Is Elmax A Good Knife Steel?

Knife users and avid knife collectors will always be curious about the steel of their knives at some point. It doesn’t hurt to know who makes the steel, which gives it such good edge retention, why it never rusts, and even other steels that compare to it.

This kind of information gives you a better knowledge of what you are dealing with and how you can make your knife last longer or which knife you can replace it with.

Steel can be quite confusing. There are very many types of steel. However, they are mainly categorized into stainless steel, carbon steel, alloy steel, and tool steels.

Steel can be either low-end, mid-range, or high-end. Elmax steel is a premium steel that is very popular in the high-end section of knives.

The steel has very high Carbon at 1.7% which makes it high-end steel. Low-end to mid-range steels will have Carbon levels below 1%.

If you are interested in knowing more about this premium steel, keep reading. I have laid out its composition, properties, comparisons, and why you should get yourself one of these.

Is Elmax good knife steel?

Elmax is good knife steel because it has a great balance of its components which gives it excellent properties. It is a convenient high quality and premium blade made by Bohler-Uddenholm. The steel has high edge retention, corrosion resistance, wear resistance, toughness, and hardness. It is ideal for all types of outdoor environments and activities which makes it ideal for Bushcraft and survival blades. It is not only termed as ‘great’ by knife enthusiasts but actually ‘the best steel knife’.

Composition of ELMAX Steel

Carbon at 1.7% – Carbon gives the steel its hardness and increases the corrosion and wear resistance. However, it will decrease strength if it’s in large quantities.

Chromium at 18% – Chromium enhances hardness, edge retention, toughness, strength, corrosion resistance, and wear resistance.

Vanadium at 3% – Vanadium increases the hardness, tensile strength, and wear resistance.

Molybdenum at 1% – Molybdenum increases machinability and strengthens the steel.

Silicon at 0.8% – Silicon improves strength which enhances resistance.

Manganese at 0.3% – Manganese adds corrosion resistance, grind-ability, and hardness.

Elmax steel hardness

Elmax steel is highly ranked and its hardness is one of the things that make it popular. It has a hardness of 62HRC which makes it really hard steel.

Is Elmax steel a stainless steel?

Elmax steel is stainless. Stainless steel should have at least 10.5% of Chromium.

Elmax has very high Chromium quantities at 18% which contribute to its high resistance to rust so you should never worry about rust when using the steel.

Properties of Elmax steel

Elmax has a very good combination of its components which in turn give it great qualities that make it highly regarded in knife circles. The steel has the following properties:

Edge Retention

Elmax steel has a high hardness of 62 HRC. High hardness is correlated to edge retention. The more hardness steel has, the higher it’s edge retention.

Elmax steel is a premium steel that will hold an edge impressively well.

Corrosion Resistance

Elmax has high amounts of Chromium that give it great resistance. Chromium makes steel stainless which increases its resistance to corrosion.

Wear Resistance

High Carbon levels make the steel very highly resistant to wear. It has good endurance as a blade.


Elmax has great ease of sharpness.

If steel is hard, it becomes harder to sharpen. However, Elmax stainless steel is one of the few steels that can be hard and yet easy to sharpen at the same time.


Elmax steel has very good machinability due to the presence of Molybdenum.


It has amazingly high toughness levels despite being hard. This is because it has a good balance of Carbon and Chromium.

Elmax Steel Comparisons

Elmax has a very great combination of its properties which makes it high-quality steel. It is a great choice for knife users and knife makers alike but it has alternatives too.

Let’s look at some of the steels it compares to:

M390 Steel – this steel manufactured by the same German company as Elmax (Bohler-Uddeholm). Both steels are almost identical with similar edge retention, ease of sharpening, corrosion resistance, and toughness. However, M390 will be slightly better because it has some tungsten in it and a little more Vanadium than Elmax.

3V Steel – Elmax has better edge retention and corrosion resistance while 3V steel has more toughness. They both have similar ease of sharpening.

S35VN Steel – Elmax has slightly better edge retention and corrosion resistance while S35VN is slightly easier to sharpen. They don’t have much difference between them and both even have similar toughness. S35VN is more expensive than Elmax.

S90V Steel – Elmax has better corrosion resistance, ease of sharpening, and toughness. They both have similar edge retention.

S30V Steel – although both have similar toughness and ease of sharpness, Elmax fares better with the higher edge retention and a little more corrosion resistance. S30V steel will be cheaper compared to Elmax.


Elmax stainless steel is referred to as ‘the best all-around’ knife due to its great balance of components and premium quality. The knife has almost perfect properties having great edge retention, hardness, toughness, resistance to corrosion and wear, and it sharpens easily.

The steel can be used in environments that are termed as ‘risky’ such as heavy rains while still working well and not getting corroded. It is a great steel for blades used in hunting, camping, hiking, fishing, kitchen use, and survival purposes. The knife can take a lot of hard use due to its high wear resistance.

It should set you back around $100-200 or more but it’s worth it. Quality comes at a high price, and for Elmax, there is no difference.

It is a great addition to your knife collection so go and get yourself one. The blade will serve you perfectly for a long time making it worth the investment.

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