n690 vs m390

N690 vs M390: The Best Steel Choice

When it comes to selecting the perfect steel for your blades, N690 steel and M390 steel are two popular options that offer exceptional quality. These steels are known for their outstanding properties, including corrosion resistance, edge retention, sharpness, and toughness. However, there are slight differences between N690 and M390 that make one more suitable for certain situations. Understanding these differences is crucial in making an informed decision and finding the best steel choice for your needs.

Key Takeaways:

  • N690 steel and M390 steel are both excellent choices for high-quality blades.
  • N690 steel is a low-carbon, chromium alloy steel known for its hardness and wear resistance.
  • M390 steel is a powder metallurgy stainless steel with exceptional toughness.
  • The chemical composition and mechanical properties of these steels impact their performance.
  • Consider your specific needs and preferences to determine the best steel choice for you.

What is N690 Steel?

N690 steel is a martensitic, high-carbon tool steel known for its exceptional properties. It has gained popularity in the knife-making industry due to its unique combination of hardness, corrosion resistance, and wear resistance. The composition of N690 steel includes a significant amount of carbon, which contributes to its hardness. Additionally, it contains a generous amount of chromium, ensuring excellent resistance to corrosion.

An important aspect of N690 steel is its special blend of cobalt, molybdenum, and vanadium. This blend enhances the steel’s edge retention and wear resistance, making it a reliable choice for many applications. With the right heat treatment, N690 steel can achieve a Rockwell hardness of 55-60 HRC, further enhancing its durability and cutting performance.

N690 steel is often utilized as blade steel in fixed blade knives. Its ability to hold a sharp edge well makes it a preferred choice among knife enthusiasts and professionals. Apart from knives, N690 steel finds applications in various industrial sectors and construction projects where a combination of hardness, corrosion resistance, and wear resistance is required.

As shown in the image above, N690 steel offers exceptional performance and versatility, making it a favored option among knife enthusiasts and professionals alike.

What is M390 Steel?

M390 steel is a very high-performance martensitic steel known for its exceptional properties. Developed by Bohler-Uddeholm, M390 steel offers a combination of high hardness, excellent corrosion resistance, and superior wear and abrasion resistance. It is widely regarded as a premium grade stainless steel due to its strength and durability.

The key to M390 steel’s impressive performance lies in its composition. It is a powder metallurgy stainless steel, which means it is manufactured using a specialized process that involves blending and sintering fine metal powders. This results in a steel with a very fine microstructure and uniform distribution of alloying elements.

The high vanadium and chromium content in M390 steel contribute to its superior toughness, especially at high temperatures. The vanadium enhances the steel’s wear resistance, while the chromium provides excellent corrosion resistance. These properties make M390 steel an ideal choice for various types of knives, including kitchen knives, hunting knives, pocket knives, and everyday carry blades.

One of the standout features of M390 steel is its exceptional edge retention. Thanks to its fine grain structure and advanced metallurgical properties, it can maintain a sharp edge for extended periods of time. This makes M390 steel highly desirable for applications where edge retention is crucial.

M390 steel can be hardened to a Rockwell hardness of 60-62 HRC, which is considered extremely high for stainless steel. This further enhances its resistance to wear and ensures that it can withstand demanding tasks without dulling or chipping.

Overall, M390 steel is a top choice for those who seek a high-performance stainless steel with excellent properties. Its exceptional hardness, corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and edge retention make M390 steel a go-to option for knife enthusiasts and professionals alike.

M390 Steel

N690 vs M390: Chemical Composition

The chemical composition of N690 steel and M390 steel plays a crucial role in determining their properties and performance. While these two steels have some similarities, their slight differences in composition lead to variations in hardness, edge retention, and corrosion resistance.

N690 steel has a carbon content of 1.07%, providing it with a solid foundation for hardness and wear resistance. In comparison, M390 steel boasts a higher carbon content of 1.9%, contributing to its superior hardness and edge retention.

Both N690 and M390 steels contain essential elements such as chromium, vanadium, and molybdenum, which enhance their corrosion resistance and wear resistance. However, N690 steel has a lower chromium content of 17%, whereas M390 steel boasts a higher chromium content of 20%. This disparity in chromium content influences their overall resistance to corrosion.

M390 steel also includes additional elements in its composition, such as silicon, tungsten, and a higher manganese content. These components contribute to M390 steel’s exceptional toughness and further bolster its overall performance.

Overall, the differences in chemical composition between N690 steel and M390 steel result in distinct variations in their properties. While N690 steel offers a balance of hardness and wear resistance, M390 steel excels in edge retention and overall durability.

Continue reading to explore the mechanical properties of N690 steel and M390 steel, which further elucidate their differences and aid in making an informed choice for your specific needs.

N690 vs M390: Mechanical Properties

The mechanical properties of N690 steel and M390 steel are crucial factors to consider when selecting the right steel for your specific requirements. These properties determine the steel’s performance in terms of edge retention, hardness, and corrosion resistance.

M390 steel, with its higher carbon and manganese content, exhibits superior edge retention compared to N690 steel. This makes it an ideal choice for applications that demand prolonged sharpness. Additionally, M390 steel boasts excellent strength and edge retention, earning it the reputation of a “super steel.” It is highly regarded for its exceptional durability and ability to withstand heavy use.

Both N690 steel and M390 steel offer good corrosion resistance. However, M390 steel has a slight advantage due to its higher chromium content, making it more resistant to rust and oxidation.

N690 steel, on the other hand, is known for its hardness. It is suitable for knives that require frequent sharpening and cutting through challenging materials. The hardness of N690 steel ensures that the blade maintains its sharpness even under demanding conditions.

Overall, while M390 steel excels in terms of edge retention and strength, N690 steel is renowned for its hardness and suitability for tough cutting tasks. Your decision between these two steels should be based on your specific needs and preferences.

n690 vs m390


When comparing the N690 steel and M390 steel for your blades, it is crucial to consider your specific needs and preferences. If you prioritize outstanding edge retention, M390 steel emerges as the superior choice. This steel variant ensures remarkable durability and resistance to wear, making it perfect for heavy usage scenarios. However, if you prioritize hardness and frequent sharpening, N690 steel proves to be a reliable option.

Both N690 steel and M390 steel exhibit high corrosion resistance, making them suitable for various applications. Whether it’s industrial use, construction projects, or different types of blades, these steels deliver excellent performance. However, the best steel choice ultimately depends on your specific requirements and intended use.

By carefully evaluating the distinctive characteristics of N690 steel and M390 steel, you can make an informed decision and select the best steel for your unique needs. Consider factors such as edge retention, hardness, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance to choose the perfect steel for your blades. Remember, the best steel choice will enable you to achieve optimal performance and durability for your blades, ensuring your satisfaction and the longevity of your tools.