Do You Need Heavy-Duty Foil?

We carried out tests to see if two layers of regular foil work just as well.

We reach for aluminum foil constantly in the test kitchen. We use it to line baking sheets for easy cleanup, to cover baking dishes to prevent the food from drying out, and to wrap food in a pouch so it will steam gently in the oven. Most times standard foil does the trick, but there are certain instances when we like the heavy-duty stuff better. The version made by Reynolds, a top-selling product, is 30 percent thicker than the company’s regular foil, and its sturdiness means we can securely wrap whole bone-in roasts and enclose pointy wood chips in packets for grilling without concern that the foil will be punctured. But will a double layer of regular foil work just as well so you don’t have to stock two types in your pantry?

To find out, we used a specialized tool called a texture analyzer to measure how much force it took to puncture a single sheet of heavy-duty foil versus two sheets of regular foil (pressed together to remove air pockets). We found that it took 1,110 grams of force to puncture the heavy-duty sheet, while a double layer of regular foil took 1,370 grams—or 23 percent more force.

BOTTOM LINE: Since a double layer of regular foil is even stronger than a single layer of heavy-duty foil, in most cases, you can get away with keeping only the regular kind on hand. The exception: when you need the extra width of 18-inch heavy-duty foil (standard foil is only 12 inches wide) for such uses as covering a wide roasting pan.

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