304 OR 316? Is It Worth Paying EXTRA?

This article is about how to choose from 304 or 316. The application from some of our customers are extremely harsh, or offshore, outdoor in open area etc. That’s why they will be thinking about which material is the most suitable for such situation. We will introduce in detail as following:


SUS 304

  • 18 % chromium
  • 8% nickel


  • 16% chromium
  • 10% nickel
  • 2% molybdenum

Molybdenum is very helpful to resist corrosion, such as de-icing salts and seawater. Even in rain, there is salt too. That is the reason why 316L is at higher price, but it’s fair since it can last for years of use.

Below are some applications for both grade of stainless steel:

304 has fine corrosion resistance and widely used in the below applications –

  • Industry products and equipment
  • Medical products
  • Electrical enclosures
  • Kitchen equipment and appliances
  • Automation equipment

316L contains Mo that’s why it is more rugged, anti-corrosion, and is the 2nd widely used material –

  • Fertilizer production
  • Camera and precise instruments
  • Food and Beverages
  • Offshore and close to sea
  • Marine
  • Open areas

However, they can’t be distinguished by visual because they identically look the same.

2. How to choose from 304 or 316?

We will only discuss our keyboards and related applications here —

304 will be good enough for most applications like industrial, indoor terminal, kiosks, etc. That means if you are targeting a factory used keyboard, 304 will serve perfectly fine. Mate Technology is using such material as standard products.

For food and beverage application, marine, outdoor, corrosion-resistant needed, durability, 316 will be the best choice. Seawater and salt air can be especially damaging to metals, and this grade of stainless steel can be used to make a durable keyboard designed to be survived repeated exposure to high impact processes and weather.

3. Does it worth it to pay extra money?

If your applications are mentioned above with corrosion or near the coast, we suggest choosing 316 for sure since it can be worked perfectly and used many extra years of useful life.

Overall, if you are expecting long-lasting durability, high corrosion resistance, 316 can be worth the expense. For many other normal and clean application, 304 can perfectly do its job.


Our standard keyboards and pointers are based on 304 stainless steel grade. Don’t know which metal is the best for your application? Contact us today for a comprehensive solution:


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