ThePipingMart Blog Metals 420HC Steel vs S90V – What’s the Difference

420HC Steel vs S90V – What’s the Difference

420HC Steel vs S90V Steel

For knives enthusiasts, the choice of steel for their knife blade is a critical aspect that can affect the blade’s durability, sharpness, and overall performance. Two popular steel types commonly found on knife blades are 420HC steel and S90V. In this blog post, we will compare the features and qualities of these two steels so you can make an informed decision when picking your next knife.

What is 420HC Steel?

420HC Steel is high-carbon stainless steel with an excellent strength-to-hardness ratio and good corrosion resistance properties. It takes well to harden and hone, making it ideal for use in knives and other tools where superior wear resistance is desired. This material also has the added benefit of being highly resistant to rust and corrosion caused by frequent exposure to water or saltwater environments.

What is S90V Steel?

S90V is a high-end stainless steel designed for superior wear and edge retention. It is made from Carbon, Manganese, Silicon, Vanadium and Chromium, with higher amounts of Vanadium than other steels in the same category. It has a durable Rockwell hardness rating of 61-62 HRC, making it one of the hardest knives on the market.

Difference Between 420HC Steel and S90V Steel 

Composition and Hardness:

Firstly, let’s discuss the composition and hardness of these two types of steel. 420HC steel is stainless steel, an upgraded version of 420 steel known for its high carbon content and excellent corrosion resistance. On the other hand, S90V is a premium quality steel with high levels of vanadium and chromium. It is extremely hard and has excellent wear resistance. The hardness of 420HC ranges from 56-59 HRC, compared to S90V, which is much harder and falls in the 59-62 HRC range.

Toughness and Durability:

The toughness and durability of a blade are vital when it comes to its performance, especially when used in rugged conditions. While 420HC is known for its toughness, S90V has the highest toughness among any stainless steel. Moreover, the S90V has excellent chipping resistance, making it the ideal steel for making knives meant for heavy use and outdoor adventures.

Edge Retention:

The ability of a blade to retain its sharpness is critical, especially during extended use. 420HC steel has good edge retention, but when compared to S90V, it falls slightly behind. S90V is a premium steel that retains its sharpness for longer, making it ideal for people who require razor-sharp knives for their work.

Corrosion Resistance:

Both 420HC steel and S90V are stainless steel with good corrosion resistance. However, 420HC has better corrosion resistance than S90V, which has lower chromium content. If you live in a coastal area or use a knife frequently in a damp environment, 420HC might be the optimal choice.


Finally, the price point for both steel types varies greatly. 420HC is a more affordable option, while S90V’s premium quality makes it more expensive to produce and, in turn, more expensive to buy. If you’re on a budget or want a knife that can withstand daily usage without breaking the bank, 420HC is the better option.


Whether you pick 420HC steel or S90V depends on your preference, requirements and the tasks you intend to do with the knife. While 420HC is a reliable and cost-effective option for an everyday carry knife, S90V excels in harsh outdoor conditions due to its toughness and edge retention. Ultimately, you can go right with either of these steels; both provide you with a high-quality and reliable blade.

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