Knife Steel

What is AUS-10 Steel? Exploring High-Performing Japanese Alloy

What is AUS-10 Steel Exploring High-Performing Japanese Alloy

AUS-10 steel is a high-quality stainless steel. Originating from Japan, the steel is known for its corrosion resistance, hardness, and strength. As you explore the world of knives and tools, understanding the characteristics and advantages of this exceptional steel will aid in making informed decisions.

The remarkable properties of AUS-10 steel can be primarily attributed to its unique chemical composition. Which involves a mix of carbon, chromium, molybdenum, and vanadium. This potent combination results in a steel that not only withholds its sharpness but also displays excellent resistance to wear and corrosion. These features make AUS-10 steel particularly desirable for a variety of applications. Ranging from culinary knives to heavy-duty camping and survival tools.

Read the article and find out the specs of AUS-10 steel. Learn how it performs against similar high-carbon stainless steel, and see our thoughts on investing in it for your next purchase.

What is AUS-10 steel?


  • Carbon: 0.95 to 1.10%
  • Chromium: 13 to 14.50%
  • Silicon: 1%
  • Manganese: 0.50%
  • Nickel: 0.49%
  • Molybdenum: 0.10 to 0.30%
  • Vanadium: 0.10 to 0.25%
  • Phosphorus: 0.04%
  • Sulfur: 0.03%

AUS-10 steel, a high carbon stainless steel alloy, originates from Aichi Steel Corporation in Tokai, Japan. The steel is designed to provide excellent cutting performance and impressive resistance to corrosion and wear – a step up from AUS-8.

molding and shaping steel

The high carbon content contributes to the steel’s hardness and edge retention capabilities. Chromium is present in the composition at roughly 14%, giving the steel its stainless properties and enhanced corrosion resistance.

Manganese, in the range of 0.5%, works to improve the steel’s strength and wear-resistance properties. Similarly, molybdenum, at approximately 0.4%, bolsters the steel’s toughness and hardenability. Nickel comprises around 0.5% of the alloy, fortifying the overall strength and corrosion resistance.

In summary, AUS-10 steel’s composition balances a range of elements to achieve optimal hardness, edge retention, corrosion resistance, and durability. This makes it a popular choice for various cutting tools, particularly among those who value high-performing steel with exceptional wear resistance.

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Properties of AUS-10 steel


AUS-10 steel exhibits a hardness spectrum of approximately 58-61 HRC, but with appropriate heat treatment, its maximum hardness level can surpass that. AUS-10 possesses a moderate hardness rating, comparable to VG-10, 10Cr15CoMoV, and other similar steels. This level of hardness is suitable for crafting both professional kitchen knives and pocket knives.

Wear resistance

The wear resistance of AUS-10 steel is impressive due to the presence of vanadium in its composition. Vanadium creates carbides that enhance the wear-resistant properties of the steel. AUS-10 provides even better wear resistance than AUS-8 steel, making it a suitable choice for cutlery and tools that require durability and prolonged use.

Corrosion resistance

AUS-10 is a stainless steel with a high chromium content (more than 14%) which provides it with excellent corrosion resistance. While not as corrosion-resistant as some other stainless steels like 440C or S30V, AUS-10 steel still offers a solid level of rust-resistant properties. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning and drying your AUS-10 tools after use, will help to prevent the blade from rusting.


Despite its high hardness, AUS-10 steel does not sacrifice much in terms of toughness, which is a significant advantage for knife steel. Because of this attribute, blades made from AUS-10 steel can take on a wider range of tasks without chipping.

Edge retention

AUS-10 has an ok edge retention. Not up there with premium powder steel like S30V, but reliable enough that users do not need to constantly worry about sharpening it. Compared to AUS-8, the added carbon content of AUS-10 contributed to the edge retetnion the most.


Surprisingly, with its hardness level, sharpening AUS-10 steel is relatively easy. It can be sharpened with conventional sharpening stones or systems without much difficulty. While harder steels like D2 or S30V may require more time and effort to sharpen, AUS-10 offers a user-friendly and low-maintenance experience.

AUS-10 steel applications

Application of aus10 steel as knife material

Kitchen knives

AUS-10 steel is a popular choice among knife makers for producing high-quality kitchen knives. This high-carbon steel offers exceptional performance thanks to the hardness it can achieve. A trait that’s especially important among Japanese culinary knives.

AUS-10 also doesn’t need much care. With decent rust resistance and toughness, home cooks can use it with ease. The knives made from AUS-10 remain reliable for cutting, slicing, and chopping tasks in any kitchen for years to come.

Pocket knives

In addition to kitchen knives, AUS-10 steel is also commonly used in the production of pocket knives. The toughness and edge retention makes it well-suited for various types of cutting tasks, from everyday use to outdoor activities. Many renowned knife makers, such as Cold Steel, have incorporated AUS-10 steel into their folding and hunting knives due to its optimal performance.

Whether you’re using your AUS-10 pocket knife for general utility purposes or precision tasks, you’ll appreciate the versatility and sharpness it provides. It’s essential to maintain your knife by regularly cleaning and sharpening it to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

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AUS-10 steel alternatives

AUS-10 steel alternatives


AUS-8 steel is an affordable alternative to AUS-10 steel. It has similar but slightly less carbon content but less vanadium, resulting in slightly reduced wear resistance. However, the lower carbon vanadium also makes it easier for you to sharpen, and its corrosion resistance is still commendable. This may be a suitable choice if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option.


VG-10 steel, a popular choice for high-quality chef knives, offers better edge retention and corrosion resistance than AUS-10. However, depending on the manufacturing process, VG-10 may be pricier and harder to come by than AUS-10.


154CM steel is an American-made steel with a high carbon content that provides impressive edge retention. However, its corrosion resistance isn’t as strong as AUS-10, VG-10, or AUS-8 steel. If you prioritize edge holding and are willing to maintain the blade more regularly to prevent corrosion, 154CM steel can be a good alternative.


ATS-34 steel is another American-made steel, known for its remarkable edge-holding abilities and toughness. While it lacks the same corrosion resistance as AUS-10 steel, its performance is still admirable. If you’re less concerned about corrosion resistance and more concerned about toughness, this might be a better option for you.


440C steel is a popular stainless steel that offers excellent corrosion resistance, making it a reliable choice for EDC knives. Its edge retention might not be as strong as that of AUS-10, but it’s significantly easier to sharpen. 440C steel could be the right choice if you prioritize corrosion resistance and ease of sharpening.

Should you invest in AUS-10 steel?

AUS-10 steel is known for its good performance in terms of hardness, toughness, and rust resistance. Before investing in this material, it is essential to weigh its benefits and understand its affordability in comparison to other options available in the market.

One of the key advantages of AUS-10 steel is its corrosion resistance. When investing in new products for your business, it is essential to consider the longevity and resistance to things beyond your control once they are sold.

LeeKnives provides a range of premium knife steel to accommodate your sourcing requests. Contact us, request a quote, and let us help you get into the world of knives!


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