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Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchen: In-Depth Guide & 5 Best Brands

By Daniel Cdebaca

October 24, 2022

Picture this… You get a brand new outdoor kitchen.

It looks sleek and modern… And it’s clean and shiny.

The cabinets and appliances match perfectly… And everything just looks good.

If that image resonates with you… You might be looking for a stainless steel outdoor kitchen.

While we can’t blame you… There are a few things to consider before you dive in.

First things first, let’s get the basics out of the way. What is stainless steel?

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stainless steel modular outdoor kitchen

What Is Stainless Steel?

sheets of stainless steel used to build an outdoor kitchen

We won’t bore you with too many details… But an outdoor kitchen is a huge investment, so you want to know what you’re getting!

Stainless steel is, by definition, an alloy of iron… So it will always include iron, and will have different combinations of other elements.

It’s infinitely recyclable… And is just a good material all-around.

It’s resistant to rust and corrosion… And it can be used in all kinds of different appliances, as well as the surface of your outdoor kitchen cabinets.

At the end of the day… Stainless steel is any steel that contains at least 10.5% chromium and less than 1.2% carbon and other alloying elements.

You can make it more resistant to corrosion by adding other elements in, such as nickel, molybdenum, titanium, niobium, and manganese.

This gives you different grades of stainless steel. We’ll go over some of the more common ones in outdoor kitchens!

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Common Grades of Stainless Steel in Outdoor Kitchens

There’s a common misconception that stainless steel can’t rust, discolor, or corrode… But that simply isn’t the case!

However, there is a way to help prevent this from happening.

Choosing a high-quality grade of stainless steel may be more expensive… But it will keep your stainless steel outdoor kitchen looking (and working) great for longer… And increase its resistance to rust, discoloration, and corrosion.

This is all determined by how much of each element can be found within the stainless steel.

Whether you want your outdoor kitchen cabinets to be completely made of stainless steel… Or if you plan to use stainless steel appliances like access doors, built-in grills, and more… Here are some of the most common grades you’ll run into!

430 Stainless Steel

430 stainless steel is one of the least expensive grades of stainless steel available in outdoor kitchen materials.

It contains no nickel at all… And is weak.

It rusts and corrodes quickly when outside.

On top of that, many cheaper grills and cabinets use thin sheets of 430 stainless steel. This may cause stress fractures, as well!

You’ll be hard pressed to find an outside kitchen that lists 430 stainless steel as a material… But when an outdoor kitchen doesn’t specify the grade of stainless steel, it is frequently 430.

economy grill cart made with 430 stainless steel

201 Stainless Steel

lynx linear outdoor kitchen on deck

201 stainless steel was created to combat rising nickel prices.

It has a low nickel content… And is quite inexpensive because of this.

However, this also means that it is highly susceptible to corrosion.

Despite this downfall, it is fairly durable overall. It especially shines during harsh winter weather.

This is most commonly found in access doors and other appliances… Like the Lynx Sedona grill!

It isn’t common in outdoor kitchen cabinets… But unspecified grades of cabinets may use 201.

This will be more durable than 430 stainless steel… But we wouldn’t recommend it, regardless.

443 Stainless Steel

people grilling on a summerset sizzler series grill

443 stainless steel is the next step up from 430 and 201 stainless steel!

This is a newer stainless steel grade that is gaining popularity.

This grade contains a lot of titanium and chromium… Which makes it more rust and corrosion resistant.

It is fairly common in appliances… And is mostly used in moderately-priced grills and other appliances like the Sizzler grill from Summerset.

There aren’t many outdoor kitchen cabinets made from 443… But any unspecified stainless steel grade outdoor kitchen cabinets could be made of 443.

This is a good grade… But we would recommend holding out for 304 stainless steel instead.

304 Stainless Steel

man cooking on a kitchenaid stainless steel grill

We’ll start off by saying it… 304 is our top recommendation for stainless steel!

While it can still rust or corrode… It has a superior resistance.

It holds up well, even in humid regions!

The mix is made up of 18% chromium, between 8% and 10% nickel, and a maximum carbon level of 0.008%.

It has more nickel than most other grades of stainless steel… Which also makes it more expensive. However, this is why it is so resistant to corrosion!

Most high-quality stainless steel outdoor kitchen cabinets are made from 304.

For example, you’ll find it in Kitchenaid’s stainless steel island.

316 Stainless Steel

While 304 stainless steel is a great choice for most environments… 316 stainless steel is a perfect choice for coastal areas like Tampa, Florida.

The salty air and humidity can be hard on stainless steel… But 316 is about as tough as it gets.

It has even more nickel and chromium than 304… So it is even more durable.

It is also more expensive than 304… So which is more cost effective will depend on your climate.

304 is a great choice for most situations… But it may be worth it for you to splurge on 316. In most situations, 316 may be overkill though.

Regardless of what grade you choose… There are a few different finish options for you to choose from!

Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchen Finish Options

Even among the same grade of stainless steel… Outdoor kitchen metal cabinets may not all look the same!

The finish will determine how shiny and rough the surface feels.

Polished Stainless Steel

Polished stainless steel is shiny and smooth to the touch.

It may reflect sunlight in your eyes… But it will gather less dirt since there are no crevices for it to get stuck in. This may cause less damage to the surface over time.

On top of this, it may also get hot in the sun.

It is also easy to wipe clean!

polished stainless steel

Brushed Stainless Steel

Brushed stainless steel has a dull matte sheen. It won’t reflect as much light as polished stainless steel.

This look is from being polished with a fine bristle brush on a belt or wheel. This brush moves in one direction… So you’ll see fine lines on it that all run in the same direction.

This may make it slightly less resistant to corrosion.

Just like polished stainless steel… It may also get hot. If you choose either of these options, you’ll want to consider an outdoor kitchen roof to keep things cool.

brushed stainless steel

Powder-Coated Stainless Steel

Your final finish option is powder-coated stainless steel.

A powder coating will make your cabinets look more like the ones you might find in an indoor kitchen.

It is applied as a dry powder on your stainless steel… And can protect it from rust and corrosion.

While many powder-coated stainless steel options will be made from a lower grade of stainless steel… The coating will protect it from the elements.

However, if the coating chips, it can cause issues. It will start to peel off in flakes and leave the stainless steel underneath unprotected.

This is difficult to fix.

You’ll just want to be careful if you choose this finish.

Despite the downsides, it is easy to maintain and clean, and it won’t shine in your eyes or get too hot.

So now that you know your options… What are the benefits of a stainless steel outdoor kitchen? Why should you consider purchasing one?

Benefits of a Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchen

image of a stainless steel newage outdoor kitchen cabinet system

PROS

  1. If you’re set on getting a metal outdoor kitchen, a high grade stainless steel will be a very durable option compared to aluminum
  2. Stainless steel is lighter than other outdoor kitchen material options, so it is light on decks.
  3. It is easy to manufacture, so it may be more readily available if you purchase a standard configuration (as opposed to most custom outdoor kitchens).
  4. It is easy to maintain, especially if you choose a power-coated finish.
  5. Brushed and polished stainless steel has a modern appearance that looks especially good in urban areas like roof decks.
  6. Powder-coated stainless steel has a matte finish that can come in different colors and fit a variety of aesthetics.

Clearly, there are some fantastic advantages to a stainless steel outdoor kitchen!

But what are the disadvantages?

Downsides of a Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchen

prefab outdoor kitchen frames rusting

Cons

  1. Brushed and polished stainless steel cabinets and counter space will get extremely hot.
  2. Polished stainless steel cabinets are extremely reflective.
  3. The modern aesthetic of a stainless steel outdoor kitchen might not fit most backyard themes. It is industrial and polarizing.
  4. A common misconception is that stainless steel won’t rust, but this isn’t true. Stainless steel is just more resistant than most other metals.
  5. It is vulnerable to spotting, rust, and corrosion in coastal environments… Purchasing 316 will help, which is more expensive.
  6. Although they are easy to clean, brushed and polished stainless steel cabinets show fingerprints and grease.
  7. Stainless steel is susceptible to dents and scratches.
  8. Powder-coating may peel and leave the stainless steel underneath susceptible to rust and corrosion.

As you can see… There are both pros and cons to a stainless steel outdoor kitchen.

Picking the best finish and grade of stainless steel for you may help mitigate some of the downsides… So that you can fully enjoy the benefits!

If you’re still sold on a stainless steel outdoor kitchen… The next step is finding a reputable brand!

Durable Outdoor Kitchens

We can help you create a modern outdoor kitchen that is just as durable. Use our free 3D design tool to get started today!

Best Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets Brands

When you’re trying to find the metal outdoor kitchen cabinets of your dreams… You don’t want to slog through pages and pages of Google!

Here are a few brands that sell outdoor kitchen stainless steel cabinets.

Newage Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchens

a newage stainless steel cabinet system under a pergola

Newage products are consistently high-quality. Their brushed stainless steel outdoor kitchen cabinets are no exception to this!

NewAge’s Classic line of cabinets are made from 304 stainless steel… A great grade!

They have soft-close hardware… So you won’t have to worry about slamming NewAge’s Classic stainless steel outdoor kitchen doors and drawers.

They also have adjustable shelves… And come with either a fully stainless steel look or a “grove” wood covering for the cabinets.

They’re modular outdoor kitchens… Which means that you can purchase each section of the outdoor kitchen separately.

This allows you to pick and choose the best stainless steel outdoor kitchen components (like an outdoor kitchen sink cabinet or more outdoor kitchen storage) for your outdoor living needs and space.

Alternatively, you could select a pre-made set.

Most of their sets will start at about $3,500… But you can find sets as high as about $12,500.

Danver Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchens

danvers l shaped outdoor kitchen

Danver offers a wide selection of outdoor kitchen grill cabinets.

These are also modular outdoor kitchens… So you can mix and match any of their stainless steel outdoor kitchen units.

They use polished 304 stainless steel… Or you can upgrade to 316 if you want extra protection!

They’re both weather-resistant… But 316 may be a better choice if you live in a coastal area.

You can also add a powder coating for even more weather resistance. They have over 50 different color options!

You’ll enjoy the soft-close drawers and magnetic door closures.

Danver requests that you call for price information.

John Michael Kitchens’ Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchens

John Michael Kitchens  uses 316 marine-grade stainless steel for their outdoor kitchen cabinetry.

They offer polished stainless steel outdoor cooking drawer combos… Or powder-coating in 40 different colors.

Their weather-resistant cabinet sets have waterproof gaskets. These seal all outdoor kitchen doors, drawers, and cabinets to keep the interiors safe.

You’ll also have the opportunity to work with a designer to create the perfect custom design for your outdoor space.

For pricing information… You’ll have to call the support team at John Michael Kitchens.

4Life Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchens

4Life Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchen

4Life  is another modular outdoor kitchen option.

Their designs are all 304 stainless steel… From the storage cabinets, countertops, to the door cabinets!

These outdoor stainless steel kitchen units come with your choice of white or gray powder coating.

Your charcoal or gas grill will have to be bought separately.

Their prices start at about $2,500… And go up to about $7,500.

Kalamazoo Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchens

kalamazoo l shaped outdoor kitchen

Kalamazoo modular outdoor kitchens have a beautiful polished stainless steel finish.

They come in 304 stainless steel… But can be upgraded to 316 marine-grade stainless steel if you’d prefer.

These modules come standard in a polished steel or wood-like finish. Kalamazoo also claims that there are over 200 custom powder coated finish options… So the sky’s the limit if you so choose!

Every stainless steel door and drawer is surrounded by a seamless rain gutter.

These protect the insides of their outdoor storage drawers against rain and debris.

Along with storage space, double drawers, outdoor grills, kamado smokers, sinks and faucets, and other BBQ island essentials… Kalamazoo also offers 25 different refrigeration units.

These range from outdoor refrigerators, to beverage centers and outdoor ice makers… To wine chillers and keg tappers.

Most of their modular cabinets cost between $2,000 and $8,000 each. How much the final product costs will depend on how many and which ones you buy.

From NewAge to Kalamazoo… Any of these brands would make a fantastic product.

You’ll just want to do your own research to determine which is best for you.

However… If the downsides are still weighing on your mind, you might want to consider an alternative.

An Alternative to a Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchen

covered linear outdoor kitchen on deck with kitchen table and chairs

If you’re starting to question whether or not a stainless steel outdoor kitchen is the right choice for you… That’s okay!

That’s what research is for.

Maybe you’re not feeling the heat and shine of polished stainless steel… Or you don’t want to have to deal with the repercussions if your powder coating starts to peel off of your outdoor kitchen drawers.

Or perhaps the thought of denting and scratching just doesn’t appeal to you…

So let’s find something that captures the benefits… And drops the cons!

If you were drawn to a stainless steel outdoor kitchen for the modern aesthetic, durability, and the ease of maintenance… We would recommend an RTA outdoor kitchen.

These durable outdoor kitchens are made of concrete… But can be made to look like stacked stone, reclaimed brick, weathered wood, modern concrete, or planking instead!

Since blacks, whites, browns, and grays are popular in outdoor kitchen design… People are drawn to the modern colors offered! On top of that, the choice of clean lines or natural ruggedness both have a very sharp look.

And if you’re still craving stainless steel… Don’t worry!

The Coyote appliances and built-in grill will all be made out of long-lasting, polished stainless steel.

If you’re questioning stainless steel… This is the next best thing (and we would say even better)!

How to Get Your Own Modern Outdoor Kitchen

modern outdoor kitchen

You want something that doesn’t get hot like metal… Is more durable than stainless steel… And is easier to clean?

We have the solution!

Like we discussed before… RTA might be calling your name.

Your outdoor kitchen appliances will still be 304 stainless steel… From the BBQ grill, to the side burner, kitchen sink, and trash can door!

Every part of your new backyard oasis will be built-to-last… And you’ll get a variety of different color options.

Natural gas or propane… Double access door or single… Every last detail is up to you!

And of course, we stand behind our work! They all come with a lifetime warranty.

If you’d like to look into one of these outdoor kitchens, learn more about what we offer, or research outdoor kitchens in general… Visit our Learning Hub!

We have information on everything from the best materials for an outdoor kitchen to how to set up your outdoor kitchen utilities… And so much more!

Happy exploring!

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Q&A

Stainless steel is a common outdoor kitchen material. Depending on the grade of stainless steel, it can be quite durable. It won’t warp or rot like wood might. However, it is still prone to dents and scratches. While resistant, it can still rust and corrode if it is not kept clean. It also gets very hot to the touch, and polished stainless steel is highly reflective. It can be difficult to keep clean on top of this. Powder-coated stainless steel has a protective layer on top, so it won’t get as hot or reflect the sun into your eyes.

You can absolutely use steel cabinets outdoors! Stainless steel outdoor kitchen cabinets are a popular choice for their industrial aesthetic. They won’t warp or rot like wood, and they are more resistant to rust and corrosion than many other popular metals. However, they also come with some downsides.

Stainless steel countertops have a modern, industrial look. They are easy to maintain. However, they also get very hot in direct sunlight, and can reflect light into your eyes. They can also rust over time, and are vulnerable to scratches.

Stainless steel outdoor kitchens are very easy to disinfect, so you never have to worry about odors or bacteria getting caught in crevices. They also have a sleek, modern look and won’t rot or warp like wood might.

Stainless steel is an expensive material that gets dirty quickly and can dent or scratch fairly easily. Contrary to popular belief, it can rust and corrode over time.

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