The Ultimate Cookware Set Buying Guide 2020


If you’re serious about cooking food in your kitchen regularly, then you will need to get yourself a range of pots and pans. That’s just common sense. How else are you going to cook your food otherwise? Where will you put the food when you place them over the stove or in the oven? You need the right cookware to make sure everything goes smoothly. Cooking is hard enough without having to deal with additional problems that you can get with inferior pots and pans.

Why Buy a Cooking Set? 

It’s true that you can always just buy pots and pans piecemeal. But buying cookware one piece at a time isn’t very cost-effective, and most of us are trying to stretch our budgets as best we can. With cookware sets, you can get a significant discount with the price compared to how much you’d have to pay when buying these things one at a time.

In addition, you can also upgrade your cookware very quickly. That’s because with a single purchase you can get 10 pieces of cookware at once. Some sets even offer wider range of pots and pans with 15 pieces of cookware altogether.

Having more options also helps make sure that you use the right size of pots and pans for your ingredients. If you’re looking to cook for a larger gathering, then smaller pots may not eb able to accommodate your ingredients. Smaller pots and pans are also better than the bigger ones when you’re cooking for only a few people.

Finally, if you find yourself a high-quality cookware brand, you can then make sure that all your pots and pans share the same terrific features. You even have them sharing the same basic looks and colors. This makes them quite eye-catching when you hang them out on display when they’re not in use.

Features to Consider

So how do you pick the right set of cookware? The price is obviously important, but too many people regard the cost as the overriding factor when making their cookware choices. Don’t make the same mistake, so make sure you also take into account the following considerations:

Number of Pieces

Find out how many pots and pans the cookware set actually offers. You have to get the number right. Some sets offer 10 pieces, and there are even sets with fewer pieces. On the other hand, there are also sets that contain 15 or even more pieces.

Keep in mind that the cost generally increases when you have more pieces in a set. You may then end up wasting your money when you buy a set with pieces you don’t actually use. The cost-effectiveness of buying a cookware set disappears when you get too many pieces in the set.

In addition, having more pieces means more space needed for storage. Make sure you actually have the space for all these pots and pans, or your kitchen can become really cramped as a result.

Cooking Performance

What you need in your pots and pans is simple—you want the cookware to help make sure your food turns out all right. This means you’ll want the cookware to evenly distribute the heat throughout, so that you don’t end up with hot spots. It also helps if the pots and pans can heat up quickly, so you don’t waste too much time.

Non-stick Performance

Some people don’t mind not having non-stick. But it can be very annoying to always watch out for food sticking to the cooking surface. Also, when you have food-sticking to your pots and pans the cleanup can be a lot more tiresome and time-consuming.

But not all non-stick pots and pans work the same way. Some may have non-stick that may disappear after a very short while. But others may last for a longer time. Some may even feature raised concentric circles on the cooking design so that you don’t have a completely flat surface for the food to stick to.

Compatibility with Ovens and Cooktops

Actually, modern pots and pans are often usable for just about any type of stove. The main exception is with induction cooktops. Some cookware can be used for induction cooktops, while others can’t be used with induction heating.

The other main factor under this heading is how high a temperature the cookware can deal with in an oven. Most of the good ones can be used safely in the oven with temperatures of up to 400 degrees. But others can go up to 500 degrees F, and you may even find pots and pans which can go up to 600 degrees F.

Covers and Lids

You’ll also want to make sure that the covers work as intended. They should be able to lock in the heat and moisture inside. You have 2 options when it comes lids, as you can get a tempered glass cover or a stainless-steel lid. Each has its own sets of advantages and drawbacks.

Some like tempered glass covers. While these may seem comparatively weaker than their stainless-steel counterparts, you can get glass lids with shatter-resistant glass. They may also be reinforced with metals around the rim to make sure they don’t get damaged easily.

The other drawback to glass lids is that they’re not able to handle the oven temperatures that a stainless-steel lid can. So, if you don’t use your cookware in your oven at temperatures approaching 500 degrees F, you can go with tempered glass lids.

The most obvious advantage of these glass lids is that you can monitor what’s happening to the food inside the pots and pans easily. You won’t have to actually lift the lid off, thereby releasing the heat and the moisture.

With stainless steel lids, you don’t get this advantage. But some people don’t mind, since they may just rely on how much time the food has spent over a stove to gauge the state of the food. Some people just don’t trust the durability of glass lids, while others prefer stainless steel covers.

You also need to check out the handles on the covers. It’s better if the handle is raised high enough so you can easily maneuver your fingers and grip the handle. The handle should also not get hot. If it does, it may be better if it is insulated. Still, some people don’t mind uninsulated handles because they’re in the habit of using pot holders, and uninsulated handles do tend to look better.

Handles for Pots and Pans

These should be in a shape that’s easy to grasp and hold. They should also be raised at an angle, since cookware tend to be placed at a lower height. With the right shape and angle, you should then find it easy to maneuver and lift these pots and pans with the handles.

One issue that you need to decide is whether you need insulation over the handles. Rubber insulation can prevent burns, but some people simply prefer the look of stainless steel for the handles. The handles may also not get hot enough, or you may already be in the habit of using pot holders for handles.

You also need to make sure that the handle stays in place firmly so it doesn’t get wobbly. You need to pay attention to the quality of the riveting of the handle to the pot and pan.

Ease of Use

Make sure that when you hold the handle, it makes it easy for you to pour the contents of the pot. Some of these pots have convenient spouts, but others may have rim designs that prevent messes when you’re pouring the contents of the pot. Some lids may also feature strainers with these spouts.

Ease of Cleanup

Is it dishwasher-safe? This is actually a contentious topic, since a lot of people allege that it’s just best for the longevity of cookware that you wash them with a sponge and soapy water. However, it is also true that quite a few people appreciate the ease of cleaning up using a dishwasher.

Durability

How long will the pots and pans last? There are several factors to consider here. Some are concerned about the longevity of the aesthetics. If you share the same concerns, then you need to look for features such as resistance to scratching and chipping. You also should check about whether the cookware can deal with metal utensils.

You should also examine reports about the longevity of the non-stick. Non-stick can be notoriously short-lived, and there are even reports of non-stick only lasting a few weeks.

You also need to check out the overall durability of the cookware. You should really read over a fair sample of the customer reviews to get an idea of how often things break down with the cookware. The length of the warranty coverage is also important, but you need to again read customer reviews to find out of the brand really does honor the warranty without too much hassle.

Cookware Set

# of Pieces

Color

Non-Stick?

Insulated Handle?

Glass Cover

Can be used w/ Induction?

Metal-utensil safe?

Dishwasher-safe?

FLEISCHER AND WOLF Stainless Steel Fry Pots Pans Set Cookware Set

10

Ham-mered stainless steel

Y

Y

N

Y

N

Y

Circulon Premier Professional 13-piece Hard-anodized Cookware Set Stainless Steel Base

13

Bronze

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

Y

Anolon 82676 11-Piece Hard Anodized Aluminum Cookware Set

11

Gray

Y

Y

Y

N

Y

N

Circulon Kitchen Supplies/Dishes Frying pan, IH Compatible

Varies

Multiple Opt

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

N

Circulon Symmetry Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set

10

Merlot

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Woll Diamond Plus/Diamond Lite Cookware Set

10

Black

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Breville 84477 10 Piece Thermal Pro Hard-Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set

10

Gray

Y

N

N

Y

Y

Y

GreenPan CC002283-001 Chatham Cookware Set

15

Gray

Y

N

Y

Y

Y

Y

Infinite Circulon Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set

10

Black

Y

N

N

Y

Y

Y

Anolon 75818 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set

10

Stainless Steel

N

N

N

Y

N

Y

Best Premium Cookware Set

Woll Diamond Plus/Diamond Lite 10-Piece Cookware Set

Woll Diamond Plus/Diamond Lite 10-Piece Cookware Set

The only problem with the Woll Diamond Plus/Diamond Lite 10-Piece Cookware Set is that it’s so darn expensive that not all of us can afford it. However, if your budget can stretch enough to cover twice the cost of a more typical cookware set, then you’re in for a treat.

There are plenty of reasons why the Woll Diamond Plus/Diamond Lite is so expensive. One reason is explicitly stated in the name. The inclusion of the word “diamond” in the model name isn’t completely metaphorical. It’s actually literal, since the construction of this cookware set involves the use of real diamonds.

To be more specific, the non-stick coating has been reinforced with embedded nanoparticles of diamond crystals. This really toughens up the top coat, so that the pots and pans are extremely resistant to scratches and cuts. The diamonds also reinforce the effectiveness of the non-stick, making food release whole lot easier.

There’s also another reason: diamond conducts heat 4 times as quickly as copper. This means quicker cooking, plus you also help make sure that the heat spreads evenly to avoid hot spots.

The use of diamonds is just one of the benefits you get with this cookware set. It uses glass lids for the pots, yet somehow these glass lids can go up to 480 degrees inside an oven. You can get a version of this that works with induction cooktops. You can also rely on this to last a very long time, as this comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

It’s actually not surprising that Woll came up with such an innovative approach, as this is a German brand. You can trust the exceptional quality of German engineering, though of course you will certainly have to pay for it.

Best Budget Cookware Set

Infinite Circulon Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set

Circulon 80580 Infinite Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set, 10 Piece, Black

Yes, this is quite inexpensive. In fact, you can double its price and it still won’t be as expensive as the Woll Diamond Plus. Yet they’re both 10-piece cookware sets, and the more affordable Infinite Circulon offers a lot of features for your small budget.

First of all, you can use this for all types of stoves. That includes induction cooktops. You can also use this in ovens at temperatures of up to 500 degrees F. That’s a significant improvement over the usual 400-degree limit you find in other cookware sets.

This also has the vaunted “Total” Nonstick System. This combines the premium-quality nonstick with a series of raised concentric circles on the cooking surface. These circles reinforce the non-stick feature so that the food really doesn’t stick at all. This makes cooking a lot easier, and cleanup becomes such a breeze. Not that you have to wash this manually if you don’t want to deal with a huge mess. This is also-dishwasher-safe.

Don’t think that the quality is cheap either and that it won’t last long. On the contrary, it’s supposed to last for a very long time. In fact, Circulon even offers a limited lifetime warranty for this set. This will work great for a while and look good for many years too.

Easiest to use Cooktop

Circulon Premier Professional 13-piece Hard-anodized Cookware Set

Circulon Premier Professional 13-piece Hard-anodized Cookware Set Stainless Steel Base

It’s a pleasure to use these pots and pans daily, because it makes things so much easier in the kitchen. It’s not just because you have 13 pieces of cookware so you have more variety. You also don’t have to worry about space for storage, because these things are stackable.

Get them out to the stove, and you’re able to use this on induction cooktops too. The food release is extremely easy, due to the premier non-stick. In addition, the design includes raised concentric circles that keep the food from sticking to the cooking surface.

The lids are made of tempered glass, so you can monitor the state of the food without lifting the lid and releasing the heat. The handles on the lids and on the pots and pans are all insulated, and the brown rubber insulation certainly looks nice and easy on the eyes.

Do you need to pour the contents of the pots? You won’t make a mess, because there are pour spouts on the rims so you can pour easily without making a mess. In addition, the lids feature a strainer as well.

This is certainly easy to clean, and quick wipe down can be good enough. You can also go with a sponge and soapy water. But if you want, you can just pop in the cookware into the dishwasher. This is dishwasher -safe as well.

Finally, this is meant to last a good long while. You’re backed by a nice limited lifetime warranty.

Best Non-Stick Cookware 

Circulon Symmetry Hard Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set, Merlot

Circulon 87530 Symmetry Hard Anodized Nonstick Frying Pan Set / Fry Pan Set / Hard Anodized Skillet Set - 10 Inch and 12 Inch, Merlot

For lots of newbies, non-stick cookware is a godsend. You don’t have to work too hard with food sticking to the pans, and so dishes like fish can look good after cooking. Also, afterwards the cleanup is much easier when you don’t have to deal with stuck food bits on your pots and pans.

The problem with lots of non-stick cookware is that this feature doesn’t really last in most sets. It’s probably the most notorious issue with nonstick. But that’s a problem that Circulon seems to have solved. At the very least, its non-stick is clearly superior. That’s because it lasts 10 times longer than your standard nonstick. That wasn’t a typo—it really lasts ten times longer.

It does help the premium non-stick is also reinforced by a unique design that consists of raised concentric circles on the cooking surface. This means you no longer have that completely flat surface to which food tends to stick a lot. The combination of nonstock with raised circles offers smoother food release, and it becomes quite tougher too. It resists chipping, scratching, and staining as well.

This is easy to use, and you can use this on induction cooktops. The glass lids let you peer at the food to know how they’re doing. The handles are also insulated so you don’t get burned. This is also dishwasher-safe, so cleanup isn’t really an issue. This may come with terrific non-stick, but that’s just one of its good points.

Best Stainless Steel (Not Non-stick) 

Anolon 75818 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Anolon 75818 Nouvelle Stainless Steel Cookware Pots and Pans Set, 10 Piece

Having a cookware set made primarily with stainless steel does have its drawbacks, but it sure comes with nice advantages as well. The looks, of course, is one quick reason to go with this set. It’s just so shiny, and when it gleams in your kitchen it certainly seems beautiful. It doesn’t hurt that it has a nice tulip silhouette.

However, there’s more to the Anolon 75818 than its pretty looks. That graceful tulip shape is a good example. Anolon didn’t go for that shape because it looked great. Instead, this shape was chosen because it offers an unbeatable combination of performance and durability. Lots of professional chefs know this, which is why quite a few of them go with this cookware set.

This is very easy to use as well, with the handles of the stainless-steel lids offering enough space for your hands. The lids fit the pots securely, and the handles on the pots and pans are wide and nicely angled for a comfortable and secure grip.

This also works for induction cooktops. If you put this in an oven, you can set the temperature up to 500 degrees F. This is also quite tough, and you can also clean it with your dishwasher. It too comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

Conclusion

The truth is that you can pick any of the 10 recommended cookware sets with features that match your requirements, and you’re all set. Buying a good cookware set makes sure you have a wide variety of pots and pans of superior quality, and you can enjoy your time in the kitchen more. If that doesn’t convince you—just think of the money you save compared to the cost of buying these things one at a time!


Alternatively, you may also check Ultimate Guide to the Best Multi Cookers and the Anolon 10 piece cookware sets for other options.

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