As you embark on your journey into the world of stainless steel, you may come across the term “18/8 vs 18/10 stainless steel.” The varying percentage of different secondary content determines each type of stainless steel.
In the case of 18/10 and 18/8 stainless steel, the chrome and nickel content is what sets them apart from each other. Every high-performance cookware requires optimal cooking performance to handle the heat perfectly and should provide excellent resistance to rust and corrosion.
To fulfill this purpose, 18/10 and 18/8 stainless steel were made. The primary purpose of these stainless steel alloys is to complete the object of high-performance cookware and flatware.
The numbers show their composition percentage as 18 is the 18% of chrome they contain as it bonds perfectly with oxygen and creates a protective layer that prevents rust.
And 10 or 8 shows the percentage of nickel they contain, and the higher the nickel amount in stainless steel, the higher its resistance against corrosion and bending will be.
We aim to educate you about how efficient 18/10 and 18/8 stainless steel alloys are and how to differentiate between them.
In this article, you will learn their unique characteristics, what advantages they offer, how costly they are, and what applications they serve, along with other helpful information to be better prepared to make the right decision.
I. What is 18/10 Stainless Steel?
It’s a high-performance material for cookware and flatware. It handles the heat perfectly, maximizes your cooking experience, and preserves your food’s flavor.
Its material composition contains 18% chrome, 10% nickel, 0.1% carbon, and some other materials in minor amounts to maximize its ability to maintain performance in extreme temperatures.
The higher the chrome and nickel amounts in stainless steel are, the higher its performance is. Its 10% chrome and 2% additional nickel content compared to 18/8 stainless steel gives it a warm silver appearance and enhances its durability, resistance to corrosion, and strength.
However, this kind of performance comes at a cost, and it is a high-cost stainless steel alloy.
Characteristics of 18/10 Stainless Steel
Its incredible rust-proof characteristics and heat-resistant properties make it one of the most desirable materials for many industrial, engineering, and kitchen applications. The following is what makes it a great stainless steel alloy for food preparation and medical equipment manufacturing and gives you maximum durability in cooking:
- 18% chrome makes it rust-proof and 10% nickel enhances its temperature stability.
- It can handle temperatures up to 925°C and offers great resistance against salts, rust, and other caustic chemicals.
- Chrome gives it a warm silver appearance that’s well-desired in cookware and flatware.
- It can handle prolonged exposures to extreme conditions, temperatures, and stress and offers unparalleled strength and resistance against corrosion and acidic chemicals such as chlorine bleach.
- It’s a great material for outdoor applications as it can withstand elements without corroding over time.
- It’s a non-porous material means easy to clean and sanitize.
- It does not harbor bacteria or other harmful pathogens, making it a safe and hygienic choice for food-related applications.
However, the unbeatable performance of 18/10 stainless steel comes at a high price, and manufacturing parts using this alloy can be expensive.
Advantages of 18/10 Stainless Steel
Chrome and nickel are multi-purpose materials, and 18/10 stainless steel takes full advantage of these materials to prevent rust and improve appearance. It shows unmatched resistance to saline conditions and can withstand elevated temperatures, extreme stress, and load.
It’s important to understand that its advantages are the reflection of its characteristics responsible for its high performance.
It can ward off acidic liquids and chemicals while preserving the original flavors of foods. No material has a better resistance against rust than 18/10 stainless steel, which is why it’s the preferred choice for kitchen utensils and cookware.
Applications of 18/10 Stainless Steel
It suits applications that require reliability and longevity.
It’s a versatile material that finds its use in a wide range of applications, including:
- Cookware & kitchen appliances (ovens, dishwashers, and kitchen utensils)
- Medical & laboratory equipment (surgical instruments, dental tools, and lab benches)
- Marine & underwater applications (boat and ship fittings, underwater pipelines, and offshore oil rigs)
- Architecture & Construction (facades, roofing, and structural elements)
- Automotive industry (exhaust systems, car trim, and decorative elements)
II. What is 18/8 Stainless Steel?
It’s a stainless steel alloy composed of 18% chromium and 8% nickel. The composition of 18/8 stainless steel, with its unique combination of elements, results in excellent anti-corrosive properties, high strength, and superior durability. It’s an ideal choice for products subject to heavy use or wear & tear.
Its ability to withstand high temperatures is phenomenal without losing its shape or structural integrity. You can benefit from its unparalleled strength and durability for cookware, industrial machinery, or anything in between.
Although 18/8 stainless steel contains trace amounts of other elements, their quantities are so minimal that they are not noteworthy.
Characteristics of 18/8 Stainless Steel
304 grade or 18/8 stainless steel is a versatile metal, highly resistant to oxidation and corrosion, even in harsh environments such as saltwater or acidic substances.
Its unique characteristics make it nonreactive and perfect for food processing and medical applications.
- Its composition consists of 18% chromium and 8% nickel with trace amounts of other elements.
- It has low carbon content to offer excellent corrosion resistance.
- It offers high-temp resistance without any structural damage.
- It contains high content of nitrogen for superior resistance to saline conditions.
- Its non-porous surface is easy to clean and maintain.
Its high tensile strength enables it to withstand immense stress and pressure without deforming or breaking.
Advantages of 18/8 Stainless Steel
It exemplifies excellence in metal craftsmanship with its lustrous appearance and a brilliant shine. The high chromium content of 18/8 stainless steel makes it versatile for use in cookware, automotive, aerospace, medical, and architectural applications. Its sleek and modern appearance requires minimal maintenance and is easy to clean.
Importantly, it offers excellent value for its impressive range of advantages and has a high strength-to-weight ratio, making it perfect for critical strength applications.
It requires minimal maintenance, is easy to clean and sanitize, and is ideal for sensitive applications where magnetic fields must be avoided.
Applications of 18/8 Stainless Steel
Its superior characteristics and physical properties make it a preferred stainless steel alloy for various industrial and engineering applications.
Some of these applications include:
- Kitchen appliances (cutlery and flatware)
- Food processing, chemical processing, and storage equipment
- Medical instruments and implants
- Aerospace and defense components (power generation equipment and fuel & hydraulic tubing)
- Automotive parts & marine equipment (pressure vessels)
- Architectural applications (water treatment systems and piping systems)
III. 18/10 Stainless Steel vs 18/8 Stainless Steel: a Detailed Comparison Between the Two Popular Metal Choices
18/10 and 18/8 stainless steel have distinct differences; understanding them is crucial to choose the right one for your application. 18/10 stainless steel is the strongest premium-quality grade of stainless steel and contains 18% chromium and 10% nickel, which is also responsible for its incredible anti-corrosive behaviour.
This composition gives it superior resistance and a bright, shiny appearance that is highly desirable in high-end kitchenware.
In contrast, 18/8 stainless steel slightly lower nickel content by 8%, making it a more economical option and resulting in a relatively lower cost. It doesn’t mean that it is less resistant to rust and corrosion, but it’s less durable.
In terms of price, the cost difference may not be significant enough to outweigh the benefits of using 18/10 stainless steel in high-moisture applications.
1. Material Properties Differences Between 18/10 Stainless Steel and 18/8 Stainless Steel
- Element Composition: 18/10 stainless steel contains 2% more nickel composition than 18/8 stainless steel to enhance corrosion resistance and durability.
- Corrosion Resistance: The higher nickel content in 18/10 stainless steel results in improved corrosion resistance, making it a favorable option for applications that require resistance to corrosive elements.
- Durability: Both alloys are highly durable, resistant to deformation, and can withstand higher stress without fracturing, but 18/10 stainless steel offers improved strength and resistance to wear & tear.
- Weight: 18/10 stainless steel is denser and heavier than 18/8 stainless steel, but both alloys are relatively lightweight compared to other metals.
- Machinability: 18/10 stainless steel is less machinable than 18/8 stainless steel due to its higher nickel content, but it’s easy to achieve excellent surface finishes with the right tools and techniques.
- Weldability: The higher weldability of 18/10 stainless steel enhances its ductility and toughness and contributes to an overall improvement in its corrosion resistance. However, with precise control of welding parameters, the 18/8 stainless steel can be weld perfects avoiding any weld defects and preventing the risk of intergranular corrosion.
2. Strength Differences
- Tensile Strength: 18/10 stainless steel offers slightly higher tensile strength than 18/8 stainless steel, making it more resistant to deformation under stress.
- Yield Strength: Both alloys have excellent strength-to-weight ratios, but 18/10 stainless steel has a bit higher yield strength.
3. Ability to Form
- Formability: 18/8 stainless steel has higher formability than 18/10 stainless steel due to its lower nickel content.
- Melting Point: Both alloys are suitable for high-temperature applications as both have higher melting points above 1350°C. 18/10 stainless steel has a melting point of ~1,400-1450°C and 18/8 stainless steel has a melting point of ~1350-1400°C.
4. Appearance and Touch
- Color: There is no significant difference in color between 18/10 and 18/8 stainless steel, and both have a natural silver-like appearance with a slight shine and reflectivity.
- Hardness: The higher nickel content in 18/10 stainless steel leads to higher material hardness and makes it slightly harder than 18/8 stainless steel.
5. Conductivity Differences
- Electrical Conductivity: The electrical conductivity of 18/10 stainless steel is ~3% lower than 18/8 stainless steel due to the presence of 2% higher nickel content.
- Thermal Conductivity: There’s no significant difference as 18/10 stainless steel has a thermal conductivity of ~16.5-18 W/m-K, and 18/8 stainless steel has a thermal conductivity of ~16-17 W/m-K.
6. Pricing & Options
The 2% additional nickel content makes a difference but also increases the overall cost of 18/10 stainless steel. It’s more expensive than 18/8 stainless steel.
However, the price of both alloys can vary based on the specific application, surface finish, and quantity needed.
Different surface finishes can affect their appearance, texture, and corrosion resistance, and brushed and polished finishes are standard for both alloys. However, due to its higher nickel content, 18/10 stainless steel is more likely to have a mirror-like finish.
IV. 18/10 Stainless Steel vs 18/8 Stainless Steel: Which One to Choose?
The properties of these materials we discussed are essential in deciding which to choose for your applications. What significantly affects this choice is their price, corrosion resistance, and durability.
If price is your concern, 18/8 stainless steel is better if your application does not require a higher nickel content. With 18/8 stainless steel, creating solid and defect-free welds is easier.
And in terms of corrosion resistance, both alloys are excellent choices, but 18/10 stainless steel offers slightly better resistance and makes it a great option for use in harsh environments.
When considering ease of handling in certain applications, the lower density of 18/8 stainless steel compared to 18/10 stainless steel makes it a viable option for reducing weight and improving handling convenience.
However, this difference in weight is minimal and may not be significant for most applications.
Remember that 18/10 and 18/8 stainless steel are durable and long lasting, making them ideal for various applications, including architecture, automotive, and aerospace.
However, 18/10 is more durable and less prone to pitting and corrosion, ensuring a longer lifespan.
V. 18/10 Stainless Steel vs 18/8 Stainless Steel: Which is Cheaper?
In terms of cost, 18/8 stainless steel is less expensive than 18/10 stainless steel due to its 2% less nickel content.
However, it’s important to note that the price difference between these two grades of stainless steel may not be significant enough to be a deciding factor for your applications.
In addition to cost, corrosion resistance, durability, and aesthetics of stainless steel play an essential role in your decision-making process. The price of 18/10 and 18/8 stainless steel is variable as it depends on various factors such as market demand, availability, and production costs.
It’s always good to consult a trusted stainless steel supplier like Kemal for the most up-to-date pricing information.
While 18/10 stainless steel tends to be more expensive, it may be a worthwhile investment for applications requiring high corrosion resistance. For less demanding applications, 18/8 stainless steel may offer good performance at a lower cost.
Kemal: Manufacturing Metal Parts and Prototypes for You
The trust of our clients is the reason for our success, and we earned that trust with our years of experience in the industry and a commitment to providing the best quality parts and prototypes. Our ability to manufacture custom parts and prototypes to fit your exact specifications makes us your go-to manufacturer.
From precision CNC machining to 3D printing, Kemal has the experience, equipment, and dedication required to ensure your complete satisfaction with every part we produce.
So don’t settle for anything less than the best in manufacturing metal parts and prototypes. Contact Kemal today, and let us bring your vision to life with the highest quality and professionalism.
Before You Go
Conclusively, 18/10 stainless steel is a better choice if you require a metal with slightly better resistance to extreme temperatures, and choose 18/8 stainless steel if you prioritize cost-effectiveness.
Regardless of your choice, both materials offer exceptional quality and versatility, making them a top choice for various manufacturing applications.
So, choose wisely and confidently, knowing either option will deliver outstanding performance and reliability.
At Kemal, we use only the highest quality material and have proven a reliable and experienced manufacturing partner for decades.
Why delay? Get in touch with us now to discover more about our services and how we can assist you in reaching your manufacturing objectives.