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What is the Difference Between Galvanized Steel and Stainless Steel?

March 2, 2017  |  Comments

galvanized steel vs stainless steel

Galvanized Steel versus Stainless Steel

So you're in the market for steel equipment. And not just any steel -- you've heard all about these other, reportedly stronger, more durable kinds of steel. That's right, we're talking galvanized steel and stainless steel.

What is the difference between them? When would you choose one over the other? And which is right for your needs? We at A Plus Warehouse are here to answer these questions and shed some light on their differences, similarities, and general uses.

The Materials

Before we can make any sort of claim to how strong they are, first we have to know how these steels are made.

How is galvanized steel made?

When manufacturing galvanized steel, a sheet of regular carbon steel is coated with rust- and corrosion-resistant zinc.

How is stainless steel made?

Stainless steel is made by mixing molten steel with chromium, which protects from rust.

Their Uses

A wide range of industries use both galvanized and stainless steel equipment in their everyday work. Common uses for them include outside or wet environments, as their rust-resistant qualities provide you capable equipment you'll be able to use for years. Food service or agricultural applications commonly use either galvanized or stainless steel equipment.

We suggest that if you are going to be using the equipment outside that you would choose galvanized steel. 

Stainless steel is specially designed to work with food, pharmaceuticals, and in applications where there needs to be no static electricity, like computers. 

The Cost

All right, let's talk price -- how much does one type of steel cost compared to the other?

Because manufacturing stainless steel is a much more involved process, galvanized steel is generally the more affordable option. Remember, galvanizing a sheet of carbon steel only requires a zinc coat, while stainless steel must be made early on during the mixing stage.

Three Shelf Stainless Steel Mobile Stand

That said, you can find plenty of low-cost, high-durability stainless steel products, such as this three shelf stainless steel mobile stand.

The Bottom Line

And now the moment you've been waiting for… the question you've been dying to hear an answer to… Is galvanized steel stronger than stainless steel?

pre configured galvanized pallet rack

And the answer is… it depends! Although, yes, technically stainless steel is stronger because its rust-resistance is built into its make-up, galvanized steel can be plenty strong enough for most applications. For example, you can reliably store 20,000 to 27,000 pounds on this Galvanized Pallet Rack -- an impressive feat by anyone's standards!

Galvanized or Stainless Steel?

So which type of steel will you use? The sturdy yet affordable galvanized steel, or the uncompromising, near-flawless stainless steel? Now that you know all about them, reaching a decision should be a matter of research and knowing your needs.

Stainless Steel Bench With Galvanized Legs

If you can't decide, you can always compromise. You can find equipment that utilizes both types, such as this stainless steel workbench with galvanized legs. Truly the best of both worlds!

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