Stainless Steel - 18/0 vs 18/8 vs 18/10 vs Tri-Ply Cookware

Like if this guide is helpful

What Are The Different Types Of Stainless Steel Cookware?

The price of a decent set of stainless steel pots and pans can vary significantly.  If you are aware of the lingo and what the difference is in the quality of the stainless steel component in your set of cookware, you can save a great deal of money and frustration.  You may be able to find a very nice set of stainless steel cookware for a low price that has all the qualities of a bigger name brand cookware company. 

Here are some of the more common types of stainless steel you'll see referenced when researching your purchase:

- 18/0 Stainless Steel
-18/8 Stainless Steel
-18/10 Stainless Steel
-All clad

I'll start with the least expensive…

What is 18/0 Stainless Steel?

The "18" part of that equation indicates there is 18% Chromium in the set of cookware.  The "0" indicates there is no nickel in these pans.  This is the least expensive version with regards to the quality of the stainless steel.  You can expect 18/0 Stainless Steel to have a soft shine and be economical.  Because they have no nickel content, these are more prone to staining.  This can make a very good set for those that want the benefits of stainless steel but are on a budget.

What is 18/8 Stainless Steel?

Manufacturers are allowed to claim "18/10" as long as there is 8.3% nickel in the stainless steel.  For this reason, there is virtually no difference between 18/8 vs 18/10 grades of stainless steel.  If you find a set of stainless steel pots and pans that indicates 18/8 grade, you can purchase it with confidence.  There will be little difference between the quality of 18/8 stainless steel vs. 18/10.

What is 18/10 Stainless Steel?

Nearly identical to 18/8 - see explanation above.  If there's a significant difference in the price between 18/8 and 18/10, you can purchase the 18/8 quality with confidence that there WON'T be a significant difference in quality!

Because of the added nickel in both the 18/8 and 18/10, they will be more rust-resistant than the 18/0 which does not contain nickel.  They will have a more durable construction and be easier to maintain.

The 18/0 - 18/8 - 18/10 are the least expensive when it comes to the quality of the stainless steel cookware set.  The next step up is most frequently referred to as Tri-Ply stainless steel.

What Is Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware?

Stainless Steel by itself (as in the 18/0, 18/8 and 18/10 versions) isn't a good heat conductor.  The next step up in stainless steel is most frequently referred to as "tri-ply".  Tri ply is usually two or three different metals (usually aluminum and/or copper) bonded together.  The most popular type is stainless steel with aluminum.  

The try-ply are a much higher quality set of pots and pans - which equates to a higher price tag.  If you're looking for a set of cookware that conducts heat faster and more evenly, you may need to pay the higher price.   

Also important to note - some tri ply cookware sets will have a metal disk in between two layers of stainless steel on the bottom of the pots and pans only.  Another variation has the middle layer of metal throughout the pans - on the bottom and up the sides.  You can expect to pay more for the set that has the metal going up the sides.  

One of the most expensive types of try-ply is a set that has copper on the outside, aluminum in the middle with a stainless steel cooking surface.  This is an excellent choice if you can afford the price tag.  Both the aluminum and the copper are excellent heat conductors!

What is All-Clad Stainless Steel Cookware?

All-Clad Stainless cookware is a nice quality try-ply cookware company.  This is not a process, but a company that sells try-ply cookware.  I see listings on both ebay and craigslist that the set is "all clad" - but it ISN'T the "All Clad" brand that has a higher price point.

Once you've decided on the quality of the stainless steel you require and what will fit into your budget, the next consideration is picking a set that offers the pan, pot, cover ratio that will best suit your needs.

If you found this guide helpful, please click the green "thumbs up" vote button at the bottom of this page. 

Thank You And Happy Cooking!
Explore more guides