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403 vs. 304 Stainless Steel
By ridgexmetals.com

403 vs. 304 Stainless Steel

403 vs. 304 Stainless Steel

Many industries rely on stainless steel to manufacture their products. But what exactly is stainless steel, and why is it so popular? Stainless steel is an alloy of iron, chromium, nickel, and other metals resistant to corrosion and other forms of deterioration. The two most commonly used types of stainless steel are 403 and 304. Let’s explore the differences between the two.

403 Stainless Steel

403 stainless steel is a martensitic alloy with added sulfur, giving it improved machinability compared to other types of stainless steel. This type of steel also has excellent heat and wear resistance, making it ideal for use in high-temperature or corrosive environments. However, it can be difficult to weld because of its low carbon content.

304 Stainless Steel

304 stainless steel is an austenitic alloy that contains nickel, chromium, and molybdenum. This combination creates a strong but malleable material that offers superior corrosion resistance even in harsh environments like saltwater or high-temperature applications like boilers or ovens. Additionally, 304 stainless steel has excellent weldability due to its higher carbon content than 403 stainless steel.

The biggest difference between 403 and 304 stainless steel is their chemical composition and mechanical properties. While both have similar levels of strength and hardness, they differ in machinability, weldability, corrosion resistance, heat resistance, and cost-effectiveness. Each type should be chosen based on its intended application and environment to ensure maximum performance at minimum cost.

Difference Between 403 and 304 Stainless Steel

Chemical Composition

The main difference between 403 and 304 stainless steel is the chemical composition. 403 stainless steel contains a higher percentage of carbon than 304 stainless steel. This makes welding more complex and can make the steel more brittle.

Corrosion Resistance

Both 403 and 304 stainless steel have good corrosion resistance. However, 304 stainless steel is better at resisting corrosion than 403 stainless steel. This is due to the higher percentage of chromium in 304 stainless steel.

Heat Resistance

403 stainless steel has a lower heat resistance than 304 stainless steel. This means it is more likely to warp or distort at high temperatures.


403 stainless steel is weaker than 304 stainless steel. This is due to the lower percentage of carbon in 403 stainless steel.


403 stainless steel is more expensive than 304 stainless steel. This is due to the higher percentage of carbon in 403 stainless steel, which makes it more difficult to produce.


When choosing a type of stainless steel for your project or product design needs, it’s essential to consider the properties of both 403 and 304 steels before deciding. Depending on the environment the product will be used in and the desired mechanical properties needed for your specific application, one type may ultimately prove more advantageous over the other for your particular needs. Both types offer great levels of strength and durability, making either option a viable choice when looking for reliable materials for your project designs!

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  • 19/01/2023

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