If you’re trying to check out whether the 7cr17mov steel advertised on the knife you’re planning to buy is a good type of steel, then good for you. It’s great that you’re conscientious, and that you’re doing your research to see if you’re putting your money to good use.
It’s also great that you’re contemplating buying 7cr17mov steel knives. It’s a very affordable option, which is crucial for a lot of people these days.
Yet it performs well above its price range, which gives you a good deal on your money. If you’re a budget-conscious first-time knife buyer, then this type of steel may very well suit your needs.
What Is 7cr17mov Steel?
Like many other affordable products in the consumer market, 7cr17mov steel comes from China. But this epitomizes the current trend on quite a few Chinese-made products these days—they’re very well-made.
This type of steel offers an extremely cost-effective option for a lot of folks who don’t want to overspend on a knife.
Basically, the Chinese steel developers modified the venerable 440a steel, which is already well-known for its great combination of low price with good edge retention and resistance to wear. It’s just that it’s not quite as resistant to corrosion as some knife users might want.
The makers of 7cr17mov steel improved on the hardness, by adding certain elements (notably vanadium) that reinforced the wear resistance and edge retention.
They also compensated for the weakness of 440a steel when it comes to corrosion. That means these knives can be quite versatile, which is why you see them in kitchen knives, everyday pocket knives, and even survivalist knives that emergency first-responders will find useful.
7cr17mov Chemical Composition
The key to really finding out the crucial properties of 7cr17mov steel is to take a closer look at its component elements. Each element in the mix (along with how much of each component there is) contributes to how the 7cr17mov knife performs.
- Carbon, 0.7%
- Chromium, 17%
- Molybdenum, 0.75%
- Vanadium, 0.2%
- Manganese, 1%
- Nitrogen, 0.6%
- Silicon, 1%
- Phosphorus, 0.04%
- Sulfur, 0.04%
Carbon, 0.7%: This explains the “7” in the 7cr17mov. Since most experts define “high-carbon steel” as having at least 0.6% carbon, then the 7cr17mov steel fits the definition. The carbon adds to the hardness of the steel, which boosts its wear resistance and edge retention.
However, a lot of high-carbon steels contain even higher concentrations of carbon, with a few approaching the 2% mark. Keep in mind that the exact carbon amount in the 7cr17mov steel may range from 0.6% to 0.75%, depending on the brand.
Chromium, 17%: This is the main element that gives the 7cr17mov steel its corrosion resistance. In fact, stainless steel must contain at least 10% chromium, and many stainless steels have about 12%. The 17% chromium here indicates the terrific corrosion resistance of the 7cr17mov.
In addition, the chromium also contributes to the edge retention and wear resistance.
Molybdenum, 0.75%: The presence of the molybdenum is evident in the name, as it contains the Mo element symbol. This element adds to the strength of the 7cr17mov, and it also helps with its machinability.
Vanadium, 0.2%: Finally, this is why there’s a “V” in 7cr17mov. The vanadium level may actually vary within a range of 0.1% to 0.2%. It’s added here to somehow boost both its hardness and impact resistance.
Manganese, 1%: It does help to make the steel harder, but you can’t have too much of this or else the steel becomes too brittle.
Nitrogen, 0.6%: This also helps the steel maintain its sharp edge.
Silicon, 1%: This also boosts the strength of the steel.
Phosphorus, 0.04%: This miniscule amount still helps with the strength of the steel.
Sulfur, 0.04%: This helps with the machinability of the steel, so it’s easier to shape and work with.
7Cr17MoV Steel Hardness
With 7Cr17MoV steel you’re basically getting some sort of “Goldilocks” level of hardness. That’s to say, it’s reasonably hard, since it’s carbon steel. But it’s not too hard—it’s just right. It’s not brittle too brittle, either. Which is the main problem with too hard steels.
Normally you’d get a hardness rating of about 55 to 57 HRC for 7Cr17MoV steel, which is decent. But some brands put in some heat treatments that boost the hardness rating up to 60 HRC.
All these means that the steel is hard enough to deal with tasks you’d associate with outdoor activities like camping. You can certainly use this in the kitchen to slice and chop food ingredients, and it works nicely for opening packages.
Properties of 7Cr17MoV
So, what attributes can you expect with 7Cr17MoV, if this is the steel used to make your knife? Here are some things you can expect from it.
This is one of the most notable properties of 7Cr17MoV steel, though it’s not (strictly speaking) part of the steel’s physical properties. Nonetheless, it’s one of the main reasons for its popularity.
Also, this gives you a price range for which you can fairly compare the 7Cr17MoV steel with other steels. To put it simply, in this price range the 7Cr17MoV steel compares very favorably with a lot of other steels.
High Corrosion Resistance
This is one of the properties that make the 7Cr17MoV steel so versatile. You can use this in the kitchen and cut moist food ingredients and you won’t have a problem. Use this outdoors in the rain or near water, and it’s not a big deal.
The steel here is hard enough to give you very decent edge retention. You won’t exactly have to sharpen the knife on a daily basis, which you actually have to do with lots of softer steel.
Compared to premium steels, the hardness level here is nothing to brag about. But then those harder steels come with higher prices. For this price range, the edge retention is quite nice.
The hardness level here is more than enough to give you a more durable knife than what you’d expect in this price range. Even with lots of different tasks, in most cases the 7Cr17MoV steel won’t let you down. This can last for years with proper use and maintenance.
This isn’t the toughest steel in the industry, not by a long shot. But it’s decent. The 7Cr17MoV steel manages to compromise with both its hardness and toughness (which is the opposite of being brittle).
At least it’s tough enough that it won’t really chip off that easily. In fact, it’s tough enough that you’d find 7Cr17MoV steel in some kitchen cleavers.
Easy to Sharp
Again, because it’s not that hard, it’s also easy to sharpen. You won’t need especial equipment to sharpen the dull edge. You don’t even need a lot of time and effort to get it sharp again.
7Cr17MoV Equivalent Steels or Alternative
To give you an even clearer idea of whether the 7Cr17MoV steel is your best bet, check out how it compares directly with other steels.
7cr17mov vs 8cr13mov Steel
These are very similar, since they’re both part of the Cr-MoV steel group. That is, they both contain just about the same elements.
The 8cr13mov does have more carbon, so it offers somewhat better edge retention. On the other hand, that makes the 7cr17mov a bit easier to sharpen.
The crucial difference here is in the corrosion resistance. The 17% chromium (and sometimes it’s even 18%) in the 7cr17mov gives you greater corrosion resistance than what you’d get with the 13% to 14.5% chromium in the 8cr13mov.
7cr17mov vs 420hc Steel
The “HC” in 420HC stands for high carbon, which in some ways makes it a lot like 7cr17mov. The 420HC is basically stainless steel with more carbon for greater hardness. Both steels are quite affordable, and are often found in budget knives.
But the 420HC steel isn’t really all that hard, with a hardness rating of about 55 HRC. In most cases, the 7cr17mov retains its sharp edge for a longer time.
7cr17mov vs 440a Steel
In many ways, these 2 are also very similar. In fact, 7cr17mov is just a modified version 440a steel. It’s just that the makers of 7cr17mov boosted the hardness and the corrosion resistance.
7cr17mov vs 5cr15mov Steel
As you may have noticed in the name, this also belongs in the same steel family as the 7cr17mov. The differences in the name indicates the difference. The 5cr15mov isn’t as hard, and it’s not as corrosion-resistant as the 7cr17mov.
7cr17mov vs D2 Steel
Now D2 is one of the “high end” steels, so it’s more expensive than the 7cr17mov. The D2 is much harder, and offers longer edge retention. Consequently, it’s a lot harder to sharpen.
In addition, the D2 doesn’t contain as much chromium as the 7cr17mov (13% vs. 17%), so it’s not quite as corrosion-resistant as the 7cr17mov.
7cr17mov vs x50crmov15 Steel
The x50crmov15 contains less carbon and less chromium. As a result, it doesn’t retain its edge as long as the 7cr17mov, though it may be easier to sharpen. The lower chromium content here also means the 7cr17mov does better at resisting rust.
Is 7Cr17MoV Steel good for Knives?
This is a judgement call on your part, and it depends on what you plan to do with those knives.
Basically, if you’re looking for a terrific all-around steel, then this may not be what you’re looking for. This steel, for all its positive attributes, can’t compare to the premium steels.
But then again, the 7Cr17MoV steel is extremely good for its price range. In fact, this is one cost-effective option. It may be affordable, but it can match the performance of some of the more expensive high-end steels.
If you have a limited budget for knives, them the 7Cr17MoV steel is darn good.
Pros and Cons of 7cr17mov Steel
Best 7Cr17MoV Steel Knives
To really appreciate the cost-effectiveness of 7cr17mov, you need to make sure you get a knife that uses this steel that terrific overall. Here are some great recommendations.
#1: DALSTRONG Gladiator Series R – Obliterator Meat Cleaver
- Thickness: 6 mm
- Weight: 2.9 LBS
- Obliterator: 9″
- Handle: Military grade G10
Since the 7cr17mov doesn’t have any trouble with working in wet conditions, it’s not surprising to find the steel here in a meat cleaver. Dalstrong heat treated this cleaver to boost the hardness up to 60HRC, and it’s a beast.
It’s 9 inches long, 6mm thick, and weighs a hefty 2.9 pounds. The edges have been sharpened up to 16 to 18 degrees on each side, and so you won’t have any trouble slicing and dicing.
The entire design offers nice knuckle clearance, and you’ve got enough knife material here to scoop the food from the cutting board easily.
The handle is made from durable G10 fiberglass resin, which is actually a military-grade material called Garolite. This handle will last for just about forever, with the triple rivets on the handle.
The shape is quite ergonomic, so it’s easy to control even with kitchen acrobatics to perform. It’s comfy to hold as well.
This even comes with a terrific acacia wood stand that’s been crafted by hand. It’s great to look at, and gives you a chance to put the cleaver on display.
#2: Gerber Gear Gerber Flatiron – Folding Cleaver Pocket Knife
- Overall Length: 8.5″
- Blade Length: 3.8″
- Blade Thickness:0.15″
- Weight: 0.38 Pounds
- Cutting Edge: 3.00″
This is a pocket knife, but it offers you a not-so-common cleaver blade. With the Flatiron, you have a 3.6-inch blade joined into textured G10 composite handle along with the reliable frame lock design.
The overall length here is 8.5 inches when open. There’s a thumb-hole opening here that lets you open the knife with just one hand, though you may need some practice first.
With the big finger choil, you can make sure you get the proper placement for your hand so you can control the knife securely. The textured handle also helps to give you that reliable grip you need.
The knife spine comes with a “reverse” curve, which keeps your knuckles away from the cutting surface. That lets chop and cut right where you want to.
Try this in an outdoor setting, and you will find it super useful. You can use the knife to cut through a 2.5-inch tree limb in just 4 minutes or so.
Right out of the box, the blade is very sharp. More importantly, there’s no wobble when you open the knife.
The main issue here is that with this design, it may not be the most practical option for EDC. But it can open boxes and other packages with no trouble.
However, it’s meant for rather tougher jobs, so use it for camping instead.
#3: Smith & Wesson M&P SWMP11B
- Blade Length: 3.79″
- Overall Length: 8.94″
- Weight: 0.35625lb
- Handle Material: Aluminum
If you want the sharp point in your EDC or outdoor knife that the Flatiron doesn’t offer, then you can go with this S&W knife instead. This Liner Lock Folding Knife comes with a tanto design that’s very versatile and useful for many types of tasks.
The overall length here is almost 9 inches when open, with the black blade at 3.8 inches long. The robust blade comes out extremely sharp right out of the box, so be careful.
The other features here include the ambidextrous thumb knobs (so it doesn’t matter if you’re a leftie), thumb ramp jimping, and the index flipper.
The G10 handle is also black, which you can use to break glass and it comes with a lanyard hole. Your purchase comes with some paracord lanyard, along with a pocket clip.
The pocket clip is a bit iffy here, if you’re planning to use the knife for self-defense. It doesn’t come out ready for defensive use, wasting a bit of time to reverse the knife for practical use.
But with other uses (such as for camping and for EDC), it’s terrific. It’s easy enough to carry, and then you can use it for a lot of different jobs.
So, just how good is 7Cr17MoV steel?
It really depends on how you look at it. If you want the very best steel at anything (such as terrific edge retention or super toughness), then this isn’t it. A lot of steels perform much better than the 7Cr17MoV steel at any category you may think of.
The thing is, at this particular price range, it’s actually one of the best. It performs similar to some of the more expensive steels out there.
If you’re a budget-conscious buyer, and you need steel for a multitasking knife, then this is for you. It works in the kitchen, outdoors, or for everyday household tasks. Pay for it with a smile—you’re getting great value for your money.