CTS-XHP Steel Review

10 Best Utility Knives Video
10 Best Utility Knives Video

CTS-XHP is American steel that has all-around performance. As a knife fanatic, your search for a steel blade that has high performance ends here with this steel that possesses corrosion resistance, retains the edge well, and has high toughness. So, we thought to review CTS-XHP steel, the premium steel used in various high-end knives.

But, before you pick the CTS-XHP knife, you should know about the composition of the steel, its history, and its features. How well it performs in retaining the edge? Does it prevent corrosion and rust build-up? How much does it prevent chipping? Is it easy to sharpen? 

We’ll in this article delve deep into these questions in different sections to bring you the information about steel. We’ll review different knives and compare them with other steels in this article.

What Is CTS-XHP Steel?

The CTS-XHP steel is powder metallurgy stainless steel. Carpenter’s company manufactures it. CTS-XRP is an alloy that is a combination of different elements and metals. It is air-hardening, high Chromium, high carbon, and corrosion-resistant alloy. 

The steel possesses high corrosion resistance and has high hardness, more than other steel in the market. Moreover, CTS-XHP balances hardness and toughness in an ideal way, making it one of the top choices for knife manufacturers.

CTS-XHP steel Composition

CTS-XHP steel Composition

The steel composition is the essence of the steel. Therefore, the combination of metals and elements reflects the feature of steel.

Carbon (1.60%) helps harden the steel, increases tensile strength, and improves wear resistance.

Chromium (16.00%) qualifies the steel for corrosion resistance. In addition, it boosts tensile strength, toughness, and hardness.

Manganese (0.50%) makes the steel hard and enhances tensile strength. In addition, it prepares the alloy for machinability.

Molybdenum (0.80%) increases the strength, hardenability, and toughness of the steel.

Vanadium (0.45%), the low level of vanadium, strengthens the steel’s wear resistance. It also enhances corrosion resistance.

Nickel (0.35%) increases corrosion resistance and improves the toughness of steel.

Silicon (0.40%) boosts toughness and hardness. However, too much Silicon can make the steel brittle and decrease the wear resistance.

CTS-XHP Steel Properties


The CTS-XHP steel has good toughness. As per the thumb rule of steel manufacturing, steel should not be too challenging. Otherwise, it will be prone to chipping. The toughness of CTS-XHP is high. It has 64HRC, which means it is made for heavy-duty work.

Wear Resistance

It has superb wear resistance. The steel’s hardness is akin to D2 steel. The XHP has a similar composition to D2 steel which means it has excellent hardness. The steel will withstand day-to-day wear and tear without deformation of the actual shape. The steel composition has a high carbon and chromium content, which will keep abrasion at bay, even after frequent re-shaping. 


It has a high hardness score on Rockwell Scale, which depicts it is difficult to sharpen the knife. But other steels are harder than this, and that can be sharpened with the right tools. Therefore, the difficulty level of sharpening the blade of the CTS-XHP steel knife is moderate. Moreover, due to its high toughness and wear resistance, the knife goes a long way without the need for sharpening.

Corrosion Resistance

The steel offers excellent corrosion resistance. As a fact, above 12% of Chromium qualifies the steel to be rust-free and corrosion-resistant. In addition, CTS-XHP steel has 16% chromium content, which prepares the steel as stainless, keeping the rust at bay. 

Edge Retention

Due to the incredible high hardness of the steel, the blades have excellent edge retention. As a result, you can use the CTS-XHP steel knife for chopping, mincing, slicing, and dicing vegetables and meat and would not see the edge getting dull.

CTS-XHP Steel Heat Treatment

The annealing of CTS-XHP steel is done in a neutral atmosphere. First, it is heated uniformly at 1550-1600 degrees Fahrenheit. After that, the steel is cooled down at 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, heat it at a slow pace in the furnace for an hour. It is kept on the stove until the furnace becomes black. Then it is removed and allowed to cool at room temperature naturally.

CTS-XHP Steel Hardness

CTS-XHP registers high hardness on Rockwell Scale. The hardness of the steel range from 60-64 HRC. It is due to the hardness of D2 steel. The range of hardness is typically higher than the average. It is due to the high carbon content in the mix of different metals and elements. This enhances the wear resistance of the steel along with the edge retention. Keep in mind the hardness can vary from 60HRC to 64 HRC for manufacturing knives.

Is CTS-XHP Steel Good For Knives?

CTS-XHP steel is an excellent choice for manufacturing knives. It has well blend of features like edge retention, excellent corrosion resistance, and resistant to chipping of steel. Furthermore, the steel does not deform due to the sharpening of the edge, and it has good toughness.

You need a knife that is easy to sharpen for knives, but CTS-XHP is not easy to sharpen. However, it won’t cause you much trouble as the blades will hardly need sharpening, and if sharpened with the right tools, it will offer you a razor-sharp edge. So, with this information, we can conclude that CTS-XHP is an ideal choice for knives. 

Is CTS-XHP Steel Stainless?

Yes, CTS-XHP steel is stainless due to D2 steel and high Chromium and Vanadium content.

Best CTS-XHP Steel Knives

Spyderco Chaparral Prestige Folding Knife

Key Features:

  • 2.80-inch knife blade.
  • Carbon G10 laminate handle.
  • The total length of the knife is 6.40 inches.
  • Reversible pocket clip included.

This knife from Spyderco is a high-performing knife that comes with a CTS-XHP blade. The knife’s features are brilliant, and it will be a great addition to your knife collection. The 2.80-inch blade has a ridiculously sharp edge. As a result, the knife is ideal for traveling or cooking. In addition, it has high corrosion resistance, which means you can use it in wet and humid environments.

Impressed with these qualities, here is more, the knife resists chipping and breaking. The pocket knife lock is strong and sturdy, so you accidentally won’t cut your fingers. The G10 carbon fiber handle is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes and comfortable to hold and use.


  • Compact and lightweight
  • Sturdy and robust with a sharp edge.
  • Convenient to keep, with the reversible pocket clip.


  • Challenging to sharpen the small blade.


Spyderco McBee Specialty Folding Knife

Key Features:

  • 1.5-inch stainless steel blade.
  • Premium titanium handle.
  • The overall length is 3.82 inches, and the closed length is 22.3 inches.

Here is another one from Spyderco, which makes the cut as best CTS-XHP steel knives. The idea behind making the knife was inspired by Jonathan McNees, an avid traveler and veteran US marine serviceman. He has spent a considerable amount of time designing the best knife, which is sharp, compact, and suits everyone’s needs. The knife, which has a 1.5-inch long blade, is exceptionally sharp. It is forged from CTS-XHP steel and has all the features of this steel. In addition, it has exceptionally impressive cutting power.


  • The pocket knife comes with a metal pocket clip.
  • It is compact and easy to carry
  • The ergonomic design makes sharp cuts.


  • Some people are dissatisfied with the length of the knife.


CTS-XHP Steel Equivalent


CPM S35VN comes quite close to the high-end steel CTS-XHP. The chemical composition of CPMS35VN is similar to this steel. Furthermore, both the steel alloy has good edge retention, are corrosion resistant and are wear-resistant. 

CTS-XHP Steel Alternatives


Edge Retention9/108/10
Ease of Sharpening5/107/10
Corrosion Resistance7/108/10

CTS-XHP has better edge retention, and it resists chipping. However, S35VN is better in sharpening, and it offers higher corrosion resistance.

CTS-XHP vs. VG10

Edge Retention9/104/10
Corrosion Resistance7/107/10

The CTS-XHP outnumbers VG10 when compared to its edge retention and toughness. However, VG10 is slightly better in sharpening. 

CTS-XHP vs. M390

Edge Retention9/109/10
Corrosion Resistance7/108/10
CTS-XHP vs M390

M390 comes in premium steel, so it has better edge retention and offers better corrosion resistance. However, they are equal in toughness, and CTS-XHP s easy to sharpen.

CTS-XHP vs. S30V

Edge Retention9/108/10
Corrosion Resistance7/108/10

CTS-XHP has offered higher corrosion resistance and ease of sharpening. The steel CTS-XHP and S30V are similar on the grounds of toughness. However, it has higher edge retention.


CTS-XHP is well-rounded steel that has great corrosion resistance and high edge resistance. The steel has high toughness, which means it keeps chipping and breaking steel at bay. It is extensively used to manufacture knives, as we have mentioned in this article in different sections, the best knife of the CTS-XHP steel and why it is ruling the knife industry. If you are interested in compact and durable knives, you must consider this steel for knives and kitchen utensils.

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