Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel: What You Need to Know

While it’s never really discussed, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the two most common types of steel. Indeed, knowing about stainless steel and carbon steel will help you make better products. Considering how important it is, we thought it would be useful to put together a short discussion on this subject. If this is something that you’re interested in learning more about, read on as we discuss everything you need to know about carbon steel and stainless steel.

Stainless Steel

The most significant quality of stainless steel is its ability to resist rust. Stainless steel is designed to protect against oxidation by employing a minimum of 10.5% chromium by mass. This is important because chromium, unlike iron, is not susceptible to corrosion. A protective layer of chromium is built into the steel, which creates a barrier between the metal’s iron content and the oxygen in the surrounding environment, protecting it from rusting. Stainless steel is used in many things, including food production equipment and utensils, medical devices, automotive parts, and much more.

Carbon Steel

Carbon steel and stainless steel are similar because they are both made of iron, carbon, and a variety of other elements. However, their difference lies in the amount of chromium that they contain. For carbon steel, the chromium content must be less than 10.5%, and for stainless steel, the chromium content must be greater than 10.5%. Carbon steel is also characterized by its high carbon content. Carbon steel has a matte finish and is harder than stainless steel. This gives the material higher tensile strength and makes it a great material for a slew of different purposes. Carbon steel is used for knives and other tools that need to maintain their edge despite constant usage. 

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Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel

People always want to know which of these two types of steel is better than the other. And while this may seem like a straightforward question, there’s no one way to answer it. Both stainless steel and carbon steel have unique qualities that make them great. For the most part, the best option all boils down to your needs. Do you need the steel to be strong and sturdy? Carbon steel might be best for you. Do you need the steel to be resistant to rust? Stainless steel is better despite being less durable. At the end of the day, you should be assessing your needs and figuring out which type of steel to use rather than assuming that one type is the overall better choice in all situations.


We hope this article proves to be useful when it comes to furthering your understanding of carbon steel and stainless steel. As you can see, both of these types of steel have unique advantages that make them a good option. Be sure to be thorough when selecting the type of steel to use and make sure that it’s best for your specific needs.

If you’re looking for a reputable and trustworthy distributor, then you’ve come to the right place.  KGS Steel is one of the best steel distributors and service centers in Birmingham. KGS Steel is a family-owned and operated steel distribution company and service center that’s been serving clients since 1985. We offer a full line of carbon steel products and processing facilities. For more information on what we can do for you, visit our website today!

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