The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Type of Stainless Steel in 2024

  • Updated: July 01, 2024

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Michael Yu

As a compound talent with History, Filmmaking, and Digital Manufacturing background, Michael Yu has dedicated his life to dispelling misconceptions about the manufacturing sector and transforming it into a fascinating and competent industry.
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As a type of material, stainless steel is noteworthy in industry manufacturing and our day-to-day live.

XMAKE have discovered that identify the kind of stainless steel that best fits particular need is hard for many prople due to the sheer diversity and range of stainless steels are available(and looks pretty similar).

Follow this article, I’ll introduce you several different categories of stainless steel, which will help you better understand their properties in each application.

What is Stainless Steel?

XMAKE-steel overview

By this part, I’ll introduce you what stainless steel is, the exact composition stainless steel is made, and factors to be considered to choose right stainless steel for you.

Brief Overview of Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is an alloy with chromium, iron and steel to create a corrosion-resistant material.

The addition of chromium forms a thin oxide layer on the surface of the steel, which helps protect it from rust and corrosion and makes stainless steel an ideal material for a wide range of applications, including kitchen appliances, surgical instruments, and industrial equipment.

Properties of Stainless Steel for Consider

When choosing the right type of stainless steel for a particular application, there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration.

Resistance to Corrosion

Different grades of stainless steel offer varying levels of resistance of corrupt, so it is important to choose a grade that is appropriate for the environment in which it will be used.

Strength and Durability

Some applications may require a higher strength steel, while others may be able to use a lower strength grade.

Temperature and Pressure

Different grades have different temperature and pressure limits, so it is essential to choose a grade that can withstand the conditions of the application.


Some grades of stainless steel are also more expensive than others, so it is important to balance the cost with the requirements.

Aesthetic Appeal

Some applications may require a more visually appealing stainless steel, while others may prioritize function over form.

By taking all of these factors into account, you can ensure that you choose the right grade of stainless steel to meet the requirements of your application.

Different Types of Stainless Steel Alloy

By this part, I’ll introduce you several common stainless steel types, explain what these steel means, their advantages. compositions, and applications.

Austenitic Stainless Steel

Austenitic contains high levels of chromium and nickel, which give it excellent corrupt resistance and strength. This steel is non-magnetic in its annealed state and becomes slightly magnetic after cold working.

Austenitic steel is also known for its good formability, weldability, and toughness, making it a popular choice for a wide range of applications.

This stainless steel alloy is commonly used in the production of kitchenware, food processing equipment, chemical processing plants, and medical devices. Its resistance to corruption makes it ideal for applications where contact with corrosive substances is a concern.

This steel is also favored in the automotive and aerospace industries for its high strength-to-weight ratio.

Some popular grades includes 304, 316, and 321.

Grade 304: The most common type and is widely used in household appliances and construction materials.

Grade 316: Known for its higherresistance of corruption, making it suitable for marine applications.

Grade 321: Stabilized with titanium and is often used in high-temperature environments such as exhaust systems and jet engine components.

Attributes Austenitic Stainless Steel
Ingredients Chromium, Nickel
  • Corrosion Resistence
  • Strength and Toughness
  • Formability
  • Weldability
Common Use
  • Corrosive substances concerned
  • Automotive
  • Industries
Part Example
  • Kitchenware
  • Food processing equipment
  • Chemical processing plants
  • Medical devices
Popular Grades 304, 316, 321

Martensitic Stainless Steel

Martensitic is known for its high strength, hardness, and wear resistance. It has low carbon content that contains chromium, which allows it to be hardened and tempered through heat treatment.

Martensitic also has a unique, needle-like structure known as martensite, which gives it the ability to be hardened but with the resistance to corrosion.

This steel is commonly used in applications of cutlery, surgical instruments, valves, shafts, and gears. Its high strength and hardness make it suitable for applications where wear resistance are important, such as in industrial and automotive parts.

Some example grades include 410, 420, and 440.

Grade 410: A general-purpose stainless steel with good corrosion-resist and mechanical properties.

Grade 420: Known for its high hardness and wear resistance. Grade 440: A high-carbon stainless steel with excellent corrosion-resist and hardness, commonly used in bearings and valves.

Attributes Martensitic Stainless Steel
Ingredients Carbon, Chrominum, Martensite
  • High Strength
  • Hardness
  • Wear Resistance
Common Use
  • Wear Resistance oriented
  • Industrial
  • Automotive
Part Example
  • Cutlery
  • Surgical Instruments
  • Valves
  • Shafts
  • Gears
Popular Grades 410, 420, 440

Ferritic Stainless Steel

Ferritic has high chromium content as its main alloying element ranging percent from 10.5 to 27, along with little to no nickel.

It is known for its high corrosion resistance, making it suitable for use in harsh environments. Ferritic stainless steel also exhibits good formability and magnetic properties.

Ferritic steel is commonly used in a variety of applications such as automotive exhaust systems, kitchen appliances, and heat exchangers.

Its resistance to stress corrosion cracking and high-temperature oxidation make it an ideal choice for components that are exposed to high temperatures and corrosive substances.

Some examples includes 410, 416, and 420. These grades are known for their high strength, good hardness, and excellent wear resistance.

They are commonly used in applications that require high strength and hardness, such as blades, surgical instruments, and turbine components.

Attributes Ferritic Stainless Steel
Ingredients Chromium, Nickel(little to no)
  • High Corrosion Resistance
  • Formability
  • Magnetic Property
  • High Temperature Oxidation
Common Use
  • Anti high temperature and corrosive substances
  • Automotive
  • Daily Necessities
  • Heating Equipment
Part Example
  • Blades
  • Surgical Instruments
  • Turbine components
Popular Grades 410, 416, 420

Duplex Stainless Steel

Duplex steel contains a two-phase microstructure consisting of both austenitic and ferritic phases.

This unique combination of characteristics makes it highly resistant to corrosion, cracking, and erosion, while also providing excellent strength and toughness.

Due to its superior properties, duplex is often used in applications where high strength and corrosion resistance are required.

It’s common uses includes construction of bridges, offshore oil rigs, pressure vessels, and storage tanks. It is also commonly used in the chemical processing, pulp and paper, and food processing industries.

Some examples grades include 410, 420, and 431. These grades are known for their high strength, hardness, and wear resistance.

It is commonly used in applications where high mechanical properties are required, such as in surgical instruments, industrial knives, and turbine blades.

Attributes Duplex Stainless Steel
Ingredients Two-Phase Microstructure(Austentic and Ferritic)
  • High Corrosion Resistance
  • Anti-Cracking
  • Anti-Erosion
  • Excellent Strength and Toughness
Common Use
  • High mechanical properties required
  • Architectural
  • Offshore Oil Rigs
  • Pressure Vessels
  • Storage Tanks
  • Chemical and Food Processing
Part Example
  • Surgical Instruments,
  • Industrial knives
  • Turbine blades.
Popular Grades 410, 420, 431

Precipitation-Hardening Stainless Steel

Precipitation Hardening is a special member in family of stainless steel that gains additional strength through a heat treatment process.

This process involves the formation of fine particles within the steel structure, which help increase its hardness and toughness.

These fine particles are usually a result of the dissolution of alloying elements during the heat treatment and their subsequent precipitation.

Common uses and applications includes aerospace components, high-performance automotive parts, and industrial equipment.

Due to its superior strength and corrosion resistance, this steel is used in applications where high mechanical performance is required.

Examples grades that are commonly used in precipitation hardening includes 17-4PH, 15-5PH, and 17-7PH.

These grades are known for their high strength, hardness, and corrosion resistance, making them ideal for a wide range of applications where reliability are essential.

Attributes Precipitation Hardening Stainless Steel
Ingredients Fine Particles within Steel Structure
  • High strength and hardness
  • High corrosion resistance
Common Use
  • High mechanical performance required
  • Reliability concerned
Part Example
  • Aerospace components
  • High-performance automotive parts
  • Industrial equipment
Popular Grades 17-4PH, 15-5PH, 17-7PH

Conclusion in Choosing Right Stainless Steel

In conclusion, stainless steel is a kind of alloy material widely used in industry and our daily live. There are many different types of stainless steel available and each one have its own pros and cons.

Manufacturers should choose the stainless steel based on many different factors and specific requirements of application.

Where Can I Get High Quality Stainless Steel Parts?

You can trust XMAKE! As leading digital manufacturing platform, we serve varities ranging process, able to make parts with austenitic and ferritic steels(and many grades and types else).

Tell us what types of steel you want, what grade of steel you need and the production you reuqired, and we’ll give you a pleasant answer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How is stainless steel different from carbon steel?

A: Stainless steel is not only durable and resistant to corrosion but also contains a higher percentage of chromium and nickel compared to carbon steel. This makes stainless steel more resistant to rust and staining.

Q2: What are the properties of stainless steel that make it a popular choice?

A: Stainless steel is known for its high ductility. It can be easily shaped and manipulated, ductile it as a versatile material for various applications.

Q3: How does the marine environment affect stainless steel?

A: Stainless Steel grade 316 is highly resistant to corrosion in marine environments. The presence of molybdenum in grade 316 stainless steel enhances its ability to withstand the harsh conditions of saltwater exposure.

Q4: How is stainless steel made?

A: Stainless steel is made by melting iron ore with a proportion of around 10-11% chromium. Other alloying elements like nickel, molybdenum, or titanium may also be added to achieve specific qualities.

Q5: What is the importance of chromium in stainless steel?

A: Chromium is a key element in stainless steel as it enhances its corrosion resistance properties. Stainless steel typically contains at least 10.5% chromium, with grade 430 stainless steel having around 17% chromium.

Q6: Stainless steel was created by whom and when?

A: The history of stainless steel can be dated back to Harry Brearley in 1913 in Sheffield, England. He developed a corrosion-resistant steel by adding chromium to traditional steel composition.


  1. Classification of Stainless Steel and Properties and Uses of Common Types. (n.d.).
  2. Classification and Characteristics of Stainless Steel . (n.d.).
  3. Miniidea. (n.d.). How many types of stainless steel are there (performance characteristics and application introduction of various types)  | Nagahara Spray.



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