In our humble opinion, no kitchen is complete without at least a few pieces of stainless steel cookware or a full on cookware set. We feel this way because the sets that typically last the longest and cook day to day meals the best are made of stainless steel. They are strong, durable, good looking, and they cook food great. So wouldn’t it make sense to have at least one or a set in your kitchen?
We all want to know that when we invest in cookware it’s not going to be something we can only use once. After all, you are making and investment and you’ll want to get your money’s worth out of what you’re buying. So we’re here to provide you with a guide that will help you choose the best stainless steel cookware for your kitchen that will last and leave you satisfied with the way it performs for years to come.
Our Complete Guide to Stainless Steel Cookware
|All-Clad D5 5-Ply Bonded Cookware Set||10||Brushed||4.8||$$$$|
|Cuisinart MultiClad Pro||12||Brushed||4.6||$$|
|Cooks Standard Multi-Ply Clad||12||Polished||4.8||$$|
|Emeril by All-Clad Tri-Ply||12||Polished||4.4||$$|
|WearEver Cook and Strain||10||Polished||4.5||$|
|Cusinart Chefs Classic||10||Polished||4.2||$$|
|Farberware Millennium Tulip Series||10||Polished||4.5||$$|
Types of Stainless Steel Cookware
- Standard – This type of stainless steel is by far the cheapest and most common form of cookware you’ll find on the market today. In simple terms this type of cookware is one layer of steel that is formed into a pot or pan and is made to cook food or heat liquids and sauces. It’s made completely out of stainless steel and does not have any layers or other metals used in its construction. Typically this type of cookware doesn’t last as long as Tri-Ply or Five-Ply cookware sets but will serve its purpose well for day to day use and for those that cook less often.
- Tri-Ply – Tri-Ply is a form of construction that consists of 3 layers of metal combined into one using a process called cladding. This type of construction is better than just a single layer of metal because it allows the heat to transfer and distribute more quickly and evenly than just a single layer would. The Tri-Ply construction generally has outer layers made out of stainless steel and the inner, core layer, is typically made from copper or aluminum. What this does is it allows the copper or aluminum to heat up quicker than the steel and it transfers that heat evenly throughout surface layers of the pot or pan while still keeping the core layer sealed and harmless as it never actually touches your food.
- Five-Ply – Five-Ply construction is a fairly newer form of cladding that creates cookware that heats very evenly, very quickly. You’ll find that for this type of cookware it’s much more expensive than your average run of the mill set and this is because of the quality of the cookware you’re getting. Five-Ply construction is 5 layers of metal combined into one using the same process Tri-Ply uses called cladding. Five-Ply construction consists of 5 layers, two outer top and bottom layers generally made of stainless steel, 2 inner layers made of aluminum, and 1 core layer made out of copper. While this is a much thicker type of metal it heats up much faster and cooks a lot more evenly. The outer layers heat the two inner layers which then heat the copper core. All of this heating actually sustains the transfer of heat throughout the cookware and allows the metals to stay hotter for longer which cooks food evenly no matter where it’s placed on the pan.
Benefits of Stainless Steel Cookware
- One of the most durable metals in a kitchen. Apart from cast iron, stainless steel is one of the most durable metals that will not only last you a lifetime but is able to take a beating. If you’re the type that cooks almost every meal on your cookware set then this type of steel is for you. If you’re not that type and only cook a few meals a week this is still the set that will last the longest and give you everything you need. It’s made to be used and abused and doesn’t have pieces of coating scraping off in your food.
- It’s Long Lasting. Durability generally walks hand in hand with the ability to last a long time. Nonstick cookware sets (at least most of them) are not made to last forever or to be used with metal utensils. Stainless steel on the other hand can be used with any utensil you have and it will not ruin the overall quality of the pot or pan. Also if you use them correctly you don’t even have to worry about scratching or marking up the steel with your utensils. Some of the better sets also come with a lifetime warranty. So whats longer lasting than life?
- Induction cooking compatible. Because of their Tri-Ply and Five-Ply designs stainless steel is one of the most popular type of sets for induction cooking. Induction cooktops use an electrical current that when it touches the metal of your induction cookware set it heats up the entire surface which allows your food to cook evenly all over and reduces “hotspots”. Because of this electrical current, steel sets, cladded with other metals are the best sets to use with an induction cooktop. You also don’t have to worry as much about burning yourself on an induction cooktop because they aren’t actually hot unless they are touched by a conductor.
- Price points for every budget. Not every cookware set has to break the bank. While there are great sets out there that are truly top of the line and are very expensive, there are sets that are affordable and still make it to the top of list when it comes to finding a set specifically for you that will perform very well. In fact one of the sets that we’ve rated in the top 3 is very affordable and is one of the top sets on the market today.
- They look great. If you have a place in your kitchen to display your cookware set like on a hanging rack above your island, on wall hangers, or shelving you’ll appreciate this. While our taste prefers a polished set of cookware to display and use in our kitchen, brushed steel is just as nice and looks awesome.
Choosing The Best Stainless Steel Cookware
Below we’ve put together some of the top things to look for when you’re deciding on the cookware set that will fit your needs.
- Induction compatible? Is my cooktop and induction cooktop? This is an important question if you have an induction cooktop. If you’re looking to cook using this technology you will want to make sure the set you buy is compatible with your cooktop. Induction cooking is becoming more and more popular because it allows your pot or pan to cook your food evenly. There’s nothing worse than buying a set only to find out it’s not going to work as well with your specific type of cooktop.
- What is my budget? Another Important factor to consider while you decide on a set is your budget. These sets can range anywhere from $100 all the way up to $1,500+. Most of the sets above the $500 range will come with a lifetime warranty so while they’re expensive they are well worth it in the long run because it may be the last set of cookware you’ll ever need to buy.
- Pieces and uses. Another very important thing to consider is the pieces included in a set and what you will be using them for. We have seen sets out there that have pieces included in them that we would never use. So make sure your getting a set that comes with the main pieces you want and will be using day to day. Just because a set doesn’t have every piece it doesn’t mean you can add to it with individual pots and pans. On the other hand just because a set has pieces you may not use everyday it should disqualify it from your list of choices.
- 1,3, or 5 Ply cookware? Make sure to check the ply of the cookware your buying. Better sets of stainless steel will usually be Tri-Ply (three layers of metal) or Five-Ply (five layers of metal) sets and these are the types that are generally induction compatible. Multi-Ply sets are fused together using a process called cladding, hence the name “clad”. 1-Ply sets are just one layer of steel where Tri-Ply and Five-Ply sets have multiple layers with different metals making them up.
- What finish to choose? You can get stainless steel sets typically in a polished finish or brushed. When you display your cookware make sure you choose the finish you like so you can show it off to all of your dinner guests or even just for you and your family to enjoy!
Top 5 Stainless Steel Cookware Set Reviews
While we’ve already briefly reviewed two out of the top five sets on our homepage we still wanted to include them here. So you might notice some similarities between two of the sets on this list. It doesn’t make them any less valuable it only means that they are good enough to contend in two categories one of them being the best stainless steel cookware. The other sets we’ll review for you so you can get a full idea of what is out there to choose from.
All-Clad D5 5-Ply Bonded 10 Piece Cookware SetAll-Clad is considered to be one of the top metal and cookware companies in the U.S. by many and they certainly show this in their top notch products. It really is hard to talk about cookware and not have their brand brought into the conversation. Whether it’s wow they are expensive or for the price it was one of the last cookware sets ill ever need to buy they are in there somewhere.
All-Clad’s cookware while it can be pricey is a really high quality set for those who know what they’re looking at and for. For those who don’t we can tell you a bit about it. This set comes with 10 Pieces and it includes one 3 quart saute pan with a lid, one 8 quart stockpot with a lid, 2 sauce pans with lids one at 1.5 quarts and the other at 3 quarts, and two frying pans with lids one at 8 inches and the other a 10 inches. Overall the set is a great set to complete the essentials in your kitchen and one that you can depend on.
Some of the things that set this set apart from the rest are in the actual construction of the pieces. Their Five-Ply design allow for a completely even cooking service all over especially on induction cooktops. Five-Ply is basically the composition of 5 different layers of metal all combined to create one great cooking surface. This composition also make this set great for induction cooking and induction cooktops. So, not only are you getting a great cooking surface your getting a set of pots and pans that will last even for those of you that cook every meal using them.
Cuisinart Multiclad Pro 12 Piece Cookware SetAs you can see by checking out our comparison chart above the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro is not the highest rated set on Amazon.com but this doesn’t mean it’s still not second best for us. If you look you’ll see that this set actually has 2-3 times more reviews than the others which makes the numbers skew a bit more. You can see that this set clearly has way more positive reviews than negative and a lot more people love the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro over the others listed. With that said this is actually our personal favorite because of the quality and amount of pieces you get along with the price can’t be beat. This set cooks like a top dollar set and gives you everything you need while still being within any budget.
The Multiclad Pro comes with 12 great pieces that won’t leave you wanting more. And if it does you can always buy individual pieces to add to your new set. In this great package you’ll find an 8 quart stockpot with a lid, a 3 and 1/2 quart saute pan with a lid, 2 frying pans that come in 8 and 10 inches with lids from the others that will fit them, 2 sauce pots at 3 quarts and 1 and 1/2 quarts with their respective lids and 1 steamer inserts with its respective lid. Overall it’s the full package at a great price that gives you every piece you’ll need and a beautiful set to use and display.
Moving to the construction of the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro’s pieces they are made using a Try-Ply construction. The outer layers consist of a stainless brushed steel while the core is made from aluminum. One reviewer actually faulted this set for having aluminum claiming it to be poison. Someone who does their research on cookware knows that the core is contained within the outer layers and poses no threat at all. Also the aluminum core is one of the essential additions to the set that make it great for induction cooking and to heat the full surface of each pot and pan evenly so there aren’t any “hotspots” while you cook. At the end of the day this set packs a great punch and will last you a lifetime of enjoyable cooking.
Cooks Standard 12 Piece Multi-Ply Clad Cookware SetCooks Standard is one of those names that you probably won’t hear brought up in conversations about cookware. Unlike All-Clad it’s not one of the most popular sets on the market, which is surprising because of it’s amazing performance and low price. The Cooks Standard 12 Piece Multi-Ply Clad cookware set is one of the sets that performs equally with the first All-Clad set we reviewed yet its almost 1/3 the cost. This is why it’s surprising to us that is not better known for its high quality and low prices.
Just because you looking for a high quality cookware set it doesn’t mean you have to pay top dollar for it. This set compares with All-Clad and comes with 12 pieces of multi-ply clad cookware. It contains an 8 inch stockpot with a lid, a deep 5 quart saute pan at 11 inches with its lid, a 1.5 quart saucepan with a lid, a 3 quart saucepan with its lid, and an 8 inch steamer pan that fits into both saucepans and its lid that can also fit each pan in the set. The Cooks Standard is a function set that can help cook any meal to perfection while meeting every need you have in your kitchen.
That’s not all either, you still get pot and pan construction that matches those of the high dollar sets out there. Each piece has a Tri-Ply construction with a multi-metal magnetic core that make them all great for induction cooktops and cooking. Each handle also has an airflow technology designed to keep the handle cool while you cook at high temperatures. Don’t let all this tech talk scare you though. Just know that this is a set that matches some of highest priced sets in quality but beats them where price and pieces are concerned. It will still cook an amazing meal and look great while you’re doing it and also while it’s on display with its polished finish.
WearEver Cook and Strain 10 Piece Cookware SetWearEver makes a great 10 Piece set called the Cook and Strain. Again the Amazon.com reviews of this product can be misleading and this is because in the past the product did not come with the pieces it had in the description. Amazon made the corrections for each customer but not all of the reviews were corrected. After looking over the reviews of the past two years you won’t find many (if any) negative reviews on this product. The set itself is great and looks and cooks just like one of the top five sets of cookware should. Not only does this set have the perfect quality pieces in it, its a fraction of the price of all of the other sets of this quality on the market today. With the Cook and Strain you get a long lasting set that performs very very well for under $100. You just can’t go wrong with this one!
In the Cook and Strain you’ll find a 5 quart dutch oven with a glass lid, a 9.5 inch deep saute pan, 2 sauce pans at 1 and 2 quarts both with their own glass lids, 1 Stainer/Colander, and 2 utensils for working with your food while you cook. The description does mention the 9.5 inch skillet/saute pan twice and it only comes with one. This is not a missing piece just a duplicate in the description. Overall the set itself (all 10 pieces) are a great value and you probably won’t find one better out there. You get good quality pieces that will cook and last great for a VERY reasonable price.
Duxtop Professional 17 Piece Induction Ready Cookware SetLast but not least we have the Duxtop Professional. This is another set that doesn’t get talked about enough. You get 17 great pieces that are high quality and induction ready and for a price of a five piece cookware set. Each piece is a great addition to any kitchen and while it might be a bit overkill if your looking for a complete set that will fit a budget, last forever, and give you every piece you need this is the set. You can cook on top of a stove top or in an oven up to 500 degrees with this set and you don’t have to worry about it wearing or discoloring in the process. It’s made with an aluminum bonded bottom that make it great for induction cooking and even heat distribution on the cooktop and in your oven. It’s also made with non slip handles to make sure you get a firm grip and not drop anything while you cook or serve your meal.
This set has 17 pieces so while you can buy individual pots and pans or accessories if they’re needed you might not have to with this set. Included you get an 8.6 quart stock pot with a lid, a 4.2 quart casserole pot with its lid, a 5.5 quart saute pan with a lid, 2 sauce pots at 1.6 and 2.5 quarts and both have their own lids, an 8 inch and a 10 inch frying pan, a steamer pot and basket, and 3 utensils including a spatula,fork, and a serving spoon. This set is the jam packed with great pieces and will fill your kitchen with everything you need to cook amazing meals.