We’ve all heard the adage from our parents, friends, product reviews, and probably even a teacher or two that when buying any product you plan to use regularly and keep around for more than a year, don’t go cheap – buy the best you can afford. So, Why Should You Buy the Best Cookware Set You Can Afford? If you want to buy a good set of non stick cookware cookware you pan to use for several years, or maybe even a cast iron cookware set you could see handing down to your kids, then it’s vital you stay away from a cheap cookware set and focus on buying the best cookware set you can afford.
Now obviously if you are buying a set of cookware to use just for a short term, say while you are in college and you are on a tight budget, then you should definitely save your money for books, housing or food and just buy a cheap cookware set, or focus on just the 4 essential pieces of a more expensive good cookware set you will need, and you can add more pieces to expand your cookware as your budget can afford.
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Let’s look more closely at Why You Should Buy the Best Cookware Set You Can Afford?
It is important look at the construction of the cookware set when looking for the best cookware set you can afford, and not just what the cookware looks like or how many pieces are in the set. If it looks and feels cheaply made, you can pretty much bet it won’t last and you know the adage, you get what what you pay for. A cheap cookware set will only last anywhere from one to three years tops, no matter how well you take care of it.
How is it made and what materials is it made with?
Does the outer shell or cooking surface scratch easily? Will it dent, scratch, warp or crack if even accidentally mis-handled? Our first cookware set wasn’t the most expensive non stick cookware set, but certainly was not the cheapest cookware set on the market. One day I accidentally dropped an 8 qt pot on the ground, and it got warped. While the pot was still functional, the lid never fit the pot again. A good cookware set should be able to handle such accidents without denting or breaking, unless you are using clay pots.
Are the handles permanently riveted on or held on with screws? You want handles that will never come loos or fall off, which can cause a spill, burn or an injury if the handles fall off while the pot or skillet are hot and filled with hot food or liquid. The handles should be ergonomic, so they are well balanced and feel good in your hand. A poorly designed handle can cause a wrist or hand injury.
Whether you want metal lids or see-through glass lids, the lids should create a tight seal to prevent heat from escaping, and food from splattering on your stove top.
What Type of Cookware Should You Buy?
What is Stainless Steel Cookware?
The highest quality stainless steel cookware is made from 18/10 stainless steel, which is a combination of Chromium and Nickel. Chromium gives the metal it’s strength and nickel is the metal that gives stainless steel it’s shine and rust-resistance.
If you’re looking at buying a stainless steel cookware set, is it made with sturdy tri-ply stainless steel, which is hard, scratch and stain resistant and will last for years with proper care? Tri-ply stainless steel starts with an aluminum core that is sandwiched between two thick pieces of 18/10 stainless steel, which gives it the name triple ply or just tri-ply.
Since stainless steel by itself is a poor conductor of heat, meaning the pans won’t heat up evenly, resulting in cold and hot spots, metallurgists discovered that aluminum heats up quickly and evenly, but is too soft a metal to be used by itself to make cookware. So, they sandwiched a piece of aluminum between two pieces of hard, scratch resistant stainless steel, which resulted in beautiful cookware that has a shiny stainless steel outer shell, and the bottom and sides heat up quickly and evenly so your food will be perfectly.
High quality stainless steel cookware that will last you several years, or even a lifetime of use will cost between $300 and $1,000. A cheap stainless steel cookware set that will only last you one to three years max, will run you $50 to $150 or so.
Cast Iron Cookware Sets
Cast iron cookware is durable and retains heat better than just about any type of cookware on the market today. The best cast iron cookware sets can run you nearly $1000 or more for a good set of cast iron cookware. What distinguishes a good cast iron cookware set from a cheap set is the quality of the cast iron itself, and glazing that won’t chip. Go to a store and pick up a Le Creuset cast iron or Lodge Cast Iron skillet, then pick up a cheap no name cast iron skillet. While they may look the same, you will feel the difference.
Cheap cast iron cookware will be thinner and feel lighter. This means the iron will not retain heat as well as a quality cast iron pot will. If you prefer an enameled cast iron skillet or pot, look for pits in the enamel or it doesn’t look even around the edges, or appears to be sprayed on. With high quality cast iron cookware, the enamel is actually a glass frit that is baked on at high temperature. The enamel coating on cheap cast iron cookware is sprayed on rather than baked on. Over time with cheap cast iron cookware, you will see chips in the enamel, particularly around the edges and handles, and you may even see scratches or hairline cracks in the cooking surface.
You can learn about the best cast iron cookware here that will last for years, yet won’t break the bank.
Hard Anodized Cookware
If you hate scrubbing pots, then a good non-stick cookware will do. Cheap non stick cookware is often made with a Teflon non-stick coating. Due to the potential health risks of Teflon, we recommend hard anodized aluminum cookware. The shell is hard, scratch resistant and won’t absorb smells, and the cooking surface has the same characteristics as non stick cookware. Hard anodized aluminum can go in the oven and in the broiler. Non stick cookware is not oven or broiler safe, and Teflon coated non stick cookware can only handle stove top temps up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Most non-stick cookware has a lifespan of 3-5 years.
Here are the hard anodized cookware sets we recommend, which will last you years, and won’t break the bank.