Having a sharp, robust, and strong knife is crucial while cutting any tools or even for self-defense sometimes. Because silverware is one of the few pieces of equipment you use practically every day for house chores and tool cuttings that investing in a high-quality knife may have significant benefits in terms of safety and efficiency in the household. Picking the knife that performs effectively for you requires taking into account a number of personal factors such as hand size, what feels relaxed and easy to you. A good knife, regardless of size, should always be sharp, balanced, and easy to handle. Before you go out and get one, think about what you’ll use it for and how often you’ll use it, as well as how you’ll clean and care for it.
Today we are going to compare and contrast the K390, M390, and N690. All of the above knife models were created to fulfill the severe abrasion tolerance and compressive strength characteristics of slashing, blanking, and piercing processes, cold forming applications, and components subjected to abrasive wear in the plastics handling industry. They have their significant properties which make them superior to others along with some cons. To ease your confusion about which one to buy, we are going to give a clear outline of their features and usefulness in this article.
K390 vs M390 vs N690
K390 steel Review
K390 is an excellent choice if you need high-end steel that is resistant to wear and corrosion. K390 is a wonderful choice for knife producers since it includes a lot of Vanadium, which gives it a lot of tensile strength and abrasion tolerance.
K390 is Bohler-developed German steel for cold work operations and parts subjected to abrasive wear during the manufacturing of polymers. It’s a type of sophisticated tool steel produced by Bohler utilizing their proprietary particle metallurgy method, commonly known as MicroClean technology.
This current alloy combination assures excellent compressive toughness and resistance to abrasion in industrial processes such as blanking, chopping, and piercing.
Its exceptional machinability and heat treatment ease are due to its fine and homogenous microstructure. These features contribute to its high hardness and excellent edge retention in terms of blade steel.
Edge retention is one of the categories where K390 excels. This is because of the levels of Vanadium and Carbon in their composition. Knives produced of this steel may stay sharp for a long time, even when used often. If you’re looking for a knife that does not go dull easily, K390 knives are the way.
K390 has a low resistance to staining, rusting, and erosion due to a lack of chromium. Despite this, the chromium content of 4.2 percent provides significant resilience. However, to prevent rust and corrosion, you must take proper care of this steel knife. If corrosion resistance and stainless steel are important, this tool steel is not for you.
Any steel’s hardness degree influences its edge retention and wears resistance abilities. The greater the difficulty, the stronger both skills are. Because of its great hardness, this Bohler steel resists wearing effectively. This is also due to a large amount of Vanadium in the alloying mix. Consequently, the K390 knife will last for years without being harmed or showing indications of wear and tear.
K390 has a hardness rating of 64-65 on the Rockwell scale, indicating that it is extremely hard steel. Compared to choices like Maxamet, this evaluation level appears to be a little low. Amidst this, German steel has several excellent qualities depending on this hardness degree, making it perfect for creating high-quality knives.
K390 has a carbide range of 17%. This significantly impacts the effectiveness of a knife constructed from this steel and the sharpening techniques necessary to optimize the carbide-enhanced functionality.
Easiness of sharpening
Sharpening steel becomes more challenging as it becomes harder. If this is your impression of K390, you are correct. Sharpening any edge created with this steel is difficult. However, this does not mean it will be impossible to sharpen properly after getting dull. You’ll need a more sophisticated sharpener to get a razor-sharp edge, such as a diamond stone.
M390 Blade Steel Review
The Böhler M390 is manufactured by Böhler Edelstahl GmbH & Co KG in Kapfenberg, Austria. This firm creates steel that can withstand a lot of wear and tear. ‘Specialty steels,’ as they’re known.
We cannot use all kinds of steel as a knife steel. If you notice, a variety of steels have been created for ball bearings and other jet engine components. The same can be said about the Böhler M390.
It is manufactured using powder metallurgy which is martensitic chromium steel. This steel has strong attrition endurance and strong corrosion resilience due to its alloying concept, the ideal combination for the greatest application features.
M390 has reasonably good edge retention due to its high carbide concentration and the inclusion of 4% vanadium. Many testing, including CATRA data from Bohler-Uddeholm and Latrobe, have shown this good edge retention. It is a sign of strength. As a result, sharpening will be difficult. Thus, polishing an M390 knife will not be as pleasant as grinding it.
Aside from molybdenum and nitrogen, M390 has a comparatively high “chromium in solution,” which is the key component that influences corrosion resistance. This makes sure the knife does not rust easily and is durable.
Because it is composed of martensitic chromium steel, the M390 knife is very robust and long-lasting. It qualifies as a Premium knife because of its excellent EDGE Retention or strength. As a result, it has the potential to maintain sharpness for an extended period.
The chemical components like carbon, chromium, molybdenum, tungsten, and manganese increase the hardness of M390 along with wear resistance property.
Compared with steels of similar hardness, M390 blade steel produces blades with a high level of durability. Knives manufactured from this steel aren’t the hardest on the market. But they’ll last long without shattering, splitting, or breaking, even after continuous use.
It has 18% chromium carbide and 2.5% vanadium carbide. This significant carbide concentration is due to the steel’s large carbon and chromium content. M390 has a larger carbide structure due to the huge amount of chromium carbide.
Easiness of sharpening
Because of its toughness and exceptional wear resistance, M390 is simple to deduce that it is difficult to sharpen. However, you’ll be astonished to learn that this steel is simple to sharpen because it has greater chromium carbides, which are softer and easier to sharpen.
N690 Steel Review
An Austrian steel producer Bohler manufactures N690 cobalt-enriched stainless steel. This steel has a high carbon content, with cobalt added for stability.
N690 steel alloy is a stainless-steel alloy with high chromium content. It also features a granular makeup that allows the blade steel to stay sharp for a prolonged period, even after being exposed to harsh applications for extended periods.
The Bohler N690 blade steel can keep an edge for a long period without needing to be sharpened. For rigorous outdoor applications, you may carry N690 stainless knives with confidence. Fine-edged cobalt in its composition is likewise related to a fine edge that does not go dull as quickly.
Because it includes a significant proportion of chromium, Bohler N690 steel is known for its corrosion resistance. It is stainless steel because it contains over 17 percent chromium, higher than the needed 13 percent for stainless steel. As a result, this steel may be used in places with severe dampness, humidity, and salinity without oxidizing. Another reason for this steel’s popularity in outdoor knives is that they are frequently used in atmospheric corrosion.
N690 has a higher wear resistance than certain premium steels due to the addition of cobalt. With repeated usage and honing, most knives wear out, even those made of high-end steel. But N690 blades have shown to endure longer under the same circumstances.
Steel can have either great hardness or toughness, but never both, as per the rule of thumb. But N690 blade steel provides both. Although it may not have the best toughness, but enough toughness can be attained, which allows it to survive severe outdoor uses without quickly shattering or breaking.
It has 17% chromium carbide. Due to this reason, durability, tensile strength, and corrosion resistance are all improved.
Easiness of sharpening
The sharpness of N690 lasts longer. However, it will ultimately soften. The advantage is that sharpening this steel is a piece of cake. N690 steel is extremely easy to sharpen, unlike other hard steels that need complex sharpening equipment and skilled sharpening expertise.
K390 vs M390
Similarities at a glance
The same firm, Bohler, is famous for manufacturing both K390 and M390 steel. Both knives are good for cutting whatever in the kitchen as well as objects that are too tough for knives. Carbides range from roughly 15% to 17 percent in both K390 and M390 knives, which is an excellent ratio for blades to remain sturdy for a long time.
Differences at a glance
M390 steel was the first to be manufactured. It has excellent edge retention and wears resistance. Furthermore, M390 has a higher chromium content than K390, making it stainless steel with better corrosion resistance.
|Wear Resistance||Excellent since it has a 9% Vanadium||Moderate since it has 4% Vanadium|
(Provides better hardness compared to M390)
|Edge Retention||2.47% carbon, 9% Vanadium provides excellent edge retention||1.9% carbon, 4% vanadium provides excellent edge retention even though it is less than K390|
|Corrosion Resistance||Contains 4.24% chromium so corrosion resistance is decent in this semi-stainless steel||Contains 20% chromium so corrosion resistance is excellent in this stainless steel|
WinnerIn many ways, M390 outperforms K390. K390 steel is ideal for knife manufacturing due to its high edge holding, processability, toughness, and wear resistance. The sole drawback is its low rust resistance, but you can prevent it from rusting with appropriate care and maintenance.
N690 vs M390
Similarities at a glance
Bohler manufactures both N690 and M390 steel. However, they have distinct characteristics. The corrosion resistance of Bohler N690 and M390 is impressive. This is because both knives have a high chromium content in their construction. Both are wear resistance.
Differences at a glance
Because it comprises a highly refined alloy, Bohler M390 steel is considered premium steel. M390 blade steel is considerably superior to N690. It outperforms it in almost every way, with superior wear resistance, hardness, and corrosion resistance.
M390 steel is likewise incredibly costly and only seen in high-end blades. This is perhaps one of the areas where N690 steel outperforms M390 steel.
|Application||This knife is ideal for outdoor activities such as hunting and camping, and so on.||It’s a good option for use in the kitchen.|
|Sharpness||Blade steel retains its sharpness for an extended period of time.||A lot of effort should be given to sharpen it.|
|Stress Tolerance||Can tolerate a huge amount of stress||Can tolerate stress more than N690|
|Edge retention||It does not need to be sharpened on a regular basis.||To maintain performing all of the daily tasks, you’ll need to sharpen the edges on a regular basis.|
|Steel Elements||It has a high amount of chromium along with other noteworthy elements like molybdenum and cobalt||It contains a significant amount of carbon, chromium, and vanadium.|
Winner: N690 is more versatile, and many applications can be done using this model. Since N690 is budget-friendly compared to M390, it is a plus point. Nevertheless, both of the equipment is made with distinct purposes in mind. As a result, it is up to you to choose the most appropriate one to meet your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is M390 steel stainless?
It is made from one of the latest’ super steels.’ One of the new “super steels” is M390. Bohler-Uddeholm manufactures this ultra-premium steel. Its martensitic steel is made with powder metallurgy’s third generation. It has a high level of wear resilience and resistance to corrosion. It’s “micro-clean” steel, according to Bohler, with an extremely fine grain size composition.
Is K390 A powder steel?
Yes, K390 is a high-vanadium powder metallurgy steel with a vanadium content of 9%.
Is N690 better than 154CM?
Both of them have comparatively similar performance. However, N690 is more rust and corrosion-resistant compared to 154CM.
All of them have both advantages and disadvantages. Their characteristics are somewhat specific and differ from each other. If cost is not a factor, then you can choose M390 since it has some amazing features compared to both K390 and N690. But overall, all of them will be able to satisfy you with their performances if proper care is taken.
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