Is AUS 8 Stainless Steel Good For Knives? [Complete Steel Guide]

Is AUS 8 stainless steel good for knives

What Is AUS 8 Stainless Steel?

AUS 8 (American Iron) is one of the most popular grades of stainless steel used by knife makers today. It is a high carbon steel with a low chromium content, which makes it highly resistant to corrosion.

The Chemical Composition Of AUS 8 Stainless Steel

  • Carbon: 0.12% max
  • Manganese: 1.0% max
  • Phosphorus: 0.05% max
  • Sulfur: 0.04% max
  • Chromium: 0.08% max
  • Nickel: 0.02% max
  • Iron: Balance
  • Other elements: 0.03% max
  • Titanium: 0.01% max

The Properties Of AUS 8 Stainless Steel

High Hardness

The hardness of AUS 8 stainless steel ranges from 58 HRC to 63 HRC. This means that it has a higher level of resistance to wear than other grades such as S30V or CPM-20CV.

Excellent Edge Retention

Because AUS 8 stainless steel has a lower amount of chromium, it doesn’t have the same tendency to form carbides as some other steels do. As a result, you can expect your blade to retain its sharpness longer.

High Tolerance For Heat Treating

Although AUS 8 stainless steel isn’t as heat treatable as other grades, it still offers excellent properties if you want to use it for forging purposes.

Low Cost

AUS 8 stainless steel costs less than many other grades because it contains fewer alloying elements.

The Benefits Of AUS 8 Stainless Steel In Knives

Hardness

AUS 8 has a Rockwell Hardness number of 58-60, making it much harder than regular steels like 440C or CPM S30V. This allows you to get a sharper edge on your blades, and also makes them more durable.

Corrosion Resistance

As mentioned above, AUS 8 is a very hard grade of steel. This means that it resists rusting and corrosion better than many other steels.

Edge Retention

When you sharpen a knife, you want to keep the cutting edge from getting dulled down too quickly.

If you use a softer kind of steel like 420, then you have to sharpen your knife every few days because it gets dull so easily. On the other hand, if you use a harder type of steel like AUS 8, then you don't need to sharpen it as often.

Durability

AUS 8 is extremely tough, and won't break easily. You can drop it and hit it against something, and it's still likely to stay intact.

The Downside Of AUS 8 Stainless Steel In Knives

Chromium Content

Since AUS 8 has a low chromium content, it isn't as strong as other types of steel. For example, a typical kind of stainless steel- like 303- would have a chromium content of around 15%, while AUS 8 only contains 0.2%.

This means that it's not as strong as other steels, and may chip or crack when subjected to heavy stress.

Cost

AUS 8 stainless steel is cheaper than other grades, but it does cost more than other types of steel.

Heat Treatment

AUS 8 stainless is not heat treatable, meaning that it cannot be hardened through heating and quenching processes.

This means that it will lose its temper strength after being heated up. However, since it's a relatively inexpensive material, it's not a huge issue.

Is AUS-8 Stainless Steel A Good Material For Knives?

Now that we have a thorough knowledge of this kind of steel, let's answer the question as to whether AUS-8 stainless steel is an appropriate kind of steel when it comes to knives.

The short answer is yes! This is a mid-entry level of steel which makes it the perfect combination of strength, hardness, wear resistance, edge retention, corrosion resistance, and machinability.

It's also easy to work with and is also fairly cheap. The main downside is that it's not heat treatable, so it loses its hardness when exposed to high temperatures.

As we mentioned, this steel has a low chromium content, which means that it doesn't hold up as well under heavy stress.

However, all things considered, AUS 8 stainless steel works perfectly fine for most applications. Whether it is for cooking, hunting, camping, or any other purpose, this steel is suitable for almost anything.

Some Of The Best AUS 8 Stainless Steel Knives

There are plenty of different kinds of knives made using AUS 8 stainless steel. Here are some examples of some of the best that are available on the market right now.

OUR TOP PICK

Ontario Knife OKC Rat Ii Sp-Black Folding Knife, 7Inches

This is a folding knife by the Ontario Knife Company.

It features a black G10 handle, and a 5Cr13MoV blade made out of AUS 8 stainless steel which is tempered to HRC 60/62. 

It measures 7.5 inches long overall and weighs about 1.4 ounces.

EDITORS CHOICE

Camillus 7.5 with Marlin Spike

This is another folding knife by Camillus Cutlery.

It features a black leather sheath, and a 7Cr17MoV blade made out of AUS 8 stainless steel with a satin finish. 

It measures 6.25 inches long overall and weighs about 2.1 ounces.

BEST VALUE

Leatherman Classic Fixed Blade Folding Knife

This fixed blade knife by Leatherman is made out of AUS-8 stainless steel.

It features a black nylon sheath, and a 4Cr15MoV blade made out of the same steel. 

It measures 9.75 inches long overall and is weighted at 3.3 ounces.

RUNNER UP

Off-Grid Knives - Rapid Fire Blackhawk - Assisted EDC Folding Knife - Black Titanium & Satin Blade Finish, Cryogenic Japanese AUS8 Blade Steel, Micarta Scales

This is a fixed blade knife by OG-218 N. It features a black polymer handle, and a 10Cr18MnV blade made out of the same steel.

It also includes a lanyard hole on the backside of the handle. Furthermore, it measures 11 inches in length and weighs about 3.6 ounces.

RUNNER UP

SOG TWI8-CP Twitch II 6.20 Inch EDC Folding Knife

This is a fixed-blade knife from SOG. It features a black carbon fiber handle, and a 5CR14MoV blade made out of stainless steel.

It measures 12.5 inches in length and is weighed at about 4.7 ounces.

RUNNER UP

SOG Seal Pup Elite

This is a fixed-blade knife from SOG. It features a black carbon fiber handle, and a 5CR14MoV blade made out of stainless steel.

It measures 12.5 inches in length and is weighed at about 4.7 ounces.

AUS-8 Stainless Steel VS Carbon Steel

Carbon steel is one of the more popular materials used for making knives today. While there are many benefits to using carbon steel, there are also drawbacks.

One of the biggest issues with carbon steel is that it can be difficult to sharpen. If your blades get dull too quickly, they may become unusable.

In addition, carbon steel tends to rust over time if left outside. That being said, carbon steel is still very useful for certain types of knives. 

For example, carbon steel is great for kitchen utensils because it holds an edge much longer than traditional stainless steel.

However, it does have a tendency to warp after prolonged exposure to high temperatures.

On the other hand, stainless steel is a much better choice for outdoor knives. It will hold an edge much longer than carbon steel, and it won't rust easily.

However, stainless steel isn't as durable as carbon steel.

It doesn't hold an edge nearly as well, and it's not recommended for use outdoors unless it has been treated appropriately.

When it comes to comparing AUS-8 stainless steel and carbon steel, you'll find that both materials offer their own unique advantages.

The best way to determine what type of material would work best for you is to consider how often you plan to use your knife.

If you're looking for something that will last a lifetime, then you should probably opt for carbon steel.

On the other hand, if you want a knife that will perform well when you need it most, then you should choose stainless steel.

AUS 8 Stainless Steel Knife Safety Tips

When purchasing a new knife, it's important to keep safety in mind. There are several things you need to know before you start using any type of knife:

  • Never point a knife toward yourself or anyone else.
  • Always treat sharp objects like weapons. Keep them away from children and pets.
  • Keep all knives stored safely when not in use.
  • Never carry a knife in public places such as schools, malls, etc.
  • If you're unsure whether, or not, a knife is safe, don't use it until you've consulted with a professional.

Final Thoughts

Overall, AUS-8 stainless is a pretty versatile material. It's easy to work with, and it's relatively inexpensive.

The only drawback is that it doesn't hold an edge as well as some other materials. 

But, if you want something that's going to last a lifetime, then this is definitely the way to go.

Tom Bower