Tool Steel and High-Speed Steel – What’s the Difference?

Steel is a highly versatile metal for various applications, from construction to manufacturing. Tool steel and high-speed steel are two common types of steel used to produce tools and other metal components. While they may look similar at first glance, tool and high-speed steel have some crucial differences that set them apart. This blog post will explore the differences between these two steels and help you understand which is best suited for your needs.

Difference between Tool Steel and High-Speed Steel

Composition and Properties:

The main difference between tool steel and high-speed steel is their composition. Tool steel is a carbon and alloy steel known for its toughness, hardness, and wear resistance. It contains a higher percentage of carbon (ranging from 0.5% to 1.5%) than high-speed steel, which makes it more durable and resistant to wear. On the other hand, high-speed steel contains a significant amount of tungsten, molybdenum, and chromium, enhancing its red hardness, toughness, and resistance against heat and wear.


Tool steel is commonly used for manufacturing cutting tools, such as drills, chisels, and saw blades, that require high hardness and wear resistance. It is also used in tooling applications, such as dies, moulds, and stamps, where precise tolerances and surface finishes are required. High-speed steel is typically used for cutting tools that operate at high speeds, such as milling cutters, broaches, and taps. It is prized for retaining its cutting edge at elevated temperatures, making it ideal for applications where heat buildup is problematic.

Manufacturing Process:

The production process for tool steel and high-speed steel also differs. Tool steel is typically produced using a specialised melting and refining process that involves carefully controlled heating, cooling, and chemical treatment. This process is necessary to achieve the hardness, toughness, and wear resistance properties required for tool steel. On the other hand, high-speed steel is produced using a high-alloy melt containing significant amounts of tungsten, molybdenum, and chromium. It is then processed using advanced heat-treatment techniques to achieve its unique properties.


Tool steel is generally less expensive than high-speed steel, produced using a simpler manufacturing process and fewer expensive alloying elements. However, the cost difference between the two may not always be significant, as the final price can be influenced by factors such as the size and complexity of the tools being manufactured, the number of materials required, and the level of precision and quality control involved in the manufacturing process. For More information visit marketsmartb2b


In conclusion, the key differences between tool and high-speed steel lie in their composition, properties, manufacturing process, and application performance. While tool steel is known for its toughness, hardness, and wear resistance, high-speed steel is prized for its red hardness, toughness, and resistance to heat and wear. Choosing the right type of steel for your project will depend on a range of factors, including the application requirements, the production cost, and the final product’s quality. By understanding the differences between tool and high-speed steel, you can make an informed decision and achieve exceptional results in your metalworking projects.

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