Elmax is a premium quality steel with an expensive price range because of the excellent qualities that the steel has. Elmax is used for the manufacturing of high-end fixed, assisted, OTF and OTS knives by well-known knife-making companies. We will be exploring details about the steel properties and chemical composition that make up Elmax steel.


What is Elmax Steel?

Elmax is designed and formulated by a European Brand called Bohler Uddeholm. The steel undergoes a powder metallurgy process for hardening and also to increase the resistance of the steel towards rust. The European company uses the PM process for the manufacturing of various expensive steels.


The PM process is about mixing materials that can be pressed to give the steel desired shape with proper heat treatment. Because the PM process is done on the steel, it is classified as super clean steel with a fine structure. Even the US Navy seals get special standard-issue knives made out of Elmax.


Chemical composition:

Elmax has a unique chemical composition that allows it to be both high carbon and stainless steel. The composition consists of a higher percentage of carbon and chromium than the required threshold.

  • 1.7% of Carbon: Increases the ability of the steel to resist wear and also increases the hardness level of the steel.
  • 18% of Chromium: Increases corrosion resistance, edge retention, hardness level, tensile strength, toughness level, and wear resistance.
  • 3% of Vanadium: Improves resistance of the steel towards shock impact, hardenability and toughness level as well.
  • 1% of Molybdenum: Brings improvement to machinability and steel strength.
  • 0.8% of Silicon: Increases steel strength.
  • 0.30% of Manganese: Increases forge ability, hardenability, wear resistance and tensile strength.


Steel Hardness: 

According to the Rockwell C scale, the hardness rating of the steel ranges between 61 to 62 HRC. As the hardness rating is crossing the threshold of 61 HRC Elmax is classified as very hard steel with a great amount of toughness and durability compared to other well-known hard steels in the market.


Steel Properties:

  • Great Toughness: Elmax steel is well known among the toughest steels available in the market. The knife makers use steel for creating blades that are capable of taking on chores that require impact. Tasks like light batoning can be done without worrying about chipping and succumbing.
  • Superb Edge Retention: Elmax has an extreme capacity for edge retention for a long time. The reason behind that is the high hardness level of the steel. The presence of a high amount of chromium carbides ensures the blade does not get deformed even after regular use.
  • Excellent Wear Resistance: The chemical composition of the steel consists of a high percentage of carbon that gives it a high wear resistance capacity. With an increasing percentage of carbon, the wear resistance also increases. The wear resistance of Elmax ensures the blade can take an impact without getting chipped around the corners.
  • Excellent Corrosion Resistance: Elmax steel also consists of a high percentage of chromium that ensures resistance to rust and corrosion.
  • Ease of Sharpening: Considering the high hardness level of Elmax you can say that the steel is easy to sharpen compared to well-known hard steel in the market.


Comparison With Other Knife Steel Options:


Elmax vs S30V

Both of the steels perform very differently in terms of corrosion resistance because of percentage differences in chromium. S30V beats Elmax in corrosion resistance but in the case of other parameters both of the steels perform the same way.


Elmax vs VG10

Due to Elmax having a higher hardness level than VG10 steel the steel wins over VG10 in terms of edge retention, toughness level and wear resistance. VG10 is mid-range steel that is affordable in terms of price, and corrosion resistance and is also easy to sharpen.


Elmax vs D2

Elmax is a pure stainless steel but D2 is semi stainless which justifies why elmax wins over D2 in terms of corrosion and rust resistance, edge retention and ease of sharpening.


Elmax vs CPM 3V

CPM 3V has a greater toughness level than Elmax. But Elmax has a greater hardness level making it better in terms of edge retention.


Elmax vs S35VN

S35VN steel is better at corrosion resistance and ease of sharpening compared to Elmax. But Elmax is better at retaining edge for a long time compared to S35VN.


Elmax vs S90V

Both of them are stainless steels with great edge retention capability. But Elmax is tougher than S90V and also easier to sharpen.


Elmax vs Maxamet

Elmax falls weak in from of the performance of Maxamet when the matter is about edge retention. But Elmax has a higher toughness level and is better at corrosion resistance compared to Maxamet.


Elmax vs 20CV

Both of the steels have premium quality with same performance in terms of edge retention and toughness. On the other hand, Elmax is less resistant towards corrosion compared to 20CV but is easier to sharpen.


Elmax vs Cruwear

Elmax is stainless and Cruwear is not. But in terms of edge retention they perform similarly. Elmax is better than Cruwear in terms of corr resistance and also has better toughness.



Elmax vs 204P

204P steel beats Elmax in terms of corrosion resistance and on the other hand it is easier to sharpen Elmax steel.


So, is Elmax Steel Good?

Yes, you can undoubtedly consider using Elmax steel for the manufacturing of knives. The steel consists of features like edge retention, wear resistance, hardness and toughness that knife makers look for. You will find famous knife making companies commonly using Elmax steel for the making of high end knives.




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