AUS 8 vs D2: Which is better?

D2 steel is a high-end tool steel with higher Rockwell hardness and better edge retention than AUS 8 steel. AUS 8 steel is stainless steel, while D2 steel is non-stainless; thus, AUS 8 knives offer higher corrosion resistance. 

When shopping for a cheap and rust-resistant knife with good toughness, go with the AUS 8. If you are looking for a premium knife and do not mind its level of rust resistance, then the D2 knife is the best option due to its edge retention and wear resistance.

aus 8 vs d2
AUS 8 vs D2

In this article, we will help you choose between AUS 8 and D2 knife by looking at all the properties like toughness, edge retention, corrosion resistance, and ease of sharpening. 

Are AUS 8 and D2 knives the same?

AUS 8 and D2 are very common knife steels, and you must be wondering whether there are significant differences between the blades. D2 is non-stainless tool steel in high-end knives, while AUS 8 is cheaper stainless steel. The knife blades exhibit very different performances, and they are still worth comparing.

AUS 8 and D2 knives are not the same. Because of the properties of the material used to make them, they differ in toughness, edge retention, corrosion resistance, and ease of sharpening. Their properties are significantly different.

Edge retention35
Corrosion resistance74.5
Ease of sharpeningEasyHard
AUS 8 vs D2

AUS 8 Knife Characteristics

The AUS 8 knife is a mid-price knife but still with decent quality. It is ideal for manufacturing long blades because it offers a good balance between edge retention and toughness. It also offers excellent corrosion resistance, and therefore, it can be used in humid areas.

AUS 8 vs D2: Which is better?AUS 8 vs D2: Which is better?

However, even with the high corrosion resistance, you should wash and dry the blade after use because any steel can rust when exposed to corrosive conditions. Sharpening the AUS 8 knife is easy, even with standard tools and basic knife sharpening skills.


  • Excellent corrosion resistance
  • Good toughness
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Good toughness and edge retention balance
  • Affordable
  • Decent quality


  • Dulls faster
  • Requires frequent sharpening

D2 knife characteristics

A D2 knife does not get dull faster and is highly resistant to wear and abrasion. It will serve you across generations but comes at a slightly higher price. However, D2 steel is not stainless steel. Therefore the blades are highly susceptible to rust and corrosion. To protect the knife from corrosion, wash and dry the blades after use and apply a coat of oil. Sharpening the D2 knife will be challenging.

AUS 8 vs D2: Which is better?AUS 8 vs D2: Which is better?


  • Good edge retention
  • Durable
  • High-grade steel
  • Good performance


  • Low toughness 
  • Expensive
  • Challenging to sharpen

Differences Between AUS 8 And D2 Knives

To choose between AUS 8 and D2 knives, you must consider whether the properties match your knife needs and lifestyle. You should also consider whether their price fits your budget.

Edge retention35
Corrosion resistance74.5
Ease of sharpeningEasyHard
AUS 8 vs D2


AUS 8 knives offer better toughness than D2 knives. AUS 8 steel is not very hard. In the knife steel world, the hardness is inversely proportional to the toughness. Therefore the lower the hardness, the higher the toughness, which is true with AUS 8. It also contains molybdenum and nickel that boost steel toughness.

Because of their high toughness, AUS 8 knives handle demanding and challenging applications without chipping, breaking, or cracking.

Edge retention

The edge retention of D2 knives is better than that of AUS 8 knives which is attributed to the high carbon elements in their composition. If you are on the market looking for a knife that does not dull faster because you do not like knife sharpening or your lifestyle does not give you time for regular sharpening, the varieties of D2 steel will not disappoint you.

Corrosion resistance

AUS 8 knives are more resistant to corrosion because it is stainless steel has more than 13% chromium elements in its composition. It also contains nickel elements which improve the corrosion resistance of steel.

Although the AUS 8 knives offer good corrosion resistance, this does not mean that they can never rust. Proper care is key to protecting them from rusting when used in highly corrosive environments.

Ease of sharpening

Sharpening AUS 8 knives is easier than D2 knives because it is not very hard steel. Using a standard aluminium oxide abrasive sharpening tool, you can quickly get a tough edge. The downside is it loses the edge faster, and you will have to sharpen it regularly.


AUS 8 knives come with an affordable price tag because the steel is not very expensive. However, the price does not compromise its quality. D2, on the other hand, is expensive steel used to make high-end knives. If you are looking for a quality knife on a budget, go for AUS 8 options. If money is not an issue, choose D2 steel knife.

What Makes A Good Quality Knife?

A good quality knife must meet your needs, have great sharpness, hold an edge for a long time, and have an ergonomic handle.

The sharpness allows for easy cutting; great edge retention ensures you do not have to sharpen the blades after every use. The ergonomic handle offers you comfort and prevents slipping accidents during use.

Final Thoughts

AUS 8 and D2 knives have pros and cons, but each has its intended purpose. Before choosing one, ensure you know what you want to use it for. The edge retention of the D2 steel knife is better than that of the AUS 8 steel knife and most knife steels.

If you are looking for a durable knife with great edge retention and money is not an issue, go with the D2 knife. If you want an affordable knife to be used in highly corrosive environments, go with AUS 8 knife options.

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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!