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304 vs 316 Stainless Steel

What is stainless steel?

Stainless steel is a low carbon steel which contains a minimum percentage of 10% chromium. It is the addition of chromium that gives the steel its unique stainless, corrosion resisting properties. Typical uses for this grade of steel include any drainage for food equipment, chemical equipment and architectural applications.

The chromium content of the steel allows for the formation of a tough, adherent, corrosion-resisting chromium oxide film on the steel surface. If damaged chemically or mechanically, this film is “self-healing”, provided that oxygen is present.

Both 304 and 316 have strength, workability and are corrosion resistance, making them ideal for outdoor architectural and landscape applications. The benefits of stainless steel include a long service life that will retain an attractive, clean finish with low maintenance cost. StainlessDrains.com is witnessing a new market where old methods; cast iron drains, porcelain drains, etc. are having to be replaced with 304 or 316 drains.

Benefits of Stainless Steel

• Corrosion resistance
• Fire and heat resistance
• Hygienic and sanitary
• Aesthetic appearance
• Strength to weight advantage
• Ease of fabrication
• Impact resistance
• Long term value

To learn more about the benefits, please click here.

304 stainless steel

The two main types that StainlessDrains.com uses for our products are austenitic 304 and 316 stainless steel.

Austenitic stainless steels grades or alloys contain either chromium and manganese or chromium and nickel. The carbon content is generally held to a maximum of 0.08% (302 (UNS S30200), 309 (S30900) and 310 (S31000) have slightly higher levels). The chromium content can range from 16.0 to 28.0% with nickel between 3.5 and 32.0%.

These alloys cannot be hardened by heat treatment, but they can develop high strength by cold working. Austenitic stainless steels offer good formability, high ductility and good impact toughness.StainlessDrains.com can use this material to produce area drains, floor sinks, grates, trench drains and much more.

304 vs 316 stainless steel


What's the Difference?

Just by looking at the two seemingly identical pieces of metal, polished and grained the same way, you would not be able to distinguish which was 304 and which was 316 stainless steel. Their unique qualities lie below the surface and are found in their chemical make-up.

Let’s dive into what makes each type distinctive.

Type 304

304 stainless steel is the most common and widely used form of stainless steel. It contains roughly 16-25% chromium and up to 36% nickel by composition, as well as small amounts of carbon and manganese. The most common form of 304 stainless steel is 18/8 which contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel. The minimum 18% chromium content provides the corrosion and oxidation resistance.

This type is easily malleable, highly versatile and extremely durable. It is an ideal choice for the majority of our stainless steel products. This type is easily malleable, highly versatile and extremely durable. One example of a place where SS 304 trench drains would be installed is in a chicken plant, the potential for listeria and other live bacteria’s growing is great. However, with 304 that threat is less likely.

chart on properties of 304 stainless steel

Type 316

316 stainless steel, also known as marine grade stainless, is an austenitic grade, with similar physical properties to 304, but with the addition of 2-3% molybdenum. The molybdenum further improves the steel’s resistance to pitting and crevice corrosion. This type of stainless is best suited for salt-water and marine applications, as well as highly acidic environments, needing the extra protection from chemical corrodents.

Coastal areas where salt is present in the air have a great demand for using SS 316 drains in any facility, not only will it keep the threats of bacteria from growing in the drains. The SS 316 drains will keep from eroding due to the salty air.

chart on properties of 316 stainless steel

StainlessDrains.com constructs all its drains and drain products using 304 or 316 stainless steel, depending on the needs of each customer and their specific application. They meet U.S. FDA standards, and provide superior anti-bacterial, anti-contamination and anti-corrosion protection. Our high-quality construction and custom designs ensure that our drains will prove effective for many sanitary applications.

StainlessDrains.com prides itself to being the company that provides the drain solutions to several Fortune 500 companies. Pharmaceutical and food companies all have the potential to have Iodine, Hydrogen Peroxide, bleaches and more enter their sanitary drains, SS 316 drains will be able to combat these such chemicals.

304 ss vs 316 stainless steel

Whichever type you choose, you can be sure that your stainless steel drain from StainlessDrains.com will provide the durability, strength and value needed for your project. Contact us today to inquire about a quote from StainlessDrains.com or call us at 888.387.4045.

Most orders ship in 10 business days or less!

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To inquire about a quote from StainlessDrains.com fill out our contact form or call us at 888.387.4045.

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