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Cookware Buying Guide

Introduction

Have you got a cookware conundrum? Well it's no wonder, there's a lot to consider! Questions like:

What kinds of foods you like to cook?
How much you'll be using your pots and pans?
The amount you have to spend?
What kind of hob you have? 

Click the tabs above to compare materials used to make cookware, find out about different types of pan and see which pans are compatible with which hobs.  Our maintenance section will give you advice on how to look after your cookware to keep it at its best. 

Happy Cooking! 

Materials

Saucepans, pots and frying pans are made in more materials than you might expect and they all have with slightly different properties. Listed below are the materials used to create pots and pans, their key benefits and which types of hob you can use them on. 

 

Materials   

Aluminium is the 2nd most conductive metal after copper, which makes it a great choice for cookware! It's also lightweight and affordable. 

Key Properties

 

  • Highly conductive 
  • Even heat distribution (no hot spots) 
  • Lightweight 
  • Affordable 
  • Suitable for all hob types except induction (unless it has a compatible base)

 

Aluminium Pan
 

Hard Adonised Aluminium Hard adondising is an electro chemical process that changes the molecular structure of the base metal, creating a non-porous, glass smooth surface that is twice as hard as stainless steal and retains the heat conductivity and lightness of aluminium. Hard-anodized surfaces won’t peel or chip, and resist heat up to 250 ºC. 

 

Key Properties

  • Increased scratch resistance and durability compared to standard aluminium
  • Twice as hard as stainless steel
  • Heat spreads quickly and evenly
  • Can come with non stick coating or without
  • Suitable for all hob types except induction (unless it has a compatible base)

 

 Hard Adonised aluminium

Forged Aluminium Referring to the manufacturing process, forged aluminium pans are compressed to create a thicker base and increase performance. Forged aluminium is a cost effective alternative to more expensive cast aluminium products.

 

Key Properties:

  • Excellent heat conductor 
  • The thick base maximises heat distribution and retention
  • Resistant to many types of corrosion
  • Suitable for all hob types except induction (unless it has a compatible base)
 Forged Aluminium

Stainless Steel Less conductive than aluminium or copper but a very durable material that retains heat well and better preserves vitamins and minerals, making it a good choice for standard saucepans. Often the base of stainless steel pans is bonded with a more conductive metal such as copper or aluminium to improve heat distribution and eliminate 'hot spots'

 

Key Properties:

  • Non Reactive
  • Hard surface that will not chip or flake
  • Suitable for all hob types
  • Available with and without non-stick coatings
 Stainless Steel

Carbon Steel Can be hammered into very thin sheets of material while maintaining high strength and heat resistance allowing for rapid and high heating. It's heat resistance means that one part of the pan may be hotter, which is an advantage when used for a wok. Carbon Steel is not non stick so must be 'seasoned' before use or purchased with a non stick coating (see maintenance tab for more information)

 

Key properties:

  • Very strong, even when thin
  • Most used for woks due to heat distribution
  • Must be 'seasoned' before use unless it has a non-stick coating
  • Suitable for all hob types 
 carbon steel

Steel The steel pan is coated in enamel to create pots and pans that have a similar heat distribution to carbon steel and a non-reactive, naturally low stick surface. Great for water-based cooking like stockpots and large saucepans.

 

Key properties

  • Non-Reactive
  • Low stick surface
  • Lightweight and easy to clean
  • Suitable for all hob types (enamelled steel) 
 steel pot

 


Copper The most conductive of all metals, however it is also highly reactive to acids and alkaline, for this reason copper is often used for the base of pans or incorporated in another way to improve heat conductivity. 

 

Key properties

  • Highly conductive
  • Even heat distribution
  • Not usually available as a whole pan 
 Copper
 Cast Iron Has excellent heat retention and even heat distribution, often favoured for use on range cookers or gas hobs. They are also incredibly durable, however, cast iron is very heavy and not non-stick so will need 'seasoning' (see maintenance) to create a non stick surface.

 

Key properties

  • Efficient heat distribution and retention
  • Incredibly durable and long lasting
  • Must be 'seasoned' before use as is not non stick
  • Suitable for all hob types

Non Stick Pans

Lots of pots and pans now come with a non-stick coating to enable cooking with less oil and easy cleaning. Certain dishes require the pan to have a bit of 'stickiness' so some people to prefer to buy uncoated pans and 'season' them. Below is all the information about how to season a pan and different types of non stick coatings. 

How to season a pan (for pan's without non stick coating)

If you buy a pan without a non-stick coating you will need to 'season' it to prevent food sticking to the surface. This is done by adding a thin layer of oil or fat to the base of the pan and then heating to a high heat, until it starts to smoke, allowing to cool and then repeating the process, this will give the pan a non stick coating of it's own. When cleaning this kind of pan, it's best to wipe with a damp cloth as scrubbing will remove the 'seasoning'. 

Type of Non Stick Coating   

Traditional (teflon) Many pans are coated with a chemical polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) to prevent food sticking to the pan and reduce the amount of oil required. 

Properties: 

 

  • Creates a slick non stick cooking surface
  • Easy to clean (do no use harsh scourers or chemical abrasives when cleaning as this can damage the coating) 
  • Should not be overheated

 

frying pan

Ceramic New technology has allowed manufactureres to create a non stick coating that uses naturally occuring creamic rather than a chemical, this is sometimes referred to as 'green' non stick. 

Key properties: 

 

  • Creates a slick non stick cooking surface
  • Easy to clean (do no use harsh scourers or chemical abrasives when cleaning as this can damage the coating) 
  • POFA and PTFE free 

 

ceramic non stick


 

Type of Pan

From boiling vegtables in a trusty saucepan to rustling up a speedy stir fry in a wok, read on to find out more about the pans we sell and how to use them. 

 

Type of Pan  Example 

Milk Pan A small saucepan used for warming milk or making sauces. 

See all milk pans >>

milk pan

Saucepan Sold in a variety of sizes, these are deep pans with lids, perfect for boiling vegtables, heating sauces/ soups or even sauteing. 

See all saucepans >>

saucepan

Wok The unique shape of the wok means heat is concentratied in the bottom allowing you to cook at different temparatures at the same time. The wide, sloping sides mean that ingredients can be moved around quickly with less spillage.

See all woks >>

 wok

Frying Pan A shallow pan for quick cooking on a high heat with oil. Great for softening onions, sealing meat or making an omlette. 

See all frying pans >> 

frying pan

Grill/ griddle pan Often seen as a healthier alternative to frying, a griddle allows you to get a grilled effect on the hob. Best used for cooking meat and fish or chargrilling veg. 

See all grill/ griddle pans >> 

grill pan

Crepe pan Shallower than a frying pan to make sliding your pancake or omlette onto a plate a piece of cake (or crepe!)

See all crepe pans >> 

 

Stockpot Similar to a saucepan but with 2 small handles either side, these are made to sit on the hob for a while. Great for preparing stock, soups and stews you can make large volumes of food in just one pot.

See all stockpots >> 

 stockpot

Saucepan set A fantastic option for those who are moving out of home or need all new cookware. 

See all pan sets >> 

 pan sets


Types of Hob

Use the table below to determine the best pan to use for your hob. 

 

Best Pans to Use  Type of Hob  

Gas - Any pan is suitable 

 

  • Excellent heat control 
  • Instant on and off 

 

 Gas

 

 

Electric -  Solid Hotplate - Any pan is suitable 

 

  • A common type of electric hob
  • Often slow to warm up and down 

 

 solid hotplate

Electric - Ceramic - Any pan is suitable but a avoid heavy pans as they can scratch the surface of the hob

 

  • Offers quick and even heating 

 

 ceramic

Electric - Halogen- Any pan is suitable, but avoid pans with reflective or shiny bases 

 

  • Energy efficient
  • Easy to clean 

 

 halogen

Induction - The base of the pan must be magnetic, copper for example, you can test this with a fridge magnet

 

  • Works by transferring heat from the hob to the pan using a magnetic field.
  • Amost zero energy wasted 
  • Easy to clean 

 

 induction


Care and maintenance

Care and Maintenance

Here we'll give you some general advice and best practice for all pan types. Please see manufacturers instructions for advice on caring for specific cookware.

 Before use

  • Ensure you remove all labels and packaging.
  • Wash your cookware with warm soapy water and a soft cloth or sponge and leave to dry.

 General safety recommendations

  • Always let pans cool before washing and never put a hot pan directly into cold water, firstly beacause any oil left in the pan could cause it to sizzle and smoke, and secondly the change in temperature can damage the metal and cause it to warp.
  • Use oven gloves or mitts, as higher cooking temperatures and longer cooking times can cause handles to get hot, even if they are not metal.  
  • Do not use sharp utensils to cut things once they are in your cookware, this can damage the non stick coating.

Cleaning

  • Although some cookware is dishwasher-safe, hand washing is strongly recommended.
  • When hand washing your cookware, thoroughly clean the inside and outside with hot soapy water using a soft cloth or sponge after every use.
  • Do not use scourers, abrasive chemicals or metal to clean non-stick cookware as this could remove some of the coating.