What is N690 Steel?

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If you’re searching for the best knife or doing some research, you will see the many numbers of different knife materials available out there. There is more than 3000 steel grade out there with regards to steel. Also, you will find that one popular kind of steel is the N690. A lot of knifemakers opt for this kind of steel as it makes a dependable blade that is very corrosion resistant.

While this steel has a lot of benefits, this also comes with some flaws. If you wish to know more about N690, well, you are in the perfect place. This blog will talk about N690, its benefits, and the top knives made from this steel.

What is N690 Steel?

N690 is a cobalt stainless steel manufactured in Austria by a firm renowned for creating steel that can be made into surgical tools and sharp knives. This kind of steel is extremely identical to 440C steel and contains 1.07 percent carbon. This has carbon that ranges from .95 to 1.07%. This is also considered a high-end type of stainless steel that comes with an alloy which is common in different types of high quality knives. It’s a tough knife that is rust and wear-resistant and also extremely hard steel.

N690 has the vital martensitic chromium steel that has cobalt, vanadium as well as molybdenum. This can also be hardened to an extremely preferred hardness level. Its surface finish is finely polished and ground.

Composition of N690 Steel

The chemical composition of this steel is a bit close to 440C with a similar amount of molybdenum, carbon as well as Chromium. Aside from the three mentioned elements, this steel also comes with vanadium and cobalt to boost its alloy properties. Below are the different elements found in N690 steel.

  • Chromium 17.3%: This helps in improving tensile strength, edge retention as well as wear and rust resistance.
  • Cobalt 1.65%: This element enhances the individual impact of other included elements in the steel.
  • Carbon 1.07%: This is for better toughness and resistance to rust and wear and tear.
  • Molybdenum 1.1%: This is for enhanced strength and manufacturing capability or machinability.
  • Manganese 0.4%: Ideal for hardness
  • Silicon 0.4%: This is for better strength and toughness
  • Vanadium 0.1%: This element adds for better toughness and wear resistance as well.

The Benefits of N690 Steel

This kind of steel offers amazing benefits that take account of the following:

Outstanding Edge Retention

Knives made from this kind of steel are renowned for possessing the ideal balance between performance and edge retention. N690 steel is very fine-grained, making a knife that will retain the sharpness of the edge even if you use it many times and on a hard object. All knife experts will tell anyone that is the steel grain is fine; it has amazing retention.

By including elements like cobalt, a very unusually alloying substance, an additional edge is given. Having this kind of element combined combines into N690 makes a rare uniformity offering a consistent and fine edge, improving edge retention as well as sharpening receptivity. It is safe to say the N690 edge holding ability is the best compared to some stainless formulations.

Capability to Sharpen Easily

This steel was formulated and developed with the input of knife manufacturers and companies and the heat treaters and steelworkers, which would influence the steel. It was particularly made to provide the most excellent compromise possible.

The outcome was wear-resistant which can retain machinability. This results in M390 having a good grindability; thus, it can be honed and sharpened with less tool wear as well as expense.

Amazing Corrosion Resistance

 This can keep corrosion and rust at bay, although in a wet condition. You can look forward to resistance to harm from too much exposure to cruel elements like moisture, salt as well as humidity. This was made possible due to the inclusion of various elements such as Chromium, vanadium as well as molybdenum. 

Incredible Resistance to Wear: The integration of cobalt, a super hard and heat resistant metal, makes the N690 more resistant to corrosion, rust as well as deterioration compared to other steels out there. Even the best and high-quality steel edges are likely to wear in due course, as you utilize them and resharpen those most often.

On the other hand, an N690 edge could last for a lot of years without rusting and wear. This is one of the many reasons why it is chosen and preferred for creating blades for various kinds of activities. 

Amazing Cutting Capability: The level of toughness of the N690 steel is perfect for cutting tougher and stronger things compared to paper ones and plastics. You can cut the rope, wood as well as other things with ease. 

Remarkable Toughness

This steel is relatively hard because of the nickel and high Chromium. This can survive heavy use and heavy impact without breaking, cracking, or chipping with no trouble. 

Get Rid of Stains and Rust

By mixing different alloying elements such as molybdenum, manganese, vanadium, Chromium, and many others, this steel resists corrosion and deterioration like rust due to external elements such as salt, moisture, and humidity.

Another good thing about this steel is that it thrives regardless of the conditions resulting in flawless adaptability- perfect for hunting blades. On the other hand, you should follow proper care to make it last.

Top Knives Made with N690 Steel

Spyderco Squeak Non-Locking Knife

For those searching for a handy EDC pocket folder knife available for a fraction of cost, Spyderco Squeak Non-Locking Knife is a perfect choice.

This weighs 1.06oz and measures 5.05 inches; this state-of-the-art pocket knife can be stored easily in your bag. The small dimension makes it ideal for locales where locking folders are banned.

This knife is also integrated with an extremely sharp, non-locking blade made from N690 high-performance stainless steel. This is able to hold an edge for a longer period of time and at the same time resist rust. This also comes with a flat grind style, and thus you don’t need to deal with overly steep sharpening angles, which provide you more time when honing the knife.

This knife is also optimized, which enables you to open and close with ease using only one hand. By placing the index finger on a deep finger choil, you are able to block the knife from closing accidentally when cutting.

This is also integrated with fiberglass reinsured nylon. This is made keeping in mind the comfort of the user. It has an ergonomic handle that provides a glide-free and comfortable feel. You will surely love its textured jimping and provides improved slip resistance.

It has a tip-up wire pocket clip that is reversible to give a simple and easy way of bringing this knife around. This can remove or retain if you want.

Spyderco Urban Leaf Folding Knife

Another remarkable knife from Spyderco is the Lead Folding Knife. This is a handy knife for EDC and is available for a fraction of the cost.

Like the past models, this one is made as a non-locking folding blade that can be opened and closed using one hand. It is also integrated with a pocket clip that allows for a comfortable carry. The Spyderco Urban Leaf Folding Knife comes with the legal permissibility of a non-locking knife. It is a very lightweight, tiny blade design, and you will acquire a legal folder pocket blade.

This is also integrated with a perfectly textured G10 handle which feels comfortable and slip-free in hands. It also has jimping o finger, which makes it very secure when holding. This is made with a high-performance N690m steel with additional cobalt for superb edge retention as well as wear resistance. It has a full flat leaf-shaped blade to provide a superb balance of strength, point utility as well as low friction cutting performance.

It is also has a reversible wire pocket clip that offers versatile positions when carrying the knife in your pocket.

Buck Knives 112 Ranger Folding Knife with Finger Grooves and Leather Sheath

This knife has an amazing edge retention feature as well as corrosion resistance. This also has an extremely sharp controllable point which is ideal for slicing and piercing.

It has a longback system that locks the knife open for dependable strength as well as security while you are working.

It comes with a Macassar ebony handle designed with brass bolsters that offers an ideal mix of balance and beauty.


There is no doubt that the N690 steel is perfect for making blades and knives, which many prominent manufacturers have utilized this steel for many years now. This has the best and enough content of carbon and cobalt. A steel manufacturer based in Austria is the main source of this steel and is regarded as the leader in producing high quality steel, including the N690. It has remarkable composition including 1,07% carbon, 17% chromium, 1.5% cobalt, .40% manganese, .40% silicon, 10% vanadium as well as 1.10% molybdenum. The secret to the toughness of this steel is the inclusion of cobalt. This element creates regularity in the steel structure. Cobalt produced a good edge with superb edge retention in the knife.


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