Even though these bowls were heavy, they never felt cumbersome to handle, thanks to their shallow, gently curved walls and easy-to-grip rims. Notably, they did not break when we dropped them. A bonus: Tight-fitting lids kept food well protected.
The broad, shallow shape of these inexpensive bowls put food within easy reach and allowed for wide turns of a spatula. These were also the lightest bowls in the lineup—the combined weight of all three that we tested was less than 1 1/2 pounds— allowing us to comfortably lift, scrape, and pour.
This pin capably handled dough for pie, cookies, pizza, and yeasted rolls, with gentle weight and a slightly textured surface that holds a dusting of flour for less sticking. Its long, straight shape made achieving even dough thickness and rolling out larger disks easy.
This model, our previous favorite, was not as heavy as the Batali wheel, so we had to use slightly more force, and roll back and forth a few extra times to cut through chewier crusts, but it did the job. It won points for its well-designed wheel, which was easy to clean, its thumb guard, and the large, soft handle that absorbed extra pressure.
With a roomy, medium-depth basket of very fine, tight, stiff mesh, this strainer removed lots of bran from whole-wheat flour and produced silky purees. A long, wide hook allowed it to sit securely on a variety of cookware, and while its rounded steel handle was a bit less comfortable than some, it was still easy to hold. This strainer’s sturdy construction makes it worth its high price: It looked as good as new even after serious abuse.
Our previous winner turned in another gold medal performance: “Every slice is perfect,” said one tester. It was comfortable and sharp, with a long, tall blade that was “just flexible enough so you feel like it’s doing what you tell it to.”
Still the best—and a bargain—after 20 years, this knife’s “super-sharp” blade was “silent” and “smooth,” even as it cut through tough squash, and it retained its edge after weeks of testing. Its textured grip felt secure for a wide range of hand sizes, and thanks to its gently rounded edges and the soft, hand-polished top spine, we could comfortably choke up on the knife for “precise,” “effortless” cuts.
Update: November 2013 Since our story appeared, the price of our winning Victorinox Swiss Army 8" Chef's Knife with Fibrox Handle has risen from $27.21 to about $39.95. We always report the price we paid for products when we bought them for testing; however, product prices are subject to change.
Our new favorite won us over with its ultrasharp, moderately flexible blade, which made every task seem nearly effortless. It kept its edge throughout testing, even after deboning an additional 10 chicken breasts. Its slightly shorter length proved especially advantageous with finer jobs, giving us more control as we boned chicken breasts. And although we wish the plastic handle were made of a grippier material, its slim profile made it easy to grasp in different ways.
This pan seared pork loin nicely without buckling or burning and put an even, golden-brown crust on potatoes. It held a 19-pound turkey easily and its flat bottom aided deglazing. The rack fit snugly, but its handles line up with the pan’s, making it tricky for unloading—our sole quibble.
Although made from single-ply stainless steel, this durable, sturdy small roasting pan turned out beautiful, well-browned food. Its handles were a little smaller than we prefer but still reasonably easy to grip. Its V-shaped nonstick rack did a good job of holding the chicken, though it slipped around in the pan a tiny bit more than we would have liked. Note that this model has a slight indentation around the perimeter that serves as a mini grease trough; this can make it a little trickier to make gravy, and you’ll have to move roasting vegetables around a touch to brown them evenly.
The extended lip on this pan makes it easy to hold on to, and the pan’s straight sides made beautiful, perfectly square cake. However, we found the pan’s material to be problematic. When the pan was greased with butter and dusted with flour, cake released easily from it. But when the pan was greased with only butter, as called for in the recipe, brownies stuck stubbornly inside it, which made it very challenging to remove the food without damaging it. The stuck-on food left behind also made cleanup a pain.
This dish had looped handles that were easy to grab, whether we were rotating the dish halfway through baking or removing it from the oven. We also thought it had the best capacity in the lineup at 14.25 cups—neither too generous nor too restrictive. Our winner accommodated all foods with ease and felt secure to grip even when full of hot, heavy food. More on this test
This saucepan has the same tri-ply fully-clad construction as our top-rated All-Clad pan, with two layers of stainless steel sandwiched around a layer of aluminum. It performed almost as well, but ran a little fast and hot, so onions browned slightly around the perimeter of the pan. The cooking surface is relatively narrow. The moderately heavy frame was easy to lift and scrape food from, but its handle gets hot during extended cooking. Its shiny interior dulled after cleaning up pilaf, and it suffered more damage in our abuse testing than higher-ranked models.
This simple, small, sleek model aced every test: It was the most powerful of the lineup at 1,100 watts, making it the fastest to heat water, and it held whatever temperature we set with perfect accuracy, whether we were cooking for 12 minutes or 20 hours. Easy and quick to set and monitor via an extremely user-friendly app (that’s compatible with iOS and Android), it’s also simple to clip onto any size vessel for cooking (if desired, a strong magnet in the base lets you stand it in metal pots without clipping it). Because it has no display, it isn’t harmed when it’s dropped in the water, unlike other models. Its small, lightweight, and slim profile makes it a snap to store when you’re done cooking. (Note: The only difference between this model and the stainless-steel version—which costs about $50 more—is the trim on the outside of the device, so we recommend this less-expensive polycarbonate model.)