Stainless steel is a popular material used in various applications, from kitchen appliances to industrial machinery. One common question that often arises is whether magnets stick on stainless steel. In this article, we will explore the properties of stainless steel and delve into the science behind magnetism to answer this question definitively.

Understanding Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a type of steel alloy that contains a minimum of 10.5% chromium. This chromium content gives stainless steel its unique properties, such as corrosion resistance and durability. Stainless steel is also known for its luster and aesthetic appeal, making it a preferred choice in many consumer and industrial products.

Magnetism and Stainless Steel

When it comes to magnetism, not all metals are created equal. Some metals, such as iron and nickel, are known to be ferromagnetic, meaning they can be magnetized. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is generally considered to be non-magnetic. This is because the chromium content in stainless steel forms a passive oxide layer on the surface, which inhibits the flow of electrons and reduces magnetic permeability.

Testing Magnetism on Stainless Steel

To test whether magnets stick on stainless steel, you can use a simple magnet and place it against the surface of the stainless steel object. If the magnet does not stick, it is likely that the stainless steel is non-magnetic. However, there are exceptions to this rule, as some types of stainless steel may exhibit weak magnetic properties due to the presence of other alloying elements.

Examples of Magnetic Stainless Steel

  • Some grades of stainless steel, such as 400 series stainless steel, contain higher levels of iron and may exhibit magnetic properties.
  • Stainless steel used in certain applications, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, is specially designed to be magnetic.


In conclusion, while most stainless steel is non-magnetic due to its chromium content, there are exceptions where stainless steel may exhibit magnetic properties. It is important to test the magnetism of stainless steel before making any assumptions. Understanding the properties of stainless steel and magnetism can help you make informed decisions when choosing materials for your projects.