Stainless Steel 304 vs 204 – What’s the Difference

Stainless Steel 304 vs 204

Are you in the market for stainless steel products and wondering which grade is best for you? Two popular grades in the stainless steel industry are 304 and 204. Though they sound similar, they have major differences in composition, cost, and functionality. In this blog post, we’ll explain the difference between stainless steel 304 and 204 to help you make an informed decision when choosing between the two.

Difference Between Stainless Steel 304 and 204


The major difference between these two stainless steel grades is their composition. Stainless steel 304 comprises 18% chromium and 8% nickel, while 204 contains 16% chromium, 10% nickel, and 2% manganese. This automatically makes 304 more durable as it has a higher percentage of chromium and nickel, which makes it resistant to corrosion, staining, and rusting. On the other hand, 204’s higher manganese content makes it less ductile and prone to cracking.


The cost of these two grades of stainless steel is another important difference to note. Stainless steel 304 is more expensive than 204 as it contains more expensive elements such as nickel and chromium. This makes it more suitable for use in high-end appliances, automotive parts, medical equipment, and marine applications where corrosion resistance is crucial. However, 204 is still used widely in construction, cookware, and cutlery, among other applications.


Stainless steel 304 is an all-purpose grade widely used in various applications due to its resistance to corrosion, high-temperature resistance, and ease of fabrication. It is ideal for use in harsh environments and extreme temperatures. Stainless steel 204, on the other hand, is less corrosion-resistant and should not be used in applications where it’s exposed to harsh chemicals or salty water. It is best suited for indoor applications that require limited corrosion resistance.


Both stainless steel grades are easy to maintain. Stainless steel 304 requires regular cleaning with mild soap, water and baking soda to remove stubborn stains. It is essential to ensure that the surfaces don’t contact other materials that can cause scratching or abrasion on the surface. For stainless steel 204, cleaning with soap and water is enough. However, it’s advisable to avoid using abrasive pads or cleaners that can cause scratches on the surface.


Choosing between stainless steel 304 and 204 depends on what you plan to use them for. Stainless steel 304 is the go-to option for applications requiring high corrosion resistance, rust, and staining resistance. It is durable and reliable, but it comes at a higher cost. On the other hand, 204 is ideal for indoor use and low-cost applications. While it may not be as powerful as 304, it still delivers excellent results for those on a budget. Hopefully, this blog post has given you a better insight into the differences between these two popular stainless steel grades.



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