Are you in search of affordable steel that can beat the performance of high-end premium steel? Then, it is the AEB-L steel that you are in search of as it gives a neck-to-neck competition to expensive steel and yet you get it at an affordable price. Let’s explore furthermore to know about all the amazing properties and chemical compositions of steel.


What is AEB-L Steel?

AEB-L steel is not something newly invented. The formulation of the steel was done during the 1960s by a German company known as Bohler-Uddeholm. AEB-L is stainless steel and is a non-powder which gives it a unique consistency.


This unique texture makes it famous amongst knife makers. You won’t need to provide any complicated heat treatment while manufacturing and also giving the steel surface a shiny finish like the mirror is very easy. As these important steps of manufacturing the steel are easy to perform, this helps reduce the cost of AEB-L steel.


The steel is loved for having features like high corrosion resistance, high hardness level and ease of sharpening present in the steel altogether which is very rare in the steel industry. As steel has all of these amazing properties it is chosen for the manufacturing of custom tools and knives, scalpel, industrial tools, and blades as well.


AEB-L steel is the innovative version of its predecessor known as AEB. AEB-L is formulated to have a lesser amount of carbon to have finer carbides in its chemical composition compared to AEB. Furthermore, AEB-L steel has the capacity of forming harder chromium carbides which are known as K2.


The hardness level of K2 carbides is about 79 HRC according to the Rockwell C scale. Providing the right type of heat treatment to AEB-L steel will result in an even distribution of the K2 carbides. This will ensure that the wear resistance of the steel increases and also the steel will be easy to sharpen.


Chemical Composition: 

The AEB-L steel has the right chromium percentage required which makes it stainless. There are other elements present that we have listed below working for various other properties.

  • 0.67% of Carbon: Works for increasing hardness level, corrosion resistance and wear resistance of the steel.
  • 13% of Chromium: Boosts the hardness level, corrosion resistance, toughness level, tensile strength and wear resistance of the steel.
  • 0.6% of Manganese: Improves steel hardenability and tensile strength.
  • 0.4% of Silicon: Adds more steel strength and increases hardness level.
  • 0.025% of Phosphorus: Increases corrosion resistance, machinability and tensile strength.
  • 0.015% Sulfur: Boosts machinability.


Steel Hardness:

According to the Rockwell C scale, the hardness rating of AEB-L steel ranges between 61 to 62 HRC. The hardness rating of the steel can shoot up to 65 HRC depending on the heat treatment provided to the steel. The hardness rating defines the durability of the steel.



  • Boosted Toughness: It is practical to assume that due to the high hardness level of the steel the toughness level will also be low. However, AEB-L steel has the required amount of toughness to resist chipping and cracking. The reason behind the toughness is the presence of fine carbides that get evenly distributed when proper heat treatment is provided.
  • Great Edge Retention: AEB-L steel has an outstanding capacity for edge retention that is because of the presence of evenly distributed chromium carbides that ensures stability.
  • Excellent Wear Resistance: There is no doubt about the excellent wear resistance capacity of AEB-L steel. The steel has a high hardness rating that defines the reason behind its outstanding ability to resist abrasion, wear and tear.
  • Great Corrosion Resistance: AEB-L contains a high volume of chromium that ensures the steel can resist corrosion and rust by giving its best. You will be free from providing any sort of maintenance to the steel. Yet, keeping the moisture away will ensure longevity.
  • Ease of Sharpening: Surprisingly, AEB-L steel is easy to sharpen with a simple strop whenever you wish to give a dull edge a sharp finish. The credit for this goes to the evenly distributed fine carbides on the surface of the steel.


Comparing AEB-L With Other Knife Steel Options:

AEB-L vs 440C

Compared to AEB-L steel, 440C has a higher percentage of carbon and chromium in its chemical composition. This allows 440C to have better corrosion resistance, edge retention and wear resistance. On the other hand, AEB-L steel beats 440C in terms of toughness which ensures AEB-L can resist cracking and chipping upon heavy duty. Furthermore, it is easier to sharpen AEB-L compared to 440C.


AEB-L vs CPM 154

Both of these steels have similar hardness levels. CPM 154 steel is formulated using a unique powder metallurgy process which results in a high toughness level. However, the toughness level is lower compared to AEB-L steel. That is because AEB-L steel consists of a high volume of fine carbides that ensures a better toughness level. Even though the edge retention and wear resistance of AEB-L get praise from knife makers, the capacity of CPM 154 is greater.


AEB-L vs VG10

Both the steel types are stainless with a similar hardness rating and similar capacity of corrosion resistance and excellent edge retention capability. But AEB-L beats VG10 over keeping a clean edge for a long time and is also easier to sharpen.


AEB-L vs 13C26

13C26 steel was formulated by a company called Sandvik to replicate AEB-L steel. Both the steels have almost the same chemical composition resulting in the steels delivering the same performance in terms of corrosion and wear resistance, hardness, and sharpness.


So, is AEB-L Steel Good?

If you are looking for properties of premium steel on a budget, then yes AEB-L is good knife steel to choose. As the steel has the ideal balance of hardness and toughness, great edge retention, and excellent wear resistance. You can achieve precise cuts from the fine edge of the knife that is what a knife maker looks for.



Write A Comment Cancel Reply