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18/10 vs. 18/8 and 18/0 stainless steel for flatware and pots & pans


Ed note: Entries are not all in chronological order as we have grouped together some postings on related themes.

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Q. Which metal is more durable: 18/10 or 18/8 stainless steel? I am considering purchasing some flatware that is 18/8 stainless, and wonder how strong it will be.

Thanks,

H Dawson
homemaker - Dallas, Texas


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A. Previously on another Internet forum:

Question
I would like to know about stainless steel , specifically which is stronger and will last longer 18/10 or 18/8. which would make a heavier weight flatware ? I can't find these answers anywhere. thank you so much.

Answer
Hello Shelly! Let me start with a few basics, OK? The 18/8 and 18/10 designations are older terms, and refer to the amount of chromium and nickel alloyed with the iron, to comprise the stainless steel. The 18/8 name has been pretty much replaced, in the States at least, by several other designations. 301 stainless steel has 16-18% Cr, and 6-8% Ni 302 stainless steel has 17-19% Cr, and 8-10% Ni 304 stainless steel has 18-20% Cr, and 8-10.5% Ni. That may explain your difficulty in finding information on these alloys. Similarly, 18/10 is usually referred to as 316 stainless steel, with 16-18% Cr, 10-14% Ni, and also 2-3% molybdenum, which greatly increases the resistance to pitting corrosion in seawater. Good stuff, that moly.

Now the mechanical properties these 300 series stainless steels are all the same! In the annealed condition, they are all listed at 75 ksi tensile strength, 30 ksi yield strength. The slight difference in Cr and Ni isn't enough to cause a difference in the strength by themselves. These alloys can be made harder, however, by cold working, i.e. rolling or drawing through a die or extruding through a die or some other such process which will deform the metal, while it is at most a few hundred degrees F. Here, too, the mechanical properties are the same: half-hard stock, for example, has 150 ksi tensile, 110 ksi yield strength, no matter if it is 301, 302, 304, 316, etc.

The difference is in the corrosion resistance (which I assume you're not interested in, since all will be fine for flatware) and in the ductility. A lower alloyed 301 has more ductility when work hardened than the higher alloyed 316. So after you stamp out your quarter hard sheet into forks, you can bend one of the tines more often, or farther, if it is of 301 rather than if it is made of 304 or 316, before it will crack. The weight of the flatware will depend on geometry, since the densities of the stainless steel grades are identical, for practical purposes. Iron, chromium, and nickel all weigh about the same. A splendid source of information on stainless steels is the Nickel Development Institute, at www.nidi.org, which offers a lot of FREE literature they are glad to send. And please don't hesitate to ask here again! (Gosh, I hope I answered your question in all this rambling!) Take care!

Lee Gearhart
metallurgist
East Aurora, New York


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Q. Very informative answer. Now I'm wondering about 18/0. I've seen a number of flatware sets listed as such. Does the 0 indicate lower quality, less corrosion protection, what not?

Amanda Gdeleted
- Jetmore, Kansas


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A. Hi, Amanda.

Because nickel costs about $17 per pound, flatware which contains none would be less expensive than flatware which contains 8 or 10 percent nickel.

While 18/0 is not necessarily unsatisfactory (and some people who are concerned about nickel even feel it is better), it is more prone to rusting as it is not as corrosion resistant.

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

sidebar ++++++

Q. Is any grade better for one's health than another? I'm particularly interested in stainless steel cooking ware.

Clarissa Ddeleted
Social Worker - New Mexico


January 29, 2007

Q. Now that I understand about 18/8 and 18/10 - what about flatware that doesn't bend?

Laurie Bdeleted
- Wellsville, Utah


A. Hi, Clarissa. Sorry I have no answer except that all of these stainless steels are considered safe, and it seems to me that what your pot is made of is relatively inconsequential to your health compared to what is in the pot :-)

Hello, Laurie. That has much more to do with the dimensions (and consequently the weight) than the type of material. In this context the resistance to permanent bending is proportional to the second power of the thickness. As a slight simplification, flatware that is 40 percent thicker will be 40 percent heavier and twice as strong. So flatware, like produce, should be "heavy in the hand".

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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Q. Is it true that type 304 surgical stainless steel cookware will react on food while 316L will not? They said this kind of stainless steel (316L) is what surgeons use for hip, knee replacement and others.

I attended a cookware demonstration where they boiled water on each different cookware (aluminum, copper, stainless steel and 316L stainless steel) and put a teaspoon of baking soda and all the cookware has a yucky taste including the regular stainless steel except for the 316L, no reaction at all, why is that?

I've been surfing the internet, couldn't find the answer.

Gabriel Ddeleted
amateur - Dallas, Texas


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Q. I also have the same question. A lot of waterless cookwares are using 304 stainless steel and only SaladMaster is using 316L. Is 316L really a lot better than 304? I have heard that 304 has pores when heat up, but not 316L. Is it true?

Elena Au
- Irvine, California


A. Gabriel,
The demo you saw was no doubt carefully configured to show the seller's cookware in the best light. Still, 316L is more corrosion resistant, although probably no "safer", than the other stainless steels mentioned on this page.

Elena,
Although I doubt the "pores" theory per se, it is true that some stainless steel is electropolished rather than mechanically polished. When something is mechanically polished, under magnification it looks like a plowed field, whereas when electropolished the burrs are dissolved away, resulting in looking under magnification like ocean swells. 316L is a very good grade of stainless steel. It means type 316 (sometimes called 18/10) "L"ow carbon.

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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A. I have found a number of third-party sources that verify the superiority of 316 steel, versus lower grades of stainless steel on the market such as 304 and 18/8.

Here is some very interesting data on 316 steel, according to the Sandmeyer Steel Company:
http://www.sandmeyersteel.com/316-316L.html

Here is a quote from this page:

316 steel is used in the "manufacture and handling of certain food and pharmaceutical products where the molybdenum-containing stainless steels are often required in order to minimize metallic contamination."


Here is a website where I found that Pharmaceutical companies use 316 steel for purposes of high purity in their products:
http://www.arcmachines.com/appPages/weldspec02.html
Ed. note Dec 2013: that link is now broken

Here is a quote from this page:

"The Baseline series of PHARMACEUTICAL ENGINEERING GUIDES was developed by ISPE in cooperation with the FDA to establish a baseline approach to new and renovated facility design, construction commissioning and qualification. . . . discusses material selection for piping systems and recommends type 316L as the preferred steel for a High Purity Water generation and distribution system. "

I also have data from multiple Allegheny Ludlum metallurgical studies that demonstrates the differences between 304 steel and 316 steel.

Joseph Matthew Gleason
- Anna, Texas


September 20, 2012

Hi Joseph. Thanks. Yes, 316 is more corrosion resistant than 304, and yes, in limited circumstances (when welded) 316L is more corrosion resistant than type 316. But out-of-context quotes might add more confusion than clarification :-)

For example, the fact that 316L is used in manufacturing often has to do with the fact that machinery is welded, and 316L is a variation of 316 tailored specifically for welding; and cookware is not welded. And when they speak of "High Purity Water", they don't mean "clean" water, they mean mixed-bed de-ionized water, a very aggressive fluid used in manufacturing, that is never drunk.

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

November 16, 2008

A. OK, back to the original question -- what grade of stainless steel should I use for cooking utensils?

I work for a company that fabricates carbon steel and stainless steel piping systems for food processing plants, water treatment plants and industrial users. My job is to help with selecting the best (most cost-effective) materials for our customer's specific applications.

18-8 stainless steel -- now most often referred to as 304 or UNS S30400. -- Good, general purpose stainless steel. Used for some drinking water plants, petrochemical plants, lots of structural uses. If you want to make transit bus handrails, use 304. It's resistant to most chemicals, and won't pit or corrode from people's sweaty hands. Good for cooking utensils, but not as goods as 316.

18-10 stainless steel - now most often referred to as 302 or UNS S30200. About the same for food use as 18-8. Lots of good, inexpensive cookware is made with this alloy.

18-10MO - now most often referred to as 316 or UNS S31600. This is the alloy of choice for food processing equipment and applications requiring excellent corrosion resistance to most chemicals. 316 has 18% chrome, 10% nickel and 3% molybdenum. The molybdenum has a major effect on resisting acidic and chloride corrosion. Lots of foods are acidic -- tomato sauce is one that will pit 304 but not 316. Just about everything you cook has salt in it, and salt (especially sea salt) has high chloride levels.

However, most if this is irrelevant. Unless you're running a meat packing plant next to the ocean (and they all use 316), any of these grades of stainless will work just fine.

How to destroy stainless steel cookware:

> Use with plain steel items. In our plant, we carefully segregate stainless steel from plain carbon steel. All of our shelves are coated with plastic so the stainless steel never touches carbon steel. Having both types of steel in contact may cause the stainless steel to develop surface rust. Using stainless steel spatulas on cast iron frypans may cause rust marks to develop on the spatula. Don't use plain steel wool to clean your stainless steel pots -- use a Scotch-Brite pad or stainless steel wool.

> Let them soak for hours. Leaving your spaghetti sauce pot in the sink full of tomato-ey water is the perfect way to start pitting. Stagnant acidic water is the worst thing you can do. When we design tanks for food processing plants, we take special care to make sure the tanks can completely drain and there are no crevices to collect stagnant water.

Bottom line, any good-quality 18-8, 18-10, 302, 304 or 316 stainless cooking utensils will be head and shoulders beyond most of the other available materials. Teflon-coated pots chip and flake, glass breaks and discolours, copper tarnishes and often contains lead, strong detergents dissolve aluminum.

As for the SaladMaster demo, it's a trick. When the nice SaladMaster salespeople boil water in your pots and pans, you're comparing the results against the brand new, never-been-used SaladMaster pots they brought with and unwrapped in front of you. Your pots and pans have millions of microscopic surface cracks that may trap equally microscopic food particles. That's what you taste -- the boiling water and baking soda leaches out some of the food particles, causing the yucky taste. The brand new SaladMaster pots have never been used, so no food in THEIR microscopic cracks, so no taste.

Sheldon Jaffe
- Langley, B.C., Canada



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Q. My son struggles with metal toxins, and I am at a loss as to which brand of flatware would be the least toxin for him. He is now in a treatment program to detoxify his body of metal toxins, and I don't want to put toxins back into his system. I have read this and that about 316 steel etc, but I am still unsure as to what flatware to get. Please help by sharing a brand(s)of non-toxin quality flatware. Thanks so much!

Deborah Jan Evgenikos
- Placerville, California


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A. In answer To:

"My son struggles with metal toxins . . ."

Sterling silver would be your best choice,as there is no documented cases of allergies or toxic effects by silver. You may not be able to use a commercial polish to keep it clean looking.

Russ Goodrich
- Santa Clara, California

Ed. note: If unable to use commercial silver polish, then see letter 4785 for removing tarnish from silver with baking soda.


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Q. re:
"Sterling silver would be your best choice,as there is no documented cases of allergies or toxic effects by silver. You may not be able to use a commercial polish to keep it clean looking".

Can anyone tell me why there is no documented cases of allergies to this, when there is apparently nickel in sterling or most sterlings? I may have misunderstood though. Just wondering as I have a bad allergy to nickel. Seems the only cookware I do not have a reaction to is a 316L type.What should I use for flatware?

Linda Fischer
- Pt Alberni, B.C., Canada


September 19, 2007

A. I don't think that that is accurate, Linda. The usual alloying material in sterling silver is copper. But Silver plate or pure silver would probably be the least allergenic.

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

May 20, 2008

In answer To:

"My son struggles with metal toxins . . ."

The safest metal for your son to use would be titanium.
Titanium forms an oxide layer that is extremely inert and non-reactive. This is the reason titanium is one of the most commonly used metals for surgical implants.

Camping stores (such as REI) sell titanium forks and spoons.

Keith Savage
- Austin, Texas



January 1, 2008

Q. As I read through all the answers I got more confused! Which is the better flatware? Is more nickel better? heavier? pricier? I need high quality, pit and corrosion resistant, heavy flatware in my hand. What is the very best? Which should I buy if price is not a consideration only quality,durability and beautiful finish are the criteria? Help! I hate cheap flatware so much I can't eat with it, it literally hurts my hand!

Gail Robinson
buyer - Willimantic, Connecticut


January 11, 2008

A. Hi, Gail. Please read the replies slowly and ask for clarification on any specific points you didn't understand. Going in circles won't eliminate the confusion -- only makes it worse for the next reader :-)   

All stainless is about the same density and unit strength, but thicker flatware is heavier and stiffer. More nickel is more corrosion resistant, and more expensive. 316 (sometimes called 18/10) stainless steel is best, and 304 (sometimes called 18/8) is almost as good. But I don't think you can really select flatware on this basis, because there is more to the process of manufacturing good stainless steel than just the alloy composition. I think you can go only by the reputation of the maker and their guarantees.

Although I am a proponent of "Buy American", I believe that no stainless flatware is made in the USA^See entry of July 19, 2012 for update. It's almost all made in China today, and I have zero confidence in it or the companies selling it. If anybody knows of American-made place service, please pipe in.

I have little experience with Japanese flatware but, unlike so many American companies today, Japanese companies don't seem to engage in "meatball whoring" (the deceitful practice of selling their meatball/logo to any schlock outfit to slap on their low quality product in exchange for licensing fees) -- so I'd go Japanese over Chinese.

Yamazaki flatware

Based on what I can see, their lifetime guarantee, and customer reviews, my guess is that Yamakazi is one of the better flatwares today. If anyone has personal experience with it, please chime in; meanwhile we've linked to reviews on Amazon where the customers rated it "5-star".

Good luck.

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

P.S. -- Update Sept. 2012: We bought French-made Guy Degrenne stainless flatware from Williams-Sonoma last Christmas, and are happy with it.


May 5, 2008

! This is very helpful and informative reading. Thanks everyone. I am replacing my Reed & Barton 18/10 flatware after 11 years due to staining and pitting. Nothing last forever. And it look as though the standard is still 18/10 (316). Considering Oneida or Yamazaki...

Maureen Moylan
- Northridge, California


January 31, 2009

A. I just bought a set of Yamazaki and all I can say is that I think it is very important to have flatware that feels good in the hand, has a good weight and looks beautiful...and this brand delivers on all counts. It is marked 18/8 and "made in China", and while I don't know how it will wear, my initial impression is that it is well designed, well made, and that the company pays attention to quality. No small thing these days!

Rhonda Shaw
- Chappaqua, New York


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Q. Hi. I just came across a 21/0 stainless steel flatware which I am considering purchasing. According to what I've learned here, this signifies 21 percent chromium and 0 percent nickel. Is this better or worse, lighter or heavier than 18/10 stainless steel flatware? Thanks!

Beatrice Finkelstein
- Chicago, Illinois


January 31, 2008

Q. I am also curious about the 21/0 stainless steel flatware I see advertised. Is anyone able to offer an explanation on the durability or quality of 21/0?

Jacque Perry
- Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania


March 8, 2008

A. If you read between the lines, the key factor in the ratings is the amount of Nickel in the item. The Nickel is the metal that reduces the rust and pitting of the base metal, being Stainless Steel. Stainless Steel is a combined metal of steel, nickel, chromium, titanium and others. The SS rating also indicates a hardness, as 21 will be harder and stronger than 14, though less flexible, meaning it should last longer in use. The second number in the equation for flatware as in 18/10, being the 10, indicates the percentage of nickel being used. Most common ratings as in 18/8 - 18/10 are the basic and accepted range for flatware. A 21/0 therefore is a strong SS with minimal nickel content. Most of these utensils have been polished. With minimum nickel content, the polish will not hold up very long and will lend itself to staining long term.

Dell Wood
- Windsor, Ontario, Canada


April 13, 2008

Q. I would like to know if lead is ever used in making flatware. I am concerned because of China's deceptive use of lead in products.

Barbara McBroom
- Hillside, Illinois


April 14, 2008

A. Hi, Barbara. I can't see any reason a manufacturer would put lead into a stainless steel product. However, if you were talking silver plated flatware, there probably are some machinability advantages to making it from leaded brass.

That doesn't mean I personally believe there will be lead in a piece of silverplate, but based on the news, I'm making no promises on behalf of a Chinese manufacturer :-)

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

October 29, 2008

Q. Can you tell me if there is any aluminum in 18/8 stainless?

Thank you,

bjh

Barbara Hammar
- Corvallis, Oregon


A. Hi, Barbara. No, there is no aluminum in 18/8 stainless.

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

sidebar October 23, 2008

Q. Thanks for the interesting discussion. I want to buy a steam cleaner, and have been looking at different models that have stainless steel boilers. Most of the boilers are 18/10 steel, but one somewhat less expensive one is made of 12/10 steel. If this means the amount of chromium is lower in the steel, will the boiler be less durable over time?

Thanks,

Janine Polk
- Eau Claire, Wisconsin


October 27, 2008

A. Hi, Janine. I've never heard of type 1210 stainless steel, and a quick check of google didn't reveal any such thing either. Are you sure the "1210" isn't simply a model number as opposed to a type of stainless steel?

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

November 1, 2008

No, the machine is always listed as having a 12/10 stainless boiler. It is the Unilux 3000--here are a couple links for it. In the second link check the comparison chart a little ways down the page.

www.allbrands.com/products/abp13897.html?ovchn=SPRI&ovcpn=Froogle&ovcrn=Froogle&ovtac=CMP#

www.smart-cleaning-solutions.com/site/1426224/page/825600
Ed. note Dec. 2013: that link is now broken

Actually, in the bottom chart (steam cleaners with extractors) I see there are several models with 12/10 boilers also.

Is this just a mistake, and they actually all have 18/10 stainless boilers?

Janine Polk
- Eau Claire, Wisconsin


November 1, 2008

Hi, Janine. Catalogs are not written by metallurgists but by marketing people, and errors creep in. In this particular case it says the boilers are made of type 304 stainless steel (which is an 18/8 stainless steel); I believe they are trying to say that the thickness of the steel is 12 gauge in the cylindrical shell and 10 gauge in the top and bottom plate/bell.

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


December 15, 2008

Q. I am about to buy a very very large quantity of stainless steel tableware for a huge dining facility I will be moving my current facility to. We serve meals to over a thousand people 3 times a day and the tableware gets a lot of use. What I have been using is 18/10, and we have specifically gotten this because it is very durable. I am trying to save money and so I am considering buying 18/8 instead. I guess I wanted some opinion on whether I should save the money buying a lower grade, or save money by having a more durable 18/10 which lasts longer. But my question is, is it really worth the difference, and based on your experience with the metals, what do you think would work better for me? Also, is 18/8 magnetic like 18/10 is.

Thank you!

Rosemary Johnson
buyer Tampa, Florida


December 16, 2008

A. Hi, Rosemary. 18/8 is not magnetic and neither is 18/10. 18/10 is better and more expensive but I think it's unlikely that a quality brand of 18/8 would be unsatisfactory.

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

January 23, 2009

Q. I have an 18/8 stainless steel sports bottle that is magnetic as well. If 18/8 is not supposed to be magnetic, what would cause it to be so?

Patti Douglas
buyer - Portland, Oregon


January 26, 2009

A. Hi, Patti. Cold working during manufacture can leave 18/8 with a slight magnetic attraction. But if it's heavily magnetic, similar to regular steel, I'd say it probably is not 18/8.

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

February 8, 2009

Q. Hi...good info here. I am looking at purchasing a new set of pots and pans..the description says 18/10 lids
ok. what are the pots made from, or are they saying lids and not addressing pots, because of the copper bottoms?
at a loss...

J FRED MUGGS
- Meadville, Mississippi


February 28, 2009

A. silly :-) Hi, J Fred Muggs. My sympathies that your parents made a monkey out of you!

Don't let the manufacturer do the same. If he doesn't claim 18/10 I think it would be a big leap of faith to assume it.

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 11, 2009

Q. Great to see all of this chat on Stainless. I'd like to add one factor - the higher nickel content allow a much brighter and whiter shine. It's apparent in cookware as well. If you use 18/0 which I think is also 201 (not sure) in flatware and cookware it dulls quickly over time. It's still food safe just not as nice to look at after a few uses.

Bradley Smith
- Sacramento, California


March 26, 2009

Q. The debate between 304 and 316 on leaching metal toxins is fascinating. I understand they are both inert.
I am making Kombucha tea, which is a highly acidic fermented tea. Would 304 or 316 be more suited, for continuous repeated home use. Better than glass even? The culture would ferment for up to 30 days in the vessel in black tea and sugar. Any help would be great don't want to make family sick.

chad york
- puyallup, Washington


April 23, 2009

Hi, Chad. Type 304 and 316 stainless are quite similar, but type 316 is more corrosion resistant. I think that is all that could be said short of retaining a laboratory to ferment the mixture for 30 days and then testing for dissolved metals.

But glass is completely inert to food products.

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

April 4, 2009

Q. We need to replace a 28-yr old kitchen sink. Which would be more durable and best:

"20 gauge, Type 304 Series stainless steel w/satin finish 18/10 chrome-nickel content"
or
"18 gauge, 18/10 stainless steel"

We've always thought the lower gauge was better, but the Type 304 is a new wrinkle since we bought last.

Thank you.

Bobbie Cavano
consumer/buyer - Rome, New York


April 9, 2009

A. Hi, Bobbie. 18 gauge is heavier than 20 gauge. Type 304 and 18/10 are essentially the same thing. The wording "type 304" is just a little more exacting about the composition than the more generic 18 percent chrome 10 percent nickel.

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

April 10, 2009

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

Bobbie Cavano
consumer/buyer - Rome, New York


Q. I was recently in India and a lot of the factories are using 14/1 and 14/04 stainless instead of 18/10. The price is reduced and the factories are saying that products manufactured from 14/1 and 14/04 pass all tests for corrosion and rust.

I would like to know more about this type of stainless steel, the strength and what defects can we expect to encounter if we use this material to manufacture giftware products.

Thanks

Diane Stevens
- Eatontown, New Jersey


June 18, 2009

A. Hi, Diane. I can't comment because I've never heard of it. Sorry. Does anyone know the composition or anything else about it beyond that they call it "14/1"?

If it's 14 percent chrome and 1 or 4 percent nickel, someone is counting fractions of pennies in their cost-cutting programs. How did that work out for American car makers when the mantra was "If G.M. can save just 1/10¢ on each of a billion screws ..." just before the Japanese invasion?

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

June 15, 2009

Q. I'm a sales man of a stainless steel tableware factory from mainland china, so great to learn so much from those interesting discussions. However I still have a question here: in our country,we usually apply the 420 type of SS to make knife items of a tableware set. As far as I know, it's much harder but less corrosion resistance, is that due to the less nickel added to the alloy? what's more,I haven't seen any discussions about this kind of SS, while it's widely used in our country in such field, how do you name it in your country. thanks.

Tobby.Xiao
trade company - Guangzhou, China


July 2, 2009

A. I did some sleuthing and found out the following. The opinions stated below are from a kitchenware manufacturer. Does anyone know more about patta and if J4 is better then J7 or anything on the coil vs patta quality?
Thanks!

Begin Quote ->
Coil is a industrial form of making steel....and comes in the form of coil (sheet rolled in coil)....Jindal steel is famous for this....this grade is known as J7 in Jindal... whereas patta steel....is a brick steel and flattened in small units to make sheet... these are like 6 feet x 4 feet coil flattened... so it doesn't have consistency in quality.... and the price difference in patta 14/1 and coil 14/1 is almost 30%

14/1 Stainless steel is 14% chromium and 1% nickel. This is the highest selling material in kitchen utensils from India. We are not using J7 coil or patta, both have nickel content of 0.25 % and chromium 14%

We are using J4 patta, that is re-rolled sheets, they have nickel content of 1% and chromium 14%.

J4 is much better then J7.
<- End Quote.

Andrea Thien
- Santa Barbara, California


January 26, 2010

Q. Can someone comment on which type is least reactive with food? 18/10, (316) or 14/1. The information out there is confusing.

First of all, does 14/1 react with food? I have read that 18/10 is the least reactive with food. But now manufacturers of 14/1 also says it is least reactive with food because it is low in nickel and won't leach. Which is true? Or maybe both?
It's really confusing trying to sort this out without a technical background.
Thanks,
Jane

Jane Jeanni
- New York, New York


January 2010

A. Hi, Jane. There are multiple systems for grading or identifying stainless steel; 18/10 is one system and 316 is another. These are the best stainless steels used in consumer items and 18/10 and 316 are essentially the same thing.

I don't think 14/1 is a problem, because all stainless steels are essentially non-reactive to foods. But it is a cheaper grade because of the limited nickel content and the "low in nickel so it won't leach into foods" stuff strikes me as silly.

I've expressed my opinion that there is more to it than alloy composition, so as a consumer you are pretty much limited to trying to find a reliable brand. In my opinion your best guideline is to find a company that never licenses their logo. Try to find the owners' instructions, the registration card and the warranty instructions and look for any reference to any company name or service outlet other the brand name in question. Any company that is into "meatball whoring" in this way is, in my personal opinion, not to be trusted.

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

February 25, 2010

Q. I am searching for a great stainless steel flatware set without breaking the bank.
I found for the first time a 21/10 listing - Steel alloyed with chrome, titanium and brass.
Could this be considered the 'top of the line'?

Please help.
Thank you,

Heidi Oel
customer - Sun City Center, Florida


February 25, 2010

A. Hi, Heidi. Here's the main problem to me: 18/8 and 18/10 have an established meaning and 21/10 doesn't.

If someone advertises 18/10 flatware and then ships you junk, claiming 18/10 meant 18 percent bent and 10 percent missing, no judge or arbitrator in the world would accept it because 18/10 has a universally accepted meaning.

What does 21/10 mean? 21 percent chrome and 10 percent nickel? Maybe, but who says? Google it and you'll see. Brass is not an element that you can have a certain percentage of; rather, it's an alloy itself that has some percentage of zinc and some percentage of copper, and possibly some percentage of tin. I would pay little attention to the "21/10" phrase, and judge whether to buy it by the rest of the description and circumstances. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 24, 2010

Q. I recently bought two sets of Oneida flatware at Wal-mart. It has 56/9 stamped on the back of the forks. One of the spoons became discolored after being in the dishwasher. Is 56/9 a durable type of flatware for long-term use, or would 18/8 or 18/10 be better?

Rae Buckwheat
homeowner - Ashland, Wisconsin


March 2010

A. Hi, Rae. Similar to the last question, we have the issue of what does "56/9" mean? It certainly doesn't mean 59 percent chrome and 9 percent nickel.

Oneida claims that all of their flatware is 18 percent chrome, but they are unfortunately one of the manufacturers who has reduced the quality of some of their flatware from 18/10 to 18/0 to save on the high cost of nickel. With nothing else to go on, my assumption is that "56/9" is just a pattern number and this is the lower grade 18/0 rather than 18/10. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

November 1, 2010

A. Regarding the 18/8 and other 18 categories, the 18/8 is excellent for dinner dish, sink, and etc. However it is not a good candidate for heat use.
If you looking for Stainless Steel Pots I would consider 18/10 may be better, but if you are into Stainless steel dish only for serving the 18/8 is an excellent candidate especially for medical use. We test the 18/8 dipped into vinegar for a long time and it did show excellent resistance. I hope this help.

Regards,
Massood

M. Jelvani
- Middletown, New Jersey

December 8, 2010

A. Hello!
I found this thread very useful (as I bought a very pretty but cheap, no brand, no additional info japanese stainless steel cutlery set, but it isn't magnetic, so I am happy).

I just have one observation: as I am a pharmacist, I wonder if the allergenic properties and the heavy metal toxicologic properties aren't confused sometimes. Many people are allergic to nickel. In this case a contact allergy is present - this is NOT toxic. Allergy means that the immune system overreacts, usually it's only uncomfortable, and only if it gets uncontrolled in rare cases (anaphylactic reaction) it can be dangerous. That means that in nickel allergy a non-nickel cutlery have to be used - strictly speaking the HANDLE has to be nickel free, because the tip doesn't have to be touched ever (that can be plastic, wood, bamboo, silver, titanium or whatever).

But modern materials as stainless steel shouldn't be toxic at all, no matter what type of food is used. Old cutlery has to be checked for lead and other toxic heavy metals.

Vera HG
- New Zealand


January 10, 2011

Q. Has anyone heard of 18/20 flatware? Have been told that Denby is saying you must use this configuration in flatware to avoid scratching and leaving marks on their dishes.

Fran Gallotti
consumer - Edmonton, Alberta Canada

February 6, 2011

Q. Per the company (World Kitchen,Inc.) that owns the registered trademark of Revere, they state:

"Revereware is made of 18/6 stainless steel."
Why older Revereware seem heavier than newer cookware: it is lighter because "the same cooking results were achieved when using lighter materials."
"REVERE® Bakeware is tin coated steel."

Is the copper clad of today lighter because it is 18/6 and the older stuff heavier because it was 18/10 or 18/8? I can't find info on the content of older RW cookware.

I have cookware from 1970 and a heavy SS muffin tin from my deceased mom. I want but can't find another SS muffin pan. I can only find a "stainless steel premium surface" on a Fox Run pan.
How would that hold up to to cleaning and surface pitting?

marti_johnson
Marti Johnson
- Hudson, Wisconsin, USA

February 7, 2011

A. Hi, Marti.

It is difficult to know the engineering details of a proprietary product like Revereware. I imagine that when it was actually made by Revere Copper and Brass Works it was 18/8 or 18/10 (since those are well-established standard grades), and that the nickel content was reduced to 6% because nickel is expensive. But the reason it is lighter is because it is thinner and cheaper. They may claim it cooks as well, but that sounds like a very subjective opinion -- you might try to check with Consumer Reports; and thinner cookware certainly dents and warps easier. Actually "vintage" Revereware is from 1968 and earlier and bears a trademark saying "Process Patent" according to The Shine Shop, mysite.verizon.net/vzeoywo4/theshineshop2/id7.html ^ www.revereware.org/info/id7.html -- a great site for Revereware enthusiasts.

We live in an age where billion-dollar megacorps take logos whose reputation for quality was earned through decades of our fathers' sweat and tears, and put it on Asian products. My understanding is that today's "Revereware" is made in Indonesia, and that Revere Copper and Brass Works and the USA plants where your pots were manufactured are long shuttered. I don't know what the buyer of the Revere meatball claims to do to maintain the quality once associated with the Revere name, but a universal lesson is to hold on to older stuff as long as possible because it is nearly always of more expensive construction and higher quality (more nickel, thicker) than what you buy under the same logo today.

Yes, stainless steel might be good for muffin pans, but I think tin plating can be fine too.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 10, 2011

Q. HI, I WOULD LIKE TO ASK YOU ABOUT CHROME TITANIUM COOKWARE, IF THIS METAL IS THE BEST OR THERE IS BETTER. ALSO WHAT IS THE BEST COOKWARE IN THE WORLD WE CAN USE FOR HEALTHY FOOD.THANKS

FADY LTEIF
working in cookware shop - LEBANON BEIRUT

sidebarMarch 13, 2011

Q. What is the difference in heat-retention qualities between 18/8 and 18/10 stainless steel in, say, a teapot?

Gary Moore
retired / consumer - Pasadena, Texas

March 14, 2011

A. Hi,

No difference, Gary. If there is some very tiny difference in specific heat or thermal conductivity, it's beyond the roundoff error they measure to.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

May 16, 2011

Q. I bought a 18/8 stainless steel food thermal lunch box and the instruction says that the salt in the food will pit the container. I read a post above that says companies located near the sea will use 18/10 containers to guard against salt corrosion.

Since most of my cooking contains salt, my question is whether I should stay away from 18/8 material for food storage. I am also wondering whether the pitting will cause the nickel and chromium to leach into my food that's being stored in the container, and later eaten by me.

Thank you and I look forward to your advice.
Many thanks,
Juan.

Juan Rodriguez
- New York, New York, USA

May 16, 2011

A. Hi, Juan.

A material that is good enough and safe enough for pots and pans is certainly good enough and safe enough for a lunchbox.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

May 21, 2011

Q. I have a set of pots and pans that are made of 19/9 surgical stainless steel multi-ply metal. I wanted to sell them but since they have been in my family for over 20 years and still look in great condition I'm not sure if they are worth keeping them and pass them on to my children? is this good quality metal?

Selene Rios
housewife - Phoenix, Arizona

May 24, 2011

A. Hi, Selene.

In all likelihood 19/9 stainless steel is virtually identical to 18/8. I doubt that the extra 1% of chrome and extra 1% of nickel does any harm, but to assume that it does any good might be a stretch. I personally don't know of any standards writing body that accepts 19/9 as a recognized composition (but I don't claim to know everything; I can only relate my own knowledge).

But it is getting harder and harder to get high quality stainless at any price. If you have stuff that still looks great after 20 years, make them pry it out of your cold dead fingers.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


June 11, 2011

Q. Thanks for the informative discussion. We are considering purchasing some flatware which the manufacturer claims is made of 18/10 stainless steel with titanium finish. Would the titanium enhance the durability of the product or it just affects its looks?

Val Nya
- Miami, Florida, USA

September 20, 2012

Q. How about "316 Ti" (Ti - Titanium)? That's the material one of the healthy cookwares is made of (which I'm interested in). Just wondering if it is really that good and doesn't have any leaching problem.

joe jdeleted
- Delta, BC, Canada


September 20, 2012

A. Hi, Val. This flatware is presumably solid 18/10 (type 316) stainless steel with a coating of titanium nitride (the color of gold)? The titanium nitride is a very hard finish, so it probably will take a very long time to wear away, and should not scratch easily.

Hi, Joe. 316 Ti is not stainless steel with a titanium finish, it is stainless steel with a tiny amount of titanium stabilizer. Some feel it's slightly better than 316L, others feel it's not quite as good, and still others (probably including me) feel that there is no practical difference in a cookware application. Here's a link to a British Stainless Steel Association paper explaining 316 Ti vs. other type 316 stainless steel:

http://www.bssa.org.uk/cms/File/SSAS2.25-Comparison%20of%20316%20&%20316Ti%20Types.pdf

Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

September 21, 2012

Hi Ted, Thanks very much for the information.

Regarding "...316 Ti is not stainless steel with a titanium finish, it is stainless steel with a tiny amount of titanium stabilizer...", does that mean 316 Ti does not contain chrome and nickel? Also, the cookware website claims that 316 Ti is surgical stainless steel. Is that true?

joe j
- Delta, BC, Canada


September 21, 2012

Hi. 316Ti stainless is only a small variation on 316 as explained in the link previously offered. It is 18/10 stainless steel. All 316 stainless steel is surgical stainless steel.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


July 12, 2011

Q. Thanks for the good information about stainless steel.

We recently installed a new induction cooktop. Most of our cookware works fine, but our old stock pot (that I use for brewing beer), doesn't work. I've been looking at several large (24+ qt) pots that claim to be 18/8 or 18/10 stainless AND also claim to be "induction ready." I was under the impression that this grade of stainless was non-magnetic and that non-magnetic cookware doesn't work in an induction stove. In fact, most people suggest testing your cookware with a magnet. If the magnet sticks, it will work on an induction stove. Can you shed any light on this? Would a pot made of, say, 18/8 stainless (with an aluminum core) work on an induction stove?

Thanks!

Tres Kutcher
- Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

November 1, 2011

Q. Stainless steel grade 18/10 and 403 are they same? if not can we use 403 cookwares? is it safe?

Vidhya kesavaraj
homemaker - Nagercoil, Tamilnadu, INDIA

November 1, 2011

A. Hi, Vidhya.

I believe that 403 stainless steel is okay, but it contains no nickel and is not as stain-free and corrosion resistant as 18/10 (which contains 10 percent nickel).

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

November 5, 2011

Q. Could you please explain to me in detail about 403 grade? Is it a surgical stainless steel? For what purpose do they use this type of grade?

Vidhya Kesavaraj
- Nagercoil, Tamilnadu, INDIA

November 7, 2011

A. Hi, Vidhya.

It is rather difficult to discuss stainless steels because there are so many, and there are multiple numbering systems for the same types. To keep it fairly simple though, in one of those numbering systems most household stainless steel is either a "Series 3xx" stainless, like type 304 and type 316 ; or it is a "Series 4xx" stainless like type 403.

Most household Series "3xx" stainless steels have about 8 to 10 percent nickel in them and are nonmagnetic whereas most "Series 4xx" stainless steels have no nickel in them and are magnetic. The Series "3xx" series are more expensive because nickel is more costly than steel, and are generally considered more corrosion resistant. "Surgical stainless" is a "Series 3xx" stainless steel; type 18/8 and 18/10 are "Series 3xx" because they have 8 percent and 10 percent nickel respectively. Type 18/0 is a "Series 4xx" because it has no nickel.

But there is nothing "wrong" with 403 stainless steel. In fact, some people, rightly or wrongly, think "Series 4xx" is better (safer for the body) because it is nickel-free.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

December 23, 2011

Q. Why does there seem to be a nasty metallic taste from a pot that's 18/10? The pot is made in China. Does it make a difference? I've had old 18/10 stainless steel pots that were made in Korea and don't have any such aftertaste.

Tammi Hayes
- Chicago, Illinois, USA


February 26, 2012

Q. I wonder if someone would mind drastically oversimplifying this information for me. Ideally, if someone's willing, I'd love a simple recommendation. I thought I'd done my research when I learned about 18/10, but clearly that's just the tip of the iceburg, and I'm overwhelmed.

My daughter's getting married in less than four weeks. She's finishing school and has three jobs, so as of yet, there's no bridal registry. People keep asking. At my suggestion, she's decided to prioritize getting stainless steel. She and her fiance will keep kosher and always have lots of guests, but they won't have much money, and they're leaving the country. Beautiful stainless steel is emotionally satisfying, portable, and too expensive to buy on your own after you get married.

If she decides to ask for place settings of nice stainless that's heavy and durable, then what should she consider? I realize that the answer to this question is embedded in all the posts I just read, but I think I"m getting information overload. If anyone would be willing to oversimplify, we'd be very, very grateful.

Mae Shelton
- Nashville, Tennessee, USA

February 28, 2012

Q. Hi, Mae. I recently bought stainless at Williams-Sonoma and am very happy with it. I'd suggest picking a pattern that is very shiny (indicating that it is probably electropolished), and not made in China. I picked a pattern from Guy Degrenne, made in France.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 4, 2012

Q. It is one of the best discussions I ever read , it is very informative and simple . Thank you all for questions and answers which enriched my information :)

I'd like to know which grade of steel is preferred for kitchen knives , because I always buy knives but after few days of using it needs to be sharpened .
Can you please tell me the best grade of SS that I can buy so it doesn't need to be sharpened regularly ?

Mohamed Bekheet
- Alexandria - Egypt


March 6, 2012

A. Hi, Mohamed.

Type 18/8 and 18/10, alternately called type 304 or 316, are fine for tableware but will not hold an edge for use as a knife. Type 18/0, alternately called type 400 or 4xx will hold an edge and are still stainless steel, although not as stain-less as the others.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

May 2, 2012

Q. Why is it that I get a weird taste on my tongue when utensil touches my tongue. I use mainstays brand with 18/0 stainless steel? Was wondering if it was because it was cheap at the store or something. Please help and see what I can do to resolve this issue. Thank you,

Luis Jimenez
- Oceanside, California


June 22, 2012

Q. Hi
My family uses SS dishware (Two toddlers and 10 year old). We were wondering if it's safe to put in the oven to bake pizza's on.
The bottom of the plate says in a circle 88 STAINLESS STEEL (that's top half of circle)
Then 555
Then bottom half says SHANGHAI CHINA

I looked at several plates, there is no 1 in front of the 8 but there may be a dash between the 8's.
Is this better or worse than the 304 SS?
Is it oven safe?
Thanks
-ron

Ron El
Concerned dad - Saugerties, New York

June 23, 2012

A. Hi Ron.

We have discussion threads here about every possible material of construction for cookware including aluminum, cast iron, stainless steel, ceramic, Teflon, etc. . . and the thing is, as soon as you name any material, there is someone out there in the vastness of the internet who thinks it is dangerous. There is nothing you can make cookware from -- absolutely nothing -- such that no one will say it is unsafe. But stainless steel is generally recognized as a safe material of construction for cookware.

I've never heard of type 88 stainless steel or type 555 stainless steel, and suspect that these stampings are model numbers or style numbers rather than an indication of material of construction.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


sidebar










sidebar
July 19, 2012

The Silver Superstore (online) has certain brands that are made in the USA with steel from the USA (Sherrill Steel NY). I typed "made in USA silverware" on my internet browser and was taken to their site and specifically to "Flatware Patterns made in the USA". They have silverware sets that are 18/10 stainless silverware sets. I stumbled upon this site and thought others would want to know about this.

Marily McKay
- Edmonds, Washington USA


July 20, 2012

Hi, Marily, and thanks. Yes, there is one small on-again / off-again factory making stainless steel flatware in the USA. Please see letter 15689 where we discuss the closing of this last American manufacturer, then the re-opening to some fanfare, then the re-closing in April 2010, but the re-opening again in August 2011. So stay tuned!

opinion! It's a tragedy that our current social system precludes open & intelligent discussion of the barriers that our country has erected that preclude American success in manufacturing. But those barriers are insuring that low wages and very high unemployment are here for good. Even scarier, while the bravery of soldiers is legendary and their heroism can make the angels cry, in the end every war is won by the side with the resources & manufacturing capacity. Now that the Arsenal of Democracy which won two World Wars has been razed, and has lbeen replaced with a gigantic new People's Republic Arsenal, we'd better pray for peace like we mean it :-)

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

September 24, 2013appended

USA made stainless steel flatware - after much research I found this company:

https://www.libertytabletop.com/

They have a lot of positive customer reviews as well.

Mariam Halstead
- Sparks, Nevada USA


September 2013

thumbsup2Thanks for the nice direct link, Mariam. That's actually the same company Marily was mentioning (Sherrill Steel).

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


February 21, 2013

Q. Getting ready to remodel the kitchen and are replacing our VERY old porcelain sink with a stainless steel one. I'm soooo confused! All I find online is the 18-gauge delineation. Would 18/8 or 18/10 be better? Our home improvement store sells both, but online all I can really find is 18/10. Which is better for a sink?

Holly Johns
- Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA


February 21, 2013

A. Hi Holly. Confusion is to be expected because the salesperson's job is to sell you, as quickly as possible, whatever they can make the most money on. Their job is not to educate you, and they will try to do so only if the education they offer would lead you to buy their product; they'll try to obfuscate if knowledge would lead you away from their product :-)

There are two technical issues here: gauge and composition. Gauge is the thickness of the material. The lower the number, the thicker it is. 16-gauge is 1/16" thick, 18-gauge is a bit thinner, 20-gauge is thinner still. The thicker it is, probably the less likely to get little dents if you drop a heavy pot.

Composition means the ingredients. Nickel is the most expensive ingredient and the number after the slash says how much nickel is in it. The number before the slash is how much chromium is in it. 18/10 is the best stainless you will find (for a sink ... I'm not saying more exotic stainless steels are impossible for specialty applications).

The current reputation of the brand is your best indicator of quality however.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 30, 2013

Q. Hi Mr. Ted Mooney,

You provide us with lot of usefully answers/explanations, could you please tell us what is your professional background? How do you know all this stuff?

Thanks and best regards,
Zoran

Zoran Munich
- Munich, Germany


April 1, 2013

A. Hi Zoran. Thank you very much for the kind words. I am a mechanical engineer who spent almost all of my career in the metal finishing field, but most of what I write here is either simple facts that I find by googling, or nothing more than personal opinions :-)

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

April 19, 2013

Q. 1) Why are some pots such as Tefal & WMF pots and pans magnetic all over interior/exterior? Is it because they are using 18/0 and sandwiched in between? Or because of the bending and rolling process?
It is stated 18/10 on the below part.
As far as I know 18/10 does not have magnetic field.

2) Since 18/10 has no magnetic field (could not use on induction hob), then why do many brands of pressure cookers use 18/10 in the below part and stick it to the stainless steel surface?

3) What is the difference between a 3-ply stainless steel (with no stainless steel stick at below) and 3-ply that has one layer of Stainless steel stuck to it.
Which one is better?

Collin Poh
- Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia


July 11, 2013

Q. There is a French knife company, Forge de Laguoile producing knives and flatware advertising a 15/10 and 25/10 pieces. The 25/10 are supposed to be of very high quality. Ever heard of these and would they be a superior product?

karen kyle
- san diego, California


July 2013

A. Hi Karen. As long as their model numbers and trade names are not misleading, companies are allowed to use any words they wish. So I don't think 15/10 and 25/10 refer to the composition of the stainless steel. You'd have to ask them what it means . . . it could refer to composition, gauge, how many awards they've won, or anything at all or nothing at all. Sorry.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

December 11, 2013

!! Hi, Mr. Mooney, I have several tips to offer on this topic, based on deceptive experiences.

First, please warn people that even quality name-brand companies can fail to state the Whole truth regarding 18/10.

I just bought a supposedly-quality-name-brand kettle online, touted as 18/10 both on its underside, and the packaging. I'm very very upset at their deception because it turns out that while its VERY SHINY sides are indeed Non-Magnetic, yet its underpart IS magnetic. And it's the underpart that's usually most prone to rust from water resting on it. So why on earth did they make the underpart with Zero (or low) Nickel? That's very very deceptive because it's not the Whole Truth!

29294-1 29294-2 29294-3

Also, despite your suggestion that sometimes shininess sometimes indicates quality - here's my experience. Years ago I bought a Betty Crocker (mainstays) whistling kettle (18/10) and it remains corrosion-free despite many years of use. The finish on that wasn't even so shiny. By comparison, I'd bought an Off-Brand ""stainless"" kettle in similar size/shape, which had a shinier finish than B.Crocker, yet it rusted after about two years - proof of being a low-nickel grade. Naturally, no specs had been given regarding its grade, but at the time, I'd been ignorant about such matters. Subsequently I educated myself because once bitten, forever wary.

P.S. This thread deserves Five Stars.

Judy Smith
- Wash hts, New York


December 15, 2013

Q. Okay, I have been reading about stainless steel cookware and have talked to several people.

From what I have read somewhere between 15%-18% of people in the U.S.,(5-6% of males and 10-12% of females) have to some degree an allergic reaction to nickel. Most of the medical resources on the web as well as other scientific papers have recommended surgical grade stainless or titanium jewelry, cookware, etc. because they say it is generally considered hypoallergenic.

My understanding is that titanium is the least reactive of the metals used in the cookware. Now I have seen two different quotes for the titanium metals used one was 316TI and the other was 19-9. So to boil all this down, is titanium cookware better than regular stainless as far as allergic reactions? If so, which would be better, 316TI or 19-9? I also wonder about the steel mfg. standards in other countries. Do they have the same standards as America made products. Lately we have seen everything from dog food to drywall that made people and animals sick and it was all manufactured in other countries and imported to save money. I have web links for all of these sources if you want them but I am not interested in advertising, just trying to get answers about allergies. :)

Thank you for maintaining this thread. It is a great post.

Tracy Fannin
- Denver, Colorado, USA


December 2013

A. Hi Tracy. I hope I can help with a couple of things ...

First, don't let your kids see your math, where 5-6% of males plus 10-12% of females totals 15-18% of the total population :-)
I think you're actually claiming that 15-18% of the population has nickel allergies and 2/3 of them are female. My understanding is that women are not more susceptible, but that nickel allergy is acquired and women are just more exposed (piercings and such).

Just because something contains nickel doesn't mean people with nickel allergies will be allergic to it. Most people feel that it depends on whether the nickel is "leachable" (whether sweat and other things can attack it and turn it into a soluble salt) ... stainless steel does not leach nickel. Surgical grade stainless steel is type 316 stainless steel and contains 10% nickel.

316TI is just a small variation on 316 stainless steel, and contains 10% nickel and less than 1% titanium; 19-9 is also stainless steel containing 9% nickel. Neither is a titanium alloy (but there are titanium alloys). Salespeople want to sell, so if you express interest in titanium, they will let you believe their stainless steel or aluminum cookware is titanium -- so it may take patience to find "titanium alloy cookware", but very patiently google for it because almost none of it is really titanium.

I don't think Chinese cookware is dangerous, but you would be foolish NOT to worry about it's quality -- but what can you do?

Our reasons for disliking to post links are not solely commercial; 90% go bad very quickly and it is impossible for a tiny enterprise like finishing.com to post links on our 50,000 discussion pages that stay on line for years, and then maintain hundreds of thousands of links to ever-shifting URLs; web pages full of broken links are crumby :-(

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

December 7, 2013

Q. I want to know if 18/8 stainless steel cookware is heavy duty -- as in foods will not stick. For instance, if I want to make fudge in it, is it durable enough that it won't burn, etc.? I am most familiar with 18/10 stainless steel cookware. Thank you.

Beverlee Williams
- Amelia, Ohio, United States


December 27, 2013

Q. One vendor has come out with a new line of cookware for induction stoves; it is called 21/0 as it has 21% Chromium and 0% Nickel but claims lower corrosion than 18/10 because of lower carbon .008% and nitrogen .01% plus added titanium .3%, plus .43% copper for even heating. Do you know anything about their claims?

Scott Metcalf
- Shelby Twp, Michigan, USA


December 2013

A. Hi Scott. No, I don't think 21/0 stainless steel is as robustly corrosion resistant as 18/10 stainless, but only nickel-free magnetic materials work properly and efficiently on induction stoves, so 18/10 wasn't a potential choice anyway. I'm sure 21/0 is good enough.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey
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