Steel 1215 vs 1080 – What’s the Difference

Steel 1215 vs 1080

When selecting steel for a project, various types are available, each with unique characteristics. Two of the most commonly used steel variants are 1215 and 1080. These two types of steel are widely popular in the manufacturing industry, and choosing between them can take time and effort. This blog post will investigate the differences between Steel 1215 and 1080 and examine their properties, uses, and applications.

What is Steel 1215?

Steel 1215 is a low-carbon steel alloy with good machinability and weldability. It contains 0.13 to 0.18 per cent carbon, 1 per cent manganese, 0.3 to 0.6 per cent silicon, and sulfur and phosphorus in very small amounts. With a tensile strength of about 78,000 psi (540 Mpa) and yield strength of 35 or 40Ksi (240-270 Mpa), it has higher mechanical properties than the other low-carbon steels, such as 1018 or 1020. Its uses include automotive parts; fasteners; shafts; spindles; machine screws; motor shafts etc., which require minimal machining processes for their fabrication into finished components due to their excellent layering properties & moderately high impact strength.

What is Steel 1080?

Steel 1080 is a tool steel grade consisting of 0.8% carbon, 0.5% manganese, and 1-1.2 % silicon, making it suitable for applications requiring good strength and wear resistance like knives, thread rolling dies, etc. It has an optimal combination of hardness and toughness at temperatures ranging from 100 to 800 degrees Celsius and can be hardened up to HRC 59 with suitable heat treatment practices. Its ability to hold a keen edge sets it apart from other low alloying steels making it ideal for cutting tools that require superior sharpness and durability over time.

Difference Between Steel 1215 and 1080

Steel 1215 and 1080 are alloy steels composed of carbon and other elements. The main difference is in their carbon content; 1215 has 0.13-0.18% more than 1080, making it slightly stronger and tougher while having slightly less machinability and weldability than 1080.

Composition and Properties

Steel 1215 is a free-machining low-carbon steel designed to be machined into intricate parts and tools easily. The composition of this steel includes around 0.15% carbon, 11% lead, and 1.2% manganese. Steel 1215 has excellent machining properties and can be easily machined, drilled, or sawed. On the other hand, 1080 steel is a high-carbon steel alloy suitable for knives and blades. It has a carbon content of around 0.80% to 0.90% and traces of manganese, silicon, and chromium. The high carbon content in 1080 steel makes it heat-treatable, ensuring that it achieves high levels of hardness and durability.

Uses and Applications

Steel 1215 is widely used in manufacturing parts and products, particularly those that require high-precision machining. These parts and products include screws, bolts, bushings, spacers, and nuts. The high machinability and excellent surface finish offered by Steel 1215 make it an ideal choice for these applications. 1080 steel, on the other hand, is typically used for knife-making applications, where the high carbon content and hardness make it ideal for blades. It also manufactures high-quality tools that require excellent edge retention, such as chisels, scrapers, and punches.

Welding and Machining

Even though Steel 1215 exhibits excellent machining properties, it’s not suitable for welding applications due to its low carbon content. Welding would cause the steel to become brittle and crack easily. 1080 steel, on the other hand, is a weldable alloy, meaning it can be welded to other metals. However, the high carbon content in this steel makes it challenging to machine or cut. Its hardness may result in tools wearing down quickly if not treated with appropriate tempering and Annealing.

Cost and Availability

The cost of Steel 1215 and 1080 depends on various factors such as quantity, supplier, location, and demand. However, as a general rule, 1080 steel is likely more expensive than 1215 steel due to its high carbon content. While both types of steel are widely available, the abundance of Steel 1215 is higher in comparison, adding to its popularity.


Choosing between Steel 1215 and 1080 depends on the intended use, application, and budget. Steel 1215 is an excellent choice for parts or products requiring a high degree of machining. On the other hand, 1080 steel is ideal for creating knives and other cutting tools that require high levels of hardness and edge retention. Regardless of the steel’s ultimate purpose, having the right skills and knowledge to use each material efficiently is essential. With careful consideration and the correct application, steel can elevate any project to greater heights and bring it to life.