What is VG 10 Steel?

VG 10 steel is premium steel made in Japan. The G in its name stands for Gold, meaning that the steel has attained Gold standards for stainless steel. It is a high carbon steel designed by the Takefu Special Steel Company under the V line series of steels including  V series line of steels including V1, V2, V-Toku1, V-Toku2, and V-Gin1

Due to its edge retention capabilities and high rust resistance, vg10 stainless steel is popularly used to make kitchen knives. It is also used to make hunting, tactical, and pocket knife. It is widely used to make chef’s knives in Japan. Japanese Santoku brand has heavily relied on this stainless steel type.

What’s more, this steel has remained popular in making professional kitchen knives because it allows the knife makers to create different designs on the blade during temperament.

VG 10 stainless steel Chemical composition

  • Carbon C 1.05%: Increases the edge retention, hardness and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion and corrosion.
  • Chromium Cr 15.50%: Chromium Increases hardness, tensile strength and toughness of the blade by forming chromium carbide. The higher than 13% Cr is what makes vg10 “stainless”
  • Molybdenum Mo 1.20%: It improves machinability and hardening property.
  • Vanadium V 0.30%: Increase wear resistance and toughness, it also improves corrosion resistance.
  • Cobalt Co 1.50% Improves hardness of the blade as it increases the martensitic transformation temperature of the alloy, It also increases corrosion resistance of steel.
  • Manganese Mn 0.50%: Increases Hardness and brittleness.
  • Phosphorus P 0.03%: Improves machinability and hardness.

VG 10 steel properties

VG 10 Steel Hardness

VG 10 steel has a Rockwell hardness of 56 to 60 HRC, depending on the type of heat treatment used. The high level of hardness is contributed by the carbon, cobalt, and vanadium levels in its composition.

With this type of hardness, VG 10 knives exhibit wear resistance and abrasion at admirable levels. The combined Chromium, Molybdenum and Vanadium elements form hard carbides that increases abrasion resistance.

VG 10 Edge retention

Ask around, and knife users will tell you that the ability of a knife blade to hold an edge for long makes it stand out.

If you have been looking for a knife with the best edge retention properties, look no further because knives made from VG10 steel are known for their excellent edge retention.

The molybdenum, cobalt, chromium, and carbon in its composition blend well to give blades made from VG 10 steel high edge retention.

VG 10 Toughness

Do not assume that since a knife is hard, it must be tough, hardness and toughness are different properties in blades that are hard to achieve.

Toughness refers to the ability of a knife to withstand impacts and tough applications which would otherwise break or chip it.

The rule of steel is, the higher the hardness, the lesser its toughness; however, this does not apply with VG 10. VG 10 steel offers a high level of toughness irrespective of its high hardness.

VG 10 Steel Corrosion resistance

The high levels of chromium in the VG 10 steel composition make it rust resistant but not rustproof. You can confidently use your knife in humid, wet, marine environments without the fear of rusting.

However, regular care and maintenance like washing and wiping the knife dry after use is essential to keep it rust free.

Sharpening VG 10 Steel

VG10 stainless steel is easy to sharpen despite its high wear resistance. The chemical composition of this steel is balanced to give it a high hardness without making it too hard for sharpening.

Vanadium carbides that occur during the formation of the steel enable this Japanese steel to hold a sharp edge. You will love the fact that the knife is easy to sharpen and retains the edge for long.

VG 10 steel equivalent

Za-18 stainless steel by Aichi Steel Corp can be considered VG10 steel equivalent. Za-18 was developed as a direct competitor to VG10 stainless steel. It has a bit more improved alloy composition offering better edge retention and corrosion resistance but their performance is almost similar.

VG 10 vs d2

D2 steel is high carbon steel, it offers a higher toughness compared to VG 10 as it contains more elements of carbon. VG 10 steel, on the other hand, outshines D2 steel in sharpness, edge retention, and corrosion resistance.

VG 10 vs 440C

Both types of steel offer the same level of corrosion resistance. However, VG 10 stainless steel knife will offer better edge retention, sharpness, and toughness than 440C steel. The high levels of Vanadium content give VG 10 knives a better edge than those made of 440C steel.

VG10 vs S30V

VG 10 steel and S30V steel exhibit the same level of sharpness, edge retention, and corrosion resistance but differ in toughness, with S30V steel being tougher. S30V steel blade is the most comparable to a vg10 blade, most people always regard it as VG10 equivalent. You will find most pocket knives and Everyday Carry (EDC) are made of S30V steel

VG 10 vs VG 1

Both of these steel come from Japan, however, one is not a replacement for the other. VG10 is premium steel of higher quality as compared to VG1. A VG10 steel knife will have better properties than a VG 1 steel knife which is more prone to chipping.

See also: 10Cr15CoMoV Steel Review, Chinese steel comparable to Japanese VG10 Steel

Is VG 10 steel good for knives?

Yes! VG10 steel has all the desirable features for knife steel. It has high corrosion resistance; it is easy to sharpen, tough and holds an edge for long. What’s more, the prices of knives made from VG 10 blade steel are affordable considering the quality of the steel.

An added advantage for bladesmiths is that with VG 10 steel, one can create unique custom designs. A Damascus vg10 will be stronger due to the overlapping of multiple steels, Damascus blade hardly bends and are difficult to break.


If you are on the market for a quality Japanese knife, survival knife, or kitchen knife you can never go wrong with VG10 steel knife varieties. VG 10 blade steel offers hardness of carbon steel and corrosion resistance of stainless steel.

You will realize that the price of VG 10 knives is higher than other steel, but the quality and performance you will get are worth every coin,

It offers cutlery grade stainless steel at a competitive price. VG 10 is worthy of the gold standard in clad steel. I have used a premium VG10 Nakiri kitchen knife before and I can’t compare it to any other. A well-polished knife will last for decades without losing its edge retention.

Also check out my review of Japanese High Carbon Steel types ( white steel, blue steel, Shirogami, Aogami) and Ginsan steel review.

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