This perfect, pricey pot bested the competition again. It was substantial enough to hold and distribute heat evenly without being unbearably heavy. The light-colored interior combined with low, straight sides gave us good visibility and made it easy to monitor browning and thermometer position. The broad cooking surface saved us time since we could cook more food at once. The lid was smooth and easy to clean. This pot is expensive, but it was exceptionally resistant to damage.
With an exceptionally broad cooking surface and low, straight sides, this 7-quart pot had the same advantageous shape as the Le Creuset. It was heavier but not prohibitively so. The looped handles were comfortable to hold, though slightly smaller than ideal. The rim and lid chipped cosmetically when we repeatedly slammed the lid onto the pot, so it's slightly less durable than our winner.
Our winner excelled in comfort; it was light and maneuverable, with rubbery grips on both the pot and the lid. It heated fairly quickly, thanks to its thinner 3/16-inch-thick bottom, though we did have to keep an eye on sautéed onions to make sure they didn't scorch. Still, it was a trade-off we were happy to make, as this model's minimal heft and comfortable U-shaped handles made it easy to carry and pour from.
Our longtime winner excelled, with uniform, steady heating and good visibility inside the saucepan to monitor browning. Its cup-shaped stay-cool handle was easy to grip, and a helper handle provided another grabbing point when the pan was full. Even after brutal whacking on concrete, this model emerged with only tiny dents inside and one slight dent on the bottom, and it still sat flat on the counter.
This small saucepan performed very well, earning a place in our kitchen. It cooked evenly and steadily and survived our durability tests virtually unscathed. Its handle felt secure and comfortable in our hands and stayed cool throughout testing. It also cleaned up easily. We think it’d make a great addition to any cookware collection.
This pan wowed our cooks from the start. It browned food evenly on the stovetop and produced fluffy rice in the oven. Its broad cooking surface provided plenty of room to brown meatballs and accommodate one pound of raw spinach. Its walls were high enough that we didn’t lose any food when stirring but low enough that it was easy to reach inside with tongs to flip food. Its moderate weight meant it wasn’t too heavy to pour from. Its handle was long, offset, and straight, with a small divot on which we could rest our thumb. It retained one small dent during the abuse test, but this divot didn’t affect the pan’s stability.
Our longtime favorite skillet still beats all newcomers, with a clean design that includes no unnecessary frills. We appreciate the wide cooking surface and low, flaring sides that encourage excellent browning and evaporation; a steel handle that stays cool on the stovetop and won't rotate in your hand; and an overall weight and balance that hit the sweet spot between sturdiness and maneuverable lightness. It resisted warping and withstood thermal shock and outright abuse with nary a scratch or dent. Its three layers of cladding, with aluminum sandwiched by steel, make for deep, uniform browning.
Silky-smooth from the get-go, this roomy pan didn’t let food stick and stayed impressively slick throughout testing. Its heavy weight helped it retain heat, so it seared food evenly and deeply. The pan’s bronze color became blotchy as we used it, but it will gradually gain a nice patina with lots of use.
While this skillet started out with a rougher surface than those of the artisan pans, its gently nubbly texture quickly gained seasoning, and by the end of testing it released food and cleaned up perfectly. At about 8 pounds, it’s heavy, but that weight helps with heat retention and browning. Its roomy surface and high sides make it a versatile performer—all at a great price for a pan that will last forever.
A 12-inch nonstick skillet is the most versatile, and this is our overall favorite model. The cooking surface was slick, both when new and after extensive use, and food never stuck. It’s one of the lightest models we tested, so it was easy to lift and maneuver, but it was also sturdy and resisted denting. All of our testers liked its wide, comfortable handle. Like every other model, its surface became scratched when we used a knife as if to cut a frittata, but it otherwise held up well.