What is s90v steel? – [Complete Steel Guide]

S90V Steel

I m sure you already hear about the CPM S90V Steel or S90V Steel, “One of the best steel in knives”, well if you didn’t, I’m here to announce you “you’re missing some good steel for your knife”, but If you did, well we are two then, It got my intention. Therefore I decided to make an S90V Steel Review.

So, If you’re reading this right now it means you’re looking for more pieces of information about the s90v, luckily, I was in the same position, and I made this blog post to answer all common question about this steel (like What is it? What is its chemical composition? What is its hardness? How hard is it? Is it good or no ? and other questions), So let’s dive in!.

Made by @CRUCIBLE, the S90V Steel is a High-End (Or Premium) martensitic stainless steel to which vanadium and carbon have been added for exceptionally good wear resistance, and of course being stainless steel it offers corrosion resistance too, used in knife industry, Plastic Injection and Extrusion Feedscrews, Pelletizing Equipment, Long-wearing Specialty Cutlery, Wear Components for Food and Chemical Processing.

S90V Steel Review

CPM S90V Steel composition

  • 2,3% of Carbon: It improves hardness and wear/corrosion resistance, but a high amount of it decreases strength.
  • 14% of Chromium: For tensile strength and Edge retention, and enhances corrosion resistance and wear resistance.
  • 1% of Molybdenum: Increase Machinability and strength.
  • 0,5% of Manganese: Increases hardness and brittleness.
  • 0,03% of Sulfur: Increases machinability.
  • 9% of Vanadium: Improves wear resistance and hardenability.
  • 0,4% Tungsten: Improves wear resistance and hardness.

As you can see the chemical composition of the CPM S90V is a mixture of a high level of Carbon (More than 1%), Chromium, and Vanadium, which makes high-end steel with high wear resistance and corrosion resistance.

CPM s90v steel hardness

According to @Crucible, the Hardness or Rockwell hardness of S90V is 58 HRC.

If you don’t understand the Terms “HRC” or “Rockwell Hardness”, I made this blog post explaining it! Have a nice read!

CPM s90v steel properties

According to the chemical composition and the HRC of the steel, the CPM s90v Steel has the following features:

CPM s90v Edge Retention: With a high presence of vanadium and carbon, s90v steel offers extreme edge retention (might be the best in the steel).

CPM s90v Corrosion Resistance: Great Corrosion Resistance due to 14% of Chromium, which makes s90v stainless steel (Once steel has more than 10-12% of chromium in it it’s considered stainless steel).

CPM s90v Wear Resistance: Excellent Wear Resistance, with 9% of Vanadium, the steel is very hard and durable.

CPM s90v Sharpness: the better steel can hold an edge, the harder to sharpen it, the s90v is very hard steel, so sharpening or grinding won’t be an easy task.

CPM s90v Machinability: Due to its high vanadium carbide content, the machinability S90V will be slightly difficult.

CPM s90v Toughness: the Steel offers High hardness and high corrosion resistance; consequently it will have a decent toughness (You can’t have the three steel properties) which makes S90v Brittle.

CPM S90V Steel Equivalent

The closest steel to the S90V would be the S110V (his big brother), they both have high wear resistance, high corrosion resistance, great hardness, and extreme edge Retention (S110 is slightly better in edge retention), and of course they both brittle.

Is CPM S90V good for knives?

I’ll be crazy or a big lair if I say No, S90V is just perfect for knives, it has what every knife user is looking for, great edge retention, great corrosion resistance, great wear resistance, honestly we can’t ask for more, even if sharpening would take us time and effort (Yes it won’t be easy sharpening an S90V) but once sharpen you’re going to enjoy that sharpness for long.

Best CPM S90V Knives

Benchmade 940-1

This a gem of quality, High-quality steel, high-quality parts, and premium design, the 940-1 From Benchmade is just one of the best EDC knives you can find in the market, with a sharp 3.4″ plain edge blade (oh boy it’s sharp), an ultra carbon fibre handle (lightweight and very strong), the famous rock-solid AXIS Locking mechanism from Benchmade (makes safe and secure and opens easily), the combination of these part makes the knife very strong yet light, that’s why is a great choice for EDC knives, you won’t even feel it in your pocket, and for cutting oh boy! With the Sharp s90v, the knife is hot! And ready to cut!.

S90V 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.

S90V VS S110V


S110V is slightly better in terms of corrosion resistance and toughness compared to S90V.

S90V VS M390


M390 offers better corrosion resistance, higher toughness, and the same level of edge retention compared to the S90V.

S90V VS S30V


S30V offers better corrosion resistance, higher toughness, and lower edge retention compared to S90V.



S35VN offers better corrosion resistance, higher toughness, and lower edge retention compared to S90V.

S90V VS M4


M4 offers higher toughness, lower corrosion resistance, and same edge retention compared to S90V.


In all, S90V is one of the best steels you can have in your knife, and it’s one of my favourites, It can be used in all conditions, I like to call it “One for all Steel knife”, it can be used in hunting, camping, fishing, and kitchen knives, if you ever searched about knives made off S90V you will notice that they’re expensive (which is very understandable), and trust they are worth the price, owning an s90v bring a new high-quality knife experience that I personally really enjoyed, that’s why it’s taking over the premium knife market.

As always if you have another opinion about the S90V, Please feel free to leave a comment below, I’ll gladly answer you!.

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