S2 Steel vs Chrome Vanadium: Best guide & amp; super review

S2 Steel vs Chrome Vanadium: Complete Breakdown

Choosing a perfect steel tool can be difficult. On top of that, Chrome Vanadium steel and S2 steel both have conflicting characteristics. So, getting confused between these two is normal.

But don’t be worried! As an expert in this field, I covered everything in this article that will help you to make a decision!

So, what’s the difference between s2 steel vs chrome vanadium?

Chrome Vanadium steel is flexible, while S2 steel is harder and more suitable for tough jobs. Chrome vanadium has a higher density and melting point. S2 has higher machinability and lower heat treatment temps. However, Chrome Vanadium requires more precautions for welding. Also, CRV is air-cooled and S2 is cooled in a furnace. Lastly, Chrome Vanadium is flexible, S2 is strong and impact-absorbing.

S2 Steel

Known for its optimum mechanical wear resistance, long life, strength, and toughness, this steel alloy is a type of shock-resisting tool steel that belongs to the group of S steels. The S2 steel properties include its ability to retain good ductility even when hardened. This makes ductile steel suitable for applications where shock impact is transmitted to the steel. Other steels in the S group include S1, S5, S6, and S7, all developed specifically to withstand shock and impact loads.

Chrome Vanadium Steel

CRV steel, or chrome vanadium steel, is a type of spring steel. Is a steel alloy that incorporates Carbon, Manganese, Silicon, Chromium, and Vanadium. It is commonly used in hand tools manufacturing, offering properties such as abrasion resistance, hardness, and elasticity. Chrome Vanadium steel is also utilized in high-stress applications like large-diameter spring wires.

CRV material refers to Chromium-Vanadium steel (Cr-V or CrV), which is a group of steel alloys that contain Carbon, Manganese, Silicon, Chromium, and Vanadium.

CRV Steel vs S2 Steels

Quick Review

Nevertheless, both steels are different and usage varies according to tools. These steels are very handy and that’s why Dewalt hand tools are mostly made from them. Here I prepared a table that shows you the main differences:

Differentiating FactorsCRV SteelS2 Steel
Key ElementIron and ChromiumIron and Silicon
Density0.284 lb/in30.281 lb/in3
Melting Point2786°F2590°F
Machinability Rate59%85%
Temperature for Thermal Expansion72°F68°F

These are the basic information of the tools. Yet the information isn’t enough to provide a solid answer to your question. So, we need to go deeper.


In this portion, I will provide enough information that will help you to choose which steel is better for your tools. These steels are used in different tools for the components and reaction to heat.

Elements Used:

Even though the main element of both steels is Iron (Fe), there are a few differences.

For starters, Chrome Vanadium steel is carbon-based steel. The other components of this alloy steel are Chromium, Manganese, Carbon, Vanadium, Sulfur, and, Phosphorus.

Source: stmarysspring.com

On the other hand, the other components of s2 steel are silicon, Carbon, Molybdenum, Manganese, Vanadium, Phosphorus, and Sulfur.

Now, the question arises. Is S2 steel good for screwdrivers?

Obviously, yes. S2 has all the quality elements favored in screwdrivers. They are really durable and can be used for heavy-duty work.

So, it can be said that S2 is hard steel compared to CRV steel. That makes every S2 steel tool more suitable for tough steel jobs. However, CRV steel is more flexible than S2 steel.

Physical Properties:

Chrome Vanadium steel has a higher density of 0.284 lb/in3 and a melting point of 2786°F, whereas S2 steel has a slightly lower density of 0.281 lb/in3 and a melting point of 2590°F. Therefore, Chrome Vanadium steel requires a higher temperature for forging or welding when compared to S2 steel.

Machinability Rate:

Machinability rate describes the ease with which a tool can be welded or forged. The lesser machinability rate indicates it requires more work.

Chrome vanadium steel’s machinability rate is 59%. Compared to that, s2 steel’s machinability rate is 85%. As a result, Chrome Vanadium steel requires more work and time than s2 steel.


Welding is a way to fuse two or more steel parts. It can be done by heat treating or pressure.

Chrome Vanadium steel follows the standard welding procedure. But preheating and post-weld stress relief are two important parts. If these things get messed up, welding Chrome Vanadium steel will become impossible. Even worse, the steel may become unusable.

Source: urdesignmag.com

On the other hand, s2 steel also follows standard welding procedures. Either by applying heat or pressure you can weld the steel together. In contrast to Chrome Vanadium, no extra precaution is not necessary.

Heat Treatment

To achieve the desired heat treatment, Chrome Vanadium steel undergoes a hardening process at 1600°F, followed by tempering. It is then standardized by air-cooling at 1650°F. 

S2 steel undergoes a slower warming process at 1200°F, which is then directly heated to 1600°F. After reaching the desired temperature, it is held for 10 to 20 minutes before being quenched in water.

Overall, S2 steel requires a lower temperature to complete its heat treatment compared to Chrome Vanadium steel.

Forging Temperature:

The forging of Chrome Vanadium steel takes place at a temperature of 2200°F, and s2 steel can be forged between 1650 to 2000ºF. So, again, the forging temperature for Chrome Vanadium steel is higher than s2 steel. Using a foundry furnace for forging like Tabletop Quickmelt is ideal in both cases. However, there are different types of furnaces using different metals as well.

Source: meadmetals.com


Chrome vanadium steel is air-cooled after being annealed at 1550°F. In contrast, s2 tool steel is annealed at 1450°F. Then it is cooled in the furnace at a pace of 4°C per hour.


CRV steel tools are chainsaws, miter saw wrenches, drill presses, bandsaws, etc. These tools need to be flexible. And, even though Chrome vanadium steel is less tough than s2 steel, it is more flexible.

S2 steel properties are strong and can absorb impacts. So, s2 steel tools are the hammer, screwdriver, wire strippers, etc.

The drill press and bandsaw are very famous tools for a woodshop. Each has pros and cons. So, before buying, it’s best to go through the comparison between drill press or bandsaw.

Deciding The Appropriate Steel For Your Tool

If you want to produce hand tools like chainsaws, wrenches, etc. then Chrome Vanadium steel is appropriate. Because the steel is flexible and doesn’t get dull. However, for tools like hammer, drill, or screwdriver s2 steel is better. Because it is a ductile steel, is strong and can handle impacts better than other steels.

In different scenarios, these steels are being used. So, choose a steel tool wisely and according to your demands.

Chrome-Molybdenum or CRV

I also see many questions on whether to choose Chrome-Molybdenum or Chromium-Vanadium Steel. I will try to give you an explicit answer. Chrome-molybdenum and CRV are named for two families of steel alloys used in hand tool manufacturing. Which one to choose? Chrome-molybdenum and CRV are chemically almost identical and perform similarly.

Chromium-molybdenum steel – Chrome molybdenum is a steel alloy that contains chromium and molybdenum among its alloying elements. This steel alloy,(Chrome molybdenum) is more costly to produce than chrome vanadium and, as a result, is usually only used by a few manufacturers in higher grades. , its usage depends on for what purpose the tools are to be made. Impact tools are always chrome moly, no matter where the manufacturer is from.


How Strong Is CRV Steel?

Chrome vanadium steel is stronger and more durable than carbon steel. As a result, it’s an excellent material for high-end tools.

Can S2 Steel Be Hardend?

The composition of S2 steel can be changed to influence its hardenability. They can achieve optimal hardness by austenitizing at elevated temperatures.

Do CRV Steels Rust?

No, Chromium-Vanadium Steel, is exceptionally corrosion-resistant. It effectively resists rust due to the protective oxide layer formed by chromium on its surface


That’s all! I have covered every important aspect regarding CRV steel vs s2 steel.

Here is a tip, always buy a tool based on their grading point. The better the point the longer the tool will last.

Take care and stay updated!

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