Is Stainless Steel Magnetic? It Depends.

Have you ever wondered why you can stick a magnet on one stainless steel fridge, but not another? They are both stainless steel, so why doesn’t it stick to both? Well, the answer is in the makeup of the steel. So, let’s see if stainless steel is magnetic.

Is Stainless Steel Magnetic? The Type of Stainless Plays a Role


There are different families of stainless steel and all have different physical properties. A less expensive stainless steel would be considered a ferritic steel. Ferritic stainless steels typically have better engineering properties than their counterpart, austenitic, but have reduced corrosion resistance due to lower nickel and chromium content. This makes ferritic stainless steel magnetic.

Ferritic steels provide an advantage in many applications in which thinner materials or reduced weight are required. They are also non-hardenable by heat treating.

Typical applications for ferritic stainless steels include automotive and truck exhaust systems, catalytic converters, agricultural spreaders, heat exchangers, kitchen equipment, and roofing just to name a few.

Ferritic metals are classified in the 400 series. At Metalwest we commonly stock 409 stainless and 430 stainless steel products.


Austenitic stainless steels are the more common types of stainless. These grades have higher chromium and nickel content. The higher nickel content makes austenitic grades non-magnetic.

Austenitic steels are similarly non-hardenable by heat treating, but also have excellent formability and higher corrosion resistance.

These type of steels are commonly used for kitchen equipment, appliances, automotive trim, architectural applications, chemical equipment, pharmaceutical equipment, and much more.

Austenitic stainless steels are classified in the 200 and 300 series. At Metalwest we commonly stock 201 stainless, 301 stainless, 304/304L stainless, and 316/316L stainless steel products.

So, the next time you are shopping for a refrigerator be sure to bring a magnet. Higher quality (and typically more expensive) stainless steel appliances will not hold your alphabet magnet set. But unless you plan on placing your fridge out in the elements, you will most likely get along just fine with a ferritic stainless steel appliance. It’s still stainless after all.

For more information about our stainless steel products, contact your local sales representative.

Reflective Uniforms: Employee Safety Series

ofr metals truck driverOur “Employee Safety Series” aims to highlight initiatives that the team at Metalwest is working on to make our work environment safe. Safety is one of our top priorities and it is important to ensure our employees have the right protective gear, tools, and knowledge to do their jobs safely.

At Metalwest we are taking a proactive approach to ensure our employees are highly visible when working in high-traffic areas and while assisting in the unloading/loading process. To assist with this initiative, Metalwest drivers are now being provided with high-visibility/reflective uniforms.

“Most of the time we see our drivers back at the office or in the shop,” said David Suchey, safety manager for Metalwest. “But we often forget that they don’t always work in such controlled environments as our facilities.”

High-Visibility/Reflective Uniforms

High-visibility/reflective uniforms are worn to help attract the attention of other truck drivers, forklift operators, crane operators and any other possible human-operated hazards. Many of the warehouses and facilities we deliver to have lower lighting that can make it difficult to see an individual walking around. Drivers also face the hazard of blind corners around many loading/unloading docks. Reflective uniforms help to minimize the risk of an accident.

“Our company cares about our drivers and we want to remain proactive about their safety out in the field,” said Suchey. “They have difficult jobs to do and making them visible at all times during the day will help ensure their safety when they are working outside of their truck.”

Driver feedback has been good, overall, according to Suchey. Metalwest is still working on supplying the uniforms to all locations. All branches should have the proper uniforms supplied by the end of the second quarter this year.

“I heard a really impactful quote that pertains to our efforts in this area, ‘The people we are working for are waiting for us to come home,’” Suchey added. “This is why we want our drivers to remain visible, their families and friends need them to come home every night.”

Check back to the Beyond Metal Buzz for more safety updates.