best $200 pot set?
- TeRReT Nov 20, 2011 10:27 AM
Looking for a set of pots for my sister who needs hers replaced. She is not a fancy cook, her husband enjoys cooking, but they hardly need anything fancy at this point. Looking for somewhere between $150-$300 for a set.
They prefer it not to be teflon, and doesn't need to be non-stick, they have no real preference over material, just they need a few different sized pots. Induction will not be a concern ever. I have been looking at the following:
The Lagostina has a lot of good reviews, but i absolutely hate the look of them, The calphalon looks decent, but I am not so sure about anodized aluminum, the Cuisinart Green gourmet look nice, but I don't know that technology at all. I am used to professional pots or expensive pots that I can't afford, pot sets are out of my league :P
Amazon Canada doesn't have so much to offer, but Canadian Tire and The Bay seem to have a lot of sets.
Any assistance is extremely appreciated!
I may add a few things later, but I just want to quickly say a few thing. Your first ebay link of "CALPHALON Simply Ns 8 Pc Cookware Set" is to a nonstick cookware set. "NS" stands for nonstick. They are Teflon coating on anodized aluminum. If you read the product description, it states that "This all-inclusive cookware set from Simply Calphalon is simply irresistible. With its quick-heating, hard-anodized exterior and double coating of exclusive NONSTICK formula, you'll bring out the best in your kitchen meal after meal. 10-year warranty. "
For your second choice, the "Cuisinart Green Gourmet 10 Piece Cookset". Don't get it.... Most of these green cookware do not last very long -- usually shorter lifetime than typical Teflon cookware. If you do a few search here, then you will see many people noticed their green cookware loses its nonstick ability in 6 months or so.
Your third set "Lagostina Commercial Pro 12-Pc Cookset" is bottom disc stainless steel-aluminum cladded cookware.
Your final set "KitchenAid 11-Piece Clad Stainless Steel Cookset" are all stainless steel-aluminum triply cookware.
I will concentrate on the last two sets if your sister is against Teflon cookware. There are good solid reasons for full triply vs disk bottom cladded. Full triply allows heat distribution travels up to the side of the cookware. This helps produce a more even heating cooking surface even at the cookware edge. On the other hand, disc bottom has its advantages. It is usually much easier to make a very thick disk bottom construction and remain inexpensive and light. As such, this design can also produce a very even temperature cooking surface. The Lagostina disc bottom has a 6 mm thick aluminum which is very thick. Either sets are fine.
*Edited* the Lagostina is a pure pot set -- only pot. The KitchenAid one has a saute pan.
Here is a link to the Cuisinart site for a 12 piece set of try-ply stainless. It seems to be fairly complete for most cooking tasks. Someone on this site may have some experience with them. I have seen them and they appear substantial in weight and construction. But, I have no first hand knowledge of their performance.
America's Test Kitchen liked All Clad on the high end ($500 -yikes) and Tramontina (only sold at Walmart) on the low end ($200) because they're both tri-ply (stainless, aluminum, stainless), though the Tramontina is slightly smaller. Here is a link about possibly getting the Tramontina in Canada http://www.cooksillustrated.com/ibb/p...
When you say "best" you need to define it clearer. For example, are they minimalists have a small kitchen, where 12 pieces would be too much? Do they stir-fry (and need a wok)? Do they entertain often?
For me, 12 pieces would be too much, even if it was all a good buy, because I don't want pieces I won't use. Also, 12 pieces generally include lids...do they need lids for every pot? Do they need two skillets AND a saute pan? Again, these questions are pertinent only if they hate clutter or are tight on space.
FWIW, I am not impressed with my All-Clad for what they cost. I really like the Regalware tri-ply mentioned above. (I REALLY like them, actually.)
Other things to look for that will make cooking easier are those with curved rims or spouts, and for people like me....sauciers or saucepans with interior capacity markings.
Do you have Macy's in Canada , or if you shop in the US? I'm a big fan of their "belgique" series of stainless steel with copper or aluminum disc bottoms. They're very heavy and the copper disc spreads the heat very well. I have to cook on an electric range and I've never scorched anything. I've had my set for years.
The line also includes some nonstick... you really do want a nonstick saute pan sometimes.
Don't pay full price, they're on sale every other week.
I am not a fan of "sets."
Suggest you rethink purchasing your sister a set, especially if she is not a fancy cook.
We cook everything and this is what we use most often:
*Le Creuset dutch oven (soups, pasta, etc.) - purchased at a Le Creuset Outlet or online (pre-owned on eBay, etc.)
*large soup pot (stainless steel) - big enough to fit a chicken/turkey carcass
*8 1/2" and 10 1/2" non-stick pans - "Winco AFP 8 x C", NSF rated - bought these in NYC's Chinatown, inexpensive
*Le Creuset saucier
We also have 2 stainless steel roasting pans with racks - small and large. I have 1 Sitram (copper bottom sandwiched between stainless steel) pan (goes stove top to broiler). If your sister makes rice (and doesn't use a rice cooker) a medium saucepan with a lid is good. A dutch oven might make too much rice :)
I just read financialdistrictresident's post and agree.
there are knock off brands of LeCreuset type pots for a lot less money new if you wanted to go that route and they last forever. [Ross/Marshalls/TJMAXX/Home Goods.
I can't help with what to buy but can tell you what not to buy.
I purchased 3 entire sets for Christmas of:
and although they were liked a lot for a period of time, none of these pots and pans are still at these families homes. they scratch and their life which is supposed to be almost forever, is very short lived. if your sister is a serious cook, I'd steer clear of this 'green' type of cookware.
re: iL Divo
Thanks, iL Divo. I forgot to warn the OP about Le Creuset knock-offs!
Le Creuset (like Sitram) is made in France. I've seen the real thing at Marshall's/Home Goods from time to time.
I'm sure there are threads on Le Creuset enameled cookware if TeRReT wants to do a search of this Board.
Ill chime in as anti set. They typically include too much of what you dont use and too little of what you do. I really like sitram. A good 4 quart or 3 quart sautee pan will prove very versatile. If they like low and slow braising its hard to beat le creuset, though unenameled cast iron can do most of that too at a much cheaper price. I dont think investing a lot of money in say a 2 quart sauce pan makes a lot of sense. Plain stainless will do. Get them a nice sitram 3 quart sautee pan and a cast iron dutch oven for braising and maybe a cast iron skillet. I'd say i do about 80% of my cooking with those 3 pots.
There are some sets on the Koh's website, if you are able to order from Kohl's in Canada. There are several sets in your price range. Berghoff makes a line specifically for sale in Canada, called the Acadian line. Kohl's carries that line. It is more expensive though.
Hi TeRReT, Take a look on Amazon at the Cuisinart Chefs Classic 17 pc set, my Brother in law has some of this cookware and I must say it is quite an impressive line of cookware for the $$$. Heats up very fast.
Add me to the many fans of Cuisinart Multiclad. I bought the 12 piece set on Amazon a few weeks ago. I also purchased the 5 1/2 qt. covered saute pan. I'm just loving these pans. They heat evenly and don't seem to have any hot spots. Water boils quickly and they clean up well with Barkeeper's Friend. For less than $300, I now have a beautiful and versatile set of pans.
Highly recommended for those who can't afford All Clad!
Two days before (Can) Thanksgiving, found myself pre-cooking veggies like turnip and parsnips which will be roasted later with the turkey. I was straining the turnips water into the sink when the handle broke. Needless to say, the pot was ancient, and very well-used but an immediate trip to purchase another was necessary, and with no time to spare and the All-Clad 4 qt we had just been discussing this morning not being available at local stores, we tried LD, HH and finally Homesense where we bought not one but 2 Lagostina Gourmet line pots, no size markings but they appear to be a 2 qt and a 1.5 qt. They look solid, and the attached tag says they have the same continuous 3ply going across the bottom and up the sides which the All-Clad has. I like the idea of the rounded corners which should make whisking, stirring and folding better - no unblended food left behind in the sharp bottom-upright bends. I'll be starting to test them this weekend and hope to be able to give an opinion soon. I looked online for reviews (after I came home with them) but found nothing. Has anyone else tried them out?
someone asked how I like my new Lagostina pots. I tried, but cannot find how to reply to that person, so hope this general reply will suffice.
i LOVE them. I love the way they handle in the dishwasher, in the sink for handwashing, on the stove-top, and even in the oven. I also love the look of them The only thing I am sorry about is that I cannot find a covered skillet/fry-pan to match. I consider myself a foodie, self-taught but with a very adventurous palette, but I've lived 62 years with basic, ready-to-hand bargain basement implements and never felt the need for more, so this is a luxury and an unexpected delight.
That said, my wonderful husband of 70 treated us to a magnificent soup with fish-head/snapper stock on the weekend with mushrooms and pea-shoots, miso, and garlic with wontons made with pork and shrimp. Shiver-worthy! My highest accolade.
( I decided to splurge and bought a second stock-pot of no definable pedigree so we could keep the stocks going every day without having to wait to empty, store, clean and re-start.
I would have to say Calphalon non-stick... the non-non-stick stuff takes some getting used to for someone who doesn't do a huge amount of cooking. The non-stick holds up pretty well, with wooden/plastic/silicon tools. Biggest reason I'd recommend C is their EXCELLENT return/replace policy. Bought myself a set at least 15-20 years ago... large skillet & omelet pan (no lids), 2 sizes of sauce pans (with lids), smallish stock pot (with lid, about perfect size for pasta, and a straight-sided saute (with lid). Was always pretty careful with what tools I used in them.
Then at least 6-8 years ago, bought 2 piece set of ns skillets to replace original skillet and saute... that I eventually tossed after non-stick was pretty much shot.
Back around March, saw/read something about how good C's return/replace policy was... NO receipts required!?! I cost me a few $$ to ship the 2 "newer" skillets and 1 "old" saucepan (my favorite) back... the ns wasn't in terrible shape, just no as NON-stick as originally. About 7-10 days later came home to 3 BRAND NEW replacement pieces.
Think I spent a little less than $200 for the "set" and less than $50 for the pair of skillets.
$200 will get you a lot of pots and pans at a thrift store, craigslist, or garage/estate sales. Jess sayin.
I have bought a lot of really good quality cookware, and utensiles at these places.
A set that might make a lot of sense for those short on space is this nesting design:
I have had the 4-piece sauce pan set for a year, and am very pleased with it. The construction is stainless steel with a multi-ply base (not tri-ply), but that is not needed for most of what I use them for. So, are they the "best"...probably not, but it may very well suit their needs if they are short on counter and cabinet space.