When selecting stainless steel hardware, it is important to understand the differences between the variety of grades and finishes available so you can choose the products that will work most safely and effectively for your purposes.

It’s difficult to distinguish between these two types of steel visually, but significant differences between the two steel types do exist and are important to understand.

Below is a basic guide to the similarities and differences of 304 grade and 316 grade stainless steel.

1. Composition

The first key difference between 304 grade stainless steel and 316 grade stainless steel relates to composition. Steels are classified in part based on chromium and alloy content and crystalline structure. Austenitic steel – also known as 300 series steel – contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel. This type of steel is incredibly common; about 70% of stainless steel products are composed of austenitic steel. 304 grade stainless steel is considered to be austenitic, while 316 grade stainless steel is considered to be superaustenitic – meaning it contains a higher content of molybdenum, nitrogen and nickel, making it more resistant to corrosion and stress.

2. Resistance to Corrosion

While both 304 and 316 grade stainless steels are resistant to corrosion, 316 grade stainless steel provides a higher degree of corrosion resistance than 304 grade steel because it includes molybdenum in its composition. As a result, 316 grade stainless steel is better suited for resisting extreme environmental conditions like salt water, de-icing salts, brine solutions and exposure to chemicals. Though 304 grade stainless steel will resist corrosion for a time, it will eventually begin to tarnish.

3. Cost

Typically, 316 grade stainless steel costs slightly more than 304 grade steel because of its enhanced chemical and production properties. The extra cost can be justified, however, because hardware made of type 316 stainless steel is extra resistant to tarnish and corrosion, enabling it to last a very long time.

In the real market, however it is almost impossible to find Grade 316 Stainless Steel cooking utensils, kitchenware, cutlery, even true or pure Grade 304 Stainless Steel is rare basically due to customers ignorance rushing to buy the cheaper products.

I have contact and interact with hundred and hundred of suppliers of Grade 304 Stainless Steel cooking utensils , kitchenware, cutlery,flask and bottles. None of them dare to supply me the products concerned for I have repeatedly told them all their products must be able to undergo a basic Grade 304 Stainless Steel chemical testing.

As for the Grade 316 Stainless Steel kitchenware, cooking utensils and cutlery, I have already approached a thousand suppliers, none of them dare to supply me the above Grade 316 Stainless Steel also basically for the same reason.

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