Types of Stainless Steel Grilles

Commercial HVAC Parts are Tough and Specially Designed for Unique Environments

No commercial HVAC system is complete without specialty stainless steel grilles that are perfectly designed to supply and extract air without deflection, are easy to clean, and are aesthetically appropriate for the environment.

Stainless steel is the obvious choice for difficult environments that must remain clean or those with high traffic. Stainless steel won’t rust, so there’s no risk of corrosion affecting grille function or a change in appearance over time.

Depending on where you need to install these grilles, the type of building where you’re installing them, and the function you expect from them, you’ll need specific types of HVAC grilles. Let’s take a look at each type of grille to understand what they can do.

Note that grilles are not the same as diffusers, which intentionally direct airflow, and that grilles and ductwork are only used with forced-air systems. Radiant heat, for example, does not require these elements.

Stainless Steel Supply Grilles

Supply grilles are unique in that they are designed to allow the user to direct airflow by adjusting the louvres on their fronts.

Supply grilles only provide directional airflow control, however, because they’re covering the supply vent that is truly responsible for pumping air into a room.

Stainless Steel Hinged Filter Grilles
When you need clean air, your building needs filter grilles. These grilles are designed to cover air filters (and sometimes to disguise other mechanical equipment) so that air can pass through the filter. 

Adding a hinge to a filter grille simply makes it much easier to replace the air filter. Because the grille cover swings on a hinge, your maintenance team doesn’t require the use of additional tools to get the job done. Simply open the grille, replace the filter, and move on with other tasks.

Note that the filter is not built into the grille; it is simply designed to cover the filter so that it is not visible within your HVAC system.

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Stainless Steel Return Grilles

Return grilles come in a variety of designs, with face bars, louvres, or perforated fronts. This grill connects to your building’s ductwork to allow air to return to your heating or cooling system. Return grilles also can regulate the flow of air. 

Because a return grille isn’t designed to direct air like a diffuser, the bars or louvres are generally fixed in place. Fixed bars also obstruct one’s view of the ductwork interior, so these return grilles are performing multiple duties for temperature control and aesthetics.

Stainless Steel Bar Grilles

A bar grille is used in atriums and pools, and for other heavy-duty or decorative purposes. These grilles come in a variety of frame configurations to suit the look of a building’s interior.

A bar grille’s job is simple: cover the air vents to allow for proper ventilation, while blending into the room’s design. Those made of stainless steel perform better in industrial or humid environments than those made of metals that are prone to corrosion.

Architectural Grilles

Much like a bar grille, the job of an architectural grille is to allow air to pass from the air vent into a room. The biggest difference is that architectural grilles are often designed with decorative patterns or designs to complement the overall look of a space.

Architectural grilles are often found in buildings in which aesthetics are important, such as corporate offices, wedding venues, and more. These grilles can be custom-made to mirror other design choices, such as wallpaper, ceiling medallions, and more.


Stainless Steel Door Grilles

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Door grilles are essentially metal grates that are inset into an interior door. They allow air movement between rooms, even when the door is closed.

Sometimes they are called privacy grilles because they enable the use of a closed door without impeding air circulation between spaces. In housing, you may see these grilles in use on doors that close off HVAC equipment in a small room or closet. Generally, they have fixed louvres to obstruct views into or out of a room.

Door grilles operate on a simple concept, but they’re vitally important for functional, healthy HVAC systems.

Shopping for Grilles

If you’re planning to upgrade your home or business’s HVAC grilles, you have a lot to consider! Your decisions can vastly affect the price of the upgrade and the overall look of the building’s interior. Although grilles don’t perform air diffusion functions, the right grille is still necessary for a healthy HVAC system.

You might think about:

  • Matching grille type to the vent’s function. Despite their similar purposes, grilles are not necessarily interchangeable.
  • Price. Custom-built grilles will cost significantly more than buying off-the-shelf.
  • Material. If you’re using your grilles in humid or commercial environments, purchasing rust-resistant ones is a smart choice. Even in residential settings, stainless steel can improve the overall look of your home.
  • Building purpose. Clean rooms or other buildings that require careful disinfection or sanitary environments will need carefully-selected grilles for a more complex HVAC and filtration system.