What is 9Cr18MoV Steel?
This steel is mainly used to make stainless steel knives, hunting knives, EDC knives (everyday carry), surgical blades, pocket knives, and cutlery.
9Cr18MoV steel is categorized as a high-end Chinese stainless steel, but its price is affordable, making it very popular.
Just because the knives made from this steel are lower than other high-end knives, it does not make it low quality.
9Cr18MoV steel has also been used severally to make Damascus blades; you will find Damascus 9Cr18MoV in popular knives from brands like Civivi.
9Cr18MoV Steel Composition
- Carbon C 0.95%: Increases the edge retention, hardness and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion and corrosion.
- Chromium Cr 18.50%: Chromium Increases hardness, tensile strength and corrosion resistance of a blade.
- Molybdenum Mo 1.30%: Improves machinability and corrosion resistance.
- Vanadium V 0.12%: Forms hard vanadium carbide in combination with other elements that improve wear resistance.
- Manganese Mn 0.80%: improves the strength and hardness of steel. When the steel is heat-treated, hardenability is improved with increased manganese.
- Nickel Ni 0.60%: improves strength and toughness. It increases hardenability but not as much as some of the other alloying elements in steel. It can enhance corrosion resistance in significant amounts
- Silicon Si 0.80%: Increases strength and heat resistance.
- Phosphorus P 0.04%: Improves machinability and hardness.
- Sulfur S 0.03%: Improves machinability.
Properties of 9Cr18MoV steel
9Cr18MoV chemical composition listed above determines its properties; let us have a look at them.
9Cr18MoV Steel Hardness
9Cr18MoV has a Rockwell hardness of 58-60 HRC. However, the hardness level differs with manufacturers depending on the heat treatment.
This steel’s hardness level is associated with its composition’s high carbon, Chromium and Vanadium content.
This hardness level is considered high, assuring you that your knife will last long.
9Cr18MoV Steel Toughness
As a rule of thumb, you sacrifice Toughness for Hardness in steel. Therefore, since 9Cr18MoV is hard steel, it is more brittle. If you are looking for a knife for very tough applications, this stainless steel blade is not the best because it will chip and break easily. Look into varieties of MagnaCut, and Nitro V steel.
However, manufacturers add Nickel and Manganese in the 9Cr18MoV steel composition to give it decent Toughness.
9Cr18MoV Steel Edge retention
Due to its hardness, this steel remains sharp longer. The high amounts of carbon vanadium in 9Cr18MoV give it the ability to withstand wear hence the excellent edge holding capabilities.
9Cr18MoV steel edge retention is better than most popular steels out there like Nitro V, AUS 6, AUS 8, and LC200N. It is, however, low compared to steels with higher hardness like CTS 204P, Maxamet, and CPM S90V
9Cr18MoV Steel Corrosion resistance
9Cr18MoV contains enough Chromium in its composition to make it stainless steel, meaning that it does not struggle with rust. What’s more, the high levels of nickel and molybdenum in this steel boost its corrosion resistance.
If you are on the market for a knife to use in humid areas on wet and salty stuff, you can settle for one made with 9Cr18MoV stainless steel.
9Cr18MoV Steel Wear Resistance
9Cr18MoV steel wear resistance is great. Its composition, specifically Vanadium, aids in forming Vanadium Carbide that greatly adds to the blade’s hardness.
Sharpening 9Cr18MoV Steel
Sharpening 9Cr18MoV steel is not that hard; its hardness level allows it to be sharpened with common abrasive tools that contain aluminum oxide. On the flip side, it will maintain the sharpness for a long so you will not need to sharpen it often.
If you have little experience in knife sharpening, consider modern sharpening systems to get a good edge on this knife steel, the process will be easy, and you will not need to re-sharpen after soon.
9Cr18MoV Steel comparison
9Cr18MoV vs D2 steel
9Cr18MoV stainless steel and D2 steel are both hard steels, but D2 does not contain enough Chromium to make it stainless steel. D2 is regarded as semi stainless; its chromium content is almost enough to make the cut to stainless steel but falls a little short. A 9Cr18MoV knife will thus offer better corrosion resistance.
Although D2 is tougher than most stainless steel, it does not beat the Toughness of the 9Cr18MoV steel blade. A 9Cr18MoV knife will be more resistant to chipping and cracking compared to a D2 steel knife.
A D2 steel knife will beat 9Cr18MoV knife, is edge retention and wear resistance. D2 steel has great edge retention and wear resistance due to its better Rockwell hardness than 9Cr18MoV steel. D2 steel is made as tool steel; its alloy allows for incredible wear resistance properties.
9Cr18MoV vs 440C
The 9Cr18MoV stainless steel and 440C stainless steel are very similar and share the same levels of Chromium, hence almost the same level of corrosion resistance and edge retention. Grade 440C is sometimes regarded as the 9Cr18MoV steel equivalent, but the real equivalent to 9Cr18MoV steel is AISI 440B steel.
What’s more, their price range is close, giving you quality for a reasonable blade steel price.
9Cr18MoV vs 8Cr13MoV
Both 9Cr18MoV steel and 8Cr13MoV steel are Chinese-made stainless steel. While 9Cr18MoV is made as an equivalent to AISI 440B, 8Cr13MoV is made as an equivalent to Japanese AUS 8 stainless steel. 9Cr18MoV High Carbon steel contains more Carbon and Chromium, giving it more hardness and better edge retention than 8Cr13MoV stainless steel.
9Cr18MoV steel also offers better corrosion resistance than 8Cr13MoV steel due to the high percentage of chromium elements in its alloy. However, an 8Cr13MoV steel knife is tougher due to its low hardness level.
9Cr18MoV vs VG10
Both 9Cr18MoV and VG10 steel are budget-made steels. VG10 steel is regarded as a more premium Japanese steel than 9Cr18MoV Chinese steel.
The alloy of VG10 contains more Vanadium and Carbon elements. The availability of more Vanadium enables combination with the carbon to form harder Vanadium Carbides that improve the hardness and edge retention of VG10 steel over 9Cr18MoV.
While both are stainless steel, 9Cr18MoV gives slightly better corrosion resistance than Takefu VG10 due to the high percentage of chromium elements in its alloy; it has about 3% more Chromium than the alloy of VG10 steel.
You will get an equal level of Toughness with whichever knife steel you choose between 9Cr18MoV and VG10.
Japanese-made VG10 is, however, more popular than 9Cr18MoV steel, and you will find it in most knives.
9Cr18MoV vs 14C28N
9Cr18MoV steel and Sandvik 14C28N are two very different steels. Each of these steel offers best performance in specific aspects due to their alloy composition. Sandvik 14C28N steel, offers among the best Toughness in knife steels. Its toughness level can be compared to that of 420HC and AEB-l steel; it greatly beats 9Cr18MoV steel in Toughness.
Another area where Sandvik 14C28N steel knife outperforms 9Cr18MoV steel knife is in corrosion resistance. Despite 9Cr18MoV containing more chromium elements than 14C28N steel, it also contains Nitrogen in its alloy, which greatly improves its corrosion and rust resistance.
A 9Cr18MoV steel will offer slightly better edge retention than Sandvik 14C28N steel. It is also much cheaper being a Chinese made steel.
Generally, 14C28N steel is better steel than 9Cr18MoV, and a knife made from Sandvik 14C28N will be much more expensive.
9Cr18MoV vs 420HC
420HC stainless steel is an advancement of the old 420 steel. It is budget steel that offers high Toughness and corrosion resistance. 420HC stainless steel offers the same corrosion resistance as 9Cr18MoV stainless steel. Both 9Cr18MoV and 420HC will resist corrosion and rusting in equal amounts.
There is a major difference between 9Cr18MoV and 420HC stainless steel in Toughness. 420HC offers a high level of Toughness. Its toughness level can be compared to that of 14C28N and AEB-L steel. This high level of Toughness can be attributed to the low Rockwell hardness of about 56-58 HRC.
In terms of Edge retention, a 9Cr18MoV steel knife will offer better edge retention than a 420HC steel knife due to the slightly higher hardness of about 58-60HRC. With this hardness, 9Cr18MoV steel knife will also be more wear resistant and a bit harder to sharpen than 420HC.
Generally, a 420HC steel knife will be a better performer than a 9Cr18MoV steel knife.
9Cr18MoV vs S30V
S30V stainless steel is premium steel, while 9Cr18MoV stainless steel is a budget offering. S30V steel is produced by the crucible industry following the CPM process that gives it a quality refined grain structure. S30V offers a more balanced performance across the board in terms of Toughness, Hardness, corrosion resistance, and ease of sharpening.
An S30V steel knife will offer better performance in edge retention than a 9Cr18MoV Steel knife due to the presence of a higher Vanadium percentage in its alloy.
The Vanadium allows for the formation of hard vanadium carbides, which gives S30V steel high wear resistance and edge retention.
Due to the CPM production process of S30V steel, in addition to offering higher hardness than that of 9Cr18MoV steel, it still offers better Toughness and will be more resistant to chipping and cracking than conventional 9Cr18MoV steel.
9Cr18MoV steel was manufactured to be highly stainless by adding a lot of Chromium in its alloy at about 19%. A 9Cr18MoV stainless steel knife will thus offer slightly better corrosion resistance than an S30V stainless steel knife.
10Cr15CoMoV vs 9cr18mov
10Cr15CoMoV steel is a Chinese variant of Japanese-made VG10 steel. Its performance is thus highly comparable to that of VG10 steel. The alloy of 10Cr15CoMoV stainless steel contains more Vanadium and Carbon elements. The availability of more Vanadium enables combination with the carbon to form harder Vanadium Carbides that improve the hardness and edge retention of 10Cr15CoMoV steel over 9Cr18MoV steel.
9Cr18MoV Stainless steel will offer better corrosion resistance than 10Cr15CoMoV stainless steel as its alloy has a higher amount of Chromium. A 9Cr18MoV knife steel will hence be better for use outdoors and can be used in making hunting and fishing knives.
Both 9Cr18MoV steel and 10Cr15MoV steel offers an identical level of Toughness. There is no major difference between the two.
Their toughness level is higher than that of super-hard steels like S125V, 20CV, and Maxamet. Their Toughness level is, however, low compared to CPM M4, CPM 3V, and AUS 8 steel.
Is 9Cr18MoV steel good for knives?
Additionally, the 58-60 HRC gives a blade made from this steel high wear resistance. The most common brand that uses this knife is the Civivi Company. CJRB cutlery uses its own proprietary powder AR-RPM9 steel which is considered a 9Cr18MoV steel equivalent.
9Cr18MoV stainless steel is a good steel for knives depending on your knife needs. Suppose you are on a budget and looking for a high-end knife; 9Cr18MoV steel knife varieties will offer you desirable features like high corrosion resistance and good edge retention without breaking the bank.
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!