Stainless Steel 304 vs 404 – What’s the Difference

Stainless Steel 304 vs 404

Stainless steel is a popular alloy used extensively in various industries because of its durability, aesthetic appeal, and corrosion resistance properties. Among the different grades of stainless steel available in the market, Stainless Steel 304 and 404 are the most common in manufacturing, construction, and engineering applications. In this blog, we will break down the fundamental differences between the two grades of stainless steel and explore their unique characteristics.

Difference Between Stainless Steel 304 and 404


One significant difference between Stainless Steel 304 and Stainless Steel 404 is their chemical composition. Stainless Steel 304 contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel, making it one of the most widely used austenitic grades of stainless steel. On the other hand, Stainless Steel 404 has a more complex composition that includes 19% chromium, 2% nickel, and 1% manganese, making it a ferritic stainless steel.

Corrosion Resistance

Another critical factor in selecting stainless steel is its corrosion resistance. Stainless Steel 304 is an excellent choice regarding corrosion resistance, especially in atmospheric and marine environments. The presence of chromium also makes it an excellent choice for industrial uses that involve exposure to chemicals. In contrast, Stainless Steel 404 is more prone to corrosion than 304; hence, it is not recommended for marine applications.

Heat Resistance

Stainless Steel 304 has excellent heat resistance, making it perfect for high-temperature applications. It has a melting point of 1400-1450 degrees Celsius and high oxidation resistance. On the other hand, Stainless Steel 404 has lower heat resistance and is prone to heat damage.

Workability and Machinability

Stainless Steel 304 has excellent workability and machinability, making it ideal for fabrication and welding. The material is easily bent, welded, and cut using conventional machining methods. However, Stainless Steel 404 is harder and more challenging to machine, which makes it ideal for making machine components and motor shafts.


Finally, cost is a factor to consider when choosing stainless steel grades. Stainless Steel 304 is the most readily available grade and is often less expensive than Stainless Steel 404. The extra chromium and nickel in Stainless Steel 404 make it superior in certain applications but at a higher cost.


Stainless Steel 304 and Stainless Steel 404 are two commonly used grades of stainless steel; however, they have unique properties that make them suitable for specific applications. While Stainless Steel 304 is more commonly used due to its cost-effectiveness and corrosion resistance, Stainless Steel 404 is perfect for making motor shafts and machine components due to its hardness and tough nature. Understanding the composition and application limits of stainless steel grades is essential to make informed decisions when selecting the right one for your needs.

Harsh Jain

Harsh Jain

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