304 versus 316 stainless steel

What is the difference between 304 and 316 Stainless Steel?

Among the top forms of stainless steel grades are 304 and 316 with each grade having its own place in the world. At a glance, they appear to be the same; however, the key component in which they differ is due to the incorporation of a chemical element, molybdenum, into 316. This element drastically enhances corrosion resistance, especially for more saline or chloride-exposed environments.


Due to its cost and exceptional corrosion resistance, 304 stainless steel is the most widely used around the world. It is most common around the home in appliances, architecture, mining equipment, chemical containers, and food industry: for brewing, wine making, milk processing and others.


Every super hero has a weakness. So what is 304’s kryptonite? Saline environments like the coastal waters and chloride solutions which can be found in the medical industry.


Coming in second place in the popularity contest is 316 stainless steel. As previously mentioned, the key difference is the molybdenum. This molybdenum-alloyed steel can hold up against environments which house “kryptonite.” 316 stainless steel is most commonly used coastal architecture, boat fittings, medical surgical equipment and more.




Sources: Azom | ISSF | SVF | The Balance | Wikipedia