What is SK5 Steel - Complete Guide of SK5 Steel

What is SK5 Steel – Complete Guide of SK5 Steel

Researching on a knife’s steel is a good thing before buying. There are many steel grads found in today’s world; SK5 is one of them.  It is one of today’s popular steels. You may already know about SK5 steel. If you are not aware of SK5 steel, you don’t have to worry about it.

This article will help you know what SK5 steel is, the chemical composition of SK5 steel, the properties of SK5 steel, and almost everything about SK5 steel.

Let’s start with an in-depth review of the SK5 steel.

What is Sk5 steel?

SK5 is one of the popular and hardest steels that come from Japan. It is a low/mid-range (somewhere between low and mid) Carbon steel that is used in a wide range of tools including scalpel blades, razor blades, long-edged tools, utility knives, and other cutting tools.

What is Sk5 steel

It is widely used and known because of its amazing price, hardenability, workability, and other features. However, it is not a stainless-steel; it is Carbon steel. Carbon steel is also a good option for sturdy, strong knives. SK5 steel is great in terms of excellent wear resistance and longer edge retention.

One thing you have to keep in mind that Sk5 is hard steel, so it can brittle. Moreover, SK5 steel is a great steel for tactical, camping, and hunting knives because outdoor activity knives require a strong knife. In this case, SK5 steel will never disappoint you.

 Sk5 steel chemical composition

The elements included in the steel are used for different purposes and have different features. The elements which are included in the SK5 steel grade are as follows:


Percentage (%)




Carbon increases the steel’s hardness, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance.



It increases the brittleness and hardness of the steel.



Silicon improves the strength of the steel.



It increases the steel’s corrosion resistance, edge retention, and wear resistance.



Nickel increases the toughness of the steel.



It prevents steel’s surface oxidation.



Phosphorus also increases the strength of the steel.



It increases the steel’s machinability.

As you can see, SKS steel has a very less percentage of Chromium which means it is not stainless steel. So, it is considered Carbon steel, not stainless steel. Moreover, it has a high percentage of Nickel which makes it incredibly tough. The SK5 steel is incredibly tough, which also makes it hard to sharpen.

Properties of Sk5 Steel

Sk5 steel is probably one of the toughest steels you will find in this price range. That’s one of its main features, paired with its great wear/corrosion resistance and edge retention.

SK5 steel has a great hardness and an amazing chemical composition; it offers some amazing properties, which are as follows:

Toughness: Sk5 steel is one of the toughest steels on the market. The steel offers a great balance between toughness and hardness at the cost of corrosion resistance. As Sk5 steel is so hard, this makes great steel for outdoor activities knives.

Wear Resistance: Sk5 steel is resistant to wear because it is so tough. It offers exceptional wear resistance due to Carbon and Chromium.

Edge retention: Sk5 steel has great edge retention because it is hard steel. Hard steels often have great edge retention.

Machinability: Sk5 steel has Sulfur which makes it great steel for machinability.

Read More: Best Henckels Knife Sets

Weak points of Sk5 Steel

As Sk5 steel has a lot of good features, but it has some weak points as well. Some of the weak points are as follows:

Corrosion Resistance: Sk5 steel has a low percentage of Chromium (0.30%), making it not good steel for corrosion resistance. Corrosions and Rust are direct enemies of sk5 steel because of its poor level of corrosion resistance. It stills offers a bit of corrosion resistance, but care must be taken to avoid corrosion and rust.

Weak points of Sk5 Steel

Sharpness: Sharpness is another weak point of Sk5 steel. As you know, Sk5 steel is tough steel, which makes it difficult to sharpen. You may need more time and effort to sharpen an Sk5 steel knife or tool with conventional sharpening tools.

Rockwell hardness of Sk5 steel

SKS steel has an amazing hardness, wear resistance, and edge retention. It is probably one of the toughest steels you will find in this price range. SK5 steel meets the standards of true quality steel.

SKS steel has great composition and a combination of elements, and because of this, this steel possesses great hardness.

SKS steel offers high Rockwell hardness, which is around 65HRC.

Check This: Best Dishwasher Safe Knife Set

Is Sk5 steel good for Knives?

Yes, Sk5 steel is good for knives.

It offers great edge retention and amazing wear resistance properties, which makes it a good option for survival and hunting knives. If you need a knife for camping, hunting, or any other outdoor activity, go for an Sk5 steel knife. This steel will never disappoint you in this case.

However, it may not be good for kitchen knives because of its low corrosion resistance. You can use the Sk5 steel knife in the kitchen, but for that, you have to take good care of a knife.

Pros & Cons of Sk5 Steel

  • Sk5 steel is harder than many other sheets of steel.
  • It has great edge retention.
  • It has amazing wear resistance.
  • Sk5 steel is a great steel for machinability.
  • Affordable.
  • SK5 steel has decent resistance to chipping.
  • Sk5 steel is a bit difficult to sharpen.
  • It not good steel for corrosion resistance.

Read More: How to Clean Knife

Sk5 steel Best Knives

If you are a fan of Cold Steel Knives or Ontario Knives, you may saw their SK-5 or SK5 survival knives. There are many survival knives of Sk5 steel are available in the market. In this section, I will review one of the popular and best survival knives of Sk5 steel.

CRKT Clever Girl

CRKT Clever Girl

  • Overall Length: 10.125-inch
  • Blade Length: 4.6-inch
  • Blade Thickness: 0.158-inch
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Blade Style: Fixed Blade Knife
  • Blade Finish: Powder Coat
  • Blade Steel: SK5 steel
  • Knife’s Weight: 6.3 oz
  • Knife’s Handle: G10
  • Sheath Material: Glass Reinforced Nylon
  • Sheath Weight: 1.6 oz

CRKT Clever Girl is a perfect tactical knife. It comes with a 4.6-inch plain edge fixed blade with an overall knife length of 10.125-inch. The knife’s blade is made with Sk5 steel, which is hard enough to handle difficult tasks. The blade of the knife looks small, but in fact, it has a large fixed blade.

The knife’s blade offers great edge retention, amazing wear resistance, and great toughness, which makes it a great knife for tactical/survival situations or outdoor activities. However, it doesn’t have a lot of corrosion resistance; it has decent corrosion resistance. It is recommended to oil and clean after usage to keep it in perfect condition.

It comes with a G10 handle which is comfortable to grip. So, you will not tire of using it even after extended use. Moreover, Glass Reinforced Nylon Sheath and Limited Lifetime Warranty make it more appealing.


Comparison of Sk5 steel with the Other Steel

In this section, I will compare the Sk5 steel with some other steels. For this, I’ll create comparison tables so you can quickly understand which steel is better than other steel. I will rate some elements on a scale from 1 to 10.

Sk5 steel vs 1095 steel

Sk5 steel

1095 steel

Edge retention



Stainless steel



Ease of Sharpness



Rockwell Hardness

65 HRC

55 HRC




Corrosion Resistance



Market Popularity



1095 steel has better edge retention, ease of sharpness, toughness, and corrosion resistance than 1095 steel. Sk5 steel is only best in terms of Rockwell hardness. Moreover, the market popularity of 1095 steel is also more than Sk5 steel.

Read More: Japanese Kitchen Knife Sets

SK5 steel equivalent

Sk5 is carbon steel, and it is very close to carbon steel 1084 and W2. Sk5 steel has almost the same chemical composition as 1084 and W2 steel. All these steels are good at toughness and edge retention. Moreover, their prices also fall in the same range.


Sk5 steel is famous for its wear resistance and edge retention properties. I like its edge retention, and its edge retention is also considered top in the knife industry. Moreover, the price of Sk5 steel is meager compared to related steel, which makes it more appealing and great steel for knives.

Sk5 steel knives hold their edge well for a long time; that is why it is famous amongst knife makers. SK5 steel knives may not be good for kitchen use, but their knives are great for outdoor activities or tactical/survival situations.

I highly recommend Sk5 steel knives to you if you need the knife for a self-defense purposes or you are a hunter or camper. I wouldn’t recommend Sk5 steel knives for a kitchen purposes because of their low corrosion resistance. However, if you can take good care of the knife, then I’ll recommend Sk5 steel knives for kitchen purposes as well.

Recommended Guides: 


Is SK5 steel stainless?
Sk5 steel is not stainless steel because of the low percentage of chromium (0.30) in it. The steel is only considered stainless once it has more than 11% of Chromium in it. However, Sk5 steel is high Carbon steel.
Which is better, Sk2 or Sk5 steel?
Sk2 steel has more carbon which makes it harder than Sk5 steel. Also, Sk2 steel has better wear resistance and corrosion resistance than Sk5 steel. Moreover, it has a better price, strength, and toughness than Sk5 steel.
How long does Sk5 carbon steel hold its edge?
Sk5 is carbon steel that holds its edge well for a long time. As Sk5 is hard steel and hard steels often have great edge retention. However, Sk5 steel tools are hard, so they are very difficult to sharpen.
Does Sk5 steel rust?
Yes, Sk5 steel can rust. It rusts faster than other stainless steels because it has only 0.30% of Chromium, so it is not considered stainless steel. It is also not good for corrosion resistance, so make sure to take care of it to keep it in shape. However, the rust can be easily overcome with regular cleaning and maintenance.