CTS-204P Steel Review – Is It A Good Knife Steel?

By Ryan Leavitt •  Updated: 02/15/21 •  5 min read

CTS-204p is one of the most popular steel recipes for knife manufacturers.

It’s a high-quality recipe used by top brands like Spyderco and Benchmade.

This steel recipe was developed by Carpenter and is known for great wear and corrosion resistance.

It’s an ideal material for utility and survival knives because of how durable they are.

This steel is produced using Carpenter’s Powder Metallurgy process, resulting in material high in vanadium, chromium, and carbon.

While this recipe is among the more expensive options for knife manufacturers, it is worth every single penny.

When buying a knife, it’s important to understand the materials used in manufacturing.

And since CTS-204P Steel is such a popular choice, it would be a great recipe for any knife enthusiast to understand.

In this CTS-204P Steel Review, we dive into the properties and features of this material as we determine if it’s the right steel for your knife.

Related: Types of knife steel

What Is CTS 204P Steel?

If you’ve spent any time on blade forums or knife forums, you’d probably know that CTS2014p steel is considered to be a very premium material.

It’s best known for its edge-retention properties, which is why a lot of experts consider it a great base material for knives and blades.

The steel has a lot of vanadium, chromium, and carbon which are all elements that make-up a great blade.

It is made by Carpenter Technology and is very similar to CPM-20CV, which is made by Crucible Industries.

If you’ve been looking for a material that has great wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and edge-retention for your blades, then this might be the right one for you.

However, be warned that it can be fairly hard to sharpen, but you won’t have to do it too much anyway, so that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

CTS 204P Chemical Composition

1. Carbon – 1.9%

This makes the steel very resistant to corrosion and wear, but having too much of it can make it weak.

Because of its high carbon content, this isn’t the toughest material out there but it is ideal for making knives.

2. Molybdenum – 1%

This element makes the steel much easier to the machine, or be cut.

It also makes it a bit stronger, which is very important since it has so much carbon.

3. Chromium – 20%

Chromium is ideal for tensile strength and edge retention, while also enhancing the already great wear and corrosion resistance of the material.

4. Silicon – 0.6%

The small amount of silicon in this recipe greatly improves the strength of the material.

5. Manganese – 0.35%

Manganese makes the steel harder, but too much of it can make it brittle.

6. Tungsten – 65%

This is a very present element in CTS204p, and it improves wear resistance and hardness.

7. Vanadium – 4%

This element can help improve wear resistance and make the material harder.

Properties Of CTS240P

Corrosion Resistance

As mentioned earlier, the way this steel can resist rust and corrosion is one of its biggest selling points.

This is mainly because of the high amounts of chromium and carbon in the recipe.

Knives and blades made out of CTS204p will be able to last you years upon years without succumbing to rust.

Wear Resistance

Just like with corrosion, this material can resist wear & tears very well.

This is what makes it ideal for working knives or blades that will see a lot of use.

The reason for this is the very high amounts of Vanadium and Chromium in the recipe.


Just ask any knifemaker out there what makes a blade sharp, and they will tell you that it’s how it was forged, crafted, honed, and sharpened, and not the steel used.

That being said, CTS204p can be made into a very sharp blade because of its machinability, but it won’t be easy.

This material is very hard, and as the saying goes, the harder it is, the tougher it is to sharpen.

Luckily, this isn’t steel that dulls easily, so you won’t have to sharpen it too much (but more on that later).

Edge Retention

The edge-retention abilities of CTS204p are one of the main reasons it’s considered such a premium material.

It has a lot of Vanadium and Carbon, which make it very hard and offers great edge-retention.

So if you make a knife out of this material, you can expect it to stay sharp for a very long time, which makes the tough sharpening process very much worth it.


One of the most surprising qualities of this steel is that it is fairly tough.

Even if it’s a very hard material, it isn’t brittle, which is why it’s sought-after by a lot of bladesmiths around the world.

So if you stumble upon a model that uses CTS204p, you’ll know that it is going to have a blade that will last you a very long time.

Conclusion – Is This A Good Material For Knives?

The short of it?

Yes, CTS204p is a very tough and hard material that would make for great knife steel.

In fact, one of the only downsides to this material is that it’s hard to sharpen, but since it retains its edge for so long, that won’t have to be done often at all!

So if you think this is the right material for your knife needs, then make sure to check the models out there that use CTS204p, and sooner or later, you’ll have your dream knife ready for use!

Ryan Leavitt

Hi my name is Ryan Leavitt a Marine Corps Veteran and currently an over the road trucker (Long Haul). I am no expert chef but am enjoying preparing my own meals on the road and testing all the different knives.