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Oct 10, 2007 08:58 AM

Brands of Cast Iron Skillets

Are there different brands out there of cast iron skillets? If so, which ones are best?

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  1. Yes, there are different brands of cast iron skillets. I haven't tried all of them, so I can't comment on which ones are best. I will comment that the older ones I have used are lighter.

    I have read on this site, some like to shop "thrift stores and garage sales" for older pans and they recondition them.

    I have 4 cast iron pans, two Lodges from the 80s, a Wagner that is probably from the 50s and one with no name. A friend has a cast iron pan in his camper his father gave him in the 80s and it was old then. The Wagner and the friends are the basis of my comment that older ones are lighter.

    1 Reply
    1. I haven't looked extensively, but Lodge is the standard-bearer, and I think considered best by most people.

      6 Replies
      1. re: celeriac

        Thanks! I will look for a Lodge one.

        1. re: Suzie

          Cook's Illustrated recently did a test of them (Sept-Oct issue) and they like the Lodge of course but also Camp Chef, which is cheaper and also heavier.

          1. re: johnb

            Both Lodge and Wagner used to be made in the U.S.A. while most others I see are made in China. Given all the stories about lead, antifreeze, and who knows what else gets into products from China you may want to see if any brand is still made here and buy that one.

            1. re: CraigH

              A good suggestion! Frankly I would put a lot more faith in an old skillet that I found in a thrift store or the dusty shelves of a rural 5 & dime than in ANYTHING made in China.

              Several brands of French made non-enamel cast iron skillets used to be widely available in the US, I see them at garage sales frequently. Unless the thing has been left out in snow/salt for years and the rust has destroyed the integrity of the pan these are often your best value. Though not as heavy as the most bullet proof pans, they generally have handles that are a bit nicer and perform perfectly well with modern gas cooktops.

              1. re: CraigH

                Omigod! Cast iron was being made in China before there was a United States. It would be difficult to adulterate and there would be no incentive to add lead, a more expensive metal.

                1. re: jayt90

                  did you hear about the cracking, handle-falling-off and sometimes actually exploding Paula Deen cast iron? made in China???
                  they were taken off the shelves at walmart. only her enameled ones remain, as of today.
                  serves her right, in my opinion. nice "suthn" girl, oh sure. could not have her line made in this country. shame on her.

        2. My Lodge has never let me down

          6 Replies
          1. re: Diana

            Is there a typical size Lodge skillet that everyone agrees is the best size if you are only going to buy one?

            1. re: Suzie

              Know what? If there is any way possible, I would go ahead and buy two- one smaller and one larger. Cast iron skillets are kind of like cats-it is just about as easy to care for two as it is for one, they nest well with each other, and no matter what your needs you will always have the right one handy...

              1. re: Suzie

                I have a 9" Lodge skillet and I love it for making crabcakes. If you're shopping for this brand, you might try outdoor gear distributors. They tend to be less expensive there than at kitchen stores. Here's a link to Lodge online:


                1. re: Suzie

                  I just lucked out and picked up a Lodge 12" skillet on clearance for $4.25 at Meijer's- I probably should have bought 2 at that price. They got rid of them because they wanted to bring in a cheap (quality wise) Mexican brand of cast iron in instead.

                  1. re: Diana

                    A lot of baking recipes that take the cast iron from cooktop to stove (tarte tatin, cornbread, upside down cakes) call for a 10", in case you're thinking of using it that way.

                  2. Thanks everyone for the feedback!

                    1. I have a 12" Lodge. It doesn't have a place in a cabinet because I just leave it on the cooktop since it seems to get used everyday at least once for something. It's big enough to be used more or less as a griddle for pancakes but I will use it for one pork chop or a single fried egg. I decided to get the larger one rather than the 10" because I can use it this way - sort of all purpose - don't need two.
                      I also use it as a roasting pan for a chicken, reasonable sized beef or pork roast. It's the perfect size for 2 decent sized steaks or 1/2 pound of bacon.

                      I got the preseasoned one and cooked a few pounds of bacon in the first weeks that I had it. It was slick as black satin in no time at all.
                      I think that Lodge is the only brand still made in the US. Some of the Chinese manufactured cast iron is made from lower quality iron and can have "hot spots" from flaws in the metal from what I have heard. Strictly hearsay.