Blade Steel

ZDP-189 - Blade Steel

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Steel Composition

carbon 3.00 %
chromium 20.00 %
molybdenum 1.30 %

The ZDP-189, also known as MC ZDP-189, is a premium blade steel manufactured by Hitachi Metals in Japan. High carbon and chromium content provides this steel with superior hardness and edge retention. It is known for its incredible cutting performance and long-lasting sharpness.

What are the Benefits of ZDP-189?

The primary benefit of the ZDP-189 knife steel is it's amazing edge retention. Due to high carbon and chromium content, this steel manages to maintain sharpness for a long period of intense usage. Additionally, it is also resistant to wear and abrasion, further prolonging the life of the edge.

Another great advantage of this steel falls into the hardness category, which results in a blade that can withstand forceful usage without losing its shape.

Disadvantages of ZDP-189 for Knives

The ZDP-189 blade steel is not without its disadvantages. Despite its excellent edge retention and hardness, it has a poor rating in terms of corrosion resistance. It can be prone to rust if not properly cared for.

Another downside is that it tends to be quite challenging to sharpen due to its extreme hardness. Sharpening this steel may require specialized tools and skilled professionals, increasing its overall maintenance cost.

Steel Rating

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

Edge Retention

6/6 Points

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


2/6 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


2/6 Points

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


1/6 Points

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


64 – 67 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 ZDP-189?

In terms of rust resistance, the ZDP-189 knife steel falls a bit short. Even though it contains 20% chromium, which usually enhances rust resistance, the large amount of carbon in its composition appears to negate this benefit. As such, it requires diligent care and maintenance to prevent rusting and corrosion, especially in humid environments.

How Strong is ZDP-189?

The high hardness of the ZDP-189 blade steel (64 - 67 HRC) is one outstanding feature. This allows it to hold an edge quite well but also makes it more brittle compared with other steels. It excels in applications that require precision cutting but may chip if used in tasks with high impact.

For what is ZDP-189 known for?

The ZDP-189 knife steel is renowned for its exceptional edge retention and high hardness, making it a popular choice for high-end kitchen knives and EDC knives.

Although it may require more care and be difficult to sharpen, those looking for a premium steel that will maintain sharpness for prolonged periods may find ZDP-189 to be a worthwhile investment.

Similar blade steels


In conclusion, the ZDP-189 steel is a top-performer in the field of edge retention and hardness. If properly maintained and used for the right purposes, a ZDP-189 blade could serve you well for a very long time. However, its poor rust resistance and degree of difficulty to sharpen might not be suitable for everyone. It's an exceptional choice for those who prioritize edge longevity and don't mind spending some extra time on maintenance.