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What is HAP40 steel? Is HAP40 steel good for Knives? Top HAP40 knives review

Traditional japanese gyuto chief knife on a cutting boardAny fanatic of Japanese knives must have come across or at least heard of the HAP-40 Steel. This is a favorite product in the US market today due to its durability. We noticed that a lot of people have been researching the best Japanese Steel. For this reason, we came up with this review to explain the HAP40 Steel and help our readers understand this product better.

If the durability and Toughness of steel matter to you, then the HAP40 Steel should be of interest. Read on to know more.

What is HAP40 Steel?

The HAP-40 is a High-Speed Steel Tool. It’s made from a mixture of Tungsten, Vanadium, Cobalt, and molybdenum. This accounts for its durability and sturdiness. Steel knives experts have named this as the most innovative Japanese Steel product.

It comprises 4.7% of Chromium for maximum strength, edge retention, and enhanced corrosion and wear resistance. This kind of edge retention is probably the best you’ll ever find in any high carbon steel.

The HAP40 Steel is excellent for knives. The Steel does not rust easily, and if you are looking for something that can handle a lot of “beating or damages,” this would be an excellent pick.

Common Uses of HAP40 steel

The fine microstructure and chemical composition of the HAP40 Steel make it an excellent choice to manufacture knives. It can be used in the manufacture of:

  • Cleavers
  • Kitchen utility knives
  • Chopping knives
  • All-purpose kitchen shears
  • Paring knives

Chemical Composition of the HAP40 Steel

1.27% of Carbon – For an enhanced hardness and better resistance to corrosion

4.7% of Chromium – For better edge retention and improved resistance to wear

5.4% of Molybdenum – Increases the strength of the Steel

3.3% of Vanadium – Improves hardenability

8.5% Cobalt – enhances the effects of all the other components

6.5% Tungsten – Boosts the hardness and corrosion resistance

As you can see, the HAP40 has a rich chemical composition that makes it perfect for knife production. It is made with a careful balance between hardness, good edge retention, and sturdiness. Looking at its edge retention power or cutting effectiveness, Japanese steel experts believe that this is the best steel product so far from the Japanese market.

HAP40 steel hardness

The HAP40 Steel features Rockwell hardness of 64 to 68. Every blade or knife manufactured using the HAP40 steel scores an HRC hardness of 65-66.

It is good to understand the difference between the hardness and Toughness of a blade. Hardness is how much metal can withstand wear. On the other hand, Toughness is the opposite of being brittle or a knife that does not etch easily.

Does HAP40 steel rust?

Vintage butcher cleaver with wooden handle As we have seen earlier, the HAP40 features a relatively low corrosion resistance. It, therefore, needs regular care and maintenance measures, such as being cleaned and oiled regularly.

If you intend to be using it in a humid or wet environment, it will need daily cleaning and regular oiling. It features a decent resistance to corrosion, which means it will not rust or wear quickly. It will, however, need a little more care as compared to high corrosion resistance steel.

Properties of HAP40 Steel

Based on the HRC and the chemical properties of the HAP40 Steel, this product features the following properties:

The edge retention of HAP40

Thanks to the total HRC of 68 found in the HAP40, this Steel features excellent edge retention. Some might even say that this is the best edge retention you will ever find in high carbon steel.

The corrosion resistance of the HAP40

Since this is only a Stainless-steel product with just about 4.7% chemical composition of Chromium, we cannot say that this is the most effective corrosion resistance product.

Wear Resistance properties of the HAP40

Thanks to the carefully balanced Mixture of Molybdenum, Chromium, Cobalt, Tungsten, Carbon, and Vanadium, this product features some of the best wear resistance properties found in Steel.

The Sharpness of the HAP40

We all know that the harder the metal, the harder it would be to sharpen it. HAP40 is extremely hard, Steel. Sharpening it would not be recommendable.

The Toughness of the HAP40

Once again, the HAP40 is an extremely tough Steel. This Toughness, however, comes at the cost of its corrosion resistance. It is impossible to find a steel product that features all three (Toughness, Hardness, and Corrosion Resistance) together.

With all the above properties of the HAP40, you can expect your knife to last for a while. Knives and blades made from this Steel come with enough sharpness. So, you do not have to worry about the blades being blunt.

The carbon content of the HAP40 makes it possible for the steel blades to retain their edges. This does not mean that if your blades become blunt over time, you should not sharpen them. Modern technologies hiver made almost everything possible. Therefore, sharpening your HAP40 blades is still possible, although it would cost you more.

HAP40 Equivalent Steels or Alternatives

The best alternative to the HAP40 should be a CPM M4. This is because these two are almost similar in their chemical compositions. They both feature extreme hardness, good Toughness, excellent edge retention, and relative corrosion resistance. Their chemical build-up is identical to both products featuring Chromium, Tungsten, Molybdenum, Cobalt, Carbon, and Vanadium.

HAP40 vs m390 Steel

In the past decades, the m390 has been said to be the best Steel in the market. However, with the recent surge of new steels being introduced in the market, consumers have started to sample different options. The HAP40 and m390 steels are very similar, both in composition and performance.

Although the HAP40 is a little better at retaining its edge profiles, its chemical composition makes it a lot harder to sharpen than the m390. The m390 is not as tough as the HAP40, which makes it more susceptible to etching.

Looking at the corrosion resistance properties in these two products, the HAP40 is the clear winner, thanks to its toughness and chemical composition.

HAP40 vs zdp 189 Steel

The HAP40 is much easier to sharpen compared to the ZDP 189. It touches up nicely and efficiently and retains the edges beautifully, although its sharpness does not last as long as that of the ZPD. The ZDP 189 is a little more temperamental, but it is a lot easier to use, especially in cutleries. However, many consumers prefer the HAP40, especially when picking a knife for heavy-duty purposes.

HAP40 vs SG2 Steel

Hap40 has a notorious reputation of being hard Steel to sharpen, but it comes with a guarantee that the blades will never go blunt. It can serve you for years before you’ll ever need a whetstone.

The sukenari SG2 is not so tough to sharpen, but you can be sure that it will not hold its sharpness for long.

When both of them are new, it would be difficult to tell their sharpness apart, but after a while, you will be happy to own a HAP40.

HAP40 vs H1 Steel

As we have seen, the HAP40 can hold an edge a lot better, but it is also equally tougher to sharpen, even with SIC stones. With the H1, just a few swipes on the Sharp maker, and you’ll have it back to its peak sharpness in seconds.

The added Toughness on the HAP40 means it’s improbable to suffer edge damages, which is not the case with the H1.

Is the HAP40 Steel good for knives?

Tense japanese chief man in white cook uniform Depending on where you intend to be using the knives, the HAP40 can be an excellent choice for knives. It is an all-around product offering outstanding Toughness, hardness, and edge retention. However, it is not such an ideal pick for humid or wet environments since it is relatively resistant to corrosion.

This does not mean that it will rust on the second day after purchase. It just needs a little more care and maintenance compared to other steel products.

Pros and Cons of the HAP40 Steel

  • Great edge retention
  • Very good for making knives and blades
  • Excellent resistance to wear
  • Very tough, actually the best Japanese Steel in the market today
  • With the proper care, it can last for a long time
  • Its Toughness makes it harder to sharpen
  • Can rust, if not regularly cleaned and oiled
  • Not the best choice for humid or wet areas

Best HAP40 steel Knives

#1: Yoshihiro HAP40 Gyuto Japanese Chef’s Knife

[aawp box=”B016QWE40C” template=”image”]
Quick Specification
  • Blade Material: High Speed HAP-40 Stainless Steel
  • Edge Angle: Double Edged
  • Grade: High Speed
  • Handle Shape: Octagonal
  • Handle Material: Ebony
  • HRC: 64-65
  • Knife Style: Gyuto Chef Knife
  • Stain Resistant: Yes
  • Saya Cover: Lacquered Saya Cover

The Yoshihiro HAP40 Gyuto Japanese Chef’s Knife combines Toughness, and edge retention, sturdiness, and sharpness that has outclassed many other steel knives available in the market today.

Thanks to state-of-the-art metallurgy, it has an outstanding performance, toped up with the skill and knowledge of the master craftsmen.

The most essential and helpful knife that a chef can have is the Gyuto knife. This Japanese Chef comes with a curved blade, which allows it to rocks back and forth smoothly.

It is also accessorized with an extended tip for easier chopping. It can be used to cut vegetables, meat, or fish.

This Gyuto knife comes with a complimentary Japanese traditional Wa-style and a handmade Octagonal Handle. It is conveniently light and ergonomically fits in hand for seamless use.

This knife requires regular oiling to prevent stains and rust. Honing and sharpening should only be carried out using water whetstones. It should be washed and dried immediately after cutting acidic foods. Avoid using it on bones, frozen foods, or shells.

  • Long-lasting edge retention
  • A good choice for vegetables, fish, and meat
  • Has high levels of Cobalt (8%) for better resistance to wear and maximum durability
  • Easy to grip and use
  • Conveniently lightweight
  • Flips back and forth smoothly
  • Requires immediate cleaning after use to avoid rusting
  • It needs to be regularly oiled to keep off stains

#2: Kazan HAP40 Hammered Santoku 180mm (7.1″)

[aawp box=”B016TIM0NQ” template=”image”]
Quick Specification
  • Handle material: Pressed Wood
  • Blade length: 180 mm (7.1″)
  • Thickness at spine: 2 mm
  • Thickness at tip: 0.7 mm
  • Hardness: 65 to 66
  • Edge / Bevel: Double (70/30)

The Kazan knife line was developed as a partnership between a Kansai steelmaker Japan and the HAP40 brand. It is made up of a powdered steel combination with high amounts of Molybdenum, Vanadium, Tungsten, and Cobalt to make a semi-stainless knife with excellent edge retention properties. Although the blade comes with an unmatched hardness, it can easily sharpen it on whetstones.

The Kazan HAP40 Hammered Santoku 180mm (7.1″) is accessorized with a hammered n tsuchime for a finish, a feature that keeps away the food and other commodities from sticking to the blade.

It is medium weight with a grey handle that is made for an easy grip. The blade has been hand-sharpened using different stones for better out-the-box sharpness.

  • Great edge retention
  • Made for precise cutting
  • A good choice for chefs or home use
  • Manufactured using HAP40 Powder Steel
  • Medium weight
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Not suited for cutting meat and fish
  • A bit heavy for chopping

#3: Hap40 3 Layer Sujihiki Japanese Chef Knife

[aawp box=”B085Z66574″ template=”image”]
Quick Specification
  • Blade Length: 240mm (9.4″)
  • Blade Height: 32mm (1.3″)
  • Blade Thickness: 2.3mm (0.1″)
  • Handle Length: 136mm (5.4″)
  • Knife Type: Sujihiki
  • Steel Type: HAP40
  • HRC: 62-64
  • Blade Type: Double edged blade
  • Handle Material: Rosewood Handle

The Sujihiki Company was founded in 1933, and with time, it has gained a reputation for producing quality Japanese knives.

Using the same methods used in Samurai swords’ production, Sujihiki has come ups with a line of knives that are unbeatable in their durability and edge retention, and performance.

This brand is constantly evolving and improving in its production of high-speed steel knives.

Sujihiki (meaning tendon or muscle cutter) is a Japanese product meant to mimic the cutters’ western style. These knives are a bit shorter and thinner compared to Chef’s knives. They are strategically manufactured in this design to minimize friction when slicing fish and meat. Many chefs have been using these knives to make sushi and sashimi instead of the normal Yanagi-ba. This is because the latter requires a lot of maintenance.

  • An affordable option for chefs
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Made like a samurai sword
  • Excellent edge retention
  • Limited use for making meat and fish meals only
  • A bit heavy

How To Sharpen Hap40 Steel Knife


With all that said, HAP40 is an excellent choice for knives and blades. It presents all the desirable qualities of a perfect steel knife. Despite its low corrosion resistance, it is still a good pick since many consumers don’t complain about it. All you have to do is to take great care of your knife, and it will last as long as you want it to.

The Steel is a reliable choice for both home use and commercial kitchens. It does the job it has been made for excellently, which has seen it become a favorite choice among experts.

As always, in case you have a different or a more enlightening opinion about HAP40 Steel, kindly leave a comment below. Again, if you have any questions or need more clarification about any product mentioned above, you can also leave it in the comment section below.

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