S90V vs Cruwear: A Comprehensive Comparison of Knife Steels

Digging into the world of knife steels can sometimes feel like making your way through a maze. As enthusiasts or professionals, we’re always in pursuit of the ideal steel that impeccably blends the critical aspects of hardness, toughness, and wear resistance. In the whirlwind of steel options available, two of the most-talked-about candidates are S90V and Cru-Wear. Let me take you on a comprehensive journey, diving into the details of these two formidable knife steels and their unique capabilities. I have personally used both variants and can lay down some hands-on experience facts about both.

Attributes S90V Cru-Wear
Hardness 59-61 HRC 62-64 HRC
Wear Resistance Excellent Good
Edge Retention Very High Above Average
Corrosion Resistance High Moderate
Sharpenability Low Moderate

Exploring S90V Steel

S90V is popularly known as a high-end, premium grade stainless steel, earning its reputation predominantly for unbeatable edge retention and wear resistance. Let me break down some of its critical features.

Edge Retention

Over the years, I’ve found that S90V retains its sharp edge for an impressively long time. I’ve often used it for extended periods without needing to re-sharpen, a factor that offers a significant advantage in environments where re-sharpening can be challenging.

Toughness and Corrosion Resistance

One challenge I have faced while wielding S90V blades is its relative lack of toughness. Although the hardness is a double-edged sword, often leading to the chipping of the edge. However, it does exhibit superior corrosion resistance, which is immensely beneficial in damp and humid conditions.


The ultra-high wear resistance of S90V comes with a trade-off – it’s notoriously hard to sharpen. As a personal experience, I have spent a considerable amount of time re-sharpening S90V blades, which isn’t ideal when you need your knife at a moment’s notice.

Unraveling Cru-Wear Steel

Now, let’s turn our attention to an excellent candidate from tool steels category – Cru-Wear. It blends the properties of high-speed and tool steels to provide potent balance. Let’s dive into my experience with this steel.

Edge Retention

Cru-Wear might not match the extreme edge retention of S90V, but it does offer above-average performance in this area. I have found Cru-Wear blades to stay sharp and efficient in demanding situations, raising the bar in terms of reliability.

Toughness and Corrosion Resistance

The toughness of Cru-Wear steel is a truly standout point. During my time using Cru-Wear, I’ve marvelled at its capability to absorb shocks and impacts while preventing chipping. On the other hand, a challenge I faced, was its relative lack of corrosion resistance. It requires regular maintenance, especially in high humidity and saline environments.


The sharpenability of Cru-Wear also gets a hearty nod from me. It’s significantly simpler to sharpen as compared to S90V. I’ve valued this property, especially during outdoor excursions when I had to reinvigorate the edge rapidly.

S90V vs Cru-Wear: The Bottom Line

Assessing S90V and Cru-Wear properties, there’s no clear winner as such. Both steels have their strengths and drawbacks. Hence, the choice between the two depends on specific user requirements. S90V shines when it comes to wear resistance and edge retention, though it’s tough to sharpen. On the contrary, Cru-Wear showcases excellent toughness and ease of sharpening, despite needing diligent maintenance against corrosion.

Though there is no cut-and-dried winner, my personal go-to amongst these two versatile steels completely depends on the situation. For more demanding uses over an extended period, I find myself reaching for S90V, whereas for more casual and unpredictable uses, I prefer the reliability and ease of maintenance of Cru-Wear.

Frequently Asked Questions

What steel is better than S90V?

S90V is already an excellent knife steel, known for its exceptional edge retention and corrosion resistance. However, there are a few steel grades that can be considered superior to S90V in certain aspects. For example, M390 and CPM-20CV are stainless steels that are known for their similar or even better edge retention while offering better toughness compared to S90V.

What is CruWear steel comparable to?

CruWear steel is often compared to other high-end tool steels known for their toughness and wear resistance. It is often comparable to steels like CPM-3V, CPM-4V, and M4. These steels are primarily known for their excellent performance in hard-use applications like heavy-duty cutting, chopping, and applications that require exceptional durability.

Is S90V the best knife steel?

Whether S90V is the best knife steel depends on the intended use and personal preferences. S90V steel offers exceptional edge retention and corrosion resistance, making it highly suitable for applications where extended edge life is crucial. However, it might be less ideal for applications that require maximum toughness. There is no universally best knife steel, as each steel grade comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Is M4 tougher than CruWear?

When it comes to toughness, M4 and CruWear are generally considered to be quite similar. Both steels offer excellent toughness and are suitable for demanding applications. However, the performance might vary slightly depending on specific heat treatment and usage conditions. It is worth noting that M4 typically excels in terms of wear resistance, while CruWear is known for its excellent combination of toughness and edge retention.

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