8Cr13MoV Steel Review: Is it Good for Knives?

Peter Stec
July 25, 2021
8CR13MOV Steel Review

8cr13Mov is part of the Chinese steel series ‘Cr’ or ‘MoV’. These steels have recently gained popularity since they’re affordable, corrosion-resistant, and reasonably durable. Steel knives made from 8cr13Mov are impressive for the price point, while also being a great ‘starter’ knife for a budding knife enthusiast. 

8cr13Mov is also a very versatile knife that can lend itself to different applications. In this article, we’re going to deep dive into every aspect of the 8cr13Mov to see if it has what it takes as material for a reliable knife.

We’ll look at the 8cr13mov’s chemical composition, heat treatment, and even how it compares to similar other steels in the market. Finally, we’ll take a look at the very best 8cr13mov steel knives in the market.

What is 8cr13MoV? 

8cr13Mov is a budget stainless steel with good corrosion resistance and wear resistance properties. Out of all the stainless steel in the ‘Cr’ series, 8cr13Mov is arguably the most popularly made into knives. Like the other steels in the same category, 8cr13Mov is a martensitic steel which means that it goes through rapid quenching in order for its structural integrity and crystal structure to be built. 

8cr13mov is most commonly used for kitchen knives, since its properties lend well to the demands of a kitchen knife. You won’t find many 8cr13mov outdoor or survival knives since 8cr13mov is lower on hardness and edge retention. 8cr13mov can’t always rise up to the challenge of tough materials like wood or stone. 

What is the Composition of 8cr13Mov? 

8cr13Mov has the addition of alloy metals that provide strength and hardness to the steel. Without these added metals, 8cr13mov would be too soft and would therefore have very less edge retention. That’s because 8cr13mov has lesser amounts of carbon than other stainless steel knives. 

Let’s find out what the composition of 8cr13mov is. We’ll also look at the role that each of these elements play in the high-alloy stainless steel that it is. 

  • Carbon 0.8% – Carbon plays the biggest role in contributing to the hardness of the blade. Since 8cr13Mov has only 0.8% of Carbon, this isn’t enough to provide the necessary hardness for the knife to have good functionality. That’s why 8cr13mov has other alloys to make it harder. However, while other metals can boost the hardness and make up for the less carbon, it’s difficult to make up for the edge retention capabilities that only Carbon can offer. 
  • Chromium 14.5% – 8cr13mov has a high amount of chromium. This makes it corrosion resistant and also contributes to the hardness and strength of the stainless steel. This level of chromium will also contribute significantly to the wear resistance of 8cr13mov. 
  • Molybdenum 0.3% – 0.3% may not seem like a lot, but its enough for molybdenum to take this alloy metal to the next level. 8cr13mov has much more hardness and internal strength thanks to its Molybdenum composition. Furthermore, Molybdenum plays an important role in the machinability of the steel. This means that it’s easier for the knife to be cut and shaped from a sheet of this stainless steel. 
  • Nickel 0.2% – Nickel contributes to the toughness of 8cr13mov. 8cr13mov already has a decent toughness, and nickel only boosts this. Since Manganese increases the brittleness, it’s important that Nickel smooths that out by adding more toughness to the steel. A knife made out of 8cr13mov will be that much more resilient thanks to the addition of Nickel. 
  • Manganese 1% – Manganese, along with Molybdenum contributes towards hardness of 8cr13mov. However, Manganese greatly boosts the brittle strength of 8cr13mov. You might think that brittleness isn’t a good thing, but the brittleness of a knife is what allows it to be sharpened easily. 
  • Silicon 1% – When such small quantities of silicon are added to stainless steel, they contribute towards the overall strength. Furthermore, silicon helps chromium in boosting the corrosion resistance properties of the stainless steel 8cr13mov. 
  • Phosphorus 0.04% – Phosphorus is another important additional to 8cr13mov, helping in making it much stronger. Small quantities of a variety of additional metals like phosphorus contribute towards a more robust strength in 8cr13mov steel. 
  • Sulfur 0.04% – Like Molybdenum, Sulfur also contributes towards the machinability of the steel. This helps in the knife making process. 
  • Vanadium 0.25% – Vanadium is a powerful addition, even in such small quantities. Vanadium in 8cr13mov contributes to its hardenability, while also boosting its life span and wear resistance. 

As you can tell, 8cr13mov benefits greatly from the addition of other elements like Manganese, Molybdenum, Vanadium, Nickel, Silicon: which all make up for the less amounts of Carbon, and fortify this high-alloy steel with strength. 

How Hard is 8cr13mov? 

8cr13mov has a decent hardness despite having a low quantity of Carbon, and this is thanks to the different alloy metals added to it. On the Rockwell Hardness Scale, 8cr13mov scores 62 HRC at the maximum.
However, the common range for the hardness of a 8cr13mov knife is anywhere between 55-62, with the most common being 58. 

What is the Heat Treatment for 8cr13mov? 

8cr13mov is a martensitic steel and undergoes high temperature quenching, along with other heat processes that give it the properties that it has. Let’s look at the specifics of these heat treatment processes that occur for 8cr13mov. 


8cr13mov is first heated in a Vacuum Induction Furnace and then placed into die molds. It is then tempered between a temperature range of 1800-1500 C and made to air cool. There are multiple rounds of forging that occur in order for 8cr13mov to become a martensitic steel. 

8cr13mov also undergoes the spheroidizing process in order for machinability to increase and improve. Finally it is quenched in salt water or oil for 3 hours at 180 C. 

8cr13mov Steel Properties

Let’s get down to arguably the most important part — the properties of the stainless steel 8cr13mov. Most people base their decision on purchasing a knife on the properties of the steel used, so this is very important information if you’re considering a knife made from 8cr13mov. 

8cr13mov Hardness

8cr13mov can be anywhere between 55-62 on the Rockwell Hardness scale. The most common hardness of 8cr13mov is 58 HRC. The exact hardness depends on the manufacturers of the knife. Even though there is less proportion of Carbon in the 8cr13mov composition, the added elements like Molybdenum, Nickel and Vanadium all contribute to increasing the hardness. 

8cr13mov Toughness

8cr13mov performs quite decently in regards to its toughness. Especially when you consider how affordable 8cr13mov knives are, the toughness aspect is quite impressive. This ensures that your knife won’t be too brittle and give way, and it will also last you a decent amount of time.

8cr13mov Edge Retention

The only area where 8cr13mov performs quite poorly is in edge retention. This is directly due to the less amount of carbon present in the 8cr13mov composition. Even though the hardness of 8cr13mov is made up for by the alloys, lower carbon content makes the edge retention suffer. You will have to keep sharpening this knife, as it can lose its edge very easily on any kind of substance, even mild ones. 

That’s why it makes a good kitchen knife, because kitchen knives are meant to be constantly sharpened. However, as an outdoor knife, the poor edge retention can be a source of annoyance. 

8cr13mov Ease of Sharpening

The upside to poor edge retention by the 8cr13mov is that it is sharpened very easily. This is because it is not a very hard steel and can easily be sharpened in a few moments. This also contributes to its merit as a kitchen knife, since any cook will not mind sharpening their knives, as long as it doesn’t take more than a few seconds to do so. 

8cr13mov Corrosion Resistance

Due to the high amounts of chromium in 8cr13mov, you get decent corrosion resistance. You won’t run into any problems with rust too easily, however it is still recommended that you take due care of your knife. It is moderately corrosion resistant, but it can still catch rust if not taken care of with due diligence. 

Is 8cr13mov Good for Knives? 

Folding Pocket Knife-8cr13mov Steel

8cr13mov performs great as a knife, especially considering how affordable it is. With decent corrosion resistance, toughness, and ease of sharpening, 8cr13mov works as the perfect starter or budget knife. It’s a great knife to give to a budding knife enthusiast and works as an affordable alternative to the AUS8. However, 8cr13mov can be better as a kitchen knife than an outdoor knife or pocket knife. 

Does 8cr13mov Form Rust? 

8cr13mov has decent corrosion resistance, but this doesn’t mean that it is completely immune to the formation of rust. If a 8cr13mov knife is left soaking in water for too long, it can possibly catch rust and other kinds of corrosion over a period of time. We recommend that you keep your 8cr13mov knives clean and dry for optimal performance and durability. 

How does 8cr13mov Compare to Other Steels? 

In this section, we’ll compare 8cr13mov to other steels in the market that are either of a similar price point, or offer similar properties and capabilities. While 8cr13mov is a great budget steel, you should be sure that it can provide the knife experience that you’re looking for. Even the best knife could be wrong for someone based on their requirements! Understanding your own expectations from a knife and the applications that you intend to use it for is key in choosing the perfect knife for you. 

8cr13mov vs AUS8

Properties8cr13movAUS8
Edge Retention1/102/10
Ease of Sharpening8/109/10
Corrosion Resistance6/107/10
Toughness 6/106/10
Hardness4/104/10
8cr13mov vs AUS8

AUS8 is the closest equivalent to the 8cr13MOV. The AUS8 has a slight advantage in ease of sharpening, and corrosion resistance, but they are very similar in other regards to each other. It’s important to note that 8cr13mov is much lower in cost than the AUS8, but provides competitive features. 

8cr13mov vs 7cr13mov

Properties8cr13mov7cr17MoV
Edge Retention1/104/10
Ease of Sharpening8/109/10
Corrosion Resistance6/107/10
Toughness 6/103/10
Hardness4/107/10
8cr13mov vs 7cr13mov

8cr13mov has a clear advantage over the 7cr13mov in terms of Toughness and Edge Retention. As two steels in the Cr range, both are similar, but 7cr13mov provides better corrosion resistance at the cost of toughness. 

8cr13Mov vs. VG10

Properties8cr13movVG10
Edge Retention1/105/10
Ease of Sharpening8/106/10
Corrosion Resistance6/107/10
Toughness 6/104/10
Hardness4/106/10
8cr13Mov vs VG10

The 8cr13 and the VG10 both make great kitchen knives due to their properties. However, you won’t have to sharpen your VG10 knife as often as the 8cr13! The VG10 is also harder than the 8cr13mov, but less tough. Still, the VG10 cannot compete on the affordability of the 8cr13. 

Best 8cr13Mov Knives in the Market

8cr13mov is clearly a great stainless steel for making knives. While it does suffer on edge retention, it performs really well in hardness and toughness, as well as corrosion resistance and ease of sharpening. Overall, it performs beyond expectations for a budget knife. 

However, great stainless steel is only half of what makes a good knife. The other equally important aspect is the blade geometry and the design of the knife. It’s important to consider the construction of the knife as well as the composition of its steel when looking for the perfect choice. 

We’ve done the homework for you: here are the top 8cr13mov knives in the market that have made a lot of knife owners happy! We’ve selected these knives on the criteria of performance, price, and durability. 

Best 8cr13mov Pocket Knife – Spyderco Tenacious Folding Utility Pocket Knife with 3.39″

Spyderco Tenacious Folding Utility Pocket Knife

Spyderco is one of the most reputed brands in the knife industry, and this Spyderco Tenacious Folding Utility Pocket knife made out of 8cr13mov exceeded our expectations. Made with clever design, this lightweight pocket knife can be carried around anywhere, and has a great 3.39” 8cr13mov leaf-flat blade with a plain sharp edge. 

We especially like the lock that comes equipped on this pocket knife, making it safe for use. 

Get it on Amazon here

Best 8cr13Mov Budget Folding Knife – Kershaw Chill (3410), Folding Everyday Carry Pocket Knife with 3.1

Kershaw Chill (3410)

This knife is a real bargain for the price —considering the many features that it offers. It’s a great folding pocket knife for everyday use, but also works really well as a fishing knife. You need a good quality knife while fishing to cut a bit of rope, net, and any other necessary tasks. Its non-reflective knife surface looks premium, and we love the corrosion resistance on this knife. 

The design of the Kershaw Chill deserves a special mention, making the pocket knife look premium and classy. It’s also great for women, and fits inconspicuously in a wallet or purse without looking too bulky. 

Conclusion 

8cr13MOV far exceeds expectations with its performance as a budget knife. It will last you a long while, with its corrosion resistant and ease of sharpening properties as the highlight. We think it’s the perfect starter knife for a budding knife enthusiast.

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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