What’s the difference between AISI 304 and AISI 316 stainless steel latches?

Stainless steel is one of the most popular alloys from which are produced toggle latches. This shouldn’t be a surprise, because these products are mostly used for industrial applications and need to withstand repeated use, high stress, and exposure to potentially harsh environments.

As the topic suggests in this article we will explain the differences between 304 and 316 grade stainless steel and which material you should choose depending on your specific requirements. For those who need a simple answer and product price is not the most important element, we would always suggest 316 stainless steel latches. They are superior products compared to those produced from 304 stainless steel. If you are curious to know why, please read below.

Our 304 stainless steel latches contain 18% chromium and 8% nickel while 316 grade stainless steel latches are manufactured from a material which contains 16% chromium, 11% nickel, and 2.5% molybdenum which significantly increase resistance to corrosion. For the best possible results, we additionally electropolish 316 steel latches as it further enhances corrosion resistance. An electropolished surface also makes the surface finish much smoother, easier to clean and gives to toggle latch that striking shiny finish.


When to choose 316 stainless steel latch over 304 stainless steel?

If you need perfect welding capabilities or exceptional toughness against corrosion, e.g. products will be exposed to seawater, de-icing solutions or used in harsh environments then 316 stainless steel latches should be your prime choice.

316 stainless steel latches have superior corrosion resistance properties and added strength compared to 304 stainless steel when exposed to chemical components such as chlorides, bromides, and sulfuric acid even at high temperatures. These products are widely used for marine and military applications in automotive, mining, offshore and many other industries. 316 stainless steel latches are also a preferred choice in pharmaceutical and food processing industries as containing molybdenum helps to avoid excessive metallic contamination.

The bottom line is that 316 stainless steel latches cost a little more compared to 304, but it is well worth spending a bit extra as you will save in the long run. We are talking about possible equipment damage when latch breaks, replacement, equipment repair costs including labor and downtime. We have seen rusted latches. It’s not pretty, so you would like to avoid that. Check our large assortment of 316 stainless steel latches.


When 304 stainless steel latches are good enough?

If latches will be used in moderate to light environmental conditions without extreme temperatures and weather changes, you have no need for welding them to the surface we would suggest looking into our 304 stainless steel latches.

Chromium content is the key to 304 stainless steel basic corrosion resistance (304 has 18% of chromium), so these latches are also durable and have great resistance to corrosion and oxidation. When chromium is exposed to oxygen, it forms a very thin oxide layer which prevents further diffusion of oxygen into the base material and this way prevents corrosion. 304 stainless steel latches are widely used for all types of enclosures, in HVAC, automotive, agricultural and many other industries.


How to know you are getting 316 stainless steel latch instead of lower grade?

There is no visible difference between 316 stainless steel and lower grade stainless steel, e.g. 304, so you can’t decide only by looking at it. We suggest asking your seller for a material test report (MTR) to validate it as 316 or other material. Here at Ojop we make sure to get the reports from our suppliers every time we order the material so we can ensure our customers that purchased toggle latches are manufactured from the exact stainless steel material as specified.

We would also suggest purchasing toggle latches from reliable suppliers as we have seen cases when the customer ordered stainless steel latches, but simple testing with magnet showed material used was not stainless steel.