S90V Vs. M390: Which is Best For You?

The world of cutlery is filled with different types of steel. Each is useful for different applications and has its own set of pros and cons. The role that steel plays in a knife is not to be taken lightly. After all, your blade will be made from either high-carbon steel or stainless steel.

However, choosing the best kind of steel for a knife can be tricky. You need to think about things such as the specific uses you’ll put your knife to and how much maintenance it requires after use.

We’ll explore all these factors here in this article and help you decide which is the best type of steel for a knife in your circumstances. Mainly, we will be comparing S90V Vs. M390 steel, as these two are the major steels available for knives.

Also Check This Product: M390 Vs. S30V Knife Comparison

Is S90V Stainless Steel Good for Knife?

S90V steel is a super steel that is extremely tough and is also good at resisting corrosion. It’s stainless steel that is often found in folding knives and outdoor tools due to its excellent combination of hardness and toughness. It has high levels of chromium and low levels of carbon which helps it achieve high hardness.

Hardness is a measure of how much force it takes to make an indentation in the knife. A high-hardness knife is ideal for cutting tasks that require you to apply a lot of force to your blade. This is because a harder blade will be less susceptible to wear and is less likely to bend or break due to the amount of force you’re applying.

On the other hand, a low-hardness blade will be more likely to bend or break if you apply too much force. As such, hardness is a very important factor when choosing a knife.

S90V steel has a hardness of around 57-59 HRC, which is on the lower side for super steel. It’s, therefore, not the ideal choice for applications where you need a really hard blade. However, it is ideal for most kitchen applications.

Is M390 Stainless Steel Good for Knife?

M390 steel is a powdered metallurgy steel made from a mix of carbon, chromium, cobalt, and molybdenum. M390 steel is comparable to S90V in terms of hardness but also has superior corrosion resistance. This means that it will show less rust and corrosion than S90V.

This is due to the high chromium content in M390. Unlike S90V, M390 has a higher level of molybdenum which allows it to achieve a much higher hardness than S90V. It has a hardness level of around 60-62 HRC, which is a lot harder than S90V.
Due to its high hardness, M390 is ideally suited to cutting tasks that require high levels of force. It is also more resistant to deformation at high pressure, which makes it a great choice for knives.

M390 is a premium steel that is often found in better-quality knives that are designed for heavy-duty use. If you’re looking for hard, long-lasting steel for your cutting tool, then M390 is a great choice.

Differences Between S90V Vs. M390 Knife

S90V and M390 are both super steels that perform very well. Both sheets of steel differ in several key ways from each other.


According to various tests, the hardness of the M390 is much more than the S90V. The S90V has a hardness of 57-59 HRC, whereas the M390 has 60-62 HRC hardness.


The toughness of the M390 is better as it prevents chips and failures, which happen due to twisting, high impact, and torsion.
Sharpness and Edge Retention

Both of these knives, M390 and S90V, have excellent edge retention and sharpness. You can easily sharpen both of them. But when it comes to a better option, the M390 is better as it is much easier to sharpen. However, when it comes to edge retention, the S90V is a better choice.


Corrosion can destroy a knife, so it is important to consider which knife has better anti-corrosion properties. In this regard, both of these knives perform equally as they both are made up of 14% chromium which offers excellent corrosion resistivity.

Chemical Composition of S90V

S90V is a high-carbon steel that is often used for outdoor tools and knives. It has a carbon content of around 2.3% and a chromium content of 14%. S90V has a high vanadium content of around 9%, which gives it great toughness. Further, it has 1% molybdenum which increases its strength.

Chemical Composition of M390

M390 has a carbon content of around 1.9%. It also has a high level of molybdenum of around 1%, which allows it to achieve a high hardness level.

M390 has a good level of chromium content, which is around 14% which means that it has good resistance to corrosion. Apart from that, it has 4% vanadium which has wear-resistance properties.

Best S90V Knives In The Market

1. Benchmade – 940 EDC Manual Open Folding Knife

Benchmade - 940 EDC Manual Open Folding Knife

Benchmade has been making knives for a long time now, and this is one of the most popular S90V folding knives they make. It’s a high-sharpness knife designed for all applications.

The main feature is how its slim and lightweight folding design with an ergonomic thumb-hole opening mechanism that makes it easy to open or close one-handed while wearing gloves in cold weather.

2. Manly Wasp Slip Joint S90V Knife

Manly Wasp Slip Joint S90V Knife

The Manly Wasp Slip Joint Black S90V MLY004 is a robust and durable camping knife with a tip that can be easily sharpened, making it ideal for touching up the blade.

The slip-joint can also be used as a great work knife with its 15cm long stainless steel blade, perfect for all of your everyday cutting tasks.

3. Benchmade -Altitude 15200 S90V Knife

Benchmade -Altitude 15200 S90V Knife

The Benchmade Altitude 15200 knife is a drop-point blade S0V model with a plain edge build and blued carbon steel handle scales. This knife includes a single C3 mid-tech edge, which provides great performance for slicing and striking tasks.

Best M390 Knives In The Market

1. LionSteel M4 Bushcraft Fixed Blade M390 Knife

LionSteel M4 Bushcraft Fixed Blade M390 Knife

The LionSTEEL M4 Bushcraft fixed blade knife is ideal for those who enjoy bushcraft and the outdoors. It features a long, 5 ½ inch stainless steel blade that is milled to a refined line and edge that produces an unparalleled level of cutting performance while staying razor sharp.

Moreover, it has an ergonomic handle that provides a firm grip and fits comfortably in your hand.

2. LionSteel M1 Bushcraft Fixed Blade M390 Knife

LionSteel M1 Bushcraft Fixed Blade M390 Knife

The LionSteel M1 Bushcraft Fixed Blade Knife is a folding knife with an M390 Sintered Steel Blade. The 6.25-inch blade is serrated for easy cutting through a variety of materials, while its 4.5mm thick drop point blade shape provides added strength and weight.

3. MKM Maniago Makers Goccia Flipper EDC M390 Knife

MKM Maniago Makers Goccia Flipper EDC M390 Knife

The MKM Maniago M390 knife is a fantastic knife that will make a great addition to your kit. Made with a drop-point blade made of M390 Super Steel and nitrogen coated for smoothness and durability, the G10 handle scales are super comfortable for any grip.

Reasons to Choose S90V

⦁ Good edge retention
⦁ Corrosion resistance properties
⦁ Decent toughness

Reasons to Choose M390

⦁ Excellent durability
⦁ Corrosion resistant properties
⦁ Easy to sharped
⦁ Edge retention
⦁ Hard and tough

Which is the Best Knife Steel: S90V Vs. M390?

As per the comparison, the M390 is a better knife steel as it has excellent durability, edge retention, and corrosion resistance properties. Furthermore, this knife steel is very easier to sharpen and ideal for cutting tough objects.


If you’re looking for a great steel for a folding knife, then both knives are a great choice. The M390 is much tougher and performs well in every parameter. Furthermore, it is an excellent choice for most applications.
On the other hand, the S90V has good edge retention and good corrosion resistance properties. Furthermore, it has decent toughness, which is ideal for moderate applications.

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