What is X50CrMoV15 Steel? [The Complete Steel Guide]

X50CrMoV15 is martensitic stainless steel made in Germany. Its mouthful of a name indicates the chemicals used to make it. The X means this steel is stainless, the 50 shows the composition of carbon, in this case, 0.5%, and 15 shows the percentage of chromium in the alloy (15%), while Cr and MoV shows Chromium (Cr), Molybdenum (Mo) and Vanadium (V) are present. It has other names like 1.4116 and 420MoV.

X50CrMoV15 lies somewhere between mid and high-range steel tiers quality-wise. It has good hardness and toughness thanks to the relatively balanced carbon, chromium, and vanadium components. It’s an all-around performer that is very popular in high-quality kitchen knives and cutlery.

You may have met or will meet this steel while knife shopping. Fret not as I have prepared tons of information on it below. Stick around as we discuss more X50CrMoV15 steel.

At A Glance

If you are looking for a reliable kitchen knife or a good EDC carry, then the X50CrMoV15 steel blade may be the end of your search. This steel has excellent corrosion resistance, holds an edge decently, and is easy to sharpen. At 56HRC, it has enough hardness and toughness to handle all cutting tasks you throw at it. Besides, it’s from Germany, a country known for quality steel.

You will find X50CrMoV15 steel in cleavers, kitchen utility knives, chopping knives, paring knives, all-purpose kitchen shears, cutlery, and surgical instruments.

Pros 

  • Great corrosion resistance
  • Decent edge retention
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Good wear resistance
  • Decent toughness

Cons

  • Performs poorly in outdoor work
  • It’s unsuitable for challenging tasks like rope-cutting

Chemical Composition

Let’s find out the chemical elements making up this steel alloy below.

  • Carbon, 0.5%: At this percentage, the amount of carbon is just right to retain an edge fairly and sharpen easily. It’s not high carbon steel and won’t have the superior wear resistance of premium steels. But you will get quality years of service from it.
  • Chromium, 15%: Makes this steel highly corrosion-resistant, and improves edge retention, wear resistance, and tensile strength.
  • Silicon, 1%: Boosts the strength of the steel.
  • Molybdenum, 0.8%: Increases the strength and machinability of steel.
  • Manganese, 1%: Boosts hardness.
  • Phosphorus, 0.04%: Increases strength.
  • Sulfur, 0.015%: Improves the ease of working with this steel.
  • Vanadium, 0.2%: Boosts hardness and wear resistance while allowing for tempering at high temperatures that boost toughness.

Physical Properties

1. Average Hardness

X50CrMoV15 steel has a hardness range of 52 to 56HRC, but most knives have a standard hardness of 56HRC. The hardness is average and barely affects the toughness of this steel. The following are the recommended heat treatment parameters:

  • Forging: 1100-800 °C
  • Rolling: 1100-800 °C
  • Annealing: 750-850 °C
  • Quenching: 980-1030 °C
  • Tempering: 100-200 °C

2. Decent Edge Retention

This steel lacks the high carbon and vanadium contents to yield extremely hard carbides. Hence, you won’t get edge retention equivalent to high hardness steels, but also it isn’t the worst. This steel edge retention falls within lower high-end steels level and is decent unless you do a lot of abrasive cutting.

3. Easy To Sharpen

X50CrMoV15 steel is straightforward to sharpen. Its compensation for the low edge holding, with even novices making it razor sharp effortlessly. X50CrMoV15 is great steel to walk you through the learning curve of steel sharpening, and you only need a basic whetstone or a sharpening rod to get started.

4. Excellent Corrosion Resistance

Stainless steels hold well to corrosion and rust. You can bet this steel does excellently in resisting corrosion, given its 15% chromium content. It’s so good that a user on Amazon had left it accidentally in water for a week and no rust formed on its surface.

5. Terrific Sharpness

X50CrMoV15 steel a wicked level of sharpness. If you love your fingers, please don’t test the sharpness with them after a session with a sharpener. As it’s easy to machine, the manufacturer can give it a razor-sharp edge while forging.

6. Decent Toughness

This steel is decently tough. It holds up well to impacts, shocks, and lateral forces in challenging cutting tasks and severe abuse. X50CrMoV15 steel blades don’t chip or break easily and will serve you for long.

X50CrMoV15 vs. Other Steels

Below is a side-by-side comparison of X50CrMoV15 and other steel equivalents and alternatives. The comparison creates a better picture of the performance of X50CrMoV15, to help you better decide if it fits your needs.

X50CRMOV15 vs. AUS10

X50CrMoV15 steel is as corrosion resistant as the little-known Japanese AUS10. The higher carbon content makes AUS10 harder and thus retains an edge better. It also has better wear resistance but loses the toughness and ease of sharpening award to X50CrMoV15.

X50CRMOV15 vs. 8CR13MOV

8Cr13MoV is a Chinese stainless steel that is cheaper than X50CrMoV15. It has lower chromium content, thus lower corrosion resistance. The two steel have almost similar inferior edge retention abilities but are very easy to sharpen. An 8Cr13MoV fare well in EDC knives and is popular in brands by big companies like Spyderco, while X50CrMoV15 handles kitchen duties better.

X50CRMOV15 vs. 440C

These two steel types are all-around performers with properties ranging from mid to high-range steel levels. 440C retains an edge better and is more resistant to corrosion. On the other hand, X50CrMoV15 is easier to sharpen and slightly more rigid.

Is X50CrMoV15 Steel Good For Knives?

Absolutely. X50CrMoV15 steel is excellent and very popular in knives used in wet and high humid areas. Its corrosion resistance is impressive, and the toughness and hardness well balanced. These qualities make this steel great for kitchen knives.

Slicing and chopping foodstuffs to fine pieces are easy with its ultra-fine sharpness, and we are sure this steel won’t stress you while sharpening. However, this steel performs poorly in outdoor activities like hunting and camping. You also don’t want this relatively soft steel for a tactical knife.

Read also: Kershaw Cryo Review

Best X50CrMoV15 Steel Knives

1. Tuo 8-Pcs Kitchen Knife Set (Fiery Phoenix Series)

The Fiery Phoenix Series is a set of kitchen knives designed for different kitchen cutting tasks. All the knives come very sharp right out of the box and sport all the great features of X50CrMoV15. The full-tang knives feature well-treated high-density Pakka wood handles, with ergonomic designs for easy and firm gripping. Below is everything you get in this set:

  • 7-inch cleaver
  • 7-inch Granton Santoku knife
  • 6-inch chopping knife
  • 5-inch kitchen utility knife
  • 4-inch paring knife
  • All-purpose shears
  • 8-inch honing steel
  • A wooden block

2. Derjob Professional 8 Inch Chef Knife

As the name suggests, this knife is for professional chefs as it’s excellent in chopping, dicing, slicing, and mincing. The 8-inch blade at 16-18 degrees edge is unstoppable in dealing with meats, cheese, veggies, and other foodstuffs. Notable features for this knife include:

  • Ergonomic Pakka wood handle
  • 8-inch blade
  • It comes razor-sharp right out of the box
  • It comes with a 3-months return back guarantee
  • Packed in a beautiful solid box that serves as its day-to-day storage

User’s Review on Amazon

X50CrMoV15 steel knives hardly have any negative reviews on Amazon. Users are happy with the performance, design, and ergonomics of most knife brands using this steel. Factors like weight distribution, ease of handling, value for money, and aesthetics have more than 4-star ratings.

Dissatisfied users complain of issues like wrong package details and instructions written in poor English. Others have complained of the poor edge holding ability, which sadly is a property of X50CrMoV15 steel. Luckily, most manufacturers have included a sharpening tool in the package and offer return-back guarantees on knives.

Conclusion

X50CrMoV15 steel is more prevalent in the kitchen than in outdoor cutting duties. This German-made steel has all it takes to be in the kitchen, and the price is very affordable. An X50CrMoV15 steel knife brings excellent corrosion resistance, decent and well-balanced hardness and toughness, and ultra-fine sharpness.

However, you will need to sharpen the knife often as the steel holds an edge poorly. But, the sharpening is easy and straightforward, and you only need a well-lubricated whetstone. Also, avoid hacking hard bones, as you will destroy your knife.

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