Top Pots and Pans Sets Popularity vs. Satisfaction
Pots and pans - Buying Guide
There are many cookware brands in the market and the range of pots and pans is so big that it becomes a hard task to decide which cookware set is best for you. There are some things to consider: The material they are made of, the design, how they fit your cooktop and of course your budget.
The way to decide is to know enough about cookware to enable you to make the right decision. We hope that this guide will help you make the right decision for you.
These are the different materials that the pots and pans are made of:
Stainless Steel: Stainless Steel is heavy, durable, safe in dishwasher, mostly inexpensive. Its main disadvantage is that it does not transfer and distribute the heat so well and therefore a core of copper or aluminum is being put so the conductivity can be improved. It does become more expensive, but it is strong and lasts very long.
Copper: provides very good heat conduction. Because of this advantage, it is often used in stainless steel cookware between the steel layers to improve its conductivity. Disadvantages: - Requires regular maintenance, mainly polishing. - Expensive. - Reacts with acidic or alkaline foods, which gives a metallic taste and can release small amounts of the copper that can be ingested. This is usually addressed by applying a lining of stainless steel or tin that do not react to acidity while at the same time retaining the conductivity will remain that of the copper.
Aluminum: very common in the cookware industry– about 50% is made of it. It maintains high heat conductivity that makes cooking time much faster. Its disadvantages are that is highly reactive to alkaline or acidic foods, which is a health concern, and is a soft metal that can easily dent or get scratched. To address this sensitivity aluminum cookware undergo an electrochemical process (anodization) that makes it stronger and unreactive to acidic foods while retaining its light weight, strength, scratch resistance and high heat conductivity. Also, there are cases that in order to avoid over-heating that causes food to stick to it, a nonstick coating is being added to the Aluminum.
Cast Iron: a strong metal that has been used in making pans and pots for hundreds of years. It has many benefits such as durability, heat retention, healthy - food absorbs some iron into it, good for long simmering, if seasoned properly is non-stick and is not very expensive. Disadvantages: - Requires regular seasoning. - If not seasoned it reacts with foods, especially acidic ones. - Heavy. - Heats up slowly. - Inclined to get rusted when not seasoned. To mitigate these disadvantages, a coat of porcelain enamel is applied to the cookware. It keeps the benefits of the cast iron plus those of the enamel: non-reactive, easy to clean, beautiful, and good for cooking in ovens.
Heat conductivity: an important factor in cookware since it gives you control over your cooking. A fast reaction to the change in temperature will make better cooking.
Reactivity: if you are concerned about health issues - some metals react with certain foods. Acidic foods such as tomato can actually absorb some of the metal. Aluminum for instance has the biggest tendency to react to them. If you are worried about reactivity - the clad style usually has the benefit of the 2 materials and covers up their faults.
Durability: durable cookware lasts longer and retains its aesthetic appearance over time. Stainless steel is the most durable of the materials.
Maintenance: could be a big consideration for people who like to keep their cookware looking new. Copper and cast iron need some work to achieve it. Stainless steel is normally easier.
Price: the determining factor will be your budget. The most expensive cookware sets are not always the best. Eventually you will probably end up buying the best you can afford, taking into account all the pros and cons.
The following are some points to consider that were brought up by our reviews analysis:
In some cases, the handles became loose after a short while. Make sure they look secure.
A brand name you know and can trust can avoid future disappointments.
There is a chemical substance that was used to glue the non-stick coating to the pan called PFOA that was classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a possible carcinogen. It is important to check that it is not used in the cookware you are going to buy.
The substance of the cooking material must be made inert, to avoid possible leaching of harmful substances that can get loose at high temperatures.
A good point about the T-Fal nonstick cookware set: its handles can stand high temperatures of 350 degrees so it can be put in the oven at such heat.
Many recommended the glass lids which are perfect for viewing the cooking food.
Some suggested not to use extremely abrasive scouring pads or cleaners on Ceramic and Glass cookware. They are very easy to clean anyway.
Tefal: a French manufacturer for cookware and small appliance. It is owned by Groupe SEB. Its name comes of the words TEFlon and ALuminium, a combination that stands behind the creation of the category of non-stick cookware that made it possible to fry products using much less fat. It was a revolution in this field and the company is known for its creation. Since Tefal was too similar to their product name of Teflon, it is marketed as T-Fal in some countries like the United States. In the UK, it is the owner of the name "Swan", a cookware brand. In 2015, Tefal released the new Tefal Cuisine Companion. This is a machine that has multiple cooking functions in one kitchen appliance.
Cuisinart: an American company that was started by Carl Sontheimerowned in 1971 and became the property of Conair Corporation in 1989. The company is a brand of home appliance. In 1973 it introduced the first model of the electric food processor in a show in Chicago and in 1975 it was released in Canada. In 1986, the company introduced a chopper/grinder (the Mini-Mate). Since then the company expanded and now includes a wide variety of products.
Rachael Ray: a very famous and successful American television personality, businesswoman, celebrity cook and author. She was born in New York and lives in the Adirondacks. Rachel Ray has written 14 best-selling cookbooks, among them several cookbooks based on the 30 Minute Meals concept and is known for her very popular television show - 30 Minute Meals Her many television shows have won three Daytime Emmy Awards. In 2006 she launched the magazine Every Day with Rachael Ray.
Cook N Home: Located in California, USA. The company designs top-quality cookware products, and is expanding the product line to include kitchenware. Brands include Cooks Standard and Cook N Home.