9 Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets — Durability and Ease of Use

  • Last updatedLast updated: Nov 09, 2020
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Faulty cookware is likely to be damaged by high temperature or ruin your overall experience through poor heat conduction, transfer of flavor or stains that are difficult to clean. To help you with your decision, we have rounded up the best stainless steel cookware sets that come with multiple bonus items that are compatible with several cooking surfaces.

Our team has selected models consisting of numerous handy pots and pans to prepare diverse dishes. They come with cool-to-the-touch handles and sealing lids that are effective in limiting heat loss. All the models we have reviewed for the best stainless steel cookware set are suitable for induction stoves as well as oven safe. Additionally, we made sure that the included items are made from non-toxic and sturdy materials that are also dishwasher safe for convenient cleaning. You’ll also find an option that has it all, even a steam basket and silicone kitchen utensils.
Editor’s Choice

A 17-piece cookware set which includes everything needed and even more

  • Ceramic coating on the pans
  • Oven- and freezer-safe
  • Induction stove compatible
Read Our Review
9.8
CookScoreTM
?
CookScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Premium Pick

A 10-piece set, made in the USA

  • 5-ply bonding
  • Up to 600F oven safe
  • Lifetime warranty
Read Our Review
9.7
CookScoreTM
?
CookScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Most Durable

These pots and pans are built to last

  • 5 layers of stainless steel
  • Triple-layer aluminum core
  • Lifetime warranty
Read Our Review
9.7
CookScoreTM
?
CookScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Most Versatile

A set of cookware that can be used on any kind of cooktop

  • Copper, stainless steel, and aluminum
  • Interior measuring marks
  • Up to 500F oven safe
Read Our Review
9.6
CookScoreTM
?
CookScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.

A 12-piece set made entirely of stainless steel

  • Dishwasher safe covers
  • Cool grip handles
  • Tapered rims
Read Our Review
9.4
CookScoreTM
?
CookScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Most Even Heat Distribution

This set includes several saucepans, frying pans, a stockpot, and even a saute pan

  • Polished stainless steel
  • Aluminum core base
  • Great price
Read Our Review
9.3
CookScoreTM
?
CookScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Best Nonstick Starter Set

This set features not only long-lasting steel construction but also non-stick coating inside the pans and pots

  • 11 pieces included
  • Dual-riveted handles
  • PFOA-free coating
Read Our Review
9.1
CookScoreTM
?
CookScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Most Stylish

Stainless steel pots and pans crafted with copper at the bottom

  • Deep-seated lids
  • Compatible with all stoves
  • 5-layer construction
Read Our Review
9.0
CookScoreTM
?
CookScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Best Value

A stylish set of the most essential cookware pieces

  • Aluminum disc in the bottom
  • Mirror polished inside
  • Awesome price
Read Our Review
8.7
CookScoreTM
?
CookScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.

Top 9 Stainless Steel Cookware Sets Review 2020

1.

Duxtop Induction Cookware SetEditor’s Choice

Features
  • What’s included: 1.6-quart and 2.5-qaurt saucepan with lid, 4.2-quart casserole with lid, 8.6-quart stock pot with lid, 9.5-inch boiler basket, 9.5-inch steam basket, 8-inch & 9.5-inch ceramic non-stick fry pan, 11-inch stainless steel non-stick sauté pan with helper and lid, 3pcs silicone kitchen utensils
  • Construction: stainless steel; ceramic coating
  • Induction stove compatible: yes
  • Oven safe: up to 550F

More features: freezer-safe; rivet handle reinforcement

Not only is Duxtop Professional Stainless Steel Induction Cookware Set one of the best non-stick stainless steel cookware sets, but it is also the best option for a large family since it comes with 17 pieces. These include 11-inch stainless steel non-stick saute pan with helper and lid, 1.6-quart, and 2.5-qaurt saucepan with lid, 9.5-inch boiler basket, 4.2-quart casserole with lid, 8-inch and 9.5-inch ceramic non-stick fry pan, 3pcs silicone kitchen utensils, 8.6-quart stock pot with lid, and a 9.5-inch steam basket.

In terms of construction, our pick for Editor’s Choice features premium food grade 18/10 stainless steel with a classic appearance on the handles and exterior; FUSION titanium reinforced ceramic coating on the interior to improve non-stick properties; and a heavy gauge base made from impact-bonded aluminum for fast and efficient heating. The titanium is devoid of harmful components such as lead, PFOA, cadmium, PTFE, and PFAS, while the aluminum uses friction pressure of 800 to 1500 tons to ensure bonding that is more durable than one made with adhesives.

The cookware set also comes with flared edges for drip-free transfer of food, large and comfortable stay-cool handles that are double riveted to ensure durability and safety, and tempered glass lids for food visibility and minimal heat loss.

It is suitable for all stove tops and ovens that don’t exceed temperature of 550°F. All the components of the 17-piece set are also safe for freezers and dishwashers.

What we liked:There are several items in varied sizes to prepare multiple batches of dishes in an oven or any cooktop and to store the food in the freezer. The cookware is made from safe materials, protected by a lifetime warranty, and cleaning them is a breeze.

What could be better: The measuring marks are in liters, not in cups, which is inconvenient for American users.

Pros
  • 17-piece cookware
  • Lifetime limited warranty
  • Rivet handle reinforcement
  • Drip-free pouring
  • Oven safe up to 550°F
  • Freezer-safe
  • Toxic-free material
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • Measuring marks are in liters
Features
  • What’s included: 8-inch and 10-inch fry pans, 1.5-quart and 3-quart sauce pans with lids, a 3-quart sauce pan with a lid, and an 8-quart stock pot with a lid
  • Construction: 5-ply bonding; stainless steel
  • Induction stove compatible: yes
  • Oven safe: up to 600F

More features: lifetime warranty; made in the USA

For those seeking to upgrade, All-Clad Brushed D5 Stainless Cookware Set provides several options in sizes and styles. The 10-piece set comes with a 3-quart sauce pan with a lid, 8-inch and 10-inch fry pans, an 8-quart stock pot with a lid, and 1.5-quart and 3-quart sauce pans with lids. You can also purchase a cookware set with 5, 7, and 14 items, which may include a turner, tool set, ladle, or sauté pan.

This model features the highest oven safe temperature, up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, among the best set of stainless steel cookware we have reviewed. All the components are made in Pennsylvania, USA, and covered by a limited lifetime warranty.

The handles are cool-to-touch, permanently secured by riveting, and properly weighted for balance and a comfortable grip while the edges are flared to eliminate spillage when pouring.

All-Clad Brushed D5 Stainless Cookware Set is the best rated stainless steel cookware set on Amazon for searing with no hot spots or warping. The well-crafted model derives its name from the 5 alternating layers of stainless steel bonded with aluminum for effective distribution of heat. This allows users to sauté, simmer or braise food on medium heat. It is suitable for induction stoves, boilers, and dishwashers. You may remove stuck or burnt food with Bar Keepers Friend cleanser, stainless steel powder cleanser, or with a mixture of water and white vinegar.

The price of our Premium Pick is quite high but don’t let that deter you; it is worth every penny.

What we liked: It withstands high temperature of up to 600F, supports all cooktops, and is sturdily-made for an extended lifespan. There are several styles and sizes available to suit more budgets and personal tastes.

What could be better: It is costly, and some pans reportedly discolor over time.

Pros
  • Suitable for ovens at up to 600F
  • Compatible with all cooktops
  • Elegant exterior
  • Durable 5-ply bonding
  • Made in USA
  • Limited lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Discoloration
Features
  • What’s included: 8-inch and 10-inch omelette pan, 2-quart and 3-quart sauce pans with covers, 3-quart sauté pan with cover, and 8-quart stock pot with cover
  • Construction: 5 layers of stainless steel; triple-layer aluminum core
  • Induction stove compatible: yes
  • Oven safe: up to 450F

More features: lifetime warranty; dishwasher, boiler safe

Calphalon Signature Stainless Steel Cookware is a mid-range priced set that comes with 10 pieces; 3-quart sauté pan with cover, 8-inch, and 10-inch omelette pans, 8-quart stock pot with cover, and 2-quart and 3-quart sauce pans with covers.

It features 5-layer construction consisting of 3 layers of aluminum core encased between dual stainless steel layers for quick response to changes in temperature. The long handles are made from brushed stainless steel with a pleasing sleek look, and the glass lids are tempered glass.

What makes this model the best stainless steel cookware set for the money and one that is miles ahead of the competition is the full lifetime warranty, unlike brands that offer lifetime but limited warranty.

Buyers can safely use Calphalon Signature Stainless Steel Cookware to brown, deglaze, sear and sauté food on induction cooking surfaces and in ovens at temperature of up to 450F. The set is also suitable for boilers and dishwashers. Let the pans cool completely before washing in cold water to avoid warping. To maintain surface luster, consider washing the items by hand using a mild detergent and a non-abrasive sponge or a soft bristle brush for difficult stains.

What we liked: The full lifetime warranty provides unlimited protection against defects. The set is suitable for several cooking methods since all the components, including the covers, are oven safe. The pans heat up fast and stay hot.

What could be better: There are few cases of eggs sticking to the pan although other dishes do not.

Pros
  • Induction compatible and dishwasher safe
  • 10-piece cookware
  • Full lifetime warranty
  • 5-layer construction
  • Precise heat control
  • Beautiful finish
  • Oven safe up to 450F
Cons
  • Eggs stick to the pan
4.

T-fal C836SDMost Versatile

Features
  • What’s included: 8 inches fry pan, 10.5 inches fry pan, 12 inches fry pan with lid, 1-, 2-, 3-, and 5-quart saucepan with lid, Dutch oven with lid, and stainless steel steamer
  • Construction: layers of copper, stainless steel, and aluminum
  • Induction stove compatible: yes
  • Oven safe: up to 500F

More features: lifetime warranty; interior measuring marks

Buyers can purchase in different materials and sizes. They can choose between HA titanium non-stick and stainless steel copper and cookware sizes in 12, 13, 14 or 17 pieces.

The multi-layered pans are made from copper, aluminum, and 18/10 stainless steel for a heavy gauge base that heats evenly. This offers good value for money because these materials are usually found in high-end products. Users are advised to preheat the pan and coat it with a thin layer of oil to avoid sticking food.

The stainless steel handles are riveted, and the glass lids are made from tempered glass lids, which allow users to watch the food. The lids feature a vented hole that prevents T-fal C836SD soggy dishes by letting excess heat escape, and there are interior measuring marks for convenient filling.

T-fal C836SD is dishwasher safe, oven safe up to 500F, and compatible with all cooktops, including induction stoves.

The set consists of 1-, 2-, 3-, and 5-quart saucepan with lid, 8 inches fry pan, 10.5 inches fry pan, Dutch oven with lid and stainless steel steamer, and 12 inches fry pan with lid. They are covered by a lifetime limited warranty.

What we liked: We like the interior measuring marks that are useful for beginners, clear lids for food visibility, lifetime warranty, and the combination of fortifying materials, which extends lifespan and heats quickly.

What could be better: Although this is one of the best stainless steel cookware sets for the money, the stainless steel copper set is not dishwasher safe.

Pros
  • Heavy gauge construction
  • Oven safe up to 500F
  • Several optional sizes and materials
  • Lifetime limited warranty
  • Supports all cooktops
  • Interior measuring marks
  • Clear lids
Cons
  • Not dishwasher safe
Features
  • What’s included: 1-1/2- and 3-quart covered saucepans; 8- and 10-inch open skillets; 3-1/2-quart covered saute pan; 8-quart covered stockpot; steamer insert with lid
  • Construction: stainless steel
  • Induction stove compatible: yes
  • Oven safe: up to 550F

More features: dishwasher safe covers; cool grip handles; tapered rims

Cuisinart is an established home appliance brand that was founded in 1971. The Company makes kitchenware, including ovenware, food processors, and cookware. Cuisinart MCP-12N is available in 3 size options to accommodate a wide range of budget and individual needs; 7-piece, 10-piece, and 12-piece.

The 12-piece set includes an 8-quart covered stockpot, 8- and 10-inch open skillets, 3-1/2-quart covered saute pan, 1-1/2- and 3-quart covered saucepans, a steamer insert with lid, and 3 lids for the pans.

All the pots and pans feature an aluminum core sandwiched between 2 layers of stainless steel to improve heat conduction for even cooking and to reduce the overall weight. They are compatible with induction stoves and oven safe up to 550F. The self-basting lids are also made from stainless steel that fits tightly to effectively prevent heat loss, but users have to contend with not being able to see the food unlike with tempered glass lids.

The handles are long, cool to touch, and sturdy because they are riveted instead of welded, so there is little chance of them breaking off.

Spillage is eliminated by the tapered rims, and the covers are dishwasher safe. The polished surface prevents reaction and transference of flavor. Cuisinart MCP-12N comes with a lifetime limited warranty to cover against defects.

What we liked: Pairing stainless steel with aluminum maximizes the benefits of the two materials with durability, reduced weight, and heat retention with no hot spots. Buyers can choose from 3 different sizes. It is reasonably priced and covered by a generous warranty.

What could be better: The set is prone to white residue stains, which are noticeable due to the polished surface. Also, you can’t view food with the lid on, and some skillets warp.

Pros
  • Induction stove compatible
  • 12-piece cookware
  • 3 optional sizes
  • Tapered rims for drip-free pouring
  • Oven safe up to 550F
  • Riveted handles
  • Dishwasher safe covers
  • Long, cool grip handles
  • Lifetime limited warranty
Cons
  • Lid is not clear to monitor food
  • Warping skillets
  • Stains
Features
  • What’s included: 1-quart and 2-quart saucepans with lids, 8-quart stockpot with lid, 8-inch and 10-inch frying pans, and a 3-quart saute pan with lid
  • Construction: polished stainless steel with aluminum core base
  • Induction stove compatible: yes
  • Oven safe: up to 500F

More features: lifetime warranty

Farberware Millennium Stainless Steel Cookware Pots and Pans Set consists of 10 pieces; a 3-quart saute pan with lid, 1-quart and 2-quart saucepans with lids, 8-inch and 10-inch frying pans, and 8-quart stockpot with lid. They are induction compatible and oven safe up to 500 degrees F.

Stainless steel is used to make the riveted flared handles as well as the pots and pans which feature polished stainless steel with a thick aluminum core base and mirror finish on the exterior.

The set is covered by a lifetime limited warranty and the Company also offers buyers a stainless steel non-stick set option.

The glass lids seal in heat, flavor and nutrients while letting you monitor the cooking dish.

Users like that this set of stainless steel cookware is not made from Teflon.  It is dishwasher safe, and stubborn stains easily come off with soaking and scrubbing with a soft, non-abrasive sponge and Bar Keepers Friend. According to the instructions, you should soak the cookware in a mixture of hot water and baking soda before initial use. There are also videos on seasoning on YouTube.

Buyers who regard this set as the best set of stainless steel cookware praise its lifespan, ease of cleaning, and competitive price. Some have also been left impressed by the even heat distribution after testing with an infrared thermometer.

Some brand labels can look tacky depending on their location, but this set has the labels unobtrusively placed at the bottom of the pan for a clean aesthetic.

What we liked: Even heat distribution, affordable, durable, oven safe, and covered by a lifetime warranty.

What could be better: There are reported cases of food sticking, and the weight of the handle makes the small pan tip when empty.

Pros
  • Induction cooking compatible
  • Oven safe up to 500F
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Reasonable cost
Cons
  • Some food sticks if cooked with little oil
  • Heavy handle
Features
  • What’s included: 1-qt pouring saucepan, 2-qt saucepan with lid, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, 6-qt stockpot with lid, 10-in frying pan with lid, 8-in and 11.5-in frying pans
  • Construction: stainless steel
  • Induction stove compatible: yes
  • Oven safe: up to 400F

More features: dual-riveted silicone-enhanced stainless steel handles

Circulon is credited for making the first hard anodized cookware. The Company is also known for pans with raised circles that protect the PFOA-free non-stick coating from scratches by utensils for convenient cleanup and quick release of food.

Circulon Momentum Stainless Steel Nonstick Cookware Set comes with 11 items; 8-inch and 11.5-inch frying pans, 10-inch frying pan with lid, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, 2-quart saucepan with lid, 1-quart pouring saucepan, and 6-quart stockpot with lid.

It features aluminum core sandwiched between magnetic stainless steel layers with non-stick technology and sleek mirror-polished exterior, dual-riveted stainless steel handles wrapped in silicone for a secure hold, and glass lids that are shatter-resistant.

It is compatible with dishwashers, induction stoves, and ovens at maximum temperature of 400°F.

What we liked: We consider it the best budget stainless steel cookware set for induction cooking surfaces because you can monitor food through the glass lids; the insulated handles are comfortable and stay cool; the thick base eliminates hot spots; and all the items are insured against defects by a limited lifetime warranty.

What could be better: The main complaint by buyers is that the 8-inch and 11.5-inch frying pans do not include a lid. Opinion is divided over the non-stick quality with some users liking it and others disappointed by it.

Pros
  • Suitable for induction stoves
  • PFOA-free coating
  • Dual-riveted handles
  • 11-piece set
  • Safe up to 400°F
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Limited lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Some pans don’t include lids
Features
  • What’s included: 1.25-quart and 2.5-quart saucepans with lids, 6.5-quart stockpot with lid, 8-inch and 10.5-inch frying pan, 3-quart sauté pan with lid
  • Induction stove compatible: yes
  • Material: stainless steel crafted with copper
  • Oven safe: up to 500F

More features: deep-seated stainless steel lids

This is the best budget stainless steel copper-layered cookware set. It features a luxurious European style accentuated with a copper ring; deep-seated lids that lock in heat, flavor, and nutrients; flush, dual-riveted handles with patented technology; and a polished exterior and brushed finish interior that make any scratches fade after a while.

Stainless steel is often paired up with aluminum, but for Anolon Nouvelle Stainless Steel Cookware Pots and Pans Set, it is combined with aluminum and copper as well, which heats fast and evenly without hot spots that could make food burn or stick. The 5-layered cookware consists of copper core positioned between aluminum and magnetic stainless steel. Combining these metals reduces discoloration and corrosion from copper oxidation and fortifies aluminum to prevent warping. Since copper may transfer a metallic taste to food, this cookware tackles this by layering it with a brushed finish that develops a protective thick layer over time.

The pots and pans are induction-compatible and oven safe at maximum temperature of 500°F. They can be cleaned by hand or in a dishwasher.

The budget-friendly set with limited lifetime warranty coverage includes 8-inch and 10.5-inch frying pan, 1.25-quart, and 2.5-quart saucepans with lids, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, and 6.5-quart stockpot with lid. An 11-piece set with a lid for the skillet is available for buyers who wish to go a size higher.

What we liked: It is affordable for couples and budding chefs and great at heat control and retention.

What could be better: The small pot does not balance without a lid or when empty, and the copper ring discolors or develops spots.

Pros
  • Even heat distribution
  • 10-piece package
  • Induction compatible
  • Oven safe up to 500°F
  • Dual-riveted handles
  • Domed tight-fitting lids
  • Dishwasher safe
Cons
  • Discoloration and spots
  • Small pot tips
Features
  • What’s included: 1 and 2-quart saucepans, 3-quart casserole pan, 5-quart stockpot, and a 10-in. frying pan with lids
  • Construction: 18-10 stainless steel with an aluminum disc layered in the bottom
  • Induction stove compatible: yes
  • Oven safe: no

More features: mirror polished inside; tempered glass lids with steam vent

Our pick for the best value stainless steel cookware set is Cook N Home 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set. It is mirror polished inside and made from 18-10 stainless steel with aluminum disc in the base layer. Aluminum is an excellent heat conductor that also heats food quickly.

Cook N Home 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set supports all cooktops, including gas, glass, electric, halogen, ceramic, and induction stoves, which utilize magnetic induction.

The 10-piece set comes with 1 and 2-quart saucepans, 5-quart stockpot, 3-quart casserole pan, and a 10-inch frying pan with lids.

The lids with steam vent are made from tempered glass for easy food viewing without removing the lid while the handles are insulated with heat-resistant silicone with a comfortable grip and riveted for sturdiness.

Although silicone can sometimes withstand maximum oven temperature of 350F, this particular model is not recommended for ovens. However, you can clean it by hand or in a dishwasher.

What we liked: The set is highly recommended as the best budget stainless steel cookware set for beginners. It is well molded, and you can stack the pans to save space.

What could be better: It is not oven safe, and the warranty is only for one year. Some buyers have also complained about stains and scratches. This can be avoided by using Teflon or wooden utensils.

Pros
  • Clear lids with vents
  • Heat-resistant handles
  • Low pricing
  • Stackable
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Supports several cooktops
Cons
  • Not oven safe
  • Stains and scratches
  • Short warranty

Buying Guide

Before buying the best non stick stainless steel cookware sets that is easy to clean and will make nutritious meals with low fat and quickly release food, there are a number of considerations you should keep in mind to ensure longevity and optimal performance. We have reviewed these key features and included a useful FAQ section with tips on maintaining stainless steel kitchenware.

Why stainless steel?

9 Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets — Durability and Ease of Use

  • It can withstand high temperature since it is non-stick: You can get the best budget stainless steel cookware sets such as Anolon Nouvelle Stainless Steel Cookware Pots and Pans Set that is oven safe up to 550°F and broiler friendly.
  • It supports several cooktops: Stainless steel is bonded with aluminum or copper to make it compatible with induction stoves as well as electric, gas, halogen, ceramic, and glass cooktops.
  • Dishwasher safe: It can be cleaned in a dishwasher. Just don’t forget to rinse off the detergent to avoid stains.
  • Durable: Stainless steel cookware sets are crafted with heavy-duty and sturdy material that is generally resistant to scratches, chipping and corrosion.
  • Non-reactive: Unlike copper cookware, multi-layered stainless steel does not react or impart flavor to food.

Features to consider when choosing stainless steel cookware

The following are the most important features that will help you identify the best value stainless steel cookware set for your budget and culinary requirements.

What’s included in the set

The best set of stainless steel cookware includes multiple pots and pans in various sizes for preparation of different amounts of versatile dishes. This number varies according to the model. The ideal number, type, and sizes of cookware will be determined by your budget and cooking style. If you have a large family or you host numerous guests regularly, your ideal choice would be T-fal C836SD which is available in different sizes of 12, 13, 14 or 17 pieces. It comes with 5 saucepans with lids, 3 fry pans, and a Dutch oven with lid and stainless steel steamer for slow cooking sauces and stews on low heat.

Confirm the bonus items included and their sizes and versatility to avoid redundancy.

Construction

When reviewing the construction of your stainless steel cookware set, confirm that it is sturdy, comfortable, and safe with no sharp edges. Let’s look at the materials that are commonly used and their pros and cons below.

Stainless steel: It is durable, dishwasher-, oven-, and broiler- safe, non-reactive, corrosion-resistant, great at heat retention, and ideal for cooking at high temperature. This favors searing, browning, and braising styles. However, it needs to be bonded to other metals since it is a poor conductor of heat or to be made from magnetic material to be compatible with induction stoves. The non-stick material may also be tougher to clean.

Cast iron: The colorful material heats food slowly and evenly, so it would be suitable for slow cooking like stewing, sautéing, frying, or roasting meat. It is also corrosion-resistant and safe for ovens and dishwashers. Cast iron is durable and retains heat well to keep food warm. The heavy weight, high cost and the need for seasoning are the three main drawbacks. Standard cast iron is not dishwasher safe, and enameled cast iron chips and is unsuitable for glass cooktops.

Aluminum: It is inexpensive, lightweight and excellent at heating quickly and distributing heat evenly to eliminate hot spots. Unfortunately, it is not induction compatible and is prone to warping and distortion which makes it unsuitable for glass cooktops.

9 Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets — Durability and Ease of Use

Nonstick: Fans of non stick stainless steel cookware set like the ease of cleaning since it is dishwasher safe and food like pancakes and eggs are effortlessly released. They provide the best option for healthy meals with little to no oil, but they are easily scratched by metal utensils.

Copper: It is the best heat conductor that is great at quick and uniform heating, which suits high crisping temperature cooking as well as simmering of delicate dishes. Unfortunately, it is reactive with acids and may impart a metallic taste and accumulate patina over time unless it is layered with stainless steel or the non-reactive tin. You should only wash it by hand. It is not induction compatible and likely to stain easily unless it is anodized.

Carbon steel: This type of cookware is mainly designed for specialty use such as skillets for crepes or omelet. It is the easiest to clean because you simply wipe it off with a paper towel or wash it by hand. The con is that they are not dishwasher safe or versatile in use, and they may rust without seasoning.

After evaluating the actual material, check the shape and design of the cookware to ensure it will suit your cooktop. An induction surface will need a magnetic based set, and a round-bottom pan may require support to sit on a cooktop without tipping over.

Exterior and interior coating

The coating on the exterior and interior will influence heat retention, distribution, and responsiveness to temperature changes. To promote uniform heat transfer, stainless steel is cladded or fused with a layer of carbon or anodized aluminum at the core or interior. This provides the durability of stainless steel and the excellent heat conduction or magnetism of other metals. The best value stainless steel copper-core cookware sets only need a thin copper core while aluminum-core stainless steel set have a thick core.

Non-stick cookware incorporates PTFE, which should not be heated beyond 500ºF to avoid releasing toxic gases.

Most models we have reviewed feature mirror finish for a smooth and attractive aesthetic.

If it’s oven safe

Depending on their construction material, some models may not be oven safe. The best oven safe stainless steel cookware sets for the money are made of copper, brass, stainless steel, and carbon steel.

Still on oven compatibility, each model will indicate the maximum oven temperature it can withstand without damage. For instance, Circulon Momentum Stainless Steel Nonstick Cookware Set can be safely used in an oven at up to 400°F while All-Clad Brushed D5 Stainless Cookware Set has a higher maximum oven temperature of 600°F.

Dishwasher safe parts

9 Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets — Durability and Ease of Use

A dishwasher safe product provides convenient cleaning of stains, sticky food, and grease. You should never place copper, carbon steel or cast iron in a dishwasher. Dishwasher-compatible models are mainly made from stainless steel, non-stick material, or some types of aluminum.

Warranty

Budget stainless steel cookware set may have a warranty of one to a couple of years, but the top brands offer customers a lifetime warranty, with full or limited coverage. Calphalon Signature Stainless Steel Cookware comes with a full lifetime warranty.

FAQ

While cast iron and carbon steel naturally work with induction cooking surfaces, stainless steel would only be compatible if it is made from magnetic grade such as All-Clad Brushed D5 Stainless Cookware Set. Otherwise, stainless steel with nickel would not support induction. Nonstick aluminum may also be added to a set of stainless steel cookware as a core or base layer to improve heat conduction.

Stainless steel cookware sets are mostly resistant to stains, but there is always a possibility for burned food sticking, white buildup of calcium from hard water and rainbow-like discoloration from overheating. You can fix this by boiling a mixture of water and vinegar and then washing with hot, soapy water or by scrubbing with a non-abrasive sponge and baking soda. For stubborn stains, use a nylon scouring pad or a soft bristle brush and a stainless steel cleanser such as Bar Keepers Friend. Avoid abrasive cleaners, adding salt to water before it is boiling, washing the pan before it cools, and cooking frozen food.

Despite the name, stainless steel is only resistant to corrosion but not corrosion proof. It can be corroded by abrasive cleaners and brushes or by adding salt to water unless it is boiling. Hard water may also stain stainless steel with accumulated residue.

Our Verdict

Our top pick for the best stainless steel cookware set for the money comes with 17 versatile items for multiple cooking. They feature heavy-duty construction blended with non-stick properties for sturdiness and convenient cleaning. Duxtop Professional Stainless Steel Induction Cookware Set is also safe for freezers, dishwashers and ovens.

All-Clad Brushed D5 Stainless Cookware Set provides users with several sizes and styles to choose from. You can also select the item such as ladle, turner, or toolset that you would like to include in your cookware set. It is induction compatible and has an impressively high maximum oven temperature of 600°F, making it the best set of stainless steel cookware for ovens and all cooktops.

Compared to other models we have reviewed, Calphalon Signature Stainless Steel Cookware has fewer items included, but it trumps the rest with a full lifetime warranty and precise heat control that makes it the best value stainless steel cookware set.

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