Knives are one of the most crucial items in your kitchen and hence it becomes even more important to have a knife with a blade made up of best steel for knives so that it can come with sharper and durable edges which require no or very little re-sharpening to be done. Different materials have different properties and so does the usage of the knives var. In order to select the best knife suitable for fulfilling your needs, you first need to understand the importance and usability of each type of steel.
Basically the kitchen knives are available in 3 types of steels:
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High carbon steel
This is one of the best steel available as it provides with really sharp and durable edges. The only drawback is that it is not stainless and can rust and loose its grace & color with the passing of time and usage. This type of steel requires high maintenance to avoid rusting.
These knives need cleaning and oiling after their use and they need to be placed in a protective cover so as to prevent rusting and to keep the blade in good condition. In spite of this drawbacks, many users prefer these knives over others because they have a sharper edge and retain this sharpness for longer duration. Also these knives are easy to re-sharpen. The knives made of this steel are specially preferred by the professionals for whom sharpness is the most important criteria and especially if they have to perform cutting operations for longer durations.
High Carbon Stainless Steel
This is one of the best categories of steel available in the stainless segment. It has good quality of carbon in it to add strength and durability to the edges so that they can stay sharper for a longer duration of time. The presence of chromium in it helps to make the blades look great and provides it with anti-rusting properties. With a lot of research work done over the years on this steel itself, high carbon stainless steel has evolved to be one of the hardest, sharpest and rust resistant material which is used at large for manufacturing blades of knives.
Knives made of high carbon stainless steel are very popular among the professionals as well as the beginners due to its durability, sharpness and ease of sharpening along with very low maintenance costs. The only negative point in the knives made of high carbon stainless steel is the price tag associated with these knives. Since these knives are made of a top class alloy of carbon and steel so it is bit expensive also and this type of blade is mostly available in top quality and highly priced branded knives.
So these knives have the quality of both chromium (Which keeps it protected from rusting and discoloration) and carbon (which keeps the blade strong, tough and durable for long lasting performance). Hence this hybrid mix of metals gives it the qualities like stainless, sharpness and durability which makes it the most preferred material used in the blades by most of the manufacturers.
This type of steel has less carbon and more chromium in the alloy. It is highly resistant to stains and rust but is not very strong. This type of steel is available only in low price knives as this type of steel is available at lower prices. The stainless steel also does not have a sharp cutting edge as it is present in carbon stainless steel knives. Also the edge formation is not very sharp and can possibly lose its sharpness over a lesser period of time. In order to maintain their sharpness and edges these knives need to be sharpened more frequently thus raising the maintenance cost for the same. This material is particularly used for cost cutting measures while manufacturing a knife keeping in mind medium income group people. These knives are designed for low end users who do not seek professional quality knife and only want it for low level homely use.
There are other materials also which are used in the construction of the blades apart from steel such as titanium alloy which is a mixture of titanium and carbides. Titanium is lighter than steel with its molecules bounded tightly to each other so it will hold the edge tighter and longer than that in case of steel. The carbide present in this alloy is heat treated to give the alloy the required strength.
The other material used extensively is ceramic which has very hard material known as zirconium oxide. The blades of these knives are so sharp that it can maintain the hardness and sharpness of the edges for years without any need of sharpening. Also since ceramic is a neutral element so it does not add any flavor to the food after its cut and preserves the original odor and taste of the food. The knives made of this material should be used only on a cutting platform as it may destroy any other surface. The sharpening of these knives is a bit costly as it requires the blades to be sharpened only with a cutter which has diamond particles on it.
Knives made of steel needs combination of other metals in a particular ratio to get the desired level of hardness and performance. Some other types of additives are-
It adds to the strength of the steel and thus makes the blade much strong when it is added to steel.
When added in a calculated amount this metal helps in getting sharper edges. It also helps the steel to harden when it cools down after heating during the production.
This is one of the most commonly used hardening agent while manufacturing steel knives. It also adds stainless and anti-rusting properties to the steel used.
This metal improves the wear and tear resistance to the blades thus increasing the life span of the edges of the blades.
Hence your decision on selecting the type of knife should depend upon your usage needs and hopefully you can make the right selection based on the above review.