Differences between stainless steel and galvanized steel

Differences between stainless steel and galvanized steel

In modern production, both galvanized and stainless steel are used. Materials are often used in the same industries, but there is a significant difference in the quality and cost of the metal. 

Stainless steel and galvanized steel are two popular types of steel used in many applications, from construction, households to manufacturing.

While both materials share some similarities, it is their differences that set them apart and make them ideal for certain applications.

It is important to understand the properties of both stainless steel and galvanized steel to determine which material is best suited for your need.

This article will explore the differences between stainless steel and galvanized steel, as well as their individual properties and applications.

stainless steel vs galvanized steel

The main advantage of stainless steel is high strength. The fact is that stainless steel contains chromium in its composition, which makes it resistant to corrosion and other environmental influences.

Stainless steel can withstand high temperature and pressure changes. Products made of “stainless steel” do not have any cracks or pores. Another advantage is the aesthetic appearance.

Differences-between-stainless-steel-and-galvanized-steel

Galvanized sheet is often used in construction. The quality of such a material depends on the uniformity of the distributed anti-corrosion layer.

The service life of galvanized steel is also quite long, and an additional polymer coating allows you to achieve different textures and colors.

Due to its light weight and smooth surface, galvanized steel in coils is ideal for roofing. Another significant plus is the relatively low cost.

The magnet is not attracted to stainless steel in 95% of cases. But as for galvanized steel, it is almost always magnetite.

Under the influence of hydrochloric acid, the galvanized surface of steel quickly disappears, after which the material is easily corroded.

But the type of stainless steel almost always remains unchanged, at least, this does not adversely affect the resistance of the material to corrosion.

Stainless Steel Properties

Stainless steel is a type of steel that is composed of at least 10.5% chromium and is highly resistant to corrosion and staining.

Some of the key properties of stainless steel include:

  1. Corrosion resistance: Stainless steel has a high resistance to corrosion and staining, making it ideal for use in harsh environments or applications where exposure to chemicals and other corrosive substances is a concern.
  2. Durability: Stainless steel is a very strong and durable material, making it suitable for use in a wide range of applications.
  3. Resistance to high temperatures: Stainless steel can withstand high temperatures without losing its strength or becoming deformed.
  4. Aesthetically pleasing: Stainless steel has a shiny, silver-like appearance that is attractive and can be used in a variety of applications, including architecture, appliances, and cookware.
  5. Non-toxic and safe for food contact: Stainless steel is non-toxic and safe for food contact, making it a popular choice for kitchen utensils, appliances, and other food-related items.
  6. Weldable: Stainless steel can be easily welded with proper techniques and filler materials.
Does-Galvanized-Steel-Rust
Rust on Galvanized Steel

Galvanized steel properties

Galvanized steel is steel that has been coated with a layer of zinc to protect it from corrosion.

The zinc coating acts as a barrier to prevent oxygen and moisture from reaching the steel, slowing down the corrosion process.

Galvanized steel is typically stronger and more durable than regular steel, and it is also more resistant to rust and other forms of corrosion.

Read more: Does Galvanized Steel rust?

Additionally, it is easy to paint, and it is often used in construction, automotive, and other industrial applications.

Stainless steel vs galvanized steel Properties

PropertyStainless SteelGalvanized Steel
Corrosion resistanceExcellentGood
DurabilityExcellentGood
StrengthExcellentGood
AestheticsGoodPoor
CostHighLow
WeldabilityGoodPoor
MaintanenceLowMedium
Density (g/cm3)7.937.85
Melting point (°C)14541492
Thermal conductivity16.3 W/m.K41.7 W/m.K
Modulus of Elasticity (GPa)19380-90
Tensile strength (MPa)515-827330-540
Yield strength (MPa)205-550240-420
Elongation (%)40-5028-38

Differences between “galvanizing” and “stainless steel”

Externally, both materials are quite similar. The main distinguishing characteristic is specific spots (the so-called crystallization pattern) on galvanized steel.

Also, stainless products have a more matte surface. As for the quality, the galvanized material loses a little.

The fact is that the corrosion resistance of stainless steel is excellent. But if you mechanically damage the surface layer of the galvanized sheet, the material will eventually begin to rust.

Another significant difference is the price. Galvanized steel will cost less than stainless steel. Thus, each material has both weaknesses and strengths.

It is necessary to start from your own needs. “Stainless steel” is of higher quality and is distinguished by durability, when galvanized sheet is much cheaper.

PropertyStainless SteelGalvanized Steel
Corrosion resistanceHighly resistant to corrosionGood resistance to corrosion
AppearanceShiny and silver-likeDull and grayish
CostMore expensiveLess expensive
MaintenanceRequires regular cleaning and polishingRequires less maintenance
DurabilityHighly durableDurable, but not as much as stainless steel
WeldabilityCan be welded, but requires special techniques and filler materialsEasier to weld than stainless steel

stainless steel vs galvanized steel, which one is better?

The choice between stainless steel and galvanized steel depends on the specific application and the desired properties. Both types of steel have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Stainless steel is highly resistant to corrosion, has a shiny and silver-like appearance, and is highly durable.

However, it is also more expensive and requires regular cleaning and polishing to maintain its appearance. It also can be welded but requires special techniques and filler materials.

Galvanized steel, on the other hand, is less expensive, requires less maintenance and has good resistance to corrosion.

However, it has a dull and grayish appearance and is not as corrosion-resistant or durable as stainless steel. It is also easier to weld than stainless steel.

In general, if corrosion resistance is a primary concern and cost is not an issue, stainless steel is a better choice.

If cost is a primary concern and the application does not require a high level of corrosion resistance, galvanized steel may be a better choice.


Material Welding is run by highly experienced welding engineers, welding trainers & ASNT NDT Level III bloggers. We strive to provide most accurate and practical knowledge in welding, metallurgy, NDT and Engineering domains.