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Knowledge Center: Cookware Gauge

Gauge refers to the thickness of the metal. Metal thickness can be stated in inches (thousandths), millimeters, or gauge.

In the cookware industry, aluminum cookware is usually stated in gauges. The point to remember in this terminology is: the lower the number, the thicker the metal. Most stamped aluminum cookware in the mass market is 10 gauge on fry pans and a thinner 12 gauge on saucepans and dutch oven. Better quality aluminum cookware would use a heavier 8 gauge on fry pans and 10 gauge on other pieces. Cast aluminum cookware is equivalent to 6 gauge. Consumers are trading up to more durable open stock fry pans in recent years - either 6 gauge or a very heavy 4 gauge.

Promotional lightweight fry pans with "generic" non-stick coatings are usually 12 gauge or 14 gauge.

In stainless steel cookware, the thickness is generally referred to in millimeters, perhaps because of the influence of imports in this category. The standard for top of range stainless steel cookware is 0.6 MM for bodies and lids. Premium department store brands will have stainless steel bodies and lids in the range of 0.7 MM to 1.0 MM thick. Low end stainless steel cookware and low end mixing bowls and accessories are generally 0.5 MM thick.

If the cookware has an aluminum sandwich bottom, the aluminum is usually 3.0 MM thick, with a 0.5 MM stainless steel protector plate. In the case of a copper sandwich bottom, the copper thickness will vary from 1.0 MM to 2.0 MM, depending on the brand. In the case of some copper bottom cookware, the copper on the bottom is not a disk - it is applied by dipping in a tank - and is very thin (less than 0.5 MM) and hardly visible in a cross sectional view. That type of copper coating is more cosmetic than functional.

Aluminum and copper sandwich bottoms normally include a stainless steel protector plate to avoid the unsightly oxidization and stains that otherwise would appear on the unfinished aluminum or copper disk. Better quality stainless steel cookware will have a "capsule" style protector plate, which wraps up the sides of the disk as well as the bottom, completely concealing the disk in stainless steel.

Thickness Tables

Stainless Steel   Aluminum
Millimeters Inches Gauge Inches Millimeters
0.5 0.0197 4 0.204 5.18
0.6 0.0236 6 0.162 4.11
0.7 0.0276 8 0.128 3.25
0.8 0.0315 10 0.102 2.59
0.9 0.0354 12 0.081 2.06
1.0 0.0394 14 0.064 1.63
16 0.051 1.30
18 0.040 1.02
20 0.032 0.81

 


 

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