In this article, we are going to have an in-depth look at 1.4116 steel. We are going to check its composition, properties, and comparison to other knife steels.
You have probably come across 1.4116 steel in German Made knives and wondered how it stacks against other types of knife steel. Is it worth getting?
In summary 1.4116 steel is stainless steel with excellent corrosion resistance, decent edge retention, and toughness. It is Ideal for most kitchen knives as it is easy to sharpen.
What is 1.4116 Blade Steel?
1.4116 stainless steel is a high carbon martensitic stainless steel with excellent corrosion and wear resistance properties. It is hard steel and is commonly used to manufacture Swiss Army Knives. 1.4116 is produced in Germany and is also referred to as X50CrMoV steel or 1.4116 German stainless steel.
German 1.4116 steel is used in the knife-making industry to make kitchen knives, scalpels, and other sectors to make surgical equipment, cutlery, and cutting tools.
Although this steel is used to manufacture Swiss Army knives famous worldwide, it is not as well-known in other parts of the world.
The stainless steel DIN naming system specifies 1.4116 steel as X50CrMoV15 steel. 1.4116 steel will mostly be found in German kitchen knives. They are typically soft steel, have good edge retention, are corrosion-resistant, and are easy to sharpen even with low aluminum oxide abrasive tools.
1.4116 Steel Composition
- Carbon C: Increases edge retention, hardness, and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion, and corrosion.
- Chromium Cr: Formation of Chromium carbides. Increases the blade’s hardness, tensile strength, and corrosion resistance.
- Vanadium V: inhibits grain growth during elevated temperature processing and heat treatment, which enhances the strength and toughness of steel. It also forms carbides that increase wear resistance.
- Molybdenum Mo: increases toughness and hot hardness. It also improves hardenability and forms carbides for wear resistance.
- Phosphorous P: Considered an impurity but may Increase the strength and improve the machinability of steel
- Manganese Mn: improves the strength and hardness of steel. When the steel is heat-treated, hardenability is improved with increased manganese.
- Silicon Si: Increases strength and heat resistance.
- Sulfur S: Improves machinability but is regarded as an impurity in high quantities.
1.4116 Steel Properties as a knife material
How hard is 1.4116 steel?
The Rockwell hardness of 1.4116 stainless steel is 54-57 HRC which ranks it in the low-end steel category. The low hardness level is associated with the low amounts of Carbon, Vanadium, and Molybdenum in its composition.
German 1.4116 steel can be kept soft at around 54HRC for larger kitchen knives like cleavers and about 56 HRC for chef knives, Santoku knives, and other smaller knives that require good edge retention
1.4116 steel is stainless steel with high corrosion resistance as it contains more than 14% Chromium elements. 1.4116 steel is food safe and can be used in areas with accelerated corrosion and rusting potential and remain intact.
The corrosion resistance abilities of the steel make it easy to maintain. Because of this feature, German 1.4116 knife steel qualifies as suitable steel in the manufacture of Swiss Army survival knives and kitchen knives. It can withstand harsh conditions outdoors and in the kitchen.
At a Rockwell hardness of 54-57HRC, 1.4116 steel offers a decent toughness, it is not the toughest steel out there. The blades can withstand impact without fraction and abrasion without breaking. The excellent balance between its toughness and hardness makes it a reliable steel.
The excellent toughness level of DIN 1.4116 stainless steel is largely attributed to its intermediate carbides content, which are not too large to break easily or too fine to attain a high HRC level. German steel 1.4116 toughness is comparable to the M398 steel and slightly lower than the D2 tool steel.
Edge retention is the ability of steel to hold a sharp edge, and the hardness of steel greatly influences it. Although German steel 1.4116 is not very hard steel, it does not become dull very fast but be ready for frequent sharpening.
German 1.4116 steel blade will give you edge retention comparable but slightly less to Japanese AUS 8 stainless steel and the popular Chinese 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. Their edge retention is not the best, but they are easy to sharpen.
With its level of hardness, 1.4116 steel offers good wear resistance. 1.4116 knives do not wear out faster compared to other low-end knives, even when used for frequently demanding applications.
However, if you want the blades to serve you for a long time, do not expose them to more than they can handle. You can only enjoy long service from 1.4116 knives if you use them for the right tasks and limit grinding them with hard abrasives.
Sharpening 1.4116 German steel
1.4116 knives are easy to sharpen. You will get a razor-sharp edge with simple sharpening tools and basic sharpening skills. This property balances the maintenance equation for blades made from this steel since they require frequent sharpening. The process does not take your time and energy even with frequent sharpening, making 1.4116 knife steel maintenance easy.
1.4116 steel equivalent
X50CrMov15 steel and 440A steel are considered 1.4116 steel equivalents. These steels have a similar composition, and their performance is identical. All three steel are popular in different regions respectively, with 1.4116 popular in German knives, X50CrMoV15 popular in European knives, and AISI 440A found in United States knives like CUTCO.
1.4116 Steel vs 440C steel
|1.4116 steel||440C steel|
440C stainless steel contains more Carbon and Chromium than German 1.4116 steel; 440C thus offers higher hardness and holds an edge longer. On the other hand, 1.4116 is easy to sharpen, offers better corrosion resistance, and is affordable. 1.4116 is more of a replica to grade 440A steel than 440C
The added Carbon in Grade 440C stainless steel enables it to achieve a higher hardness of up to 60HRC when properly hardened. The amount of carbon also enables the formation of a large volume of carbides which are excellent in wear resistance and edge retention.
Ironically 440C steel, even with a higher attainable Rockwell hardness than German 1.4116 steel, offers slightly better toughness. A 440C blade is less prone to chipping and cracking than a 1.4116 stainless steel blade.
1.4116 steel vs D2 Steel
|1.4116 steel||D2 steel|
D2 steel is a tool steel with excellent wear resistance and edge retention. D2 steel contains a higher amount of carbon than 1.4116 steel. The higher carbon content enables it to achieve higher hardness giving it better wear resistance and edge retention than 1.4116 stainless steel.
You will get a better knife with D2 blade steel in terms of edge retention, wear resistance, and toughness. Its high carbon alloy composition enables it to form fine-grained structures suitable for these properties.
However, a 1.4116 stainless steel knife will beat a D2 steel knife in corrosion resistance. D2 steel does not contain enough Chromium to make it stainless steel; it is often regarded as semi-stainless steel. A D2 steel blade will be more expensive than a 1.4116 blade due to its edge holding capacity despite the low corrosion resistance property.
1.4116 Steel vs AUS 8 Steel
|1.4116||AUS 8 steel|
AUS 8 stainless steel is mid-range Japanese steel with higher carbon than German 1.4116 steel. The high carbon content enables AUS 8 stainless steel to achieve higher Rockwell hardness. The increased hardness enables AUS 8 steel knives to offer marginally better wear resistance and edge retention than 1.4116 stainless steel knives.
AUS 8 steel properties are more similar to 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. They offer the same edge retention, toughness, and corrosion resistance. German 1.4116 stainless steel, however, beats both of them in corrosion resistance.
It is worth noting that the difference between AUS 8 steel and 1.4116 steel is extremely minimal. The performance difference is noticeable in normal daily use. Your choice for the blade to go with should ideally be based on price and build quality of handle materials.
1.4116 Steel vs 7Cr17MoV steel
7CR17MOV stainless steel has higher Chromium and carbon in its composition than German 1.4116. It offers excellent corrosion resistance, retains sharpness for long, and is tougher. While 1.4116 is suitable for kitchen knives, 7Cr17MoV steel can be found in tactical and pocket knives due to its better edge holding capability and corrosion resistance properties.
1.4116 steel vs S30V
|1.4116 steel||S30V steel|
S30V steel is a premium powder metallurgy steel, it is better than 1.4116 steel in edge retention, hardness, and toughness. S30V steel is mostly used on pocket knives while 1.4116 steel is mostly used on kitchen knives. 1.4116 is easier to sharpen than S30V steel but it won’t keep an edge as long as S30V.
Is 1.4116 German cutlery steel good?
1.4116 German steel is a good choice for Cutlery. 1.4116 steel is easy to sharpen, corrosion resistant and tough for normal daily tasks. If you are looking for a budget-friendly kitchen knife with good performance, look into the varieties of 1.4116 stainless steel knives.
Is 1.4116 good knife steel?
1.4116 steel is a good steel, particularly for kitchen knives. Its superior corrosion resistance ensures that the 1.4116 knives are food-safe and won’t rust easily even when left in watery/humid environments like kitchens for an extended time.
My name is Jonathan M, and I’m a passionate Mechanical Engineer, a knife enthusiast, and the author of this website. I have a bachelor's degree in Mechanical engineering with a specialization in material science. I am particularly interested in researching knife steel, knife properties, and brands. I hope you will find value in the articles on this website. Contact me if you have any questions or input!