Stainless Steel 316 vs 304- What’s the difference between

Stainless steel is one of the most popular metals used in the industry due to its high strength, durability, and resistance to corrosion. However, not all stainless steel is created equal. Two of the most commonly used grades of stainless steel are 316 and 304. Although they have similar characteristics, they differ in chemical composition, properties, and applications. In this blog, we’ll dive deep into the key differences between 316 and 304 stainless steel and help you decide which one to choose for your project.

What is Stainless Steel 316?

Stainless Steel 316 is an iron, chromium, nickel and molybdenum alloy. Its high corrosion resistance makes it suitable for various applications, including food processing, medical equipment and petrochemicals. It offers superior strength at high temperatures and is often used in chemical applications due to its non-reactive properties. Its popularity in the industry stems from its ability to maintain strength and resist oxidation even at elevated temperatures.

What is Stainless Steel 304?

Stainless steel 304 is austenitic stainless steel made of at least 18% chromium and 8% nickel, combined with a maximum of 0.08% carbon. It is the most common type of stainless steel used in the kitchen due to its heat resistance, durability, and easy-to-clean surfaces. The properties make it resistant to corrosion and oxidation, which helps maintain its shine even after long use. In addition, it can also withstand high temperatures making it ideal for high-heat cooking applications such as boiling, deep frying or baking.

Difference between 316 And 304 Stainless Steel


The main difference between 316 and 304 stainless steel is their chemical composition. Both contain many iron, carbon, silicon, and manganese. However, 316 also contains molybdenum, which makes it more resistant to corrosion and rust than 304. Also, the nickel content is higher in grade 316, making it more durable and resilient to extreme temperatures.

Corrosion and Rust-resistance

When it comes to corrosion and rust resistance, 316 stainless steel has higher resistance compared to 304. This is because of the presence of molybdenum, which enhances its performance when exposed to a chloride-rich environment. 316 is highly resistant to pitting and crevice corrosion, making it highly sought after in marine and chemical processing applications. 304, on the other hand, is best suited in less aggressive environments as well as food processing and brewing industries.

Strength and Durability

Both 316 and 304 stainless steels have high strength, with a tensile strength of up to 210ksi for grade 316. However, 316 has a higher yield strength than 304, making it stronger and more durable. It can withstand extreme temperatures, has better formability properties, and can be welded more easily than 304 stainless steel.


Based on their characteristics, 316 and 304 stainless steels are used in different applications. 316 stainless steel is commonly used in marine, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries due to its superior corrosion resistance to chlorides and other harsh chemicals. It is also used in architectural and surgical applications, where high durability and strength are needed. Grade 304, on the other hand, is used in food and beverage industries due to its low carbon content, oxidation resistance, and ease of fabrication. For more information visit MarketsMartb2b


In conclusion, 316 and 304 stainless steels have similar characteristics, but their composition, strength, and corrosion resistance differ. 316 stainless steel has higher corrosion resistance, strength, and durability, making it suitable for aggressive environments. 304 stainless steel, on the other hand, is best suited in less aggressive environments as well as the food and beverage industries. When selecting which grade to use for your project, it’s essential to consider the expected environment, application, and durability. So, which one will you choose?

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