ThePipingMart Blog Metals 5CR15 vs D2 Steel – What’s the Difference

5CR15 vs D2 Steel – What’s the Difference

5CR15 vs D2 Steel

In the world of knives, the selection of the right steel plays a vital role in determining the ultimate performance of the blade. It is not just about the blade size or the grip; steel quality is also one of the critical factors to consider when choosing a knife. Steel quality affects its sharpness, durability, and strength. 5CR15 and D2 steel are two distinct types of metals used on knives. Knowing the differences between these two can help you make an informed purchase decision. In this blog, we will discuss 5CR15 and D2 steel in detail to help you choose the best one for your knife.

What is 5CR15 Steel?

5CR15 steel is a high-carbon martensitic stainless steel produced in China. Its composition includes 0.50-0.60% Carbon, 15% Chromium, and 0.15%-0.25% Molybdenum with trace amounts of other elements such as Manganese, Silicon, Nickel and Phosphorus, making it highly corrosion-resistant and wear-resistant for an extended period even after continued use or exposure to the elements. This type of steel is commonly used for knives due to its great strength and hardness, meaning a well-crafted knife made from 5CR15 will stay sharper for longer than lower grades of stainless steel.

What is D2 Steel?

D2 steel is a high-carbon, high-chromium cold work tool with outstanding impact toughness and wear resistance. It is composed of 12% chromium, 1% molybdenum, 0.90% carbon, 1.20–2.00 % manganese, 5.0–7.0 % silicon and 0.50 % nickel, providing good stress corrosion cracking resistance and great strength at elevated temperatures up to 700 °C (1292 °F). It also features excellent wear resistance due to its higher hardness than other steels, which makes it an ideal choice for tools or machinery where longevity is essential, such as knife blades and surgical instruments in the food industry or cold-forming dies in the automotive industry.

Difference Between 5CR15 and D2 Steel


5CR15 is a low-end Chinese stainless-steel composition with a chromium content of about 15%. It has some carbon and manganese, but the rest of its composition is iron. This kind of steel is commonly found in affordable knives, as it is not as expensive as other types of steel.

D2 steel, on the other hand, is high-end steel commonly used in custom knives. It is an air-hardening steel that contains 1.5% carbon, 11.5% chromium, and 1% molybdenum. Its high carbon and chromium content makes it more durable and corrosion-resistant than 5CR15.


5CR15 is relatively easy to sharpen, and you don’t need to be an expert to bring back its sharp edge. You can use sharpening stones or machines designed for sharpening knives. However, this steel doesn’t hold its edge well, and you may need to sharpen it often.

D2 steel is much harder than 5CR15, which means it has excellent edge retention. The downside is that sharpening can be more challenging, and you may need a professional sharpener or advanced sharpening tools to get a perfect edge.


When it comes to durability, D2 steel is the better option. It is more robust and can withstand more stresses than 5CR15. D2 steel is designed to maintain its edge better and perform well in extended use. Its high corrosion resistance also makes it more durable, as it can withstand the elements better than 5CR15.

5CR15, on the other hand, is less robust and more susceptible. Its corrosion resistance is limited, and it can weaken over time. It is not designed to withstand wear and tear and is best used in light-duty tasks.


One significant factor that influences the type of steel used in a knife is the cost. 5CR15 is a low-end steel found in inexpensive knives, often used for light-duty tasks and everyday use. It is an ideal option for budget-conscious buyers looking for a reasonably priced knife.

D2 steel is a high-end steel that is more expensive and commonly found in high-end custom knives. It is best used in heavy-duty tasks and is perfect for professional chefs or hunters.


Picking the right steel for your knife is critical, affecting its overall performance and durability. 5CR15 and D2 steel are two distinct types of steel commonly used in knives. D2 steel is a higher-end steel that is more durable, corrosion-resistant, and harder to sharpen than 5CR15. 5CR15 is more affordable than D2 steel and perfect for daily or light-duty tasks. Choose the steel that meets your needs, budget, and tastes, and you will find the perfect knife for your purpose.

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