Is D2 steel good knife steel? Details D2 Steel Review

What is D2 Steel?

D2 steel is a type of die steel. Its name bears the letter D. D2 steel is an air-hardening high carbon steel with high chromium and one of the highest carbon levels among all tool steel alloys.

Is D2 steel stainless?

D2 steel cannot be classified as stainless steel. It has a chromium percentage of 11.5 to 12.5, which is below the 13% required to make it stainless. Semi-stainless tool metal is also known as D2 steel.

This steel is also part of the cold-work steel category because it is formed after cooling at ambient temperature.

D2 tool steel is also less likely to rust and offers better machining quality than other high-chromium steels due to its carbide shaping elements.

AISI D2 was made after the air quenching process. This allows it to maintain its hardness at various temperatures.

D2 steel Composition

  • Carbon C 1.50%: Enhances edge retention, hardness and tensile strengths. It increases steel resistance to wear and abrasion as well as corrosion.
  • Chromium Cr 12.0% – The formation of Chromium caride increases the hardness, tensile and corrosion resistance of the blade.
  • Molybdenum Mo 0.80% : This improves machinability, and gives D2 Steel the characteristic air-hardening property.
  • Vanadium V 1.10% – Increases wear resistance and toughness. It also increases corrosion resistance. Vanadium improves the grain structure and carbide structure of steel.
  • Manganese Mn 0.45%: Increases steel’s strength and hardness. The steel’s hardenability can be improved by adding more manganese to it when it is heated.
  • Silicon Si 0.4%: Increases strength, heat resistance.
  • Phosphorus P 0.033%: Increases hardness and machinability.
  • Sulfur S 0.03%: Increases machinability.

Properties D2 Steel

D2 steel hardness

D2 according to the Rockwell C Hardness scale has a Rockwell hardness value of 60 HRC, but can reach as high as 64HRC depending upon the tempering temperature. This steel is extremely hard and can hold its edges for long periods of time. It also has excellent wear resistance.

D2 Wear resistance

D2 steel is well-known for its wear resistance. Ask knife users and they will tell you D2 is the best in terms of wear resistance.

The D2 knives’ good mixture of carbon, vanadium and chromium is responsible for this feature. D2 knives are the most effective for abrasive cuts compared to any other type of steel.

D2 steel Edge retention

Steel with high hardness produces blades that have good edge retention. This is the case with D2 tool steel. D2’s edge retention is superior to that of grade 154CM, 440C, and is comparable to that of CPM3V steel, but much worse than those of S35VN and S30V steels.

This is possible because of the high carbon content in its composition. You can find AISI D2 options if you’re looking for a knife that doesn’t need to be sharpened often.

D2 Steel Toughness

It is rare to get both hardness and toughness in the same steel. This is what D2 does. D2 is tough because of its high hardness. Large carbides, which negatively impact D2, are responsible for its low toughness.

There are knife-steel with greater toughness than D2, but it is strong enough to withstand light cutting without breaking. D2 knife steel has a similar toughness to Zmax steel, 154CM, BD1N , Bohler steel, and 154CM.

If you need a knife that can handle heavy applications such as batoning or chopping, however, it is worth considering tougher steels like X50CrMoV15 and CPMM4 steel. For knives that need greater toughness, low alloy steels such as 1084 Steel will be more suitable.

D2 Steel Sharpening

Because D2 steel is hard and has high wear and abrasion resistance, sharpening it can be a difficult task. You will need to put in more effort and take longer to get a razor-sharp edge from D2, but it is worth it.

It is difficult for inexperienced knife sharpeners to achieve a sharp edge with D2 knives. However, it is possible, especially if the blade is sharpened with ceramic or diamond sharpeners. Whetstones are also good for navigating through different grits.

D2 steel Corrosion resistance

Many people are discouraged from purchasing D2 steel because they believe it will rust. Let’s clear up the confusion by answering a common question: Does D2 steel blade rust. It does rust, but not as easily as some knife users believe.

Although it doesn’t contain enough chromium to make it stainless, its 12% content will resist corrosion. Regular cleaning after each use is essential.

D2 steel comparison

D2 and S30V

The main difference between S30V and D2 steel is that S30V is a powder metallurgy, while D2 is a conventionally produced steel. Because it is more balanced in terms of performance, such as toughness, corrosion resistance and edge retention, S30V steel makes a better knife steel than the D2 steel.

It is important to note that D2 is a nonstainless tool-steel, while CPM S30V is a stainless steel with great corrosion resistance.

It performs slightly better than D2 in edge retention due to its fine microstructure and hard vanadium carides. S30V steel blades are more tough than D2 blade steel due to their fine microstructure.

Due to its high carbon content, D2 tool steel is more wear resistant than S30V steel. This allows it to achieve a higher Rockwell harderness than S30V stainless.

CPM D2 Vs D2

CPM-D2 powder metallurgical version of D2 steel. This is a relatively new product on the market, thanks to improvements in steel production through Crucible CPM technology.

CPM D2 steel has a lower chromium content than other die steels. It is therefore more durable and can withstand heat better.

D2 Steel Equivalent

Bohler K110, JIS SKD11 steel, and Cr12Mo1V are all D2 equivalents. M2 steel is another steel that provides similar performance to AISI D2.

Is D2 knife steel good?

D2 steel is a great choice for knives due to its high wear resistance and edge retention. D2 knives can be a little difficult to sharpen, but they are high quality and inexpensive options.

This blade steel is ideal for both novice and experienced knife makers. Bob Dozier, a renowned knifemaker, has built his reputation solely by using D2 blade steel.


This review will help you make a decision on whether to purchase a D2 steel knife. D2 steel blades are a better option than other non-stainless metals.

D2 steel can be found at most tool steel companies and is therefore more readily available than powder steel. D2 can also be found Bohler Steel.

About the author

Hi, my name is Jaba Ray. I'm a knife expert and researcher. I am the creator of, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I love people who need suitable steel or knife for their cook because I'm also a food lover. I work with a team of people who've always had a passion for knives and blades on this site.

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