• May 24th 2023

Both 1018 and 1020 steel are popular choices for various applications, particularly in the automotive and manufacturing industries. However, despite their similar names, these two types of steel possess distinct properties, which make them suitable for different uses. This essay will provide a comprehensive comparison between 1018 and 1020 steel, highlighting their respective characteristics, applications, and the factors to consider when choosing between them.


Before diving into a detailed comparison, it is essential to understand the fundamental differences between these steel grades. Both 1018 and 1020 steel are low-carbon steels, meaning they contain less carbon than other steel grades. Low-carbon steels are known for their excellent weldability, machinability, and formability. These properties make them ideal for a wide range of applications, from simple to complex parts.


1018 Steel

1018 steel is a low-carbon steel with a carbon content between 0.14% and 0.20%. The composition of 1018 steel also includes:

  • Manganese (Mn): 0.60-0.90%
  • Phosphorus (P): 0.04% max
  • Sulfur (S): 0.05% max

1020 Steel

1020 steel, on the other hand, has a slightly lower carbon content, ranging from 0.17% to 0.23%. Its composition includes:

  • Manganese (Mn): 0.30-0.60%
  • Phosphorus (P): 0.04% max
  • Sulfur (S): 0.05% max

The primary difference between the two steel grades lies in their carbon and manganese content. 1018 steel has a higher carbon content and a higher manganese content compared to 1020 steel. These differences in composition result in varying mechanical properties, as discussed below.

Mechanical Properties

1018 Steel

1018 steel has the following mechanical properties:

  • Tensile strength: 440 MPa (64,000 psi)
  • Yield strength: 370 MPa (54,000 psi)
  • Elongation: 15% in 50mm
  • Hardness (Brinell): 126

1020 Steel

The mechanical properties of 1020 steel include:

  • Tensile strength: 420 MPa (61,000 psi)
  • Yield strength: 350 MPa (51,000 psi)
  • Elongation: 15% in 50mm
  • Hardness (Brinell): 121

Comparing the mechanical properties of 1018 and 1020 steel, we can see that 1018 steel has slightly higher tensile strength and yield strength. However, their elongation values are the same, indicating comparable ductility. The hardness of 1018 steel is also slightly higher than that of 1020 steel.

Read More:

AISI 1020 Steel Equivalent Material

AISI 1018 Steel Equivalent Material

All About 1018 Steel You Must Know


Due to the differences in their compositions and mechanical properties, 1018 and 1020 steel are suited for different applications.

1018 Steel

The higher carbon and manganese content in 1018 steel make it a stronger and harder material than 1020 steel. Its excellent weldability, machinability, and formability make 1018 steel suitable for applications such as:

  • Shafts
  • Gears
  • Bolts
  • Nuts
  • Structural components
  • Machine components

1020 Steel

1020 steel's lower carbon content makes it more ductile and easier to form than 1018 steel. This makes it suitable for applications that require intricate shapes or complex parts, including:

  • Automotive components
  • Axles
  • Brackets
  • Bushings
  • Housings
  • Lightly stressed components

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between 1018 and 1020 Steel

When deciding whether to use 1018 or 1020 steel, several factors must be taken into consideration:

  1. Strength: If strength is a primary concern, 1018 steel's higher tensile and yield strength make it the better choice.
  2. Formability: For applications requiring intricate shapes or complex parts, 1020 steel's better formability may be more desirable.
  3. Machinability: Both steels have excellent machinability, but 1018 steel's slightly higher carbon content may result in better surface finishes and a longer tool life.
  4. Weldability: Both 1018 and 1020 steel have excellent weldability, but the lower carbon content of 1020 steel makes it less prone to cracking during the welding process.
  5. Cost: While the costs of both steel grades can vary depending on the market, 1020 steel is generally considered more affordable due to its lower carbon and manganese content.


In conclusion, both 1018 and 1020 steel are low-carbon steels with unique compositions and mechanical properties. 1018 steel has a higher carbon and manganese content, resulting in a stronger and harder material. In contrast, 1020 steel is more ductile and easier to form due to its lower carbon content. Consequently, 1018 steel is better suited for applications that require higher strength, such as shafts, gears, and structural components, while 1020 steel is ideal for applications that demand intricate shapes or complex parts, like automotive components and bushings.

When choosing between 1018 and 1020 steel, factors such as strength, formability, machinability, weldability, and cost should be carefully considered. Ultimately, the choice between these two steel grades will depend on the specific requirements of the intended application. By understanding the distinctions between 1018 and 1020 steel, you can make informed decisions and select the most suitable material for their needs.