Despite the variety of kitchen knives on the market, truly upgrading your cooking game is less about quantity and more about quality.
One of the most vital factors to consider when selecting a kitchen knife is the knife blade materials which determine the cutting performance of the knife as well as how resistant it is to corrosion, cracking, and losing sharpness. Thus, finding the best knife blade material for your kitchen knives is so imperative.
Unfortunately, like many other questions, there isn’t a sure answer. It’s not as easy as just telling you which blade material is best. No one perfect steel that is the best suitable for all kinds of knives and that’s because there are trade-offs.
For example, a harder knife blade can also make knives easier brittle. But if we add other elements that might help with something could also reduce the blade’s ability to retain an edge, therefore requiring more frequent sharpening. So, when we choose the kitchen knife, we are exploring the right balance between hardness, strength, edge retention. Know the common knife blade material will help you determine which is the best kitchen knife blade material. So, let’s start to figure out the types of blade materials.
What are the types of blade materials?
1. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is the abbreviation of rust-free and acid-resistant steel. It’s a kind of modern steel alloy. In addition, it contains over 10.5% chromium, which makes the steel corrosion-resistant and rust-resistant rust which is an important feature because rust is the biggest enemy for steel knives. of course, you need to appropriate care of your knife to keep t clean and dry. if unfortunately, your steel knives have some rust on the blade, you can use these tips to wipe it: how to remove rust from knife blade.
You may don’t that stainless steel kitchen knives are the most popular kitchen knives on the market. On one hand, this is because stainless steel knives require less knowledge, skill, and maintenance to keep them in good condition.
On another hand, as we mentioned before, stainless steel contains over 10% chromium, making it corrosion and rust-resistant. This makes it popular among chefs who probably don’t want to have a knife that will rust easily. Finally, stainless steel kitchen knives are always at an affordable price. So, it is a common choice for many of people.
- Stainless steel blades require less maintenance than carbon steel because they are corrosion-resistant and can remain humid for a longer time (although we recommend avoiding put knife in a humid place for a long time to reduce risk of rust).
- It’s anti-rust if you properly maintain your kitchen knife.
- Affordable price.
- Easy to be sharpened.
- Stainless steel blades are often less sharp than carbon steel because of its high content of chromium.
- Stainless steel blades need to be sharpened more often.
2. Carbon Steel
There are centuries of history that make kitchen knives with carbon steel. Carbon steel is essentially iron, when carbon is added to steel, it becomes harder and easier to sharpen compared to ordinary steel.
Thus, these knives are known for being solid workhorses.
Furthermore, carbon knives can hold an edge longer. It can also be forged into a thinner blade which allows for a steeper and sharper edge geometry.
There are 3 main variations of carbon steel: soft steel, medium-carbon steel, and high carbon steel. If you have seen the hand-forged knives, you may know the differentiation between the variants. The content of carbon influences the resistance and rigidity of the blade.
The higher content of carbon, the harder the knife blade. The content of carbon between 0.6 and 1% is considered to be high.
On the downside, with time passed by, a carbon-steel knife will normally produce a dark patina, though it won’t influence the performance. If you didn’t properly clean and lubricate your knife timely after use, they would be rust or corrode. So, a carbon blade requires more critical maintenance. Generally, it is being favored by experienced chefs who really addicted to extremely sharp knives and willing to taking good care of the knife. Many of the top sushi knives are made with carbon steel.
- It’s more durable to keep sharp for a longer time.
- It’s suitable for more precise cuts with its thinner blade.
- A good carbon steel knife would last forever if properly maintained.
- The dark stains they develop as they would stripe on a military uniform is attractive.
- It’s easier to fragile because they are lack flexibility.
- It requires more maintenance and a higher level of care to avoid being corrosion and rust.
- It doesn’t stand up very well to acidic compounds.
3. High-Carbon Stainless Steel
If you think stainless steel can’t get any better, you are wrong. Add another element -carbon can make steel stronger which is become high-carbon stainless steel. High-carbon stainless steel offers a very good balance of sharpness, edge retention, easy resharpening, and corrosion resistance. It’s the perfect form of Stainless steel.
High carbon stainless steel kitchen knives usually are made by stamped or forged process. It’s not easy to rust and can be re-sharpened well and hold an edge for a longer time and even adds higher stain resistance. we all like this, right?
Furthermore, the look of high-carbon stainless kitchen knives is visually pleasing.
What’s more, most pro kitchen knives are high-carbon stainless steel knives. of course, what you have to pay attention to is to hand wash and dry them after each use, and store them properly.
High-carbon Stainless Steel keeps its edge for a longer time and even adds higher stain resistance.
- More expensive.
- Hand wash only.
Ceramic is lightweight, features ultra-sharp, hold an edge the longest of all, and super-hard. Of course, because it’s super-hard, it is very easy to shatter or chip if dropped or used improperly.
In addition, it’s difficult to sharpen it on a home sharpener. You have to send it back to the manufacturer or to a specialist to resharpen.
Furthermore, in terms of chemically reactive, it is chemically nonreactive which makes it doesn’t discolor or change the taste of food.
There isn’t special maintenance required except for being careful when to use it because it is super-sharp.
Ceramic becomes more and more popular in Europe.
- It’s super lightweight.
- It can keep an edge for an extraordinarily long time.
- It’s stain-resistant, rust free and doesn’t react to acids.
- It’s super sharp white blade is visually pleasing.
- It’s fragile and brittle. Don’t use it contact hard things and care it properly.
- It’s hard to be resharpened.
5. Damascus Steel
Strictly speaking, Damascus steel is not really a type of steel, but rather a complex and labor-intensive forging process in which multiple plates of steel are pattern welded together. The knife maker shapes multiple layers of steel into repeated folds. Generally, it uses harder but more brittle steel as the core and edge material and uses the softer but tough steel as the supporting or protective outer layers to make the knife ultra-sharp and can keep the edger for a long time.
In addition, during the forged process, the overlapping layers of steel produce wavy lines on the blade’s surface makes the knife looks visually elegant and more attractive.
Damascus kitchen knives are popular in Japan, and VG-10 and AUS-10 are the most common Damascus knife blade material.
- Super sharp
- Outstanding look
- These blades were extremely tough, resistant to shattering
- Hold the edge retention
6. Powder stainless steel
Powder stainless steel is a bit different from “stainless”. The stainless steel is powdered to provide the steel a very fine grain structure. That’s why it is also called powder metallurgy. Due to the high content of carbon, powder steel is extremely hard, the HRC is up to as much as 64-65. Some people think the SG2 is the best kitchen knife.
On another hand, you should care about SG2 knives correctly, you should avoid contacting things like frozen foods and cutting around bones which are easy to make knives brittle.
To be honest, SG2 kitchen knives are not friendly for beginners or home chefs. They are for professional chefs that know what they’re looking for and understand or have the skills to ensure no cracking.
- Super, super sharp
- Beautiful look
- Stands for high social status
- Require properly maintenance
- So much expensive
Now, you get an idea of different knife blade steel and know the main differences, advantages, disadvantages of them. You can make a better decision in selecting the type of steel that is better for the kitchen knives you like.