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Both 1018 and 1020 steel are frequently purchased steel grades, many questions come up between the differences in 1018 and A36 steel particularly in the chemical makeup and the mechanical properties of the two different steel grades. We thought it would be best to provide a comparison for A36 and 1018 steel that outlines those key differences.

1018 Steel

Like most steel grades, 1018 can be made in cold drawn or hot rolled forms. Although we provided information in both the cold drawn and hot rolled forms, 1018 is typically purchased in its cold drawn form. Because mechanical properties will change with different manufacturing processes, we’ll use numbers for cold drawn 1018 grade steel. 1018 comes in many different sizes and shapes based on the purpose and use for the steel including squares, hexagons, rounds and flats.

1020 Steel

1020 steel is a lesser manufactured grade of steel than 1018 steel, and many not be as readily available as 1018. Like 1018, it can come in both hot rolled or cold drawn forms, but it is typically produced as cold drawn. It comes in many different bar shapes including squares, rounds, rectangles, and is also often manufactured into channels, angles, I-Beams and H-Beams. It is also commonly produced as a steel plate product.

Chemical Properties

As you can see below, chemically 1020 and 1018 are very similar, aside from higher concentrations of manganese in 1018.

  1018 1020
Iron, Fe 98.81-99.26% 99.08-99.53
Carbon, C 0.18% 0.20%
Manganese, Mn 0.6-0.9% 0.30-0.60%
Phosphorus, P (max) 0.04% 0.04%
Sulfur, S (max) 0.05% 0.05%

Mechanical Properties

Whether steel is hot rolled or cold drawn has a significant impact on the mechanical properties. That is why we outlined them both separately.

Hot Rolled

  1018 1020
Tensile Strength 58,000 psi 55,000 psi
Yield Strength 32,000 psi 30,000 psi
Elongation (2″) 25% 25%
Reduction in Area 50% 50%
Brinell Hardness 116 111

Cold Drawn

  1018 1020
Tensile Strength 64,000 psi 61,000 psi
Yield Strength 54,000 psi 51,000 psi
Elongation (2″) 15% 15%
Reduction in Area 40% 40%
Brinell Hardness 126 121


Both 1018 and 1020 grade steel can be made in their cold drawn or hot rolled forms, however most 1020 steel comes in a turned and polished or cold drawn condition. In its cold drawn state, 1020 has high machinability and is a preferred steel grade for many manufacturers. 1018 steel is used over 1020 for applications that require machining, as it responds to machining fairly well. 1018 is most commonly used in high volume screw machine parts including shafts, spindels, pins and rods.