Stainless Flatware: The Importance of 18/10 VS 18/0

When you’re in the market for stainless steel flatware, you might come across terms such as “18/10 Stainless Steel”, “18/0 Stainless Steel” or in some cases, “18/8 Stainless Steel”.  But what do they all really mean? Is it the quality of the steel? The way it was made? Or maybe, some fancy gimmick to justify one set being more expensive than the other, even though it doesn’t look any better than the cheaper one? Let’s find out.

Flatware Stainless Steel

Stainless steel used on flatware will have different compositions depending on their applications.  But the main ingredients are Chromium and Nickel which add to its corrosion resistance.  Chromium is a hard substance, and is essentially used as a hardener.  Nickel is a silvery metal that doesn’t easily corrode and thus is used to enhance corrosion resistance.  Technically, a higher content of each will be more resilient to pitting and rusting, making them easy to maintain.  Too much Chromium content, however, will result in brittleness which will be unpractical for everyday use.

The Numbers and What They Are

18/10 or 18/0 is simply a numerical representation of how much chromium and nickel the stainless steel has in a particular set.

  • 18/10 – 18% Chromium and 10% Nickel
  • 18/0 – 18% Chromium and 0% Nickel

In general, since most flatware will have the same 18% Chromium; the higher the Nickel content, the more resistant it is to corrosion.  However, it is important to note that Nickel is quite expensive which means that sets with high nickel content will cost more as well.

Understanding what they mean

Aside from corrosion resistance, 18/10 and 18/0 stainless steel can differ in appearance and of course, as mentioned earlier, price.  18/10 stainless steel will have more luster than its little brother, the 18/0.  It will also be more durable and will likely be more capable to withstand daily use.  On the other hand, because it has more Nickel content (which is expensive), these sets will generally cost more than those made with 18/0 stainless steel.  18/10 stainless steel flatware will be heavier, more balanced, and have a better “feel” than their 18/0 counterparts.

Although 18/10 is the hands down winner, 18/0 stainless steel isn’t as bad as one might think.  They’re relatively strong and inexpensive.  They may not be as corrosion resistant or as durable as their big brother, the 18/10; but, with a little extra care and common sense, they will last a long time serving their purpose.

There you have it.  These are basically what you need to know about 18/10 and 18/0 stainless steel flatware.  The next time you check out flatware sets, you should know what to look for.  If you really want quality craftsmanship that is durable, that has a good feel and overall appearance, but without minding the extra expense; go for 18/10 Stainless Steel.  However, if your definition of what practical is includes price, don’t be afraid to look at 18/0 stainless steel sets.  Just remember to trust your instincts.  Read the label.  Ask somebody to open them up and try to have a feel of it in your hand.  You will come across items that claim they are what they are not.  Keep in mind that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

Check out our Oneida Stainless Steel Flatware.

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