Blade Steel

N690Co - Blade Steel

author image by -

Steel Composition

carbon 1.08 %
chromium 17.30 %
molybdenum 1.10 %
vanadium 0.40 %
cobalt 1.50 %
manganese 0.40 %
silicon 0.40 %
sulfur 0.015 %

The N690Co is a high-end stainless steel developed by the Bohler-Uddeholm Corp, an Austrian-based company. Known for its superb corrosion resistance and high hardness level, the N690Co is also relatively easy to sharpen, making it an ideal choice for EDC knives. It additionally offers impressive edge retention and is often compared to the VG-10, a renowned Japanese knife steel.

What are the Benefits of N690Co?

The N690Co is an excellent choice of blade steel for EDC knives, as it combines a number of desirable properties. With its high carbon content, the steel offers excellent hardness and edge retention. This means that a knife with an N690Co blade will remain sharp and durable even after prolonged use.

Additionally, thanks to its chromium and cobalt content, N690Co is also highly rust-resistant, making it a perfect choice for users in humid or wet climates. Furthermore, despite its high hardness level, the steel still maintains a good level of toughness, which is often a downfall in other hard steels.

Disadvantages of N690Co for Knives

One of the main disadvantages of the N690Co is its relatively high price compared to other steels in its category. This is due to the high-quality materials used in its composition and the complex manufacturing process involved. However, many users find that the benefits offered by this steel outweigh the cost.

Furthermore, despite its high hardness level, the steel can still be quite difficult to sharpen compared to more common steels like the AUS-8 or 420HC. This may pose a challenge for novice knife owners.

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


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


58 - 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.

How Rust Resistant is N690Co?

The N690Co is known for its impressive corrosion resistance. The high chromium content in the steel creates a protective layer on the blade's surface, which helps to prevent rust and corrosion. However, proper maintenance is still essential to maintain the steel's corrosion-resistant properties and ensure its longevity.

How Strong is N690Co?

The N690Co boasts a high hardness rating typically ranging between 58 and 60 HRC. This high hardness allows for excellent edge retention and durability, meaning that N690Co blades perform exceptionally well in cutting tasks and maintain a sharp edge longer than many other steels, reducing the need for regular sharpening.

For what is N690Co known for?

The N690Co has built a reputable name for itself in the knife industry due to its balanced properties and high performance. It's often used in premium EDC knives and is popular among knife enthusiasts who value quality and performance. It's also used in surgical instruments and other tools that require a sharp and durable edge.


Overall, the N690Co is a fantastic choice of steel for quality conscious knife owners who don't mind paying a bit extra for superior performance. Despite being a bit challenge to sharpen and its high cost, its exceptional durability, edge retention, corrosion resistance, and toughness make it stand out among other steels in its class. It's an undoubtedly high-performing knife steel that's well-suited for everyday carry knives.