S30V Steel Review: What Is It & Is It Good?

By Ryan Leavitt •  Updated: 01/15/21 •  6 min read

There isn’t a knife enthusiast out there who can overstate the importance of the right knife steel.

Manufacturers pay very close attention to the steel recipe they use for their products.

And if you’ve been looking to buy or make a knife, you should pay close attention to it, too.

If you research the most popular knife steels out there, chances are that you’ll find S3v0 steel.

It is one of the most popular steel recipes for knives and other tools in America, and finds is best used for pocket knives.

Any blade made out of S3v0 will be durable, corrosion-resistant, and work very well in a variety of situations.

However, because it is very hard steel, it can also be brittle, which is a very important factor to consider.

In this Sv30v review, we inspect the different properties and features of this steel recipe.

And by the end, you’ll be able to decide if this is the right choice for you.

Related: Types of knife steel (ultimate guide)

What is CPM S30V Steel?

Developed by Chris Reeve and Crucible Industries, S30V is a new breakthrough stainless knife steel, especially in the high-end pocket knife segment in recent years. In terms of availability, this alloy is crafted for frequent use and harsh environments.

Unlike typically rotated steels, CPM produces it utilizing powder metallurgy. This method contributes to minimizing molten alloy components to powder. The outcome is that every grain is impacted, comprising the precise creation of mixture elements.

As a result, the CPM steel offers customers a broad range of great features and stands out in the industry.

What Properties Does S30V Steel Have?

When it comes to evaluation criteria, there are 6 key factors that buyers should take into consideration.


Hardness is the capability of withstanding deformation when exposed to stress and tough applications. Hardness in blade steels is also considered a strength and estimated based on the Rockwell C scale (HRC).

The Rockwell Hardness of this material ranges from 58 to 61 HRC. This strength makes it a hard-use material used for every application, even the most demanding objects.

Corrosion Resistance

A stiff corrosion resistance helps a cutter fight against corrosion, like rust, posed by external factors, such as humidity, acid, moisture, or salt.

The CPM delivers an amazing corrosion resistance property owing to 14% chromium. Therefore, knives made of metal are rust-free with just simple cleaning.


Steel toughness represents the ability to endure damage like fractures or chips when subjected to impact or abrupt pressures. As you know, chipping is a cutter’s worst foe and extremely hard to fix.

Actually, a steel type rarely gets all good hardness, corrosion resistance, and toughness in itself. With fantastic corrosion resistance and hardness, the CPM alloy still has an acceptable toughness and is not too easy-to-break.

Wear Resistance

Cutlery producers rely on wear resistance to assess a steel genre’s ability to resist harm from adhesive and abrasive wear. Its wear resistance basically ties in with hardness, but it’s also significantly affected by specific chemistry occurring in itself.

With 4% of vanadium and 14% of chromium, the CPM alloy possesses a tremendously refined grain, hence a prominent wear resistance performance.

Edge Retention

Edge retention property indicates how long a knife can maintain its sharpness after periods of usage. In other words, edge retention is the measurement of wear resistance and deformation resistance of the edge combined.

As we’ve mentioned, the metal has to go through a metallurgical process in the production phase, resulting in exceedingly uniform molecules. Thus, the CPM firm has generated solid, workable material with an exceptional edge retention property.

Heat Treatment

The metal should be treated by austenitizing at 1950°F for 15 minutes, quenching to under 125°F, and tempering for 2 hours at 600°F twice. Applying a cool treatment between tempers is ideal.

Producers can select treatment temperature, depending upon the expected hardness, corrosion resistance, and toughness.

CPM S30V Vs D2

To have a clearer outlook on how well it has performed, we’ll compare it with another CPM steel – D2. To be precise, these two types share a variety of fantastic specific features in common.

Nevertheless, the D2 is not as hard as the latter due to the lower chromium level used when producing (10-13%). As a result, S30V’s corrosion resistance rate surpasses D2 up to 30- 40%. That’s why it’s regarded as truly martensitic stainless steel.

Plus, the alloy is slightly tougher and harder to grind than D2. Toughness on grinders implying that our steel is perfect for long-term daily usage as well as sturdy subjects.

The fact that D2 is more affordable than the latter should also be taken into account. If the price is not within your concern, you should obviously go for the costly one.

So, Is S30V Good?

Undoubtedly, it is more than good for knife making. It has nailed nearly every aspect and performed so well that buyers can’t ignore this choice.

Indeed, the “best blade steel” term is not only about maximizing every property performance and pushing each one up to the highest level. The biggest challenge is to balance toughness with strength or hardness in one solid option.

CPM has promoted superbly firm material but quite tough and not too vulnerable to chips. The alloy won’t easily crack should you drop it onto the floor or hard surfaces. Thus, not only can it be applied for household kitchens but also luxurious restaurants or professional environments.

Moreover, a knife can be pretty tough and bend flexibly but may struggle to maintain its edge. And cutters are made to cut things, without sharpness, they no longer work.

When using the knives made of CPM’s steel, consumers don’t have to worry about blunt edges as long as they clean and properly take care of their knives. This implies those folding cutleries can appeal to every customer, from normal homemakers to high-end chefs.

To sum up, strength and durability throughout the entire grain mean that the CPM steel is great knife steel and definitely stands the chance of going ahead in its industry.

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.