304 VS 301 Stainless Steel
"Did you know that the most manufactured material for kitchen sinks is stainless steel? I'm sure you had an inkling, but what you may NOT know is the difference between the two most popularly manufactured types of stainless steel, and you should."
To start, stainless steel is made of three major components; Chromium, Nickel and Carbon.
Chromium, one of the more expensive materials in making stainless steel, is known for it's capabilities to maintain a sink's luster. It keeps that new shine to your sink for years to come, combating oxidation and corrosion.
Nickel, the other expensive little ingredient in stainless steel guarantees the sinks strength and hardness.
Lastly, carbon, the inexpensive piece, insures the metal's performance, so it's flexible enough to be pressed and manipulated with ease of workability.
Now, the MEAT and POTATOES:
Type 301 stainless steel consists of less chromium and nickel to save on costs, and has a higher percentage of carbon at .015% . With the carbon amount being almost double that found in 304, type 301 steel makes for a more malleable material, with better drawing and forming characteristics, not to mention cheaper costs of fabrication. However, Nickel percentages in type 301 are 6-8% and consist of lower percentages of chromium as well, this sink is more vulnerable to wear and tear including corrosion and sensitization.
Type 301 stainless steel is good for low traffic and light-use products such as picture frames, cabinet hardware, and bathroom accessories like towel rings and bars.
Type 304 stainless steel has a minimum chromium content of 18% and Nickel content of 8 -10.5% making it the more expensive choice, and the quality choice. Being made with .08% carbon content, this stainless steel sink is right in range for good workability and performance, with less carbon-caused drawbacks. Type 304 is the industry grade steel for food and beverage processing, hospitals, clinics, laboratories and restaurants. This steel will not go through sensitization or corrosion like it's counterpart, and is immune to the acids found in milk, meats, fruits and veggies. 304 is also unaffected by sterilizing solutions, organic chemicals and a vast range of non organic chemicals.
Cost & Savings...
Though initially the cost of your 301 stainless steel sink will seem less, grade 304 will save you in the long run, eliminating many eminent cleaning-supply- induced head aches and ultimately replacement costs. [If you haven't decided yet, choose grade 304, Directsinks.com did and we haven't had a complaint about corrosion yet.]