Stainless steel 304 vs. 316: Not all stainless steel is the same

Whether used as cutlery, clock or banister: Stainless steel can be found in many areas of the household – inside and outside. While the material indoors is "only" exposed to dust and possible moisture in the kitchen and bathroom, outdoor lights have to withstand wind and weather.

As the material is timeless and trendy, it is not only universally applicable, but also fits in with almost every furnishing style. It fits seamlessly into both English gardens and rock gardens. That's why stainless steel is the perfect solution for those who like to spend time in the garden or on the terrace and don't want to worry about running out of light in the evening. Because stainless steel can withstand a lot.

Outdoors all year: The facts speak for themselves

Stainless steel is considered to be easy to clean, environmentally friendly, antibacterial and durable. Wind and weather cannot harm the material, so you don't have to worry about rust when it rains – always provided you consider the appropriate application areas for the material. But not all stainless steel is the same. In our range you will find lights made of 304 stainless steel and those made of 316 stainless steel. But how do they differ?

Stainless steel 304

Stainless steel is considered the most versatile steel and is the most widely used. If stainless steel 304 is used as a frame or light unit, it will impress you with its high quality and long service life. Purely in terms of material, stainless steel 304 consists of 18% chrome and 8% nickel. This makes the material ideal for a variety of applications, such as light manufacture. This is because it offers great resistance to moderate acid attacks, such as acid rain.

Stainless steel 316

While stainless steel 304 is considered a good corrosion resistant material, its "successor" stainless steel 316 is even more robust, more heat resistant and has better corrosion resistance. This is due to the nature of the material. This consists of 16% chromium and 10% nickel, but is additionally supplemented by 2% molybdenum, which is responsible for improved corrosion protection and also greater heat resistance. Stainless steel 316 is often used in environments with moderate chlorine and salt concentrations. Lights made of this material can therefore be installed without hesitation near a pool or pond. In general, stainless steel 316 is more resistant to heat and cold than stainless steel 304, which is why the material is mainly used in outdoor products.

Rules for long-lasting illumination

The outermost layer of the stainless steel light is called the passive layer. It protects the stainless steel and is also self-renewing. However, depending on the type of stainless steel, a certain amount of care is also required to ensure that the lights not only have a long life but also look particularly good.

Rule 1: The basic cleaning

The basic cleaning of a stainless steel product should always be carried out before the product is handed over to the customer. Contamination due to construction site activities should at best be avoided or limited. Instead, cover the product or store it in another place. If splashes of lime or mortar have gotten onto the stainless steel lamp, it should be removed with diluted phosphoric acid and then with clear (demineralised) water. Iron particles have a far greater effect. If iron particles are not removed immediately with a sponge, there is a possibility that rusting particles will enter the passive layer.

Rule 2: Maintenance cleaning

If the stainless steel lamp is installed outside, the cleaning effect of the rain is usually sufficient. However, if the lights are located in coastal areas or in industrial areas with high concentrations of chlorides or sulphur dioxides, regular cleaning is recommended to remove any deposits.

Rule 3: Cleaning agents and utensils

For minor soiling, treatment with a damp cloth is usually sufficient. Washing-up liquid solutions or commercially available glass cleaners are also suitable. Always use soft cloths or leather. For more stubborn dirt, use standard cleansing lotion – but without scouring additives! The sponge for cleaning must also not contain any iron components. Oily and greasy soiling, for example from fingerprints, can be removed with cleaning agents containing alcohol. Spirit, acetone or isopropyl alcohol are suitable for this purpose. Repeat the cleaning process until all dissolved dirt is completely removed.


In order not to damage the stainless steel, always avoid scouring powder, steel wool and metal brushes. Likewise, no chloride and hydrochloric acid containing agents, bleaches and silver cleaning agents should be used.

Important! After each application the surface must be cleaned with clear water. To prevent the formation of lime spots, we recommend demineralised water.

Rule 4: Cleaning intervals

In areas with increased corrosive pollution (coastal areas, industrial areas) or other air pollution, the cleaning intervals should be three to four times a year. In areas where such pollution is less severe or absent, cleaning intervals shall be limited to once or twice a year. Basically it can be said that cleaning should always take place before the deposition of larger amounts of dirt.


No matter how you want to design the outside area: Stainless steel lights are durable and weatherproof and are also easy and quick to clean. Which type of stainless steel is ultimately used is subjective. The type of stainless steel should be selected taking into account environmental factors. So you do not have to worry about having enough light in your garden for a very long time.

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