What to Look for in Flatware That Will Last -- Savings Experiment


All flatware isn't made the same, and while many sets are affordable, they may not last very long. Before you splurge on new forks and knives, find out what you should be looking for to ensure they stay shiny and like new.

When it comes to stainless steel flatware, it's all about the numbers. You'll see sets listed as 18/0 and 18/10 stainless steel, which represent the percentages of chromium and nickel content. So, if a set is listed as 18/10, that means it's made of 18 percent chromium and 10 percent nickel content. If the product is listed as 18/0, it's made of 18 percent chromium with zero nickel matter.

What difference does this make? Well, according to Food Service Warehouse, "chromium is a hard metallic substance that helps increase product hardness" and "nickel is defined as a silvery metallic element that helps resist corrosion."

In other words, since 18/0 flatware has no nickel content, it won't keep it's shine over the years and may be subject to stains. Meanwhile, 18/10 is will stay shiny and rust-resistant. Of course, 18/10 stainless steel sets are more expensive, but if it means you won't have to replace your flatware any time soon, you'll be saving more money in the long run.

Another tip: Think twice before you buy a new set of forks and knives online. Many deal sites offer intriguing prices on seemingly good flatware sets, but often don't disclose their chromium and nickel percentages. If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

So, the next time you're shopping for new utensils, keep the 18/10 number in mind. Pick a set you love and you'll have them for what seems like forever.