Stainless steel refers to a type of steel. Brushed steel refers to the finish of steel--so stainless steel can have a brushed finish.
Stainless Steel Versus Brushed Steel
Steel is a metal. It is an alloy of the elements iron and carbon. It typically contains less than 2 percent carbon, and may have some manganese and other elements. Stainless steel's primary alloying element is chromium. It contains between 12 to 30 percent chromium and may contain some nickel. Stainless steel is used to make many items, such as flatware, utensils, automobile parts, jewelry and restaurant and hospital equipment.
Some stainless steel goes through a finishing grinding and polishing process. Coatings can also be applied, such as electroplating and galvanizing coatings. Stainless steel can have a very shiny mirror-like finish. Some stainless steel can have a brushed finish, which gives the surface a non-reflective dull surface, as if brushed by a fine-bristled brush. The brushed steel finish is produced by applying friction to the surface of the metal.