Is 440a Stainless Steel Good For Knives? (Pros, and Cons)

If you are a regular knife user, you understand the importance of having a knife that works well for you. Whether you use it in the kitchen, outdoors or it is for your business, a quality knife is essential.

There are varieties of knives in the market made from different materials. One of these is the 440a stainless steel which forms part of the various steel knives.

Wondering if it is the type of knife you need? Stick around and get the details you need about the 440a stainless steel when it comes to knives.

Is 440a Stainless Steel Good For Knives?

The 440a steel is good for knives because of its high hardness and corrosion resistance. Though its other properties are in moderation, corrosion and hardness are essential aspects in knives.

During purchase, people will mostly choose the knife depending on how well they suit their work. Let us look at the 440a stainless steel and determine if it’s a good match for knives.

What is the 440a Stainless Steel?

440a steel is a part of the 440 steel series, which are 440a, 440b and 440c. It is a high carbon martensitic stainless steel meaning it is made from martensite.

Quick Facts

  • Martensite is a solid solution used in hardening quenched steel.
  • Quenched steel refers to steel hardened through the quenching process which involves heating it to certain temperatures then cooling it.

Components of the 440a Stainless Steel

Steel is made up of carbon and iron with the latter having a bigger percentage. However, other elements are added to the 440a stainless steel to improve its efficiency. These elements include;

  • Chromium
  • Nickel
  • Manganese
  • Silicon
  • Phosphorous
  • Sulfur
  • Molybdenum

Functions of the 440a Steel Constituents

The type of steel, the making and the elements used determine how the steel turns out. Since the elements in the 440a steel greatly determine its quality let us look at their specifics.


It has the highest percentage of the extra elements in the 440a stainless steel. It has a 0.18% owing to an increased corrosion and wear resistance in the steel.

To add to that, chromium improves the edge retention and tensile strength of the 440a stainless steel. Tensile strength refers to the ability of a material to resist breakage when under tension.


Carbon works to improve the strength in elements. The 0.75% carbon improves the strength of the 440a stainless steel by increasing its hardness.

The carbon also improves the wear and corrosion resistance of the steel. However, when in large amounts it reduces the strength of the steel so an appropriate balance should be met.


Manganese in 440a carries the same 0.75% composition as carbon. Manganese works towards increasing the brittleness and hardness of the steel. Brittleness: characteristic of materials to fracture when stressed beyond their elastic limit and they have little tendency to deform before rapturing.


It has the least percentage of 0.03% in the 440a steel. Sulfur increases the machinability of steel but decreases its strength.


Silicon has a 0.1% in the steel and increases the steel strength. In addition, it improves its protection against damage or defect.


0.09% of the 440a stainless steel has molybdenum constituents. Just like sulfur, molybdenum increases the strength and machinability of the steel.


It has a slightly higher percentage than sulfur of 0.04%. It accounts for an increased strength and corrosion resistance in the 440a stainless steel.


Nickel accounts for 0.6% of the 440a stainless steel and is responsible for its toughness. Therefore, the steel can quite resist fracture under force or pressure.

Qualities of the 440a Stainless Steel


Machinability is the property of a material that makes it easy to cut, drill, shape, grind. The 440a stainless steel has a good machinability making it easy to use when making knives.

The machinability will enable fine finishes to be made at a low cost. Moreover, you can always have your kind of knife made with these steel since it can be manipulated.

Corrosion resistance

440a steel has a very good corrosion resistance. Chromium is the main element responsible for the corrosion resistance in the steel. With its high percentage in the 440a steel, it makes it immune to corrosion from various elements.


Though the 440a stainless steel is a bit hard, it is still easy to sharpen. It can be sharpened either with stones, machines or other sharpening tools.

Wear resistance

The 440a steel has a decent amount of wear resistance though not the best. Carbon allows the steel to resist damage but the 440a stainless steel can still get damaged. This is because it does not have a high percentage of it unlike other 440 steel series which have a fair amount of carbon.

Edge retention

The 440a stainless steel has a low edge retention meaning it easily gets blunt. It will require constant sharpening when regularly used. However, this can be easily fixed since it is easy to sharpen.


It has relatively good toughness but not much. Nickel is responsible for toughness and the 440a stainless steel has a little amount of it.

Advantages of the 440a Stainless Steel

As its name suggests; it is stainless steel. It resists corrosion making it excellent for most if not all people. It can survive moisture, atmospheric conditions, and other corrosion substances for longer periods of time e.g. steam.

It is cheap and affordable knife that accommodates your budget.

It amounts to a high hardness therefore it will perform most tasks effectively.

The Final Words

The 440a stainless steel makes a relatively good knife. It can be a good match for you depending on the type of knife you need.

Its hardness and corrosion resistance make it a perfect fit for inexpensive knives with such qualities. Its low edge retention quality can always be corrected through sharpening.

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