Knife Steel

10Cr15coMoV Steel Review as a Knife Material

10Cr15coMoV Steel Review as a Knife Material

In this article we’re talking about 10Cr15CoMoV steel. We’ll assess it as a knife steel, what goes into it, how it ranks against some other popular knife steels available today, and if it’s a good knife steel product to carry in your store.

As a knife retailer, it’s so important to know your materials so that you can discuss these with your buyer and help them make educated decisions on which products suit both their lifestyle and their budget.

What is 10Cr15CoMoV steel?

What is 10Cr15CoMoV steel?

10Cr15CoMoV steel is a budget high carbon stainless steel that is produced by and exported from China. 10Cr15CoMoV steel is regarded on the market today as an analog steel (a copy) to the Japanese VG10 steel and it shares basically the same characteristics.

The Japanese VG10 steel has in the past been subject to export bans, and this motivated China to develop an equivalent steel which is 10Cr15CoMoV steel.

This is understandable as there was certainly a gap in the market for a VG10 steel duplicate, and VG10 is a highly popular knife material, so copying it makes a lot of sense, particularly if that can be done much more cheaply than the original.

A mouthful of a name: what does 10Cr15CoMoV mean?

Steel manufacturers do follow a general system of naming steel alloys, but this isn’t always adhered to strictly by different companies and manufacturers have their own designations that they like to follow.

In general, the letters and numbers of the steel’s name refer to the steel’s main alloying element, the approximate amount of that element in the steel, and the approximate carbon content expressed in hundredths of 1 percent.

In the name 10Cr15CoMoV the ‘Cr’ refers to Chromium and ‘Co’ refers to the Cobalt content. 10 indicates it has 1.0% of carbon content, 15 means the steel contains 15% of chromium.

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The composition of 10Cr15CoMoV steel

Iron ore is the foundation component of steel and makes up most of its content. However, iron is alloyed or mixed with other elements to produce a steel alloy with various properties desired by the maker.

The composition of 10Cr15CoMoV steel

Let’s look at these in 10Cr15CoMoV steel.

  • Chromium: The element Chromium makes up 15.50% of 10Cr15CoMoV steel and it’s what makes the steel ‘stainless’ grade. The Chromium makes the steel harder and tougher.
  • Carbon: Carbon makes up 1.05% of the steel and it adds to the steel’s hardness, edge retention and resistance to pressure and wear.
  • Cobalt: Cobalt is 1.50% of 10Cr15CoMoV steel. It improved the ability of the steel to be heat treated and thus made stronger. It also adds to rust resistance.
  • Molybdenum: 1.20% of 10Cr15CoMoV steel is Molybdenum. This element makes the steel machine workable and helps it harden during manufacture.
  • Manganese: Manganese is in 10Cr15CoMoV steel at 0.50%. The Manganese hardens the blade but can add brittleness too IF too much is added to the alloy.
  • Vanadium: At 0.30%, the Vanadium in 10Cr15CoMoV increases the steel’s toughness and wear resistance and it also helps with resistance to corrosion.
  • Phosphorus: Phosphorus makes up 0.03% of 10Cr15CoMoV and even in this tiny amount it strengthens the steel and makes it workable under heat.

10Cr15CoMoV steel properties


This steel has a Rockwell hardness rating of 59 – 62, based on how it’s heat treated. This is a very ‘good’ rating for a steel and means that it’s very hard and able to stand up to wear and impacts. For this reason, 10Cr15CoMoV steel is used for both outdoor and domestic (kitchen) knives.


As a steel gets harder, it can diminish in toughness as a rule. However, 10Cr15CoMoV steel maintains a good level of resistance to pressure and impact, meaning that it is appropriate for even tougher jobs without chipping the blade easily.

Corrosion resistance

10Cr15CoMoV steel is stainless due to its Chromium content, which means it resists rust. Care must be taken though like with any knife steel and knives made from 10Cr15CoMoV steel must be dried thoroughly after use and kept in dry conditions.

Edge retention

10Cr15CoMoV steel performs well in this area and holds a sharp edge for a desirable amount of time. This steel needs infrequent sharpening which suits customers that dislike sharpening or simply don’t have a lot of time for it.

Wear resistance

A key quality of any good quality steel is its ability to withstand wear and tear and because of the clever blending of elements in the 10Cr15CoMoV alloy, this steel can resist damage and abrasion very well.

Ease of sharpening

Ease of sharpening for 10Cr15CoMoV steel

10Cr15CoMoV steel offers user friendly utility to the buyer in that it holds an edge for a lengthy time, meaning less sharpening in the first place! Also, the steel itself lends itself to being honed and sharpened so when sharpening is needed, it is not complicated or onerous.

Overall, this steel scores well across several quality assessment areas and it’s clear to see why it’s such a popular choice for the knife buyer and matches the performance levels of its equivalent steel VG10.

10Cr15CoMoV steel compared to other steels on the market

10Cr15CoMoV steel vs D2 steel

D2 steel is a tool steel that is ‘semi – stainless’, not a true stainless steel like 10Cr15CoMoV steel, so it doesn’t have as good a resistance to rust. 

10Cr15CoMoV steel is also tougher than D2 because of its alloy composition that has higher levels of Chromium and Carbon.

As a tool steel D2 is comparatively easier to sharpen than a carbon steel like 10Cr15CoMoV and it will hold an edge longer.

Both steels offer pros and cons that the buyer must assess and of course it must be factored in what the knife is to be used for. Different knife steels perform differently under different conditions, so the usage and habits of the buyer are important when matching customer to ‘best’ knife steel for THEIR lifestyle.

10Cr15CoMoV steel vs 9Cr18MoV steel

With a hardness rating (HRC) of 58 – 60, 9Cr18MoV steel isn’t as hard as 10Cr15CoMoV, but this difference is so negligible that it wouldn’t be noticeable to many buyers.

In terms of corrosion resistance, the 9Cr18MoV wins as it has a higher amount of chromium in the alloy. For this reason, it may be a better knife steel to suggest to a customer looking for a knife steel that’ll be fine if used near water a lot, outdoors or simply not maintained as much.

As 10Cr15CoMoV has a higher level of vanadium carbides in the alloy, it undoubtedly has better hardness as we’ve said and for this reason holds a sharp edge longer than 9Cr18MoV steel.

Toughness of both steels is equivalent; they score about even in this category.

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10Cr15CoMoV steel vs 7Cr17MoV steel

10Cr15CoMoV steel vs 7Cr17MoV steel

With an HRC of 60, 7Cr17MoV steel is not as hard as 10Cr15CoMoV but it is still a very hard steel for everyday usage.

As 10Cr15CoMoV has added Vanadium and carbon, it excels 7Cr17MoV steel in terms of overall toughness and edge retention. 

Bear in mind these differences may not even be noticed by the average buyer as many steel alloys are so similarly composed that it would take an expert to distinguish between them.

7Cr17MoV steel is also a stainless steel with a high level of Chromium so it offers very good corrosion resistance, both steels are about equal in this respect.

Is 10Cr15CoMoV steel a good choice for a knife store?

If you sell knives made from 10Cr15CoMoV steel, you certainly won’t be lacking for a market as this steel is used regularly for everything from kitchen knives to pocketknives to outdoorsman type knives. It appeals to a wide range of clientele which is great.

Because it’s essentially a copy of the very well regarded VG10 steel, you’re able to provide that quality in a steel blend at a very reasonable price point. This knife steel is a good meeting of quality standard and cost.

Provided that the knife is made with skill and care, a 10Cr15CoMoV should offer the buyer no problems. If looked after properly and used appropriately 10Cr15CoMoV knives do a fantastic job.

In conclusion

10Cr15CoMoV knives offer a quality knife steel at an affordable price and we hope that this article has explained its qualities more fully to you.

Thank you for visiting the LeeKnives blog and for showing interest in our exciting range of superior knives!

Should you be needing an easy peasy quote, we’re always glad to assist, until we meet again, stay sharp dear friends!


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