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HRC vs. HRB: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 7, 2024
HRC (Rockwell C Hardness) and HRB (Rockwell B Hardness) are scales measuring material hardness; HRC is used for harder materials, HRB for softer materials.

Key Differences

HRC, or Rockwell C Hardness, measures the hardness of harder materials like steel. HRB, or Rockwell B Hardness, is used for softer materials, such as non-ferrous metals.
HRC testing uses a diamond cone indenter with a larger load, suitable for harder materials. HRB testing employs a steel ball indenter with a smaller load, effective for softer materials.
The HRC scale ranges from 20 to 70, indicating a higher hardness level. The HRB scale typically ranges from 0 to 100, representing softer material hardness.
HRC is critical in applications requiring durable and wear-resistant materials. HRB is essential in industries where softer, malleable materials are needed.
HRC values are often found in tools and high-strength components. HRB values are commonly seen in softer metal products and components.

Comparison Chart

Material Type

Harder materials like steel
Softer materials like non-ferrous metals

Indenter Used

Diamond cone
Steel ball

Load Applied

Larger load
Smaller load

Scale Range

20 to 70
0 to 100

Typical Applications

Tools, high-strength components
Softer metal products, malleable components

HRC and HRB Definitions


HRC scale ranges from 20 to 70.
A high HRC value, like 65, is typical for high-quality knives.


HRB measures the hardness of softer materials.
The HRB of this aluminum piece is 50, suitable for its application.


HRC values signify the level of material hardness.
The HRC rating is crucial in selecting materials for construction.


Uses a steel ball indenter for testing.
HRB testing with a steel ball indenter is effective for softer metals.


Uses a diamond cone indenter for testing.
For measuring HRC, a diamond indenter is employed due to the material's hardness.


Key in evaluating malleable material hardness.
Materials for bending processes often have an HRB rating.


Important for wear-resistant material applications.
Components with a high HRC are chosen for their durability.


HRB values indicate softness and malleability.
HRB is an important factor in selecting metals for forming.


HRC measures the hardness of harder materials.
The HRC of this tool steel is 55, indicating its high hardness.


HRB scale ranges from 0 to 100.
An HRB value of 95 indicates a relatively soft material.


What does HRC stand for?

Rockwell C Hardness.

What type of indenter is used in HRC testing?

A diamond cone indenter.

What load is applied in HRB tests?

Smaller loads for softer materials.

What materials are suitable for HRB testing?

Softer materials like non-ferrous metals.

How is the HRC scale ranged?

From 20 to 70.

What is HRB?

Rockwell B Hardness.

What is the range of the HRB scale?

From 0 to 100.

What is the load range for HRC tests?

Larger loads for harder materials.

What materials are tested using HRC?

Hard materials like steel.

Why is HRC important in tool making?

It indicates the durability and wear resistance of tools.

Do higher HRB values indicate softer materials?

Yes, higher HRB values signify softer materials.

Can HRC be used for plastic materials?

No, it's more suited for harder materials.

How does temperature affect HRC measurements?

Extreme temperatures can affect the hardness and therefore the HRC values.

What indenter does HRB use?

A steel ball indenter.

Are higher HRC values indicative of higher hardness?

Yes, higher HRC values mean greater hardness.

Is HRB applicable to steel?

Only if it’s relatively soft steel.

What is the significance of HRB in manufacturing?

It determines the suitability of materials for bending and forming.

Can HRC and HRB values be converted?

Yes, but with specific conversion tables.

Which industries rely heavily on HRB testing?

Industries that use softer, malleable metals.

Is HRB testing relevant in automotive manufacturing?

Yes, especially for components requiring softer metals.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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