1 Store1 Review
Pros: Good build quality, easy to clean, stackable
Most cookware in the world is built according to the metric system and then converted to inches for advertising in the U.S. This steamer basket is manufactured in China for an European company, in their midpriced range (A di Alessi). The design is by Jasper Morrison, who is apparently an architect/industrial designer of some repute in the UK.
Okay, enough about history, what about the steamer?
Materials: 5 out of 5 stars
This steamer is made from 18/10 stainless steel, which is highly rust-resistant as the chromium and nickel makes it a self-healing steel--if water gets on it, an invisible layer of chromium oxide protects the rest of the steel from corrosion. If you scratch it, more chromium will be exposed and protect it. Lesser grades of stainless steel are not as rust resistant, though 18/8 comes close.
Construction Quality: 5 out of 5 stars
It's a myth that riveted cookware is more durable than welded cookware; look at the industrial/commercial grade kitchenware coming out of Europe and they almost all have welded handles. A cheap weld may not last as well as a good weld, but given Alessi's reputation, I'm sure they didn't skimp on the weld.
Furthermore, the handles are spot-welded in three places per handle. Given that you won't be carrying water or anything that heavy with the steamer, that is more than enough for a lifetime of enjoyment.
Because the handles are welded, there aren't rivets to catch food particles and house bacteria. I much prefer this design, after having to deal with rivets on my older cookware.
The steamer holes are punched in the bottom and I have had no problems with them.
Stackable! I own two of these steamers and they are stackable.
A thin band is pushed out of the steel to form a ridge. This is what sits on the pot. The band is thick enough to easily get a sponge in their to clean.
Note that if Alessi had opted to NOT do this--to fold the sidewalls up and away, then they'd have to curve it back inward so that the top of the steamer was 24cm again (expensive to manufacture). Or else have a steamer that could be used with 24cm pots down below but require more than 24cm for its own cover up above, which would make it unstackable.
Dimensions and capacity:
24cm diameter (9.45 inches), compatible with tons of lids out there, which is good because this doesn't come with any lid.
Interior height is about 9.5cm (3.74 inches), exterior maybe 10cm.
This implies about 4.3 liters (4.54 quarts) of capacity, far surpassing the 2.5-3-quart steamers on the market that are often meant to sit on 20cm (7.9 inch) pots. You could probably steam multiple crabs in here if you wanted to, depending on the crab sizes.
I balked at the price at first, but if you look around, the only other welded-handle steamer baskets are even more expensive (Demeyere), and some of them rely on silicone gaskets that can wear out, unlike this steamer. If you can tolerate riveted handles, you can find other steamers for slightly less, but I am not sure if those would be stackable due to the rivets protruding from the sidewalls.