Blade Steel

M2 - Blade Steel

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Steel Composition

carbon 0.85 %
chromium 4.00 %
molybdenum 4.75 %
vanadium 1.90 %
tungsten 5.75 %

The M2 blade steel, manufactured by the USA steel company Bohler-Uddeholm Corporation, has been a staple in the tool steel industry for years. It provides a decent amount of edge retention and durability but is not the most rust-resistant material. M2 blade steel is typically used for tools and knives that require sharp edges, such as drill bits, saw blades, and high-performance EDC knives.

Advantages of M2 as Knife Steel

The choice of M2 steel for EDC knives is mostly driven by its high wear resistance and exceptional edge retention. This makes M2 blades suitable for demanding tasks or heavy use, where other steels might dull quickly. The hardness of M2 steel also contributes to its strength, so you can expect a knife made from this steel to withstand heavy-duty tasks without chipping or breaking the blade.

Another advantage of M2 is its relatively easy sharpening process compared to other steels with similar hardness. However, this doesn't mean you'll need to sharpen an M2 blade frequently.

Disadvantages of M2 for Knives

The main disadvantage of M2 blade steel is its less than ideal corrosion resistance. It requires regular maintenance to keep it rust-free, especially if you're in a humid or salty environment. It's recommended to clean and lubricate your M2 knife regularly to prevent oxidation and pitting. This might be a deal-breaker if you're looking for a low-maintenance knife.

Another downside is that it's not the easiest steel to heat treat, which can affect the knife's overall performance if not done correctly.

Steel Rating

Steels with good edge retention will stay sharp longer, reducing the need for frequent sharpening

Edge Retention

4/6 Points

Toughness is the steel's ability to absorb energy and deform without breaking


4/6 Points

Corrosion Resistance measures how well the steel can resist rust and oxidation

Corrosion Resistance

2/6 Points

Sharpenability refers to how easily a knife blade can be sharpened to its desired edge


3/6 Points

This is a relative measure based on typical market values. The actual price can vary widel


2/6 Points

A higher HRC number typically indicates a harder steel, which can hold a sharper edge


58 - 61 HRC
Please be aware that this rating should be understood as a comparative measure. It's simply a rough estimation in relation to other knife steels.

Is M2 Rust Resistant?

Despite having a fair amount of chromium in its composition, M2 steel is not known for being exceptionally rust-resistant. Careful upkeep, including regular cleaning and oiling, can minimize the risk of rust or corrosion.

How Durable is M2?

M2 steel typically carries a high hardness rating, between 60-62 HRC. This contributes to its excellent edge retention and wear resistance. However, a higher hardness rating usually means increased brittleness, but due to its balanced composition, M2 steel maintains a good level of toughness.


M2 is often praised for its excellent edge retention and toughness. Yet its downside lies in its weak corrosion resistance. Because of these features, it's more commonly used in heavy work industrial tools than everyday carry knives. But it still has a place in the world of high-performance and premium EDC knives, respected by many knife enthusiasts.

Similar blade steels


To sum it up, the M2 steel is a good choice for anyone looking for a knife that can hold a sharp edge for an extended period. Its toughness and excellent edge retention make it stand out in the crowd. However, if you're in an environment where corrosion resistance holds importance or you'd prefer a knife that demands less maintenance, you might want to explore other options.