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Jan 3, 2010 09:58 PM

Is a warranty on stainless steel pots/pans important?

I was wondering what everyone thought. When I buy non-stick things, I look for things that usually have a lifetime warranty (at least a limited lifetime warranty) although I'm not really sure if the warranty would cover much in the end. What about stainless steel? I see some pots/pans that I might want to get and they're much cheaper second hand (through ebay or craigslist). I'm fine with them being used or just being display models but this probably gives me no warranty since I don't have the original receipt. This stuff isn't super expensive but it's much nicer getting a good deal even if it's second hand for me. Would it be worth the extra cost to just buy it in store but to have that warranty?

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  1. It depends really... Let's weigh up the pros and cons:

    If it's second hand and has been well used, it's unlikely it's got a manufacturing defect hidden.
    It depends how much you save - if you can get a bargain, it may be worth the risk.
    How fastidious are you? Some would be happy with factory seconds, others would polish their cookware.
    Do you take reasonable care of your pans? I've heard of people warping their expensive all-clad stuff on high heats.

    And finally, I guess it depends what kind of initial quality and cost we're talking. If a pan cost me upwards of £20, I'd want a warrantee I think.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Soop

      It looks like it's probably a customer return or display that's for sale. Even though it's not super expensive in store (a set of 2 pans for $50 when not on sale), I can probably pay half that by buying second hand.

      I'm just starting out my collection but everything that I have bought so far is treated very carefully taken care of. I love having that brand new looking pan but I figure a customer return or an item that was on display won't be very damaged, and stainless steel can be polished up pretty well.

    2. I think I would want to have a warranty on multi-ply stuff, especially if the copper or aluminum disc is not fully encapsulated. While multi-ply is a great concept, we are still talking about bonding dissimilar metals together. While stainless steel and aluminum generally play nice together (low potential of galvanic reaction) they still have different coefficients of thermal expansion (aluminum expands about 25% more than stainless, copper and stainless are similar). Long story made short, there is the potential for issues, so best be covered if cost of replacing is high.

      2 Replies
      1. re: MikeB3542

        I've always wondered about that you know.

        1. re: Soop

          1) Firsthand experience with a fancy Italian multi-ply saute pan from way back. Worked great until the plies de-laminated. It was stainless with a copper disk sandwiched in the bottom.

          2) I'm a structural engineer who is occasionally awoken by bad dreams about various materials that don't play nice with each other.

      2. Being a bit stupid, I've never really known what a lifetime warranty actually means. When something fails, and comes to the end of its life, does the warranty simultaneously expire, therefore having been useless all along?

        Maybe SS pan makers are happy to give such assurances, as their products really are very tough.....If some Grandma complains in 40 years time then just give her a new set, much easier than following consumer regulations etc!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Robin Joy

          Probably a lot depends upon who makes good on the warranty, do you have to pay shipping, will the company still be in business, will the receipt fade if printed with disappearing ink like many do, will you save the receipt and warranty papers for your entire life, etc. I returned a water heater I bought when I read the fine print on the warranty that said if it failed I had to remove the water heater myself, ship it from California to Tennessee at my own expense for them to inspect it, and if they decided it was a warranty defect pay to have the repaired water heater shipped back to me. It would cost as much to ship it as I could buy a new water heater for.

        2. I've owned every type pan there is. I will never give up my cast iron, but my all time favorite is a Caphalon or Caphalon like pan with teflon inside. Metals that conduct best in order are copper (too much trouble to maintain, cast iron and aluminum). Since I am a tomato freak and cook many foods with acid in them, I went to the teflon coated Caphalon cookware because I can cook anything in them. They have metal handles so they will all go into the oven though I rarely do that. I finish foods in porcelain or glass.

          I agree with the engineer who doesn't like two dissimilar metals together. I've had clad bottoms start to pop and want to come off. They are in the trash. Old time cook has stainless steel pressure cookers and aluminum for daily use. I'm happy as a clad with my thick aluminum, and my porcelain coated cast iron.

          1. No.

            Chances are nothing will happen to it. It's not like it's a complicated piece of machinery that is prone to breaking (e.g. consumer electronics or an automobile). It's a freakin pan that literally has no moving parts.

            And lets it does break down, to actually invoke the warranty you'll need to make sure (i) that you still have the receipt, (ii) the company is still in business, (iii) it's actually cost effective to spend the money on postage and handling to send it to the manufacturer, and (iv) you don't mind being without the use of your pan for the time lost in transit and for replacement.

            After you factor all of the above in to your cost-benefit analysis, you'll probably realize your better off just buying a new pan than to try to invoke your warranty.

            Plus, at the end of the day, if you use your credit card to buy the darn thing, most likely your credit card will have a warranty that will have you covered in the case of manufacture defect.