What Is 18/10 Stainless Steel: Composition, Properties & Differences from 18/0, 18/8, 304 & 316


In this article, we’ll break down the 18/10 stainless steel grade, covering its definition, machinability, safety, composition, properties, and comparison with other alloys (18/0, 18/8, 304 & 316).

What Is 18/10 Stainless Steel?

18/10 or 18-10 stainless steel is an austenitic stainless steel, the name is based on its chemical composition of approximately 18% chromium and 10% nickel. This material is renowned for its excellent corrosion resistance, strength, processability, and aesthetic appeal, making it a popular choice for cutlery and other kitchen utensils.  18/10 may refer to 304, but 18/10 focuses on the main ingredients and content, and 304 indicates the specific model in the stainless steel grade standard.

Is 18/10 stainless steel a good quality?

Yes, 18/10 stainless steel is generally considered good quality. It contains 18% chromium and 10% nickel, which gives it excellent corrosion resistance and durability. This grade is commonly used in high-quality kitchenware and food service equipment. It’s resistant to rust, doesn’t react with acidic foods, and maintains its shine well.

Machinability of 18/10 stainless steel

The machinability rating of 18/10 stainless steel is relatively low compared to lots of other grades. On a scale where 100% represents the machinability of free-machining steel, 18/10 stainless steel has a machinability rating of about 45-50%. So there are challenges to machining the alloy, high work hardening rate, low thermal conductivity, and high ductility lead to issues like built-up edges on cutting tools, galling, and poor chip breaking. Machining 18/10 stainless steel often requires lower cutting speeds, higher feed rates, more frequent tool changes, and specific cutting fluids.

Is 18/10 stainless steel safe?

Yes, 18/10 stainless steel is safe for food and medical industries as its characteristics.

– Non-reactive nature with food

– Corrosion resistance, does not rust

– Heat resistance, can withstand high temperatures without degrading or releasing harmful substances.

– Non-toxic, does not leach harmful chemicals or metals

– Non-porous surface, resistant to bacterial growth

Chemical Composition of 18/10 Stainless Steel

Element Content
Iron (Fe) Remaining part
Chromium (Cr) Approx. 18%
Nickel (Ni) Approx. 10%
Carbon (C) Usually less than 0.08%
Manganese (Mn) Less than 2%
Silicon (Si) Less than 1%
Phosphorus (P) Usually very low, less than 0.045%
Sulfur (S) Usually very low, less than 0.030%

Physical and Thermal Properties of 18/10 Stainless Steel

Property Value
Density 7.9 g/cm³
Elastic Modulus 200 GPa at 20°C
Magnetic Non-magnetic in an annealed state
Thermal Conductivity Approx. 16 W/m·K
Thermal Expansion Coefficient Approx. 17.2 µm/m°C, similar to 304 stainless steel
Electrical Resistivity Approx. 0.72 µΩ·m
Melting Point 1400-1455°C
Thermal Expansion Coefficient Approx. 16.5 x 10^-6 mm/m/°C at 20°C

18/10 Stainless Steel vs 18/8 – Differences Between 18/10 and 18/8 Stainless Steel

18/8 stainless steel is austenitic stainless steel categorized in the 300 series and sometimes used interchangeably with 304, but they are not the same, 304 contains additional 2-3% molybdenum content.

Property 18/10 Stainless Steel 18/8 Stainless Steel
Composition Fe + 18% Cr + 10% Ni Fe + 18% Cr + 8% Ni
Corrosion Resistance Better corrosion resistance due to higher Ni content Weaker corrosion resistance due to lower Ni content
Application High-strength industrial applications, automotive, and marine industries Light-duty applications, such as cutlery, furniture, and medical equipment
Price Generally higher Generally lower

18/10 Stainless Steel vs 18/0 – Differences Between 18/10 and 18/0 Stainless Steel

18/0 stainless steel got its name from 0% nickel and 18% chromium, typically has a lower production cost, and is magnetic, the corrosion resistance is not as good as that of nickel-containing stainless steels, but still has good oxidation resistance.

Property 18/10 Stainless Steel 18/0 Stainless Steel
Composition Fe + 18% Cr + 10% Ni Fe + 18% Cr
Corrosion Resistance Excellent corrosion resistance due to high Ni and Mo content Weaker corrosion resistance than 18/10 and 18/8
High-Temperature Performance Good high-temperature performance, up to 1200-1300°C Poor high-temperature performance, not suitable for high-temperature applications
Mechanical Properties Good ductility and low-temperature toughness Good thermal conductivity, low thermal expansion coefficient, and good weldability
Application Medical equipment, food processing, and high-end cookware Decorative architectural features, fuel injectors, and household appliances

18/10 Stainless Steel vs 304 – Differences Between 18/10 and 304 Stainless Steel

304, also known as UNS S30400, SUS304, or SAE 304, is one of the most common stainless steel, a member of the austenitic family. Type 304 is sometimes also called 18/8 and 18/10 for its composition of 18% chromium and 8% or 10% nickel, respectively.

Property 18/10 Stainless Steel 304 Stainless Steel
Composition Fe + 18% Cr + 10% Ni Fe + 18-20% Cr + 8-10.5% Ni
Strength Moderate strength Stronger, tougher, and can withstand more abuse and pressure
Heat Resistance Up to 1500°F Up to 1950°F, retaining strength and resisting corrosion at higher heat levels
Magnetism May become slightly magnetic after welding or heat treatment Fully non-magnetic even after heat exposure
Purity A few more impurities High purity and more consistent
Application High-end cookware, medical equipment, and food processing Widely used in various industries, including chemical, food, and pharmaceutical

18/10 Stainless Steel vs 316 – Differences Between 18/10 and 316 Stainless Steel

Stainless steel 316, the second most common austenitic stainless steel, is a preferred choice that is used in marine environments.

Property 18/10 Stainless Steel 316 Stainless Steel
Composition Fe + 18% Cr + 10% Ni Fe + 16-18% Cr + 10-14% Ni + 2-3% Mo
Corrosion Resistance Good corrosion resistance, but not as good as 316 in certain environments Excellent corrosion resistance due to Mo content, especially in seawater and acidic environments
Heat Resistance Withstand temperatures up to 1500°F Retains strength even at elevated temperatures up to 2000°F
Strength Moderately strong Stronger and tougher
Cost More affordable More expensive
Application High-end cookware, medical equipment, and food processing Widely used in marine, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries, as well as in high-temperature applications