5Cr15MoV Steel For Knives
Have you been looking for a knife recently and come across blades made out of 5Cr15MoV Steel? Do you want to know how a 5Cr15 knife blade stacks up against other types of knife steels?
I have been carrying and collecting knives for over 40 years and have used quite a few different knives with 5Cr15 steel in that time.
Before buying a new knife it is a good idea to learn a bit about the type of steel used for its blade. This can help you avoid the mistake of getting a knife that won’t work for the tasks you have planned for it.
In this article we are going to review 5Cr15MoV steel; its chemical composition, properties, how these properties impact its performance as blade steel, and if it is an overall good steel for your next knife.
What Is 5Cr15 Steel?
5Cr15 is a moderately priced stainless steel that has been used by many knife manufacturers around the world. It is very similar to 420hc steel but has a bit less vanadium, more chromium, and added molybdenum.
One of the most important factors in the performance of a knife is the type of steel that it is made from. This determines the knife blades strength, durability, edge retention, and overall performance.
5Cr15 is a very economical steel that gained popularity due to its good corrosion resistance due to a good amount of chromium. Along with this, it is also very easy to sharpen with the proper tools.
5Cr15 steel contains 0.5% Carbon, 15% Chromium, 0.6% Molybdenum, 0.4% Manganese, and 0.1% Vanadium.
- 0.5% Carbon
- 15% Chromium
- 0.6% Molybdenum
- 0.4% Manganese
- 0.1% Vanadium
There is a great chart of 5Cr15 steel composition over at zknives.
Properties Of 5Cr15
Edge retention is arguably one of the most important factors in determining good blade steel. That said, that is the one area where 5Cr15 lacks in its performance. That is not to say that it is not suitable as a knife steel, just that it tends to score lower compared to more expensive steel.
With a moderate amount of carbon and a relatively low amount of vanadium, 5Cr15 does not have a lot of extremely hard carbides to help hold a sharp edge for a long time. Conversely, this lack of ultra-hard carbides allows this steel to handle some rough duty tasks that may chip the edge of harder steels.
The hardness of a steel can vary widely depending on the type of heat treatment applied to the knife. 5Cr15 is usually hardened to about 52 to 56 HRC although some manufacturers have been known to run it as high as 58 HRC.
One of the areas where 5Cr15 really shines is in its overall toughness. Being that it is not a super hard steel, it can flex slightly and withstand shock and lateral forces quite well that would cause some harder and less tough steels to break.
Many users of this steel have reported that although the edge does not hold up too well against abrasive cutting, the overall edge stability is pretty good and it is not prone to edge rolling or chipping.
One of the main reasons that 5Cr15 has become such a popular steel for kitchen knives and lower cost pocket and fixed blade knives is its overall high level of corrosion resistance.
To be considered as a true “stainless steel” the alloy must contain 15% or more chromium. This, along with the molybdenum addition helps this knife steel to avoid rusting or staining in normal use.
One of my favorite characteristics of 5Cr15 is that it is extremely easy to sharpen. This is a great steel for someone who is learning to sharpen, or who doesn’t want to be frustrated trying to get a razor sharp edge on a much harder premium steel.
Along with being very easy to sharpen, it can achieve an extremely high level of sharpness. It is quite easy, even for a novice sharpener, to get 5Cr15 steel shaving sharp. For this reason, this is a great knife steel for newer knife owners or anyone looking to learn how to sharpen their own knives.
5Cr15MoV Equivalent Steels
5Cr15MoV is very similar to 420hc, 8cr13MoV, and also the German steel X50CrMoV15 or 1.4116.
The German steel X50CrMoV15 was made by Thyssen and has been used in many good quality German kitchen knives over the last 40 years.
Compared to 420hc, 5Cr15 has roughly the same amount of carbon, but has a higher chromium content and a little less Vanadium. This makes 5Cr15 a little more corrosion resistant and a little less resistant to abrasion than 420hc.
If you want to know more about 420hc steel you can check out 420hc Steel: Full Details And Review here.
Is 5Cr15 Steel A Good Knife Steel?
Overall, 5Cr15MoV is a decent knife steel. What it lacks in edge retention, it makes up for in toughness and ease of sharpening. This makes it a great steel for new knife users as well as anyone who is learning to sharpen their knives.
The good resistance to rust and the ability to withstand a bit of abuse also make it a decent knife kitchen knife or even as a camping knife or bushcraft knife. Another very similar blade steel with just a little bit better edge retention is 7Cr17MoV Knife Blade Steel.
Best 5Cr15 Knives
Gerber Freeman Guide
The Gerber freeman guide is a great drop point fixed blade knife that has a very grippy rubber grip. I am taking this knife out on a hunting trip very soon and will be writing a detailed review of how it performs.
CRKT Minimalist Cleaver
SOG Baton Q3 Multitool
While there are many high-end knife steels that hold an edge better than 5Cr15, it still performs quite well as an EDC blade steel for its lower price point.
It is equally at home in the kitchen or around the campfire and if you are looking for a moderately tough steel that will sharpen very easily and not break the bank then 5Cr15 may just be right for your next knife.