52100 Steel Review: What Is It & Is It Good?

The steel of 52100 is highly praised for its amazing wear resistance and strength. Hence, let’s find out how it is made of.

There are many compositions to manufacture this steel. We will list out each component so that you will know its function. For example, the component having the highest percentage is chromium, which is around 1.5%. It is essential for tensile strength and edge retention. And it also improves corrosion resistance.

Carbon makes up 1.1% to enhance corrosion resistance and hardness. But remember that only a low amount of carbon is allowed in order not to decrease the strength.

There are 0.3% of nickel, silicon, phosphorus, sulfur, copper to in turn increase toughness, strength, machinability and prevent surface oxidation.

It also includes 0.45% of manganese, which contributes greatly to brittleness and hardness. As such, the chemical composition is a combination of mainly carbon and chromium.

Now let’s jump right into the 52100 hardness.


HRC is a measurement of hardness. When it comes to hardness, 64-66 HRC is the maximum number. It is considered high enough for a knife made of this 52100 one.


First of all, this steel provides edge retention.  To be more specific, it is able to reach up to 65 HRC, which makes it very hard steel. And the harder the steel, the higher edge retention. For this reason, 52100 can hold an edge for such a long period with ease.

Second, it allows for corrosion resistance. It has 1.5% of chromium in the composition, which is not significant to make it corrosive and exposed to rust.

Apart from corrosion resistance, it also stands out due to its wear resistance. It is all thanks to the amount of carbon and other helpful composition inside.

Besides, you had better appreciate its sharpness. Typically, the harder the steel, the harder it to sharpen it. And it is true when it comes to steel. You will find it challenging to sharpen it as a result.

It will be our big mistake if we do not mention the great toughness of 52100. It delivers the fine grain, a high and low hardness that comes with its toughness in more detail.


In terms of equivalent, we have to emphasize that it bears a strong resemblance with 1095 Cro Van steel and the 5160 steel. In fact, they are all carbon steel.

The only dissimilarity here we can notice lies in the amount of chromium. It means that the 52100 one has a higher amount in it.

Of course, rest assured that they all provide you with great hardness, decent corrosion resistance and wear resistance, and edge retention, as we have mentioned previously.


Then what are its applications?

Well, we want to announce that this steel can be utilized for a variety of applications. Let us take a few examples.

Of course, it is mostly used in steel bearings and bearing manufacturing equipment. Importantly, the capacity of toughness and hardness enables the 52100 steel to be applied to blades and cutlery, no matter how hard it is to heat treat.

On top of that, its common applications consist of mill rolls, fasteners, anti-friction bearings, punches, taps, dies, and more.

Hence, it seems to satisfy you with any project. What you need to do is to contact the supplier to tell them what you expect and see whether they can do it or not.

Do not worry as suppliers will give you the best information which is relevant to the specifications. Furthermore, it gives you some recommendations for the most suitable choices and alternatives.

Is the 52100 Steel Good For Knife Making?

Some researchers show that this steel is considered a popular component for kitchen knife makers. But is it good enough for knives? Look no further since we are going to give you the answer right now!

If you consider all the features mentioned above, including extreme toughness, corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and the ability to take a fine edge and keep it a decent amount of time, you will agree that it is good for knives.

These remarkable things are what knifemakers expect to make custom hunting knives. You can rest assured with its versatility to be used in almost all outdoor activities, especially when a tough knife is extremely important.

Specifically, it will help you to handle all the damages well but still prevent corrosion resistance. No doubt, it is a good choice for knives. It is such a worthy investment for the 52100 knives, we highly recommend it.

Of course, you still need to pay much attention to caring for this type of knife in such a humid environment. For example, you have to leave out the requested drop of oil and frequently clean after usage.

In Conclusion

Here is the end of our instruction. We have made our effort to give you enough necessary information. Have you found out what you do not know through our 52100 steel review? We do hope that the answer is yes.

Do not forget to share this article with your friends. In case you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below. We are willing to reply and discuss with you gladly. Thanks for reading.

Last Updated on February 24, 2021 by Andy Wang

My name is David Strong. I'm a knife expert and a US Marine veteran. I used to fight in Iraq, so I gained lots of combat experience there, especially when it comes to combat, tactical, and outdoor knives. And this blog is where I share my expertise with you alongside my friend Andy.