The Difference Between 18/10 and 18/0 Stainless Steel Flatware


The short answer is that the numbers “18/10” and “18/0” are simply figures that illustrate the amount of chromium and nickel content present in stainless steel. This is a minor difference to be sure, but it remains a difference nonetheless.

But if you’re shopping for stainless steel flatware, it is still very important to understand the more intricate differences between 18/10 and 18/0 grade stainless steel. So, if you’re scratching your head and wondering – “What do these mysterious numbers mean?” Please, do not despair. It’s not at all as puzzling or technical as it might seem.

Know The Numbers

18/10 Flatware

18/10 Flatware
  • Brilliant luster
  • Rust-resistant material
  • Durable construction
  • Easy to maintain
Shop 18/10 Flatware

18/0 Flatware

18/0 Flatware
  • Soft shine
  • Zero nickel content
  • Economical design
  • Prone to staining
Shop 18/0 Flatware

The numbers “18/10” and “18/0” are simply figures that illustrate the amount of chromium and nickel content present in stainless steel.

  • Chromium, or chrome, is a tough white metal, used in stainless steel and other alloys, because of how hard it is and its stain-resistant properties
  • Nickel is a corrosion-resistant silvery-white metal, often used for its shine to coat other metals
  • 18/10 stainless steel contains 18% chromium and 10% nickel content.
  • 18/0 stainless steel contains 18% chromium and 0% nickel matter.

Understand The Difference

So, one has nickel and the other doesn’t? What’s the real difference?

Two of the main differences you’ll notice between 18/10 and 18/0 flatware is the luster and economic value. Chromium and nickel both contain stain-resistant properties. Chromium, by itself, is not a reliable rust-resistant material. Combined with nickel, it takes on more hard-wearing properties. The combination of nickel also creates a brighter, polished look. Because of this, 18/10 products generally cost more. With or without nickel, stainless steel is a highly durable flatware material. The soft sheen and economic value of 18/0 products is an excellent choice for casual restaurants and many high-volume eateries.

Overall, we recommend evaluating your business needs and how often the products are going to be used before deciding which chrome/nickel combination is right for you.

Standard vs European Model Sizes

When purchasing flatware, be aware of both standard and European model sizes. The only differences between the two are that European flatware is generally three times bigger and heavier than standards silverware. In addition, European flatware is generally more expensive and is used on more formal tabletop settings.


About Author

FSW Staff

We love our writers, but here at FSW we promote content generation from all departments. This blog has been written by another one of our multi-talented employees.


  1. I wouldn’t say that 18/10 has “more hard-wearing” properties than 18/0. I would say in many cases it’s more brittle. For high-end restaurants, 18/10 is the way to go, however, because of polished look that will not stain.

      • I believe what the op is referring to [trying to remember my Uni Chem Courses] is the ‘Bonds’ created when Smelting or Sintering Elements / Alloys together.

        The Sum of the Parts will be stronger. This all boils down to ‘Rust Resistance’, ‘Stain Resistance’, ‘Magnetism’ [for Hotels & Restaurants] & the Dreaded: ‘Ice Cream Test’. That last one also involves the ‘Weight’.

        Nickel is highly toxic & will cause Allergic Contact Dermatitis in Humans. This is why we want the second number to be under 10%: X/10 Btw, X/12, X/10 & X/8 are all exactly the same thing. It’s just Madison Avenue Marketing, so it all comes down to: With or without Nickel.

        Warning: The following is not based on Science. [Emily Post & Martha Stewart]

        Everday Family Meals: 18/0
        BBQ / Picnics / Parties: 18/10
        Sit Down Diner Party: Silverplate
        Formal Occasions: Sterling Silver

        Hope this information was helpful.

  2. I’m trying to figure out what stainless set you actually show in the picture at the very top of this article–it has an excellent, high-end look (the double mark is lovely), but you haven’t sited it at all. any idea the maker/model?


        • I have been making and selling cutlery past 45 years . First from Bresia area. Then from Sheffield and then from Solingen and then from Korea and now from China where most of cutlery in this world comes from. Every segment has a role to play. Depends which segment you wish to be in . The end usually is fixed to justify the means. eg : Indians believe flatware has to be non magnetic. British Steel Association says good steel has to be magnetic.Asia believes mid course . Americans look for heavy stuff whaever there be be composed of and so on .As long as it is food safe within 1935/2004 all is good.

      • Theuresa Maven on

        My mother purchased a set of Reed and Barton stainless steel during the mid 80’s for everyday dining that came with 8 (each): knives, forks, salad and regular forks, 16 teaspoons, and a server set consisting of a small ladle, sloted spoon, and salad serving spoon and fork. 8 of the teaspoons have never been used, but a significant number of salad forks, spoons, and a couple of forks have disappeared. Oddly, it is only the spoons that have blackened, and fairly recently; my guess would be because of hot drink temperatures. I never had a problem with staining, primarily because of Reed and Barton quality, and because they have always been washed by hand. Here’s the problem: we purchasing new everyday dinnerware and flatware, but have no clue as to what we would be looking for. What would the ratio have been for flatware 31 years ago? There are no complaints about the old flatware, and would like to come close as possible. Do you have any suggestions as to what to purchase? We tend toward minalimism, which generally means Japanese or Scandinavian. Thank you for any suggestions that you may have.

        • Nicole Castellano
          Nicole Castellano on

          Good morning Theuresa- If the flatware has blackened then it’s not stainless but pure silver. Reed and Barton is a retail product not commercial so we don’t have access to anything similar. But I would suggest checking out the Reed and Barton website or maybe check and see if anything comes close. Good luck!

  3. Is heavier 18/10 flatware more expensive that lighter weight flatware. I have Ricci bromosole compared to Mikasa harmony and the bromosole seems much more sturdy and doesn’t smudge as much.

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