carbon Steel)

The Aogami or “blue paper” blade got its name from the paper used by Hitachi Ltd. to package steel.

It is adapted from the supposed White Paper Steel, a very pure form of steel found in iron-rich river banks.

This steel type is closely identical to Tamahagene, the steel used to produce Japanese swords.

Taking into account the type of steel it was modeled after, Aogami is considered to be as close to perfect as knife steel can get.

Its severe lack of flaws that unfavorably impact steel quality and advanced production made it a candidate for the best kitchen knife steel today.

Lastly, while this upgraded version of the White Paper Steel veers slightly from tradition, it does come with an improved set of characteristics of the original blade.

While it’s certainly not as wear- and tear-resistant as stainless steel, it does do a moderately better job than White Paper Steel at resisting corrosion and chipping.

2. Cronidur 30 (Stainless Steel)

Why the best steel for chef knife is stainless lies in the steel’s strength and ability to withstand corrosion.

An example of superb stainless steel is cronidur 30, which has additional nitrogen and less carbon content.

This makes it even stronger at resisting corrosion and other forms of wear and tear.

It also gives it the edge and hardness essential in more-frequently-used knives.

3. SKD11 (Stainless Powder Steel)

Verging into powdered metal territory introduces us to the SKD11 or D2.

This stainless powder steel is incredibly fine and has a great distribution of elements.

This quality contributes to its edge over ordinary stainless steel, which is slightly more resistant to the addition of other alloy elements.

Because of its more accepting nature, SKD11 has a higher degree of hardness and cutting qualities than powdered metals, like SGPS or SG2.

However, its lower chrome content also makes it less rust-resistant than a number of its powdered counterparts, including SGPS.

Due to this feature, it’s sometimes called semi-stainless steel.

SKD11 is used very similarly to another type of powdered steel called VG10.

Among all the powdered steel types, these two are the most used laminated.

best steel for kitchen knives

4. HRC 60 (Carbon Steel)

HRC 60 is a carbon steel type hardened to 60 Rockwell C, which is reasonably hard but not the hardest form of knife steel.

This type of steel is best represented on the market by the famous Robert Herder knives.

They come in with a 0.8 carbon percentage.

5. MC66 (Stainless Powder Steel)

MC66 or ZDP-89 is among the hardest stainless powders today.

This is owed to the degree to which it welcomes the addition of alloy elements, the highest of all powdered metals.

While very hard and durable, the ZDP-89 is not as resistant to corrosion as SG2 and D2.

It’s also one of the most difficult powder steel types to sharpen.

6. SGPS (Stainless Powder Steel)

SGPS or SG2 has a fine structure and excellent distribution of elements.

This allows it to hold more alloy elements than regular stainless steel, heightening its cutting abilities and hardness.

As far as rust-resistance goes, SG2 has the edge over VG10 steel but falls short slightly against SKD11.

Like VG10 and D2, SGPS is also more popularly used in laminated form.

The Damascus steel used for this type of powder steel is also slightly harder than for VG10, which increases its scratch-resistance.

7. VG10 (Stainless Steel)

VG10 is a type of stainless steel with a high carbon percentage.

This makes it among the hardest stainless steel types and gives it excellent cutting characteristics.

It also makes it easier to sharpen to razor-sharp.

Where the VG10 slightly underperforms is in rust-resistance.

It’s simply more vulnerable to pit corrosion compared to other steel types with lower carbon percentages.

For this reason, the user will need to polish or ground off a rust spot as soon as it makes an appearance on the item.


1. What steel is best for kitchen knives?

​If it’s ease of maintenance you are looking for with excellent all round performance then you can’t go wrong with ​stainless steel kitchen knive​s.

Stainless steel knife blades require the least amount of maintenance, knowledge, and skill to keep in tip-top condition.

2. Is Damascus steel good for kitchen knives?

The best kitchen knife steel should be strong, which is precisely what Damascus steel is – incredibly so! In our opinion, the ​most attractive knife sets available are Damascus​ steel knife sets.

​Damascus is an excellent steel type for both kitchen and hunting knives.

The production of Damascus steel ​involves combining metals, which creates micro-serrations that ensure ​sharpness is maintained for long periods of time. You can discover more about Damascus steel, how it is made and why it is so popular ​in our articles ​what is Damascus steel and is Damascus steel good.

3. What is better carbon steel or stainless steel knives?

Carbon steel is generally better than stainless steel for kitchen knives.

This is because carbon steel is harder and, therefore, maintains an edge longer than stainless steel.

Also, despite its hardness, a carbon blade is easier to sharpen than a stainless one.

4. Is 1095 steel good for kitchen knives?

While its stiffer quality doesn’t make it the best steel for chef knife, ​1095 steel type does have its perks.

One, in particular, is that it can retain its edge better than most blades.

What Kind of Steel Should You Go For?

So far, everything points to carbon steel being the best steel for kitchen knives.

While it may not be as rust-resistant as stainless steel, it has a tougher blade that’s easier to sharpen.

Also, issues with carbon steel corrosion can usually be bridged using a knife bag.

With that said, stainless steel blades certainly don’t fall too far behind. They have a considerable number of great options to offer, too.