- 1 How to Buy the Best Cookware Sets
- 2 Reviews of the Best Cookware Sets in 2020
- 3 Comparison Chart of The Best Cookware Sets in 2020
- 4 Best Cookware Brands
- 5 Conclusion
Cookware generally comes in sets of 10 or 12 pieces and is priced as such. Buyers can choose from a variety of options that range in price from under $100 to over $1000. Not all options are, however, created equal. So finding the right cookware brands and sets can be a process as you research all of the options.
Our list of the five best cookware sets below offers some guidance to help you to determine which is the most appropriate option that will suit your needs and budget. The list also covers the most important factors that make some models stand out from the rest. We also discuss the pros and cons of each option to help you to make the best choice.
Let’s get started!
How to Buy the Best Cookware Sets
Any cookware aspiring to be the best must be an excellent conductor of heat. It should have an insulated handle so that you don’t burn yourself when you lift it from the stove. It must also be safe for daily use and allow for easy food release, so that the cookware is quick and easy to clean.
Cost aside, material is the most important feature when it comes to choosing cookware. The metal the cookware is made from as well as the cooking surface affect how it delivers heat, how safe it is to use, and how flavorsome food is when you plate it.
Additionally, you’ll also need to look at the unit’s lids, handles, color, and weight so as to ensure that the pots and pans will fit both your needs and kitchen decor.
1. The Two Main Types of Cookware Materials
Pots, pans, and skillets with non-stick coating comprise the most commonly-used cookware by far. Because of the coating you’ll use less cooking oil while still getting your favorite French fries crispy, making it easier to switch to healthier eating habits. Non-stick cookware is ideal for cooking foods that tend to stick to the cookware’s surface, like eggs. These pots and pans are easier to clean and more convenient to use.
Non-stick cookware is typically coated with a material called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), better-known as Teflon, but there are also other forms of non-stick coatings. These include the more durable version of Teflon, the friendlier version of Teflon and the “green” alternatives to Teflon.
While this material has been associated with cancer and thyroid disorders, Teflon itself does not affect human longevity. In fact, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) used in the process of making Teflon is the suspected cause of cancer.
The good news is that the manufacturers stopped using PFOA in the production of Teflon as far back as 2013. This means that today Teflon cookware is PFOA-free and is no longer a health issue.
Ceramic is another choice for a non-stick coating. While Teflon cookware has been around for decades and is quite popular among home cooks, ceramic is new to the non-stick cookware industry. Made of natural materials, it is completely toxin-free. Cleaning up ceramic pans is as easy as one-two-three.
That being said, it has a shorter lifespan than stainless steel. Low-quality ceramic cookware may not last long, and often needs delicate care. Plus, ceramic coatings may not be compatible with metal utensils as the hard, sharp edges might ruin the cookware’s surface.
While non-stick cookware is not safe at high-temperatures, because the nonstick surface can begin to degrade, it depends on the brand, with some touting the ability to handle very high heat.
- Avoid overheating non-stick cookware. At above 572°F, Teflon coating will start to break down, giving off poisonous fumes.
- To prevent ceramic cookware from scratching or peeling, follow the manufacturer’s direction for heat, cleaning, and what type of utensils to use.
- While non-stick cookware may be dishwasher safe, it’s best to check the manufacturer’s instructions. In general, the coating will likely last longer if the cookware is washed by hand.
If it’s safe cookware you want, stainless steel is the best option. This material is more environmentally friendly than teflon, since they’re able to cook at high heat without releasing toxic fumes. And because stainless steel cookware can be used for high-heat tasks, it is much more versatile than non-stick cookware, allowing you to enjoy different styles of cooking in convenient ways. Besides working well at any temperature, metal utensils won’t scratch it.
Stainless steel cookware is the most commonly used in North America. While stainless steel doesn’t corrode, low quality cookware may discolor under certain conditions.
Keep in mind that stainless steel cookware isn’t non-stick. Food can stick to the surface, but if the cook remembers to use cold oil in a hot pan, food should release easily. However, things can go wrong and if food burns, some scrubbing may be required to remove burnt-on food.
Apart from delivering great cooking performance, stainless steel is the most durable man-made material. It is way more robust than ceramic material and it will never rust or tarnish.
- Stainless steel cookware is generally dishwasher safe, but check the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure.
Ideally, your cookware should be lightweight. Shaking, flipping or stirring with a heavy skillet for long periods of time can cause serious wrist pain. We recommend pots and pans weighing between 2 to 3.5 pounds. Theseshould give a balance between performance, ease, and comfort of handle, while putting less strain on your wrist even when you cook for an extended period.
There are two types of cookware’s lids: glass and stainless steel.
Gone are the days when glass lids would break easily if accidentally dropped. Most of today’s glass lids are made from tempered glass, which is about four times stronger than conventional glass. Being much more durable, they’re less likely to crack if there are sudden changes in temperature and can be used for high-pressure cooking.
We recommend you find tempered glass lids that are surrounded with a metal border as this helps to prevent the risk of shattering. Shattered glass lids can potentially cause damage. They’re more dangerous than slightly deformed stainless steel lids. You should also find glass lids that are equipped with steam vents to let pressure escape when it grows dangerously strong.
Stainless Steel Lids
Stainless steel glass lids are durable and easy to clean. They are made to withstand certain temperature changes. Unlike glass lids, stainless steel lids are not transparent. There is no way you can see how your dish is cooking unless you lift up the lid and let a significant amount of essential heat escape.
Stainless steel glass lids are also not a good insulator. Due to this, users usually avoid these options when it comes to simmering and boiling water for pasta or cooking rice.
Most stainless lids don’t have steam vents and are typically lighter than glass lids. So if there is a pressure buildup, they may wiggle and rattle badly, causing splashing water all over your stovetop.
Cookware’s handle can be made of silicone or stainless steel. Whatever you choose, the handle should be permanently secured with stainless steel rivets to ensure a safe grasp.
It also should be ergonomically designed to prevent slippage, provide a comfortable grip, and fit well in your hand. Any pan having an ergonomic handle will allow you to easily move it from the stovetop to the oven with confidence.
We like handles that can stay cool to the touch so that you don’t need to use a potholder when handling hot pans. Because not all handles have this possibility, it’s best to check the product’s description for sure.
Cookware’s handle featuring a hanging storage hole has been growing in popularity, and for good reasons. Offering the advantage of being able to hang on the wall or from a rack, handles with hollow-core leave you with space to spare, easier access, and beautiful display. Stock pots with two hollow-core on the sides promote even easier lifting and pouring— a great feature for those who usually make stock or broth.
Reviews of the Best Cookware Sets in 2020
So what is the best cookware set for your budget —ceramic, stainless steel, or anodized aluminum cookware? We have them all.
- T-fal E765SH – Best to Buy
- Cuisinart MCP-12N – Best Cookware Set for Glass Top Stoves
- Rachael Ray 87630 – Best Cookware for Gas Stoves
- Calphalon Premier – Best Cookware for Induction Cooktop
- Anolon 84066 – Best Cookware for Electric Glass Top Stove
Here are our picks for the best cookware sets:
1. T-fal E765SH – Best to Buy
This cookware set has 17 pieces that come with a limited lifetime warranty: an 8-inch fry pan, a 10.25-inch fry pan, an 11.5-inch fry pan with lid, a 10.25-inch square griddle, three saucepans with lids (1-, 2-, and 3-quart), a 3.5-quart deep sauté pan, a 5-quart Dutch oven with lid, a 3-quart steamer insert with 2 side handles, and Egg Wonder fry pan.
A Top-Notch Cooking Experience
All pots and pans have a hard anodized aluminum coating, which conducts heat very effectively and prevents the aluminum from reacting with acidic foods. It is also scratch resistant. That means that you can use many metal utensils in these non-stick pans without ruining their surface, but whisks, knives, and other utensils with sharp edges should not be used. Besides being dishwasher safe, they’re 100% PFOA-free, lead-free, and cadmium-free.
Thermo Spot Technology
This set of pots and pans features Thermo Spot— the unique technology that can fix the problem of undercooked or overcooked foods. When the Thermo Spot indicator in your pan turns solid red, the pan is properly preheated and ready to be used.
Preheating is a crucial step in the frying, searing, and sauteing process, as foods cooked at a high enough temperature right from the beginning can keep it from sticking to the pan, thus ensuring a crisp, brown crust. In other words, allowing your cookware to heat up for 2-3 minutes before adding oil makes the cleaning process much faster and easier.
Functional and Beautiful Design
Apart from an anti-warping and even-heat base, these long-lasting non-stick pans also come with riveted silicone handles which always stay cool and offer a safe and comfortable grip . The pots have vented tempered glass lids that are perfectly heat-resistant and allow for full visibility of contents.
An Incredible Product at a Great Value
This collection also wins the spot on our list as the cookware set offering the best value. Reasonably priced, this budget-friendly collection does not compromise on quality.
2. Cuisinart MCP-12N – Best Cookware Set for Glass Top Stoves
This set comes with everything you need for daily cooking, including two covered saucepans with lids (1.5-quart and 3-quart), two open skillets (8-inch and 10-inch), a 3.5-quart covered sauté pan with lid, an 8-quart covered stockpot with lid, and a steamer insert with lid.
All are dishwasher-safe and oven-safe to 550°F (260°C). You can use these pans under the broiler, too. Cuisinart offers a lifetime limited warranty against defects in workmanship or material.
The Triple-Ply Construction
Each piece is constructed with three layers of metal— an aluminum center core with a stainless steel interior and a brushed stainless exterior. The core of pure aluminum is an incredible conductor of heat, and the stainless steel interior helps to ensure even cooking.
This mirror-polished interior is non-reactive with food, and it distributes heat evenly and efficiently without changing the natural flavor of the food. It’s defined as Cuisinart Heat Surround technology.
Thanks to the brushed stainless exterior, the cookware is compatible with all heat sources, including glass top and induction stoves.
“Ply” describes the layers of metals used in the construction of the pan. There are several different plies including 3-,5-, and 7-ply. Different types of metal are layered inside and on the cookware’s surface each has its own properties. For example, the stainless steel exterior distributes heat evenly and makes the cookware compatible with all types of stoves, including induction. The number of metal layers bonded together also greatly affects the price, thickness, and heat distribution of the pan.
Aside from the tight-fitting stainless steel lids that help reduce splatter and keep the heat in, each piece in this set comes with tapered rims for mess-free pouring and a unique handle design for a more comfortable grip.
While stainless steel cookware isn’t nonstick, if properly used, food should release easily. On the bright side, all types of multipurpose cleaner can be used, if food is burned on.
3. Rachael Ray 87630 – Best Cookware for Gas Stoves
Rachael Ray 87630 is a 12-piece cookware set. It includes two saucepans with lids (1-quart and 2-quart), a 6-quart stockpot with lid, two frying pans (8.5-inch and 10-inch), a 3-quart sauté pan and utensils (slotted nylon turner and spoon). All are oven safe to 400°F (205°C) and are dishwasher safe.
If you place a pan that isn’t oven-proof in an oven, you could end up with melted handles, burnt food, and toxic fumes. Any cookware that is made of cast iron, stainless steel, copper, anodized aluminum, and ceramic is normally oven-friendly. Teflon cookware shouldn’t be used in an ultra-hot oven, like a wood-fired pizza oven.
High-Quality Set of Anodized Aluminum Cookware
Each piece is crafted of hard anodized aluminum, which is twice as hard as stainless steel— a main reason why this cookware set is perfect for a gas stove. As mentioned above, anodized aluminum is non-stick, PFOA-free, and corrosion-free.
Although aluminum conducts heat more evenly and won’t rust like cast iron, the nonstick coating on these pans can scratch. Therefore, you should only use non-metallic utensils, such as silicone, wood, and polyethylene, to protect the cookware’s nonstick coating.
Comfortable Riveted Handle
Having a helpful grippy handle which is double riveted and nicely rubberized makes these pots, pans, and skillets easier to transfer from stovetop to oven. The handle also stays cool enough during cooking so that you can hold it while stirring the contents inside the pan.
This cookware also features glass lids that allow you to monitor your cooking progress without lifting the lid and letting the heat out. The lids are shatterproof, so they’re less likely to break if you happen to drop them.
Rachael Ray offers a lifetime limited warranty on this cookware set but only to the original purchaser.
4. Calphalon Premier – Best Cookware for Induction Cooktop
Long known for producing premium cookware products, Calphalon has recently taken its offerings to the next level with its new collection— the Premier Stainless Steel Cookware Set.
This space-saving package comes with just the right items to enhance your cooking experience: three fry pans (8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch), two saucepans with lids (2.5-quart and 3.5-quart), a 4.5-quart soup pot with lid, two sauté pans with lids (3-quart and 5-quart), and an 8-quart stockpot with lid. They won’t scratch even if you use metal tools and they’re rated to withstand oven temperatures up to 450°F.
Because the cookware isn’t non-stick, food can burn and stick to the surface, so cleaning may require more work than nonstick cookware.
Good Conductors of Heat
These expensive pots and pans feature triple-layer construction with an aluminum core for even heating and durability. The inner surface is made from 304 stainless steel which has excellent corrosion resistance under any cooking conditions, and the outer surface is 403 grade stainless steel. This cookware is top quality that will last a long time with the proper care and maintenance.
There are a wide range of stainless steel grades, two of which are 304 and 403. While the 304 stainless steel contains between 8-10.5% nickel, the 430 is made without the nickel. This difference in chemical composition makes the 304 more corrosion resistant than the 430 stainless steel. The absence of nickel in 430 also means that this material may crack more readily than the 304 stainless steel.
The Best Space-Saving Option
With the unique vessel and handle designs, these nesting induction-friendly pots and pans can stack neatly in any order saving 30% more storage space than non-stacking Calphalon sets.
Besides the perfectly heat-insulated handles, the pots also have heavy-duty flat tempered glass lids that allow you to easily monitor the cooking process without losing valuable air and moisture.
5. Anolon 84066 – Best Cookware for Electric Glass Top Stove
Anolon 84066 is a reliable set that includes a 1-quart saucepan with pour spouts, two saucepans with lids (2-quart and 3-quart), a 3-quart sauté pan with lid, an 8-quart stockpot with lid, and two frying pan (8-inch and 12-inch). All are metal utensil safe with a lifetime warranty on manufacturing defects.
Perfect Heat Retention
Featuring an elegant tulip profile with distinctive bronze exterior and chocolate interior, this cookware coordinates well with any style of kitchen decor while giving you loads of flexibility in the kitchen. In particular, the non-stick PFOA-free coating will prevent food from sticking, making the cleaning process much faster and easier.
We also appreciate the heavy-duty hard anodized aluminum construction. Not only does it provide superior durability and efficient heat transfer, but it also enables the cookware to tolerate temperatures of up to 450°F in an oven.
Attractive Appearance and Design
Aside from the shatter-resistant glass lids that help keep heat and moisture from escaping during cooking, the double riveted handles are another nice feature. They ensure a secure grip for transferring cookware into the oven, and they always stay cool to the touch on a stove for solid grasp and confident handling.
You should not use the dishwasher with these pots and pans, but only hand-wash them to avoid discoloring.
Comparison Chart of The Best Cookware Sets in 2020
|Model||Oven Safe||Induction Safe||Dishwasher safe||Construction|
|T-fal E765SH||400°F||✗||✓||Titanium Non-stick|
|Cuisinart MCP-12N||500°F||✓||✓||Stainless Steel|
|Rachael Ray 87630||400°F||✗||✓||Anodized Aluminum Non-stick|
|Calphalon Premier||450°F||✓||✗||Stainless Steel|
|Anolon 84066||400°F||✗||✗||Anodized Aluminum Non-stick|
Best Cookware Brands
Our list of top cookware brands includes T-fal, Rachael Ray, Calphalon, and Cuisinart. Read on for more detailed information so that you can make an informed choice of cookware for your kitchen.
T-fal is one of the global leaders in the production of high-quality non-stick cookware. Established in 1959, the company’s mission was to give users the opportunity to enjoy tasty, diversified, and healthy cooking. Today T-fal is sold and distributed in over 120 countries across the globe.
There are 4 main versions of T-fal cookware sets. They include Non-stick Titanium, Ceramic, Stainless Steel, and Hard Anodized. All come with a limited lifetime warranty on material, construction, and workmanship under normal use. (T-fal’s warranty does not apply where the cookware is in professional or commercial use.) The T-fal cookware comes in a wide range of eye-catching colors, which promises to inspire new, stylish cooking experiences.
The prices of T-fal cookware sets range from $50 to $200.
Cuisinart is well-known for its food processors. Headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, the company is present in over 100 countries worldwide and has an estimated annual revenue of $35M. Besides food processors, Cuisinart also produces a wide range of other kitchenware, including a collection of non-stick pots & pans.
The Cuisinart stylish cookware set was first launched in 1992. It had all the essentials, including a full range of saucepans, sauté pans, frying pans, skillets, and more. At that time, this was an instant hit.
At present, the company has two main versions of cookware, the non-stick and the stainless steel versions. The non-stick models ensure the easy release of food so cleaning up is easy. These pots and pans are good for everyday cooking.
Models with a stainless steel finish offer a stylish addition to any kitchen. They are good for home use, and will last a lifetime. The prices of Cuisinart cookware sets range from $80 to $300.
The Rachael Ray brand includes household furniture, cookware, bakeware, teapots, cutlery, kitchen tools and gadgets. You can shop for Rachael’s products on retail websites like Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and JCPenney.
Most of Rachael’s products are manufactured by Meyer affiliated companies in the USA, Thailand, Italy, and China. Others are made by unaffiliated organizations in Asia. All are manufactured according to strict manufacturing controls to ensure the highest quality possible.
Rachael Ray’s cookware sets, including the non-stick and stainless steel versions, cost from $80 to $150.
Calphalon cookware sets come in three categories—ceramic, non-stick and stainless steel. They are organized into nine collections.
With the exception of some of Calphalon’s original cookware lines, such as the “Pots & Pans” line, the company’s products are backed by a lifetime warranty. The warranty covers defects in material and workmanship under normal household use and excludes any damage from misuse and abuse or use in a commercial establishment.
Calphalon cookware sets are priced from $100 to $700.
Cookware has become an essential part of our lives. Not only does it revolutionize the way we cook, but it makes cleaning quick and easy when cooking is done. No matter what your budget is, you will certain find the best cookware set, without breaking the bank.