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Stainless steel or Carbon steel knives?

I'm pretty sure that this topic has been beaten to death by now. But, I still can't get a definite answer. With stainless steel, you get better corrosion resistance, and you will hold and edge longer. With carbon steel, you will hold a sharper edge, and you could forge a knife blade longer than 2 ft without breakage. I'm personally a fan of stainless steel ( the 440 grade stuff ), just because it seems to hold up to use and abuse better in the long run. HOWEVER, I have NEVER had a factory made knife break on me. I don't think that they would try to sell you a knife that didn't do what it was meant to do, at least to a reasonable degree. (I work for a living, and can't afford a custom $600 knife.) What do you think? Is this a pointless topic? Will there ever be a winner?


If your talking about a folding pocket knife, I think that it's basically six one way and a half dozen the other. I actually do prefer stainless for my pocket knives. I don't want to oil a knife to the degree I feel carbon requires, only to then stick it my pocket to attract dirt to the knife and oil to my pants. I'm the exact opposite on sheath knives though. I like 1095 carbon steel, plain edge sheath knives. I'll thrash on them HARD, and I rarely have major edge problems. Of course, I require them to be coated with some kind of powder coat or the like, because they can rust, but I do try and keep them clean and dry when in the sheath, so they won't pit the uncoated edge. My reasons for this sheath knife preference is multi-fold. First, these knives are simply affordable. I don't spend $80 dollars on a outdoors sheath knife. I use the tool too hard to want to spend more. I don't like the more traditional stainless steels such as AUS-8, 420HC, and 440C (not to mention the HORRENDOUS 440A) because I feel that the all else being equal, a stainless blade will bend before a carbon blade will break. I also think that carbon holds an edge at least as well, if not better, than traditional stainless, and it's much easier to hone. I don't know much about these new laminates, other than the very hard, but not so tough. They seem to be POSSIBLY too brittle for my use. That, combined with the fact that they cost a FORTUNE, means that I just won't be considering them.
Sep 27, 2017
You didn't say WHICH type of stainless steel, which will make all the difference. There are $2 stainless steel knives and $200 stainless steel knives. The best stainless knife steels will rival the best high carbon steels when it comes to edge-holding properties. These days MOST of the best knives on the market are made from premium stainless steels because of the lower maintenance, but a high carbon steel knife has classic appeal and great edge-holding properties.
Sep 27, 2017
I hate stainless steel! I hate shiny blades also! When I was a kid knifes were awesome! You could actually sharpen them! :) If we bought a new knife we would take an orange and slice it and leave the juice on the blade to purposefully darken it. If you had a shiny blade that looked like stainless you were not cool. :) I think most anyone who had an old knife from back in the 70's or before would agree that these new stainless knives are crap. I have not seen anything perform close to the old blades in stainless. Today I bought a case CV Sod Buster hoping it will perform like the old knives. What reading I have done the Chrome Vanadium is supposed to be like the old steel. I sure hope it is. Now to find some fruit to get rid of this annoying shiny blade! :)
Sep 27, 2017

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