Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel Knives

Take a closer look at the details and materials used in high-quality knife sets. You’ll quickly discover that carbon steel and stainless steel are some of the most beloved options to use. Even though they’re both types of steel, they contain various details that make them differ. They also require different types of care and maintenance. To know how to properly care for and maintain carbon steel vs. stainless steel, it’s wise to know the differences between the two. Consider the following as you approach investing in the best steel for kitchen knives.


When you’re cooking daily, chances are you’re not preparing gourmet turkeys each week. Unless you regularly host dinner parties with various cuts of meat, the turkeys and hams are typically reserved for the major holidays. This means you’ll probably need a different type of knife when it’s time to cut tomatoes and fresh cilantro for Taco Tuesday nights.

High-carbon stainless steel knives, like the SEIDO™ Japanese Master Chef Knife Set, 8-Piece, are built to withstand frequent acidic interaction with ingredients like lemons, limes, and onions. When the holidays come around and you’d like a sharp edge for slicing the Christmas ham, having an extra-sharp knife proves advantageous in handling such sizable tasks. This is when you’ll use carbon steel knives as they can provide a sharper cut without a ton of physical manpower to get the job done.

Japanese Master Chef Knife Set, 8-Piece high carbon steel knife

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The Awabi Gyuto Chef Knife is a perfect example that stainless steel knives are built to last. They are meant to perform for a very long time. Because of this, a high-performance knife set will typically cost more due to its durability. It’s also important to consider the type of alloy it contains to know if it’ll potentially cost more than your average knife set.

Since carbon steel knives aren’t used as often in the kitchen, they’ll cost less than stainless steel knives. When you’re choosing between a carbon steel and a stainless steel knife, the cost is a factor. If the lower price tags intrigue you with carbon steel knives, just remember that they’re meant for a very specific (niched) purpose. By improperly using them, you’ll wear them down.

Awabi Gyuto High-Carbon Steel Knife

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While cooking a meal is its own laborious experience, cleaning up can be the most dreaded task of the entire process. Most people prefer to clean as they go. However, others opt to make the mess, and they clean it up after they’ve consumed the meal. Depending on where you fall on the spectrum of cleanliness, chances are you’ll want the cleanup process to remain as easy as possible. Naturally, stainless steel knives are more durable and don’t require as much of an intensive cleaning process as carbon steel knives. Carbon steel knives require more maintenance because they can easily rust and stain. 

When you use a carbon steel knife, you’ll want to wash it by hand and dry it immediately. It’s typically unwise to put knives in the dishwasher at all. However, if you’re wondering which of the knives requires more cleaning and maintenance, it would be the carbon steel knife. Carbon steel knives even thrive when you add a little bit of blade oil to help them maintain their integrity.


Carbon steel knives and stainless steel knives are both vulnerable to corrosion. Corrosion can happen with any metal. It’s a gradual breakdown of the metal due to the elements around it. So, you’ll want to consider the climate you live in. If you live in a humid climate, you’ll want to lean towards stainless steel knives to maintain their integrity for the long haul. If you don’t know how to properly maintain carbon steel knives, they’ll experience metal corrosion much quicker than stainless steel knives. Check out our Ultimate Rust Prevention Guide to learn all the best tips and techniques for treating rusty steel knives. Seido Knives are made of high-carbon stainless steel, a third type of steel that combines the best of both materials, offering exceptional sharpness and resistance to rusting.


Carbon steel knives hold an advantage when it comes to maintaining a sharp edge. They’re able to cut through things effortlessly because of how sharp the blades are. They’re also known to be able to hold that sharpness for a long time. Stainless steel knives are sharp. However, they benefit from professional sharpening to hold their value for a longer period.


When you’re trying to decide which option reigns supreme, it truly depends on your needs. If you don’t cook more than once or twice a month, carbon steel knives might be the best investment to use during special occasions. However, if you use the kitchen multiple times a day, durability might be the primary focus. For you, a high-carbon stainless steel knife might be the one that reigns supreme. The Hanikamu VG10 Damascus Chef Knife Set is the ideal choice. As you prepare to make the best choice for your kitchen, remember to consider quality high-carbon stainless steel knives at Seido Knives!
Hanikamu Carbon Steel and Stainless Steel Knives

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