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topic 50226

Type 304 vs. type 202 stainless steel

A discussion started in 2008 but continuing through 2019

October 7, 2008

Q. I purchase housewares for a US retailer, a foreign manufacturer has told me that 202 grade SS is also approved for the food industry. I have not been able to verify this with the FDA. Other than the low Ni content of 202 SS, how different is it from SS 304? Are there any known implications or reactions in the human body? Any references would also be greatly appreciated.
Thank you

Ann Nurouz
Buyer - New York, New York

"Stainless Steels"
by ASM
from Abe Books

November 13, 2008

A. The major differences between 202 and 304 stainless steels are in the nickel and chromium contents. 202 has 16-18% chromium and 0.5-4.0% nickel, whilst 304 has 18-20% chromium and 8-10.5% nickel. There are other minor differences in the amount of carbon (0.08% in 304 and 0.12% in 202), manganese (2% in 304 and 5.5-7.5% in 202), as well as slight differences in the silicon, phosphorus and molybdenum contents. Both are austenitic steels and are essentially non-magnetic, but will become temporarily magnetic by working them. The manganese helps preserve the austenitic phase in the steels, as does the nickel. I can see an attraction in some people for using the 202 steel as it contains less nickel, and there is concern amongst some folk that they are sensitive to nickel. However. as far as I am aware, nickel containing stainless steels have not been shown to cause nickel sensitivity - however, I am willing to be shown to be wrong here.

trevor crichton
Trevor Crichton
R&D practical scientist
Chesham, Bucks, UK

December 6, 2008

Q. Can we use magnetic steel for kitchen utensils (is it hygienic and non-rusting)?
And what's the best choice of ss types, and cheapest also to make stainless steel kitchen utensils like basins, mugs, milk pots, etc.
Thank you, and awaiting your kind reply

Dr. Abbas Sholgami
holloware factory - UAE

December 14, 2008

A. You can use magnetic stainless steels if you want to, but the most usual stainless steels are 304 and 316 grades

Trevor Crichton
Trevor Crichton
R&D practical scientist
Chesham, Bucks, UK

December 16, 2008

A. True, but knives are usually some variant of 400 SS which is magnetic. So, what is a utensil?

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

October 2, 2009



Dr.Abbas Sholgami [returning]
holloware factory - SUDAN

"Stainless Steel for Design Engineers"

from Abe Books or

September 27, 2012

A. Hi Dr. Abbas. 4xx stainless steels are less expensive than type 304 because they contain no nickel. They are less corrosion resistant and more prone to rusting, but they are sometimes used for kitchen utensils. Type 304 work hardens, so it is probably hard to press complicated shapes; I don't really know about type 410, but it probably doesn't work harden.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

How to recognize 304SS vs. 202SS

September 27, 2012

Q. How to recognize between 304 and 202, what is the method?

ajaz peerzade
engineering - nasik,maharashtra,india

September 27, 2012

A. Hi, Ajaz. X-ray fluorescence is fast and non-destructive, but the instruments are quite costly ($35,000+ USD)

There may be spark tests or chemical spot tests, but 202 is relatively new, apparently intended to be hard to tell from 304 but be cheaper, and I haven't seen any real easy cheap tests, sorry.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

August 12, 2013

Q. Is there any method to physically identify the difference between the SS304 & SS202, or any equipment available in market?

Abhilash Parakkalakath
- Kochi, Kerala, India

August 14, 2013

A. Hi Abhilash. Your question appears to be identical to Ajaz Peerzade's. A hand-held x-ray fluorescence alloy sorter should do the job quickly & easily ... but they are expensive. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

October 5, 2013 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. How can I detect ss 304 and ss 202 jars using simple methods?


August 2017

Hi Anand. An x-ray fluorescence scrap sorter is the 'simple' method. But it's very costly. See if a nearby scrap yard can sort them for you. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

Welding 202SS

October 2, 2012

Q. Is 202 grade SS as easy to weld as 304? Or is 202 is similar in weldability to 430?

Thank you

Phillip Dakhnovets
- Athens, Ohio, USA

July 22, 2014

Q. Which welding is possible to weld in SS202?

Ilam parithi
engng. college - Ramanathapuram, Tamilnadu, INDIA

October 5, 2013 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Can I use ss202 in my city for stair railing? Is it good?

Surendra Taparia
- Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

October 9, 2013

Q. What is the difference between 202 and 304 finish in terms of quality and durability?

Shabbir Sajjadhusain
Building Hardware Materials - Colombo, Western Province, Sri Lanka

Is 202 stainless non-magnetic?

January 13, 2014

Q. Hi

I work with NMR instrument which has a ultra shielded superconducting magnet (9.4T) as one part of the instrumentation, other being electronic console. We typically need to climb few wooden steps to reach top of the cylinder which houses the magnet. I want to install railings on both side of these wooden steps to prevent falling from the steps. Is it OK to use SS 202 as material of construction for the railing? I want non-magnetic SS which will not get attracted to the magnet.

Thanks for your help.

Vivek K
- India

January 14, 2014

A. Hi Vivek. This sounds to me like an application where true and complete freedom from magnetism is essential. Is there a good reason you can't use aluminum railings?


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

August 5, 2014

Q. SS 202 material is Magnetic or Non-Magnetic.

Please confirm.

cement - Trichy, Tamilnadu, India

July 2014

A. Hi Dinesh. The short answer is that 202 is an austenitic, non-magnetic, stainless steel. But we asked you to post your own situation, not an abstract question because the longer answer starts with "Why do you want to know?" Although it is non-magnetic as annealed, cold working can introduce various degrees of magnetic effects. Due to it's lack of molybdenum, it is more subject to magnetism from cold-working than type 316; I think it's perhaps slightly less subject to such effects than type 304 -- but such answers aren't totally yes or no. A neodymium magnet may attract it too. If your situation is like Vivek's, I'd say 202 is not safely non-magnetic. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

February 5, 2014

Q. If SS304 is used instead of SS202 in stair railing in a residential building, is there any extra benefit in terms of look and durability?

Ikbal Ahmed Choudhury
Civil Engineer - Karimganj, Assam, India

March 27, 2014

A. For an interior handrail, I'd consider 304 and 202 to be pretty identical, because I'm thinking of corrosion resistance in that application (both acceptable) and strength (again, both acceptable). I'm not sufficiently familiar with the formability of 202 to know if it's good, but I'd bet that would be reflected in the price. If the price was right, I'd go with the 202.

Good luck!

lee gearhart
Lee Gearhart

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