N690 vs. M390 Knives: 2024 Comparison

N690 vs. M390 Knives

In the world of knives, the N690 and the M390 blades have risen to the top of the chart. These two knives have gained popularity thanks to their exceptional durability, sharpness, and overall performance.

Both knives are quite similar in terms of steel used; they are both made with premium quality steel, making them ideal for a wide range of cutting applications. However, despite their similarities, these two knives have unique features that differentiate them and make each stand out.

The main difference between N690 and N390 is that the M390 is of higher quality and more premium quality than the N690. Both knives are great kitchen utensils. However, N690 is highly corrosion-resistant and easier to sharpen than the latter. N390 knives, on the other hand, are very tough and have exceptional edge retention.

No doubt, the N390 and N690 are very popular among knife enthusiasts. Both boast impressive features that make them stand out from the rest. In this comprehensive comparison guide, we will delve deep into the world of these knives, exploring their key features and differences, and ultimately determine the best choice based on your needs.

Whether you are a professional chef, outdoor enthusiast, or simply a knife enthusiast looking to add to your knife collection, this comparison guide is a must-read. Do stick around.

An Overview Of The N690 Knife

The N690 knife is a high-quality stainless steel that is made in Austria by a company called Bohler-Uddeholm. It has a high carbon and chromium content that makes it highly durable and tough as well. Also, this knife is widely known for its ease of sharpening and corrosion resistance.

It is a great choice for outdoor activities and is a perfect addition to survival kits, as it is commonly used for hunting due to its hardness and toughness in every condition. The N690 can also hold its sharpness for a long time, making it a top choice for knife enthusiasts and others alike.

Even as exceptional as the N690 knife is, there are still pros and cons to be aware of. The followings are the pros and cons of this knife;

Strengths Of N690 Knife

  • It is tough and durable.
  • Very corrosion resistant.
  • Easy to sharpen, and you can maintain the sharpness for a long time.
  • It is versatile as it can be used for outdoor and indoor activities.

Flaws Of N690 Knife

  • May not be very suitable for heavy use.
  • It can be quite pricey and can not be considered affordable.

An Overview Of The M390 Knife

The M390 is a super high-speed steel made in Sweden. It has high carbon, chromium, and vanadium content, making it extremely hard and wear-resistant. Just like the N690, the N390 is known for its excellent edge retention and corrosion resistance.

The blade of the M390 knife is made from a powdered metallurgy process, which results in a finer grain structure and better overall performance when compared to other traditional steel forging methods.

All in all, the M390 knife is a high-quality and durable knife that is well-suited for a variety of tasks, from everyday use to outdoor adventures. Some may even agree that it is one of the best if not the best knife on the market today.

Strengths Of The M390 Knife

  • The M390 knife has excellent edge retention.
  • They are extremely durable.
  • It has a high-polish finish that gives the blade a nice aesthetic look.
  • M390 knives have a very comfortable handle for easy grip.
  • They are corrosion-resistant and versatile.

Flaws Of The M390 Knife

  • The M390 knife requires high maintenance.
  • They are quite difficult to sharpen.
  • The M390 knives are expensive.
  • There is limited availability of the M390 in the market.

Brief Comparison Of The N690 And M390 Knives

It can be a bit confusing to choose which one of the knives to go for, with the tabular illustration provided below, making a decision will be much easier for you;

CompositionThe N690 is composed of carbon (1.07%), chromium (17.30%), molybdenum (1.10%), vanadium (0.10%), and cobalt (1%).The M390 is composed of carbon (1.90%), chromium (20%), vanadium (4.00%), silicon (0.70%), and molybdenum (1.00%).
CostLess expensive.More expensive.
DurabilityThe N690 is durable but can not withstand too much stress.N390 is hardy and has a high tolerance for stress.
Ease Of SharpeningIt is relatively easier to sharpen the N690 blade.The M390 can be a bit tough to sharpen.
Edge RetentionIts edge retention is top-notch. The edge retention is incredible.
VersatilityCan be used for camping, hiking and some other outdoor activities.Can be used for outdoor activities like hunting, and it is also best used in the kitchen.
Type Of SteelCan be used for camping, hiking, and some other outdoor activities.M390 uses high wear-resistant stainless steel.

Similarities Between N690 And M390

Both N690 and M390 are high-performance stainless steels that are commonly used as high-end and custom knives. They have excellent corrosion resistance, edge retention, and wear resistance.

Also, both knives are considered high-alloyed compositions that contain vanadium, chromium, and molybdenum which enhance the hardness, toughness, and sharpness of the steel.

N690 Vs M390 Knife: The Big Difference

When it comes to N690 and M390, the main difference lies in their composition. The N690 is a high-end stainless steel made in Sweden by Bohler-Uddehom, while the M390 is a super steel made by an Austrian company.

The N690 has a slightly lower carbon content than the M390 and this makes it easier to sharpen and maintain. However, it may not be able to hold its edge as well as the M390 over extended use. On the other hand, M390 contains more vanadium and chromium in its composition, which makes it incredibly durable.

Another significant difference to take note of is their cost. While both are considered high-end steels with exceptional properties for blade making, M390 tends to be much more expensive than the N690 due to its superior quality and performance.

Why Choose N690 Or M390 Knife?

When it comes to choosing between N690 and M390 knives, there are several factors to consider. One of those factors is what kind of tasks you intend to use the knife for.

The N690 knives are corrosion-resistant and durable, making them a good choice for outdoor activities like camping or hiking. They also hold their edge well, so they will require less maintenance than other knives.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a knife that can easily handle heavy-duty cutting tasks, then M390 might be the better option. These knives have superior wear resistance and toughness compared to the N690 knives. This makes them ideal for people who need reliable tools for tough jobs like construction and hunting.

Another major consideration when choosing which is best for you is the cost of each knife. Generally, N690 knives are more affordable than the M390 models due to differences in manufacturing processes and materials used.

Ultimately, whether you choose the N690 or M390 knife depends on your specific needs as well as personal preference, either based on blade shape or handle material.

Our Preference Based On Trials

Choosing between these two alloys depends on personal preference based on the knife’s intended use. However, we have taken out time to test both knives and we can attest to the fact that the M390 is incredible. It made cutting applications a whole lot easier and more comfortable.

The size and handle material of the M390 is very satisfactory, it is pretty easy to carry along for outdoor activities and quick to cut through things. Not to mention how aesthetically pleasing it is in the knife collection.

Although sharpening was quite demanding, this con isn’t enough to discourage us from choosing it as our best. The N690, however, does a great job, requires low maintenance, is easier to sharpen, and will be a great addition to your knife collection if its features are what you are looking for.

How To Care For Your N690 Or M390

Taking care of your N690 or M390 knife is essential for maintaining its longevity and performance. Here are a few tips to properly take care of your knives;

  1. Always clean your knife with mild soap and water, then dry it out thoroughly.
  2. Oil the blade regularly using high-quality lubricant.
  3. Always keep your knife in a cool dry place.
  4. Avoid harsh chemicals such as bleach and ammonia on your knives, as they can cause damage to the blade finish.
  5. When sharpening, make sure to use proper angles and techniques to prevent damaging the edges.


After understanding the differences and similarities between M390 and N690 knives, you can determine which suits your needs best. Both are high-quality steel with excellent corrosion resistance, edge retention, and toughness.

N690 is best for those who frequently use their knives for outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, and hunting. Its superior hardness makes it hold well against tough materials such as wood or animal bone.

Nonetheless, the M390 is ideal for heavy-duty cutting tasks that require precision cuts due to its sharpness and edge retention properties. When choosing between N690 and M390 knives, consider your specific needs before deciding.

Always remember that proper care of your knives will help extend their lifespan regardless of what material it is made from. Clean and store them properly after each use so they will always be ready for use when needed in top conditions.

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