440C Stainless Steel Review [Is 440c steel good for a knife]

Knives can be pretty handy. Whether you need a knife for camping, hunting, or even survival, you need to make sure that it’s made of a suitable material that can withstand years of abuse.

440C stainless is a common material for knife blades that’s been around for almost 20 years, but how good is it? That’s exactly what we’re going to shed light on in our review today. We’ll also give you a couple of recommendations to check out, so stick around.

440C Stainless Steel Review: At a Glance

The properties of 440C stainless steel make it a stellar choice for knife blades. It has good corrosion and wear resistance, in addition to prolonged edge and sharpness retention.


  • High hardness rating
  • Excellent edge retention
  • Anti-corrosive properties
  • Moderately priced
  • Good machinability and formability


  • Poor toughness
  • Sharpening is a bit challenging 


440C steel contains a wide range of components in varying percentages. These include:

  • Carbon – 1.1%
  • Silicon – 0.30%
  • Sulfur – 0.03%
  • Manganese – 0.45%
  • Chromium – 17%
  • Molybdenum – 0.50%
  • Phosphorus – 0.04%

Each of these constituents plays a vital role in determining the features of 440C stainless steel. For example, carbon makes 440C steel hard and more resistant to wear, while silicone adds deoxidizing properties and boosts the material’s workability at high temperatures.

As for phosphorus, it improves the overall strength of 440C steel, while molybdenum enhances its toughness, deep hardening, and wear resistance.

Chromium makes 440C stainless steel harder and more wear, rust, and corrosion-resistant. The addition of manganese also makes the material less brittle while giving its workability a good boost.



440C stainless steel has a hardness of 57HRC based on the Rockwell Hardness test. This is probably because of its high carbon and chromium content.

And while 440C stainless is considered pretty hard and the hardest of all steels in the 440 series, it still falls behind when compared to some other steel grades.

Nevertheless, this hardness rating is pretty good and should be enough for most purposes. In fact, too much hardness may make your knife more brittle.


Since 440C stainless steel is quite hard, its toughness isn’t that great. However, for steel in the 440 series, its toughness falls within the acceptable range thanks to its high molybdenum content. Not to mention, toughness isn’t that critical when it comes to knives, anyway.


Sharpening a 440C knife can be a bit challenging because of how hard 440C steel is. The good news is this material is capable of maintaining its sharpness for a long time.

Whenever you need to sharpen it, you’ll probably have to go for an advanced sharpening method, but putting it in the fridge right on the side of an ice cube will definitely make it sharper as well.

Edge Retention

Edge retention is an area that 440C stainless steel excels at. Thanks to its excellent hardness, 440C steel is capable of maintaining its edge in good condition for a pretty long time. You can use your 440C knife daily, and it won’t get dull anytime soon.

Best 440C Stainless Steel Knives

Alright, now let’s take a look at two of the most promising 440C stainless steel knives and uncover what they have to offer. 

1. ESEE Izula

ESEE Izula

The ESEE Izula knife sets the bar high by providing the perfect blend between weight and strength. It flaunts a pre-sharpened 440C stainless steel blade with excellent edge retention and hardness.

On top of that, it comes with a molded sheath, so you can carry the knife around without worrying about hurting yourself. There’s also a clip that lets you secure the sheath to your belt.

The handle offers a good grip, but it may get a bit slippery in wet weather. It’s also worth noting that the Izula knife doesn’t have any handle scales, giving it a “more friendly” appearance.


  • Lightweight
  • Pre-sharpened blade
  • Includes a molded sheath with clip
  • Comfortable grip


  • Handle gets slippery when wet

2. iFIELD 150

iFIELD 150

The iFIELD 150 knife offers a great deal of value for its price. With a 7” blade that has a 5mm thickness, the iFIELD 150 has what it takes to be the ultimate survival knife for you.

What’s more, you get a multiposition black leather sheath that allows you to carry your knife safely and comfortably, something that we definitely appreciate at this price point.

The red micarta handle provides a tremendous grip, making it a breeze for you to use the knife to cut anything you could think of. Add to that the hard 440C stainless steel blade, and you get a well-rounded knife that suits all purposes.


  • Robust, wear-resistant blade
  • High value for money
  • Genuine leather sheath
  • Comfortable handle


  • No extended warranty

Frequently Asked Questions

Is D2 Steel Better Than 440C?

D2 steel is a bit tougher and more wear-resistant than 440C steel. However, in day-to-day use, you may not notice that much of a difference between the two materials.

Will 440C Stainless Steel Rust?

In normal conditions, 440C stainless steel shouldn’t rust because of its chromium content. However, exposing your 440C knife to abrasions, chemicals, or high humidity may cause the chromium layer to wear out, making it more likely for the material to rust.

What’s the Difference Between 440A and 440C Stainless Steel?

The primary difference between 440A and 440C steel is hardness. 440C stainless steel has a higher carbon content, giving it the upper edge over 440A steel when it comes to hardness.

How Strong Is 440C Stainsteel Steel?

440C is martensitic stainless steel from the 440 series, and with high carbon content, it’s pretty strong. In other words, you can use a knife made of 440C steel to cut virtually anything you want, as long as it’s not made of a harder material.

Final Thoughts

440C stainless steel is an excellent choice for knife blades, period. It’s hard, can maintain sharpness, and it won’t rust. What else can you ask for?

It’s not perfect, though. For example, its toughness isn’t the best we’ve seen. Nevertheless, it’s still a pretty good choice for moderate use in fishing, hunting, and camping.

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