What's Your Absolute Favorite Spyderco Steel?

Apr 6, 2014
Interesting topic. I think it's more true than many people will want to admit that knife guys (like many other specific interest guys) tend to get consumed by hair splitting discussions. ZDP-189 vs Elmax, CPM S30V vs VG-10, CPM-XHP vs M390... at the end of the day, knife steels in this range of quality are all fantastic. Corrosion will generally be a non issue, and they'll hold edges well enough that they won't require much time to maintain.

I have knives in CPM S30V, Elmax, and CPM S35VN that I have used a lot. None of them have any corrosion spots, and I have no idea which one has held it's edge best. My gut tells me the Elmax is holding a little longer so far, but they are all doing very well.

I touched up my Manix 2 G-10's CPM S30V last night, and it didn't really need it despite having been used a lot. In less time than it took to watch a 10 minute YouTube video, the Manix was back to being shaving sharp.

I guess if I had to, I would say that CPM S35VN is my favorite blade steel. That is subject to change.


Gold Member
Mar 3, 2013
This thread begs a follow up poll where all the aforementioned steels are listed and voters can only pick one.

Here's a candidate list (feel free to add/subtract - limited to only 20 choices):

  1. BG-42
  2. CPM 3V
  3. CPM M4
  4. CPM S30V
  5. CPM S35VN
  6. CPM S90V
  7. CPM S110V
  8. CPM Cru-Wear
  9. CTS 204P
  10. CTS XHP
  11. CTS 20CP
  12. CTS BD1
  13. D2
  14. Elmax
  15. M390
  16. H-1
  17. VG-10
  18. ZDP-189
  19. K390
  20. Super Blue
Nov 3, 2011
Retention? The new Manix LW S110v is tops. Sharpyness? Super Blue can take a light saber sharp edge. Honorable mention? M4 is a good compromise between the two previously mentioned.


Gold Member
Jul 6, 2009
I think that my favorite steel is s90v. I have owned five Spydies in that steel, although I have not really worked this steel very hard at all. However, I do know what this steel is capable of...
Dec 6, 2012
Normally I lurk this sub forum. I just gave away my only two spydies, hopefully they will show their shiny wares around here soon. They were 20 year old Enduras in AUS-8, and while I liked the steel, I could never really appreciate the cut they produced. Of course, the cut had nothing to do with the steel as much as it had to do with design. I have never been a fan of a fully serrated blade...anyway, I digress.

So, as long as we are listing our "favorite" steels and not necessarily our opinion on "the best" steels I will weigh in here.

Right now my favorite Spyderco steel is/has to be AUS-8 because I have no experience with spydies in any other steel. However, looking forward to owning another spydie, I will say my favorites are VG-10 and H-1.
Dec 4, 2012
I would have to say VG10 because it takes an incredible edge...and it's on some of my favorite knives

Native 4 cf

Next would be CPM 3v



Gold Member
Sep 4, 2013
Favorite steel?
I lime most of spydercos steels, they do a great heat treat and give you a good geometry(except tuff, 1.15mm tip and 60° inclusive? C mon spyderco, I spent 5 hours dropping it down to 32°). But if you had to pull my leg id go
cts xhp, elmax(para 2 baby), cpm m4 and from lil use so far s110v it still hasn't dulled, very impressive but a pain to sharpen compared to the other 3.

least favorite steel?
zdp 189. Its a pain to sharpen, gets a lot of micro chips during sharpening and after some use, stains easy, I dunno I just had bad luck with the stuff.

steels I want to try
super blue, cpm cruwear, k390, 204p
Jul 13, 2014
I'm sure there's another thread somewhere with this, but think there should be an addendum to this: What do you do that makes this particular steel your favourite? I can guess why Gringo likes his H1, but that might not work for someone does a lot of whittling. S110V might be great for certain tasks, but just won't do for other ones.

I can't make any comments on my favourite steel (my only Spyderco is a lowly Byrd with 8Cr13MoV), but my first "upgrade" will probably be a VG-10, for no reason other than cost, availability, and seemingly respectable performance across the board (wear resistance, corrosion resistance, ease of sharpening, etc).
Oct 17, 2012

^ likewise ^ :)
Mar 28, 2009
M390 followed by CTS 204P. The only other steels from them I've tried have been S30V and CTS XHP and those have worked great for me as well.
Jul 21, 2014
we're talking about spyderco specific steels,
the brand with mule project and sprint runs featuring steels I never even heard of.

IMHO it should be H1 in first place, as they made a whole line up of that steel and man, nitrogen, that's cool.(and it works!)
Second should be VG 10 a great all-round stainless steel, thanks for that one Sal.
For determining third, mule collecting would be the way to go.