Know the Difference: Distinguishing 304 Stainless Steel from 316 Stainless Steel

To a busy executive or project manager who is paid to get things done, the difference between 304 stainless steel and 316 stainless steel is often a question to leave to those in the engineering department. However, for those who can take a few moments out of their busy days, here is a guide on the differences between 304 stainless steel and 316 stainless steel.

Distinguishing 304 Stainless Steel from 316 Stainless Steel


The differences start in the composition: 316 stainless steel is composed of 16% chromium, 10% nickel and 2% molybdenum. 304 stainless steel is composed of 18% chromium and 8% nickel. The addition of molybdenum to 316 makes it more resistant to corrosion from chlorides such as de-icing salts or sea water, which also contains salt.

304 Stainless Steel

Due to its low carbon content and the presence of chromium and nickel, 304 stainless steel is the most popular and versatile of the austenitic variety of stainless steel. It is very resistant to oxidation and other corrosive agents and has proven to be a durable alloy. It is easy to fabricate, easy to clean and helps prevent contamination of food products.

304 stainless steel can handle a variety of finishes, creating a wide assortment of appearances. 304 stainless steel is most often used in kitchen equipment, corrosion-resistant electrical enclosures, piping, pressure vessels, storage tanks, stainless hardware, exhaust manifolds, auto molding and auto trim.

316 Stainless Steel

316 stainless steel is also an austenitic combination of chromium and nickel. It provides superior heat resistance and corrosion resistance, especially from salts such as brine or seawater. The presence of molybdenum also provides more resistance to corrosive chemicals.

In particular, 316 stainless steel is used in applications involving chlorides, sulfuric acid, bromides, fatty acids and iodides. 316 stainless steel is also very heat-resistant. It is also used in the creation of many pharmaceuticals to prevent them from metallic contamination.

316 is more expensive but its corrosion resistance can make it a long-term money-saver.

Western Stainless Solutions

Whatever the application or need, Western Stainless Solutions has a solution for you. We offer bespoke solutions for all industries in WA where stainless steel may be required. No matter how large the project or construction, we are there for you.

Call 1300 794 647 to learn more.

About Paul

Paul Bartlett is the owner and director of Western Stainless Solutions. He has a passionate commitment to personally seeing each project through from conception to completion. Mr Bartlett has owned Western Stainless Solutions since 2005. He had prior experience as a foreman for Caterlink, where he learned to fit out numerous restaurants with stainless steel equipment.

With Western Stainless Solutions, Mr Bartlett has overseen numerous large projects, always getting them finished on time and on budget. His favourite projects include:

  • Fiona Stanley Hospital
  • Joondalup Health Campus
  • Coles Inglewood
  • Woolworths Yanchep
  • Mt Barker Chicken
  • The Merrywell Bar
  • Perth Children's Hospital
  • St John of God Subiaco refurb and development

Mr Bartlett has extensive experience in completing large projects, but is always around to add a personal touch to projects such as restaurants and pubs.

Mr Bartlett also has experience in the sports world. He currently serves as a volunteer coach for School Sports WA and spent two years as the General Manager of the Stirling Senators in the State Basketball League.

The bottom line: Mr Bartlett specialises in getting things done. He has a “hands-on” approach that is rare for owners of businesses the size of Western Stainless Solutions.