Stainless steel is almost synonymous with modern kitchenware. From appliances and cookware to cutlery, food prep and Masterchef-like utensils, even the kitchen sink, it’s literally everywhere. Ridiculously versatile, this material has become a part of our everyday, loved for its strength and durability. (Only Superman can bend steel in his bare hands.)
But 18/0, 18/8, 18/10… What does it all mean?
Stainless steel comes in a variety of grades and surface finishes suited to specific purposes from barware, kitchen knives to food containers and dinnerware. The job of differentiating between them can be (mega) confusing.
Cracking the cutlery code
The numbers 18/0, 18/8, 18/10 refer to the metal’s composition – more specifically its chromium and nickel content (respectively). Both chromium and nickel contribute stain-resistant qualities. And together they act like a shield against rust. (Chromium alone is not enough.)
But how does it work?*
*Warning: nerdy science speak incoming.
The chromium/nickel content creates a passive film of chromium oxide, blocking both oxygen diffusion at the surface and the spread of corrosion to the metal’s infrastructure. (Okay – I’m no scientist. I did my best…)
So… the higher the level of nickel, the greater the rust-resistance and strength.
Then, 18/10 wins the prize for sturdiest, 18/8 is a little less sturdy (the tines of the fork are a touch easier to bend), 18/0 least durable. Nickel also adds high lustre. So 18/0 works better for casual cutlery for example, 18/10 for fine dining. 😉
Ta-da! That’s it. Not as complicated as it looks, eh!