3cr13 Steel Knife Overview: What Is It And How Good It Is?

When you are a beginner knife user, looking for lower-cost knives is crucial. There are many varieties of steel knives that are not too expensive. There are many factors you need to take care of while searching for a good knife. 

The material with which the knife is built is the foremost quality defining factor. Lower cost steel material such as 3cr13 steel is good for making decent quality mid-range knives. 

Given below are the details that you might need to know about this variant of steel.  We will look into the composition, quality, and usability of this material, especially in blades.


What is 3cr13 Stainless Steel?

The quality of the steel used to make a particular blade is necessary for the overall quality of a blade. Therefore, here we look into what the 3cr13 steel is and how compatible it is to blade-making. 

The 3cr13 steel is a stainless-steel variant from China. It is a low-end material popular in the knife industry for several reasons, such as the following.

  • Low cost
  • High corrosion-resistance
  • Wear resistance
  • Good quality

This low-end Chinese stainless steel contains 0.3% Carbon and 13% Chromium. This composition is where it gets the numerals in its name from. The 3cr13 steel follows the GB/T 1220 Chinese standard for steel classification. 

This material touches the mark of being considered stainless. This is because at least 11% Chromium composition is required for the material to be classified as stainless steel.

3cr13 steel is used to build high-strength equipment like bolts, nozzles, valves, blades, etc. 

Composition of the 3cr13 Steel 

Just like any other steel, the 3cr13 steel is named so according to its composition. The 3 comes from the 0.3% carbon composition, while the 13 comes from the 13% chromium composition. According to the HRC of the material, the full chemical composition of the steel is as follows. 

Carbon – 0.3%

Carbon is great for tensile strength. The edge retention of the material is also strengthened with the help of Carbon.

Chromium – 13%

This improves the hardness and resistance to wear and corrosion. 13% is a good quantity because a high amount of Chromium reduces the strength of the steel.

Silicon – 1%

Silicon plays a role in increasing the hardness and brittleness of the material. 1% composition is good for improving the hardness and making the blade flexible enough for comfortable and safe use.

Manganese – 1%

Just like Silicon, Manganese influences both the strength and brittleness of the material.

Phosphorus – 0.04%

Phosphorus plays a role in the increased strength of 3cr13 steel. 

Nickel – 0.6%

Nickel is great to improve the toughness of the material. This increases the durability of blades. 

Sulphur – 0.03%

Such a low composition of Sulphur is crucial because it reduces the strength of the material. However, it is good for increasing the machinability of steel. 

Properties of the 3cr13 Stainless Steel

While the material quality cannot dictate each blade’s quality, the properties of the material itself influence the usability of a blade. Given below are the properties of the 3cr13 steel. 

Edge Retention

Even though 3cr13 steel is a balanced material, the edge retention of blades made of this material is not great. However, considering the price that it comes for, the edge is helpful fairly well. It can anyway be sharpened quickly when it gets dull.


3cr13 steel is very easy to sharpen due to its moderate strength. Blades can achieve razor-sharp edges with the help of very simple sharpening tools. 


Since the carbon content in the 3cr13 steel is considerably low, the blades have compromised hardness. It has a moderate hardness that usually falls between 50 to 58 HRC. 

The medium and method of heating considerably influence the hardness of each blade. However, this might not be the best-balanced blade material available due to the large strength rage variation.


This steel is hard to chip or break due to its robust qualities. This toughness makes the steel great for throwing knives, tomahawks, and machetes. It can easily withstand heavy abuse.

Corrosion Resistance

With a high level of Chromium and a low level of carbon, the 3cr13 steel holds very well against corrosion. This increases the durability of the knife. 

Best 3cr13 Steel Knives

3cr13 steel knives are one of the best low-prices blades. Here are a few great knives built with this material. 

  • Spyderco Grasshopper – Top Choice
  • Smith & Wesson Bullseye – Premium Choice
  • Kershaw Cinder – Value Choice


3cr13 steel is a good material for knife making. This is because of its decent corrosion resistance and easy sharpening. It also has decent hardness along with splendid toughness, which is great for durability.

The blades made out of 3cr13 steel cannot match up to the strength of high-end blades. However, they are great for budget-friendly knife purposes.