If you browse
through any display of fine cookware, you're likely to see
"18/10 Stainless Steel" advertised as if it’s a benefit for
the cook. However, most people have no idea what this
designation actually means. By learning what 18/10 stainless
cookware is, you can decide for yourself if it's a
priority for your home cookware.
What Makes Steel Stainless?
Stainless steel is one
of the most popular materials for cookware because it is
smooth, doesn't stick easily, is resistant to corrosion, and
because its natural gleam is very attractive. But what
makes stainless steel different from regular steel?
Steel itself is an
alloy, or combination of different metals, that is made up
mostly of iron. Steel is made harder and more durable than
iron by adding other metals such as carbon. However, steel
remains prone to corrosion, rusting and pitting easily –
which is far from ideal in
In order to make
steel more suitable for use in the kitchen, another metal is
added to the alloy – chromium. Chromium has a chemical
property that causes the steel to react with elements in the
atmosphere, forming a protective layer over its surface.
This protective layer resists corrosion, far removing the
chance of stains and rust marring the surface of your pans.
The first number in
18/10 stainless steel refers to the percentage of the alloy
that is made up of chromium. In order to be considered
stainless steel at all, that number must be at least 10.5%.
A higher value of chromium means that the protective layer
will be thicker and will repair itself more quickly if
damaged. Therefore, 18/10 stainless steel has a high level
of chromium, and will be more resistant to staining and
Stainless Steel Bright?
Chromium alone is not enough to create
the most durable and beautiful stainless steel cookware
possible. The addition of another element to the alloy
increases the effectiveness of the protective layer that
forms over the steel surface, and also makes the cookware
gleam more brightly. That element is nickel.
The second number in
18/10 stainless steel refers to the percentage of nickel in
the cookware. Although 18/8 also indicates high
quality stainless steel cookware, the higher both
numbers are, the better the cookware.
The number 18/10 in
stainless steel cookware indicates a very high-quality,
durable construction that will be highly resistant to
stains, rust, and corrosion while maintaining a bright,