who is the most stainless of them all

Why are some stainless steels shiny and why are some not?  Why are some so easy to smudge with fingerprints?  It was not until the late 20th century that this was even an option.  After discovering, in the 1970’s, that the stainless steel they were using with dull polished finishes had varying high levels of roughness and this amount of roughness was very susceptible to large amounts of damage.  As the use of dull polished stainless steel increased in the 1980’s, it was discovered that the stainless steel had a very low level of resistance to corrosion.  They say necessity is the mother of all inventions and this holds true for stainless steel as well.  The issues that the dull polished stainless steel had with corrosion and damage due to the surface roughness was solved when new polished finishes were introduced with much smoother surfaces. These new finishes include:

Matte Finish

Brushed Finish

Mirror Finish

All three of these finishing options can be used for any project or job that requires #304 or #316 grade stainless steel.  Below is more info on each of the three different types of finishes for stainless steel.


Matte finished stainless steel is sometimes referred to as “mill finish” or “bead blast” because glass beadsare are used to create this type of finish.  The general cost for matte finished stainless steel is going to be lower than brushed or mirror finished stainless steel, making it a great choice if price point is one of the major factors in project.  Matte finished stainless steel will stain easily from fingerprints, so it might not be the best option if your project has a large amount of traffic and is constantly being touched.



The most commonly used type of polished stainless steel is a brushed finish when the application is for cosmetic and architectural purposes. It is also referred to as a “line finish” and is created by sanding in a vertical direction using sandpaper that is typically between 150-180 grit abrasive.

 Brushed finished stainless steel is very good at hiding scratches and blemishes and has an outstanding resistance to corrosion and extreme temperatures.  This makes it the perfect choice for high traffic areas and any place that will be dealing with a large amount of wear and tear.


The process used to create a mirrored finished stainless steel begins with mechanically treating the surface of the stainless steel with finer and finer abrasives.  Next, a rolling process takes place to simulate the appearance of mechanical abrasion.  Buffing the surface is the last step and usually will need to be applied for about 5-10 minutes and bingo, bango, bongo, you have a beautiful mirror finish to your stainless steel!

This process used to create the mirrored finish also eliminates any crevices on the surface of the stainless steel, making it impossible for corrosive particles to lodge themselves to it.  Logically, this means that the corrosion resistance level for mirror finished stainless steel is improved greatly over other finishes.

Some places that you can find mirror finished stainless steel include

Mirrors (Duh)

Artistic and ornamental trim

Clean rooms

Tanks USA offers all 3 of these finishing options for your next tank and project!  We will also assist you in determining which finishes are able to be used, depending on your needs and what you are planning to use the tanks and equipment for.  We want to make sure your tanks are properly designed to ensure that they are the right fit for your needs and be able to avoid giving you any issues down the road!

For more information about TanksUSA LLC, our tanks and finishing options, please give us a call at: (307) 249-6440 or email us at info@tanksusallc.com

Leave a Reply