Stainless Steel 304 vs 316: Which One Makes the Grade?

Stainless Steel 304 vs 316:

Which Grade is Best for my Stainless Steel Entrance Matting System and Earns an “A” on my Project?

Stainless steel grids/foot grille systems present a clean satin finish giving it a high-tech contemporary appearance. The modern design is strong and offers a sustainable choice that uses high-quality materials to create exceptional durability and performance. GridLine is the best architectural grille at removing debris while also providing a permanent and integrated solution to fighting against tracked in dirt and water.

Constructed from either 304 or 316 grade stainless steel we can help you identify/pick which type of stainless steel entrance mat is best for your commercial project.

The two most popular types of stainless steel are 304 and 316 grades, they appear identical at first glance. However, they have important differences that set them apart from each other. The biggest distinction is the cost and the corrosion resistance.

All stainless steels are comprised of a blend of iron and chromium at various levels. But the exact mix—and other additions — are what create the key distinctions between the different stainless steel types and sets them apart from other steel grades.

In short,
Stainless Steel 304 is the most popular type of stainless steel across most industries. It is more economical than stainless steel 316 and it is ideal for interior applications.

With its increased nickel content and increased corrosion resistance, stainless steel 316 is more expensive than stainless steel 304. It is great for exterior applications exposed to the different elements.


Stainless Steel 304 offers a versatile balance of strength, formability, low maintenance and standard corrosion resistance for which stainless steel is relied upon. It is the most widespread type of stainless steel on the market striking an excellent symmetry between price and performance. Its anti-corrosive attributes and extreme durability make it a common choice for many applications, including stainless steel entrance matting systems. Type 304 can withstand deterioration from most oxidizing acids at a more affordable cost than 316 grade.


Stainless steel 316 is the second most popular type of stainless steel sold, it offers superior corrosion resistance to chlorides, acids, and other industrial cleaning solvents. The physical and mechanical properties of stainless steel 316 are very similar to304 with a comparable material make-up. The main difference for stainless steel 316 is that it incorporates more nickel and the addition of a small percentage of molybdenum. The addition of molybdenum increases corrosion resistance. 316 stainless steel is recommended in many industrial applications where it will frequently come into contact with harsh, corrosive substances, or in high- saline environments; such as coastal areas and outdoor areas where de-icing salts are typical.

We’re going to do a side-by-side comparison of both stainless steel 304 and 316 so you can determine which option is best for your entrance needs.


304 stainless steel is commonly available for a lower price than 316 stainless steel.  316 stainless steel has a more complex manufacturing process and is used for specific functions or environments. 304 stainless steel, by contrast, is the standard stainless steel in most organizations and it is available at a lower cost.


Both grades of stainless steel are strong and durable and offer maximum effectiveness when it comes to entrance mat performance. 316 is slightly higher in strength the 304 stainless steel, but the difference is minor. When the steel is hardened through cold forming both types of steel can achieve higher strength and hardness ratings.


304 and 316 stainless steel are very comparable when it comes to high temperature performance, they have the same upper limit service temperature for both continuous and intermittent use. Stainless steel 304 has a higher melting point.


When comparing stainless steel types, corrosion resistance is where there is a notable difference between stainless steel grades. 316 stainless steel is more resistant to corrosion than 304 stainless steel, especially when it comes to chlorides or other oxidizing agents. 304 stainless steel still offers deterioration resistance so unless you are in an environment that frequently comes in contact with corrosive substances or in high-saline environments, stainless steel 304 is an acceptable stainless steel choice.

If you do not need the additional deterioration resistance of stainless steel 316, the standard 304 type will offer comparable longevity and performance at a reduced price point.  In locations where the added resistance is required, 316 grade often improves the operational lifespan of your stainless steel entrance grid by years, leading to long term savings. By matching the stainless steel grade to your intended environment and purpose, you can optimize both the physical and financial advantages of your stainless steel investment.

Which stainless steel type gets the passing grade and is right for your project?

Whatever stainless steel grade you decide Ronick is here to assist with all of your stainless steel entrance mat needs.



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