When buying kitchen knives, most people focus on the material from a distance. They only check whether the blade is made of stainless steel or carbon steel to judge the quality of the knife. This is a misleading concept as both types have their benefits and disadvantages.
Just stainless steel can be of different types depending on the chemical composition. And those types perform differently. SG2 and VG10 steel are two types of high-carbon stainless steel that come from the same manufacturer.
What do these names mean? How are they different? And which material will be best for kitchen knives? We will go deep into these two steel and run a thorough comparison between the VG10 vs SG2.
This will help you choose the right material for your kitchen knives from now on. Stop buying knives for just one unique feature. Instead, focus on edge retention, hardness, rust resistance, and other crucial properties. Let’s get started.
What is VG10?
Most knife blades are made of stainless steel or carbon steel, as you all might know. Stainless steel blades are more rust-resistant than carbon steel blades. But the problem is, they aren’t as tough or sharp as their carbon counterparts.
Japanese steel manufacturer Tafeku Special Steel created special steel that acts as both stainless steel and carbon steel to solve this problem. It has enough Chromium to be stainless steel and enough Carbon to be carbon steel.
As a result, knife blades made of this steel are highly corrosion-resistant and tough at the same time. This is considered the gold standard of steel, hence named V-Gold-10 or VG10.
Chemical Composition of VG10
Let’s take a quick look at the chemical composition of the VG10 to understand its characteristics better.
- Carbon – 1.05%
- Chromium – 15.5%
- Cobalt – 1.5%
- Molybdenum – 1.2%
- Manganese – 0.5%
- Phosphorus – 0.03%
- Vanadium – 0.3%
Properties of VG10
Here is a quick overview of the properties of VG10 steel.
VG10 is harder than most other stainless steel types. It has a hardness rating of 56-60 HRc in the Rockwell Scale.
- Edge Retention
Due to the presence of high Chromium, this steel has good edge retention capability. So, you can use knives made of this steel for a long time without sharpening them over and over again.
- Corrosion Resistance
As this steel has a high amount of Chromium, Carbon, and Vanadium, it is incredibly resistant to rust and corrosion. If you maintain the knife properly, it will be rust-resistant even in humid areas.
Though high Chromium steels are considered less sharp than low Chromium steels, this steel will make pretty sharp knife blades.
Don’t confuse it with the hardness. The harder the steel, the more susceptible it is to chipping or breaking. Harder steels become brittle easily, but that’s not the case here. VG10 is quite tough and takes enough lateral impacts without breaking.
Benefits of VG10
- It has the perfect balance of hardness and toughness. So, the edge retention will be better than other steels. The chances of chipping will be reduced for the same reason.
- VG10 is more rust and corrosion resistant than most other steels due to its high Chromium and Carbon inputs.
- It also has excellent wear resistance, so you can use knives made of VG10 for longer.
Disadvantages of VG10
- Maintaining the sharpness of VG10 steel blades is a bit difficult.
- Kitchen knives made of VG10 will cost a good sum.
What is SG2?
SG2 is another type of stainless steel made by the same manufacturer as before, Takefu Special Steel. SG is the abbreviation for Super Gold. This steel is also called SGPS or Super Gold Power Steel as Japanese steel experts made this through powder metallurgy.
SG2 has more Carbon but less Chromium content than the VG10. It wasn’t as popular as VG10, and Tafeku stopped manufacturing this steel. But you can steel buy kitchen knives made of SG2 steel from other manufacturers.
Chemical Composition of SG2
SG2 has a slightly different chemical composition than VG10. Here are the ingredients used to make SG2.
- Carbon – 1.25-1.45%
- Chromium – 14-16%
- Molybdenum – 2.3-3.3%
- Vanadium – 1.8-2.2%
- Manganese – 0.4%
- Silicon – 0.5%
- Phosphorus – 0.03%
- Sulfur – 0.03%
Properties of SG2
Due to the changed composition of SG2, it has different characteristics than VG10.
Due to the high Carbon content, SG2 is very hard. It has a hardness rating of 64 HRc in the Rockwell Scale. Though the greater hardness increases the chance of being brittle, it provides great abrasion resistance.
- Edge Retention
SG2 steel has excellent edge retention compared to most other steels. As a result, SG2 steel knives will hold their shape for longer.
- Wear and Corrosion Resistance
As the SG2 steel is very hard, it won’t lose particles when you use knives. So, it will be highly wear-resistant. Due to the high Chromium content of this steel, it resists rust and corrosion better than many other steel types.
Though the SG2 steel is very hard, it has a fine microstructure because of the manufacturing process. As a result, it will be effortless to sharpen SG2 steel, and the knives will hold their sharpness for longer. So, you don’t need to sharpen them frequently.
We must say, the toughness of the SG2 is steel is low due to its high hardness. So, this can become brittle. Though the chance of breaking knives is low, chipping or bending can commonly occur.
Benefits of SG2
- It has a very high rust and corrosion resistance because of the higher Chromium in its composition.
- SG2 has a high hardness rating, so it is less likely to wear compared to other steel types, which is great for making knives for rough uses.
- SG2 steel is easy to sharpen due to its fine microstructure.
Disadvantages of SG2
- It can be brittle and susceptible to chipping due to high hardness.
Comparing VG10 vs SG2
We will compare these two steel types in terms of their different properties. It is going to be informative.
The toughness of these steels is measured in a three-point bend test. SG2 steel has greater toughness than the VG10.
Wear resistance is related to the carbon content of the steel. So, SG2 has better wear resistance than VG10.
Both SG2 and VG10 have similar corrosion resistance. So, it is tough to differentiate them depending on this factor.
Due to the presence of higher Chromium Carbide, SG2 has better edge retention than VG10 steel.
As VG10 has more Vanadium Carbide than SG2, it is difficult to sharpen a VG10 blade to finer grits. Sharpening SG2 is much easier due to its low Vanadium Carbide.
You might not experience much difference between these two steel if you aren’t a steel expert. None of these steels stands out to point out a clear difference. Though SG2 is relatively better in quality, VG10 is more famous for making kitchen knives for daily use.
FAQ On Knife Steel
Let’s know answers to some frequently asked questions about these two steel.
Is VG10 super steel?
Yes, VG10 is called super steel because of its high-performing characteristics. It has a high Carbon and Chromium content to make the still very hard and hold the shape.
Is VG10 steel easy to sharpen?
Sharpness is related to the hardness of the steel. As VG10 is quite hard, it will take a bit of time and effort to sharpen VG10 steel. Once you sharpen this steel, it will hold the sharpness for quite a while.
What do Rockwell hardness numbers mean?
When testing the hardness of steel, the result is compared to a chart called the Rockwell Scale. A higher Rockwell number means the steel is harder, and a lower Rockwell number means the steel is softer.
Is SG2 stainless steel?
Yes, SG2 is a high-carbon, powdered steel popular for its high hardness and better corrosion resistance.
Which is easier to sharpen between SG2 and VG10?
Though SG2 is harder than VG10, it is easier to sharpen due to its fine microstructure. SG2 also holds the sharpness for longer than VG10.
Is SG2 steel suitable for knives?
As SG2 steel was produced to make knife blades, it is definitely good steel for knives. The toughness, edge retention, wear, and corrosion resistance make it an excellent material for making kitchen knives.
Going deep into the blade material while buying knives is often ignored by mass people. But enthusiasts still love to explore the features of different steels to find the perfect cutting solution for their kitchens.
Knowing what properties your knife blade possesses and how it will react to different situations will make you maintain the knife better. And when you maintain the knife better, it will be an inevitable tool of your kitchen.
No matter what material between SG2 vs VG10 has been used to make your kitchen knives, make sure you take good care of them to keep them in good shape. You can cut with more confidence when the knife you are holding is made of high-end material.