How Good is CPM 154 Steel?

The CPM (Crucible Particle Metallurgy) steel comes in different variations including CPM 154. It is common steel especially in the knife-making industry but how effective is it? Well, in this article we dive into details surrounding the CPM 154 steel.

How Good is CPM 154 Steel?

The CPM 154 steel is good steel with good corrosion resistance, edge retention, and wearing resistance.

However, it has its downsides like the difficulty that comes with sharpening it. Without making prior judging, let us focus on all you need to know about CPM 154.

What is CPM 154 Steel?

The CPM 154 is a high-end quenched stainless steel. It is an upgraded version of the 154 CM steel.

Components of the CPM 154 Steel

The CPM 154 steel is made up of various elements. Since it is an alloy, its main element is iron with the other minor elements being;

  • Silicon
  • Carbon
  • Molybdenum
  • Chromium
  • Manganese
  • Sulfur
  • Nickel
  • Copper
  • Phosphorous
  • Tungsten

Chemical Composition of the CPM 154 Elements


It has a 1.06% composition and is responsible for the wearing resistance of CPM 154 steel. Additionally, it also increases the hardness of the steel.


It accounts for 4% of the steel and it enhances not only the strength but also the machinability of the CPM steel.

3. Silicon

Silicon carries a 0.8% in the CPM 154 steel and it adds to its tensile strength.


Just like molybdenum, it has a percentage of 4. Tungsten increases the hardness and wearing resistance of the steel.


Chromium has the highest composition of all the minor elements (14%). It is responsible for the corrosion and wear resistance of the steel. Moreover, it enhances the edge retention and the strength of the steel.


Nickel has a 0.16% and it works towards improving the toughness property of the steel.

7. Manganese

 Manganese adds to the hardness and brittleness of the CPM 154 steel. It has a 0.5% composition.

8. Copper

Copper is added to steel in small amounts and takes up 0.09% of the CPM 154 steel. It increases the corrosion resistance of the steel.

9. Phosphorous and Sulfur

Phosphorous and sulfur have the least composition of 0.03%. phosphorous enhances the strength of the steel. On the other hand, sulfur adds to the machinability in the steel.

Properties of the CPM 154 Steel


The CPM 154 steel has good machinability meaning it is easy to work with. Additionally, its machinability allows it to give a good finish when making tools. Therefore, you can make your preferred tools at ease regardless of the shape, structure, and size.

Edge retention

The high chromium in the CPM 154 steel gives its high edge retention. This means it retains its sharpness for long when sharpened.

Corrosion resistance

CPM 154 steel has high chromium content hence it has high corrosion resistance. However, it is not the best meaning it can still corrode but not as much.

Wear resistance

Carbon in elements is responsible for wear resistance. Carbon content in elements is considered high when it is 0.8% and above.

Therefore, the 1.06% in CPM 154 steel is a high amount making it great in wear resistance. Moreover, other components such as tungsten and chromium enhance the wearing resistance.


CPM 154 steel is relatively hard with its hardness ranging from 58-60 HRC.


The high carbon content in the steel reduces its toughness. However, this does not mean it is not tough. The nickel constituents in the CPM 154 steel account for a fair amount of toughness. 

Ease of sharpening

The CPM 154 steel is difficult to sharpen due to its high hardness and density too. Ensure you regularly sharpen tools made from this steel. Do not let them become completely blunt as this makes the sharpening even more difficult.

Uses of the CPM 154 Steel

The CPM steel is popular in making kitchen knives but can also work for other knives for example hunting knives. To add to that, it can make a good fit for cutlery and surgical tools. This is because:

It is stainless therefore tools from it can handle a wide range of tasks without corrosion. They can withstand alkalis, mild acids, humid conditions just to mention but a few.

Tools made from this steel will not easily wear out when carrying out tasks.

Its high hardness allows CPM 154 tools to carry out even difficult tasks.

Is CPM 154 Good for Knives?

The CPM 154 properties; good corrosion resistance, good wear resistance, good edge retention all make suitable characteristics for a good knife. Therefore, it is a good steel for making knives. Although it has its cons, they cannot compare to its good qualities.

CPM 154 Vs. CPM 154V

A lot of confusion may at times arise when people refer to the CPM 154 as CPM 154V. Initially, when the 154 CM was upgraded to CPM 154, vanadium would be added as part of the composition hence the ‘V’ symbol.

However, currently, CPM 154 contains no vanadium content thus it is purely CPM 154. This is because the vanadium makes the steel hard to work with during tool making.

The Final Words

The CPM 154 is relatively good steel. It has various desirable characteristics and few downsides. It can be your perfect pick for making different tools but this depends on your preferences. For knife buyers, consider purchasing a CPM 154 steel knife as it makes a good choice.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *