ThePipingMart Blog Metals 1025 Carbon Steel vs 1020 Steel – What’s the Difference

1025 Carbon Steel vs 1020 Steel – What’s the Difference

1025 Carbon Steel vs 1020 Steel

Steel is a vital element in many industries and comes in various grades. Two popular choices are 1025 carbon steel and 1020 steel. Although they might look similar, they have different characteristics that set them apart. This blog explores the differences between steel sheets and helps you decide which is best for your application.

Difference Between 1025 Carbon Steel and 1020 Steel


The first difference between these two steels lies in their design. 1025 carbon steel contains more carbon than 1020 steel, so it’s often referred to as high-carbon steel. Although only a tiny difference, it can affect the strength and hardness of the steel. 1025 carbon steel also contains a small amount of sulfur and phosphorus, which can improve machinability but decreases weldability.


Both steels are popular for various applications but differ in their primary use. 1020 steel is often used for components that require optimal machinabilities, such as gears, bushings, and pins. Its low carbon content makes it easy to work with while maintaining strength. On the other hand, 1025 carbon steel is used in applications that require high strength, durability, and wear resistance, such as cutting tools, knives, and hammers.

Heat treatment

Another significant difference between the two steel sheets is that 1025 carbon steel can be hardened by heat treatment, while 1020 steel cannot. The higher carbon content in 1025 steel allows for heat treatment, which increases its hardness and strength. Meanwhile, 1020 steel can only be strengthened by cold working or carburizing.


Finally, the cost of these two steels is another factor to consider. Typically, 1020 steel is cheaper than 1025 carbon steel because it’s easier to source and manufacture. If cost is a driving factor in your decision-making process, then 1020 Steel might be the way to go.

Tensile Strength

Another difference between 1025 carbon steel and 1020 steel is the tensile strength. 1025 carbon steel has a higher tensile strength than 1020 steel, which means it can be used for applications that require higher levels of strength and durability. The higher tensile strength of 1025 carbon steel makes it more difficult to weld and machine.

Yield Strength

1025 carbon steel also has a higher yield strength than 1020 steel. The yield strength is when a material begins to deform permanently under load. The higher yield strength of 1025 carbon steel means it can withstand higher loads without deforming permanently. This makes it ideal for applications such as shafts and gears where high levels of strength are required.


1020 steel is more ductile than 1025 carbon steel. Ductility measures a material’s ability to deform under load without breaking. This makes 1020 steel ideal for applications like automotive body panels requiring flexibility. The lower elasticity of 1025 carbon steel means it is unsuitable for flexible applications.


1020 steel is more accessible to machines than 1025 carbon steel due to its lower carbon content and softer microstructure. This makes it ideal for applications that require intricate machinings, such as gear teeth or small engine parts. The higher carbon content of 1025 carbon steel makes it more challenging to machine, but this can be offset using appropriate tooling and operating conditions.


Both 1025 carbon steel and 1020 steel have their pros and cons. The choice between the two comes down to your particular application and needs. If you’re looking for steel that’s easy to work with and requires good strength, 1020 steel is the way to go. On the other hand, if your application requires high strength and wear resistance, 1025 carbon steel is your best bet. Either way, both steels are excellent choices for a variety of applications. Regardless of your choice, ensure you understand its properties and capabilities to make the most out of it.

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