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Which Stainless Steel Is Right For Me?

There are many different grades of Stainless Steel. The most common are 304 and 316. Some fasteners are also made in 303, 410, 420 and 430 as well as more corrosively resistant grades such as Bumax (2343) and 2205. Click here to find how Stainless Steel works.

The following is an approximate guideline.

Stainless Grades PREN Values Features/Benefits Useful For In Action
410 SS 11 A Martensitic grade that can be hardened by heat treatment Self-drilling (into metal) screws in non-coastal and less corrosive environments (e.g. interior use) Stainless Steel Stairwell
420 SS 12
  • A nickel-free grade with high carbon
  • It is stronger than 410
Spring pins in less corrosive environments Stainless Steel Spring Rolls
  • A Martensitic alloy like 410 so can be hardened with heat treatment
  • Has Molybdenum added so offers much better corrosion resistance (similar to 304 grade)
Self-drilling (into metal) screws. Stainless Steel Self Drilling Screws
304 SS 19
  • A general purpose grade
  • It is commonly used because it offers reasonable corrosion resistance, and is reasonably priced.
A variety of applications, including interior and non-coastal exterior applications which are hidden from sight (as it may tea-stain) Stainless Steel Kitchen
316 SS 24
  • Good corrosion resistance
  • Needs fresh water/rainfall to wash off contaminants like sea salt to maintain surface corrosion resistance and avoid tea-staining.
  • For exterior applications, including near the coast with the correct surface finish and proper maintenance.
  • Good material for handrails, downpipes and building fasteners.
Stainless Steel Downpipes
BUMAX 88 & 109 25
  • A 316 grade with extra Molybdenum added
  • Usually made to high strength classes 80 and 100
  • Has excellent corrosion resistance
Where high strength and excellent corrosion resistance is required. Oil Rig
2507 SS 41 Situations requiring high strength and very high corrosion resistance such as constant salt water immersion Submarine

Some proprietary grades with high manganese and low nickel have found their way onto the market and are being sold as 304 or 316. Some are even stamped as such. These alloys also have low chromium and are not suitable for Australia's harsh conditions - especially coastal environments.

Environment Type 304 Type 316
Seafront Grade not recommended Monthly
Coastal (within 5km of the coast) Grade not recommended 6-12 months (wire: monthly)
Industrial and Urban 3-6 months 6-12 months (wire: 2-12 per year)
Suburban Rural Annually or as required by experience
Internal As required to maintain appearance

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