High Carbon vs Stainless Steel Knife – Difference – Pros/Cons

From now on I have been serious about the knives and their manufacturing material and trying to understand the technical characteristics of carbon and stainless steel knives and separate them from one another on the basis of their blade. I have joined almost all debates on fillet knives where we discuss the benefits and flaws of carbon and stainless steel knives.

My research tells me that both sides have valid points that create complications for the selection of new knives. It was definitely the first time for me when I went to the purchasing process with a little bit of understanding of what I was doing. Now whenever I buy a new knife these factors play an important role to guide me during purchasing.

If you are a pro person or want some opinion or a beginner looking for some direction so stick around it and take a look at the pros and cons of both types of steel to find out which one is best.

Stainless Steel

It is a fusion that contains a high percentage of chromium elements and provides its main characteristics and corrosion resistance. Here we are giving advantages and disadvantages of stainless steel which able and unable you to buy a stainless steel fillet knife.


The steel knife is very famous due to their composition that makes it very resistant to dust, humidity and water. It also has weather resistant capability that means you can use a stainless steel fillet knife in any environment like in forest or in snow or even under the water.

Mostly people concerned with sharpness and edge retention of knives, the stainless steel fillet knife contains a sharp edge razor which works for a long time while filleting. It is also famous because of their high flexibility and low hardness and being able to bear the impact of breaking and cheaping effectively.


One of the big disadvantages of stainless steel is their edges and sharpness, it holds great edges and can be razor sharp but when we see the conclusive slicers than carbon steel wins. It is good in length and is difficult to resharpen and also tough to maintain its edges when out in the woods without any professional sharpening system.

Should I Use the Stainless Steel

It all depends on your activities like if you are resident of some humid or snow prone country then it will be the best choice for you because it can resist such an environment and remain productive without excessive maintenance. The activities that you can do with it are hunting and fishing. The carbon blade will outperform a stainless one in terms of sharpness but it needs to be cleaned well from any blood or water that is placed on the blade and it would not be an easy task in remote or rural areas.

If you want your fillet knife long lasting then move to stainless steel without any worry about its cleaning and pristine when it comes out of the trail. But make sure that you know how to sharpen your fillet knife and if you don’t know about that then practice it and then apply it on your knife.

Carbon Steel

Carbon steel has high carbon content, it is very hard steel with great sharpness and edge retentivity. In the following section, we are providing pros and cons of carbon steel which makes you able and unable to buy a carbon steel fillet knife.

carbon steel knife


Normally, the carbon steel knife is more sharper, longer edge, harder and easy to re- sharpen as compared to stainless steel knife.

This is normal here and I am also exploring that some high quality stainless steel knives can beat the carbon in terms of performance and maintenance but these knives will not hold an edge for a long time due to carbon steel’s hardness.

The high ranking edge retention makes them perfect for long time use in the forest because it will be flurry to keep fast and efficient. 


I am going to describe some flaws of carbon steel here such as it is highly sensitive to corrosion caused by water and humidity. If you don’t take care of it like daily cleaning and maintenance then it will rust soon, simply we can say that how fast it will rust depends on the quality of steel as well as their care. Surprisingly, fruit juice or vestige of food can damage the blade of a knife if it is placed on the blade for hours or days. So it is important to ensure that your carbon knife is neat and clean after using and before storing it.

Due to this weakness, many carbon steel knives have black coating to protect itself from corrosion, these coatings prevent the steel but not the edges and can be worn off with a heavy use.

Because carbon steel is so hard that why it can break or chip under the extreme pressure or when it gets hit eventually on some hard surface. Beside this, it also provides a little bit of metal taste when we use it for cutting food, especially vegetable and acidic fruits.

Can We Select the Carbon Steel

Carbon steel knives are famous due to their sharpness and retention. If you want the sharpest knife and can do a little bit of work then this is the best choice for you. Make sure that before buying it you must know how to use, clean and maintain it. For beginners, this knife is recommended because it is much easier to learn the sharpening techniques and low in price as compared to stainless steel knives.

Which One is the Best Then?

carbon steel vs

All of us know that there is no superior steel and both items have pros as well cons and both are good for different situations and environments. If I specify my own choice then I would like to use stainless steel knives because it fits best on my intended use. I take it with me whenever I travel from inside London to north Ireland because it can resist the weather. It also requires very low maintenance and does not get damaged after regular use. Usually I don’t need to sharpen my knife’s razor, it is good enough for tinder preparing and dinner or cutting any type of rope. stainless steel is my great choice which holds an edge for a long time.

Also Read: https://knifeplatoon.com/what-is-the-best-steel-for-fillet-knife/


What are the Major Differences Between Stainless Steel and Carbon Steel Knives ?

Carbon steel has a high carbon quantity inside it which means it is ultra strong and capable of attaining razor sharp edges but it is more prone for corrosion and rust. On the other hand, stainless steel contains chromium that helps it to prevent rusting and corrosion. But it is also weaker as compared to carbon steel knives and requires less care.

How Often Should You Oil Carbon Steel Knives ?

It is important to oiled the carbon steel after every use otherwise it will be affected by corrosion and rust. You should apply a few drops of food grade mineral oil rubbed into a clean and dry blade that will protect the knife from damage and keep it shiny and smooth. One more thing, carbon steel blades should be oiled weekly until a natural glance occurs.

How can you Prevent the Carbon Steel Knife from Rusting ?

Once you use your carbon steel knife, wash it and thoroughly dry it. it is the best way to prevent it from rusting but it’s not mean that you wipe it with a dish towel. You should take great care to completely dry the blade with clean and absorbent cloth. Simply we can say that you should treat the carbon steel knife with any mineral oil and place it in a dry location and never think to put it in the dishwasher in order to protect it from rusting.


The selection of the best steel knife for yourself may be different and quite difficult but before choosing any knife make sure that it should match and play a vital role in your lifestyle and priorities. Like if you are a meticulous and caring person then a carbon steel knife will be the perfect knife for you. On the other hand, if you don’t care about your knife and go to the kitchen without any worry then you should select the stainless steel.

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