Best Cookware Set 2016
- Top 10 pots and pans set Based on consumer popularity, performance and value for money, this is our top 10 picks for best pots and pans set 2016
Are you having a hard time selecting an appropriate cookware set for your home? There are various brands in the market claiming to be best amongst a wide range of pots and pans. With the introduction of so many different materials like aluminum, cast iron, copper and stainless steel, it is often difficult to decide the right cookware for your house. To assist you and help you with your confusion over what is the best cookware, following is a review of different metals cookware are made from along with their uses, advantages and disadvantages.
Chosing the Best Cookware Set for Your Needs
The first thing to know the characteristics of the cookware metal that you select. It mainly depends on the type of food you cook. Therefore, it is necessary that you select a metal that is best for cooking.
Stainless steel is the most common cookware material available in the market. You will find stainless steel in almost every house. Stainless steel cookware basically is an alloy metal made from chromium, carbon and steel. The reason why stainless steel is regarded as “stainless” is its ability to resist corrosion.
Stainless steel is the most reliable choice for cookware. However, as stainless steel does not conduct heat it is important that you select steel cookware with copper or aluminum core. Aluminum or copper core ensures that the cooking surface heats up properly. Without the core, the food may not be properly cooked.
Advantages of stainless steel are:
- It is inexpensive
- It is durable
- It is scratch resistant
- It retains its shine
- It does not react with different kinds of food
- Warp resistant
- It does not conduct heat properly.
Cast iron material has been used in the manufacture of cookware since many centuries. Cast iron serves as an exceptional cooking surface. But, cast iron as a product is not easy to maintain. Cast iron requires constant maintenance to ensure it works the way it should. Cast iron is an exceptionally durable material. It has been used for generations.
- Relatively inexpensive
- Heat retention
- Highly durable
- It requires high maintenance
- Cast iron is heavier than many cookware available in the market
- If not seasoned regularly, it gets rusty
50% of cookware available in the market is made from aluminum, making it the most popular and preferred cookware metal by households. Aluminum is known for effective heat conduction. Being a soft metal it can dent and scratch easily. Furthermore, aluminum often reacts with different kinds of food leaving them smashed against one another. Stainless steel pans as mentioned earlier are used with aluminum core or layers to help tone down the disadvantages of both metals.
Aluminum is mostly treated with a process known as anodization before being used in the manufacture of cookware. In this process, the aluminum oxidizes on the surface which makes it scratch resistant and ensures that it does not react with different kinds of foods. Aluminum cookware is also found with nonstick coating that protects food from being burned.
- Provides excellent heat
- Dents and scratches easily
- Reaction with acidic foods.
Copper cookware is mostly used by chefs as it provides an excellent heat conduction service. Copper cookware is generally the most expensive cookware available in the market and is rarely seen in common households. Copper is also used as a sandwich layer in other materials such as stainless steel and aluminum. Copper cooker is used by the chefs for a purpose. The heat conduction is extremely efficient in copper cookware which allows an effective control over cooking while retaining the quality of the food.
- Excellent heat conduction
- It is expensive
- It needs regular polishing
- It often reacts with food that is acidic
Ceramic cookware is selected for how close it is to nature. Many households now prefer cooking in natural pans and pots for they are considered healthy. Moreover, ceramic cookware is considered effective against heat conduction. It keeps the food hot for a long period of time.
- Keeps food hot for longer period
- Healthy cookware
- Effective heat conduction
- They are vulnerable
- They easily break if not handled carefully.
Calphalon cookware is a material that is also known as anodized aluminum which keeps the nonstick treatment of the pan from penetrating beneath the surface towards the pores of the material. Calphalon infused material is resistant to wear and tear. However, there are other brands that offer a similar technology without infusion.
Handles of the cookware are mostly made of stainless steel, plastic used is heat resistant, cast steel, or silicone. Metal handles allow you to have a good grip of the cookware from stovetop to the oven. Solid handles of metal are sturdy. Hollow or solid metal handles can catch heat up to the broiler, however, without causing damage to the cookware. It is important to check the label and see if it causes any discoloration or warp. Plastic handles are heat resistant however, they lack the ability to go 350 degrees around the oven which might cause them to break. Silicone handles remain cool even while cooking at a high degree. They are temperature resistant. Handles of cookware are screwed, welded or riveted. Riveted handles are most recommended for their strength.
Enamel is mostly applied to steel, cast iron or aluminum pans. The price of enamel coated pans varies from metal to metal. Enamel pans are scratch resistant, pit resistant and do not react to acidic food. However, it can be used roughly. Heat distribution in enamel coating can be an issue with some cookware. If the enamel coating is thin, food may burn or stick, so it is recommended to avoid pans with light weight coating as they overheat and warp easily.
Non-stick pans are ideal for frying and making sauces. Non-stick coat protects food from sticking, it reduces the fat layering around the sides of the pan and is fairly easy to clean. A non-stick coating is applied to mostly every cookware today, be it of any material; stainless, cast iron of aluminum. It is recommended to consider branded coatings done by Silverstone or Teflon which offers warranty and long lasting guarantee. Avoid using abrasive scourers or metals utensils on a nonstick pan for they damage the coating. Nonstick cookware pan is best for cooking stir-fry food.
Before selecting a wok, especially with saucepans you should consider the quality of hob you own. The majority of the woks work well with gas but for a glass top hob, it is important to select the flat base and smooth quality hob, in contrast to the traditional base that is round.
Traditional woks are generally designed with carbon steel. Clean it with warm water without using a detergent and then brush it with a light layer of oil to prevent it from rusting. For those who feel like it is too much effort to constantly maintain and prepare the wok for use, they can select a wok that has a nonstick interior. It is easier to maintain.
- Flat base – It is essential for electric cooking
- Dishwasher safe – Generally pans with stainless steel or plastic pans are dishwasher safe, most of the pans that come with wooden knobs and handles are not.
- Oven safe- Oven safe pans can be used inside the oven and on the hob. They are storage friendly. The only thing you would want to check is that it is an over proof material
- Double side pouring lips- It is ideal for right and left handers.
- Cool knobs and handles- handles should be heat resistant. Not very long and not very narrow.
- Well-fitted lids- It is significant that the lid you select is steam resistant and has a perfect fit.
For people who may likely to leave the cooking pan on the stove should always consider safety features. Note that within half an hour on stove the stainless pot will start losing its color.
Size and Weight
The sizes of saucepan are measured in diameters, the smallest diameter being 14cm. Cookware varies in size and weight. There is a wide variety of sizes available, the weight however depends on the material and coatings. When you purchase a pan, you would be carrying an empty one. Consider, through the weight on an empty cookware the predicted weight when immersed with food. Keep in mind the lifting of cookware with the food inside. Generally, relating to the capacity of pan inside the most common sizes are:
- Milk pan: 1.5 pints of 0.9 litres
- Saucepan 14cm of 1.75 pints of 1 litre
- Saucepan 18cm 3.5 pints of 2 litres
Avoid falling into the trap of celebrity endorsement. Many brands that you see with a celebrity promoting it are in fact only a way of trapping people into class distinction. There are a couple of pointers that you should consider when selecting a cookware:
- Ranges with smooth surfaces require flat-bottomed pans and pots. These are especially ceramics.
- If you have an inexpensive or low-quality stove then it is recommended to consider a cookware that has tough body, even if it adds a little weight to it.
- The induction cooktops are more efficient than the magnetic stainless steel ones.
What is the best cookware?
It is important to understand that there is no set criteria for the best cookware. Every material comes with some advantages and disadvantages. Copper acts as the best heat conductor, however, it is quite expensive. Aluminum is another great material that acts as one of the most reliable metals for any cooking pot, however it has the potential of leaving your food gray and mixing with different food materials. Aluminum comes with a nonstick coating that is again a combination of stainless steel. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is a poor heat conductor but has attractive and durable performance. Stainless steel also keeps the shine even after a long use.
Is it good to purchase a set?
Cookware sets always sound very economical. They come with a complete set of all the kitchen utensils which saves you the stress of purchasing each utensil set separately. However, unless you are sure that every product with all its pros and cons serves your need, then it is a wise choice. Else you might purchase different products for different uses.
How significant are the quality and weight of cookware?
There is a misconception that heavy weight pans and pots have better quality. That is not the case. With the advancement in modern technology, you can find much lightweight cookware having the same efficiency as that of heavy weight pans and pots. It is, therefore, recommended to select the cookware on the basis of quality rather than weight. Quality can be considered after reading the specification and materials used in the pan/pot.
Provided the above review on products and their features you can easily select the best quality cookware that is suitable to you hob and stove. There is a difference in choice of professional cooks and people who are beginners at cooking. Beginners are recommended to purchase less expensive yet a good quality product that ensures them food safety and ease of cleaning. Professionals, on the other hand, require cookware that helps them save their time at cooking, cleaning and maintaining. Chefs often prefer materials that can be left on stove unguarded. Therefore, they prefer expensive cookware of copper and aluminum. It also largely depends on the type of food that is being cooked. Do that and you are good to go in your kitchen.