How to buy the right pan Avoid the ultimate mistakes

by | Jan 9, 2021 | Cookware | 0 comments

Frying pan
How to buy the right pan Avoid the ultimate mistakes 19

Do you know How to buy the right pan? Buying a pot is not easy. There are so many manufacturers, materials, and names in the market. We try to shed light in the dark. This will help you in choosing your next pan. Based on our criteria, you can find the perfect forehead for you.

Essentials in brief: How to buy the right Pan

When buying a pot, check the following criteria. You will find a detailed explanation when you scroll down. Or find out more about the individual points by clicking on the respective link.

  1. Material: We recommend iron, aluminum, or stainless steel.
  2. Non-stick coating/surface: Teflon or baked iron pan
  3. Diameter: 10 inches / 24 cm or 11 inches / 28 cm, depending on the requirements
  4. Weight: at 10 inches / 24 cm between 1.8 – 3.3 pounds (0.8 – 1.5 kg), at 11 inches / 28 cm between 2.2 – 4 pounds (1 – 1.8 kg)
  5. Form: Round is better than rectangular
  6. Edge height: depending on usage. For the vast majority of cooking processes, a medium-high brow edge makes sense.
  7. Handle: metal, riveted
  8. Price: good pans are available from approx. $ 35.

The basic material of the panthers

The material from which the pot is made is mainly responsible for the price and behavior of the pot on the stove. Frying pans are always largely made of metal, as metal conducts heat relatively well.

Pots are made of these materials or a mixture of them:

  • Iron
  • Stainless steel
  • Copper
  • Aluminum

The materials differ mainly in two factors: thermal diffusivity and reactivity.
Copper conducts heat best followed by aluminum. Stainless steel and iron are far worse off. The heat distribution in copper pans is much more uniform. The food is browned more evenly everywhere. Stainless steel pans almost always have a plate of aluminum or copper embedded in them to distribute the heat better.
Since copper and aluminum can react with food, these pans are hardly made of uncoated material. Aluminum is usually coated with PTFE or ceramic, copper with stainless steel. More about the non-stick properties of the individual materials in the next section.
PTFE or polytetrafluoroethylene is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene – best known as Teflon.

Iron pans in particular can react with acidic foods. We have a separate post on how to choose an iron pan.

The most expensive pans are made of copper. Pots made of stainless steel, aluminum, or iron are available in similar price categories (always depending on the manufacturer and processing). We do not recommend copper pans because of the steep price. Although they are very suitable for cooking (which is why you often see them in upscale restaurants), they are usually many times more expensive than pans made of other metals. But if you can afford them, it may make sense to own some. And they look good.

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Coated Pan
Teflon pan

Non-stick properties / surfaces

Especially protein-rich foods like pancakes, meat, or eggs can be combined with the pan under the influence of heat: the fried chopsticks.
For this reason, there are non-stick coatings: PTFE (Teflon) and ceramics.
Both materials have little or no bond with the food, the pots are much easier to clean. However, ceramics have the disadvantage that oil that is heated too high decomposes and the residues remain on the coating. This leads to an extremely reduced non-stick effect. This often happens after only a few months.

PTFE / Teflon, on the other hand, has better non-stick properties than ceramics, usually, nothing sticks. However, the non-adhesive coating rubs over time because the forces holding Teflon in the forehead are relatively weak.
To learn more about PTFE-coated pans, read our article on Teflon pans.
If you want to buy a coated pan, we recommend that you do so buy a PTFE-coated pan. In our experience, ceramic coated pans have a much shorter life.
You can read more about this in our guide to ceramic pans. Also with Teflon pans, it is worth spending a little more money when buying pans. Especially with cheap pans, the Teflon layer wears off very quickly.

Iron pans are only available uncoated (or enameled, but for poor use). However, iron has the great advantage that it can form a patina of oil residues that acts like a non-stick layer. It takes some time before a good patina is formed, but then iron pans can easily be used for fried eggs, pancakes, and the like. If the patina is damaged, it can be easily restored.
All information about this process can be found in our article “Spices an Iron Pan”.

Non-coated stainless steel pans are the most difficult to handle. Almost everything sits easily in them. This is sometimes even desired because the brown leftovers in the pot provide a wonderful sauce when extinguished with water or wine. That is why you often see them in kitchens in the restaurant. With a little practice and oil, you can also make fried eggs and pancakes. You can find out more about the use here: Stainless steel pans

What would you like to prepare?

Depending on the food you want to cook a coating on or the non-existent coating in your pan is important. Here are a few examples of when to use which pan.
Foods that need a low temperature and easily stick (eggs, pancakes, fish): PTFE or ceramic coated pan or iron pan.
Foods where high temperatures are required: Iron pans, stainless steel pans, ceramic pans
Sure saucer: Teflon pans, ceramic pans, stainless steel pans Fried potatoes: all
Steaks: ceramic pans, iron pans, stainless steel pans

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Pan weight

When it comes to weight, pay attention to two things: not too heavy, not too light.

If the pot is very light, this indicates thin material. Pots with thin bottoms deform easily. Especially very cheap pans have this problem. These pans can usually be found in discount stores.

If the pan is too heavy, cooking with it can become difficult. Especially cast iron pans and pans with thick sandwich bottoms are often very heavy.

The handle also plays a role: the longer the handle is (and of course the grip is further back), the heavier the forehead appears to be. More about this in the section on pan attacks.

Our experience has shown that a 10-inch pan should weigh more than 1.8 pounds, but less than 3.3 pounds. An 11-inch pan should weigh more than 2.2 pounds but less than 4.4 pounds. However, these are guidelines only. There are also pans that weigh less or more and are still really good.

Pan diameter

There are pans from 4 ″ / 10 cm (mostly to present food on them) up to 40 ″ / 100 cm in diameter (very large paella pans).
Most common and most useful, however, are pans in the sizes 10 ″ / 24 cm and 11 ″ / 28 cm.

For a one- or two-person household, we recommend 10 ″, for more people there should be an additional 11 ″ pan in the house. You can find out more about pan diameter here:

Pan shape

Round or square: these are the two types of pans there are. We generally recommend buying round pans.
The reasons:

  1. it is harder to get into the corners of the pot during cleaning.
  2. Turning food in the air is much easier with round pans
  3. The heat source (hob, gas ring) is usually round, a square pot gets hotter slower in the corners

Pan height on the edge

Crepe pans have the lowest edge height. The highest edges have braised pans, fish pans, and sauté pans.
However, these are intended for special cases. For most applications, a pan with a normal edge is sufficient. The edge is best sloping best to make it easier to clean and let the food slide out. It is especially good if the pot still has a sloping edge: this facilitates the pouring of liquids.
Pots with a very high edge are usually very heavy, while pots with a low edge can easily lose something while stirring.

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The handle of a pot

Various pan handles
How to buy the right pan Avoid the ultimate mistakes 20

Pots have either a handle, a handle, and a handle on the other side or two-loop handles. A pan with two-loop handles usually only makes sense with very heavy or large pans. The handles get much hotter due to the design. A normal handle can still be touched even if the pot is hot. A detailed article on panhandles can be found here: Panhandles

Handle material of a pot

The panhandle is usually made of metal, wood, or plastic. We recommend a metal handle: then the pot can be placed on the stove without any problems. Some plastic handles can be removed so that the pot can also be placed on the stove. However, these mechanisms often represent a weak point, they wear faster than normal handles.

Handle mounting of the forehead

Handles can either be screwed, riveted, cast, or welded to the pan. We have had the best experience with welded and riveted handles. The only disadvantage of rivet handles is that food debris can accumulate on the rivets, making cleaning more difficult. But the handle is also bombproof.

The price of a good pot

In most cases, we do not recommend buying pans under $ 25. Good pans are available from approx. $ 30. An ordinary pot should not cost more than $ 90. However, there are exceptions: Professional pans are clearly more expensive, but also very durable. In addition, there are pans that are still made by hand, thereby justifying a higher price.

Which / how many pans should I buy?

We recommend two pans: one with non-stick properties and a stainless steel pan.
For difficult dishes (eggs, fish,
etc.) We recommend an iron pan or a PTFE / Teflon coated pan.
The stainless steel pan can be used to prepare acidic sauces that will ruin the patina of the iron pan, on the other hand, it is perfect for extinguishing residues.

You can find pans that we have tested in use and in detail, and can therefore recommend here:
Our recommendations on iron pans
Our best recommendation: The Buyer Mineral B Element

Or take a look at our guide: How to choose the best iron pan.

Our Teflon pan recommendations

Our best recommendation: Tefal Jamie Oliver Premium Series
Read our full review of the pot.
Our recommendations for induction cooker
Our best recommendation: also Tefal Jamie Oliver Premium Series
Our recommendations if you are looking for a steak pan
Our best recommendation: The Buyer Mineral B Element

We hope our guide helps you make a more informed decision for your next pan purchase.

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