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Mar 10, 2012 07:31 PM

Question for experienced wok users

What kind of problems arise from purchasing inexpensive carbon steel woks? It would be for occasional use only and had my eye on this one frugal item in particular:
not at the expense of occupying kitchen space, if not a good item. Should I be looking for something heavier? Tia!

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  1. I don't have exactly this wok, but I have something very similar:

    It is on the thin side. Therefore it is very easy to handle, but it is more easy to warp (change shape).

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Chem - in your home kitchen environment, I assume that you're not worried about warping and in need of replacement? I'm thinking it would last a lifetime.

      1. re: rosetown

        Hey Buddy,

        Actually, my thin Williams Sonoma wok warpped on me within the first two-three days. Very minor, but I can feel it. I think warping also depend what kind of bottom we are talking about too.

        A minor warping on a round bottom wok is not a problem at all, and will be next to impossible to notice. However, a minor warping on a flat bottom wok can be more noticeable. For the original poster, I don't think this thin wok should be a problem since it is a round bottom wok.

    2. You should be fine. We used to only get regular carbon steel woks at our restaurant, used them daily, beat them up, and they lasted easily a year or more before we had to replace them.

      I've never really understood buying expensive woks, esp. for home use.

      1. That looks like an optimal wok and at a good price.

        Woks just don't get expensive, unless you go into stainless or nonstick woks which are without question inferior in performance, although well-to-do consumers who don't know better still buy them.

        1. I have a large and and even larger All Clad woks. I use a carbon steel wok that I pick up for about $20 US. It works better than the expensive ones, and I sometimes use it on a 80000 BTU burner.

          2 Replies
          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

            Where do you have an 80000BTU burner?

            1. re: pabboy

              Outdoor burners that you would use for a turkey fryer go up to 100k,

          2. Inexpensive carbon steel woks are the thing to use, but in my opinion "hand hammered" is a gimmick. Most likely, at that price, the thing is not created by hand out of a sheet of metal, but formed in the usual way, then a pattern added by hand. I don't see any point to this.