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topic 29294,p5

18/10 vs. 18/8 and 18/0 stainless steel for flatware and pots & pans, p.5

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A discussion started in 2004 but continuing through 2019

July 30, 2015

Q. This is a very informative topic! Way up earlier in the topic you said that there is no aluminum in 18/8 stainless. To your knowledge, is aluminum included in any stainless alloys in common use for cookware? If so, what would be its value? Would the answer be different for older stainless alloys - for instance, Wearever Stainless from the 1950's?

Just to be clear: I am not asking about the aluminum layer that may be sandwiched between stainless layers, or on the bottom of an aluminum-disk pot, but in the stainless alloy itself.

Nancy Smith
- Duluth, Minnesota, USA

August 2015

A. Hi Nancy. There is no aluminum in stainless steel. Although, actually, there is almost no such thing as truly "none" -- after all, the reason you smell a rose or a pig is because, to some very tiny extent, rose molecules or pig-type molecules have drifted over into your nose :-)


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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

August 19, 2015

Q. I plan to purchase a stainless steel lasagna pan. There is $100 price difference between a top name brand 18/10 and an unfamiliar brand using 18/0. I believe, after reading this excellent thread, that if the 18/0 feels really great then I can enjoy the savings. If not, the 18/10 model is to be viewed as a long term investment that will likely outlive me. Anyone have experience or opinion to influence my decision?

Tana Plewes
- Kelowna, BC, Canada

August 2015

A. Hi Tana. As previously mentioned, 18/10 is more corrosion resistant, but 18/0 is nickel-free and can be re-warmed on an induction stovetop. If 18/0 is good enough for many flatware manufacturers these days, it's probably good enough for a lasagna pan.


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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

August 31, 2015

Q. I have flatware that is 18% chromium and 10% nickel. I also recently bought a magnet for them. Some of the flatware doesn't work. Is it because of the percentage of nickel? Can I get a stronger magnet to work with them?

Scott Dewar
- Warrensburg, New York, United States of America

August 2015

A. Hi Scott. Magnets do not attract 18-10 stainless -- and it's indirectly due to the nickel. Nickel itself is magnetic, but 10% or more of nickel in stainless steel causes it to cool to an austenitic structure, which is not magnetic. Work hardening makes it slightly magnetic, and strong neodymium magnets will attract it to some extent.

But what are you attempting to do that you need the flatware to be attracted to magnets? It would be easier to just get 4xx series stainless (18-0) flatware because it is magnetic.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

January 5, 2016

Q. I just purchased some knives from a home shopping tv channel and when they arrived, the carbon forged stainless steel steak knives and the surgical steel cutlery set had stickers on them (required in California) saying that they contained lead and you should wash your hands after handling. My question is, how can these knives be safe to use? Should I return them?


Bill Suggs
- Simi Valley, California, usa

January 2017

A. Hi Bill. Lead is not a recognized and necessary part of stainless steel as far as I have ever heard. But, yes, I have heard that it can be present in stainless made from scrap and that its presence can be determined with Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy. I would return any stainless steel which is marked as containing lead.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

P.S. -- February 2018: Before returning it you might check with whatever office administers California's Proposition 65 whether all stainless steel must be so labeled, or maybe whether all manufacturers are known to be voluntarily so labeling their stainless to avoid being sued.
opinion! I bought a flex connector for my kitchen stove recently with a Prop 65 label that natural gas is carcinogenic. It seems that perhaps manufacturers are putting Prop 65 labels on everything they sell as their protection against rampant suits.

July 17, 2016

Q. Because I just learned the 18/8, 18/10 etc. and now have no idea how to tell the new grades of stainless steel, I sure would love to see a list, that shows the changes. I used wiki but it only shows the new numbers with no reference to them and the old numbers. Thank you, Sheila

Sheila Gilbert
- La Plata, Maryland USA

July 2016

"Stainless Steels: An Introduction and Their Recent Developments"

from Abe Books

A. Hi Sheila. Although Lee made the point that 18/0, 18/8, and 18/10 are older descriptions, there are actually thousands of different formulations for stainless steel, and almost endless names per ASTM standards, ISO standards, Indian and Japanese steel standards and others. Books on the subject are thousands of pages long and weigh in at well over 10 pounds each. But a simple chart for your purpose might be:

18/0 = Series 400, aka series 4xx = 18% chromium, balance essentially iron, although traces of other materials depending on whether it's 401, 402, 403, etc. Magnetic, no nickel, good for sharp knives because it can hold an edge, but less corrosion resistant than series 300, aka 3xx.

18/8 = Series 304 = 18% chromium, 8% nickel, traces of other materials. There are many small variations in the 3xx series like 303. Non-magnetic, more corrosion resistant than the 4xx stainless steels, but less resistant than 316.

18/10 = Series 316 = 18% chromium, 10% nickel, traces of other materials, notably Molybdenum. Variations exist like 316L (low carbon for welding applications) and 316Ti (a small amount of titanium added as a stabilizer). Not the most corrosion resistant stainless steel possible, but the most corrosion resistant that a consumer is likely to ever get involved with.

Good luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

July 19, 2016

thumbs up signI can't tell you how thrilled I am that you posted this information for me. I'm replacing all of my cooking ware, and it's almost impossible to find the answers to the Stainless Steel issues that many are having. I even found one that said it was 18/5 and I couldn't find even one other piece that was marked with that number. Your information will be a wonderful help to me for quite some time, as it's going to take a long time for me to replace everything. Bless you for your help, Sheila

Sheila Gilbert [returning]
- La Plata Maryland

August 21, 2016

Q. Hi, AMAZING SITE!! Sorry if its been asked before, I am wondering what the best option for stainless steel lunchbox would be ... 18/10 ? Concerned about sliced tomatoes (acid), etc. ? Many thanks :)

Zoe Tramo
- Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

August 2016

A. Thanks Zoe. Yes, I think 18/10 (i.e., 316SS) would be ideal as it is the most corrosion-resistant stuff commonly available to consumers. Of course, 24 karat gold would be even more corrosion resistant :-)


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

January 2, 2017

Q. The studies I have read suggest that 304 and 316 stainless both leach about the same amount of nickel into food. Saladmaster uses a form of 316 with titanium added, named 316Ti. Unfortunately, I cannot find a single study on Pubmed that documents less leaching of nickel into food from 316Ti than any other form of stainless. This is discouraging because Saladmaster wants to charge $950 for a skillet that would cost $50 in 304 stainless. If their main marketing pitch is on food purity, how can they make this claim with zero evidence?

From what I read, the point of titanium is to stabilize stainless that is heated to huge temperatures, like 800 °F. These are not temperatures used in cooking food, so it is unclear to me what is the point of titanium in stainless cookware?

Would it make any sense to put the food into a ceramic or pyrex container, and then lower than into the stainless cookware, to at least keep the food off the surface of the metal? My objective is to minimize absorption of nickel, for which I test very high levels in hair, urine, etc.

It should not be this difficult to cook food without metal contamination. It feels like no cooking method is completely safe, and that is discouraging.

W Estes
- Cupertino, California USA

January 2017

A. Hi W. Have you written to Saladmaster and requested their answer to your question? I sympathize with your intolerance to metals, but it is not their obligation to scour the websites of the world to see what questions their customers may have, and for readers to assume that their claims are baseless until they do :-)

It is possible that they electropolish their cookware, reducing the surface area and consequent amount of leaching, or at least improving the purity of food, for example; it's also possible that 316Ti was picked for no reason other than a nice sound.

Nothing is ever totally safe; life truly is a matter of "pick your poison" -- but there is pyrex, ceramic, ceramic coated, hard anodized, teflon, cast iron, nickel-free stainless steel (labeled "for induction cooking") and probably other cookware as well. Best of luck managing your problem.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

January 2, 2017

Q. 18/0 stainless uses no nickel. The good news is that it cannot leach nickel into the food you cook. The bad news is the lack of nickel means it is more corrosive and can rust, particularly if you have an acidic sauce.

My questions:

* What are the other metals used in 18/0 stainless other than chromium, and about what percentage of the total composition are those other metals?

* If you leave an acidic sauce in an 18/0 skillet, this is going to leach more of the metals on a percentage basis than would a 304 or 316 stainless? So effectively you would be getting large doses of chromium (which might be good for you) and large doses of iron (which might be bad for you depending on your iron status)?

W Estes [returning]
- Cupertino, California USA

January 2017

Hi. 18/0 is not a particular stainless steel, it's a class of stainless steels with, as you imply, 18% chrome, no nickel, and the rest mostly iron. To be able to determine the composition you would need to know specifically which stainless you were speaking of; for example type 410 has <0.15% C, 11.5-13.5% Cr, >0.75% Ni, <1.0% Mn, <1.0% Si, <0.04% P, <0.03% S.

"Large doses" is a relative phrase. Stainless steel cookware and flatware can last many decades of cooking and scrubbing. I don't know whether more chrome leaches from 18/0 that 18/8 or under what conditions, but you could study
and its references. Good luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

Making whistle pressure cookers out of mild steel

January 30, 2017

Q. Dear sir,
Now, I am producing whistle pressure cookers in 202 Stainless steel Material. But I want to produce from mild steel material. So I produced a pressure cooker in mild steel. Now what should I do for plating? But the plating should be such that it should be corrosion resistant, and it should be certified for food products.

Hiten Ambaliya
- Rajkot Gujarat India

January 2017

A. Hello Hiten. I think this will prove to be a poor idea!


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

Are some stainless steels more resistant to yellowing when heated?

April 23, 2017

Stainless steel cooking pans may become colored yellow after use with high fire.
Are there some stainless alloys that get "colored" less than others? Alloys which need more fire before changing color?

Baeng Soucy
IQC - Pai, MHS, Thailand

September 13, 2017

thumbs up signThank you so much for all this information. Thank you for taking the time to educate many of us on stainless steel and other things like deceptive sales and manufacturing practices. There is indeed so much more that we don't know than what we do know. Its nice to learn something from someone who is willing to teach and explain and share knowledge.

S Barton
- New York State

September 2017

Thanks for your kind words & thoughts.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

She sells sea salts simmered in stainless alts

September 22, 2017

Q. Hello and thanks for this wonderful thread. I've read the entire thing, and feel like I learned a lot. I am writing on behalf of my girlfriend who has a tiny business producing sea salt in various flavours from the local ocean, here on the North Coast of British Columbia. it's a low tech operation to say the least- usually involving Pyrex pots of ocean water boiling on the woodstove for days on end.
Since we haven't found any Pyrex type pots that are much larger than a gallon, we're looking at stainless stock pots to find something in the 5- 10 gallon range. There's been reluctance to go this route because of the possibility of corrosion. Aside from the steel itself, many of these pots have an aluminium layer within the base which we would obviously wish never to be exposed.
Do you think 18/10 steel up to such prolonged torture by salt? And I know that this thread isn't about naming specific manufacturers but of course we would be delighted if you did have any recommendations :) Thanks again for the knowledge gained here and all the best to you.

Tyson Nehring
- Port Clements, BC, Canada

February 26, 2018

thumbs up sign Just a simple thank you very much for your informative and valuable information, from one Australian architect of many, some of whom have been querying why almost all of the supposedly Type 316 stainless steel building components supplied here and used for handrails and posts and wires for balustrades, RUSTS after a few years in the rain or even when dry outside. It appears that they are probably not what is specified, so tests are probably required to confirm correct materials. Thanks, Chris

Chris Kennedy
- Lilyfield, NSW, Australia

February 2018

A. Hi Chris. Thanks for the kind words! But please also search our site for "Passivation of Stainless Steel". Two things control how prone to rusting stainless steel is, the grade/type and whether it has been passivated properly.

This thread is so long that we don't want it to also cover passivation, but briefly, when stainless has been worked in any fashion with steel tools, it must be passivated or the stainless will rust.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

February 27, 2018

A. Chris,
Three main factors here that will impact stainless.

1. The quality/country of origin of the metal
2. The environment it's sitting in (marine, swimming pool, etc., are harsh)
3. Iron contamination during fabrication

The first two can be long-term problems regardless of passivation, while the third can require extra passivation treatment depending on the severity.

ray kremer
Ray Kremer
Stellar Solutions, Inc.
supporting advertiser
McHenry, Illinois
stellar solutions banner

March 5, 2018

thumbs up sign Thank you for this thread and all this info I am studying welding and taking a metallurgy class and it helped me with a paper I have to write on a common household metal

George Lang II
- Wyano, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

April 9, 2018

Q. Hi there. Can you please help me to understand what "premium quality stainless steel" means? I could find nothing on the internet. Thank you in advance.

Angie Hayr
- Glendale, California

April 2018

A. Hi Angie. It means only that they claim it is stuff of very good quality, but it doesn't really mean anything at all; it's just sales pap.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

April 10, 2018

thumbs up sign Dear Ted, thank you for very much. I will return it tomorrow :)

Angie Hayr [returning]
- Glendale, California

March 5, 2019

Q. I have developed a nickel allergy. I have a pressure cooker that is made of 304 stainless, 18/8 stainless to nickel ratio. Can anyone tell me if it safe to use or how much of the nickel may leach into the food.

Patsy Gedge
- Covington, Louisiana, USA

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