The Best Hot-Rolled Steel Grades: Top 3 Picks


Learn about the 3 best hot-rolled steel grades. Check their properties, chemical composition, and applications.

What Is the Best Hot-Rolled Steel Grade?

Steel is an alloy that comprises the two primary elements – iron (up to 99%) and carbon. It exhibits sufficient strength, ductility, toughness, and hardness.

But what if you need all these properties at an affordable price? This is where hot-rolled steel comes in.

However, steel might contain many more elements in different concentrations besides iron and carbon, which constitute its grade. It implies a question: What is the best hot-rolled steel grade? Keep reading to find this out.

Hot Rolled Steel Material Properties: The 3 Best Steel Grades

Hot rolled steel is the most used type of steel in construction, engineering, automotive, railroad, and other industries. It implies that a hot-rolled steel sheet should have the following properties:

  • High strength, toughness, ductility, and formability.
  • Good machinability.
  • Affordable cost as the above-mentioned sectors require high volumes of metal.

The following steel grades meet these requirements to the fullest.


ASTM A36 is a high-demand steel grade for hot-rolled metal. It contains the following elements:

Carbon (C)Manganese (Mn)Copper (Cu)Phosphorus (P)Sulfur (S)Silicon (Si)
0.25 – 0.29%1.03%0.20%0.04%0.05%0.28%

This steel has good mechanical properties. It has a yield strength of 250 MPa or 36,000 psi. The ultimate tensile strength equals 400-550 MPa or 58,000 – 79,800 psi. A36 is also ductile and measures 119-159 on the Brinell hardness scale.


  • Excellent workability. Due to its low carbon content, this steel is easy to bend, cut, drill, and grind.
  • Superior weldability – all welding methods apply. Plus, it gives straight and firm welds.
  • Low price.
  • It’s not the easiest to work with – other steel grades have better machinability.
  • It has lower tensile strength compared to more expensive steel grades.

Application of A36 Hot-Rolled Steel

ASTM A36 is ideal for heavy-duty applications – welded constructions, buildings, bridges, machinery equipment, automotive parts, and so on.

If you need cheap and durable metal sheets beams, and other products, you can check A36 and many more hot-rolled steel grades at: 

S460ML Hot-Rolled Steel

S460ML is a high-class low-carbon structural steel that contains plenty of elements:

Carbon (C)Aluminum (Al)Manganese (Mn)Phosphorus (P)Sulfur (S)Nickel (Ni)Chromium (Cr)
Vanadium (V)Titanium (Ti)Copper (Cu)Nitrogen (N)Silicon (Si)Molybdenum(Mo)Niobium (Nb)

This chemical composition provides outstanding workability and mechanical properties. The number 460 stands for yield strength of 460 MPa or 66,717.4 psi.

An S460ML hot-rolled steel plate exhibits a tensile strength of 720 MPa or 104,427 psi. It’s one of the highest values in the market. As for hardness, S460ML measures 180 on the Brinell hardness scale, which is ideal for metal structures.


  • Excellent weldability. S460ML can be welded using all known welding methods and forms smooth and firm joints. On top of that, S460ML steel constructions need fewer welds due to superior strength encapsulated in tight dimensions and low weight.
  • Sufficient workability. This steel has low carbon content, and you can grind, drill, bend, and polish it without much effort.
  • Cost-efficiency. S460ML allows reducing the total weight of buildings and other structures by 15-30%, keeping the constructions costs low.

Application of S460ML Hot-Rolled Steel Grade

S460ML finds application in:

  • Protective enclosures, support structures, buildings, bridges.
  • Pipes, ventilation systems, pressure vessels, road tankers.

S960MC Structural Hot Rolled Steel

S960MC is a high-strength structural hot-rolled steel with the following chemical composition:

Carbon (C)Manganese (Mn)Silicon (Si)Phosphorus (P)Aluminum (Al)Sulfur (S)Titanium (Ti)Vanadium (V)Niobium (Nb)

S960MC is among the strongest steels in the market, exhibiting a minimum yield strength equal to 960 MPa or 139,236 psi. So it’s 3.8 times stronger than the A36 steel. As for tensile strength, S960MC can withstand 1,010 – 1,250 MPa or 146,488.1 – 181,297.2 psi.


  • Excellent surface quality.
  • Outstanding formability, workability, and weldability. You can shape and process S960MC steel sheets however you want and join them using all welding methods.
  • Reduced construction costs due to high strength and low weight.

Applications of S960MC

S960MC is the best choice for projects where high strength is essential. These are:

  • Lifting equipment, like elevators and cranes.
  • Heavy machinery parts and tools.
  • Automotive products, like parts of trucks and cars.
  • Agricultural equipment and its components.

Final Thoughts

Hot rolled steel is the best material for heavy-duty and construction metal projects, and A36, S460ML, and S960MC hot-rolled steel grades fulfill these purposes to the fullest.

These steel grades provide a balanced combination of mechanical properties and machinability for all budgets. A36 is the cheapest and most used one, but it is softer than S960MC or S460ML.

The remaining two come at a higher price but demonstrate superior strength and preserve excellent machinability characteristics. So if you need hot rolled metal, these steel grades will satisfy your needs above and beyond.