Carbon Steel or Stainless Steel? Which Should You Choose?

Stainless and carbon steels are both excellent options

Stainless steel and carbon steel are both great choices for various purposes, but deciding which one suits your needs can be challenging. Understanding the basics of steel helps you make the right choice for your project.

Steel Basics:

  • Steel is an alloy, a blend of metals like iron and others.
  • Two common types are carbon steel and stainless steel, each with different grades and properties.

Carbon Steel:

  • Iron and carbon alloy with optional additives like manganese.
  • Known for strength, high-temperature resistance, durability, and lower cost.
  • Susceptible to rust but recyclable.

Stainless Steel:

  • Includes chromium and other metals to resist corrosion and rust.
  • Available in different grades like Duplex for various industries.
  • Ideal for corrosive fluids and environments.


  • Determine the material passing through pipes and its corrosiveness.
  • Consider temperature exposure; carbon steel is good for heat, while other materials suit extreme cold.
  • Budget-wise, carbon steel is typically cheaper, but stainless steel is also affordable.
  • Appearance matters; stainless steel shines and withstands weather, while carbon steel has a matte finish and can corrode over time.

516 Grade 70 Carbon Steel


304 Grade Stainless Steel