Choosing a cookware set is not easy. The number of brands seems to grow every day, and the variety of models available is very great. There is a chance to choose from a large number of materials, such as stainless steel, cast iron, aluminum or copper. Also, some models are made through combinations of different materials.
With these aspects in mind, how to choose the right cookware set for your budget? To do this, before purchasing, you need to know precisely what you want, which means that it is essential to know some characteristics of the different models to make an informed choice.
How to choose a good cookware set for your kitchen
There are many aspects to consider when choosing a cookware set. The cooking and consumption habits of each person are different, so the standard for everyone to choose kitchen utensils is different. Although different people have different requirements to select cookware, however, good cookware sets generally have three characteristics: safe, heat resistant, and durable.
Heat conduction: Some metals conduct heat better than others. For example, copper is an excellent heat conductor, while stainless steel is to a lesser extent. The better the heat conduction capacity of a material, the more uniform the cooking of your food will be. Besides, a material that conducts heat better will react faster to changes in temperature.
Durability: Some models last longer than others. Stainless steel is considered one of the best materials from this point of view.
Reactivity: Some metals react with some types of food. For example, aluminum tends to react with tomatoes and other acidic foods. This means that food could absorb metal particles. For this reason, it is vital to know the characteristics of the material you will choose for your cookware set.
Maintenance: If you are not going to polish your cookware set every day to keep it bright, consider the type of maintenance required by the various models. Copper or cast iron pots require more maintenance to maintain a functional appearance, while stainless steel is easier to manage.
In the following table, you can see the advantages and disadvantages of the cookware with which pans, pots, woks, or casseroles are made. These points can vastly influence the choice of cookware sets:
|COPPER||Professional appearanceExcellent heat conductor||High priceIt is necessary to polishYou|
have to know how to clean itReacts with food
|TITANIUM||ResistanceDurabilityDoes not stickHealthy||High price|
|ANTIADHERENT (PTFE)||The food does not stickEase of cleaningPossibility of cooking with little oil||Emits toxic gases at high temperaturesLow durability|
|ANTIADHERENT (CERAMIC)||HealthyAffordable Price||Loss of the non-stick layer over timeThey should not be heated at high temperatures|
|Aluminum||Conducts heat wellCorrosion-resistantCheap||Deforms and scratches easilyDeforms with intense heatReacts with acidsShould not be used to store food|
|STAINLESS STEEL||Average priceResistantDoes not react with acidic foodCorrosion-resistant||Conducts heat poorlyIt should not be cleaned with abrasive productsIf it is worn, it can release chromium or nickel|
|CAST IRON||High durabilityAffordable priceRetains heat well||Requires pretreatment so that it does not stick (cured)It is the heaviest It can rust|
|CARBON STEEL||Light, thinHigh heat resistance||Before using or storing it, it must be cured|
|GLASS||Does not corrode or oxidizeDoes not react or transmit heavy metals to foodSuitable for storing foodView what is being cooked||Not suitable for induction cookersFragility|
These are the main factors that should be considered before getting a good cookware set. But some other factors can be useful in further.
Handles: The handles and lids are two minor but exotic determining factors in the choice of the cookware set. As for the handles, the best are those in stainless steel because they are resistant and easy to wash. Also, they allow you to use the pots even in the oven and wash them in the dishwasher. Unfortunately, they become boiling and should, therefore, be touched with potholders.
The handles in silicone or other plastic materials have the advantage of remaining cold, but they are more easily damaged if washed in the dishwasher. Often you can’t use them in the oven at high temperatures. Some cookware sets of stackable pots have removable handles, which make them much more practical and versatile.
Lids: The lids can be in steel or tempered glass. The latter is much more practical because they allow you to control cooking, but they must have a relief valve to allow steam to escape from the pot.
Compatibility with hobs: Before buying a set of cookware, it is essential to check that it is compatible with your hob. Not all are compatible with induction hobs and with glass-ceramic hobs, which require not too thick bottoms.
On the contrary, on gas stoves, it is preferable to use pots with a thick bottom, such as the triple-layer steel-aluminum-steel. They are resistant to high flame temperatures. Compatibility with hobs is always indicated on the packaging or in the product sheet, don’t forget to check!
Brand and price: Finally, we suggest that you take into account the brand of the cookware set because it is always a guarantee of quality.
Other useful tips
The primary advice is to buy the best collection of pots based on the budget you have available.The choice between stainless steel, cast iron, copper, or aluminum pots is linked to the time you spend in the kitchen, your experience and your budget.
Due to their versatility, ease of maintenance, and price, most people opt for stainless steel cookware.In this case, opt for pots made using a combination of different metals, such as those in stainless steel with a layer of copper or aluminum in the base. The costs will be higher, but you will get a pot capable of conducting heat better.
Before going to the store, think about the space you have available for your cookware sets. It doesn’t make sense to buy a 20-piece cookware set if you can only use a few. In general, purchasing a cookware set is much cheaper than purchasing single parts. However, it is worth investing in a cookware set only if you think that you will use almost all of its elements.