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302 Stainless Steel vs 202 – What’s the Difference

302 Stainless Steel vs 202

Stainless steel is popular in various industries thanks to its durability, resistance to corrosion and oxidation, and aesthetic appeal. Two of the most commonly used types of stainless steel are 302 and 202. Although they share similar qualities, they also have distinct differences that make them ideal for specific applications.

This blog post will discuss the key differences between 302 stainless steel and 202 stainless steel, their properties, applications, and some examples of products that utilize these materials. By the end of this post, you will better understand which stainless steel grade suits your particular needs.

What is 302 Stainless Steel?

302 stainless steel is a high-carbon version of the 304 alloy that contains chromium and nickel. It is commonly used to manufacture springs, wire forms, clips, and medical instruments. Adding carbon in 302 makes it harder and less ductile than 304, giving it higher tensile strength and better corrosion resistance.

What is 202 Stainless Steel?

202 stainless steel is a low-nickel and high-manganese stainless steel that belongs to the 200 series of austenitic stainless steels. It is cheaper than other types of stainless steel, making it an attractive option for applications that do not require high durability or corrosion resistance.

Difference Between 302 Stainless Steel and 202


One of the unique properties of 302 stainless steel is its magnetic nature, making it ideal for manufacturing magnetic components. It also has excellent oxidation resistance and can withstand multiple sterilization cycles, making it a popular choice in the medical industry.

Unlike 302 stainless steel, 202 is not magnetic and has lower nickel content, making it less pliable. It is mainly used to manufacture packaging materials, cookware, and utensils. It has excellent formability, which is critical in applications requiring bending or shaping.

Durability and Corrosion Resistance

When comparing 302 stainless steel vs 202 stainless steel, durability, corrosion resistance, and magnetism are some of the primary factors to consider. 302 is more durable and offers better corrosion resistance than 202. Additionally, it is magnetic, while 202 is not.


Another crucial factor to consider is the cost. 302 stainless steel is expensive due to its high nickel and carbon content. On the other hand, 202 is relatively cheap, but it is not as durable or resistant to corrosion as 302.


302 and 202 stainless steel have different applications due to their varying properties. 302 is ideal for creating products that require high durability, resistance against corrosion and oxidation, and magnetic properties. Medical instruments, springs, and wire forms are common products from 302.

202 stainless steel is suitable for manufacturing products that require good formability but not high durability. Examples include kitchen utensils, cookware, and packaging materials.


In conclusion, 302 stainless and 202 stainless steel are popular stainless steel grades with distinct differences. 302 is more expensive but offers better durability, corrosion resistance, and magnetic properties, while 202 is cheaper but offers less durability and resistance to corrosion. When deciding on the most suitable stainless steel for your project, it is essential to consider factors such as durability, cost, and application. Considering these factors, you can make an informed decision that best aligns with your project’s requirements.

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