Have you been in a situation where you want to change your everyday cutlery, but realize that you have no idea what makes for “good” quality cutlery? Aside from personal aesthetic preferences, there are other objective elements that make one set of cutlery better quality than another. Here’s what you need to look for.
When you are looking to buy a new cutlery set, at first glance on the flatware packaging, it may look like 18/10, but a closer inspection may reveal that it’s only 18/0 cutlery. This type of information can be very deceiving. It’s actually a marketing strategy and if these cutlery specs are missing altogether, the product you are looking at may not be stainless at all. Let’s take a closer look at the stainless cutlery differences and their meaning.
Stainless steel used in cutlery is a composite in various steels and differs in terms of quality grades for different uses. The main ingredients in cutlery are chromium and nickel. They have been added to provide resistance to corrosion. The differences in specifications are usually denoted on the packaging, but quite often they are overlooked, when shopping for stainless steel cutlery. Stainless flatware that is 18/10 means that it contains 18% chromium and 10% nickel. The higher the nickel content, the more protection it provides from corrosion. The prices of the stainless steel cutlery vary considerably, depending on these quality specifications.
Some manufacturers label their cutlery with a slightly higher than 8% nickel content, like 18/8.3, as 18/10, because it doesn’t exactly fit the 18/8 category. So, when shopping for cutlery, open the package and handle a utensil. An 18/10 utensil will have a great “feel” in your hand. It is somewhat heavy, but well-balanced and the stainless steel will be gleaming. High quality cutlery looks very elegant and is definitely worth paying the higher price.
Signs of low quality stainless cutlery are rough edges, lack of luster, light weight and lack of balance, when handled. There will probably be no stainless specifications on the label to confirm metal details. You can still use such flatware as a starter cutlery set and upgrade later, when your budget allows.
Keep in mind that even the best stainless steel cutlery is a subject to occasional pitting and corrosion, when not cared for properly. Dishwasher detergents tend to be harsh to stainless steel flatware, which sometimes causes blemishes. These can be easily removed with a stainless steel cleanser, but pitting, chipping and rusting often cannot be removed.
When you are shopping for stainless steel cutlery, make sure you check the packaging for other product information, like international or national standards. The flatware product must meet the standards, acceptable for your area. You would probably want to use this new, high quality cutlery set for years to come.