304 vs 430 Stainless Steel BBQ

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Updated June 27, 2022

Shopping for a grill can be confusing, especially if you know little about steel grades. If you’re a BBQ enthusiast, you most likely have seen debates about whether a 304 vs 430 stainless steel BBQ is better. The best grills feature a high-quality stainless steel surface with chromium and other metal alloys.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • 304 stainless steel offers better corrosion resistance and heat tolerance than 430.
  • 430 BBQs are cheaper and lighter, making for an affordable option.
  • BBQs with chromium is more resistant to corrosion than grills without, meaning stainless steel grills offer longer life spans than other metals.

The differences between 304 and 430 stainless steel include the metallic composition, corrosion resistance, durability, price, and weight. Continue reading to learn more about each of these variables. When deciding between fuel types, also consider the pros and cons of charcoal vs gas grills.

Differences Between a 430 vs 304 Stainless Steel BBQ

The primary difference between each stainless steel grade lies in its composition. These alloys result in differing levels of corrosion, price, and weight. Depending on your budget, you may have to choose between affordability and longevity, since many high-end models may be out of reach.

Insider Tip

Compared to 430-grade stainless steel, a 304 stainless steel grill is more resistant to corrosion and heat. Plus, it can be easier to clean and keep mice out of your grill

However, more affordable grills use a blend of 304-grade stainless steel and 430-grade stainless steel to combine the best of both options. In this case, manufacturers use 304 stainless steel for the parts exposed directly to heat and 430 for the body. Learn about grills with cast iron vs stainless steel if you aren’t sure whether stainless steel is suitable for you.

Composition

Experts classify the metallic composition of stainless steel for a barbecue as either austenitic or ferritic. Stainless steel 304 is one of the best austenitic options for your grill, with its design of 18% chromium, 8% nickel, and 74% other metallic elements.

Stainless steel 430 consists of 17% chromium, 0.12% carbon, and 82.88% other metallic compounds. These materials do not include nickel. Many current-day grills feature 430 for most of the body not involved in cooking.

Corrosion

Although chromium’s quality mechanical properties in both these metals make the product more corrosion resistant, other metals combined with chromium result in differing amounts of protection. For example, BBQs with 304 stainless steel include superior corrosion resistance and more easily withstand heat and temperature changes.

On the other hand, ferritic metals like 430 are slightly less resistant to corrosion, showing wear and tear over time. However, some people with 430 grills can go for a long time without noticing corrosion because of how slight the difference is.

Price

When it comes to affordability, 430 grills remain the better option. However, because of the components in 304 stainless steel, grills made with large amounts of this material are expensive. As a result, manufacturers may construct their grills mostly out of 430, except for the burners. That said, you can compare multiple grills, like Nexgrill vs Blackstone and Weber Kettle 26 vs 22 to find out which one works best for you. 

You may notice that most grills are made with 304 stainless steel, and only that grade of metals makes up most of the high-end barbecues within a more expensive price range. So if you are looking for a grill with mostly 304 stainless steel, be prepared to pay a steeper price tag.

If you’re not sure what a particular model is made of, an easy way to test whether the steel is 300 or 400 grade is to use a magnet. The 400 range will cause the magnet to stick, while the 300 will not.

Warning

Grills featuring stainless steel 304 are more expensive, so a 430 model may be a more budget-friendly option.

F.A.Q.S

How do you throw away a gas grill?

You will need to remove the gas from the grill. Then, you dismantle the grill and scrap the parts you don’t want by taking them to a local scrap dealer.


Which stainless steel grade is best for food use?

For containers, grade 316 is best, but 430 is a wonderful alternative because it is both low-cost and food safe.


Why add powder coating to stainless steel?

Adding a powder coating to stainless steel provides it with a protective seal that stands up better against wear and tear and weather.



STAT: The most popular and cheapest grade of steel is 430, which comprises 17% chromium and 0.12% carbon. (source)

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