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The purpose of this buying guide is to help you find the best cookware set for your lifestyle and cooking style. If you are in the process of buying your cookware you will find these buying guides extremely helpful!

Here are links to the complete guide:

In part 1 we briefly discussed the different parts you might find in a cookware set. Here we talk about the most common materials used for making cookware sets.

Onward!

How To Buy A Cookware Set

NOW, LET’S DISCUSS THE COMMON MATERIALS USED IN MAKING COOKWARE SETS

1. Stainless Steel Cookware

T-Fal C836SC64 Ultimate Stainless Steel Copper-Bottom Cookware Set PicStainless steel cookware is the cookware of choice for most cooks because of its durable, non-porous and non-reactive properties. It is a bit on the pricier side when it comes to all cookware, but it is also considered the best and most beautiful. One of the most popular and highly rated Stainless Steel Cookware sets is the T-Fal C836SC64 Ultimate Stainless Steel Cookware Set (pictured right)

Advantages:

  • It is very easy to clean.
  • It spares metal-food reaction when cooking.
  • It is resistance to rust, pitting stains and corrosion. Thus, it does not demand too much maintenance. Can definitely take some rough handling.
  • It is dishwasher safe.
  • It is relatively inexpensive for the durability and quality
  • Fairly efficient in conducting heat (better if part of multi-clad/multi-ply with aluminum bottom).

Challenges:

  • Alone, it does not work great with heat conduction and has the tendency to develop hotspots. Thus, it is advisable to procure an encapsulated stainless steel cookware which comes with a layer of copper or aluminum at the bottom of the pan to ensure even heat distribution.
  • If it is overheated, it may develop a rainbow-color discoloration but this can be easily removed with a stainless steel cleaner.

2. Aluminum Cookware

Cook N Home 15 Piece Non Stick Aluminum Soft Handle Cookware Set PicAluminum cookware has two variations: (1) hard-anodized aluminum cookware which has gone through a process that hardens the aluminum and produces a grey finish and (2) cast-aluminum cookware. It is sensitive to temperature changes, allowing it to both heat up and cool down quickly. A popular example of an aluminum cookware set is the Cook N Home 15 Piece Set pictured right.

Advantages:

  • It has a light weight.
  • Inexpensive
  • It works great in conducting heat quickly and evenly. The best for fast and even cooking.
  • Energy efficient because of the great conducting quality of aluminum.
  • It is generally dishwasher safe, except for its cast-aluminum variant.

Challenges

  • It has the potential to adversely react with acidic or alkaline food, so it is best to get an aluminum cookware that is coated with another material such as stainless steel or nonstick finish.
  • It has the tendency to scratch and dent easily.
  • Even with anodized aluminum it will still over time start to leech.
  • Can stain easily (aluminum is quite porous)

3. Non-stick Cookware

Simply Calphalon Nonstick Hard-Anodized 14-Piece Cookware Set PicCookware with this material makes cooking and cleaning of cookware very convenient and easy. It also requires less need for oil when cooking. Non-stick coating may range from three up to seven layers. The more coating your cookware possesses, the smoother and longer-lasting you can expect it to be. There are many players in Non-Stick Anodized Cookware, one high quality example is the Simply Calphalon’s Non-Stick 14-piece set pictured right

Advantages:

  • Since it does not require too much oil for cooking, it is great for those people who are keeping their fat consumption on track.
  • Inexpensive. Likely the cheapest. Great if you are on a budget.

Challenges

  • Extra care must be observed when using it to ensure prevention of scratch.
  • It is not advisable to procure one with a silicone coating since it produces a bad reaction with animal fats.
  • Will be the fastest cookware to wear out. If you can afford better quality material, we recommend aluminum or stainless steel.

4. Multi-ply Cookware

Cuisinart MCP-12 MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set PicMulti-ply cookware, true to its name, is formed from several metals which can synergistically improve their performance. It usually has copper or aluminum for the core, and stainless steel or nonstick for the interior. Exterior may be formed from various materials. One of the most common is copper bottom cookware since copper is one of the best for heating and efficiency. All-Clad Cookware is no-doubt the top in multi-ply and multi-clad cookware. Which is also the reason it costs upwards of $1000 for a set. Cuisinart puts a very good multi-clad cookware set out at less than half the cost which is the Cuisinart MCP-12 Cookware Set (pictured right)

Advantages:

  • Combining the strengths of several metals, this cookware delivers the most versatile and friendliest property.
  • In other words, take the best of the best: the most efficient heating bottom, the most durable sides, and throw them together to get the best of all worlds in your cookware

Challenges

  • It is generally more expensive that the other cookware sets, at least 2x the cost and upwards of 4x the cost for very well made multi-clad cookware sets. So unless you are a serious cook, then you may want to look at Stainless Steel or Aluminum

5. Copper Cookware

Copper cookware is an excellent heat conductor, making it one of the mostly used vessel by professional chefs. It is also sensitive with temperature variations, allowing it to heat quickly and uniformly.

Advantages:

  • It is the most efficient conductor of heat.
  • It does not demand too much maintenance to stay in good shape.

Challenges

  • It may dent and tarnish easily.
  • It is expensive compared to other cookware.
  • Overheating may cause it to have discoloration.
  • It has the tendency to react with some food, potentially altering its color and taste. Thus, it is best to get a copper cookware lined with stainless steel or tin.
  • Furthermore, it is unclear as to the amount of copper that is considered “safe”, so it is still a bit difficult to determine levels of copper that can be used in cookware.

While we do not recommend full copper cookware sets, mostly for health reasons and “leeching”, we write about it here for the reason that copper is often included in multi-ply and multi-clad cookware sets for its excellent conduction of heat. It is often used as the bottom part of frying pans and other cookware.

THAT CONCLUDES THIS PART OF OUR COOKWARE SET BUYING GUIDE

We hope that Part 2 of “How to Buy a Cookware Set” buying guide has provided you with some great information on helping you pick out the right materials for your cookware when you consider your own cooking practices and your budget.

Be on the lookout for:

Part 3: Other Types Of Cookware

Where we go over some less common materials used in cookware sets.

Here are links to the complete guide:

Until next time!


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