Different Blade Steels – What You Need To Know

What is the difference between carbon steel and stainless steel? What kind of blades should you choose?

Stainless steel has become the preferred choice for kitchen knives because it lasts longer, holds its edge better, and is easier to clean.

Different Blade Steels - What You Need To Know

Carbon steel is also great for kitchen knives, but it requires special care to prevent rust.

Carbon steel is a type of alloyed steel that contains iron, carbon, and other elements.

Stainless steel is a type of non-alloyed steel that contains chromium or nickel. Both types of steel are commonly used in kitchen knives.

In this article, we’ll explain what makes each material different from one another, how they differ when it comes to sharpening, and which ones you should use for your kitchen knives.

What Is The Difference Between Carbon Steel And Stainless Steel?

The main difference between carbon steel and stainless steel is that carbon steel can be hardened with heat treatment.

This process hardens the steel so that it becomes more resistant to wear and tear. It’s important to note that carbon steel will still rust if not properly cared for.

The hardness of carbon steel ranges anywhere from 60 to 80 on the Rockwell scale. Hardness refers to the amount of pressure needed to indent a surface.

A harder metal needs less force to make an impression than a softer metal does.

Harder metals have higher tensile strength, meaning that they’re stronger under stress. Hardness is measured by using a device called a Brinell hardness tester.

The Brinell hardness test measures the resistance of a metal to being scratched by a diamond tip.

A knife made out of carbon steel will hold its edge much longer than a knife made out of stainless steel. However, both materials will eventually dull over time.

How Do I Care For My Kitchen Knife?

You need to take good care of your kitchen knife to keep it in top condition. Here are some tips:

  • Keep it dry. If you store your knife in a humid environment, it will rust faster.
  • Don’t put it in water. Water will cause corrosion and rust.
  • Store it away from acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits. These acids will corrode the blade.
  • Never sharpen on stone surfaces. They won’t cut as well as a whetstone.
  • Clean your knife after every use. Wipe off any food residue and then wipe down the blade with a damp cloth.


Both carbon steel and stainless steel are excellent choices for kitchen knives. Each material has pros and cons.

In general, stainless steel is more durable while carbon steel is sharper. It all depends on what you want.

If you want a knife that will last forever, stainless steel is the way to go. But if you want a knife that cuts quickly, then carbon steel may be a better option.

Different blade metals require different techniques to maintain their edge. We’ve covered the basics here. Now it’s up to you to decide which material works best for you.

Tom Bower