Type 304 stainless steel is a T 300 Series Stainless Steel austenitic. It has a minimum of 18% chromium and 8% nickel, combined with a maximum of 0.08% carbon. It is defined as a Chromium-Nickel austenitic alloy. Grade 304 is the standard "18/8" stainless that you will probably see in your pans and cookery tools.

Type 304L is the low-carbon version of 304. It is used in heavy gauge components for improved weldability. Some products such as plates and pipes may be available as “dual certified” material that meets the criteria for both 304 and 304L. 304H, a high carbon content variant, is also available for use at high temperatures.

Type 304 Stainless Steel Properties

Both 304 and 316 stainless steels (as well as other 300-series grades) use nickel to maintain an austenitic composition at lower temperatures. Austenitic steels ensure a versatile balance of strength, workability, and corrosion resistance. Some of the positive qualities of 304 stainless steel include:

  1. Exemplifies the corrosion resistance and aesthetic attraction that stainless steel is known for
  2. Extremely easy to clean and maintain
  3. Easier to weld than many other types of stainless steel
  4. Even more resistant to heat than other stainless steel types
  5. Attractive and classy appearance
  6. Properly cared for and cleaned stainless steel presentsa low maintenance cost

Alloy Designations of 304 stainless steel

Stainless steel 304 also corresponds to the following standard designations and specifications:

Grade Series Steel Grade Standard Delivery State
304 Stainless steel 06Cr19Ni10 GB/T4237-2007  Annealed and Pickled
07Cr19Ni10 GB/T4237-2007
SUS403(304) JIS G 4304
S30409(304H) ASTM A240/A240MASME SA-240/SA-240M
X5CrNi18-10(1.4301) EN 10088-2

Chemical Composition of 304 stainless steel

Type 304 Stainless Steel Chemical Composition
Standard AISI (UNS) C Mn P S Si Cr Ni N
ASTM A276/A276M 304 (S30400) ≤0.07 ≤2.00 ≤0.045 ≤0.030 ≤0.75 17.5-19.5 8.0-10.5 ≤0.10

Mechanical Properties of 304 stainless steel

Tensile Strength


Yield Strength




Toughness Density Melting Point
≥515-1035 ≥205 ≥40 ≤210 7.93 1398~1454

Popular Finish Options

A comprehensive collection of finishes is also available from QINGHE STEEL when purchasing stainless steel plate. Popular finish options include:

  • Also cold-rolled, the 2D finish has a matte surface with low reflectivity.
  • HR / No.1 . This hot-rolled finish has a scaled appearance and so is ideal where the final aesthetic is not an important concern.
  • BA / 2R. Cold rolled and annealed in a controlled atmosphere to retain a highly reflective finish. This highly-reflective finish is achieved by annealing the alloy in a carefully controlled atmosphere.
  • Smooth finish, reflective grey sheen. Most widely used surface finish. The most popular surface finish, 2B offers a smooth appearance with a grey, reflective sheen.


Stainless steel 304 has good machinability. Machining can be enhanced by using the following rules:

  • Cutting edges must be kept sharp. Dull edges cause excess work hardening.
  • Cuts should be light but deep enough to prevent work hardening by riding on the surface of the material.
  • Chip breakers should be employed to assist in ensuring swarf remains clear of the work
  • Low thermal conductivity of austenitic alloys results in heat concentrating at the cutting edges. This means coolants and lubricants are necessary and must be used in large quantities.

Welding of Stainless Steel 304

Fusion welding performance for Stainless steel 304 is excellent both with and without fillers. Recommended filler rods and electrodes for stainless steel 304 is grade 308 stainless steel. For 304L the recommended filler is 308L. Heavy welded sections may require post-weld annealing. This step is not required for 304L. Grade 321 may be used if post-weld heat treatment is not possible.

Common Uses of 304 stainless steel

304 stainless steel is used in a huge variety of applications, including:

  • Home and commercial kitchen equipment
  • Structural elements for large commercial and industrial buildings
  • Food and beverage manufacturing equipment
  • Livestock processing equipment
  • Aerospace and automotive equipment
  • Lab equipment for chemical handling
  • Electrical enclosures for sensitive electrical equipment

What Stainless Steel Grades We Have!

Qinghe Steel is a full line supplier and processer of stainless steel coil, sheet, plate, bar, and strip products. We stock many grades of stainless steel, including 300 and 400 series stainless, annealed and in various tempers and high temperature grades, for shipments worldwide. View our steel center here

Qinghe Steel stocks a wide range of stainless steel sizes for your specific project needs. We offer quick delivery throughout the world. Contact us today to discuss stainless steel for your project needs.

FAQ of 304 stainless steel

Does 304 stainless steel rust?

304 stainless steel generally rusts. If 304 stainless steel is used or stored in a humid place for a long time, its surface is prone to rust. Only when used in a dry environment, it is not easy to rust. If you are worried about rusting of 304 stainless steel, it is recommended to keep it in a dry and clean place. in the environment.

How do I check the grade of stainless steel 304 or 202?

If you want to do spot check of SS, just take a random piece from the raw material and do a spark test. Run a grinder on it, if the sparks are reddish orange, thin and don't fly much it's SS304. If the sparks are yellow, thick and fly lot further it is SS 202.

Is 304 stainless steel magnetic?

The austenitic stainless steel grade 304 is not magnetic but it may become a little magnetic in areas that have been cold working (bending, deforming, etc.)

Can you weld 304 to 316 stainless steel?

The general rule with Welding Stainless Steel is to weld it with either the same grade of Welding Rod, Tig Wire or Mig Wire, or a higher grade. So you could weld 304 Stainless Steel with a 308 or 316 Rod/Wire, but you shouldn't weld 316 with a 308 Rod/Wire. What’s The Difference: 304 Vs 316 Stainless Steel

Can you heat treat 304 stainless steel?

Stainless steel 304 cannot be hardened by heat treatment. Solution treatment or annealing can be done by rapid cooling after heating to 1010-1120°C.

Is 304 stainless steel food grade?

Food grade stainless steel is steel that met all criteria to be deemed safe for food preparation, storage, and dining. The most common food grade stainless steel is Type 304.