The best stainless steel cookware sets will last a long time, and there are many good quality sets on the market for not a lot of money.
Guide to buying chromium alloy cookware sets
Stainless cookware is found in most homes and considered to be the most common type of cookware materials.
It is commonly called ‘stainless’ because of its capacity to withstand corrosion and is actually an alloy of steel, carbon, nickel and chromium.
While it has a relatively low ability to conduct heat, it is popular among buyers because of its affordability, durability, low reaction to food, low maintenance required and resistance to scrapes and scratches.
Not all stainless steel cookware sets are created equal. You should know exactly what you will buy beforehand to save on time while staying within your budget.
Here are several useful tips to consider when buying your alloy steel cookware sets.
1. Choose one that has a copper or aluminium core.
These materials counter the low ability of stainless alloy metals to conduct heat. Make sure that copper or aluminium materials form the core of the base and inside walls of the vessel to ensure even heating. This is called clad cookware.
A layer of aluminium or copper is molded between two layers of steel to increase the cookware’s overall heat conductibility. If you need to choose between the two, copper is a better heat conductor than aluminium, but it is also more expensive.
2. Check for composition of the sets and choose 18/10 stainless cookware.
An 18/10 stainless alloy steel set means that the vessel is made of 18% chromium and 10% nickel.
The second number represents the nickel content and it usually comes in 0%, 8%, or 10%. Choose the highest nickel content that your budget will allow.
The 18/10 composition is considered more durable, more rust-resistant, and better at maintaining gloss in the pots and pans than its 18/0 and 18/8 counterparts. They are also usually more expensive than the two.
3. Prefer variety over quantity of pots and pans in your set.
You might be swayed to buy the set with the most number of pieces of cookware. Be a more discriminating buyer, though.
Choose the set that includes a variety of cookware, one that includes differently-sized and different styles of cooking vessels.
This must be matched with the kind of cooking that you often do, but the basic cookware generally include sautéing pans, sauce pans, stock pots, skillets and steamers. Choose at least two sizes for each type.
4. Remember that handles and lids must be important considerations, too.
Examine handles and lids and make sure that they are solid and durable. They must allow for easy but secure grip.
Cool-touch is also a cool addition, but secureness of grip is more important especially for pots used for cooking casseroles and stews.
5. Buy the set that has the most types of pieces that you always use in cooking.
Do not decide on a 20-piece steel pot and pan cooking set that has large pots that serve 20 people when you only cook for 3 people on a daily basis.
Get the best value for your money by choosing sets that contain pieces you will be able to use every week at the very least.
6. Choose your set by the number of plies or layers of metals used in putting the pot or pan together.
Tri-ply stainless cookware is a construction using 1 layer of aluminium or copper core between 2 layers of stainless alloy metals. The higher is the number of plies and layers, the better will be the pot’s heat conduction quality.
Remember, too, that the pot will be heavier and thicker, and the price will likewise go up.
7. The pots and pans must have the minimum required thickness.
For aluminium-core metal cookware, a thickness between 3.0 mm to 5.0 mm is considered ideal for even heat distribution.
For copper-core stainless metal cookware, a thickness of 1.0 mm to 2.0 mm will be a good buy. Please note, though, that thickness alone is not an assurance that the cookware will deliver the expected quality. All the other tips must be taken into account.
What characteristics to look for in stainless steel cookware
Your decision in buying will mostly be made between the other materials and components that go with the pots and pans. Having a general idea on the following will help you make the final decision.
The better the heat conductivity, the better and evenly your food will cook. Be aware that there are some metals that are better heat conductors than others.
It is a proven fact that copper is a better heat conductor than stainless steel. Also, copper cookware reacts a great deal faster to temperature changes than stainless steel cookware do.
The solution is cladding. Between copper and aluminium material in your clad cookware, copper is a much better conductor of heat stainless than aluminium.
Stainless alloy metal cookware takes center stage in terms of durability. Generally, stainless steel pots and pans preserve their attractiveness and last much longer than others. As mentioned, the best composition is the 18/10 stainless steel. In addition to the alloy material, consider overall durability, such as joints and connections between handles and cooking vessels.
Stainless steel is relatively one of the safest options when choosing cookware. But since steel is combined with other materials, it exposes people to a certain level of reactivity.
For one, aluminium reacts with tomatoes and other acidic dishes. Your dish can actually absorb some of the metals present in the cookware. So while aluminium improves alloy steel’s conductibility, it also reacts with food. For the health buff, the better choice is obvious.
Choose 18/10 for that durability and effortless high gloss that makes your cookware easy to maintain.
Why it is important to know about these things
It is important to understand the properties and characteristics of cookware and the different materials they are made of.
This way, decisions are based on diligently examined information instead of plain guesswork that ends up being costlier than necessary. It is also a sure way to get more value for your money.
I hope this helps you buy the best stainless steel cookware set on the market — at a good value.