Difference between Inconel & Stainless Steel

Difference Between Inconel & Stainless Steel


Inconel, a Special Metals Corp. product, is composed of nickel, chromium, and molybdenum. Inconel is resistant to corrosion and pitting and is available in a variety of alloys. Carbon, manganese, phosphorus, sulfur, silicon, chromium, and nickel make up stainless steel. For different alloys and strengths, both Inconel and Inconel 625 Round Bars use a numbering system. Although these items have silver finishes, other textures produce matte or shiny surfaces.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steels have chromium content greater than 10.5 percent by weight. Stainless steels are more resistant to corrosion than traditional steels. These microstructures determine the strength and corrosion resistance of stainless steel. Austenitic stainless steel, for example, will be the most ductile and corrosion-resistant class of stainless steel. The martensitic class, on the other hand, has much higher strength but less corrosion resistance.

What’s the difference?

Inconel is significantly more expensive than stainless steel alloys. Inconel is also much more robust and more corrosion resistant at high temperatures. At lower temperatures, however, steel-like 17-4PH stainless has a higher strength than Inconel. The main deciding factors when choosing between the two alloys are cost, temperature, and strength. If a low-cost but critical component is required, stainless steel is most likely the best option. 


Inconel is a corrosion-resistant fine wire that is sometimes used in chain maille jewelry. This metal alloy weighs less than stainless steel. Although the appearance of stainless and Inconel is similar, the weight difference is noticeable. Inconel appears to be silver metal, but it does not perform as well as stainless steel as a fishing line. When unwound, a stainless steel line or wire retains the rounds formed on the reel, whereas Inconel remains straight.


Inconel costs more than stainless steel. Exhaust valves for fast cars, for example, cost more than stainless steel at the time of publication. Inconel is sold in flat sheets, pipes, tubes, flat bars, wire, and other shapes by Special Metals Corp., the alloy’s inventor. Special Metals demonstrates the production of 25 Inconel grades. Each product has unique characteristics and a unique price.


The corrosion resistance and strength while hot of Inconel 625 Round Bars are its most distinguishing characteristics, making it ideal for jet engines and exhaust systems. Inconel is used in automobiles for superior exhausts and valves and spark plugs, sensors, and safety devices. Pollution control is one of Inconel’s more recent applications.


  • Inconel fasteners are used in industry and by individuals to provide strength and corrosion resistance. 
  • Inconel 625 Round Bars are used in the aerospace and automotive engineering industries for electrical resistance heating, thermal processing, heat treatment, and electronics. 
  • Inconel is also used in the chemical and petrochemical industries. 

Because of its corrosion resistance, this alloy is ideal for marine engineering and oil and gas extraction. Inconel is appealing for chain maille jewelry, but it contains nickel, which is a common allergen. Because nickel whitens metals, including white gold, some jewelry enthusiasts cannot wear white gold or Inconel. Inconel chain maille jewelry is lighter than it appears and does not discolor when in contact with the skin.