N690CO Steel Review: What Can A High-End Steel Do?

by wpx_admin
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If you’re searching for European knives for tactical or other outdoor activities, you’re likely to come across N690CO steel review as the blade material. You might ask: “Is this a good material for knives? What are the special features of this material?”.

This article will solve all your concerns about this sought-after material. You will read about the general information of this material including its origin, chemical composition, as well as comparison to different types of steel on the current market.

What Is N690CO Steel?

This is a high-carbon, high-cobalt stainless steel produced by a German-based manufacturer called Bohler. This material is made to withstand a variety of high-stress situations. As a result, it’s ideal for camping, hunting, tactical use, and bushcraft.

Bohler also makes high-end stainless steel in a way that makes it easier to work with for knife producers. There isn’t much of a difference in mechanical qualities between longitudinal and lateral motion, meaning that knifemakers won’t have to waste time confirming the grain direction before cutting sections out of the substance.

Chemical Composition

Understanding the constituent elements that make up any steel composition is the simplest method to judge its ability to make reliable blades. The high levels of Chromium, Carbon, and Molybdenum in N690CO help achieve a good balance of toughness and hardness.

Credit image: @zknives

Have a glimpse at the full list of ingredients that make up Bohler’s product:

  • 17.3% Chromium: Improves tensile strength, wear resistance, toughness, and corrosion resistance (more than 13 percent is required to make stainless steel ).
  • 1.08% Carbon: Enhances wear and abrasion resistance while increasing tensile strength and edge retention.
  • 1.5% Cobalt: Increases quenching temperatures throughout the heat treatment procedure. It also amplifies the effects of all the other ingredients individually. Above all, it increases the hardness.
  • 1.10% Molybdenum: Maintains strength at increasing temperatures and avoids brittleness. It also adds a great increase in corrosion resistance and machinability.
  • 0.1% Vanadium: Enhances the wear resistance and hardenability as a carbide former.
  • 0.4% Silicon: Adds further strength.
  • 0.4% Manganese: Helps increasing strength, hardenability, and wear resistance.

N690CO Steel Properties

Its chemical ingredients determine the qualities of this material. The following properties are some of the most important characteristics of an N690CO knife:

Superior Cutting Ability

Its hardness level offers an ideal experience when cutting tougher and more durable materials than plastic and paper, such as wood, rope, and other outdoor items.

Excellent Edge Retention

The edge does not fade quickly and retains its sharpness better than most steels. The additional Cobalt content is responsible for the fine edge consistency.

Outstanding Corrosion Resistance

It can resist rust and corrosion even in extremely moist environments. Unless the ingredient is exposed to hostile factors such as salt, dampness, or humidity, you may expect several damages. This is due to the presence of Chromium, as well as Manganese, Molybdenum, and Vanadium.

Superb Wear Resistance

What makes N690CO far more resistant than other steels is Cobalt, a super-hard and heat-resistant material. Even high-quality edges wear down over time, especially if you use and resharpen them frequently.

An N690CO edge, on the other hand, can last for several years without wearing down, making it suitable for producing outdoor knives.

Easy To Sharpen

While you may expect a good cutting edge for a long time, the sharp edge will eventually fade. You just need to resharpen it.

Decent Toughness

Finding a steel type with a good combination of hardness and toughness is a nerve-racking challenge. N690CO is one of those. Although it does not offer a great level of hardness, its toughness is still adequate.

Is N690CO A Good Steel Knife?

Without a doubt, yes. It is high-quality knife steel produced by various manufacturers. It is one of the most popular and widely utilized blade steels in the knife industry.

Having the hardness of a 60HRC, it’s tougher with excellent wear and abrasion resistance. Thanks to the high Chromium content, it has excellent corrosion resistance.

That said, it is ideal for manufacturing durable outdoor blades that can withstand a variety of environments. This is why outdoor or tactical knives manufactured of this material, such as those made by Benchmade, Spyderco, Extreme Ratio, are widely known.

N690CO VS Other Steels

In this section of N690CO steel review, we will briefly compare this steel with other popular stainless steels based on edge retention, ease of sharpening, corrosion resistance, and toughness.

N690CO VS D2

D2 is classified as semi-stainless steel due to its low Chromium content. Its corrosion resistance pales in comparison to that of N690CO. D2, on the other hand, has a much higher hardness and better edge retention. However, it has a lower hardness and is more difficult to sharpen than its counterpart.

N690CO VS S30V

In terms of hardness and corrosion resistance, the two are comparable. However, S30V outperforms its opposite when it comes to edge retention. An N690CO edge, on the other hand, has better ease of sharpening.

N690CO VS VG10

The two are both premium steels with similar corrosion resistance since both have sufficient Chromium. Still, because VG10 is less durable, it is more likely to peel off, particularly when used in the wilderness. It does, however, have a stronger capacity to keep a sharp edge. Meanwhile, you won’t have difficulty sharpening N690CO steel.

N690CO VS M390

The toughness of these two is quite comparable. M390, on the other hand, outweighs its opponent in terms of edge retention and corrosion resistance. Yet, N690CO is much easier to sharpen than its opposite.


They are equally great all-around blade steels. However, S35VN excels its opposite in every category except corrosion resistance.

Final Words

In conclusion, N690CO steel is heading the list of most terrific steel for knives at an affordable price. The steel manufactured by the Bohler steel company is always used for high-end and superior knives because of the great balance of hardness, toughness, excellent edge retention, corrosion, and wear resistance.

N690CO is an evident example that we highly recommend for making knives and knife users.

Hopefully, this N690CO steel review has given you useful information about this type of material. Share with us your opinions about this top-quality steel!


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