You don’t have to break the bank to buy a cookware set that can handle your cooking demands. Whether you’re particularly fond of a specific brand or you just want to replace an aging collection of pots and pans, a set can be an ideal investment. There are several factors to consider when narrowing down the options.
Budget is a main concern for many consumers, and you can easily find full sets for under $100. However, spending more typically gets you better overall quality and durability along with even heat distribution and features such as stay-cool handles and multi-ply construction.
It’s also crucial to make sure that the set contains the right type of pans — and the best sizes — to match up with your cooking needs. Some cookware sets are geared more towards specific uses such as induction cooking while others are suitable for a wide range of cooking.
1. Best Value: T-fal Ultimate Hard Anodized 12-Piece Set
This 12-piece T-fal set covers all the basics while remaining affordable. The cookware features T-fal’s Thermo-Spot heat indicator technology, which lets you know when the pan is properly preheated to begin cooking. Each piece is dishwasher safe to make clean up easier. Another highlight is the nonstick interior, which keeps food from sticking and can be safely used for metal utensils. The silicone handles are oven safe up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and provide a safe, comfortable grip. Hard anodized coating on the outside adds an extra element of durability. This set is safe for use on gas, ceramic, electric and halogen cooktops.
- Thermo indicator
- Scratch-resistant nonstick interior
- Anti-warp base
- Saute pans don’t have lids
- Nonstick coating eventually wears off
- Some complain that the thermal indicators can fade over time
2. Best Budget Set: Cook N Home 15-Piece Nonstick Set
This budget-friendly 15-piece cookware set includes a covered 3-quart casserole, covered 1-quart sauce pan, covered 5-quart dutch oven, covered 2-quart sauce pan, 8-inch fry pan, 10-inch fry pan, and nylon tools. Soft touch handles remain cool while you cook and are outfitted with an anti-slip silicone material. Tempered glass lids let you keep watch over your meal from start to finish. Each pan is constructed with a heavy gauge aluminum material, ensuring even and prompt heat distribution. This set works on ceramic, halogen, gas, electric and glass cooktops. However, it’s not induction safe. The set is dishwasher safe for easier clean-up.
- Soft touch handles
- Tempered glass lids
- Heavy gauge aluminum construction
- Utensils aren’t heat-resistant
- Screws on handles and lids can come loose over time
- May warp when cooked over higher heat
3. Best Stainless Steel Set: Cuisinart MultiClad Pro
If you’re tired of replacing your nonstick cookware as the coating inevitably wears off over time, a stainless steel set could be a good long-term investment. Stainless steel cookware is renowned for its durability. The smooth surface also makes stainless steel pots and pans easy to clean. The Cuisinart MultiClad Pro set has 12 pieces to cover pots and pans you might need for everyday cooking. For example, is has two saucepans along with a larger stockpot and two skillets. This set is dishwasher safe and is compatible with induction surfaces. Drip-free rims minimize messes as you pour, while the stay cool handles protect your hands even when the cookware gets hot. This set is oven safe up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit.
Price: $209.99 (69 percent off MSRP)
- Drip-free rims minimize messes from pouring
- Compatible with induction surfaces
- Dishwasher safe
- May need a bit more oil to keep food from sticking
- Requires proper pre-heating for best results
- Pans can stain after cooking and washing
4. Best for Camping/RV Use: Vremi 15-Piece Nonstick Cookware Set
While its lightweight construction and pots and pans of various sizes makes this Vremi set a good choice for RV or camping, it can also be used in apartments, dorms and homes. Pieces include several pots with glass lids and two frying pans. Each pot comes with a vented glass lid cover so that you can keep a close watch over your meal without removing the lid. The pots and pans are oven safe up to 480 degrees Fahrenheit, but the lids are not. Each piece features a nonstick coating for easier food release and cleaning. If multi-color isn’t your thing, this set also comes in black.
- Comes in two colors
- Pots have tempered glass covers
- Ideal for camping and RV use
- Not induction safe
- Lids can’t go in the oven
- Not dishwasher safe
5. Best for Induction Cooking: Chef’s Star 17-Piece Stainless Steel Set
Induction cooktops require compatible cookware with magnetic-based material. Common examples include cast iron, enameled cast iron and magnetic stainless steel. This set features an 18/8 commercial grade construction with an impact-bonded aluminum bottom. In addition to induction stoves, you can also use it on ceramic, gas, electric, glass and infrared cooking surfaces. The set is oven safe up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit and can go in the dishwasher. The handles have a slip-resistant design for added security as you cook.
- Ideal for induction cooking
- Oven safe
- Slip-resistant handles
- Handles and sides can get very hot
- Coating isn’t nonstick
- Rivets around handles tend to collect water
6. Best for Even Heat Distribution: All-Clad d5 Brushed Stainless 10-Piece Set
Even heat distribution is essential for delicious end results. The All-Clad d5 set caters to beginners and professionals alike with its high-quality 18/10 stainless steel construction and five-ply bonded construction for maximum heat retention and distribution. This set is safe for induction cooktops and can be used in the oven and broiler up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t feel like washing the pieces by hand you can simply put them in the dishwasher. Other features include flared rims for mess-free pouring and heat-resistant handles. The set is made in the US and has capacity readings etched into each base to help you keep track as you cook.
Price: $699.35 (7 percent off MSRP)
- 18/10 stainless steel construction
- Safe for induction cooktops
- Capacity readings on bases
- Some say the pans stain easily
- Rivets can be tough to clean
- Might need extra oil to keep food from sticking
7. Best Copper Cookware Set: Mauviel M’heritage 9-Piece Set
Copper cookware isn’t the cheapest, but it’s especially noteworthy for its superior heat conductivity and retention. Many copper pots and pans have little to no heat spots, and are particularly good to use when you want to make sauce. This set is made in France and includes the essentials, such as a saute pan, saucepan, skillet and stock pot. The pieces are a mix of copper and stainless steel construction. This set isn’t safe for induction surfaces, but you can use it on gas, halogen and electric cooktops. Hand washing is suggested for best results. The set comes with a lifetime warranty for added peace of mind.
- Made in France
- Durable copper and stainless steel construction
- Ideal for making sauces
- Not recommended for induction cooking
- Handles aren’t covered
8. Best Starter Set: AmazonBasics 8-Piece Cookware Set
If you’re just getting into cooking or are shopping on a tight budget, consider this eight-piece set from AmazonBasics. You’ll get all the essentials, including two sauce pans with lids, a casserole pan and two frying pans. The pots and pans have spiral bottoms for even heat distribution. You can safely use the set on gas, glass and electric stovetops. Other features include a nonstick coating for easy food release and cleaning, along comfortable stay-cool handles. Vented glass lids allow steam to escape as you cook.
- Great for beginners
- Durable aluminum construction
- Vented tempered glass lids
- Larger pans don’t come with lids
- Food can stick to bottom of pans
- Some complain the handles can get too hot
9. Best Toxin-Free Set: GreenLife 14 Piece Cookware Set
Each pan in this ceramic cookware set comes with a ceramic non-stick coating for healthier cooking without making a mess. Another feature is stay-cool handles with a soft grip for safety and comfort as you cook. These pans are dishwasher-safe and can handle up to 350 degrees. Despite their lightweight construction, these pans have a solid base for even heat distribution and stability. The set is also available in red and black.
- Ceramic non-stick coating
- Durable base
- Can be used in the oven
- Relatively small size
- Tends to stain easily
- Prone to chips and scratches
10. Best Professional Set: Viking Professional 10-Piece Cookware Set
You don’t have to be a professional cook to use this set, but its high-quality aluminum alloy and 18/10 stainless steel construction makes it a well-rounded choice if you cook frequently. A blend of aluminum alloy and 18/10 stainless steel materials ensures even heat distribution and heat retention. A magnetic stainless steel exterior makes the set compatible with induction cooktops. This set is made in the US and can be used on the stove, grill or oven up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Stay-cool handles keep your hands from getting burned, even when the cookware heats up. This set is dishwasher safe.
- Professional-quality construction
- Induction compatible
- Oven and broiler safe
- Some say the handles can get hot
- Food may stick without enough oil
- Lids aren’t glass
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