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Matfer or Vollrath stock pots?

Hello,

We are looking to get some stock pots for our first house, mainly 8-10qt, and are looking for opinions. We have been looking at the following lines:

Vollrath Optio
http://www.vollrathco.com/catalog_bro...

Matfer Excellence
http://www.matferbourgeatusa.com/prod...

Matfer Performance
http://www.matferbourgeatusa.com/prod...

All seem to be pretty much stainless steel with an aluminum base sandwiched between stainless steel. Only difference I see are the handles. Also, the Optio line is the cheapest, is there any benefits to go with either of the Matfer lines? If so, any difference between the Excellence/Performance lines?

Thanks!

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  1. All I can suggest is to go to a restaurant supply store where you can see/touch/feel, and maybe talk to the nice people and see what they suggest. A stock pot doesn't need amazing thermal properties...most of what you are doing in it is boiling water, so even the cheapest, crappiest stock pot will work. Better stock pots will have better handles and will be better constructed so they handle better filled up...not trivial since a full 12 qt pot will weigh well over 20 pounds. Have fun shopping!

    2 Replies
    1. re: MikeB3542

      Look for riveted handles and placement of the handles down on the side of the pot. You don't want the handles to be even with the top of the pot, since that makes a heavy pot difficult to turn over to pour out.

      1. re: Philly Ray

        Sitram makes amazing SS pots and pans.Restaurant supply stores are a great source for kitchen supplies.I agree that you don't have to spend a ton of money on a stock pot.

    2. Do you own a pressure cooker? A pressure cooker doubles as a stock pot.

      1. I like the old Vollrath aluminum clad bottom SS commercial stockpots. They are heavy duty, cheaper than the fancy lines, and do as good a job as the more expensive lines.

        1. Signs of pending disaster. Handles at the top. A single handle spot welded on. Any gap on the aluminum base. You can deform it by pressing against it. A loose lid.

          9 Replies
            1. re: Leolady

              Certainly looks OK...still would want to get in my paws to make sure it was all that before buying.

              A properly welded handle is as strong as a riveted handle, theoretically should be stronger. Rivets certainly do look sturdy and while they are durable they also tend to loosen up in time. Trouble with welds is if they aren't done right and lots have had bad experiences with cheap pots with handles with soldered-on handles.

              1. re: Leolady

                A handle fell off of an 8 qt pot when full of local seafood gumbo. Due to expanding corrosion. 18/8 is not 18/10 and there were enough differences in the steel to cause galvanic action. The base seperated less than a year later due to incursion of water and the resulting expanding steam.

                1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                  I bought mine used, from a restaurant and I haven't had a bit of trouble with all of mine. I have all of the sizes.

                  1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                    Could someone knowledgeable about cookware kindly explain the difference between various stainless steel gauges, and also the difference between 18/8 and 18/10?

                    There are several lines of Vollrath stock pots..what are the differences?

                    Many thanks.

                    1. re: erica

                      My father was a research scientist/ metallurgist for US Steel. 8 percent nickel vs. 10 percent nickel.

                      The only 2 magazines I grew up with were Metallurgist Magazine and National Geographic. Then I got an allowance and bought comic books.

                      And based on reviews, I freely admit mine was an aberation.

                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                        But how does that difference in nickel content translate into quality/function?

                      2. re: erica

                        From All-Clad's FAQ:

                        http://www.all-clad.com/consumer-serv...

                        "The higher the alloy percentages, the higher the cost of the metal. 304 is the most widely used stainless steel with 17% to 18.5% chrome and 8% to 10% nickel. 301 is lower in chrome and nickel and is used when the corrosion resitance or strength are not as demanding. This grade has come to be known as "18-8"."

                        1. re: unprofessional_chef

                          It doesn't matter all that much...how the pot is put together (metal thickness, nice sturdy, well-attached handles, good ergonomics) is key. Heck, a good quality plain aluminum (non-anodized) stock pot will work just fine for most of the things you will probably use it for.