Is VG10 A Good Knife Steel? [Complete Steel Guide]

VG10 is a high carbon stainless steel from Takefu Special Steel Corporation based in Fukui, Japan. This steel has massive popularity in the Japanese cutlery market, and other global manufacturers are using it for specialized high-end hunting, tactical, and everyday carry knives. Its name indicates the gold quality level as rated by the manufacturer.

The VG10 contains several well-balanced chemical elements that yield excellent wear and corrosion resistance. It holds an edge excellently and is easy to sharpen. The combination of high carbon and vanadium contents makes this steel very hard to a max of 60HRC.

To top it up, its machinability allows for creating different designs and shapes, thus popular in limited edition blades. But is VG10 steel good knife steel? Let’s find out below.

At A Glance

Quality knife steel provides value for money and has lower maintenance costs. With knife steel types almost uncountable, getting the right one for the job may be a challenge better experienced than said.

Luckily, once you know blade type ranks higher than knife looks, you’re halfway to making an educated decision.

And the VG10 high-end offers great looks and excellent performance. This steel popularity has grown immensely to almost “staple” status, with novice and professional chefs having several in their collection.

From premium Shun kitchen, the over-loved Spyderco Enduras/Delicas EDC knives, to the campers’ favorite Fallkniven F1, the VG10 has something suitable for everyone.

Pros

  • Excellent corrosion resistance
  • Great hardness (56-60 HRC)
  • Decent toughness
  • Highly durable
  • Awesome edge retention
  • Achieves superb sharpness

Cons

  • Relatively expensive

Chemical Composition

MaterialsComposition PercentageImpact On Steel
Chromium15.5%Boosts tensile strength, improves wear and corrosion resistance, and sharpness
Carbon1.5%Hardens steel and enhances resistance to wear
Manganese0.5%For the steel’s hardness
Phosphorous0.03%Improves strength
Cobalt1.5%Enhances the intended individual effects of other elements
Molybdenum1.2%Improves machinability and ups the strength
Vanadium0.3%Increases hardness and resistance to abrasion

VG10 Steel Physical Properties

VG10 has a well-rounded profile with a fair balance in great steel traits. Below are the physical properties of this worldwide popular steel.

Hardness

Steel’s hardness directly relates to its wear and abrasion resistance and edge retention ability. Though there is a trade-off with brittleness, hard steels excel well in the named factors. VG10 steel has a hardness range of 56 to 60HRC.

The manufacturers can vary the specific hardness during the heat treatment process to meet the cutting needs of various knives. All in all, be sure you’ll end up with rigid steel with excellent wear resistance and edge holding ability.

Excellent Edge Retention

Excellent edge retention is the most significant reason for the popularity of this steel. While achieving a keen edge is a good steel trait, holding it for long moves steel from good to fantastic. The combination of molybdenum, cobalt, chromium, and carbon results in impressive edge retention while remaining relatively easy to sharpen. Whether you’re looking for a kitchen knife or an outdoor survival, or a high-end everyday carry knife, VG10 promises edge retention worthy praise.

Surprisingly Decent Toughness

Two things rarely go hand in hand in the steel world; high hardness and excellent toughness. Improving one lowers the other considerably. Toughness determines how well steel holds to impact cutting tasks without chipping or breaking. With a max hardness of 60HRC, this steel will surprise you with its decent toughness.

Great Corrosion Resistance

What does a 15.5% chromium content do to steel? Yeah, you guessed right, it makes steel stainless and ups the corrosion and rust resistance. Although VG10 is not fully rust-resistant, you can be sure it holds up well, and a little care keeps it in shape in any weather or environment.

Easy To Sharpen

High hardness equals difficulty in sharpening in the steel world. But the chemical balance in VG10 makes it very hard without compromising the sharpenability. With a good whetstone and lubricating oil, you will easily give this steel a razor-sharp edge.

VG10 Equivalents and Alternatives

Want to know how this top steel from Japan holds against equivalents and alternative steel types? Let’s have a look below.

VG10 vs. 154CM

These two steels are equivalents. Both share a price range and have close chemical compositions. While they score highly in edge retention, resistance to wear and corrosion, and toughness, the 154CM performs better than VG10.

VG10 vs. S30V

These two steels have similar edge retention, ease of sharpening, and corrosion resistance. However, S30V is tougher than VG10.

PropertyVG10S30V
EDGE RETENTION5/105/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS6/105/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE7/107/10
TOUGHNESS4/106/10

VG10 vs. S35V

VG10 handles high impact tasks better than S35V, but the two steel closely rank similarly on edge retention, corrosion-resistant, and sharpenability.

PropertyVG10S35VN
EDGE RETENTION5/106/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS6/106/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE7/107/10
TOUGHNESS6/104/10

VG10 vs. D2

D2 is high carbon steel tougher than VG10. They have almost similar sharpenability, but VG10 does better in corrosion resistance, sharpness, and edge retention.

PropertyVG10D2
EDGE RETENTION5/103.5/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS6/104/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE7/104/10
TOUGHNESS4/106/10

VG10 vs. SG2

These two steel types are from the same manufacturer, but SG2 has more chromium and vanadium composition. SG2 is better in all aspects than VG10 and is rated “super-gold” in quality status, while VG10 is at “gold” level quality.

Is VG10 Good For Knives?

Yes! And it has gained extensive popularity in kitchen knives for its excellent rust resistance and edge retention. Most users love it for its machinability, and the ideal chemical balance ensures the blade is durable with minimal maintenance needs.

You can’t go wrong with this steel in wet environments, while its outstanding sharpness allows for easy cutting and slicing ingredients in the kitchen. Also, VG10 cutlery forms good accompaniment to dishes that need sharp slicing like fish fillets and Sashimi. Notable VG10 knives include:

Spyderco Dragonfly Signature Folding Knife

For this price, you get the best VG10 steel in a compactly designed lightweight knife. The Spyderco Dragonfly is the perfect EDC knife that comes sharp right out of the box and optimized to cut despite the modest size.

Pros

  • Small and easy to carry around
  • Safe to use

Cons

  • Some users have complained of lock looseness after a period of use

FANTECK Damascus Professional Chef Knife

This Damascus steel knife features 67 grades of steel for effective tarnishing prevention. The fabrication, heat treatment using vacuum heat technique, and cooling in cold nitrogen retain all VG10 excellent properties. A chef worth their salt would find many cutting uses for this superb kitchen knife.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Nicely formed knife

Cons 

  • Pricey

Sujihiki Slicer Knife

This entirely handcrafted knife ends your search for the best slicer for your Sashimi. The VG10 blade layering with Damascus adds to rigidity and durability. The handle is from Japanese octagonal Shitan Rosewood for that classy look and tight grip as you slice those vegetables effortlessly. Sadly, this knife won’t perform that well on frozen and acidic foodstuffs.

Pros

  • Slices nicely
  • Durable
  • Comfortable handle

Cons

  • Not versatile enough to cut a wide variety of foods
  • Pricey

Users’ Review on Amazon

The VG10 steel knives have overall positive reviews on Amazon, unsurprising, given their impressive traits and high-quality standard. Most users expressed great satisfaction in the edge retention, razor-sharpness, and overall performance of the VG10 knives.

A primary concern is the eventual loss of rust resistance after several months of use, possibly from poor heat treatment by the manufacturer or inadequate care by the user. Some users have also noted chipping after extended use on heavy impact tasks. In contrast, others returned their order due to manufacturing failures like a single side sharpened edge and a dull blade right out of the box.

Final Words

Now you know tons about this trendy knife steel. Indeed, it’s good knife steel. And possibly you may not be aware that you have a VG10 blade in your knife collection. If you don’t have one or are just starting as a collector, this steel is a must-have.

Though considerably pricey, you get high-quality steel with significant wear and rust resistance, excellent edge retention, and easy to sharpen to dangerous levels.

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