Stainless Steel vs Steel


Senior Member
First off I hope I don't get any of you angry by posting on an old question but I could not find the answer in my search.

I need to replace my sander before next winter. I am getting approx. 6 years out of a steel sander. In my search on Plowsite I could only find posts that read " stainless lasts much longer" but unless I am blind (which I could be) I did not see any posts that said how much longer you could expect to get out of a stainless steel sander. If I can expect to get 3+ more years out of one, then it seems that I could justify the higher cost of stainless to the purchasing agent. The engines are always fine at the end of six years but the box is shot.



Western CT
Stainless should last forever. My oldest is 5 years and shows no sign of any deteriation. I would think aside from engines or motors, bearings, chains and such, they should last for much more than a steel one. At least 10-15 years IMO.

Chuck Smith

2000 Club Member

It all depends on the grade of the stainless. For instance, the exhaust on my 77 Chevy is T-409 stainless. It has surface rust on it. T-304 will NOT rust, and will not in this lifetime. That is what silverware is made out of. I have posed the question before, and can't remember the answer regarding the various grades. I can tell you it has something to do with the nickel and copper content of the steel. I can also tell you that T-409 is magnetic, while T-304 is non-magnetic. I can also say T-304 is so tough, it will knock the teeth off most hack saw blades, and wears down a cut off wheel real fast. It is also VERY hard to bend.

On my web site is pictures of a home made V plow on a small tractor I have. I made it out of an old Western stainless tailgate spreader. It has been out in the weather as long as I have had it (since 1990), and there are no signs of rust. The only signs of rust are where I welded it using steel wire, instead of stainless wire. I think it was about 5 years old when I got it. They were going to toss it at my buddy's station, because the price of a new electric motor was almost as much as a new spreader. I wasn't plowing on my own, and had no use for the spreader, so I chopped it up to make storing the pieces of steel easier. Then in 1996 I made the V plow out of it.

Maybe 75 (Rob) or Alan can tell us more about stainless grades?


Taconic Veteran
Most stainless sanders are either 304 or or 409.An asy way to check that is too find the sander you are interested in and take a small magnet along with you.If the magnet wont stick its 304 stainless which is much stronger. A 409 stainless in my opinion will not last as long.Alan can probably give you alot more technical and sound reasons than i can about the various types of stainless but that is what i have learned about the two types of stainless available.

75 Addict
It took a few tries and a "help!" E-mail, but these are finally in "postable" form: info from a steel supplier's reference book I keep handy:

stainless steel reference pg 1.jpg


2000 Club Member
yes i would have to say stainless If i was to get a v box for just a little more you never have to worry about it just keep it maintained as far as the engine and grease fittings.My freind has one from airflow and it stillworking great after 5+ years.


2000 Club Member
Another vote for stainless!

My buddy and I both bought sanders the same year, mine stainless, his steel. We both contract to the same municipality, so each has seen the same amount of work. Mine still looks the same as the day I got it, save for the blue salt stains. His is scaling rust badly at this point and is in need of a repaint.

The frame and body of the stainless sander will remain unaffected by salt, however the non stainless parts will require attention. Fortunately these are bolt on and fairly easy to replace. Stainless, though a few bucks more, is definately the way to go for long term ownership.


2000 Club Member
I have alos said this many times, I own a smith electric v box spreader,that is stainless. In the 5 yrs I have owned it, all I have done is lubed the chains. they are about as maint. free as a spreader can get. Quiet, no gas engines to worry about at 2 am. They draw less power than your headlights.If you have any questions give me a call at 860-859-0739

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