Guide to Stainless Steel Tubing Selection


Stainless steel grades 304 and 304/L are Boyer Steel, Inc.’s most requested stainless steel tube grades. They have excellent corrosion resistance in a range of environments including weathering, salt, high heat, and high pressure.

This guide refers to both 304 and 304/L; however, we will be using only 304/L to reference both. The “L” in 304/L means low carbon. The low carbon characteristic makes the stainless easier to weld. All 304/L stainless tubing meets the requirements for 304 grade. However 304 grade does not necessarily meet the requirements for 304L. Most of Boyer Steel’s stainless stock is 304/L.

Stainless Steel Tubing – Shape and Appearance

Boyer Steel, Inc. sells stainless tubing in round, square and rectangle shapes and also offers a large selection of 304/L stainless pipe. Stainless tubing has a variety of uses that range from aesthetic visual design in commercial facilities to handling extreme corrosive and intense heat environments in industries like mining, military, heavy machinery, aerospace, and energy industries.

Stainless Steel Tubing – Aesthetic Design & Weathering

Stainless steel rectangle and square tubing along with some varieties of welded round tube and pipe are frequently used in outdoor and indoor structures, such as hand railing and fencing. Stainless steel can be polished from a simple brushed finish to a mirror finish. Boyer Steel, Inc. worked with a large fence supplier and installer who was having trouble with galvanized steel pipe rusting after sitting in the humid, and rainy Michigan weather. After discussing his problem, we were able to recommend a 304/L stainless steel tube. Our customer was able to finally put his rusting issues to bed and the stainless gave him a brighter cleaner finish. In addition to his corrosion problems being over, he was also able to purchase a lighter wall tube that was easier for him to haul and handle. The clean brushed finish of stainless tubing has also be an important aspect for customers like industrial designers, architects, and custom furniture makers.

Stainless Steel Tubing – Salt & Weathering

The machinability and corrosion resistance is essential for our customers across a wide range of industries. Job shops all over Michigan and the country call Boyer Steel, Inc. for our large selection of mechanical stainless tubing, including a leader in marine shaft manufacturing, making custom shafts for fresh and saltwater craft. Another global industry supplier who provides parts for heavy machinery uses 304/L stainless steel for products requiring extra strength and that will also be exposed to weather and other corrosive elements. We supply this customer with tubes between 3 and 5 inches in outside diameter and .5 to 1 inch walls. The customer turns down the outside and inside of the tube to make precision parts. 304/L stainless tubing is a great solution to their requirements; since it has all the qualities they need in terms of corrosion resistance and strength and is to machine and weld.

Stainless Steel Tubing – High Heat and High Pressure

Boyer Steel, Inc. also stocks an extensive inventory of 304/L small diameter seamless stainless steel tubing. There are many uses for these grades and specifications, often referred to as stainless instrumentation tubing. A design engineer for a major manufacturer of point of application temperature and viscosity control equipment uses 304/L, ASTM A269 stainless tubing for its longer life span over carbon hydraulic tube, and its ability to stay clean and move liquids more effectively. He also uses it for its stronger burst strength if there is any concern on his projects about high pressure. Another common application for these tubes is induction. A leading induction tooling provider in metro Detroit uses 304/L stainless in induction coils. Seamless stainless tubing is essential in his high heat, and high pressure induction forge coils. It is also important since it is nonmagnetic, so that the induction field will not see or be interfered with by the stainless tube.

Stainless Steel Pipe – High Heat and High Pressure

Pipe is used for transporting pressurized liquids or gasses. 304/L stainless pipe is used for a variety of reasons instead of carbon steel pipe including sanitation, heat, and pressure. Stainless pipe can be sanitized and used in industries including food processing, dairy processing, chemical, water treatment, pharmaceuticals, and petrochemical. Boyer Steel, Inc. stocks standard and heavy pipe schedules, but also supplies our customers with heavier or lighter schedules to ensure that all of our customers’ requirements are met.

Boyer Steel, Inc. can help you with all your stainless pipe and tube needs. If you are having trouble finding a specific size on our website give us a call, there are very few stainless tubing products that we have not run across. We are the stainless steel pipe and tube experts!