What is the common food-grade Stainless Steel?

As there are many different kinds of cars and a seemingly infinite amount of computers, there are different kinds of stainless steel. Most people usually assume stainless steel is just what it is, like there would be just iron and aluminum. But especially with restaurant equipment, stainless steel is not just something to be taken for granted–especially not when people’s food is on the line.

The most common type of stainless steel (and the one this post will focus on) is austentite stainless steel. Basically, this means that the microscopic structure on the crystals looks like a cube. Now there are other kinds of stainless steel that are weaker and stronger (for example, martenistic stainless steel is used for Swiss Army knives). But the most common stainless steel is what is called SAE 304 (SAE, by the way, means the Society of Automotive Engineers).

SAE 304 is the formal name, but everybody knows it as 18/8 stainless steel, or food-grade stainless steel. This means SAE 304 has 18% chromium and 8% nickel. Now there are other variants, such as 18/0 stainless steel (that’s usually used in knives), but this kind of stainless steel is important because of a couple reasons: A. It’s doesn’t corrode easily (unlike aluminum). B. It’s temperature-resistant.

Today, it may be a no-brainer to go stainless-steel (One Fat Frog’s inventory does stainless-steel), but in the past that wasn’t always the case. A couple years ago, General Electric tried to stay away from the business by experimenting with other materials.  But more often than not, the consumer follows the professional–not the other way around (like One Fat Frog).

Ultimately, stainless steel is popular because it just works. You may have to clean a few fingerprint smudges once in a while, but you know it’ll last (like our restaurant equipment!)