Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel

Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel

Carbon steel and stainless steel are two highly durable materials that can be used for a range of different applications. Because both materials have unique compositions and offer benefits that make them suitable for different needs, many people are unsure which is the right option for their intended use or project. To help you decide which would be the best option for your next project, we’re going to compare carbon steel vs stainless steel to highlight the benefits and differences between these two materials.

What is carbon steel?

Carbon steel is a type of steel that has a carbon content of between 0.05 and 2.1% of its weight. It can be used for many different purposes, including in buildings, bridges, shafts, pipelines, and household appliances. High carbon steel offers great tensile strength and can be used for wiring, cutting tools, and blades. The addition of carbon to the steel changes the characteristics of this material, making it much harder and stronger than other steel options. This is why many knives and swords are made from this material, as they can withstand many years of use.

What is stainless steel?

Stainless steel offers users a high resistance to staining from corrosion. When typical iron-based metals are exposed to oxygen, they undergo the oxidation process, which changes their properties over time. This can lead to the material disintegrating altogether, which is something you never want to experience when using steel. Stainless steel is created to protect the material from oxidation. It will have a minimum chromium content of 10.5% of its mass, allowing it to be exposed to oxygen with no issues.

The Differences in Strength Between Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel

Strength is one of the most important things to consider when looking at carbon steel vs stainless steel. Carbon steel is generally much stronger and more durable than stainless steel products. This is why it’s used for knives and weapons, as it can withstand the pressure of being pushed up against various other hard materials. It’s also an ideal option for use in buildings and bridges, as it can support the heavy weight of humans or vehicles.


Stainless steel is typically much more appealing to look at when compared to carbon steel. It is often used for household appliances and decorative items due to its shiny finish. Stainless steel looks great in modern homes and can help to upgrade your home décor.


All carbon steels are ferromagnetic, whereas some stainless steels are and others aren’t. The microstructure of the steel will play a role in whether the steel is magnetic or not, so you’ll need to double-check the specific product you are buying to ensure it fits your needs.


Stainless steel usually costs more than carbon steel. However, high-carbon steel can actually be even more expensive than stainless steel. The cost of steel will naturally depend on where you are buying it from. Other factors impact its price, such as the composition of the steel. Make sure you shop around to find the right option for your next project to ensure you aren’t paying more than you should.


Carbon steel generally weighs less than stainless steel. This is due to the hardening properties of stainless steel. The heavier weight of stainless steel can present some challenges during the manufacturing process, but it’s still a very versatile material for use in various applications.

Comparing carbon steel vs stainless steel is a critical task for anyone looking to use either of these materials in the near future. If you are purchasing an appliance or material for a home project, you’ll want to make sure you choose the material that will offer you the best durability and results for its intended use. Our team will be here to answer any further questions you have about carbon steel vs stainless steel and ensure you find the right solution for your next project. We stock a wide range of products that can help you with your upcoming project and will be on hand to suggest the right stainless steel or carbon steel option.

Visit Tampa Steel & Supply for Steel

Are you in need of steel supplies? Look no further than the professionals at Tampa Steel and Supply. We stock an extensive list of steel products for whatever project you need to tackle. We’re proud to have served our customers for nearly four decades and are ready to assist you with your steel needs. Have questions? Give us a call today to learn more, or stop by our beautiful Tampa showroom.

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