How Good is N680 Steel?

Knives are made out of many different types of metal for a variety of different reasons. Böhler N680 steel is a fairly cheap type of steel but it also has some really good qualities about it. For example, this type of steel is very corrosion-resistant. The tradeoff, however, is that it does not hold an edge as well as some of the other more expensive steels on the market.

Who Would Like this Steel?

Still, for people who are not looking to spend a lot of money, want a knife that will not corrode easily, then this just may be the best choice. It does not take a lot of work to sharpen a blade, and if a person is out to save money, N680 steel is very well priced. It is not cheap but only a little more expensive than 420 or 440 steel.

N680 steel performs a little better than 420 steel, a common steel used to make many mass-marketed knives. It keeps an edge better than 420 as well as resists corrosion better. (See how mass marketed balisongs suck).

In terms of corrosion resistance, N680 is high but not as high as titanium knives or ceramic knives who are almost impossible to rust. If you are looking for a dive knife, check out titanium knives. They run about $50.

How N680 Steel Resists Corrosion

During smelting, N680 is infused with nitrogen, an elemental gas. The nitrogen interacts with the chromium inside the steel to give the chromium “more space to work with” so to speak. This allows the chromium to better defend the iron from reacting with oxygen. If iron reacts with oxygen, rust forms.


  • 0.40% Cobalt
  • 1.10% Manganese
  • 0.21% Molybdenum
  • 0.09% Vanadium
  • 0.54% Carbon
  • 17.30% Chromium

Other Features of N680

  • It contains 0.40% Cobalt. Cobalt is an expensive metal and, when added to steel, increases the steel’s hardness. This makes knives that are slow to dull.
  • N680 also contains .09% Vanadium. Vanadium is used to give the metal a nice grain when it is forming. The grain gives the metal more flexibility and chip resistance. Unlike pure carbon steels, carbon steels with vanadium are less likely to break.
  • N680 is used in some top of the line Spyderco knives because of its features and price point.

Favorites Using N680

Things to Keep in Mind

There are a lot of other considerations to keep in mind when looking for the right knife to purchase. However; the right type of steel is one of the most important factors. Also, a person should think about the craftsmanship of the handle and other parts. Just as almost anything a person buys knives also has their select manufacturers who are well known for quality products. This does not mean that Gerber is the only knife company you should trust because there are many other knife manufacturers who put out exceptional products, and some who are not known who put out better products than do companies such as Gerber.

Just keep in mind that only a certain amount of the money you spend goes towards the materials of which the knife is made. (See our machete guide). Other than that you are paying for the name or retailer expenses. Know your product, and buy what you are after. (This $30 folding knife outperforms $200 knives).

Save up to 50% on your new knife at BladeHQ

We have partnered with BladeHQ to offer the best deals on high-quality knives for our readers. The deals are always changing so click the button below to shop today.

Recent Posts

MKM Normar Review

MKM Normar Review

Introduction The MKM Normar is a fantastic bushcraft knife that truly shines in outdoor tasks as well as having utility indoors. The full-tang blade made from CPM 3V steel gives the knife excellent strength and durability, and the scandi grind is perfect for slicing through various materials with ease. The blade’s belly is ample and ... Read more

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Hawkbill Blade Knife.

There are different tools and equipment that we typically require to use in various situations in our lives. Knives are one such type of tool that is essential for multiple purposes. Whether for general kitchen usage or survival purposes, you need to select a knife that is ideal for the given situation in which it ... Read more
what is the best knife to cut meat

Best Knife to Cut Meat of 2022: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

Some of the sharpest kitchen knives in existence are meat cutting knives. That said, you can’t expect them to give their best cutting performance throughout the course of their service. If you’ve ever owned a kitchen knife for cutting meat before (and you likely have), you know they’re not built to last. Make sure to ... Read more
best ceramic knives for your kitchen

Best Ceramic Knives of 2022: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

While they aren’t a replacement for tough steel knives, ceramic knives are versatile and ideal for any kitchen. They are razor-sharp, rust-proof, and featherweight and are relatively inexpensive. If you’re shopping around for the best ceramic knives, then you have come to the right place. We reviewed 5 of the leading ceramic knife sets on ... Read more
what is a boning knife used for

What Is a Boning Knife Used For: Getting to Know This Handy Tool

Having a tool in your kitchen is essential, but the same tool becomes worthless if you don’t know how to use it effectively. Knives are the same; different types make your tasks easier only if you know what each type is best for. That’s why it’s vital to find out what is a boning knife ... Read more
best boning knife of 2022

Best Boning Knife of 2022: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

With a quality curved boning knife, you can break down fish and meat efficiently on your own and save money. In some knives, you even get the bonus of a filleting function where you can separate the meat fish from bone with relative ease. On that note, here are five of the best boning knife ... Read more

Looking for something specific?

3 thoughts on “How Good is N680 Steel?”

  1. Well, it all depends to what you compare. 440C is a nice steel for an industrial knives. The N680 performs in the same area in terms of cutting power and edge holding. It is way better for corrosion resistance. This one of the best choices for wet environnements in it range. Price stays however higher than 440C.

  2. Author seems confused, and I would look elsewhere for reviews considering this.
    One, this steel does not contain 20% Nitrogen….that is simply ridiculous, the few steels used for knives that have Nitrogen have a rough range of 0.1% to 0.5%. Significantly less than 1%. Not sure where 20% is coming from, maybe they meant 0.2%? Either way, information on how much Nitrogen is in this steel is hard to come by.
    Two, N680 does not have 1.5% Cobalt, in fact it has no Cobalt in it. N690 (note the “9”) does have Cobalt in the range of 1.5%, but N680 does not.
    Three, since it is made by Bohler-Uddenholm, it is a nicely made steel unlike the vast majority of 420 and 440 steels, and it is also rarer. Thus, it is not a cheap steel and much more expensive than 420 and 440 steels.
    Four, as far as I am aware, N680 has never been used in a Spyderco. N690 (again, note the “9”) has been used in some Spyderco knives however.

    It is very clear this “review” is confused as to what is being reviewed. N680 is a knife designed to be very corrosion resistant, while having better edge retention than similarly corrosion resistant steels like 420J2. It is a great choice if corrosion is a big concern, but you still want mid level cutting ability (AUS-8 level roughly). N690 is the Bohler-Uddenholm equivalent to VG-10, but I would argue is just a little bit better (but not enough to remove the comparison).

    Poor review in all honesty.


Leave a Reply to Gary Cancel reply