S30v Vs. S90v: Differences & Similarities

Looking for the best steel to buy a knife and stuck between S30v and S90v then this is the right place to understand them better.

S30v and S90v both are developed and manufactured by the same company namely Crucible. Let’s have a look at what I’m going to cover in this article about these two most popular steel types…

  • What are they?
  • Their chemical composition and differences.
  • Specifications
  • Similarities
  • Differences
  • Which Steel type is best in which condition?
  • Which one is best suited for you?

So without further ado…

Let me walk you through this in-depth guide about…

S30v Vs. S90v: Which One Is Best?

Does S30v Stainless Steel Good For Knife?

S30v steel also known as CPM S30v is high-end steel. This is a powder-made martensitic (harden) steel developed with the collaboration of the two most famous knife makers Dick Barber and Chris Reeve in 2001.

S30v is made of Martensitic steel which is highly worn and corrosion-resistant. It has a high percentage of carbon, and a defined ratio of Molybdenum, and Vanadium. Steel is used to manufacture pockets knives and is also a very popular material to manufacture kitchen cutlery.

This is a very popular and reputed steel type for making the blade of steel knives even though it covers most of the steel-based tools market in America.

CPM S30v Or S30v Chemical Composition

S30v is made of a combination of different components, one of them is Corbon. Carbon is known to improve the hardness of steel and it also makes steel wear and corrosion resistance. But it will reduce the strength of the steel if added in excess quantity. The carbon percentage in CPM S30v steel is 1.45%.

Nobody wants that the knife he is using loses its edge retention again and again and needs frequent sharpening. A chemical substance namely Chromium improves the strength and edge retention property of the steel and is also known for improving the wear and tear resistivity of the knife. The Chromium percentage in S30v is 14%.

s30v vs s90v

The Main Chemical Components In S30v


Other chemical substances which are used to improve the strength of the steel and are used in S30v: Nitrogen 0.2%, Silicon 0.5%, and Phosphorus 0.3%.

To improve the machinability of the steel some other chemicals are used. Here I’ve mentioned the percentage of these chemical components in S30v which are Molybdenum 2%, and Sulfer 0.3%.

To improve the hardness and bitterness Manganese 0.5%, Vanadium 4%, and Tungsten 0.4% are mixed in the S30v.

Advantages Of Using A Knife Based On S30v

  • Highly corrosion and wear resistance.
  • The knives made with S30v are equal to or sometimes tougher than the 440C and D2.
  • Doesn’t need frequent sharpening.
  • The S30v knives come with excellent edge retention property.

Also Read: S30v Vs 154cm: Which Knife Is Best?

Our Recommended Best Knives Based On S30v Steel

Best Seller

Spyderco Para Military Steel Blade

Spyderco Para Military Steel Blade With G-10 Handle

  • Full Flat Grind.
  • Made In the USA.
  • 3.42″ Blade & 8.24″ Length

View the current price here

Top Pick

benchmade 940 EDC manual open folding

Benchmade 940 EDC Manual Opening And Closing

  • Reversible, Lightweight, Locking Blades
  • G10 Handle, G10 Handle
  • Alloy Steel

View the current price here

Also Read: S30v Vs S35vn: Differences & Similarities

Does S90v Stainless Steel Good For Knife?

S90v or CPM S90v was initially known as CPM-440 and was released in 1995. S90v is made using the Particle Metallurgy process. Initially, it was designed as tool steel and named CPM-440.

S90v is an expensive version of steel that is used to design some high-end knives. 14% Chromium listed S90v in the category of stainless steel. This is a kind of steel that keeps its edges sharp for a longer period of time and doesn’t require frequent sharpening.

The S90v varient of steel is popular for making bearing, slitters, cutlery, outdoor hiking, etc.

CPM S90v or S90v Chemical Composition

S90v has some huge changes in its chemical composition if we compare it with S30v. S90v has 2.3% Carbon which is approx 58% higher than the S30v which has only 1.45% of Carbon.

Carbon makes steel hard and also enhances the ability to bear any wear/tear. 14% Chromium is ideal in both the steel type. There is a huge effect of Chromium in steel processing as it enhances the tensile strength, toughness, hardness, and edge retention property.

The Main Chemical Components Of S90v


Vanadium also plays a very important role to make steel tough, wear resistance, and improve its strength. The percentage of Vanadium is 9% in S90v which is almost 125% more than the S30v. S30v has only 4% of Vanadium.

1% Molybdenum and 0.03% sulfur enhances the machinability, and strength of the steel. Other substances which are added to improve the toughness, strength, and hardness of the S90v steel are 0.5% Silicon and Manganese, 0.40% Tungsten, and 0.03% of Phosphorus.

Advantages Of Using S90v Steel on Manufacturing A Knife

  • S90v comes with excellent edge retention property.
  • The knife made with S90v remains sharp for a longer period of time.
  • This is very hard and durable steel because of the 9% of Vanadium.

Our Recommended Best S90v Steel knife

Best Seller

Benchmade 940-1 Manual Folding Knife

  • Sharp 3.4″ plain edge blade
  • ultra carbon fiber handle (lightweight and very strong).
  • a rock-solid AXIS Locking mechanism

View the current price here

S90v Vs. S30v: Specifications

Hardness Of The Steel

To measure the hardness of both the steel types we consider the test results of the Rockwell Scale. According to the Rockwell test, the hardness of S90v is between 57 and 59 HRC, which is less compared with S30v. S30v hardness is between 58 and 61 HRC.

The range of mid 50 is considered a great hardness of steel.


As we have seen the hardness score of both the steel types, it is very clear from the test results that S30v is tougher than the S90v. The hardness level of the S90v is between 57 and 59 HRC which means it has no doubt decent toughness but it is not the best as compared with the S30v.

Sharpening And Edge Retention Property

The edge retention of the S90v is far better than the S30v. You can use an S90v based knife for a longer period of time without frequent sharpening. But due to its amazing toughness, it takes lots of time in sharpening.

On the other hand, The edge retention of S30v is not that much great as compared to S90v but it takes very less time to sharpen it.

Corrosion And Wear Resistance

The percentage of Chromium is the same in S30v and S90v, which makes them highly corrosion resistant. Vanadium is also a very important factor that makes steel corrosion & Wear-resistant.

It means the S90v is better in corrosion & wear resistance than the S30v.

Chemical Composition Comparison


Does S30v And S90v Steel Rust?

Every stainless steel will rust if it is not taken care of properly. S30v and S90v both have 14% of chromium which provides great corrosion resistivity to them.

Note: If you want to use your knife for a longer time without rusting then after using it just wipe with a dry cloth will extend its life and prevent any rusting.

Similarities Between S30v And S90v

  • Both the steels are highly durable.
  • Both of them are excellent wear and tear resistance.
  • Both steel are brittle.

Which One Is Best Between S30v And S90v?

I hope after reading the whole article you are in the situation to choose the right steel for your knife. If you are still in a dilemma about which one is best then let me clear your doubt in a nutshell.

S30v and S90v both the steels are tough and hard to sharpen. But S90v is more difficult to sharpen than the S30v. So if you are going to sharpen your knife yourself then go with S30v, and if sharpening is not a big deal for you then you can choose S90v.

S30v is excellent steel in all the parameters and it is much easier to sharpen but it becomes dull very soon than the S90v.

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