304 Vs 316 Stainless Steel: What Are The Differences?

28 Aug, 2023

Stainless steel is well-known for its durability, corrosion resistance, and adaptability, making it a popular material in a wide range of sectors. Among the various stainless steel grades available, two prominent ones are 304 and 316. These grades, while sharing some commonalities, possess distinct characteristics that make them suitable for different applications. In this article, we delve into the differences between 304 and 316 stainless steel.

Composition And Basic Properties

Both 304 and 316 stainless steels are part of the austenitic family, characterized by their face-centered cubic crystal structure and exceptional corrosion resistance. However, differences in their chemical compositions result in distinct traits that define them separately.

304 Stainless Steel: 304 stainless steel, often known as A2 or 18/8 stainless steel, has 18% chromium and 8% nickel. Because of this, it is extremely corrosion-resistant in most atmospheric and mild chemical conditions. Moreover, its excellent formability and weldability make it a popular choice for various applications. From kitchen appliances and sinks to architectural elements, 304 finds use in environments where corrosion is anticipated but not extreme.

316 Stainless Steel: 316 stainless steel, also known as A4 stainless steel, contains 16-18% chromium, 10-14% nickel, and 2-3% molybdenum. The inclusion of molybdenum enhances the alloy's resistance to pitting corrosion caused by chlorides and aggressive chemicals. As a result, 316 excels in applications involving maritime conditions, chemical processing, and scenarios requiring considerable chloride exposure.

Stainless Steel Coil Manufacturer

Stainless Steel Coil Manufacturer

Corrosion Resistance

Corrosion resistance is an important consideration when selecting stainless steel grades, and both 304 and 316 provide respectable corrosion resistance.

304: This grade exhibits excellent resistance to a wide range of atmospheric and non-aggressive chemical environments. However, in chloride-exposed situations, such as coastal regions or surroundings containing chlorinated substances, 304 is prone to pitting corrosion.

316: The higher molybdenum content in 316 gives it a substantial advantage in corrosive environments rich in chlorides. This alloy's resistance to pitting and crevice corrosion, even in highly aggressive conditions, makes it indispensable for coastal structures, chemical processing plants, and other chloride-laden applications.

Stainless Steel Sheet Supplier

Stainless Steel Sheet Supplier

Strength And Toughness

Strength and toughness are vital mechanical properties, particularly in applications subjected to loads and stress.

304: While 304 stainless steel has high strength and durability, it may not be the best choice for high-load applications. Its lower molybdenum content means that it might exhibit slightly reduced strength compared to 316.

316: Thanks to its higher molybdenum content, 316 stainless steel offers superior strength and resilience. This makes it well-suited for applications involving mechanical stress, vibrations, or large loads, adding an extra degree of safety and reliability.

Stainless Steel Sheet Wholesale

Stainless Steel Sheet Wholesale


Here are the differences between them in application:

304: Because of its outstanding combination of corrosion resistance and cost, 304 stainless steel is appropriate for a wide range of applications. These include kitchen equipment, food processing machinery, architectural accents, and indoor fixtures.

316: Its exceptional resistance to chloride corrosion makes 316 the go-to choice for marine applications like boat fittings and coastal structures. It is also used in chemical processing, pharmaceutical equipment, and any other area where harsh chemicals or chlorides are likely to be present.


The choice between 304 and 316 stainless steel hinges on a thorough study of the distinct properties of each grade. Whether you are looking for 304 or 316 stainless steel, XINGUANGYUAN will be your good choice! We not only provide stainless steel sheets but also provide stainless sheet coils. Please feel free to get in touch with us for more product details!

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