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Inconel vs Stainless Steel: What’s the Difference

Inconel vs Stainless Steel:

Inconel and stainless steel are both popular materials used in many industrial applications. They are both durable and reliable, but they have different properties that make them suitable for different uses. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between Inconel and stainless steel and how you can use them in your projects.

What is Inconel?

Inconel is an alloy made of nickel, chromium, and iron, with other elements, added for specific purposes. It’s known for resisting corrosion even in extreme temperatures or harsh environments. Inconel is often used in high-temperature applications such as aerospace engines or chemical processing plants.

What is Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel is an alloy made up mostly of iron, with some chromium added to improve its resistance to corrosion and rusting. It is much more common than Inconel and can be used everywhere, from kitchen sinks to car exhaust systems. Unlike Inconel, it can also be magnetized, so it can be used in applications requiring magnets.

Difference Between Inconel and Stainless steel

  • Inconel is a nickel-chromium alloy, while stainless steel is an iron-based alloy.
  • Inconel is resistant to high temperatures and corrosion, while stainless steel is less resistant to high temperatures and more resistant to corrosion.
  • Inconel has a higher melting point than stainless steel.
  • Inconel is more expensive than stainless steel.
  • Inconel is used in aerospace and chemical applications, while stainless steel is used in food processing and medical applications.
  • Inconel is non-magnetic, while stainless steel is magnetic.
  • Inconel is available in various grades, while stainless steel is available in a limited number of grades.
  • Inconel can be welded using TIG or MIG welding, while stainless steel can be welded using TIG, MIG, or flux-cored welding.
  • Inconel is not heat-treatable, while stainless steel is heat treatable.
  • Inconel has a lower thermal conductivity than stainless steel

Inconel vs stainless steel cost

Inconel and stainless steel are two metals that are used for a variety of projects, often in the engineering world. While both can be very expensive, there’s no mistaking that the cost of inconel typically far outweighs that of stainless steel. On average, inconel pieces cost up to five times more than its stainless steel counterparts because it is a much rarer material and requires more work to produce as a result. It is also known for its excellent corrosion resistance and extreme temperature tolerance, making it a desirable choice for many engineering projects. Those looking for materials on a tighter budget should go with stainless steel rather than inconel; however, if strength or resistance is needed, inconel may prove to be the better option in the long run.

Inconel vs stainless steel hardness

Inconel and stainless steel are two popular metals utilized for a multitude of industrial applications. Generally speaking, inconel has better heat resistance compared to stainless steel. However, when it comes to hardness, stainless steel has the clear advantage with its ability to produce objects that have a surface harder than even some hard alloys of inconel. In addition, since stainless steel can be hardened through cold-working while inconel cannot, stainless is often preferred when strength and durability are desired in the resulting product.

How Are They Used?

Inconel is most commonly used in high-temperature applications due to its strength and ability to withstand extreme heat without degrading or corroding. This makes it ideal for use in aircraft engines, power plants, chemical processing plants, oil refineries, nuclear reactors, etc. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is much more versatile; it can be used for anything from kitchen sinks to car exhaust systems because it does not corrode easily at regular temperatures.


In conclusion, Inconel and stainless steel are incredibly useful materials with unique properties that make them suitable for different tasks. Inconel excels under extreme temperatures, while stainless steel offers versatility at regular temperatures without corroding easily. Despite their differences, both materials offer incredible durability, so you can rest assured that your project will stand the test of time no matter which one you choose!

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