CPM 154 vs. CPM 20CV Knives: Which is Better?

CPM 154 vs CPM 20CV

When choosing between CPM 154 and CPM 20CV knives, factors like edge retention, corrosion resistance, and toughness need to be considered. CPM 20CV knives are better in edge retention, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance while CPM 154 knives offer better toughness and are easier to sharpen. 

The differences are a result of the elements in their alloy composition as both are produced following the same proprietary Crucible Particle Metallurgy (CPM®) process that results in very homogeneous, high-quality steel.

CPM 154 vs CPM 20CV
CPM 154 vs CPM 20CV

Do not fret if the differences are unclear because we will discuss everything you need to know about the knives to help you choose the best.

Are CPM 154 and CPM 20CV Knives the Same?

CPM 154 and 20CV are both products of Crucible industries made using the Crucible Particle Metallurgy process. This might make you think that the materials are the same and they make similar knives. However, CPM 154 and CPM 20CV are not the same. There are significant differences between these knife steels.

They are made using different elements and therefore differ in toughness, edge retention, corrosion resistance, and ease of sharpening. 

CPM 154 CPM 20CV
Toughness 5 3.5
Edge retention 4.5 6.5
Corrosion resistance 7 9
Ease of sharpening Average Hard
CPM 154 vs CPM 20CV

To help you decide which knife is better for you, between CPM 154 and CPM 20CV knife, let us jump into the details, the characteristics, pros, and cons of each.

CPM 154 Knife Characteristics

A CPM 154 knife has a reliable and high-performance blade. The knife takes an ultra-sharp edge, holds an edge for a long, has decent toughness, and has good corrosion resistance. CPM 154 steel makes Everyday Carry, Bushcraft, hunting, and skinning knives.

Moreover, CPM 154 knives come with reasonable pricing. This is one of the reasons why knife users and makers love it.


  • Decent toughness
  • Good corrosion resistance
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Affordable


  • Average edge retention

CPM 20CV Knife Characteristics

A CPM 20CV Knife offers superb edge retention, excellent corrosion resistance, and decent toughness. However, the knives are very hard to sharpen, but you can achieve a razor-sharp edge with the right sharpening tools and skills. The steel makes premium knives with a high price tag.


  • Superb edge retention
  • Excellent corrosion resistance
  • Good balance
  • High wear resistance


  • Expensive
  • Challenging to sharpen
  • Low toughness

Differences Between the CPM 154 and the CPM 20CV

To choose between CPM 154 and CPM 20CV knives, you must compare their toughness, edge retention, corrosion resistance, ease of sharpening, and price.

CPM 154 CPM 20CV
Toughness 5 3.5
Edge retention 4.5 6.5
Corrosion resistance 7 9
Ease of sharpening Average Hard
CPM 154 vs CPM 20CV


CPM 154 offers better toughness than 20CV because it does not have very high Rockwell hardness. The hardness and toughness of steel are inversely proportional. Therefore, the hardness of CPM 154 that is not too high enables it to have decent toughness. Decent toughness means that the blades do not break or chip when used for demanding applications.

Although CPM 154 offers better toughness, it does not mean that 20CV offers the worst out there. The toughness difference between them is not very big, and 20CV can still handle challenging applications without chipping. But if your focus is a knife that can withstand the abuse, a CPM 154 knife is the best for you.

Edge Retention

CPM 20CV knives offer better edge retention than CPM 154. 20CV contains 4% Vanadium, creating a fine grain structure that holds a sharp edge for a long time. It also contains molybdenum and tungsten that boost the ability to hold an edge.

The blend of these elements gives 20CV blades great edge retention. The knives do not get dull faster, even with repetitive usage.

CPM 154 knives also do not require sharpening after every use, but you are better with CPM 20CV knives if your shopping priority is a knife that stays sharp the longest.

Ease of Sharpening

CPM 154 knives are easier to sharpen than 20CV knives. The trade-off is that CPM 154 knives become dull faster, so you will have to sharpen them more frequently.

On the contrary, 20CV knives hold an edge for a long time, but it will require your time, energy, sharpening skills, and sophisticated tools to get a sharp edge.

Corrosion Resistance

Both CPM 154 and CPM 20CV are stainless steel, which brings us to the question, do they rust? Yes, any steel can rust when exposed to corrosive environments, but some steels are more resistant to corrosion. In our case, CPM 20CV is more resistant to corrosion than CPM 154 because it contains more chromium. 

To protect steel knives from rust and stains, wash and dry them immediately after use and apply a coat of oil on the blade for long-term storage.


CPM 20CV is super steel that makes premium knives with premium price tags. On the other hand, CPM 154 steel is affordable and makes knives with reasonable pricing. If money is not an issue, go for CPM 20CV knives.

What Makes A Good Quality Knife?

A good quality knife should have a blade that can achieve an ultra-sharp edge and hold it for easy cutting, an ergonomic handle for comfort, balance, and to prevent accidents, and it should be lightweight for easy use.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a knife with great edge retention, corrosion resistance, decent toughness, and money is not an issue, the CPM 20CV is the right choice for you. CPM 20CV knives have better edge retention, better wear resistance, and better corrosion resistance compared to CPM 154.

On the other hand, if you want a high-performance knife on a budget, the CPM 154 is the best steel for you, it produces knives with better toughness,  that are easier to sharpen compared to 20CV knives.

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