Is D2 Steel Good For Knives?

When determining if steel is good for knives, we look at various characteristics of the steel. From its hardness and toughness to it’s resistance to corrosion and sharpness.

Some properties may not go together in the same knife. For instance, if a knife is really hard it will be harder to sharpen and if it’s very tough, it will not be hard enough.

Only a few steels will be able to have all the good features in one blade. Knife users have to compromise one factor for another depending on what they will be using the knife for.

A common type of steel found in knife shelves is D2 steel. The knife has been around for long yet it’s still very popular among users and collectors.

What makes it so well-loved? Let’s find out.

What is D2 steel?

D2 steel is a popular type of steel that is air hardening, high carbon, and high chromium quality steel. It’s so versatile and it has been utilized in the making of low-end to mid-range tools, knives, sheer blades, shredders, forming of dies, and others. The steel has great edge retention, hardness, and resistance to wear and corrosion. D2 is good steel but it can be hard to sharpen.

Composition of D2 Steel

D2 steel is generally known to have both high carbon and chromium levels. But steel will usually have more components added to it so as to enhance its functionality.

For D2 steel, the components are:

Carbon at 1.5% – Carbon increases the hardness and resistance to wear and corrosion but it decreases strength when in high amounts.

Chromium at 12% – Chromium enhances resistance to corrosion and wear while also improving the strength and edge retention.

Molybdenum at 0.9% – Molybdenum increases resistance to wear and corrosion and the weldability of steel.

Vanadium at 1.10% – Vanadium enhances the tensile strength and improves the capabilities of other components.

Manganese at 0.45% – Manganese adds to the strength and corrosion resistance, grind-ability, and harden-ability.

Silicon at 0.40% – Silicon increases strength that gives steel more resistance.

Phosphorus at 0.03% – Phosphorus improves the strength.

Sulfur at 0.02% – Sulfur increases the machinability making it easier to work with.

D2 steel hardness

When treated well, D2 steel has a Rockwell hardness of 55-62 HRC which is very hard.

Is D2 steel a stainless steel?

D2 steel is termed as semi-stainless. This is because it has only enough Chromium to make it stainless.

Properties of D2 steel

D2 steel is low end steel. It’s properties include:

Edge Retention

The steel is very hard reaching 62HRC. This gives it great edge retention as it can hold an edge for longer.

Corrosion resistance

The high Chromium levels at 12% give the steel very good corrosion resistance.

Toughness Quality

D2 still has some okay toughness that is decent enough for use.

Wear resistance

The steel is very good at low prices and it can take a lot of hard use without wearing out.


D2 steel is very hard and this makes it harder to sharpen. It does not sharpen with ease like most steels and its difficulty is due to high carbon levels that harden it.

Is D2 steel good for knives?

D2 steel is good for knives. It’s highly affordable being a low-budget kind of knife which has made it gain even more popularity among knife makers and users the same.

The steel offers great hardness and resistance to wear, corrosion, and rust making it very durable.

D2 steel alternatives

D2 Steel

D2 is great quality at low prices but there are other alternatives that you can still check out or compare it with. Let’s look into them:

1095 steel – for 1095, its ease of sharpening and toughness levels are higher while D2 steel has better corrosion resistance and edge retention.

440C steel – 440C steel has much higher corrosion resistance and ease of sharpness while D2 steel beats it in edge retention and toughness qualities.

AUS 8 steelAUS 8 steel is easier to sharpen and has much better corrosion resistance in comparison to D2 steel which has better edge retention. Both steels have similar toughness.

S30V steel – when it comes to the S30V steel, it is better in edge retention, corrosion resistance, and even ease of sharpening although both have the same levels of toughness.

VG10 steelVG 10 has much better resistance to corrosion, edge retention, and ease of sharpness compared to D2 steel which is tougher than VG10.


D2 steel is a great knife for its price. It may be a low-end budget knife, but it still has good quality and is highly durable.

The knife has great edge retention, corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and good toughness. If you need a functional knife and you are on a tight budget, then you can get a D2 blade.

It’s very hard and doesn’t get abrasions or scratches but this same quality makes it quite difficult to sharpen.

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