Difference between Mild Steel vs Stainless Steel

Steel is one of the most used metals that have many subcategories. Among them, mild steel and stainless steel confused most since both have got plenty of features, making them ideal for a range of home and commercial projects.

In this mild steel vs stainless steel comparison guide, we will compare the steels in various categories such as ductility, hardness, strength, and cost. The intention is to deliver you a deep comparison so you can better understand them and their potential and pick the most preferable one for your needs.

Mild steel vs stainless steel

Steel is the versatile and commonly used construction metal. Though mild steel and stainless steel are pretty similar steel, they have several differences. Some of the key differences are:

Main alloying element

Edge: stainless steel

It is one of the main specifications that put both steels in a different category. While mild steel comes with carbon as alloying elements, stainless steel includes chromium. These two distinct capabilities produce different results in terms of malleability, corrosion resistance, and ease of fabrication.


Edge: stainless steel

Mild steel is not a corrosion-resistant metal. So it can rust rapidly. The iron comes with mild steel reacts with moisture, resulting in causing rust. That’s why mild steel needs galvanizing or painting to make it long-lasting.
Conversely, stainless steel is resistant to rust.

Chromium present in stainless steel greatly prevents rusting and makes it a corrosion resistance material. Reacting with oxygen in the air, this chrome offers protective skin over the metal. The longer the metal will remain undamaged; the metal will be corrosion-resistant. However, stainless steel isn’t completely corrosion resistant as it can be damaged if affected by high concentrated saltwater.


Edge: stainless steel

When it comes to strength, stainless steel is more durable and stronger compared to mild steel.


Edge: mild steel

The ability of materials to undergo plastic deformation even without breaking or cracking is called ductility. Mild steel contains low carbon content, making it more ductile. Therefore, it is the most acceptable material to produce pipe and pipe fitting.

Conversely, stainless steel includes high carbon content, results in less ductility than mild steel.


Edge: stainless steel

stainless steel includes chromium, which makes it harder than mild steel.


Edge: mild steel

Mild steel is a user-friendly material that can be easily twisted, drilled, cut, weld punched, rolled, and bent. So the user can use this material effortlessly as desired without facing much trouble.
On the other hand, it requires high technology machines and proper technique to fabricate stainless steel.


Edge: mild steel

Stainless steel may change its shape while welding. Besides, it requires an experienced and expert welder to weld stainless steel. Mild steel is much easier to weld, especially compared with stainless steel.


Edge: stainless steel

This feature determines which material is tougher. Considering the toughness, stainless steel is tougher than mild steel.


Edge: mild steel

The feature determines how easily a material can display magnetic properties. Since mild steel contains a high amount of iron, it can be magnetized permanently.

Conversely, stainless steel isn’t magnetic and it can’t be magnetized.


Edge: mild steel

These aspects determine how easily a material can be pressed or hammered into shape without cracking and breaking. Considering malleability, mild steel is much more malleable than stainless steel. Thus, it is used in lots of fabrication work.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Edge: stainless steel

You can clean stainless steel easily and it doesn’t need much maintenance compared to mild steel.


Edge: none

Many people ask what mild steel can be used for. Mild steel is widely used in a variety of applications such as reinforcing bar, rolled sections, railway track channels angle, roof covering sheet pile, and so on, as well as in electrical and motor appliances.

So what can stainless steel are used for? Stainless steel is ideal for extreme environments, thanks to its rust resistance capability. The stainless steel is used to make a railing for stairs, balconies, grills, and windows. Besides, it is used for dairy pharma plant equipment, storing acid pipes. Plus, its Finnish retention quality makes the stainless steel perfect for surgical tools.


Edge: stainless steel

The ability of corrosion resistance makes stainless steel more long-lasting than stainless steel.

Edge: mild steel

Mild steel comes at a low cost compared to stainless steel, making it an economical option.

Mild steel vs stainless steel: Which is better?

While stainless steel is more corrosion-resistant, durable, and strong, mild steel is more ductile, weldable, malleable, and user-friendly.So it is the requirement which you should follow to choose the best steel. If you need something versatile, twistable for reinforcing bar, rolled sections, and electrical application, pick the mild steel. It is an economical friendly material as well.

Conversely, if you want to have long-lasting, environment-friendly, and corrosion-resistant steel for surgical equipment or decorating the house, go for stainless steel.


Is Mild Steel weaker than stainless steel?

Compared with stainless steel, mild steel is a weaker material. However, it can be hammered or twisted easily, making it ideal for ease of use.

Is mild steel the same as stainless steel?

Both steels suit different purposes while covering different characteristics. Mild steel includes carbon as the alloy, whereas stainless steel comes with chromium. In particular, the feature changes the steel’s internal structure, resulting in giving stainless steel its name.

Can stainless steel rust?

Stainless steel is resistant to corrosion because of the reaction between its alloying elements and oxygen in the air. When these features are combined, they provide a protective surface for the stainless steel, keeping it safe from moisture and rust.

Final words

Both the steels hold some unique features and come with their pros and cons. In this mild steel vs stainless steel debating guide, we have covered almost all the differences that put them into different categories. Now it’s your turn to choose the material ideal for your next project or home improvement job. Clearly, both steels are suitable for different purposes. So, once you read the article, hopefully, you can now pick the preferable one. Thanks for reading!

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