Is S30V Good Knife Steel?

S30V steel is a high-end martensitic steel. Being martensitic means that it can be hardened and tempered by various heat treatments.

Crucible Industries together with well-known knifemaker, Chris Reeve, designed the S30V. Its high performance makes it very popular with knife enthusiasts.

If you are interested in knowing more about it, keep reading to learn about its good and not-so-good properties, performance, and some comparisons.

Is S30V good knife steel?

S30V steel is good knife steel. It is very well balanced in its composition which gives it high performance. The steel has very great edge retention, hardness, corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and decent toughness levels. S30V is hard to sharpen but once it gets tough it will last a very long time. Knifemakers like the easy machinability of the steel and apply it in the production of high-end premium blades, custom knives, and pocket knives.

What makes S30V steel so popular

S30V steel is very popular due to many reasons including its price. People know the steel to be expensive, to say the least, and being expensive makes knives made from it just as pricey.

It’s a really great knife addition to your collection if you want a premium blade. Although it will put a good dent in your pockets, it’s quality is worth every penny.

So, what makes knife makers use it for the production of high-end knives? What’s so good about it?

Let’s find out:

Exceptional Edge Retention

The knife has exceptional edge retention. It is very hard which enables it to hold an edge for long.

Being at 61 HRC, this knife can keep its razor sharpness for long periods even with constant use.

Great Corrosion Resistance

S30V steel has 14% of Chromium. High Chromium levels boost a steel’s corrosion resistance.

S30V has great corrosion resistance thanks to its high amounts of Chromium. So the blades do not face the risk of corroding.

High Wear Resistance

When looking for a knife, you will obviously want a knife that can last you a long time whether you use it frequently or every now and then.

S30V steel has high wear resistance. It can take hard cutting quite well while still being durable and not wearing out.

Good Machinability

This steel has really good machinability. It is easy to form and forge which is something that any knifemaker will value. The addition of Sulfur improves its machinability.

What does S30V steel lack

S30V steel has good qualities for a knife steel but it still has the properties that you will need to compromise on if you decide to get the knife.

They include:

Hard to sharpen

The steel is very hard to sharpen and that is because of its hardness. Steel becomes harder to sharpen if it’s hard.

If sharpening is not your favorite task, the knife will do you a disservice on this end. It will take you time to sharpen it but luckily, it will remain that sharp for very long.

Low Toughness

The rule of steel states that in most circumstances you will not find hardness, corrosion resistance, and toughness in the same steel. You can only find, at most, two of the properties.

In S30V, the steel has high corrosion resistance and hardness which leaves it with low toughness. The steel is not too tough.

S30V steel Hardness

S30V steel is hard steel. It has very high amounts of Carbon at 1.45%, and the addition of other elements like Manganese, Vanadium, and Chromium also increases the steel’s hardness capacity.

 It has a hardness of 61 HRC.

Is S30V stainless steel?

Many people will want to know if the steel is stainless before purchasing. After all, stainless has quite good performance and requires little to no maintenance at all.

S30V is stainless steel. It is martensitic steel and martensitic steel is part of the 4 types of stainless steel.

It’s high amounts of Chromium qualify it as stainless. You can use the blade for fishing, diving, or in the kitchen because it does not have the risk of getting rust.

S30V steel comparisons

S30V steel is one of the best steels used in making knife blades. However, the steel has some comparisons that you can look at to compare before purchasing.

These comparisons include:

M390 steel M390 has better edge retention and corrosion resistance but both have a similar ease of sharpening and toughness.

S35V steel – Both steels have similar toughness and corrosion resistance. S35V has slightly better edge retention and ease of sharpening.

S390V steel – S390V has higher edge retention but S30V is easier to sharpen with more toughness and corrosion resistance.

S110V steel – S110V steel has more edge retention but S30V is tougher. Both steels have similar corrosion resistance and ease of sharpening.

D2 steel – S30V is much better in performance having better edge retention, corrosion resistance, and ease of sharpening. Both steels however have similar toughness.

154CM steel – both steels have similar edge retention and ease of sharpness. However, 154CM has better corrosion resistance and toughness.

VG10 steel – both steels have the same edge retention and corrosion resistance. VG10 is easier to sharpen while S30V is tougher.

420HC steel420HC is easier to sharpen but S30V has better edge retention and corrosion resistance. Both steels have similar toughness.


S30V steel is one of the best premium knife steels in the market. It has high quality and is great for pocket knives and EDC knives.

The steel is very hard, with high corrosion resistance, edge retention, and wear resistance. It is stainless steel and can resist rust quite well.

You can use the knife in humid environments with no need for extra maintenance and worrying about it rusting.

It is hard to sharpen which may be a downside for knife users but it has good machinability which is an upside for knife makers.

The knives produced are premium knives so expect them to be pricey but also keep in mind that they are very durable. It wouldn’t hurt to get this as a high-end knife for your kitchen collection.

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