Stainless Steel Appliances are Not Magnetic

September 1, 2010 at 5:00 am 6 comments

By Kaye Nemec

Stainless steel appliances look great and are very popular. However, you may upgrade without realizing that your magnet will no longer stick to the front of these appliances.

Stainless steel is a general name for a steel alloy that gets mixed with other metals. Because of the various mixtures, some stainless steel products have magnetic properties and some do not.  The metal used for stainless steel appliances typically has a higher level of chromium added to it because chromium gives the steel its durable, stain-resistant properties. Chromium is not the only additive that reduces the alloys magnetic property, the nickel that is added to the steel destroys the metal’s natural magnetic properties.

Nickel is typically added to the stainless steel mixture in order to help enhance the qualities of the chromium and to make the stainless steel even more durable. But, the nickel prevents your appliances from holding your magnets.

Like everything else, there are exceptions to the rule. There are a few appliances that have a thin sheet of stainless over a magnetic metal, allowing these appliances to hold magnets. There are also appliances that simply give the allusion of being stainless steel but are actually made of titanium or painted silver metallic. These faux stainless appliances are still magnetic. If you’re in the market for new appliances, take some magnets shopping with you and test out your future purchase.

Here are some ways you can stick things to your non-magnetic appliances:

  1. If the sides of your stainless steel fridge are exposed try hanging your magnets there. Most appliances are magnetic on the sides even if they’re not on the front.
  2. Use suction cups, putty and other replacements.
  3. Hang a magnetic whiteboard.
  4. Order a Choopa Board suction mounted magnetic stainless panel for your appliance.

Magnetic paint is another option. You could paint a small section of a wall where it’s most useful, even in kids rooms. Magnetic paint is available at many hardware stores.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dot  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    OMG – I’m glad I have an old-fashioned white refrigerator – it is completely covered with magnets – I would be heartbroken if I couldn’t decorate my fridge with magnets – Thanks for this great info (not that I had any plans to upgrade to SS)

  • 2. Erin  |  September 1, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    I lived in an apartment that had a non magnetic fridge and it was initially pretty sad. Our solution was using Dry erase markers to leave messages and ‘decorate’. Anyone who came to visit loved to leave their mark on the fridge.

  • 3. Mary Beth  |  February 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Did you ever hear of paper and pen – leave a note on the counter or by the phone, for heavens sake; why must you deface your refrigerator?

  • 4. Bill Kennedy  |  May 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    FYI, nickel is, in fact, a magnetic material. Titanium is not.

    • 5. Phil  |  August 19, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      Really? Nickel is magnetic? Try sticking a nickel to a magnet and let me know if you still think that. This article is very limited in information. There are 2 general types of stainless steels, 300 series and 400 series. I used to manufacture custom surgical instruments. 400 series is magnetic and is much more durable and hard than 300 series. 300 series however is much more “stainless” in that is has a lower carbon content which makes it softer and it has a higher chromium content which protects against corrosion. FYI stainless is only stainless because of the chrome. If the chrome content is high enough it forms a protective chrome skin over the metal and the higher the chromium the stronger this barrier is. Surgical instruments use both 300 and 400 just like appliances do. Since this is an indoor appliance it should use 400 since it is tougher and will resist scratches more. With an outdoor grill though you would want 300 series to prevent rust. My main point here is that if you find a fridge that is not magnetic DO NOT assume it is painted or cheap, find out what it is because while it may not be magnetic it may be the higher end 300 series which will not rust or tarnish and that may be more important to you.

  • 6. Charles Johnson  |  November 19, 2017 at 9:44 am

    The 400 series of stainless is drawn to a magnet. Generally 12% chrome or higher is considered stainless. Cheap silverware and 6″ metal rulers are generally 400 series and stainless.


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