Is D2 Steel Good for Knives? [Complete Steel Guide]

If you’re a real knife fan, you noticed how the D2 steel knife, took over the knife industry, everyone is talking about the “D2 Low-end end knives”, and how effective they are.

Well, Knifeuser is interested too, and we are going to give you more details about the D2 steel knife, either you’re a newbie or a pro, you may find some useful Infos in this blog post! have a nice read.

D2 is common steel, it’s been used in everything from custom makers to mid-tech industries, it’s spreading into the budget knife market as well, it’s a tool steel that’s particularly not stainless it has some chromium in it. 

It’s known to be one of the longer-lasting edge retention steel out of the non-powder steels, that’s at least what’s generally known for and quite a lot of companies have moved towards it.


What is the Chemical composition of D2 steel

D2  steel is a s a versatile high-carbon, high-chromium, air-hardening tool steel with high hardness capacity and good war resistance, its composed of:

  • 1.5% Carbon
  • 12% Chromium
  • 0.9% Molybdenium
  • 1.10% Vanadium
  • 0.45% Manganese
  • 0.40% Silicon
  • 0.03% Phosphorus
  • 0.02% Sulfur
As you can notice its a high Chromium steel, which provides hardness and high corrosion resistance, it’s almost a stainless steel in the composition properties, in all a good steel for knives.


What is the Rockwell hardness of the D2 Steel?

“Quick Stop” If you dont know the term “Rockwell Hardness” check this blog post then comeback!

The D2, is a tool Steel that offer a good toughness and great hardness with a right edge retention, it has a Rockwell hardness range of 55-62 HRC.

According to Hudson Tool Steel Corporation

D2 steel properties

So we just talked about D2’s Rockwell hardness now lets see the qualities of an D2 steel.

  • Good Toughness: The D2 offers a good toughness, not the best one but still a decent toughness, slightly better than the S90V steel.
  • Good edge retention : The D2 has a HRC that can reach 62HCR, which result in a great edge retention.
  • Wear and rust resistance: It has a good wear resistance, that’s why knife maker are attracted to it, its cheap with premium qualities.


D2 steel for knives

The presence of D2 continues to grow in the knife industry, especially because of their low budget, a lot of superior low budget knives are building their reputation, thanks to the D2 steel they provide high wear resistance and toughness.

The D2 steel can match or surpass the famous M2 steel or the S90V Steel, plus of that, it’s widely available and comes with a lower cost, which gives a great advantage to the D2 steel.

In all, we are likely going to see more and more D2 knives on the market.

Best D2 knives - My Top 3

1. Cold Steel Leatherneck-SF

Cold Steel are those knifemakers that made the D2 their main Stell for knifemaking, one of their knives, is this beautiful beast the Cold Steel Leatherneck-SF, it’s a hand-honed ground clip point fixed blade with an overall length of 11 ¾”, blade length 6 ¾”, with a thickness of 5mm. Of course, it’s made with the tough D2 with a black powder coat finish.

If you a fan of large survival tactical knives, you’ll love this knife, it’s hefty, grippy, efficient and comfortable, it won’t twist or rotate in your hands, and it has a steel finger guard for your safety, and comes with nice vertical sheat, in all it’s an Excellent quality knife that feels good in the hand for a low price.

2. Ontario Rat II

If you like the Ontario I and you wish for a smaller knife, then you will love the  Ontario II, It’s 7″ folding knife, with a 3″ blade length, it’s drop point blade with a satin finish the knife is comfortable, it has an index finger groove on the handle, and a jimping on the spine, for more control while using the blade, it has a textured nylon 6 scales handle with an open-built steel liner lock frame.

3. Cold Steel Leatherneck-SF

((See More Photos))

If you’re a fan of traditional Japanese Style knives, here is a great knife made with the D2 steel, the Katsu handmade, it’s a 7.5″ folding pocket knife with a 3″ blade, it has a beautiful bamboo Style G10 handle, this knife is just a beautiful gift for Japanese knives collector, some users are complaining about it since it’s a real “folding knife”, but for me to own a Modern Higonokami for a cheap price is completely a great deal!.

D2 VS Steel

In this section, we’re going to compare our steel with other steels, and for this, I use four criteria; Edge Retention, Corrosion resistance, Ease of Sharpness, and Toughness, and I use a scale or note from 1 to 10.

D2 vs 440C

EDGE RETENTION3.5/102.5/10

440C is better in terms of ease of sharpness and corrosion resistance, for the edge retention and toughness they’re close.

D2 vs S30V (CPM S30V)


The S30V is better in edge retention, ease of sharpness and corrosion resistance, and it is the same level in terms of toughness.

D2 vs VG10


The VG 10 offers better edge retention, better corrosion resistance, and easier to sharpen, but it has lower toughness than D2 steel.

D2 VS 1095


1095 has close edge retention and corrosion resistance, with slightly better toughness, and its easier to sharpen compared to the D2 steel.

D2 vs AUS 8


AUS 8 is easier to sharpen compared to the D2 and has the same edge retention and corrosion resistance with lower toughness compared to the D2.


The D2 steel has a high wear resistance, hardness, and good toughness, which make it an excellent choice for knife makers, and if you do a little search on the market (example: go to you ‘ll find out how cheap are the knives compared to their high quality, but it doesn’t mean that the D2 is better than the high-end steel knives. In the end, it depends on your usage, so the most crucial factor it’s your need in the knife, its basically what the defines if it’s a good or bad knife.

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