How to Tell If Something is Stainless Steel

Determining if a metal is a stainless steel or not is an important job to do. Because aluminum and stainless steel look just like the same.

But they do not give the exact same service. Whereas the aluminum gets rusted or gets the coat ruined, the stainless steel does not get any of those.

So, you can easily guess the lifecycle of stainless steel by determining its element.

That is why how to tell if something is stainless steel becomes important for the people who want to determine the metal type for their using goods or newly bought goods.

The determination of the metal type helps the users to use them accordingly and also to calculate the usability or the lifetime of the metal.

how to tell if something is stainless steel

A stainless steel is an iron-based alloy that has a chromium coating on it. It also contains some other metal in it only in a very small ratio.

Such as aluminum, carbon, copper, nickel, nitrogen, silicon, titanium, and many more.

As a whole, they form the stainless steel metal for the use in households, cars, constructions and many others.

This makes the metal to be malleable, magnetic, resistant to corrosion, resistant to electricity, erosion, abrasion.

And for these reasons, the metal is safe to use in the daily household or even the hard mechanism of the cars.

It can stand out in every sector. That is why it is needed to determine if something is stainless steel or not that you are using to determine your safety along with your family.

To know more about the determination process of the stainless steel, check out the below section and try it yourself to help your work become easy.

How to Tell If Something is Stainless Steel: Methods to Determine

There can be multiple ways that can help you to determine if your metal is stainless steel or not.

Or you can take the metal to the professionals to check if it is very expensive and important to you.

But to determine the metal of the simple things at your home, you can do it yourself.

You do not need to pay a lot for the testing of the simple household cookware or anything.

Just make sure that you follow the required steps accurately to determine if your used household items are stainless steel or not.

Read the stated method to start your work.

Method 1: Attaching a magnate to check the magnetic field

As stated before, the stainless steel is magnetic. Whereas the aluminum is not. The iron of the stainless steel creates the magnetic field in the metal.

So, if you try to look if a metal is sticking magnets on it, then the metal is stainless steel. Or else it is probably of aluminum or any other substance.

But make sure that the magnet is held firmly by the metal.

Because of the small amount present of iron in the form of oxide on the aluminum can cause slight magnet attraction. So, the firm hold is needed to determine the metal type.

Method 2: Weight matters

The stainless steel can be heavier and solid than the aluminum. The stainless steel will surely feel heavy than the aluminum object.

So, if you hold two pots of stainless steel and the aluminum, then you can easily tell the difference.

Holding them in the two hands will make you feel the weight difference which can help you to determine the metal type of the two utensils.

Besides, the iron is less prone to breaking while being present at your hand. So, if you wish to check the two utensils you got, you can check them by this method.

If any of the other feels too heavy, then the heavier one is the stainless steel element. And the rest is the aluminum element that you have present in your hand.

Method 3: Number label

If you are using some rods to renovate your home and want to determine the element of the rods, then you can try this method to work with.

Look for the number label on the rods and see if those have an ‘S’ marking on it or not. If there is an ‘S’ marking on it, then it is stainless steel.

But if the label says any other sings, then it is of different iron types or other metals.

Method 4: Chip the metal to determine

Make the metal you have standstill using the clamps or any other object and use a hammer and a chisel to break off a small piece.

If you see that the inside of the stainless steel metal polish is light gray or shiny, then it is stainless steel for sure.

But if the inside does not have a shiny texture, then it is not off the stainless steel.

Method 5: Spark test

You can also use this method to check the metal type in the construction area. For this, you will need a bench grinder and have the metal placed on it.

Turn on the machine and place it on one corner of the metal. If the metal gives you long and even sparks out of it, then the metal is of the stainless steel.

If it does not give so, then it is of other metal used for the construction process. Wear safety measures while testing the metal in this method.

Method 6: Hardness check process by filing

Filing can help you to test the metal type you are using. So, get a buffer and rub it on the metal you have. The iron is stronger than other elements.

So, if the buffing does not do anything on the metal than it is of stainless steel. But if it hurts the metal, then it is of other types of metal to work with.

Method 7: Muriatic acid test

If you are sure to damage your metal a bit, then you can try this method.

For this, you need to mix muriatic acid and eye dropper and drop a few drops on the metal. Wait for an hour.

After one hour, wipe off the acid and check if the metal turned to be discolored or not. If it is discolored, then it is stainless steel or else not.

Using these simple methods can help you to determine the metal type in no time. Now you can even check while buying coated stainless steel appliances.

Just make sure you try one by one to check the metal type to make your life easy to use the metal in different aspects.


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