Should You Prefer 316 Stainless Steel rather Than 304 Stainless Steel?

To any layman, all types of stainless steel may appear to be the same, however, a professional user will never miss the differences between one particular grade of stainless steel with another.

Stainless Steel

Any manufacturing businessman will find a big difference in price between stainless steel alloys like stainless steel of grade 304 and grade 316.

However, the question is whether grade 316 Stainless Machine Screws will be worth its extra cost as compared to stainless steel 304 alloy? You can get both these varieties of stainless steel from Fair Wind Fasteners.


The 316 alloy is a certain molybdenum-bearing austenitic stainless steel that will contain:

  • Chromium 18%
  • Nickel 8%
  • Molybdenum 2-3%.

This grade exhibits greater overall corrosion-resistant qualities than the 304 alloy thanks to its increased nickel and molybdenum content. This is particularly true in chloride conditions were pitting and crevice corrosion are more common.

Additionally, Alloy 316 offers good weldability, excellent raised temperature tensile, and stress rupture strengths. The following fastener solutions are available in this grade of materials:

  • 316 stainless steel screws
  • 316 stainless steel washers
  • 316 stainless steel nuts

Properties and applications

Grade 316 steel is next only to 304 stainless steel in terms of commonality. Due to their similar physical and mechanical properties, grade 304 and grade 316 are nearly impossible to distinguish with the naked eye.

Due to grade 316 stainless steel’s higher nickel content and the inclusion of molybdenum, it costs a little more per ounce of material than grade 304 stainless steel.

Grade 316 stainless steel excels in increased corrosion resistance, particularly against chlorides and chlorinated environments. Because of this, grade 316 stainless steel should be preferred in applications where exposure to salt or other strong corrosives is a problem.

Stainless Steel

A few more common applications for this grade of steel are:

  • Stainless steel baskets
  • Marine parts
  • Outdoor electrical enclosures
  • Medical-surgical instruments
  • Pharmaceutical equipment
  • Chemical equipment


Grade 304 stainless steel, a common high-performing alloy, has high tensile strength, is long-lasting, and resists oxidation and corrosion.

Stainless steel type 304 melts at temperatures between 2,550⁰ and 2,650⁰ Fahrenheit (1399⁰ and 1454⁰ Celsius). However, grade 304 stainless steel loses more tensile strength the closer it gets to melting.

The high tensile strength of grade 304 stainless steel, which is approximately 621 MPa, makes it particularly excellent (90 ksi). About 870⁰C is the maximum operating temperature for stainless steel 304 alloy.

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Properties and applications

Due to its high chromium content, 304 steel, is one of the most widely used types of stainless steel and offers outstanding corrosion resistance. Its chemical composition includes:

  • Chromium 18%
  • Nickel 8%

A few more common applications of this grade of steel are:

  • Auto moldings and trim
  • Wheel covers
  • Storage tanks
  • Electrical enclosures
  • Kitchen equipment and appliances

Stainless Steel

The vulnerability of 304 stainless steel to pitting, or localized areas of corrosion, brought on by exposure to high chloride solutions or salty conditions, is one of its weaknesses. Pitting corrosion can start with a chloride concentration as low as 25 ppm.

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