1018 Vs. 4140 Steel: Choosing Between Two Great Metals

1018 Vs. 4140 Steel - Choosing Between Two Great Metals

Steel is among the famous metals used on the industrial scale to produce massive quantities of functional components. Its two most notable alloys are 1018 and 4140 steel.

While you make a comparison between 4140 Vs. 1018 steel, you find that these alloys have surprising advantages on the industrial scale as they manufacture metal components and prototypes. Both differ from each other due to their chemical composition, which makes them suitable for specific types of applications.

If you are unaware of these metals’ properties and need help choosing the right one for your project, then luckily, you are at the right place. This guide will teach you about the 1018 and 4140 steel. We are a leading prototyping manufacturer with top-notch machinery and products.

1-What is 1018 Steel?

What is 1018 Steel

1018 steel is a mild steel grade having low or medium carbon contents, i.e., 0.18% carbon. It is known for its excellent properties, such as good formability and weldability, and makes it beneficial for a wide range of industrial applications.

Let’s look at the characteristics, advantages, and applications of 1018 steel.

Characteristics of 1018 Steel:

Here are the most notable characteristics of 1018 steel.

  • 1018 steel machinability is excellent and easy to fabricate and form.
  • It is ideal for cold forming, and the 1018 steel carbon content is low.
  • This steel is weldable and offers good weldability.
  • Steel 1018 doesn’t demand post-heating or pre-heating to be welded.
  • You can produce a hard and uniform case.
  • One of the finest known steel for carburized components.
  • This alloy offers good strength and a good balance of flexibility and toughness.

Advantages of 1018 Steel:

The following are the main advantages of 1018 steel that make it perfect for manufacturing various industrial components.

  • It is best for the machining processes because of its suitable machining properties.
  • You can easily draw thin wires from it because of its greater flexibility.
  • We can easily harden it through various case hardening methods such as carburizing, carbonitriding, etc.
  • It is known as the best steel grade to undergo forging due to its low or mild carbon content.

Applications of 1018 Steel:

Let’s see what is 1018 steel used for and what applications it offers.

  • Steel 1018 is ideally used in swagging, crimping, and bending techniques.
  • It is a perfect choice for those applications that require low carbon and greater strength of alloy steels.
  • You can create high-volume machine components, such as tool holders, gears, rods, anchor bolts, fasteners, etc.
  • 1018 steel offers a soft core and greater surface hardness to various components, including studs, special bolts, anchor pins, machinery components, etc.
  • It is an absolute choice for spacers, mounting plates, and fixtures.

2-What is 4140 Steel?

What is 4140 Steel

It is a low alloy steel with excellent machining properties such as abrasion, toughness, etc. Steel 4140 main composition includes 0.85% manganese, 0.1% chromium, and 0.40% carbon. Molybdenum and chromium are considered their strengthening agents. It is known for the manufacturing of a large number of functional machining parts in industries.

Some of the characteristics of 4140 steel are as under:

Features of 4140 Steel:

  • This alloy offers a high degree of abrasion, impact resistance, and strength.
  • It provides good resistance against atmospheric corrosion.
  • 4140 steel has higher torsional and fatigue strength.
  • This metal shows high ductility in annealing form.
  • It offers outstanding toughness and high yield.
  • Steel 4140 has high weldability, so it can easily undergo the welding process, but it demands more care during the welding process.
  • It has high hardenability so that it can be hardened as per requirement.

Advantages of 4140 Steel:

4140 steel is advantageous in the following ways.

  • It offers good workability that makes it ideal for manufacturing industrial components.
  • Steel 4140 can resist high wear and stress.
  • This material is a tough alloy that makes it applicable for excellent machining.
  • This alloy provides high resistance against corrosion and fatigue; therefore, it is ideal for those components that can get corrupted due to exposure to harsh conditions.
  • During quenching, it undergoes only small deformation.

Applications of 4140 Steel:

Now let’s find out what is 4140 steel used for and what are the most notable applications of 4140 steel.

Uses of steel 4140 are discussed below:

  • 4140 steel is a versatile alloy that you can use to manufacture industrialized parts.
  • We can use this metal to manufacture many consumer goods, such as sporting goods, hand tools, etc.
  • It is widely utilized for the manufacturing of those products that require greater wear resistance and strength.
  • Various machining components, including gears, shafts, nuts, bolts, etc., are manufactured on a large scale using 4140 steel.

3-1018 vs. 4140: A Detailed Comparison Between the Two Popular Metal Choices:

1018 vs. 4140- A Detailed Comparison Between the Two Popular Metal Choices

1- Material Properties Difference between 1018 and 4140 Steel:

Element Composition:

Both 1018 and 4140 steel differ because the elemental and element composition is as follows.

       Elements      1018 steel        4140 steel
     Manganese 0.60% – 0.09% 0.75% – 1.00%
     Phosphorus         0.04%          0.04%
     Carbon1018 steel carbon content is   0.18%           0.45%
      Iron   98.80% – 99.25%   96.79% – 97.78%
      Chromium             –      0.80 – 1.10%
      Sulphur         0.0005%          0.0004%
      Silicon             –     0.15% – 0.30%
      Molybdenum             –     0.15% – 0.25%

The table shows that while comparing 1018 vs. 4041, both steel alloys have a major difference in their carbon percentage. 1018 steel carbon content is 0.18%, and the carbon content of 4140 steel is 0.45%. They both have different chemical compositions and properties.

Corrosion Resistance:

The corrosion resistance of the 4140 steel alloy is much higher, and the high percentage of molybdenum and chromium in 4140 steel is the reason for the high corrosion resistance. Being highly corrosion-resistant, it is suitable for those parts that need rust and corrosion-free. For example, it is beneficial for outdoor applications, etc.


Regarding durability, 4140 steel is more durable than 1018 steel. The former is a tough and strong metal that is hardenable. It increases its durability as compared to 1018 steel. In short, if you have to choose an alloy between 4140 steel and 1018 steel, then the former is the best option.


The weight of the 1018 and 4140 steel differs due to their chemical composition. It is a strong metal and has more mass than 1018 steel. On the other hand, 1018 steel has a lower weight, which makes it suitable for numerous applications in the automotive industry. So when we make a comparison between 4041vs. 1018 shows a different weight ratio.


1018 steel can easily undergo the machining process. It is also easy to fabricate, weld, and form. Proper machining can end up in an exactly desirable product without excessive handling. It doesn’t even require post-heating or pre-heating treatments for welding.

4140 steel also shows greater machinability in its annealing conditions. You can form it through conventional procedures as it has high suppleness. Its manufacturing needs a lot of force and pressure.


Both 4140 steel and 1018 steel are weldable. 4140 steel may be prone to cracking during the welding. It is mainly due to its higher carbon content. Therefore, safety measures can avoid it from cracking during welding. You can treat the 4140 steel with post-heating usages. These treatments largely avoid the formation of cracks during welding.

On the other hand, the carbon contents in the 1018 steel are low, and there is no fear of cracking formation during welding. It does not require any pre-heating or post-heating treatments. It is directly welding for the formation of a desired industrial component.

2- Strength Differences Between 1018 Steel and 4140 Steel:

Strength Differences

Tensile Strength:

Tensile strength greatly affects the pressure-bearing capacity of a metal. The more the tensile strength, the more will be its pressure-bearing capacity. The tensile strength of 4140 steel is 655 MPa. Contrarily, the tensile strength of 1018 steel is 440 MPa. It means that 4140 steel has much higher tensile strength than 1018 steel.

Due to the higher tensile strength of 4140, steel can withstand great pressure during machining compared to the 1018 steel, which has low tensile strength. Moreover, high tensile strength also makes it an ideal choice in manufacturing processes that require high impact frequency.

Yield Strength:

The yield strength also affects the ability of a metal to withstand pressure and impact. The metal with higher yield strength can bear more pressure and impact than those with lower yield strength. The yield strength of the 4140 steel is 62,200 PSI (415 MPa). While the yield strength of 1018 steel is 53,700 PSI (370 MPa) less than the 4140 steel.

The differences in their tensile strengths could be better. The 1018 steel can also bear pressure and impact during machining, but its bearing ability is less than that of 4140 steel.

3- Ability to Form:

Ability to Form


4140 steel is harder than 1018 steel hardness. Therefore, its ability to form is less than the 1018 steel. The 4140 steel can be formed in annealing conditions using various conventional methods. Because of its greater toughness, it needs a great amount of pressure to undergo forming.

1018 steel can endure forming as it has less rigidity. Specifically, it is considered ideal for bending and cold-forming operations.

Moreover, it is a great option for those components that are cold forming, such as swaging and crimping, etc.

Melting Point:

Both 4140 and 1018 steel have the same melting point. The melting points are 1420°C to 1460°C. Because Of similar melting points, both behave identically against high temperatures. They can ideally withstand high temperatures. Moreover, they give outstanding responses to heat treatments.

4- Appearance and Touch:

Appearance and Touch


1018 steel is well suited to bending operations and cold forming. It is a general-purpose steel with better case hardening qualities and can prove good to manufacture parts that require cold forming such as bending, swaging, and crimping.

It is similar to A36 hot steel but creates better welding, surface finish, and machinability. For jigs, shafting, and other machine parts, 1018 steel is an excellent choice.

4140 steel has high fatigue strength, toughness, abrasion strength, and strength. It is highly malleable during annealing and is tough than carbon steel. We can easily weld 4140 steel and use it in the defense, automotive, gas, oil, and aerospace industries. It has good fatigue resistance and surface condition.


The metal’s hardness displays its capacity to avoid deformation when pressure is applied. The hardness value of 4140 steel is 200, which is Brinell hardness.

1018 steel has a hardness of 130 to 140, much less than the 4140 steel. Thus, the 4140 steel is harder than the 1018 steel. Moreover, it has more capacity to withstand the temperature without undergoing deformation than 1018 steel.

5- Conductivity Difference Between 1018 and 4140 Steel

Conductivity Difference Between 1018 and 4140 Steel

Electrical Conductivity:

Both 1018 and 4140 steel offers good electrical conductivity. The electrical conductivity of 4140 steel is more. However, the difference in both metals’ electrical conductivities is relatively small. Both alloys are good to use for different applications under high temperatures.

Thermal Conductivity:

Thermal conductivity is the ability of the metal to conduct heat. Overall, you may find all steel types with less thermal conductivity. They are bad conductors of heat. The 52 W/m-K is the thermal conductivity for steel 1018.

On the other hand, 4140 steel has a thermal conductivity of 43 W/m-K. It shows that the 1018 steel can conduct more heat than 4140 steel. Their difference in thermal conductivity is mainly due to their chemical compositions.

6- Pricing & Options:

Prices of both 1018 steel and 4140 steel vary. The cost of 1018 steel is low compared to 4140 steel. 1018 steel belongs to one of the inexpensive steel and is used to manufacture industrial parts due to its lower prices. The overall cost of both steel alloys can be affected by many factors. They may include processing and heat treatment methods.

4-1018 and 4140 Steel: Which One to Choose?

4-1018 and 4140 Steel-- Which One to Choose

1018 and 4140 steel are widely used in industries throughout the world to manufacture desired components. The properties of these metals make them suitable for various types of applications. For example, 1018 steel has less hardness, toughness, and corrosion resistance than 4140 steel.

But it is the perfect option for the welding process, and it does not require any treatments to undergo the welding process, like the 4140 steel that needs pre-heating and post-heating treatments.

1018 steel is also an ideal choice for those parts that demand cold forming. Manufacturing carburized parts such as tool holders, gears, spindles, fasteners, etc. Moreover, it is also can meet the requirements for mechanical uses. 

To fabricate high-strength forging, you can opt for 4140 steel, as it has high strength and hardness, but to manufacture corrosion-resistant parts, go for the 4140 steel. It offers much higher corrosion resistance to the elements than the 1018 steel.

This steel is specifically shown for applications in the automotive industry because of the demand for greater strength and hardness. These components include fixtures, jigs, bolts, shafts, etc.

If you choose steel for your specific applications, initially check its properties. Choose the one with appropriate properties for your application to achieve desirable results. Choosing the wrong one can result in both money and time waste. Get in touch with us to select the best material option for you.

5-1018 and 4140 Steel: Which One is Cheaper?

5-1018 and 4140 Steel- Which One is Cheaper

As discussed earlier, 1018 steel is among the cheapest steel alloys to manufacture a wide range of products. It is more affordable than the 4140 steel. 4140 steel properties are different than 1018 steel as it is expensive, but the components manufactured with this steel are more durable than those made using 1018 steel.

6-Kemal: Manufacturing Metal Parts and Prototypes for You

Kemal is among the top-ranked manufacturing companies in the world through effective machining processes.

We are manufacturing a wide range of high-quality and durable metal components and prototypes to make your business wider and more successful. We are using specific types of metals for manufacturing various parts to function in a particular manner.

Our manufactured prototypes can save you money and time by helping you manufacture the same final components. We are offering excellent customer service so you can get timely responses. We assure you to deliver all ordered products at mentioned times. Our products are reasonably priced to help you run your business.


We know that 1018 and 4140 steel are largely used in manufacturing industries. Choosing an appropriate steel alloy can be tough for manufacturing a specific component. But the right one can provide you with long-term benefits. You can use 1018 steel to manufacture parts that need less hardness, strength, and low electrical conductivity.

In contrast, if you are manufacturing parts that need greater hardness, high durability, higher electrical conductivity, and high corrosion resistance, then 4140 steel is the perfect option. In short, selecting the right metal or materials to manufacture specific parts ensures the long-term functioning of those parts.

Put your parts into production today

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