What is AN-58 Steel?
AN-58 steel is a low-carbon steel used to manufacture low-budget stainless steel knives. It offers reasonable strength and decent toughness with 0.45% carbon in its composition. AN-58 knives do not chip off like their counterparts made from hard but brittle steel.
AN-58 steel is stainless steel as it contains about 13.5% chromium enough to make it stainless steel. Therefore, its products can be used in corrosive environments. Apart from cheap knives, AN-58 steel is used to manufacture parts like bolts, rolls, worms, and rams, that require more stain resistance and toughness than what is provided by low carbon steel.
AN-58 Steel Composition
- Carbon C 0.45%: Increases edge retention, hardness, and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion, and corrosion.
- Chromium Cr 13.50%: Formation of Chromium carbides. Increases the blade’s hardness, tensile strength, and corrosion resistance.
- Molybdenum Mo 0.01%: increases toughness and hot hardness. It also improves hardenability and forms carbides for wear resistance.
- Manganese Mn 0.49%: improves the strength and hardness of steel. When the steel is heat-treated, hardenability is improved with increased manganese.
- Phosphorus P 0.02%: Improves machinability and hardness.
- Silicon Si 0.34%: Increases strength and heat resistance.
Properties of AN-58 steel
AN-58 Steel Hardness
With the right heat treatment, AN-58 can attain a Rockwell hardness of 55HRC, the standard hardness rating for knife steel. The hardness level and the quality of AN-58 knives depend on the heat treatment used by the manufacturer. Therefore, ensure to purchase your AN-58 knives from reputable knife manufacturers.
AN-58 Steel Edge retention
AN-58 steel does not hold a sharp edge for a long time because it contains low carbon elements in its composition. With low carbon, the steel does not form enough carbides to give it a sharp edge for a long time. If your budget can only allow you to purchase AN-58 knives, brace yourself for frequent sharpening.
Although it does not stay sharp for a long time, it is not the worst on the market. Some steel types with lower carbon content require sharpening after a few cuts.
AN-58 Steel Toughness
As a rule of thumb, soft steels offer a high toughness level, and this is true with AN-58 steel. Its level of toughness cannot be compared to that of premium steel, but it takes the lead compared to other low-carbon steel types. With high toughness, blades made from this steel are able to withstand pressure and impact. They do not chip, break or crack easily when subjected to challenging applications.
AN-58 Steel Wear resistance
Being mild steel, AN-58 does not perform well in wear resistance. It does not offer the worst wear resistance on the market, but exposure to challenging and tough applications will leave the blades deformed and out of shape. AN-58 knives are cheap, but they do not last for a long time.
AN-58 Steel Corrosion resistance
One of the areas of excellence for AN-58 is corrosion resistance. It is stainless steel because it contains 13% chromium which is more than 12% required to make steel stainless. The chromium in its composition fights corrosion; therefore, it does not rust.
However, this does not make it rust-proof. When exposed to highly corrosive environments, AN-58 knives can still rust. To keep the rust away, ensure to wash and dry the knives immediately after use.
Ease of sharpening AN-58
Sharpening AN-58 steel is easy because it is soft steel. With a hardness of 55HRC, it is less hard, and it will take you less time and energy to achieve a razor-sharp edge. If you are learning knife sharpening, invest in AN-58 knives because they will not give you a hard time. The ease of sharpening comes in handy because the steel loses its edge very fast.
AN-58 steel comparison
AN-58 vs. S30V Steel
S30V steel is a premium steel, it is better than AN-58 steel in most aspects due to its powder metallurgy production process. S30V steel contains more carbon and chromium than AN-58 and a huge volume of carbides, it offers better edge retention, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance.
On the other hand, AN-58 is softer; therefore, it shines in toughness and is easier to sharpen as it lacks the hard carbides that are prone to chipping and cracking. The lack of a high amount of carbon content makes it relatively thus easier to sharpen.
AN-58 vs. 154CM Steel
154CM steel and AN-58 offer the same level of corrosion resistance. But, 154 CM outshines its counterpart in edge retention. AN-58, on the other hand, beats 154CM in toughness and is easier to sharpen.
Is AN-58 good knife steel?
AN-58 is good knife steel in the low-end steel category. It offers great toughness, decent wear resistance, and high corrosion resistance, and takes a sharp edge very fast. If your focus is a knife with good toughness and decent corrosion resistance, AN-58 steel knives will not disappoint.
In addition, it is more affordable than other high-end steel blades. The major downside is that it becomes blunt very fast, so you will be required to sharpen the blades after a few cuts. AN-58 steel knives are not that popular as there are lots of budget steels like DC53 steel that offer better properties like edge retention.
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!