What Are the Differences Between 304 and 316 Stainless Steel Fasteners?

If you need to buy stainless steel fasteners for your parts or projects, then you might not be sure whether to use 304 or 316 grades. While these fasteners do the same jobs, they have some individual differences.

Read on to learn more about these two fasteners and their pros and cons.

304 Stainless Steel Fasteners: What to Know

304 grade stainless steel fasteners contain additional metals, such as chromium and nickel. Their mix of metals makes these fasteners stronger and better able to cope with oxidisation and corrosion.

You typically use this grade of fastener in indoor or protected environments where the metal isn't exposed to potentially harmful substances or materials. Its lower price makes it an economical choice in these situations.

However, this grade of stainless steel won't work effectively in every application. These fasteners aren't the best choice in some outdoor or problematic environments.

For example, this grade of fastener might struggle to stay in good shape if it has regular and consistent exposure to water. Salty water or salt air can damage its surface which could affect the cosmetic appearance of the fastener and make it break down faster. It won't cope well with exposure to harsh chemicals.

In these situations, 304 fasteners might not last as long as you need them to. If they corrode, get damaged or start to break, then they can't do their job, and you might need to replace them.

316 Stainless Steel Fasteners: What to Know

316 stainless steel fasteners also contain chromium and nickel. However, they contain slightly lower amounts of chromium and slightly higher amounts of nickel. They share the same core strengths as 304 grade products.

However, the thing that really differentiates this grade of stainless steel is its additional molybdenum content. This addition to its mix gives the steel extra properties that make it more useful as a fastener in some scenarios.

For example, this grade of fastener has extra protection in harsher environments. It works better outdoors. It is also better able to cope with salt water and salty air without getting cosmetically or structurally damaged. It is less affected by chemicals or corrosive substances.

316 fasteners do cost more than 304 products. However, if you do need extra strength and resilience, then this grade of stainless steel is a better option.

For more advice on the best fasteners to use for your applications, talk to stainless fasteners suppliers.