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Cuisinart vs Le Creuset Cast Iron Skillet

Cuisinart vs Le Creuset, these are two giants in the cookware industry. They cater to different market segments and have different goals when developing their cookware. Cuisinart focuses more on the mass market. They make all sorts of equipment from oven to cookware to even towels. Overall, they have a bigger share of the market then Le Creuset. Le Creuset on the other hand focuses on the Niche Cast Iron Cookware market. While they have the reputation of being one of the best cookware in the industry, they do not have the financial capability of Cuisinart. But is it really that much better than Cuisinart Cast irons? What exactly makes their cookware cost 2-4x more than Cuisinart. This will be the Cuisniart vs Le Creuset Cast Iron Skillet Review!

Cuisinart vs Le Creuset Cast Iron Skillet Quick Summary

Categories
Cuisinart

Le Creuset
PerformanceAcceptableAcceptable
ColorsLimitedWide Range
Brand AwarenessAmericaKnown Around the World
ShapeSidewalls are too tall and performs more like a saute pan.Low sidewalls that promote liquid evaporation. Designed like a traditional Skillet
Weight5.13 lb (2330 g)4.25 lb (1930 g)
Pouring LipYesYes
HandleLonger but Painful due to the divotShorter but more well designed. Not as painful.
Helper HandleYesYes
Country of ManufacturerChinaFrance
Tested Cookware10 Inch SkilletLe Creuset 9 inch Skillet (Winner)


What is Enamel Cast Iron?

Enamel Cast Iron is Cast iron with a glass colored coating on the outside. It serves too main function. First is to prevent the bare cast iron from rusting. If you do not season a cast iron pan properly, it will rust overtime. Second is that it makes the pan pretty. I am sad to say that one of the main reason why Le Creuset is so expensive is because of the range of color it has. People like things that look and feel nice. I am guilty of this as well.
The major disadvantage of Enamel Cast Iron cookware is that it does not have the non stick properties of Cast Iron. It simply cant develop the non stick coating that cast iron can. Not only that, in my previous test. I found that the Enamel Coating actually degrades the heat conductivity of the metal. It cause the pan to heat up slower.

Cuisinart vs Le Creuset Cast Iron Skillet

This section of the review will compare and constrast the difference between the two skillets. We will look at the handle, shape, fit and finish and thickness of the pan.

Handle

The handle on these two skillets are very different and in some sense, reversed. For the Le Creuset skillet, the handle has a smooth underside. The top center has a slight divot, giving it two sharp corner on the side. While it is slightly painful, it helps by giving you additional grip when you turn. In contrast, Cuisinart skillet has the divot on the underside and the top is smooth. Although this does not seem like a big deal, once you go to lift the pan, you will feel it. Those two edges will basically start digging into your finger. What makes it even worse is that the skillet is heavy. It is literally pushing the two corners into your finger.
In terms of length, Cuisinart handle is slightly longer coming in at around 5.25 inch while Le Creuset is at 5 inch. For cast iron skillets, the length of the handle is not that important. These pans are so heavy that you need to hold it near the center of the pan, having a long handle will just make it feel heavier. The loop for hanging is also longer in the Le Creuset Skillet.

Le Creuset Handle

Both handle has a taper near the center of the handle. With Cuisinart being more narrow than Le Creuset. The comfort that you feel will depends on the size of your hand. Overall, Le Creuset handle is more well designed. The major flaw that cuisinart has is the dimple on the bottom, it will cause you pain in the long run.

Helper Handle

Both skillets have a helper handle. On the cuisinart, it is more narrow and plain looking. It look basically like a tab. On the Le Creuset version, it is more well designed with their logo across it. While the size and width does play a factor in ergonomics, it wont be that much of a difference. The tab from Cuisinart will do its job, its just not pretty to look at.

Shape

The shape of a pan will change the characteristic of the pan. On the Cuisinart model, the sidewalls are tall like those made by Lodge. While Le Creuset is short and more like a traditional frying pan. While most people assume that more is better, this is not the case for a frying pan. A high sidewall frying pan is a saute pan, which is basically what Cuisinart cast iron skillet is. It makes it harder for you to slip a spatula in from the side. Not only that, the higher sidewall will prevent evaporation of liquid. On Le Creuset, the height is 1.75 inch while Cuisinart is 2 inch. While there is nothing wrong with a saute pan, but arent you buying a frying pan? The upside to the high sidewall is that you can hold more liquid.

The corner of the interior is another issue. On Cuisinart, there is a very sharp corner that gets in the way. If you try to whisk sauce or run a spatula through the corner, it gets in the way. On the Le Creuset skillet, it is more smooth and gradual. It allows for a easy fit with a spatula or a whisk. Very important when you are making the final sauce out of fond. Both skillet have pouring lips on either side to allow for easy pouring of liquid.

Cuisinart vs Le Creuset Cast Iron Thickness

Cuisinart has a sidewall thickness of 4.41 mm while Le Creuset has a thickness of 3.78 mm. In general, the thicker the better, especially for cast iron. Cast iron is a poor conductor of heat. One way to smooth it out is by making it very thick. This also lets you store more heat in the pan. The more heat you have in the pan, the less chance of food steaming. One very interesting thing about Le Creuset skillet is the bottom is thicker. If you flip it upside down, you can see a raise edge on that portion. Maybe Le Creuset tried to save weight so that their skillet isnt as heavy. It is a very interesting way to do so. I personally prefer to have a thicker, heavier pan overall so in this case, Cuisinart is better.

Enamel Coating and Colors

Le Creuset has the most wide and varied amount of colors. You simply cant beat them. Their enamel coating is also one of the most durable in the industry. I have pans that are over 50 year old and they still look in great condition. Cuisinart on the other experience more chipping issue. While this wont affect the performance of the pan one bit, this is still something that you should still be aware of. Both of the skillets have a black interior with a bare cast iron lip. Although I am not too sure why they did this. The original reason why they remove the enamel coating on the lip is to prevent the lid from fusing with the pot. Since neither comes with a lid, it is pointless.
Both skillets are riddled with orange peel with Cuisinart having more of the two. Orange peel is the ripple affect that you see in some paint. In the automotive industry, it is a sign of a bad paint job. I personally think that both companies receive a bad grade in this regard.

Fit and Finish

Fit and Finish on both of these pans are acceptable. They are ok, simply because of the poor paint job. Cuisinart is the worse of the two. Other than that, neither has any weird burrs or anomalies. The paint the rim of the lip is little off on the Cuisinart one though.

Lodge vs Le Creuset Skillet Specs

Note:These measurement are done by me with the tools that I have on hand. The manufacturers have their own measurement guidelines and that should be assumed to be accurate. What I find on this review can vary widely due to several factors, such as ambient temperature, location, water, tool calibration, stove btu, etc..and should only be considered as my opinion.

Le Creuset

Weight:4.25 lb (1930 g)
Diameter:9.4 inch Base Cooking Diameter:7.8 inch
Height:1.7 inch Thickness:3.78 mm

Cuisinart

Weight:5.13 lb (2330 g)
Diameter:10 inch Base Cooking Diameter:8 inch
Height:2 inch Thickness:4.41 mm

Cuisinart vs Le Creuset Cast Iron Skillet Thoughts

You see a lot of the difference once you put the two skillets side by side. The thought and execution of the skillet is simply better on the Le Creuset model. Granted, they will probably perform the same in terms of performance. It is the ergonomic and finish that is the major issue. Le Creuset Cast Iron Skillet is just simply more well built. The sides are lower, the handle is more comfortable, paint is better and it looks better. In this situation, I personally believe that you are getting your money worth for that extra hundred dollar.


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