Is N690 Steel good for knives? N690 Steel Review

What is N690 steel?

Bohler, an Austrian steel company, makes N690 stainless steel. This steel has high levels of carbon and chromium with the addition cobalt to ensure consistency.

N690 Steel should not be confused . Both are Bohler products, but the latter has more Cobalt.

The N690 steel alloy is high in chromium, making it stainless steel. The blade steel is also characterized by a fine grain structure that allows it to retain its sharpness even after prolonged exposure to tough applications.

Bohler N690 stainless steel is highly resistant to stress and is a popular choice for knifemakers. It’s used for making outdoor knives, including tactical, hunting, and bushcraft.

N690 Steel Composition

carbon C 0.95% : Enhances edge retention, hardness and tensile strengths. It increases steel resistance to wear and abrasion as well as corrosion.

Chrome Cr 17..00%: Formations of Chromium carbides. This increases the blade’s hardness and tensile strength as well as corrosion resistance.

* Nitrogen N 0.15 : Increases the steel’s hardness and also improves the grain structure to prevent cracking.

Molybdenum Mo 0.5%: This improves machinability.

* Phosphorous P 0.033%: Enhances strength and improves machinability of steel

Manganese 1.00%: 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 1.0%: Increases strength, heat resistance.

* Sulfur S 0.033%: This improves machinability, but it is considered an impurity when used in large quantities.

Properties N690 Steel

N690 Steel Hardness

According to the Rockwell hardness scale, N690 steel has a hardness of 55-60 HRC. This makes N690 steel hard steel. It is also associated with high levels of carbon in its composition.

This high hardness makes N690 bladesteel a great choice for outdoor knives.

N690 Steel Edge retention

You have come to the right place if you’re looking for a knife that will keep its edge well. BohlerN690 blade steel is just like any other hard steel and can keep an edge sharp for a long period of time without the need to be sharpened.

For outdoor use, you can pack N690 stainless knifes with confidence. Fine-edged cobalt is responsible for the fine edge that doesn’t dull faster. The N690 steel edge retention ranges from 154CM to CPM 154 to 440C to VG 10 steel.

N690 Toughness

You can get either high hardness or high toughness from steel, but not both. It is however different than N690 blade steel in that it offers both.

It is not the strongest material, but it has enough toughness to withstand outdoor conditions without cracking or chipping.

This steel is the best choice for knife makers and users because it strikes the perfect balance between hardness and toughness.

N690 Steel Corrosion Resistance

BohlerN690 steel is known for its corrosion resistance. It contains more than 17% of chromium and exceeds the 13% required to make stainless-steel.

This steel can be used in high humidity, moist areas, and salty environments without rusting. This is why this steel is popular for outdoor knives. They are often used in extremely corrosive environments.

N690 Steel Wear retention

N690 has a greater wear resistance than other premium steels.

Even knives made from high-end steel will eventually wear down, but knives made of N690 have been proven to last longer under the same conditions.

N690 Steel Sharpening

N690 will lose its edge over time. It is easy to achieve a sharp edge with this steel.

N690 steel knives are super easy to sharpen, unlike other hard steels that require professional sharpening tools.

N690 Steel Comparison

N690 Steel Equivalent

AISI 440C steel has an almost identical alloy composition to N690 steel. Bohler N690 steel, however, is slightly better than 440C because it contains more Cobalt and Molybdenum, which positively enhances the effects of other alloying components.

N690 vs. M390 steel

Bohler produces both N690 steel and M390 steel, but they have different properties. Bohler M390 steel from Bohler is a premium steel because it contains a more refined alloy.

steel is superior to N690 steel for most performance aspects. It offers greater wear retention, edge retention and toughness as well as corrosion resistance.

M390 steel can also be very expensive and is used in premium knives. This is probably the only area where N690 has an advantage over M390.

N690 vs Co

Bohler N690Co and N690Co were both produced by Bohler. They are both very similar steels. N690CO was given the name CO because it contained more cobalt.

Both offer the same hardness and offer excellent edge retention, wear resistance and corrosion resistance. However, N690CO stainless is superior because it contains more cobalt.

N690 vs. D2

The main difference between D2 steel and N690 steel is that HTML2 is non-stainless steel. Bohler N690 has over 17% of chromium in its alloy. N690 knife-steel is therefore extremely resistant to corrosion and can be used in both highly humid and corrosive environments.

D2 steel has a higher Rockwell strength than N690 stainless. D2 steel has a higher Rockwell hardness than N690 stainless steel, which allows for better edge retention and wear resistance.

Bohler N690 knifesteel is more easy to sharpen than D2 steel because of its low HRC. Due to the higher carbon content in its alloy, D2 steel can attain a higher Rockwell hardness as well as wear resistance.

Bohler N690 has a better edge retention, but D2 steel is more durable than N690. N690 can still be considered a better all-around knife material than D2 because it is easier to maintain, such as sharpening and rust prevention, even in corrosive environments.

N690 vs. VG 10

Due to the cobalt content in their alloy compositions, N690 and VG10 steel are very similar knife steels. Both are well-known for their exceptional edge retention and corrosion resistance.

Bohler N690 stainless steel is more resistant to corrosion than VG10 steel due to a greater amount of chromium in its alloy composition than VG10. Bohler N690 steel has a higher wear resistance than VG 10 steel due to the presence of more Chromium elements.

VG10 steel has a greater toughness than N690. N690 contains more Carbon that VG 10, which causes the formation of higher levels of carbides. These chromium carbides are very wear-resistant and reduce the toughness N690 steel.

Both N690 and VG10 stainless steels have equal edge retention. Although their edge retention is lower than CPM S30V, it is comparable to 154CM stainless steel.

Bohler N690 knife stainless steel is easier to sharpen than hard VG 10 stainless steel which can reach up to 62HRC.

N690 vs. 440C

The Bohler N690 steel alloy compositions and the 440C steel alloy compositions look very similar. However, N690 contains slightly more molybdenum than 440C steel, and has additional cobalt elements.

N690 steel is more durable than 440C steel due to its additional Cobalt- and Molybdenum components. It has a greater Rockwell hardness.

Bohler N690 has slightly higher corrosion resistance than 440C steel because of the addition of Chromium, Molybdenum and other elements. Although the effect of cobalt might be minor, it is not the primary reason for the increase in corrosion resistance.

440C stainlesssteel has a finer microstructure that N690 stainlesssteel and is easier than Bohler N690. Except for the addition of Cobalt or Molybdenum to the stainless steel, 440C is very similar to BohlerN690 stainless steel in terms of performance.

N690 vs. S35VN

Crucible S35VN Steel has better edge retention and wear resistance than N690 steel. This is due to a finer microstructure and better alloying elements. According Bohler Udderholm (CATRA testing), scored a total cards cut (TCC) score of 132 at the 61HRC, while N690 received a TCC of 118 at the 61.5HRC.

Steel with better toughness is due to the Powder Metallurgy process. This produces hard, but finer carbides which are less prone for cracking or chipping. S35VN’s toughness is significantly improved by adding Niobium to the mix and reducing vanadium.

CPM S35VN stainless Steel has slightly less corrosion resistance than N690 stainless steel. Higher Chromium content in N690 stainless steel results in a higher corrosion resistance (17.5%) than that of S35VN Steel (14%).

Because of its lower wear resistance, N690 knifesteel is easier to sharpen that S35VN. Because it contains Vanadium Carbide, Niobium Carbide, and the Hardest MC Carbide content, S35VN steel can be more difficult to sharpen than N690.

N690 vs. S30V

Due to its high chromium content, N690 steel has a better corrosion resistance than S30V steel. Bohler N690 steel has 17.5% chromium, while S30 steel has 14%.

N690 knifesteel is easier to sharpen that S30V, as it doesn’t contain hard carbides like S30V. Bohler N690 steel has better edge retention and wear resistance than S30V steel. This is due to the large amount of Vanadium Carbides, which are great in edge retention as well as wear resistance.

CPM S30V steel has slightly higher toughness than Bohler N690 because of the powder metallurgy process. This results in finer carbides and microstructures that are less susceptible to cracking or chipping under high impact.

N690 steel is a better knife steel than S30V steel because it has better edge retention, toughness and wear resistance. However, N690 steel knives are easier to sharpen and can withstand high corrosive environments.

Is N690 steel good for knives?

Yes! Yes! Bohler N690 stainless is a good choice for knife making and is widely used by large knife companies. It is very sharpenable and has excellent edge retention.

These features make it a great choice for outdoor knives. Bohler N690 steel knives can be purchased for their superior properties and are affordable.

It is an upgraded version and N690Co, but it’s not that much more expensive. Bohler also makes knife steel , though it is not as well-known as N690.

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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