80CrV2 Steel Review: Is it Good for Knives?

Peter Stec
September 27, 2021
80CrV2 Steel Review

80CrV2 is by no means a recent steel — even though many seem to think that 80CrV2 is a new steel, it has actually been in the market by a completely different name. 80CrV2 was known as a ‘Swedish saw steel’ since it has incredible toughness. As a high-carbon, low-alloy steel, 80CrV2 is different from most knife steels and offers different capabilities and properties. 

In this article, we’ll get into everything you need to know about 80CrV2 steel, with a special focus on what sets it apart from other steels, and how it performs when molded into a knife. 80CrV2 has some unique properties due to its chemical composition, so it’s worth understanding the nitty-gritties of 80CrV2’s production as well. 

The properties of this knife can be perfect for someone with very specific requirements, so we’ll get into these details as well. We’ll also recommend some of the best 80CrV2 steel knives in the market, carefully chosen through our vetting process — so make sure you stick to the end of this article!

What is 80CrV2 Steel? 

Wondering where 80CrV2 gets its name from? Each of the letters in 80CrV2 actually stand for a different element in the steel. C stands for Carbon, and Cr stands for Chromium. V stands for Vanadium which is one of the alloying agents. One of the salient features of the 80CrV2 steel is incredible toughness and wear resistance, which makes it perfect for industrial equipment and other mechanical applications. It has a smooth shiny exterior finish and is especially used for casters, and for automotive and aircraft parts. 

Apart from having great toughness, 80CrV2 is a very hard, strong and resilient steel. It’s quickly becoming a popular choice for custom knife makers. It’s used in a lot of knives that require incredible strength, which tends to be larger knives built for outdoor, survival and combat purposes. 

However, we’re also seeing 80CrV2 steel being used for kitchen knives recently since the strength lends really well to large kitchen knives and butcher cleavers that need to hack through bone. 

What is the Composition of 80CrV2 Steel? 

As a high-carbon, low-alloy steel, 80CrV2 steel has quite a unique composition. It is very different from the stainless steels that are generally used to make entry-level knives. Let’s look at the chemical composition of 80CrV2 so that we can better understand what the steel has to offer in terms of capabilities. 

ElementsPercentage Composition (%)
Carbon (C)0.85
Chromium (Cr)0.60
Manganese (Mn)0.50
Molybdenum (Mo)0.10
Vanadium (V)0.25
Nickel (Ni)0.40
Silicon (Si)0.30
Phosphorus (P)0.025
Sulfur (S)0.30

We’ll also look at the role that each element plays in the final product of 80CrV2 steel. Each element has a specific purpose in adding properties to 80CrV2 steel. 

  • Carbon 0.85% – This is a very high amount of carbon. That’s why 80CrV2 is considered a high-carbon steel. Such high amounts of carbon mean that 80CrV2 is a very hard steel and is extremely wear-resistant. High amounts of carbon also contribute to edge resistance, meaning that you won’t have to worry about frequently sharpening your 80CrV2 knives. 
  • Chromium 0.60% – Chromium generally plays an important role in providing corrosion resistance to a stainless steel. However, 0.60% is not enough for corrosion resistance properties in a steel. A steel needs a minimum of 12% to make it a stainless steel. Since there is such low chromium content, 80CrV2 steel doesn’t have much corrosion resistance properties. But that doesn’t mean that Chromium is useless in 80CrV2 steel. It contributes to the hardness and strength of the steel. 
  • Manganese 0.50% – Manganese also contributes to strength, particularly the brittleness of the steel. Having Manganese in a steel can also be beneficial for machinability. 
  • Molybdenum 0.10% – Molybdenum is one of the most common and crucial alloying agents used in steel. It greatly adds to the strength and hardness of the steel, usually making up for low carbide content. 
  • Vanadium 0.25% – Vanadium is responsible for high toughness in 80CrV2. It also plays an important role in the wear resistance of 80CrV2 steel, making it much more resilient to a variety of applications.  
  • Nickel 0.40% – 80CrV2 already has great edge retention thanks to the high carbon content, and Nickel further boosts this property. Having nickel as one of the alloying agents contributes to the steel having a sharp edge for a longer time. 
  • Silicone 0.30% – Silicon is important for the heat treatment processes of the steel. It particularly helps in deoxidizing steel during the smelting process. 
  • Phosphorus 0.025% – 0.025% seems like a very tiny amount, and it is, but this is enough for phosphorus to work its magic. Phosphorus significantly works towards the internal strength and structural integrity of 80CrV2 steel. 
  • Sulfur 0.30% – Sulfur plays a role in the machinability of the 80CrV2 steel, making it easier to shape sheets of 80CrV2 steel into long-lasting, high-performing knives. 

As you can see, 80CrV2 is a high-carbon steel, and benefits greatly from the many alloying agents present in it, especially Molybdenum and Vanadium. 

How Hard is 80CrV2 Steel? 

80CrV2 is primarily a steel known for its toughness. As the rule for steels often goes, a tough steel isn’t a hard one. However, 80CrV2 is not low on hardness, it still performs decently. You can expect 57-58HRC on the Rockwell Hardness Scale when it comes to 80CrV2. This is more than enough hardness for kitchen applications. In fact, lower hardness is recommended for kitchen knives since they are easy to sharpen and don’t damage wooden cutting boards as much. 

80CrV2 also has enough hardness for outdoor applications, as a survival or hunting knife. 

What is the Heat Treatment of 80CrV2 Steel? 

80CrV2 undergoes multiple heat treatment processes to get it to the level of hardness that’s intended, as well as preserving the other properties as well. Forging of 80CrV2 happens at 1,545°-1,615°. It is not recommended for forging to occur at a lower temperature range than 927°C, since it could hamper the final product. 

Quenching also occurs for 80CrV2 steel. Quenching refers to a heat process where the steel is heated to a high-temperature point and then cooled down in a controlled setting in a liquid. This can either be saline water, regular water, or even oil. The liquid of choice that the steel is quenched in has a difference in the final hardness level of the steel itself. 80CrV2 is generally quenched in oil since that provides the highest hardness (57 HRC). 

After quenching in oil, 80CrV2 is tempered twice at 400° for two hours each time. This will give it the 57HRC hardness rating. 

What are 80CrV2 Properties? 

Now that we’ve looked at the chemical composition of 80CrV2 steel and the role each element plays, it’s time to dive into the actual capabilities of 80CrV2 steel. 

As a high-carbon low-alloy steel, the 80CrV2 greatly differs from regular stainless steel options. 

You should always pay attention to the properties of a steel if you’re planning to buy a knife that’s made from it. That’s because certain properties might be more important to you than others, and you might be willing to compromise on some weaknesses of the steel while others are a dealbreaker. 

Let’s look at what the can offer in terms of its properties, and how this affects a knife that’s built from it. 

80CrV2 Hardness

80CrV2 has decent hardness for a steel. The HRC rating can range anywhere from 55-57 depending on the manufacturer and heat processes that were followed during the production of 80CrV2 Hardness. Having decent hardness in the knife means that it’s much higher in toughness and works better as outdoor survival knives.

80CrV2 Toughness

Most of the time, hardness and toughness are inversely proportional. A high-hardness steel usually has low toughness, but not in the case of 80CrV2. The 80CrV2 actually has quite decent hardness and really high toughness and this makes it quite resilient in a knife. Having good toughness means that the knife won’t easily break when it comes in contact with harder substances. 

This is particularly useful in an outdoor or survival knife where you might have to potentially build shelter or use the knife for hunting. 

In kitchen knives and cleavers, toughness plays an important role in ensuring that the knife keeps its structural integrity when it comes in contact with bones and joints of meat. 

80CrV2 has incredible toughness that can withstand any challenge. An 80CrV2 knife shattering in half or chipping is virtually unheard of since it is so indestructable. 

80CrV2 Edge Retention

80CrV2 steel has high amounts of carbon. Apart from contributing to the hardness of the steel, this also boosts the edge retention. A sharpened 80CrV2 knife will keep its sharp edge for a very long time, making it low maintenance and easier to take care of. 

This is particularly useful when you’re planning to take your 80CrV2 knife out in the wild, and don’t want to carry heavy sharpening tools. 

80CrV2 Ease of Sharpening

Unfortunately, you can’t have both high edge retention and ease of sharpening in a steel. 80CrV2 has decent ease of sharpening, the process won’t be a breeze but it won’t be a nightmare either! Because the hardness is decently high as well as the carbide content, 80CrV2 is moderately easy to sharpen. 


The good news is that you won’t have to perform this task too often — once you sharpen your 80CrV2 knives, they remain sharp for a prolonged period of time. 

80CrV2 Corrosion Resistance

Corrosion Resistance properties come from Chromium. In the case of 80CrV2, the chromium content is too low for any corrosion resistance properties. This means that 80CrV2 is very low in corrosion resistance, and is not considered stainless steel. Knives made out of 80CrV2 are at risk of rust and corrosion which tends to happen often. However, with the proper care, you can ensure your 80CrV2 knife never catches rust.

This means that you should oil your 80CrV2 knife and always keep it clean and dry and away from any moisture. Moisture is what causes rust to flourish. 

Is 80CrV2 Good for Knives? 

80CrV2 is a great steel for knives. Its exceptional hardness that doesn’t compromise on toughness, as well as great edge retention all makes it a great reliable material for knife making. However, 80CrV2 works better for certain kinds of knives over others. 80CrV2 is great for bigger outdoor/survival knives or kitchen cleavers. 

You would definitely have to take more care of your 80CrV2 knife compared to average knives due to its low corrosion resistance and ease of sharpening, but the performance of the knife is worth it!

Is 80CrV2 a Stainless Steel? 

No, 80CrV2 is not a stainless steel due to the very low amounts of chromium content. You would have to take extra care of a 80CrV2 knife to ensure that it doesn’t catch rust or corrosion. We recommend oiling your knife often, since this will provide a protective barrier against any rust or corrosion and essentially act as a non-stick coating. 

For most cases, keeping the knife clean and dry is enough to ward off any inklings of rust. However, in humid areas with a lot of moisture in the air, your knife is never really dry, and this makes it more prone to rust. Any contact with salt can exacerbate this. Oiling is a quick and easy preventive measure. 

How Does 80CrV2 Compare to Other Steels? 

80CrV2 is a great knife if you’re big on hardness, toughness, and edge retention. However, in order to determine if it’s the best steel for the kind of knife you have in mind: you have to take a look at the other steel options. We’ve rounded up the three most similar steels to 80CrV2 in terms of price and properties in order for you to make an informed decision about which performs the best.

80CrV2 Steel Vs. 440C Steel

80CrV2 Steel Vs. 440C Steel comparison chart
Properties80CrV2440C
Edge Retention6/107/10
Ease of Sharpening5/103/10
Corrosion Resistance1/109/10
Toughness 9/104/10
Hardness6/106/10

The main differentiator between the 440C and the 80CrV2 Steel is corrosion resistance. Since 440c is a stainless steel, it can offer much better corrosion resistance. However, 80CrV2 has better hardness, toughness, and edge retention. However, they are similar in terms of price.

80CrV2 Steel vs. S30v

80CrV2 Steel vs. S30v steel comparison chart
Properties80CrV2S30V
Edge Retention6/105/10
Ease of Sharpening5/103/10
Corrosion Resistance 1/107/10
Toughness9/108/10
Hardness 6/107/10

Both these steels are high-carbon low-alloys that offer good toughness, but 80CrV2 has better edge retention. The S30V has better corrosion resistance than the 80CrV2. It’s also easier to sharpen the S30V. 

80CrV2 vs. Maxamet Steel

80CrV2 vs. Maxamet Steel comparison chart
Properties80CrV2Maxamet Steel
Edge Retention6/1010/10
Ease of Sharpening5/102/10
Corrosion Resistance 1/103/10
Toughness9/102/10
Hardness 6/108/10

Maxamet Steel and 80CrV2 steel are both regular steels, and are not considered to be stainless steels. Maxamet steel has the advantage with edge retention over 80CrV2, while 80CrV2 scores much higher on toughness.

Conclusion

80CrV2 is a great steel of choice for knives, despite not being stainless steel. We’re of the opinion that low corrosion resistance is not a big hindering factor. As long as the knife is kept clean and dry, you shouldn’t run into any kinds of issues with rust. Try to oil your knife once in a while to provide a protective layer against corrosion. 

The high level of hardness and toughness that you get with this steel is possibly unmatched. Considering that you won’t have to bother sharpening a 80CrV2 knife often thanks to its great edge resistance is the cherry on top! 

If you’ve been on the lookout for a steel that will make a high-quality knife to last you years: look no further. 80CrV2 steel is great value for money with incredible performance and capabilities as an outdoor/survival knife or kitchen cleaver. 

About The Author
Hey Knife Up gang! I'm Pete, and I'm just another man like you in a small rural town who loves the outdoors as much as the other million internet users that cruise sites like KnifeUp.com every day. The difference is that I like to share what I know and research what I don't totally know so that YOU can have all the info you need to feel confident and prepared for all things outdoors-related! And, for those who care, I have 42 years of wilderness canoeing and bushcraft experience in Northern Ontario and spend most of my Summers covered in mosquitos and fish slime, but hey, it's a lifestyle choice, eh?

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