Galvanized Steel vs Stainless Steel: Cost, Durability, Use

Galvanized Steel vs Stainless Steel

When engaged in the manufacturing industry of construction wire mesh and metal products, you will find that galvanized steel and stainless steel occupy most of the raw materials for product production. They are the two most commonly used metals in production, whether they are used as wires, tubes or Sheet. However, users (purchasers) who are not engaged in the metal industry often face difficulties when they have to choose one of them. Therefore, it is necessary to have a deeper understanding of the differences between various types of steel, which will help you make the most sensible and positive choice for your project.

Galvanized and stainless steel are two popular options. Although the two types of steel have similar appearances and can prevent rust and corrosion, there are important differences between them. In this article, Dongfu Wire Mesh will help you understand the differences between them and make you more clear about which type of steel you should choose for your project.

What is Galvanized Steel and How is it Made?

The essence of galvanized steel is that ordinary carbon steel is coated with a layer of zinc. The zinc coating can protect the steel underneath from rust, so that the metal products produced will not be corroded when exposed to the atmosphere, and can provide a bright appearance. 

  • Dipping a finished steel product into a hot bath of zinc. In this process, a bond occurs, joining the zinc into the surface of the steel. The zinc plating bonds in a manner that builds up until the outer layer is pure zinc, this process is called “hot-dip galvanizing”. Hot-dip galvanizing process can provide a strong, relatively thick coating and the long-term anti-corrosion effect, is the most commonly used galvanizing process. The zinc content of the hot galvanized steel we provide is usually 40 – 300 g/m².
  • In many cases, another method used to form a coating is electro-galvanizing, in which carbon steel is immersed in a zinc-containing electrolyte and electrolysis is used to form a zinc coating. The electro-galvanized coating is relatively thin and corrosion-resistant poor. It is a low-cost option. The zinc content of the hot galvanized steel we provide is usually 10 – 15 g/m².

Galvanizing is an economical and effective anti-rust method that is often used. It is interesting that about half of the world’s zinc production is used in this process.

Galvanized Steel Wire
Galvanized Steel Wire

What is Stainless Steel and How is it Made?

Stainless steel is a totally different type of steel alteration, it is mainly composed of iron, chromium and carbon and some other elements (such as molybdenum) made of alloy. Iron is its main component but the added Chromium creates an extra thin Chromium Oxide layer on the surface of the iron. This layer is known as the Passive Layer, which is the signature characteristic of stainless steel. This passive layer prevents any corrosion over the metal surface. And the more Chromium is mixed to the alloy, the more resistance against corrosion and oxidation becomes inevitable.

There are many grades and types of stainless steel, each with different specific chemical composition and resistance to various forms of corrosion and damage. Among them, the most popular are 304 SS steel, 316 SS, and some commonly used grades such as 201, 310, and 430. Different grades indicate and stipulate the content of chromium and other elements required, which helps to indicate the level of corrosion resistance and other characteristics.

Industrial products made of stainless steel have a smoother surface, brighter appearance, and will not become rough due to wear. And the stainless steel will not stain and has a certain self-cleaning ability.

Stainless Steel Wire
Stainless Steel Wire

Corrosion Resistance Comparison

The corrosion resistance of galvanized steel is weaker than that of stainless steel. Since galvanized steel is only covered with an anti-rust coating, and the coating will gradually wear out over time, and eventually, the steel inside will be exposed to the atmosphere and contact with oxygen, causing rust. The chemical composition of stainless steel itself contains a protective mixture of chromium, even if the surface is worn, it will automatically generate a new chromium oxide passivation layer to continue to resist external corrosion. Therefore, stainless steel is more durable than galvanized steel, which is beyond doubt.

According to statistics, hot-dip galvanized steel can be used in many environments for decades, while stainless steel is almost permanent.

What is the Difference in Price?

  • The cost of galvanized steel is 1.1-1.5 times that of ordinary steel, depending on the thickness of the zinc coating you require.
  • And the price of stainless steel is about 4-5 times that of galvanized steel.

What Products and Applications are Galvanized Steel Commonly Used In?

Galvanized steel is used in almost every field, common ones are construction and construction, mining, petroleum, light industry, automobile, transportation, metallurgy, chemical and other industries.

Many products such as metal wire mesh, fences and building materials provided by Dongfu Wire Mesh are made of galvanized steel, including:

What Products and Applications are Stainless Steel Commonly Used In?

Stainless steel is mainly used in the field of architecture, curtain walls, side walls, roofs, elevator decorative panels and other construction purposes. It is one of the highest-strength materials used in construction. High mechanical strength and high extensibility make it used for processing and manufacturing parts. Hygienic characteristics and cleanability can also be used in food processing, catering, brewing and chemical industries that require high sanitary conditions.

The stainless steel products we provide include:

Which Type of Steel Should You Choose for Your Project?

Seeing here, we believe you have a further understanding of the two types of steel, then in the actual project galvanized steel or stainless steel you should choose which?

  • We suggest that you first to choose according to the specific needs of your project, if it is used to close to the ocean and other areas of the water body and the facing serious acid rain exposed areas or to build the high-grade appearance of the building construction, you should choose stainless steel to meet the high corrosion resistance ability, beautiful appearance, easy to clean, no maintenance requirements.
  • If you have a small project at hand, or if you have a limited budget and want to reduce costs, then galvanized steel may be your first choice. Galvanized steel can meet most of the use needs, its cost is much lower than stainless steel, and can be used for decades in many situations.
Picture of Rina Song

Rina Song

Rina is the general manager of Dongfu Wire Mesh and a salesperson who has been in the wire mesh foreign trade industry for over ten years. She has in-depth knowledge and rich market experience in all kinds of wire mesh products. She is best at solving various complex designs and applications for her customers. She can quickly recommend the most suitable choice for you according to your needs.

About Dongfu Wire Mesh

Dongfu Wire Mesh provides customized manufacturing services for various wire mesh and metal products. We have been engaged in this industry for more than 10 years. We are committed to providing high-quality products, technologies and services to large and small customers all over the world.
We will continue to share more of our technical experience, you can also write down your views and point out our shortcomings in the comments below or leave your needs, our sales staff will contact you in the shortest time.

2 thoughts on “Galvanized Steel vs Stainless Steel: Cost, Durability, Use”

  1. Hi Rina,

    I am hydraulic engineer looking for abrasive resistant steel plate against rock bedload movement of streambed over a weir protected by a steel plate cover during floods. My concern is its durability again rock abrasion and rust say for at least 50 years. Your advance and recommendation are appreciated.



    1. Hello Chen,

      My colleague Cora will contact you, please check your e-mail.


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