14 May Testing Stainless Quality
How can you test the quality of stainless kitchen or galley gear? This set was a mid-range price and feels solid in your hand, yet it’s rusting. And it’s never been around salt water.
When I bought it, I just somehow figured that if it was stainless, that’s all I needed to know. Obviously, I was wrong. Don’t make the same mistake I did.
I recently wrote about the various stainless designations on kitchenware, and said that while the best stainless for kitchen/galley use was 18/10, 18/8 would probably also be fine, while 18/0 was likely to rust.
A couple of readers made the point that many items simply aren’t labeled in the store or even online. So how do you know if you’re getting high quality stainless or something that will rust?
Another reader, Debra Trottier, gave the answer: carry a small magnet with you. Says Debra, ” I’ve taken to carrying a magnet in my purse at all times so I can ‘test’ anything I’m considering buying for the boat. It works well as many household items aren’t marked as to stainless quality. If the magnet sticks, I move on. Just make sure it’s not in the same pocket as your credit cards!”
Debra’s right: 18/10 and 18/8 stainless aren’t magnetic, 18/0 is. Now, it’s not as strongly magnetic as straight steel, but this refrigerator magnet will pick up a spoon at an angle. Just before it gets fully vertical, the spoon will slide off. But on my other, better quality stainless, it just doesn’t stick at all.One more quick tip: if you look closely at that top photo, you’ll notice that the rust is concentrated in the grooves. I believe that’s because water tends to sit there longer when the dishes are drying. I know that the grooves are harder to clean out when washing by hand — and it takes more water to rinse them out, too. So one feature that I’ll be looking for in a new set is a nice, simple streamlined design.
For years, if we were buying screws or bolts in a hardware and weren’t sure of the stainless quality, we’d wander over to the “magnet aisle” and use one to test the item in question. Now I’m just going to stick a small magnet in the day pack that I usually carry when shopping.
Now if I could just find a “virtual magnet” for online items that aren’t marked!