Is Elmax Steel good knife steel? Elmax Stainless Steel Review

What is Elmax Steel?

Bohler-Uddeholm produces Elmax steel through a powder-metallurgy process. It is a high-chromium vanadium, molybdenum stainless-steel steel. PM allows for a fine distribution of carbides which improves Elmax’s performance over other steels.

Elmax steel is a stainless steel that contains about 18% of chromium. It has excellent corrosion resistance, high compressive strengths, and wear resistance which are all features that most knife steels lack.

Elmax stainless steel can be used for tooling materials, industrial knives and custom knives. It has excellent corrosion resistance and wear resistance.

Elmax Steel Composition

  • Carbon 1.70%: Enhances edge retention, hardness and tensile strengths. It increases steel resistance to wear and abrasion as well as corrosion.
  • Chrome Cr 18.00% – Increases the hardness, toughness and corrosion resistance of a blade by forming chrome carbide. Elmax is “stainless” when it has a higher than 13% Cr.
  • Molybdenum Mo 1.0%: This improves corrosion resistance and machinability.
  • Vanadium V 3.00% – Increases wear resistance and toughness. It also improves corrosion resistance.
  • Manganese 0.30%: 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 0.80%: Increases steel strength and heat resistance

Elmax steel properties

Elmax Steel Hardness

Elmax steel hardness ranges from 61 to 62HRC according to the Rockwell hardness scale. This makes it a hard steel. This steel is known for its outstanding edge retention and wear retention.

Elmax Steel Toughness

Elmax steel has a Rockwell hardness level of 61 HRC and is more durable than other knife steels. It is used mainly to make knives that are high-impact tough.

Elmax steel blades are a great choice for camping and hunting knives. They won’t chip or break easily. Elmax knife steel is used in the manufacture of Microtech, Kershaw and Spyderco knives.

Elmax toughness is superior to Bohler N690 steel, CTS BD1N Stainless steel, AISI 440C and 154CM Steel. Steels such as AUS 8, 14C28N and AEB-L are tougher and better for more difficult applications than Elmax.

Elmax Steel Edge Retention

Elmax knife steel is hardened to 60 HRC and offers excellent edge retention. Elmax knife steel is excellent for its edge holding capabilities and dimensional stability due to the alloying elements and powder metalurgic process.

The combination of vanadium carbides and chromium carbides in Elmax steel gives it a very high wear resistance, which makes it retain its edge well. Elmax steel’s Vanadium carbides increase its Rockwell hardness, which in turn increases its edge retention.

Uddeholm Elmax edge retention compares to Crucible’s S45VN and Vanax steels, as well as CTS XHP Steel steels. It’s better than other popular knife steels such as CPM 154 and AISI 440C Steel, and VG10 steel.

Elmax Steel Corrosion resistance

Elmax steel can rust. Elmax steel is stainless steel. This means it has a high level of corrosion resistance. Elmax’s 18% chromium content increases its rust resistance to very high levels.

Proper care and maintenance will improve the resistance to rust. For a longer shelf life, clean and dry them before storage.

Elmax Steel Wear Resistance

Uddeholm Elmax stainless steel is made from high-quality carbon but it’s not as strong as other stainless steels. This steel is more durable because it has high levels of carbon, which allows for the formation of hard carbides.

Even if you have to sharpen them often, Elmax knives will last you a long time. Elmax knives will not show signs of wear around the corners like most blades.

Elmax steel Easy of Sharpening

Elmax stainless Steel, despite being a hard steel with high levels of carbon, is easy to sharpen. This makes it one of the few high-carbon stainless steels with unique properties.

Powder Metallurgy allows for uniform carbide distribution and fine structure , making it easier to achieve a sharp edge when using Elmax steel. This is in contrast to sharpening a traditionally produced steel with a similar alloy composition.

Elmax Steel Comparison

Elmax vs. VG10

Elmax steel has a better edge retention, wear resistance and corrosion resistance than VG 10 steel. The Elmax knife steel’s performance is significantly improved by the powder metallurgy process. This is because of the finer microstructure and uniform distribution of carbides.

Uddeholm Steel Elmax and VG 10 steel have the same average toughness. However, they are not the best knives steels for harder blades.

Elmax vs. D2

Elmax steel is a better knife steel than D2 Steel in almost all aspects. It has better toughness, edge retention and wear resistance as well as corrosion resistance. This is due to Elmax’s powder metallurgy manufacturing process.

Elmax knives are made of stainless steel while D2 knives are made from semi-stainless. Elmax knives are more resistant to corrosion than D2 Knives.

Due to its finer microstructure, Elmax knife steel is slightly tougher than D2 knife steel. This makes it slightly less brittle. The toughness of Elmax knife steel and D2 isn’t that great, however, it is their weakest point.

D2 and Elmax both have an almost identical Rockwell Hardness. Sharpening both steels can be done easily, but D2 steel has a lower Hard Vanadium Content.

Elmax vs. S30V

Although Elmax steel is produced by Bohler, S30V steel is produced by Crucible Industries. Bohler produces Elmax, while Crucible Industries makes S30V.

S30V and Elmax steel have different edge retention. This is due to Elmax steel’s more balanced alloy composition.

Both Elmax and S30V stainless steels have excellent corrosion resistance. However, Elmax steel contains slightly more Chromium in its alloy composition, which could increase its resistance to corrosion under a different heat treating technique.

Elmax vs. N690

Bohler produces both Elmax and N690 knife steels. Elmax is more resistant to wear than N690, and retains its edge better. It is because of the higher Vanadium- and Carbon content in its alloy.

Elmax and N690 both have stainless steels with 18% chromium content. They both have the same corrosion resistance. Both knife steels are stronger than AISI 440C stainless and will resist staining.

Elmax has a Rockwell Hardness score of 61HRC, which is higher than N690 steel’s Rockwell Hardness score of 60HRC. Elmax can achieve greater toughness due to the better distribution of fine carbides within its alloy composition, despite having a higher HRC.

CPM 3V vs Elmax

CPM3V steel and Elmax have two main differences. Elmax is an excellent stainless steel with high corrosion resistance, while CPM3V is a non-stainless metal with moderate resistance to corrosion. The 18% Cr content is what gives Elmax its exceptional corrosion resistance.

CPM 3V steel has a Rockwell hardness value of 58HRC, which gives it twice the toughness as Elmax steel. CPM 3V steel was designed to be a tough tool in high-impact toughness applications where other tool steels might experience breakage or chipping.

Elmax has slightly better edge retention than 3V steel. This is due to Elmax’s higher Rockwell hardness. Elmax also has a higher proportion of Vanadium elements, which helps in the formation Vanadium Carbides that are excellent for edge retention as well as wear resistance.

Elmax and 3V both offer great wear resistance, but Elmax edges 3V slightly due to the higher levels of Vanadium-Carbon in its alloy composition. Wear resistance is better for Elmax knives than for 3V knives.

CPM 3V stainless steel knives are a little easier to sharpen than Elmax 3V knives due to their slightly lower wear resistance.

Elmax Steel Equivalent

CPM steel is comparable to Elmax steel in terms of performance. Both Elmax steel and S45VN have the same toughness, edge retention and corrosion resistance. However, S45VN steel contains Niobium, which helps in the formation MC carbides.

MC carbides are much harder than vanadium carides, as they combine Vanadium carbide with Niobium carbide. MC carbides are responsible for the excellent S45VN wear resistance. They also make S45VN knifestee a little more difficult to sharpen than Elmax knife steel.

Is Elmax good knife steel?

Elmax steel is a good knife steel because of its outstanding hardness, edge retention and wear resistance. Elmax steel can crack or chip under high impact applications.

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.

Leave a Comment