154CM vs CPM-20CV Knives- 7 Key Differences

Let us guess, you’re planning to get a griptilian knife but you’re in a dilemma. Therefore, you stumbled upon two types of stainless steel which are 154CM and CPM-20CV. Because both of these materials are two of the best in business and made quite a name.

And now you’re even more confused about which one to choose between a 154CM vs CPM-20CV knife.

Well, 154CM knives give you more toughness and they’re comparatively easier to sharpen. On the other hand, CPM-20CV knives give you better hardness, edge retention, wear, and corrosion resistance. This difference is because of the construction of the materials.

Not clear about the details yet? Nothing to worry though! In this article, we’ve discussed everything you need to know about these two materials. So, let’s get into business without any further ado!

154CM vs CPM-20CV: Quick Differences

Before we jump into the details, let’s take a quick look at the key differences.

Edge RetentionLessMore
Wear ResistanceLessMore
Corrosion ResistanceLessMore
Ease of SharpeningMoreLess

Where to Get Them

We guess it’s already clear to you which material is the winner here. But what are the factors that made the differences? Let’s dig into the details to find out!

154CM vs CPM-20CV: Detailed Comparison

Choosing a good griptilian knife can be quite a tough job when you have a lot of options in hand. Especially, when you have to choose between top-notch materials like 154CM and CPM-20CV.

To ease your pain, here we’ve discussed everything in detail. So, what are we even waiting for?


First of all, let’s take a look at the composition of these two types of steel. This will help us to prove some crucial points regarding the knives.

The composition of 154CM knives are

SubstanceAmount in 154CMAmount in CPM-20CV

Did you notice that manganese and silicon are missing in CPM-20CV knives while vanadium and tungsten are in 154CM? Does this make any difference? Let’s find out in the next sections!


One of the most crucial things to keep in mind is the hardness of the blade. But how can you know the hardness of the blade before using them for a long time? Well, to answer your question, we’re here.

Carbon and tungsten have a role to play in determining the hardness. The more these two elements are present in a material, the more hardness it acquires.

When measuring hardness, the Rockwell Hardness scale comes to the rescue. Upon considering how deep a material can penetrate under a certain load, the RH value is measured. The higher the RH value, the more hardness the material has.

With that being said, 154CM steel has an RH value of 55-62 HRC. On the other hand, the RH value of CPM-20CV is 60-63 HRC. This value can be different for the same materials under different circumstances.

But under the same conditions, CPM-20CV always acquires more HRC value than 154CM. This means CPM-20CV can withstand more external forces than 154CM that try to deform it.

So, in terms of hardness, CPM-20CV is the winner here.


When it comes to toughness, 154CM has the upper hand here.

Hardness and toughness are inversely proportional. It’s more like, one is the opportunity cost for the other. As 154CM has less HRC, it is tougher than CPM-20CV.

We can determine the toughness of a material by its modulus of elasticity. 154CM’s elastic modulus is 207 GPa. On the other hand, the elastic modulus of CPM-20CV is 214 GPa.

More elastic modulus value means more stiffness; which means less toughness.

Now, it’s not like your CPM-20CV knives are gonna break while doing some usual work. The truth is, there is not an ocean of difference in toughness; rather very small.  But still, if you want the tougher one, 154CM is your guy.

Edge Retention

Edge retention is connected to the hardness of the material. The harder the material is, the longer it will hold the edges. So, this means CPM-20CV has better edge retention than 154CM.

Due to greater hardness, it’s tougher for external factors to impact the sharpness of the blade. The 4% vanadium in CPM-20CV creates a neat grain structure that holds the edge better. The additional 1% molybdenum boosts the strength required to hold the edge over time. Lastly, the 0.6% tungsten also assists in keeping the edge.

This deadly combo gives CPM-20CV knives unmatchable edge retention. As a result, it’s more resistant to scratches, abrasion, etc. So, you can go for months without paying any heed to sharpening.

But it’s not like you have to sharpen 154CM knives on a regular basis. They still have better edge retention than most stainless steel knives. It’s just, the CPM-20CV knives are better.

Ease of Sharpening

Everything comes with an opportunity cost, eh? Well, knives are not any different either. We already saw that due to greater edge retention and hardness, CPM-20CV is more immune to external forces. However, knowing how to sharpen is the key! Follow the steps properly and you’re good to go!

However, when it comes to sharpening, a good sharpening stone can make a world of difference. When it comes to sharpening steels, here are our recommendations-

Well, the tradeoff for this is the ease of sharpening. Since they are more immune, they are less affected. On the other hand, 154CM knives are comparatively easier for sharpening. 

Wear Resistance

Chromium, carbon, vanadium, and tungsten are the four horsemen against wearing. The more of these you have in a knife, the more immune it will be against wearing.

With that said, 154CM has 14% chromium and 1.05% carbon. On the other hand, CPM-20CV has 20% chromium, 1.9% carbon, 4% vanadium, and  0.6% tungsten present in it.

Due to this combo, CPM-20CV has a better wear resistance than 154CM. As a result, a CPM-20CV knife manages to hold its original shape for a longer period of time. And as you continue using it for sturdier tasks, it assists you along the way without any complaints.

Corrosion Resistance

Does stainless steel rust? No, not in usual circumstances. Stainless steel has at least 10.5% chromium in it which makes it immune to corrosion. The chromium reacts with oxygen and forms a shielding layer that makes stainless steel extremely resistant to corrosion or rust.

Nevertheless, under certain conditions stainless steel corrosives. When they are exposed to too much heat like 750°+F, they’ll hold corrosion. But this should not be a consideration since we never have to face this temperature.

There’s another situation when stainless steel can get corrosion. And that is when they are exposed to too much humidity or salt water. The chemical construction of saltwater can temper the chromium of the knife over time. This could lead to stainless steel getting corrosion over time.

In this regard, 154CM steel has 14% chromium added to it, and CPM-20CV has 20%. Since CPM-20CV has more chromium added to it, it’s more immune to corrosion.

Which One Should You Go For?

Now that it’s all said and done, we hope you got your winner once and for all. But if you’re still in a dilemma, let us help you.

If you’re looking for more hardness, edge retention, wear and corrosion resistance, CPM-20CV is the right choice for you.

With that said, our recommendation would be to get this CPM-20CV griptilian knife-

On the other hand, if you’re searching for more toughness and ease of sharpening, 154CM would be a better choice.

And the best from 154CM steel from our experience would be-


Here are some of the frequently asked questions regarding 154CM and CPM-20CV-

Is 154CM Carbon Steel?

Yes, 154CM steel is a very high-carbon stainless steel. It has 1% carbon in it which makes it carbon steel and 14% chromium which makes it stainless.

Where is CPM-20CV Made?

CPM-20CV steel is made by the USA-based company Crucible Industries. This material is used especially in knives for its hardness and corrosion and wire resistance.

What is the Hardest Knife Material?

It’s tough to say which is the hardest material used to make a knife. But SM-100 is believed to be the hardest one to date which is also known as Nitinol.

Concluding Words

This was all from our side. We hope we’ve been able to help you with your query of choosing between 154CM vs CPM-20CV.

Anyways, always remember that when choosing a knife, it’s not always about the build material. How comfortable you are with the knife overall matters the most.

We hope you find the knife of your soul!