Is AUS 10 steel good for knives?

AUS 10 steel also known as AUS-10A steel is produced by the Aichi Steel Company based in Tokai city in Japan. It wasn’t known by many people in the past but it started gaining popularity with it being used in most imported Japanese knives. 

AUS 10 steel is one of the best mid-level steels used to make good-quality knives.  It has good edge retention, toughness, hardness, corrosion resistance, and wear resistance in addition to its affordability.

AUS 10 steel is the best type of steel under the AUS series (AUS-6, AUS-8, and AUS-10), thanks to its high carbon and vanadium content. Additionally, AUS-10 is stainless steel as it contains high amounts of Chromium in its alloy. 

The following are some of the qualities that make the AUS-10A steel stand tall among its counterparts:

AUS 10 Steel Composition

ElementContent (%)
Carbon C1.10%
Chromium Cr14.50%
Nickel Ni0.49%
Vanadium0.25%
Silicon Si1.00%
Molybdenum Mo0.30%
Manganese Mn0.50%
Phosphorus P0.04%
Sulfur S0.03%
AUS 10 Steel Composition
  • Carbon C 1.10%: Increases edge retention, hardness, and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion, and corrosion.
  • Chromium Cr 14.50%: Formation of Chromium carbides. Increases the blade’s hardness, tensile strength, and corrosion resistance.
  • Molybdenum Mo 0.31%: It improves machinability and hardness.
  • Vanadium V 0.25%: 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.
  • Nickel Ni 0.49%: 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
  • Phosphorous P 0.04%: Increases the strength and improves machinability of steel
  • Manganese Mn 0.50%: improves the strength and hardness of steel. When the steel is heat-treated, hardenability is improved with increased manganese.
  • Silicon Si 1.00%: Increases strength and heat resistance.
  • Sulfur S 0.03%: Improves machinability but is regarded as an impurity in high quantities.

AUS-10 Hardness

The high carbon content makes the AUS 10 steel hard, it spots 58- 60 HRC on the Rockwell scale of hardness. The sharpness however makes the knives relatively fragile, that’s why the precise amount of manganese, silicon, and nickel have been added to the AUS-10 alloy to increase the elasticity and ductility of the material.

AUS-10 Edge Retention

AUS 10 steel alloy is well refined and has a high amount of carbon. The Carbon and Vanadium elements aid in the formation of strong fine carbides that contribute to great edge retention.

Steel with more quantity of fine carbides usually gets a lot sharper compared to ones with smaller amounts of large carbides.

Sharpening AUS-10

It is very easy to sharpen the knives made of AUS-10 stainless steel and they attain a very perfect edge. The sharpening of AUS-10A steel is easy and can be achieved through different sharpening materials.

However, you may have to be careful during this process, such as avoiding the use of a pull-through sharpener. 

AUS-10 Corrosion Resistance

The AUS-10 stainless steel alloy contains a unique combination of Chromium, Nickel, and Vanadium Elements. Its unique combination of the elements makes the AUS-10 stainless steel resistant to rust and other corrosive substances.

It is good but not the best out there, other steels like LC200N steel and H1 steel offer better corrosion resistance.

AUS-10 Wear Resistance

Thanks to the unique combination of the steel alloy. Vanadium, Chromium, and Molybdenum give AUS-10 steel high levels of wear resistance.

AUS 10 steel contains more carbon and vanadium elements than any AUS series steel, this makes it the hardest blade type in the AUS category.

AUS-10 Toughness

AUS-10A offers good toughness as its hardness is in the range of 58HRC, the addition of Nickel also greatly improves its toughness.

The toughness of the AUS 10 steel also ensures that the knives will not easily break or chip under pressure during sharpening and repeated cutting. 

AUS-10 vs other steel

AUS-10 vs VG-10 Steel

VG-10 steel is a premium Japanese steel that offers better properties like hardness, edge retention, and corrosion resistance. The only advantage that AUS 10 steel has over VG-10 steel is that it is affordable and offers slightly better toughness.

The knives made of AUS 10 steel will require frequent sharpening due to less edge retention ability while the ones made of VG-10 can maintain an ideal edge for a longer period of time.

Both AUS 10 steel and VG-10 steel are stainless steels with high Chromium content. However, VG-10 steel offers much better rust resistance.

AUS-10 vs AUS-8 Steel

AUS 10 steel has more wear resistance ability than AUS-8 steel this is due to its increased carbon content. AUS-8 is a bit tougher due to the presence of more Nickel elements in its alloy.

Both AUS-10 and AUS-8 have good wear resistance due to their alloys and are almost identical.

AUS-10 vs AUS-6

AUS-6 is softer and can break more easily while in use than AUS-10. It is easier to re-sharpen AUS-6 than AUS-10 as it has a low hardness rating.

AUS-10 is better than AUS 6 in all the properties. AUS 6 steel is the low end of the AUS series and one of the most disliked steel out there.

Is AUS-10 Steel Good?

Yes! AUS-10 stainless steel is generally strong and relatively tough with a great ability to handle rust and offer good edge retention. It is also easy to sharpen and rated by many people as top-quality steel.

It is more similar to AISI 440C and considered as its Japanese equivalent only that it offers slightly better performance due to the addition of Vanadium. AUS-10 steel differs from the well-known 154CM steel due to the possession of smaller grained carbides.

The knives made of AUS 10 steel are very durable and rust-resistant. AUS-10 steel also performs better than other carbon steels in matters of rust and corrosion resistance.

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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!