Japanese Stainless Steel From Best To Worst
- ATS-314: The best steel used for salon shears manufactured by Hitachi *HRC 64
- VG10 is most used for salon shears from the V series stainless steel (developed by Takefu Steel Factory but Hitachi now produces it for them) *HRC 62
- 440c is the lowest quality but not unacceptable. Hitachi 440c has been measured equal to VG10 *HRC 58-62
- There is also a 440A (unacceptable) being used in some shears. It has the lowest amount of Carbon/Chromium and is an inferior stainless steel.
*HRC The measurement for hardness is abbreviated by the letters HRC known internationally as the Rockwell scale. Salon shears should be at lowest 58 HRC and best at 64 HRC.
Basic 440c is from 58-62 HRC; VG10 at 62, ATS-314 HRC is at 64
It is my job to know the shears I sell are made of premium ingredients.
440c is produced under Japan’s Industrial Standards (JIS). Under JIS anybody can make these if they follow the JIS ingredients list. Buyer Beware – Since anyone can make 440c, some companies use impure ingredients. Japanese manufactured 440c, with pure ingredients, is where premium salon shears begin. If you want to be absolutely sure buy Japanese VG10 or ATS-314.
- carbon (C) content of 0.95–1.20%
- chromium (Cr) content of 16.00–18.00%
- molybdenum (Mo) content of 0.75%
- Manganese (Mn) content of 1.0%, and silicon content of 1.0%.
Currently there are companies that use scrappy, impure ingredients in their manufacturing. Even though it is 440c it is inferior to pure 440c. *Hitachi, and a select few manufacturers, use pure ingredients giving you the best product possible.
Similar to good cooking, ingredients can be of low quality or high quality. Therefore not all 440c is high quality. It is my job to know the shears I sell are made of premium ingredients.
Kamisori, Washi, and Bonika are 3 brands I carry that use Hitachi steel.
Don’t Be Fooled!
If a company misleads you don’t trust them. Many companies, one very large one, will not tell you exactly what there shears are made of. They take advantage of stylists not being educated on metallurgy. So they describe their shears like:
“High Carbon” ? (Carbon is never over 1.2% and is a primary ingredient for stainless steel; (1.2% Carbon (C), 13% Chromium (Cr)-added to Iron (Fe) is the beginning of Stainless Steel)
A well known company sells “High Carbon” shears for $1713, $1255, and $1045! They allow you to make payments too! Nice of them.
“The Finest Japanese Steel” That is not very specific. If it is the finest it is Hitachi ATS-314 so why not say so? It is not the finest.
“Premium Molybdenum Alloy Blend”? Again, see the recipe of 440c. If it is premium Molybdenum then it is good 440c and can be bought for $200 from most any shear company.
When you get down to their $700 shears they don’t even tell you what they are made of. But you can still make payments!
Its a good idea to make a lot less payments and get Hitachi manufactured stainless steel shears. Don’t use your pocket book like a Kamikaze and crash it on a marketed brand inferior shear.
*Hitachi is a Japanese multinational conglomerate headquartered in Chiyoda, Tokyo Japan