Blade Steel

N680 - Blade Steel

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Steel Composition

carbon 0.70 %
chromium 17.30 %
molybdenum 1.10 %
vanadium 0.10 %
cobalt 1.10 %
manganese 0.40 %
silicon 0.40 %
phosphorus 0.025 %
sulfur 0.015 %

N680 is a stainless steel made by Bohler, a steel manufacturer from Austria. The steel was designed for high corrosion resistance especially in saltwater, also meant for surgical instruments which makes it easy to sterilize and easy to clean. With a high amount of Chromium and the addition of Molybdenum, as well as the higher HRC rating (HRC 57-60), makes it much better than the 440B. It’s well used by Benchmade for their saltwater knives.

What are the Advantages of N680?

Along with its excellent corrosion resistance, N680 steel is simple to handle and provides a solid performance. It's an excellent choice for EDC knives because of its ability to retain its edge, even under heavy use, and its high sharpenability makes it a welcoming option for those situations where you need to quickly put an edge on your blade. It has a recognized resistant to pitting and/or staining in harsh environments due to its high chromium content.

Disadvantages of N680 for Knives

On the downside, while N680 boasts high corrosion resistance, it still lacks behind in certain areas like edge retention which is on the lower side compared to other options within the same price range. Additionally, while it's oxidation-resistant, it's not entirely rust-proof. Therefore, it's still important to properly clean and maintain your N680 knife, especially if it's frequently exposed to harsh conditions.

Steel Rating

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

Edge Retention

3/6 Points

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


3/6 Points

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

Corrosion Resistance

5/6 Points

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


4/6 Points

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


4/6 Points

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


57 - 60 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 N680 Rust Resistant?

The corrosion resistance is the strong suite of N680 steel, mainly due to its high Chromium content. It's highly appreciated for its resistance to saltwater corrosion, making it ideal for knives exposed to marine environments. However, like any steel, N680 is not completely rust-proof, and proper maintenance is required to keep it in top condition.

How Hard is N680?

The N680 performs well in terms of hardness as well. With an HRC rating of 57 to 60, this falls into the upper-mid range of the hardness scale, allowing the knife to maintain a good edge for a longer period of time, while still providing a decent level of toughness.

For What is N680 Recognized for?

N680 is well-regarded as a reliable knife steel, particularly known for its remarkable corrosion resistance, even in saltwater environments. It's a preferred choice for many outdoor enthusiasts and professionals where exposure to water or humid conditions is a given. The ease of sharpening and reliable edge retention further enhances its reputation among end-users.


In conclusion, if you're after a balanced steel that delivers exceptional corrosion resistance and good sharpenability without breaking the bank, N680 is definitely worth considering. Despite some drawbacks in edge retention, its overall performance makes it a solid choice for everyday carry knives, particularly for those who frequent outdoor or marine environments.