Is SK5 steel good Knife steel?

Sk5 steel is a low-end, modern Japanese Carbon steel. It is considered an equivalent to the 1080 steel from America.

The name is derived from Steel Kuogu (SK), which means steel tool, and the number “5” represents the impurity levels. There are other SK steels in the line up including SK4 steel.

SK5 steel is not stainless steel because it contains low chromium in its composition, meaning it is poor in corrosion resistance.

Some users skip knives made from this steel because it is not stainless steel. However, you might need to consider it because of other amazing features like high hardness, excellent wear resistance, and excellent edge retention.

SK5 Steel Chemical composition

  • Carbon C 0.90%: Increases the edge retention, hardness and tensile strength. It also improves wear and abrasion resistance .
  • Chromium Cr 0.30%: Chromium Increases hardness, tensile strength and corrosion resistance of a blade.
  • Manganese Mn 0.50%: Improves Hardness
  • Silicon Si 0.35%: Increases strength and heat resistance.
  • Nickel Ni 0.25%: Improves machinability and hardness.
  • Sulfur S 0.03%: Improves machinability
  • Silicon Si 0.35% : Increases strength and heat resistance.
  • Phosphorous P 0.03%: Forms hard carbide in combination with other elements
  • Copper Cu 0.25%: prevents oxidation of the blade

Properties of SK5 steel


SK5 hardness, according to Rockwell hardness, is 65HRC, making it very hard steel. It is important to note that the hardness level varies with the heat treatment used.

Brands that use this high hardness make heavy-duty knives suitable for tough applications like hunting or hiking. However, with such heavy blades, you will need good sharpening skills and sophisticated sharpening tools.

On the other hand, some brands keep SK5 hardness at 55HRC suitable for survival knife or Every Day Carry knives whose blades are easy to sharpen.


As a rule of thumb, hard steels offer low toughness, but this is different with SK5 steel. The high hardness does not seem to affects its level of toughness.SK 5 steel is very tough, It will not break or chip easily.

Excellent edge retention

Hard types of steel always offer decent edge retention, and this is the case with SK5 steel. This means that you will not have to sharpen it now and then, saving you time.

SK5 knife makes a great choice if you need a knife for opening packages regularly, camping or hiking. You will spend more time using the knife than sharpening.

Great wear resistance

Another area where this steel shines is in its wear resistance. SK5 will serve you for many years, even with regular usage.

SK5 knives are built to last, especially if they have a good handle.

With knives made with this steel, you will never worry about breaking or chipping when handling tough tasks. Irrespective of the cutting jobs you take SK5 knives through, they will remain intact years from now.

Corrosion resistance

As already mentioned, SK5 steel is not stainless steel, which rings a bell that it is prone to rust and corrosion.

However, the tiny amount of chromium content protects the knife from corrosion, especially when used outdoors during the rainy season or in humid environments.

What’s more, manufacturers nowadays add an anti-corrosion finish to SK5 blades to boost the anti-corrosion levels.


Being hard steel, SK5 carbon steel is hard to sharpen. It will remain sharp longer, but you will invest time and effort in getting a razor-sharp edge.

Sharpening this steel will be challenging if you do not have sharpening skills. You might need to spend money on sophisticated sharpening tools to make the process easier.

SK5 steel equivalent

SK5 steel vs. 1095

Both types of steel contain the same amount of carbon. However, 1095 steel offers more hardness, while SK5 blade is tougher and better in corrosion resistance.

SK5 steel vs. vg10

VG10 steel is better and more expensive than SK5. It has high hardness, tougher, and has better corrosion resistance which can be attributed to the extra Vanadium in its alloy. However, due to the high hardness, VG10 is harder to sharpen.

SK5 versus SK-7

SK5 and SK7 belong to the same steel family, but SK5 is purer. Also, SK5 holds more carbon content making it better in edge retention and wear resistance. On the other hand, SK7 is tougher and easier to sharpen.

Is Sk5 Steel Good for Knives?

The general answer is yes. However, the properties of SK5 steel depend on the brand. SK5 offers excellent edge retention, great wear resistance, and decent toughness without making it too hard to sharpen.

The downside is the poor corrosion resistance which can be handled by proper care and maintenance of the blade. You will find SK5 steel in razor blades, scalpel blades, utility knives and some chisel due to it superior edge holding ability and toughness.

Best SK5 Steel Knife

Is SK5 steel good Knife steel?Is SK5 steel good Knife steel?

Cold Steel SRK

The Cold Steel SRK-C Survival Knife is a fixed blade designed for survival with many features that make it an excellent choice. The Cold Steel SRK-C Survival Knife is made of durable Sk5 carbon steel with a full tang construction.

The finger guard on the rubber handle, combined with its excellent edge that stays sharp for long periods makes this knife ideal to use as a self-defense weapon or when chopping and cutting wood out of your campsite.

I would recommend this Cold steel SRk-C survival knife to anyone who is looking for a versatile and durable blade that will not break the bank. The only downside is that it requires proper cleaning after use to avoid stains and rust.

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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!