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Is 8cr13mov a Good Knife Steel?

Knife steel guides are increasingly reviewing Chinese steels such as the 8Cr13MoV. But is the 8Cr13MoV worth all the hype? Let’s find out.

For this review, we will assess the composition and critical features of the 8Cr13MoV. Also, we will conduct a comparative analysis of 8Cr13MoV with other steels to determine whether this steel is a yay or a nay for your knife.

Simply go through this article on 8Cr13Mov to see whether this steel suits your needs.

What is 8Cr13MoV steel?

Belonging to the CR13 series, the Chromium Molybdenum stainless steel, aka 8Cr13MoV, is Chinese steel featuring high elements of carbon and chromium. 

The Japanese-made AUS-8 has similar performance to the 8Cr13MoV steel. The 8Cr13MoV, however, offers reasonable toughness, corrosion resistance, and decent edge retention. The 8Cr13MoV works excellently as a starter knife due to its reasonable durability and price.

Like other steels in the Cr13 series, 8Cr13MoV is martensitic steel. Martensitic  means that this steel was built through a rapid quenching process. This steel is mainly used for making kitchen knives. 

8Cr13Mov composition 

Composition of 8Cr13MoV

The 8Cr13MoV bears the right chemical properties that lend well to the manufacturing of kitchen knives. Let’s examine its composition to see if it’s true:

ElementPercentage (%)
Carbon0.7-0.8
Chromium13-14.5
Molybdenum 0.1-0.3
Nickel 0.6
Manganese1
Silicon1
Phosphorus0.04
Sulfur 0.03
Vanadium 0.10-0.25

The 8Cr13MoV  is an increasingly popular mid-range steel used in kitchen knives. Its seemingly cryptic name is actually a reference to its composition where 8 refers to the 0.8% Carbon and Cr13 refers to 13% Chromium. The Mo refers to Molybdenum while the V represents Vanadium. 

Let’s look at this chemical composition in detail:

  • Carbon: The 8Cr13MoV has 0.8% Carbon, which is reasonably sufficient for making a functional knife with a decent hardness level. The steel incorporates additional alloy elements such as Molybdenum and Manganese to give the steel further hardness. Even though the 8Cr13MoV exemplifies a decent level of hardness, it does not, however,  match the level of a standard high carbon stainless steel. 
  • Chromium: A high chromium percentage ensures that the knife is corrosion resistant and lends additional strength and hardness to the steel. 
  • Others: Molybdenum and manganese play their role in granting the steel more hardness, while nickel ensures that the steel gets a toughness boost. On the other hand, silicon and phosphorus give robust strength to the steel, while vanadium provides hardenability and wear resistance. 

How is 8Cr13MoV as a kitchen knife material?

8Cr13MoV as kitchen knife material

Is the 8Cr13MoV game enough to be a kitchen knife? Let’s discuss the key features of this stainless steel to find out:

Hardness

The maximum hardness that an 8Cr13MoV can achieve on the Rockwell Scale is 62 HRC. On average, however, the hardness level lies between 55-62 HRC.This decent hardness level is attributable to carbon, molybdenum, nickel and vanadium present in the steel. 

Many well-known brands have been using the 8Cr13MoV for manufacturing knives, such as Spyderco, Kershaw, and Benchmade. The level of hardness in these knives, however, varies in the manufacturing process of the knife itself. 

Edge retention 

When it comes to edge retention, the 8Cr13MoV performs rather poorly. Many knife experts, however, believe that the edge retention is a subjective measure for this kind of steel. This subjective edge retention is because different manufacturing processes render differing hardness levels in 8Cr13MoV, ultimately resulting in differing amounts of edge retention. Toughness, blade grind, and other factors also alter edge retention capabilities. 

Even then, the edge retention isn’t that great compared to other steels. Then again, re-sharpening won’t feel like a hassle given the price you’re getting this steel at. 

Sharpening

It is safe to say that the scantiness of edge retention is made up when it comes to sharpening the 8Cr13MoV. This steel sharpens quite easily since it is not very hard, which is one reason chefs prefer it as their go-to kitchen knife. 

Sharpening knives doesn’t seem like a hassle when made out of 8Cr13MoV. All you need is some standard sharpening tools that you will find in your kitchen. 

Toughness 

The 8Cr13MoV makes for a decent quality kitchen knife with reasonable toughness and the ability to handle abuse moderately well.  Even though the steel offers decent toughness, do not push this durable steel beyond your everyday kitchen cutting tasks to avoid chipping and breaking. 

Corrosion resistance 

The 8Cr13MoV contains 13% of chromium on average, a proportion which is considered low in the stainless steel scale. Due to this reason, the 8Cr13MoV is highly resistant to rust and must be properly cared for to avoid rust formation. 

That said, the presence of chromium can also lead to oxidation or stains. This risk is why the knife steel must be kept clean and dry. The knife user should also avoid exposure to moisture for extended periods.  

Wear resistance

When buying the 8Cr13MoV Chinese steel knife, you also purchase an excellent wear resistance. This is primarily due to the mixture of Chromium and Vanadium in its composition. 

Should you get an 8Cr13MoV?

Now, for the final question, should you be getting an 8Cr13MoV? Well, it depends. If you’re starting out in your culinary journey, don’t have much to spend, and want a decent knife partner to handle kitchen abuse, then this knife is just for you. 

The 8Cr13MoV works great as a starter kitchen knife offering decent hardness, toughness, corrosion resistance, and sharpening ease. Furthermore, if you are considering buying an outdoor tactical knife, it has proven to be a very popular steel type. However, it does require constant sharpening.

8Cr13Mov vs. other steels 

8Cr13Mov vs. other steels

Still unsure about buying this knife steel? Maybe this comparison with other knife steels will help clear the confusion:

8Cr13MoV vs. AUS-8

For our first case in point, let us compare the 8Cr13Mov to its closest equivalent: the AUS-8:

Factor8Cr13MoV (out of 5)AUS-8 (out of 5)Which one is better?
Edge retention11.5AUS-8
Sharpening ease44.5AUS-8
Corrosion resistance33.5AUS-8
Hardness 22Same
Toughness 33Same

The above comparison highlights that the AUS-8 performs slightly better in corrosion resistance, sharpening ease, and edge retention. However, both of them offer the same hardness and toughness levels. 

However, it must be noted here that the 8Cr13MoV is available at a much cheaper price point than the AUS-8 and provides competitive features nevertheless. 

8Cr13MoV vs. VG10

Factor8Cr13MoV (out of 5)VG10 (out of 5)Which one is better?
Edge retention13VG10
Sharpening ease438Cr13MoV
Corrosion resistance33.5VG10
Hardness 23VG10
Toughness 328Cr13MoV

Compared to the high-end Japanese stainless steel VG-10, the latter performs better on several factors such as edge retention, sharpening ease, hardness, and corrosion resistance. Both these steels make for great kitchen knives. However, you will find yourself sharpening more of the 8Cr13Mov steel than the VG10 due to poorer edge retention. 

All things aside, the 8CR13MoV is still a great value for the money compared to the relatively pricey VG-10. 

8Cr13MoV vs. 7Cr17MoV

Factor8Cr13MoV (out of 5)7Cr17MoV (out of 5)Which one is better?
Edge retention20.58Cr13MoV
Sharpening ease44.57Cr17MoV 
Corrosion resistance33.57Cr17MoV 
Hardness 23.57Cr17MoV 
Toughness 31.58Cr13MoV 

The 7Cr17MoV, as evident, is the best when it comes to corrosion resistance. However, it performs poorly in terms of toughness and edge retention. The 8Cr13MoV is tougher than the 7Cr17MoV. Both are pretty good steels for the money. 

Final Verdict 

The above discussion clarifies that the 8Cr13MoV is a reasonable mid-range knife steel that is good for its price compared to other knife steels you may find at similar price points. 

Even though you can’t expect it to perform similar to high-end steels, the 8Cr13MoV is still a good choice for a kitchen knife with decent strength, sharpening ease, and ample hardness that gets the job done.

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