The Difference Between Stainless Steel vs. Galvanized Steel

The options can sometimes seem overwhelming when it comes to selecting the best material for a project. Two materials frequently used in a variety of industries are stainless steel and galvanized steel. While similar in appearance, these two metals have different properties that make them ideal for specific applications. Read on and discover the differences between stainless and galvanized steel.


Stainless steel is an alloy composed primarily of iron, carbon, and a significant amount of chromium, which gives it its signature resistance to rust and corrosion. On the other hand, galvanized steel is standard steel that has undergone the galvanization process. This process involves coating the steel with a layer of zinc to protect it from rust and corrosion.


Many admire stainless steel for its strength, durability, and resistance to rust and corrosion, even in harsh environments. These features are a result of the chromium content that forms a protective oxide layer on the steel’s surface. Galvanized steel, while also durable and rust-resistant, owes these properties to its zinc coating. The underlying steel can corrode if something compromises this coating.


Stainless steel’s resistance to corrosion and staining makes it ideal for applications requiring sanitation, like kitchen and hospital equipment. Workers also use stainless steel extensively in the automotive and aerospace sectors. Galvanized steel is common in the construction industry, where workers use it to build structures exposed to outdoor elements. Its ability to withstand corrosion makes it ideal for outdoor or industrial applications.

Cost Considerations

Another essential factor when comparing stainless steel and galvanized steel is cost. Stainless steel is generally more expensive due to the inclusion of alloying elements like chromium and nickel, which add to its corrosion resistance and various mechanical properties.

Galvanized steel, or zinc-coated standard steel, is often a more cost-effective solution, especially for large-scale construction projects where budget considerations are paramount. However, it’s essential to remember to weigh the initial cost of a material against its longevity and durability in the intended application.

TCI Precision Metals has the materials you’re looking for, whether you need stainless steel or custom aluminum blanks.

Now that you know the differences between stainless and galvanized steel, you can make informed decisions about which material is best for your projects.

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