Stainless Steel 316 vs 416 – What’s the Difference

Stainless Steel 316 vs 416

Stainless steel is commonly used in various industries due to its durability, corrosion resistance, and low maintenance. Two of the most popular types of stainless steel are 316 and 416. While they may seem similar, key differences between the two can impact their application. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between stainless steel 316 and 416 and which one is best suited for certain uses.

Difference Between Stainless Steel 316 and 416


Stainless steel 316 is a molybdenum-bearing austenitic stainless steel that contains nickel, chromium, and molybdenum. These additional elements give 316 a higher corrosion resistance, making it ideal for use in marine environments and chemical plants. In comparison, stainless steel 416 is a free-machining martensitic stainless steel that contains sulfur, phosphorus, and chromium. The sulfur content in 416 makes it easier to machine but reduces its resistance to corrosion.

Strength and Hardness

Stainless steel 416 is a harder and more machinable grade of stainless steel than 316. This is partly due to its higher sulfur content but also because it is a martensitic grade of stainless steel. However, stainless steel 316 offers higher tensile strength and corrosion resistance than 416. This makes it more suitable for applications that require durability and strength, such as structural components.


Stainless steel 416 is generally less expensive than stainless steel 316 due to its lower nickel and molybdenum content. However, the cost difference can vary widely based on the specific application and required quantity.


Both stainless steel 316 and 416 have their unique applications. Stainless steel 316 is commonly used in marine environments, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and chemical processing. Stainless steel 416 is often used for parts that require high strength and machinability, such as pump shafts, valves, and gears. However, due to its lower corrosion resistance, 416 is not ideal for use in areas exposed to corrosive materials.

Welding and Machining

Stainless steel 316 is easier to weld than 416 due to its austenitic non-magnetic structure. 416 is also prone to cracking or breaking if it is welded. However, because of its higher sulfur content, 416 is more easily machined than 316.


In conclusion, the main differences between stainless steel 316 and 416 are composition, strength and hardness, cost, applications, and welding and machining. While both grades are popular in various industries, their specific properties make them better suited for certain applications. Understanding these differences can help you choose the appropriate grade of stainless steel for your project or application. Whether you need a highly corrosion-resistant material or a machinable option, a stainless steel grade can meet your needs.

Harsh Jain

Harsh Jain

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