How to identify stainless steel

Table of Contents

We teach you some techniques to identify Stainless Steel

Since the invention of steel, more than 5,000 types of alloys have been developed with the same base elements, iron and carbon.
Each of these alloys is achieved by adding various elements to a greater or lesser amount that provide specific properties.
In the case of stainless steel, the additional element is chrome, which gives it its main benefit, which is resistance to corrosion.
The use of the wrong steel in a project of any kind, construction, kitchen, medicine or industry is unacceptable and would bring serious consequences.
Let's learn some techniques on how to identify stainless steel and the importance of knowing how to do it.

Identify stainless steel

The stainless steel it is one of the most precious metal alloys in various industries. Knowing how to identify it is of great importance in any industry.

Let's see the characteristics that stainless steel provides in some industries to understand why it cannot be replaced by another metal.

It is used in jewelry, as a raw material in the construction of structures for buildings, houses, facades and industries.

Among the fields where it has the most applications is in the production of kitchens, food storage, food silos, among others. Let's look at the characteristics that stainless steel provides in some industries to understand why it cannot be replaced by another metal.

Importance of knowing how to identify stainless steel

It is also used in the manufacture of medical and dental instruments and equipment.

The industries responsible for making these instruments must be totally sure of the type of material they are using.

Knowing how to identify stainless steel is of the utmost importance and doing so is not always easy.

We have carried out work for more than 20 years in Puerto Rico and 4 other countries in Latin America, we can make your dream come true. project.

In the jewelry: If you are part of the jewelry or personal clothing industry, the most important differences between stainless steel and other metals are that:

  • Stainless steel does not cause skin allergies.
  • Will not rust or corrode.
  • It maintains its properties regardless of contact with sweat, creams, perfumes and other cosmetics.
  • Does not cause stains on the skin.

When garments are made with lower quality materials, or steel alloys with little chrome in them, they tend to stain black and have a short useful life.

In the food industry: In the food industry, knowing how to identify stainless steel and being sure that we are working with it is even more important.

The properties of stainless steel are directly related to the preservation of food that will later be consumed.

The characteristics that make it the ideal material for food preservation are:

  • It does not release particles that can be confused with food.
  • Withstands high-impact shocks and thermal variations.
  • It is resistant to corrosion.
  • Does not change the taste of food.

In food preservation, the ability of stainless steel to kill bacteria after cleaning is second only to that of glass.

In the development of Industrial kitchens: Stainless steel is the material par excellence used for its manufacture. 

In addition to the advantages mentioned above, it also gives a modern look to the design of industrial kitchens made of stainless steel.

It also facilitates the cleaning and hygiene of kitchens and other work areas.

In the construction industry: Perhaps this is the industry where it is most important to know how to identify stainless steel.

The use of a material other than the appropriate one, that does not have the correct properties, could cause failures and collapses in buildings.

The use of metals other than stainless steel causes higher costs in the short term.

The durability of materials such as iron or aluminum when exposed to the environment is much lower. 

Ways to identify stainless steel

brighter color 

One of the materials with which stainless steel is often confused is aluminum, visually it is the one with which it has the greatest resemblance.

However, there are differences that an experienced eye must look for to discern any doubt, one of them is the color and brightness.

Aluminum, despite being very similar to steel, has a more opaque color, with less brightness.

key test

There is a very popular way of how to identify stainless steel, this is known as the key test. 

With a home door key or padlock, try to scratch the metal with it, if the material is marked or scratched, it is unlikely to be stainless steel.

Real stainless steel doesn't scratch like that, it even withstands even higher pressures, and when it does get scratches, it has the property of regenerating itself.


There is a famous test to know how to identify stainless steel, the test is mainly used to separate carbon steel from stainless steel. 

It is done using a magnet since stainless steel does not have magnetism, it has been shown that although it is true that austenitic stainless steel does not have magnetism.

However, there are other types of steel that are magnetic, mostly those that have a higher percentage of nickel in their alloy.

So if you decide to use this test to identify stainless steel, you will need to be very careful not to rule out materials that are mislabeled.


The resistance of stainless steel is much greater than, for example, that of aluminum, which is one of the metals that is most often confused with stainless steel.

The disadvantage of this test to identify stainless steel is that it must be carried out by a person who previously knows the resistance range of each material.

chemical test

All of these tests mentioned above are well known and popular, but they have two major drawbacks.

It is necessary to have a certain level of expertise to perform them and they also end up being tests with subjective results. 

The most accurate test is to identify stainless steel through a chemical test, it is a much more technical test than the previous ones. We must use products that react when they come into contact with metal.

The best known for carrying out this type of test are sulfuric and nitric acid, if you decide to carry out this type of test you must use the appropriate protective equipment.


There are various tools or materials made of stainless steel that come with alphanumeric marks, these are nomenclatures that allow identifying the type of steel, among other characteristics.

We have given you options so that you know how to identify in different ways when a material is stainless steel or not, if you have any additional questions we can gladly help you.

In Perez Precision Works We always work with materials of the highest quality. He stainless steel It is our raw material par excellence.