Stainless Steel 201 vs 304 – What’s the Difference

Stainless Steel 201 vs 304

Stainless Steel is one of the most popular materials used in various industries due to its durability, strength, resistance to corrosion, and aesthetic appeal. Today, we’ll discuss the difference between Stainless Steel 201 and 304, two common grades of stainless steel that people often confuse. If you need help determining which would be the best fit for your project, keep reading to learn more about the similarities and differences between these two grades of stainless steel.

Difference Between Stainless Steel 201 and 304


The main difference between Stainless Steel 201 and 304 is their composition. Stainless Steel 201 contains 16%-18% chromium, 3.5%-5.5% nickel, and 0.8%-1.2% manganese. On the other hand, Stainless Steel 304 contains 18%-20% chromium, 8%-10.5% nickel, and a maximum of 0.08% carbon. This higher amount of nickel and chromium in grade 304 makes it more resistant to corrosion and heat.

Strength and Durability

Stainless Steel 304 is a more robust and durable material than Stainless Steel 201 due to its higher strength and resistance to corrosion. This makes grade 304 the material of choice in applications that require high strength and durability.

Aesthetic Appeal

Stainless Steel 304 has a polished finish and superior shine, giving it a more aesthetically pleasing appearance. It is commonly used in applications where appearance is essential, such as kitchen appliances, cookware, and decorative applications.

Cost and Availability

Stainless Steel 201 is much more affordable than Stainless Steel 304. It is much more commonly used in manufacturing less expensive consumer products such as kitchen and bathroom fixtures. Conversely, Stainless Steel 304 is more expensive, but its superior properties make it more suitable for various commercial and industrial applications.


Stainless Steel 201 and 304 have unique properties and are used in various applications. Stainless Steel 201 is often incorporated into consumer products such as flatware, cutlery, and cooking utensils. On the other hand, Stainless Steel 304 is used in pharmaceuticals, chemical, and food processing industries due to its strength, durability and superior corrosion resistance.


In conclusion, Stainless Steel 201 and 304 have distinctive properties and are suitable for different applications. Stainless Steel 304 is stronger, more durable, and more corrosion-resistant than Stainless Steel 201, but it’s also more expensive. Stainless Steel 201 is more affordable, and its properties are more suitable for consumer products. Understanding the difference between these two grades of stainless steel is essential to selecting the one that best helps you meet your project’s requirements.



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