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Claire - Chef's Cookware

What is the difference between stainless steel utensils and silicone utensils?

18th December 2006 12:51

There are certainly many differences between stainless steel utensils and silicone, however, neither is clearly superior to the other. It is mostly down to the individual needs of the chef. The main selling points of silicone utensils are that they are durable and won't damage non-stick coatings, whereas stainless steel utensils are viewed as the traditional durable choice. They also look rather sleek and elegant in the kitchen

The differences between the two types of utensils can be evaluated on on the following cirteria:

Appearance

Stainless steel is tarnish and scratch resistant so retains its appearance over time. Stainless steel utensils have a traditional appearance, which compliments all styles of kitchens.

Silicone utensils similarly retain their appearance over time due to the inert nature of silicone, heat and heavy usage will not discolour or misshape them. Silicone utensils are also favoured because they can be coloured giving them a stylish contemporary look.

Durability

Stainless steel utensils are exceptionally durable. Once stainless steel has been stamped, spun or formed into utensil shape, it takes an extremely hard blow to dent it. They are also highly heat resistant, however high heat may cause a mottled, rainbow-like discoloration commonly called ?heat tint?.

Silicone utensils are heat resistant to 300ºC and won?t discolour or melt at temperatures below that.

Cost

Stainless steel is made stainless and durable by the use of chromium and nickel. Both of these elements are very expensive compared to regular steel, hence the higher costs of stainless steel utensils when compared to silicone utensils.

Health

Thankfully the heath issues in respect of stainless steel and silicone are negligible.

The metals used in stainless steel utensils which may produce health effects are iron, nickel and chromium.

Small doses of chromium and iron, are good for your health, larger doses are problematic but almost impossible to receive from cutlery and utensil use. Nickel is non-poisonous, but it is possible for some people to have an allergy to it.

Provided the utensil is made from food grade silicone there are no known health issues associated with silicone utensils. Silicone rubber does not react with food or beverages, or produce any hazardous fumes.

Safety

The key safety feature of silicone utensils is that they cool much quicker than stainless steel, perfect for kitchens with little helpers!

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