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Go to any kitchenware store and you will be bombarded by Brands. If you go to William Sonoma, they usually carry the high end brands, but are they any goods. We have years of experience cooking with and testing different brands. What might surprise you is that cheaper brands can rival some of the higher end brands. Our experiences has told us that the Best Cookware Brands are usually the French, however, cheaper alternative, even those made in China can work just as well.
Best Cookware Brands List
Below, you will find a list of some of my Best Cookware Brands. The prices of these brands will vary and even then, they have big variation is their own catalogue. Nevertheless, my experience with these brands usually means that they produce quality cookware. I have list some on both the affordable and expensive end of the spectrum.
Mauviel – High End Copper Cookware Brand
Mauviel is one of the largest French Manufacturer of cookware. Their primary focus is on copper cookware, however, recently they have foray into stainless steel. Their products are made in France and will produce cookware at varying grades of thickness. My personal recommendation from their line are the M250B line. It uses 2.5mm thick piece of metal to ensure performance and durability. Just be aware, they’re also one of the most expensive.
All Clad High End Fully Cladded Cookware Copper Core
All Clad is a American Manufacturer of cookware. They were the pioneer of the fully cladded cookware. Since their patent expire, manufacturer have incorporated the fully cladded design into many of their higher end cookware. So why choose the imitation when you can get the real thing. Of their selection, the Copper Core models are the best. Instead of just Aluminum, they incorporated a piece of copper in the center. This gives you the best control and responsiveness of any brand.
Lodge Affordable Cast Iron Cookware
Lodge is one of America’s oldest cast iron manufacturer. You can even find pieces that are over a hundred year old today. They were one of the first to provide cookware that came pre seasoned. The price is affordable and the quality is great. You really cannot beat the value that they bring. Most of their cookware is made in usa. The only exception are the enamel cookware.
Le Creuset High End Enamel Cast Iron
Known for their colors, Le Creuset has set themselves as the world best cookware brand. If you think of Le Creuset, you think quality. While a lot of other brand sells enamel cast iron, Le Creuset has set themselves apart with their durability and beauty. Their classic colors are orange and red, but they come out with new colors annually. If you love decorating your home, they this is the brand for you.
Staub High End Enamel Cast Iron Cookware
In the states, Le Creuset is King. But in France, Staub has been eating their lunch. While performance might be similar, their colors are distinct and in my opinion better than Le Creuset. Both brands will do well, its just a matter of taste. Although I do give the edge to Le Creuset.
De Buyer Mineral B Best Carbon Steel Cookware Brand
De Buyer is a French Manufacturer of cookware. They are most known for their carbon steel cookware. My favorite being the Mineral B line. While not as heavy as cast iron, they have many of the same properties. You get nonstick and searing ability at half the weight. Their larger skillet also has a helper handle. Unfortunately, they dont sell their cookware in sets. So you need to piece it individually. Even better in my opinion.
T-Fal Best Nonstick Cookware Brand
T-Fal is synonymous with nonstick. Their Teflon coating is slick and you can fry an egg straight in their pan. The problem with nonstick is that they have a shelf life. It makes absolutely no sense in buying expensive brands. Once the coating goes, so does the pan. With that logic, buying a affordable yet functional set by T-Fal is the way to go. Once the coating goes, you can just buy a new one.
Cheap vs Expensive Cookware Brand
A lot of people wonder if high end cookware are worth it. The answer is no…If your primary focus is on just cooking, the middle of the road, affordable cookware will work just as well. There are performance difference, but for most people, they wont notice it. In fact, professional chef use some of the cheapest cookware on the market. You just have to go to a restaurant supply store to find it.
So what do expensive cookware give you? The main difference is fit and finish. They refine the handle, makes it smoother, look prettier and all around feel better. The thickness of the cookware is usually a little better and usually use better metal such as copper.
One caveat to this are the fully cladded cookware. Fully cladded cookware combines the different metal to utilize the best property of the different type of metal. For example, Stainless Steel is usually on the interior and exterior due to the inert properties. However, they are poor conductor of heat. Manufacturer get around this by sandwiching a piece of aluminum to compensate. By making the stainless steel layer thin, you negate a lot of the negative of Stainless Steel and get the positive of Aluminum.
Metals are what makes the cookware really perform. Certain metals such as Copper and Aluminum are excellent conductor of heat. However, price will vary depending on how thick or thin the cookware is. Copper for example, is one of the best conductor of heat, but they are also very expensive. As such, you rarely see them in lower grade cookware.
Aluminum, is a great conductor of heat but not as good as Copper. To compensate, manufacturer will usually make them really thick. Like Copper, Aluminum is reactive to acidic food. If you cook tomato sauce, they can give off a metallic taste. With other food, its fine. Sometimes manufacturer will coat it with tin or nonstick coating to make it non reactive.
Cast Iron is cheap but heavy. Most people think they provide perfectly even heat, that is not true. They are the worst of the bunch. Their saving grace is that its cheap and heavy. What that means is that it holds a lot of heat. When you go to sear food, it stays hot. Cheaper cookware are light and lose a lot of heat when you drop food.
One way to tell if a cookware is good is by weight. If it feels heavy, there is a good chance that its a good piece.
Best Cookware Brands Thoughts
There are many brands out there. However, my experience tells me that these brands are some of the best out there. My personal favorite are by Mauviel and All Clad. Their fit and finish is just superb. You also cant beat the performance. However, they cost a lot. Thankfully, you have cheaper alternative such as those by Lodge, T-fal and De Buyer. All will get you good results in the Kitchen, it just depends on what you want to cook.
Looking for Cutlery? Check out our article on the Best Kitchen Knife Brands.