(Calphalon vs Cuisinart) 10 Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets
Everyone needs quality cookware. This is especially true now, in a time where people are beginning to see the money-saving and health benefits of cooking at home.
Cooking isn’t just about getting the best ingredients; just as you need a paintbrush to make a painting, you need the right cookware to make a meal.
A good set of pots and pans can go a long way to making your kitchen fully ready to take on any recipe. If it is quality you are after, stainless steel is the way to go. It is naturally sturdy and can last decades if treated properly.
Below, I plan on going beyond regular stainless steel pots and pans reviews. I’m not only going to show you the best sets around, I will also help to inform you about what to look for in a set and what the differences are between them.
So, what is the best stainless steel cookware for you? I’m going to walk you through the ten top rated stainless-steel cookware sets available now. The online market is full of choices, so first I’ll go over the basics of what to look for in a quality set of cookware. I’ll also discuss things like which brands you should consider and their proprietary features.
# of Pieces
Different Types of Sets
It may seem as though all top quality cookware would be roughly the same, but there are subtle differences in even best stainless cookware that you should be aware of when making your decision of what set to buy. Pay attention to these things and see which type of cookware fits your needs.
Steel vs. Plastic Lids and Handles
The most obvious feature of any set is the metal pan that makes up the bulk of any individual item. But, what most people neglect to take into consideration are the lids and handles that come with a set. Glass lids allow you to see inside the pot while you are cooking, so you can check on your food without having to release heat.
However, glass lids can crack and break easily. They also will usually contain a plastic knob at the top for you to grab onto. This knob is convenient for lifting the lid when it is on the stovetop, but because it is plastic you cannot put it into the oven.
Other sets will have stainless-steel lids. These cost more, but are durable and will still function with a few dents in them.
The metallic nature of these lids means that they can be transferred from stovetop directly into the oven, if needed.
This same idea applies to handles. Some sets may feature grips on the side of large metal pots that allow you to grab them without using oven mitts. Again, consider whether or not you plan on moving pots and pans in and out of the oven. If so, go with the steel handles.
Number of Pieces
Always pay attention to the number of pieces that a set claims to include. When you think of cookware sets, you most likely think that the number of pieces in a set refers only to actual pots and pans. This is not the case.
A set may claim to be a twenty-piece set of stainless steel cookware, but only include ten pots and pans. Often times manufacturers will also count spoons, forks, or even lids as “pieces”, so be sure to carefully read what exactly is included in a set before you purchase it.
It is also important that you see what types of cookware is included. Different brands and different sets will vary in terms of what they include in a set. Fry pans, saute pans, skillets, stockpots, steamers and others are often included in sets. Know what it is you want to cook and what you need to do so.
Make sure that if you are looking for something specific, that it is included in the set you’re interested in. Also, if a set is full of cookware that you don’t need or won’t use, save some money and choose a set that better fits your needs.
Best Cookware Brands
The brand name of a set can tell a lot about a product. Certain brands are well-known for quality, while others are known for anything but. Don’t be too quick to judge on name alone, however. I’ve had great experiences with pans from many different brands. I’ll discuss some popular brands featured on this list, and give you some useful information about each of them.
All brands are built on reputation, and all of the ones on this list have certainly earned theirs. A recurring brand you will see is Cook N Home, whose products consistently receive some of the best stainless steel cookware reviews.
This California based company has made a name for itself not just with its high quality stainless steel products, but also its extensive collection of ceramic cookware. The biggest draw to this company's products is their affordability.
Calphalon is one of the most popular brands in the United States, second only to All-Clad in terms of reputation.
Often Calphalon is seen as a good alternative to All-Clad, for those who want that same stainless steel quality without having to pay the high price tag All-Clad is notorious for. Calphalon is popular, in part, because of its unique stretched aluminum bottom, which allows for heat to distribute evenly across the whole pan. I’ll talk more about this later, but you can also check out my in depth of review of Calphalon vs. All Clad.
Cuisinart is another top-tier brand, and they produce many series of pots and pans. Some of the best stainless steel pots on the market right now are made by Cuisinart. Cuisinart is actually a subsidiary of Conair, best known for their hair-dryers.
They have been in business since 1971, and in that time they have established themselves as one of the most consistent and respectable brands around. Not only do they make good pots and pans, Cuisinart does seem to have a real interest in the culinary arts. Over the last few decades they have released several cookbooks and online recipes, and have received several accolades and awards for their top-quality line of cookware.
Top 10 Stainless-Steel Cookware Sets
For this list I have included only the top products in the market today. The criteria I have is simple - what are the best sets of stainless steel cookware in terms of affordability, cooking capability, durability and overall quality? Every piece on this list has comes highly recommended from user reviews as well.
If you want to really delve into the world of home cooking, or you want to expand your own collection of beautiful stainless steel cookware, then this is the list for you.
Starting off the list in the #1 spot is this six pan set from Cook N Home. The reflective metallic surface provides a dazzling finish.
This set is definitely the perfect fit for anyone looking to start their kitchen set. The set includes a saucepan, a frying pan and several large pots.
What's good about this set is that it is very minimalistic. You don’t need dozens of miscellaneous pots and pans in order to cook a great meal; you just need the basics. That is what this set provides.
This stainless-steel cookware set has a capsuled bottom with an aluminum core so your food cooks evenly. Each piece of cookware will make cooking easier and more enjoyable!
Included for each of the pieces of cookware are tempered glass lids, giving you vision into the pans while you cook. Each piece of this set has a nice weight to it, a quality that is rare to find in a set that is so affordable. The handles are all stainless steel, so they are oven safe if need be.
Inspired by professional, restaurant quality cookware, this set is both pragmatic and elegant.
The Pro Stainless Steel Series by Multiclad features a triple-ply layer around each of their pots and pans.
Tri-ply stainless steel cookware means each pan is constructed with three layers: a stainless steel interior, a stretched aluminium core that distributes heat evenly, and a stainless outer layer. This brings the heat up the sides of their pots, allowing heat to spread faster and more evenly.
The rims on the Pro Series taper off at the end to avoid spillage. Steel covers create a perfect seal, which contains heat and flavor while you cook. Angled metal grips give you the best of both types of grips: it doesn’t heat up with the rest of the pan, so you can grab it, and because it is metal it is oven safe.
You also don't have to worry about taking the time to hand wash any piece within this cookware set because they are all dishwasher safe! Talk about convenient clean up.
Following in the steps of the Multiclad Pro Series, this set provides you with enough cookware to fulfill any cooking needs you may have.
Unlike the Multiclad, this set comes with break-proof glass lids instead of steel. They are tight-fitting to ensure the moisture and nutrients within your food are sealed in for more flavorful results.
The steel exterior on this set is exquisite and reflective, but make sure to hand wash them after use in order to keep them looking new for years to come. They are dishwasher safe, so if you absolutely have to you can throw them in the dishwasher for a quick clean up.
Just like the Cook N Home set, this set is built with an aluminum core heat distribution is spread evenly and quickly so you don't have to worry about hot spots. The rims of the cookware are tapered to make pouring clean and easy.
The stainless steel conducts heat so well that you may not need to heat it above a medium temperature setting in order to reach boiling temperature. So be careful when first using this set if you are used to cast iron, ceramic non-stick, or stainless steel non-stick pans.
For your money you get two stainless steel non-stick skillets, two saucepans, a saute, a stockpot, and a steamer. On top of this, Cuisinart offers a lifetime warranty in case of any damages!
Calphalon’s 10-Piece Stainless set is yet another set in the long line of quality cookware. It comes with an 8” and 10” frying pan.
The pots are more narrow than the other sets featured on this list, making this the perfect set if you have a small kitchen or limited storage space. All the pieces are stove, oven, broiler, and dishwasher safe.
The pots and pans in this set all come with tempered glass lids, which are safe to use up to 500 degrees. They also each contain metal spouts on the edge, allowing you to pour water out with ease. You no longer have to use a separate colander to drain liquid.
Because the stainless steel heats up so quickly, the manufacturer recommends you heat up your stainless steel pan to medium and then add some butter to see if it burns. If it does, the heat is too high. You can count on even heat distribution thanks to the aluminum core.
When it comes to brands you can trust, Calphalon is absolutely one of them. You know you will get well-crafted stainless steel that will last you a lifetime when you choose Calphalon.
Being one of the most inexpensive sets on this list, Heim’s 12-Piece set is one of the best values you’ll find.
Six durable pots and pan come in this set, each with a transparent glass cover. Its tri-ply stainless steel, heat distributing metal bottom makes it accessible for use on gas or electric stoves. It's even dishwasher safe!
This set features drip-free tapered rims, which will make cooking easier for you when it comes time to strain or drain your food. Solid craftsmanship and a pristine silver finish make this cookware set the a perfect entry-level set for anyone looking to begin their cookware collection.
What makes this set so great is its simplicity. You get exactly what you need to start cooking recipes with this set. I can see this set as the perfect cookware collection if you are someone who is on the fence about getting a stainless steel set and you don’t want to spend too much money.
Other Stainless Steel Cookware Sets to Consider
Sleek and made with 18/8 stainless steel, this is restaurant quality craftsmanship. This Chef’s Star 17 piece set is an entire kitchen’s worth of pots and pans in one set.
This set is oven safe to 550 degrees Farenheit and also freezer safe for easy storage! Easy cooking with its encapsulated aluminum core for even heat distribution each time you cook.
This set has everything you could possibly need to cook your favorite meals. If you want to really bring your cooking to the next level, this is the set for you. Don't forget the lifetime warranty! If you have any issues, Chef's Star promises to take care of it until you're satisfied.
With this set, you’ll get two saucepans, a stockpot, and a skillet. This is another good entry level set if you want to get started making delicious recipes, but you don’t want to break the bank.
The pots and lids are made of mirror-polished stainless steel for a classic and simple look. The stainless steel handles stay cool so you don't burn your hands and the dripless lids make your cooking experience less messy. You can also count on the aluminum core within the base to cook your food evenly.
Another quality set from Cook N Home. You can expect mirror stainless steel and glass lids. The handles are wrapped in silicone for comfortable grip as well as durability.
These heat resistant grips spare you from burning your hand accidentely in the middle of cooking a meal. However, this means pieces from this set cannot be put in the oven. They are dishwasher safe though so you can count on easy clean up!
If you haven’t yet realized, Cuisinart is one of the best brands of cookware you can find.
This 10-piece set features all the qualities that you would find in any of their other sets: steel grips, aluminum core for even heat distribution, even weight distribution, and drip-free pouring.
This set includes an 8-inch saute pan, 10-1/4-inch saute pan, 1-quart covered saucepan, 2-quart covered saucepan, 5-quart covered Dutch oven, spoon, and slotted turner - everything you need in a cookware set!
It also features glass lids so you can view your food cooking easily. The stainless steel handles stay cool for easy maneuvering while cooking. This set is over all extremely durable and reliable!
Stainless Steel Cookware Set Buying Guide
Stretched/Aluminum Base: Cheap brands of stainless steel cookware will have a single layer of metal at the base of the pan. As I’ve mentioned numerous times, good pots and pans will have a tri-layer of aluminum that stretches up the sides of the pan, allowing for easier conduction of heat. Without this, you may get a pan with random “hot spots” that are hotter than the rest of the pan.
Pay Attention to Details: You need to know what it is you plan to cook, and what it is you expect to get out of your stainless steel set. Read up before you buy, and see exactly what pots and pans come with a set. Too many or too few pieces can cause frustration.
Also, when you read reviews, try and see what people say about the quality of the handles and lids. Those small details can tell you a lot about the over all quality of a set. The best choice isn’t determined by how many pieces come in a set, it's about how any given set can help you accomplish the cooking goals that you have.
How to Cook: Stainless steel does not have a non-stick surface, which is what many people are used to cooking with. This, combined with the fact that the best stainless steel cookware will heat up at a much faster rate than ceramic cookware, cast iron pans, or nonstick cookware, means that you should be careful when you are first getting used to cooking with stainless steel.
Remember to clean your pots and pans regularly. This will keep food from sticking to the surface, in addition to keeping them looking brand new.
Check out this video on how to cook using a stainless steel pan.
I hope this overview, along with the top stainless steel cookware reviews, helped you gain insight into the intricacies of what makes stainless steel so special. These 10 different sets represent some of the best cookware sets available right now.
There is a reason that so many professional chefs choose to use stainless steel in their restaurants: it's the quality. The best stainless steel cookware set can not only help you cook magnificent meals, but they are also beautiful to look at and can add a lot to a home kitchen’s over all aesthetic.
You should shop with a careful eye, being mindful of all the details I’ve pointed out to you. There are many resources both on buying stainless steel sets and on general information about stainless steel. Be an educated consumer. I wish you good luck, and many delicious meals.
Product images via their respective pages on Amazon.com