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Stainless Steel 201 vs 304 – What’s the Difference

Stainless Steel 201 Vs. Stainless Steel 304

In the stainless steel world, there are two main grades of steel—grade 201 and grade 304. While both grades share a lot of similarities, there are some key differences that may be important when deciding which grade is best for your needs. Let’s take a look at the differences between these two popular grades of stainless steel.

Difference Between Stainless Steel 201 and Stainless Steel 304

Cost and Quality

The first thing to consider when deciding between stainless steel grade 201 and 304 is the cost. Grade 201 is usually more affordable than grade 304, making it ideal for those who want to save money while still getting quality results. However, it should be noted that price isn’t everything; grade 304 offers significantly better corrosion resistance than grade 201, making it the better choice for applications that will come into contact with moisture or chemicals over time.


Another key difference between these two grades of stainless steel is their physical properties. Grade 304 has a higher tensile strength than grade 201, making it better suited for high-stress applications like structural supports or fasteners. Grade 201 also has slightly lower magnetic properties than grade 304, meaning that items made from this type of stainless steel may not respond as well to magnets as those made from grade 304.

Maintenance Requirements

Lastly, maintenance requirements for these two types of stainless steel can differ greatly depending on the environment they are used in. Grade 201 requires more frequent cleaning or polishing to maintain its shine, whereas grade 304 is less likely to tarnish over time and requires less upkeep overall. This makes it ideal for outdoor applications such as fencing or furniture where regular maintenance may be difficult or impossible.


Deciding between stainless steel grades 201 vs 304 can be complicated, depending on your specific application needs. When considering cost, quality, properties and maintenance requirements, you’ll want to choose the right type of stainless steel that meets all your criteria—whether you decide on grade 201 or grade 304 depends on what you need from your metal product! With an understanding of each type’s pros and cons, you will be able to make an educated decision about which one works best for your project.

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