Knives are essential household tools and they provide an array of functions. Different knives are made from different materials ranging from carbon steel to stainless steel amongst others. Stainless knives, particularly, are favored by many users thanks to their several benefits. However, they have their shortcomings too. Therefore, our article will discuss everything you need to know about the pros and cons of stainless steel knives.
Overview of Stainless Steel Knives
Stainless steel contains carbon and iron, as well as chromium and other elements added to raise its corrosion resistance. Knife manufacturers favor stainless steel due to its ease of maintenance and many other qualities we will get into later in this article.
Stainless steel contains a minimum of 10.5% chromium content. This element reacts with another element, oxygen, to create a thin layer that protects the stainless steel from corrosion. Hence, it reduces the possibility of the steel rusting.
We must note that the higher the chromium content in stainless steel, the better its corrosion resistance. For example, stainless steel with 11% chromium content is less durable than steel with 15%. The former is also usually cheaper than the latter. With a stainless steel knife, you’re confident of avoiding rust for a long time, though your hunting or kitchen tool is not entirely safe from rusting if handled improperly.
Pros of Stainless Steel Knives
Stainless steel knives are preferred by many survivalists and chefs due to some advantages they get from the material. Below, we will explain the pros of stainless steel knives:
1. Resistant to rust and corrosion
As we mentioned earlier, stainless steel knives contain a minimum of 10.5% chromium content. This element is added in the manufacturing of stainless steel knives to prevent cases of rust and corrosion.
Considering the fact that most knives, especially chef knives, are used in wet conditions that make them prone to rust, chromium is an essential addition to the material. Besides, stainless steel knives don’t contaminate food, making them safe for professional and home use. Thanks to their high chromium content, stainless steel knives also resist fire and heat, thus retaining their strength at high temperatures.
Therefore, if you’re concerned or afraid of acquiring knives that are susceptible to rust, you should strongly consider a stainless steel knife. As long as you care for stainless steel knives properly, you are in for a long time of use.
2. Edge Retention
When choosing a knife – whether for survival or kitchen – edge retention of the product is a common factor prospective buyers consider. This is no surprise because a knife’s edge retention determines how long the knife will keep its sharpness when used regularly.
No doubt, you don’t want a knife that will require resharpening after every use. You want a knife that will retain its sharpness for a long period. Stainless steel is a knife material that offers that great edge retention. With a stainless steel knife, you won’t have to sharpen your tool every other week.
3. Easy to sharpen
An undisputed fact about knives – including the best ones – is that they don’t retain their sharpness. Essentially, they will require resharpening at some point in the future when the blades become dull. Surely, you want a knife that is easy to sharpen in this case.
Stainless steel knives are quite easy to sharpen thanks to their slightly soft composition. With the help of a basic knife sharpener, you can resharpen your stainless steel knife without hassle.
4. Easy to maintain
Who wants to spend all day caring for a knife to keep it from getting damaged? Almost no one wants that avoidable stress. Typically, rusty knives require extra care to get the rust off. This is not the case with stainless steel knives that typically don’t rust thanks to their resistance to corrosion. Hence, these knives require low maintenance.
Also, stainless steel knives have a smooth and non-stick surface that makes them easy and quick to clean.
5. High strength
Compared with mild steels, stainless steel knives have much higher tensile strength. Thanks to their corrosion-resistant and durable nature, they have reduced thickness, making them more economical. If you are looking for a strong and durable knife, you will get those qualities in a stainless steel knife.
Cons of Stainless Steel Knives
Despite the many advantages of stainless steel knives, they have disadvantages that may discourage some hunters or chefs. Some may however decide to overlook these disadvantages depending on their preferences. Below, we will discuss the few cons of stainless steel knives:
Not very sharp
Stainless steel knives are quite sharp but compared to their competitors such as carbon steel knives, they are not sharp enough. This is because stainless steel knives do not hold an edge as well as carbon steel knives and some others. Hence, if you desire an extremely sharp knife, a stainless steel model might not be the right option for you.
Another con of buying stainless steel knives is, they tend to be more expensive than some of their competitors that offer the same level of sharpness. Therefore, buying a stainless steel knife might not be an option for you if you’re on a budget.
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How to maintain Stainless Steel Knives?
We have mentioned a few times in this article that stainless steel knives typically do not rust or corrode due to their distinct composition. Regardless, they require adequate care and storage to last for a long time. We will provide some very important maintenance tips below:
- Stainless steel knives, although not prone to rust, tend to rust after frequent washing in a dishwasher. Also, a dishwasher could dull sharp blades during the cleaning cycle. Hence, you should avoid washing stainless steel knives with a dishwasher as much as you can.
- Don’t wash your stainless steel knives with harsh detergents, abrasive cleaning aids, or strong bleaching agents. Clean them with natural remedies such as vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, among others.
- Completely dry your stainless steel knives after each cleaning session to avoid any risk of rust.
- Store your stainless steel knives in a dry place
Whether you are a survivalist or you are a hunter or you are a professional chef, there’s a huge chance you’ve used stainless steel knives in the past although you might not know everything about them. While they offer several functions and advantages, they also have their limitations as every product does. This article has detailed the pros and cons of stainless steel knives, providing you the vital information you need to make an informed choice for your hunting or cooking sessions.
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