Carbon or Stainless: Selecting Steel Type

Town Cutler Guide to Selecting Carbon or Stainless

If you've been asking yourself, "What kind of kitchen knife should I get?" We've put together a guide to help you make a decision on selecting the steel type that is best for you.

Carbon and stainless steel are two different personalities and the right choice is the one that works for you and your lifestyle. Steel choice can be like preferring a cast iron to a non-stick pan, manual or automatic transmission, vinyl or MP3. You get the idea. Below are things to consider when deciding between carbon and stainless steel knives.


Carbon element
Carbon steel, with its tighter grain structure, is often considered capable of achieving a sharper edge. However, high-quality stainless steels, such as AEB-L and Nitro-V, can achieve and maintain an equally sharp edge.
Initial care of carbon blades is crucial and sets your blade up for the rest of its life. Keep it dry and oiled when not in use and it will kindly repay you.
Carbon is reactive and over time will develop a patina (a thin film on the surface created by oxidation), which protects the blade and acts as a non-stick layer when cutting through product. 
Chromium element for stainless steel
Less up keep and attention. Stainless steel is not as sensitive to different products, such as acids, and does not need to be oiled to maintain its integrity. However, All stainless steel contains some level of carbon, which is important for sharpness and performance. Because of this, light hueing can develop on stainless steel if not cleaned and dried properly.
With no break-in period, the matte finish on our stainless blades acts as a non-stick barrier, allowing the blade to pass through product effortlessly. No patina needed.
With proper care, your blade will always have a matte finish.

More about our Steels

Both carbon and stainless steel hold an edge equally over time and are easy to sharpen.

All of our steels are properly heat treated and tempered to ensure durability against chipping. If, however, your Town Cutler knife chips during normal use, please contact us. Read Our Guarantee

All Town Cutler knives are made using our precise edge geometries.