Cookware Buying Guide
Choosing new cookware can be a daunting task for even professional chefs. It’s an investment you want to last a lifetime so it’s important to make an informed decision. With our cookware buying guide you’ll discover what pots & pans are going to best suit your needs and how much easier cooking becomes when you’ve got the right tools.
Types of Hob
Before deciding on your new cookware you need to ensure it’s compatible with your hob. Some materials can’t be used on certain surfaces and by using the best material for your hob you’ll achieve the best results. Below we’ve explained the different types of hobs and heat sources.
You can use any type of cookware on a gas hob. Whilst cooking on gas, you need to ensure the flame does not extend beyond the base of the pan, as this wastes gas and can cause warping and handle damage.
With either a radiant spiral fitting or a solid hot plate, electric hobs are also suitable for all cookware. Radiant spiral hobs have an open element which pans sit atop, whilst solid hot plates have the element encased inside. We recommend using a flat bottomed pan to ensure even heating and minimise energy waste.
Similar to a solid hot plate electric hob but with a ceramic surface. These hobs also have an electric heating element underneath and, again, all types of cookware are again suitable for this style of hob. Remember to always lift pans off the surface and not slide them to avoid damage.
Induction hobs consist of a ceramic glass surface and magnetic induction coils underneath. These hobs heat only when a magnetisable metal pan is placed upon them. The surface itself is not heated but is transferred directly to the cookware, which in turn heats the contents of the pan. The best material for these types of hobs is steel or cast iron which are highly magnetisable metals. Copper and aluminium pans won’t heat up unless they have a base that’s been bonded.
Also a more delicate form of hob, care should be taken when placing pans on them to not damage the glass surface. The hob functions via halogen bulbs under the glass which give off intense bursts of heat. Thick-based pans are required for this form of hob to counteract the high heat that can be let off. Steer clear of shiny materials that will reflect the halogen light and potentially cause issues.
The term for ovens that also work as a whole heating system for the home like AGAs; cookers such as these give off a very high level of heat and again require thicker set pans to combat the hot temperatures.
Different materials will offer different benefits, so take time to decide what material will best suit your needs. It’s important to choose the right materials, not only will your cooking improve but you’ll find rustling up dishes easier and more pleasurable.
- An excellent heat conductor and extremely quick to heat
- Fantastic heat distribution properties which aid cooking as there are no hot spots
- Whilst it is an excellent choice, copper tends to be more expensive than aluminium and stainless steel and requires a certain amount of care
- We recommend you invest in a high quality copper cleaner to keep copper cookware at its best
- Fantastically lightweight, perfect if you struggle to manoeuvre heavier pans
- Economical to buy and excellent heat conductor
- Easy to clean and resistant to chips, cracks, scratches and peeling
- Whilst not as durable as copper or stainless steel, many aluminium pans have an enamel coating on the outside and non-stick coating on the inside
- Ideal for use on induction hobs
- Higher quality stainless steel will be listed as 18/10 which means it contains 18% chromium and 10% nickel
- Hard surface that’s resistant to chips, cracks, scratches and peeling
- Although durable and easy to care for, it does not conduct heat as well as other materials and is sometimes bonded with other metals at the base
- Make sure to thoroughly check each item's product page for the type of hob each pan can be used on; if a stainless steel pan has a copper base it will not be suitable to use with induction hobs
Types of Cookware
When it comes to choosing what pots & pans you need think about what you’ll be using them for. Whether you’re a rookie chef or savvy professional, there’s pans to suit your needs.
A deep pan with a flat base and lid. A staple for any kitchen, it arrives in a range of sizes and is suitable for cooking liquids, rice, pasta or other food in high volume.
Large, flat-bottomed with low sides. The shape has been designed to encourage air circulation and ensure that flipping or turning food is easy. Best for frying, searing or browning.
A close relative to the humble frying pan, this pan has higher sides and is more suitable for holding liquid. Ideal for sweating vegetables and cooking food that needs to be stirred & turned.
Also similar to a frying pan, this pan has a series of parallel ridges that grills food and where meat juices accumulate and blacken. These ridges are what provide real flavour. Perfect for grilling meat, vegetables or fish.
These tall and conical vessels are certainly eye-catching. Similar to cooking with a dutch oven or slow cooker, as the food cooks steam rises into the cone, condenses and then trickles back into the dish. Perfect for stews or even cooking rice, couscous and pasta.
Broad with sloping sides that allow food to be tossed and stirred with ease (without spilling all over your hob) woks are ideal for quick frying.
Arriving in a variety of sizes, stock pots tend to be tall and wide. They’re perfect for gentle simmering soups, stocks & stews.