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FAQ: What does 18/8, 18/10, and 18/0 mean, and which is better?

18/8 and 18/10 refer to the percentages of chromium and nickel in the stainless steel alloy. The "18" refers to the chromium content, which gives flatware its rust-resistant properties, and the "8" or "10" refers to the nickel content, which gives flatware a deeper lustre, or shine.

These numbers are merely "nicknames" for the lay person to use, and are only used for marketing efforts by flatware manufacturers. When a manufacturer purchases stainless steel from a steel mill, they all purchase stainless steel Grade 304, which has a range of 18-20% chromium, and 8-10% nickel content. Grade 304 in flatware is usually at the lower end of that range. To keep the cost down, steel manufacturers will make grade 304 with 8.2% nickel, which clears the legal hurdle of calling it 18/10.

What does all this mean? It means that there is no difference between 18/8 and 18/10 stainless steel in flatware. The difference between the two is purely a marketing effort.

However, 18/0 has no nickel content, so over the years you can expect these patterns to not keep the mirror-polish finish that an 18/8 or 18/10 pattern would have. For patterns that already have a brushed finish, that's not an issue anyway.

Keep in mind that these numbers do not refer to the weight of the stainless. If the weight is a concern to you, please ask your sales representative about the weight and feel of patterns you are interested in. As a general rule, the Silver Superstore does not sell stainless steel flatware that is flimsy, or bends easily. You can browse through our heaviest patterns by clicking here.

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