As you are starting to plan on your next sheet metal fabrication project Philadelphia, it is vital to think about which type of steel you should utilize. Choosing the right steel type for any metal fabrication project is a less-mentioned and crucial decision. Before you even start to decide between which steel grade you will select, you need to determine first what kind of steel to utilize. The choice is typically between stainless steel and carbon steel. Keep on reading to know the basic variations between stainless and carbon steel.

Cost implication

In all projects, it is important to consider the cost. While various grades have different costs, it is safe to state that stainless steels tend to be more expensive compared to carbon steels. This is partly because of the fact that stainless steels have extra alloying elements, such as nickel and chromium. These extra elements all build up into a boosted expenses in comparison to carbon steels.

On the other hand, carbon steel is commonly comprised of relatively affordable carbon and iron elements. Hence, if you are in a tight budget while having your fabrication project, then the best option would be carbon steel.


If the specific project needs an aesthetic factor, it is vital to take into consideration the metal’s appearance. Typically, stainless steels that have specific finishes are highly favored if the customer believes that cosmetic appearance is a major factor in the design.

Even to a normal observer, stainless steel and carbon steel have some characteristics that distinguish one from the other. Carbon steel usually has a matte finish and appears dull. On the contrary, stainless steels seem to be glossier and it is available in different grades that can boost the alloy’s chromium until the finish will become similar to a mirror’s reflection.

Both of them can be polished and sanded to have a shiny and bright appearance, carbon steel needs to be quickly covered with a clear coat of paint after the process of polishing to stop eventual rust and tarnishing.


It is not right and just to create some hasty judgments when it comes to the mechanical properties difference between stainless and carbon steels because both of them have a lot of various grades and types. Compared to carbon steels, stainless steels can be more ductile since they commonly have higher nickel content. But there are also stainless steels that are extremely brittle like the martensitic grades. If carbon steels have extremely minimal carbon content, it might not be the perfect fit for the stainless steel’s tensile strengths because of the alloying elements that several grades of stainless steels have, increasing its durability.

Resistant to corrosion

The most talked-about differences when it comes to stainless steels and carbon steels is their capability to be corrosion resistant. Usually, stainless steel provides more resistance to corrosion. Both stainless sheets of steel and carbon steels have iron, which oxidizes once it is exposed to the environment. This eventually makes rust. But stainless steel contains extra chromium that aids to make it more resistant to corrosion compared to carbon steels.