Stainless Steel Caster Applications And How To Define 304 And 201 Stainless Steel

July 18, 2023

Hello there! Today, I want to talk about an essential component in various industries that often goes unnoticed but plays a significant role in our daily lives: the stainless steel caster. Casters are wheels attached to a frame, allowing objects to be easily moved and transported. In this post, we will explore what stainless steel casters are, the industries that benefit from their use, and the differences between two commonly used stainless steel alloys: 304 and 201.


What is Stainless Steel Caster?


A stainless steel caster is a caster assembly that incorporates stainless steel components, including the wheel, bracket, and fasteners. Stainless steel is a durable and corrosion-resistant material that makes it an ideal choice for applications where hygiene, aesthetics, and longevity are important factors.


The wheel of a stainless steel caster is typically made of stainless steel or a combination of stainless steel and other materials such as rubber or polyurethane. These wheels are available in various sizes and designs, including swivel casters that rotate 360 degrees and rigid casters that move in a straight line only.


The bracket or housing of a stainless steel caster is the frame that holds the wheel in place. It is designed to provide stability and support to the wheel and withstand heavy loads. The bracket is usually made of stainless steel, ensuring strength and corrosion resistance.


Industries that Need Stainless Steel Caster:


Stainless steel casters find applications in a wide range of industries. Here are a few examples:


·Food and Beverage Industry:

In food processing plants, commercial kitchens, and restaurants, hygiene is of utmost importance. Stainless steel casters are preferred in these environments because they are easy to clean, resistant to rust and corrosion, and do not contaminate the food or the working surfaces. They are used in equipment such as food trolleys, racks, carts, and conveyor systems.


·Medical and Pharmaceutical Industry:

Hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and pharmaceutical facilities have strict hygiene and cleanliness requirements. Stainless steel casters are used in medical equipment, hospital beds, carts, and transportation devices. They can be easily sterilized, withstand harsh chemicals, and resist corrosion, making them suitable for these critical environments.


·Industrial Manufacturing:

In industrial settings, where heavy machinery and equipment are frequently moved, stainless steel casters provide stability and durability. They are used in manufacturing processes, assembly lines, and material handling equipment. Stainless steel casters are also employed in warehouses, automotive plants, and construction sites.


·Hospitality and Retail:

Hotels, resorts, and retail stores often use stainless steel casters for their furniture, display stands, and storage systems. These casters enhance mobility, allowing easy rearrangement and reconfiguration of spaces. Moreover, they add a touch of elegance and durability to the overall design.


Defining 304 Stainless Steel and 201 Stainless Steel:

a. 304 Stainless Steel:

304 stainless steel is an austenitic alloy that contains a minimum of 18% chromium and 8% nickel. It is the most commonly used stainless steel alloy due to its excellent corrosion resistance, high ductility, and versatility. The 304 stainless steel casters are ideal for applications requiring resistance to chemicals, moisture, and atmospheric conditions. They offer exceptional strength and can withstand high-temperature environments.


b. 201 Stainless Steel:

201 stainless steel is another popular stainless steel alloy. It contains a lower chromium content (around 16-18%) and a higher manganese content compared to 304 stainless steel. Although it offers good corrosion resistance, it is not as resistant as 304 stainless steel. However, 201 stainless steel casters are more cost-effective and provide sufficient strength and durability for many applications.


However, as some suppliers may claim to use 304 stainless steel while actually providing 201 stainless steel casters, it becomes crucial for customers to have reliable means of identification due to the significant price gap between these two materials. Additionally, sending samples to a testing lab for composition analysis can be time-consuming and expensive. Let's explore two alternative methods that customers can employ to verify the alloy used in stainless steel casters.


·Test Kits or Spot Tests:

One way to identify the stainless steel alloy used in casters is through the use of test kits or spot tests. These kits are designed to provide quick and straightforward results by reacting with specific elements present in different stainless steel alloys.


For example, there are commercially available test kits that can help identify the presence of chromium and nickel, the key elements differentiating 304 and 201 stainless steel. These test kits often contain reagents or solutions that change color when they come into contact with specific elements.


To perform the test, a small portion of the stainless steel surface can be lightly scratched or rubbed with the test reagent. The resulting color change can then be compared to a reference chart provided with the test kit, which indicates the presence of different elements and the corresponding stainless steel alloy.


While test kits provide a quick and relatively cost-effective method for on-site identification, it's important to note that they may not provide precise quantitative results and should be used as a preliminary identification tool. For accurate composition analysis, a professional testing laboratory is still the best option.


·Magnetic Response Test:

Another method to differentiate between 304 and 201 stainless steel is by employing a magnetic response test. This test takes advantage of the different magnetic properties exhibited by these two alloys.


304 stainless steel is generally non-magnetic or exhibits only a weak magnetic response. On the other hand, 201 stainless steel is often mildly or strongly magnetic. By using a magnet, such as a refrigerator magnet or a stronger rare-earth magnet, one can assess the magnetic response of the stainless steel caster.


If the magnet does not strongly attract or stick to the surface of the caster, it indicates that the alloy is likely 304 stainless steel. Conversely, if the magnet exhibits a strong attraction or sticks firmly to the caster, it suggests that the alloy is more likely to be 201 stainless steel.


While this method can provide a quick and initial indication of the stainless steel alloy, it should be noted that certain factors, such as surface finishes or coatings, may affect the magnetic response. Therefore, it is recommended to perform this test on clean and uncoated surfaces for more accurate results.




Stainless steel casters are indispensable components in various industries, including food and beverage, medical and pharmaceutical, industrial manufacturing, and hospitality. Their corrosion resistance, hygiene properties, and strength make them the preferred choice in environments where durability and reliability are essential.


When considering stainless steel casters, it is crucial to understand the differences between alloys. While 304 stainless steel offers superior corrosion resistance and versatility, 201 stainless steel provides a cost-effective option without compromising durability.


Whether it's for transporting equipment, organizing spaces, or ensuring cleanliness, stainless steel casters play a significant role in enhancing efficiency and productivity across multiple industries. So, the next time you see a smoothly rolling cart or rack, remember the unsung hero behind itthe stainless steel caster.

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