This blade thickness falls within the average of the knives we’ve featured here. A smooth metal grip is good for several reasons: it won’t have jagged ridges that get caught on fabric or clothing, and it won’t dig into your skin and fingers when you grip the knife. At this point, we’ve actually already hit on corrosion resistance a few times so you should have an idea of what I’m about to tell you. G-10 is made by taking fiberglass and soaking it in epoxy resin. It’s affordable for any price point and can fit any lifestyle. Considering the price point of $75-$100, this is a great quality knife. CPM-S30V steel is easily re-sharpened to its original glory, giving you a nice clean cut every time. Something like H1 steel has a high chromium content and thus is regarded as one of the best mid-grade corrosion-resistant steels. Steel is defined as iron with carbon added (we will ignore carbon-free steel for now). While this function well as an EDC knife, its talents would be wasted on such casual usage. Edge Retention: Excellent 8/10 The tradeoffs of an insanely hard blade are the ease of sharpening and overall flexibility. These blades have above average hardness and edge retention compared to blades of similar price points and tiers but are very difficult for a beginner to sharpen and can prove to be lower in resistance against corrosion since most of the composition is carbon but lacks a whole lot of chromium. My Review: These metals aren’t used as much as many of the others on this list but one brand that we really enjoy at Marine Approved in the medium tier level of knives is CRKT. 440C is one of the better edge holders of the 400 steel series but still lacks in this department when compared to higher quality steel. 420HC does have decent resistance to corrosion but if you have a few bucks more to spend, you can get equally as resistant steels that are also better at holding an edge and are generally more reliable. If you want people to know you have a great knife, Damascus is the best material. Most of the knives in this category hover around $200, an acceptable price tag for a good, durable knife. While its style is not as “classy and timeless” as a few of the others we’ve showcased here, it is a very functional, basic, utilitarian knife that will last you a long time with a great quality steel blade that won’t quit on you. Perhaps their best — especially when it comes to hunting — is their Proficient in carbon fiber. Review: M390 was created by Bohler-Uddeholm and is a powder metallurgy tool steel similar to the CPM style steels. This is a great knife that will last a long time and do a great job at whatever tasks you need done. Tool steel is one of the most typical options for making knives. Toughness: 6/10. 1095 Cro-Van steel has good edge retention and is easy to sharpen. Its smooth finish means it won’t catch on clothing or jeans and won’t hurt your hand if you grip it for too long. It rates greatly on durability, quality of materials, cutting, sharpening, and even style. For a price point of under $150, you can’t get much better than the Spyderco PM2. Review: 440A is essentially just that good ol’ 420HC with but with even more carbon. It’s stainless steel that is even tougher than CPM S30V (which, if you remember, is pretty dang tough). The belt clip is unassuming and subtle – all functionality and slim design. With combinations as simple as a flat black with a black-coated blade, or as showy as a red skull handle with a skull inlay and a Damascus blade, or a rose gold blade with a flat black handle, there is Pro-Tech blade for anyone who wants one (and is willing to dish out the cash). Ceramic blades are pretty much impossible to sharpen yourself but typically come with ultra razor sharp edges that hold for a decent period of time. It features higher strength and durability and can be found in boats, furniture, etc. Toughness: Good 7/10. When this steel first hit the market, Spyderco was the only company using it, however, many other reputable knife companies started to use it such as Cold Steel. You’ll know it’s worth it by how it serves you, not by how it looks. Vanadium is a very difficult and expensive material to work with and as such, S90V blades are insanely expensive, however, they are well rounded until you have to sharpen them, in which case, is incredibly difficult. This makes it the largest knife we’ve featured. My Review: AUS-6 is essentially the Japanese version of the 420HC high carbon steel with the same relatively soft average hardness rating of 57. Molybdenum is added with vanadium and tungsten and a ton of carbon to create a knife with a hardness level that exceeds S30V and S35VN, coming in at up to 65HRC. This knife is meant to make some deep incisions. Any steel with a content of 10.5% of chromium or more is considered to be stainless steel. Steel type: Cheaper CPM Family (M4, S35VN, and S30V), Common Use Case: High-end cutlery and knives, Sharpening Difficulty: Hard 3/10 Some examples of highly corrosion-resistant steel compositions are H1, LC 200 N, N690, and VG-10. Almost all consumer-grade pocket knives, EDC knives, fixed blade knives, etc will be in the range of a Rockwell Hardness rating of 54 to 65 HRC. Toughness: Very good 7/10. This is an excellent knife made with superior quality materials and comes with a finger choil that allows for expert handling all at a fair price. A knife is a tool to assist you with your daily tasks as well as military combat fighting. Edge Retention: Excellent 9/10 As with the Godson, this knife can be as flashy or as subtle as you want it to be. If you’ve ever owned a knife before then I’m sure you’ve seen that little stamp on your blade with a string of letters and numbers. The deep finger grooves make gripping the knife feel natural, as the hands and fingers fall in their natural position on the knife. Corrosion Resistance: Low 3/10 We found seven of the top knives that score the highest in the following categories: safety, materials, look, ease of use, and efficiency. This knife is a mashup of functionality and style. We won’t go deep into the science here, but a big factor in how a specific steel will perform in a specific blade configuration comes down to how the steel is heat and/or cryogenically treated. The Pro-Tech is a great option for anyone who wants a functional yet classic-looking knife. Because of its low level of chromium, it’s more prone to rust if it isn’t being cared for properly. The sheath is durable and simple and gets the job done. Regardless of the color combination you choose, this knife is classy, sleek, compact, and efficient. We tried to find something for everybody. The fixed blade design is for hunting, survival, combat, and throwing, which is why the tip features a straight spine and rounded belly for good penetration. In addition to looking strikingly interesting, it's a knife of fantastic quality. One of the Marine Approved top recommendations for a knife encompassing H1 steel is the Spyderco Ladybug 3 found here. Make sure to check your local guidelines about what sized blade is legal to carry where you live. One of the Marine Approved top recommendations for a knife encompassing 440A steel is the Gerber Hinderer found here. It has a carabiner hole built-in for easy carrying. S90V is the king of edge holding, though, so despite the fact its time consuming and frustrating to get that perfect edge, once you do, it’ll hang around for a while. We’ve also proven that just because a knife is cheaper doesn’t mean it is bad quality. It is now, arguably, more practical than ever, with the ability to open with the push of one button. Corrosion Resistance: Medium 5/10 The basic black model is 7.6″ long, with a blade of 3.25″ (however, the cutting edge is only 2.87″). The strength of your grip won’t matter here, as the grooves will stop your hand from slipping. This knife is modeled after its parent version, The Godfather, which is modeled after the old-school “stiletto” Italian knives. The belt clip is reversible as well, so this knife can be modified to fit your needs. You can think of LC200N as being very similar to 154CM but with some of its carbon being traded out for nitrogen, allowing for the steal to still come in at incredible hardness levels but giving the steel a massive advantage in corrosion resistance over 154CM. Caution: the black coating may wear off after consistent heavy-duty work, but that will not affect this great knife’s performance. There are several blade shapes to choose from, but the most basic model features a tanto blade, which makes a sharp angle down from the knife spine to the blade. Titanium: Despite titanium being insanely strong and super lightweight, you won’t find too many knives consisting of the material. The thin and narrowness of this grip makes it easy to hold in your hand and incredibly convenient to fit into a pocket, boot, purse, or backpack. Of course, the methods to create Damascus have changed since then and nowadays, Damascus is used in creating collectors knives as it produces brilliant weld patterns and alluring blade aesthetics. The recommended types of carbon steel include 5160, 1095 and CPM-3V, A2, D2, Carbon V, and CPM 154. The Kwaiback has a 5-inch long blade made from a premium grade steel known as S35SVN. For more information about us or joining the team, check out the “About Us” tab. At such an affordable price point, this knife is a must for anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors or is looking for the best tactical knife. The downside to such a hearty material is that it can damage pockets or clothing by rubbing holes in them. It’s a very commonly used material in items that are built to last, so know that this knife will last you a while. One such offing is the Sage 5 carbon fiber knife you see here. These are low-cost inexpensive blades whose properties generally exceed other low-cost materials but still don’t quite stack up to what would be considered a decent knife. This could not be further from the truth. Some flex in a blade may be a good thing and might help the knife to perform its intended duties without shattering. AUS-6 steel is rarely used to build pocket knives or fixed blade knives and is typically found in kitchen knives nowadays. D2 isn’t stainless steel because it falls short of the chromium requirement at just 13%. Factors we emphasized in our search were: You’ll notice that the knives featured here are foldable as opposed to retractable – this is because the mechanism on retractable knives can easily get mucked up over time and stop locking as well. Made completely in the United States, this is a great survival craft and tactical fixed blade knife for multiple purposes. The people who love it will love its simple, streamlined design, coupled with its EDC functionality. 99 $14.00 $14.00 Properties of Steel. It’s not meant to be stylish or aesthetically pleasing – it’s meant to get a job done in the most efficient way possible, and that’s exactly what it does. Most steel types themselves can be hardened or softened up a bit but the actual material composition of the steel usually dictates a specific range that steel performs well inside of. This is a great sized knife for large and small hands alike. This way, we tested durability, functionality, ease of carrying, practicality, and wear and tear on the knife. This knife screams of Italian inspiration, like its parent knife, The Godfather. For example, the heat and curing treatment steel undergoes will change the resistance to corrosion even with chromium mixed in, so not all stainless steel with the same chromium content will have the same level of resistance to rust. CPMS35VN is tougher and more resistant to chipping and edge wear. The first part was true, though, and with a ton of carbon and chromium, 66HRC is achieved alongside a very reputable level of corrosion resistance. In Marine Approved fashion, we suggest opting for higher quality as AUS-6 is typically found on low-end budget knives that maybe you’d buy as a first-time knife gift for a youngster or something in that nature. Toughness: Good 7/10. Protech TR5 has upped the ease of use for this knife by adding automatic deploying action. A G-10 handle is a glass-based cloth soaked in epoxy resin, shaped into the perfect grip handle by heat. Carbon: One of the base ingredients making up steel is carbon, typically consisting of one of the majority shareholders in the composition of the blade. Basically, if you click on a product link on this site and buy that product we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. The owner of this knife will know that they are getting the best in durability and the blade has a very good lifespan. We do the research, test, and recommend the best products. Oiling the steel ensures water runs off of it and does not penetrate the pores in the steel, creating rust. The Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops rank as the best tactical folding knife on the market for obvious reasons. Is it quick to open if you’re in a pinch, or does it take a few seconds to fumble around with? This style of blade is great for hunting and other butcher-like tasks such as: The drop point is thicker at the tip, which makes it stronger and preferable for any task that requires prying something apart with the knife tip. It weighs in at about 11 ounces, which is significantly weightier than the other knives we’ve featured. They just released a new Ultra XR knife, with a beautiful combination of carbon fiber scales in the handle and a premium S35VN stainless steel blade that’s been treated with a cyro gold finish that contrasts well aesthetically. One of the Marine Approved top recommendations for a knife encompassing CPM-M4 steel is the Benchmade Contigo 810 found here. Sharpening Difficulty: Very easy 9/10 The cool and sleek looking blade is black and made of Carbon steel. Tool Steel – primarily hard steel alloys used in cutting tools. Choose the best by ordering high carbon steel knives and blades at DLT Trading. Ask yourself questions such as: For those of you who want to learn more about what factors to consider before seeing the steel comparisons, I recommend reading this entire article. This stunning blade sports a well good size of 7 Inches and is quite the monster in comparison to other blades. This blade is tough and durable, and not going to bend, chip, or break anytime soon. Toughness: Excellent 7/10. It’s not bad, it’s just not superb. With that history, this knife is definitely sure to turn heads, as it looks like it’s ready for a fight. When purchases are made through links on our site, we may earn affiliate commissions. Some steel types, notably soft steels, may wear extremely quickly when not oiled properly. It can be a bit trickier to sharpen, but with the right tools, this blade will sharpen better than other steel materials. For those who like nice things but aren’t trying to show off, this is the aesthetic you’re looking for—classy, sleek, subtle power. Toughness: Decent 4/10. Some knife steels, like VG-10, have carbon and steel mixtures but they also use chromium for corrosion resistance, so these would need far less and perhaps even no oil for longevity. Cobalt: Used to increase the blade’s rigidity. The handle is made of 6061-T6 aluminum, which is made up of silicone and magnesium. With a dark green handle and black clip, this knife is made for subtle and practical use. For those who have a bit more to spend on an EDC knife and want something that will last a long time and keep up with ever-changing styles, The 940 Auto is the perfect knife. Well, aside from M4, which we’ll talk about later, CPM is exceptionally resistant to corrosion as it’s anti-corrosive properties are perfectly situated throughout the blade in each and every particle. Anodizing the aluminum gives it its color and increases its hardness and durability. 14C28N is arguably one of the top budget options for medium well-rounded performing blades. Steel type: AUS-8, AUS-10A, 8Cr13MoV, and 440B, Common Use Case: Wide variety, usually in low to mid-range multi-purpose knives, Sharpening Difficulty: Very easy 9/10 Lower edge retention doesn’t mean the blade is bad for your specific use case as it may excel in things you really need, like resistance to saltwater as you use the knife on a fishing rig, just expect to sharpen more often! One of the Marine Approved top recommendations for a knife encompassing CPM-S30V steel is the Benchmade Turret 980 found here. The bayonet blade is modeled after “stiletto” blades of the past. Known best for their uniquely-shaped tactical folding EDC knives, Spyderco actually does have a fairly comprehensive collection of fixed blades that have come out over the years. Review: H1 steel is derived from the Japanese Myodo Metals and is the Yang to the D2’s Yin. Of course, you get what you pay for and the top tier steel materials that you will pay an arm and a leg for will often excel in all categories over their cheaper counterparts. ATS 34 Steel: This steel is very similar to 154 CM (listed below) and is generally considered one of the best steels you can buy. SOG makes some okay AUS-6 knives but other than that, no notable brands I’d really recommend carries AUS-6 blades. The blade itself is 3.40″ and .115″ thin, making it incredibly lightweight and maneuverable at a whopping 2.65oz. This blade is incredibly durable and strong, but also beautiful and flashy. Since 2012, we have been delivering high-quality tools at reasonable prices. One of the Marine Approved top recommendations for a knife encompassing N690 steel is the Spyderco Urban Leaf found here. Maneuver around fine, detailed work that they are rough and tough price-point, it ’ s ready a... So using it is to corrosion, and molybdenum grading scheme as well as an EDC,... 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