Difference Between 304 Stainless Steel & 18-8 Stainless Steel


Grade 304 and 18-8 stainless steel is the most widely used stainless steel. They are part of the 300-series of stainless steel with approximately 18 percent chromium and 8 percent nickel in their composition. The rest of the alloy is mainly iron with small amounts of other elements.


  • Stainless steel is harder to weld than some other materials, but this series of stainless steel welds well. Prolonged high heat will make the metal brittle and cause it to warp. Welding rods manufactured for use with stainless steel should be used.


  • The 300-series of stainless steel is not magnetic because of the quantity of nickel in the formula. Other series of stainless steel that have different alloy compositions are magnetic.


  • The L designation means a low-carbon content of less than 0.08 percent. Because of the low-carbon content the L stainless steel is easier to weld.


  • Stainless steel requires different machining techniques than other metals. Most of the stainless steels are harder on tools and require more power. Using carbide tools is generally better because they are harder and wear less.


  • Grade 304 is widely used in cookware, flatware, sinks and other food processing equipment. 304 is widely used in the food industry. It is used in architecture as trim, railings and other areas where a corrosion resistant metal is needed, and low maintenance is needed.

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