Choosing the right steel for your Everyday Carry (EDC) knife is a crucial decision that can significantly impact its performance, durability, and ease of maintenance. With a vast array of steel options on the market, it can be challenging to determine which type is best suited to your needs and preferences. In this article, we will delve into the essential factors to consider when selecting the perfect EDC knife steel, including edge retention, corrosion resistance, toughness, and ease of sharpening. We will also explore some of the most popular steels used in EDC knives, helping you make an informed decision and enhance your everyday carry experience.
See also: best knife steels chart
Important traits to look for in an EDC knife steel
- Edge Retention: Look for a steel that can maintain a sharp edge for extended periods of use. High-quality steels with good edge retention include S30V, S35VN, M390, and CPM 20CV.
- Corrosion Resistance: The steel should be able to resist rust and corrosion, especially if you live in a humid or coastal environment. Stainless steels such as VG-10, N690, and H1 are known for their corrosion resistance.
- Toughness: Toughness is the ability of the steel to resist chipping or breaking under stress. Some steels, like 1095 or 5160, offer good toughness but may lack other desirable properties like corrosion resistance or edge retention.
- Ease of Sharpening: Some high-performance steels can be challenging to sharpen. Consider whether you want a steel that is relatively easy to sharpen like AUS-8, 8Cr13MoV, or 14C28N, or if you’re willing to invest more effort to maintain a high-performance steel.
- Wear Resistance: A steel’s wear resistance determines how well it can resist abrasion and wear over time. Steels with higher wear resistance, like CPM 3V or CPM M4, may be more suitable for heavy-duty use.
- Cost: The price of the steel can vary significantly, with premium steels typically coming at a higher cost. Consider your budget and determine which type of steel offers the best balance of performance and value for your needs.
- Personal Preference: Ultimately, the choice of steel comes down to personal preference and the specific tasks you expect your EDC knife to perform. Research different steels, read reviews, and determine which type of steel best suits your needs and preferences.
Popular steels used in EDC knives
- 8Cr13MoV: A budget-friendly Chinese stainless steel with good corrosion resistance, ease of sharpening, and decent edge retention. It is commonly found in affordable EDC knives.
- AUS-8: A Japanese stainless steel known for its balance of corrosion resistance, edge retention, and ease of sharpening. It’s a popular choice for budget and mid-range EDC knives.
- 14C28N: A Swedish stainless steel developed by Sandvik, offering a good balance of edge retention, corrosion resistance, and ease of sharpening. It is often used in mid-range EDC knives.
- VG-10: Another Japanese stainless steel, known for its excellent corrosion resistance and good edge retention. It’s commonly used in mid-range to high-end EDC knives.
- 154CM: An American stainless steel known for its balance of edge retention, corrosion resistance, and toughness. It is often used in mid-range to high-end EDC knives.
- CPM S30V: A premium American stainless steel developed by Crucible Industries, featuring excellent edge retention, corrosion resistance, and toughness. It is a popular choice for high-end EDC knives.
- CPM S35VN: An improved version of CPM S30V, offering better toughness and ease of sharpening while maintaining excellent edge retention and corrosion resistance. It is commonly used in high-end EDC knives.
- M390: A premium Austrian stainless steel known for its exceptional edge retention, corrosion resistance, and wear resistance. It is often used in high-end EDC knives.
- CPM 20CV: A premium American stainless steel, similar to M390, with outstanding edge retention, corrosion resistance, and wear resistance. It is commonly found in high-end EDC knives.
- D2: A semi-stainless tool steel known for its wear resistance and edge retention. However, it can be more challenging to sharpen and is less corrosion-resistant than some other steels. It’s a popular choice for mid-range EDC knives.
In conclusion, selecting the ideal steel for your EDC knife is a personal decision that depends on your unique requirements and priorities. By considering factors such as edge retention, corrosion resistance, toughness, ease of sharpening, and cost, you can make an informed choice that matches your needs and preferences. Remember to research and compare different steel options, read reviews, and don’t hesitate to ask for advice from experienced knife users. Ultimately, finding the perfect EDC knife steel will enhance your everyday carry experience and provide you with a reliable tool for years to come.