The main differences between 304 and 316 stainless steel mesh come down to their corrosion resistance, durability, heat resistance, and formability. Now, 304 stainless steel mesh is an alloy that contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel. On the other hand, 316 stainless steel mesh is an alloy that contains 16% chromium, 10% nickel, and 2% molybdenum.
316L and 304 Stainless Steel Wire
316L surgical stainless steel wire provides you with a highly corrosion-resistant wire that holds up to heavy wear! If scratched or damaged, the stainless steel 'self-repairs' as a new chromium-oxide layer is formed. The color of steel is darker and more grey than silver. It can be paired with white metal jewelry components, but does not match silver components very well. Choose round, half-round, and square wire in 20 gauge to 26 gauge for a variety of jewelry making and craft applications. Just be aware that 316L stainless steel is an alloy that contains nickel, making it unsuitable for people with nickel allergies.
304 stainless steel wire is available in several gauges of round wire, from thick 16-ga to thin 30-ga. The same corrosion and stain resistance that make 304 Stainless Steel great for food handling, also make it popular for jewelry.