Chantal's Japanese 21/0 Stainless Steel
So I picked one of these up at a Ross Department store (west coast TJ Maxx type factory second/buyout retailer)... It had a small 2 inch scratch on exterior which made the price VERY right (80% off MSRP of $120).
I've never before heard of Japanese 21/0 SS before. I was intrigued so I started to research... It didn't turn up much besides links to sellers of Chantal cookware.
The claims - up to and including 30% faster than 18/8 - I can't verify... In my 100% scientifically flawed apples to oranges "boil off" between it and a late 90s era hand-me-down Korean-made disc bottom 6 qt RevereWare Dutch oven... The latter came to a boil 3 minutes faster on an electric coil... But again apples to oranges...
I'm perfectly pleased the purchase though, I wanted an induction compatible 8qt stainless stock pot to replace my warped and chipping enamel on steel pot... This does exactly that just fine...
But I'm curious, what's the deal with the 21/0 SS? Chantal seems to be the only one using/marketing it. What's your opinion, is it worth paying a premium?
In my opinion, the 21/0 SS really is a marketing idea. The 21% of chromium does make the cookware more resistance to corrosion and rust than 18/0. As for heat distribution or heat evenness of the cookware, the stainless steel selection is not important. The stainless steel (let is be 18/0 or 21/0) is the surface layers. It is the core layer (usually aluminum or copper) does majority of the job to distribute heat evenly across the cooking surface.
However, the 18/0 or 21/0 stainless steel does affect heat transfer from the bottom of the cookware (heat source) to the top (cooking surface).
All in all, there are some exaggerations or misleading description. Many people often claim that copper has such higher thermal conductivity than cast iron (by a factor of 7 fold), but guess what? It really does not translate in real life. You won't actually boil your water 7 times faster in a copper pot than a cast iron pot.
Same here. While the thermal conductivity of 21/0 may be 33% higher than 18/0, you won't see 33% increase in practical speed.
< is it worth paying a premium?>
Depending how much more. :)
Chromium (your 21%) is a dense metallic substance that helps a product's hardness. Nickel (your zero %) helps prevent corrosion and stains.
Zero nickel in a product is usually economical and prone to stains, with a softer lustre.
I think 21/0 is a sales gimmick. Just my opinion.
Either way, it sounds like you got an awesome deal especially on a tight wallet.
The composition looks similar to two Series 400 steels, 442 and 446, with the major exception of the kiss of titanium.
At 21% chromium, this steel should be slightly more corrosion-resistant than the usual 18/8 or /10 (Series 300 steels), but the absence of nickel usually causes steels to have a duller appearance even when polished. So I'm not clear about why experts would find that this 21/0 is "equally brilliant".
I suspect this is effectively just magnetic 18/0 with 18% more chromium.