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Best Stainless Steel Cookware: The Ultimate Buying Guide 2021

Best Overall
Cuisinart 12-Peice Multi Clad Cookware Set
5/5
Best Luxury Set
All Clad 14 Piece Brushed Stainless Steel Cookware Set
5/5
Best Budget Option
Cook N Home 12-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set
5/5

Are you looking for the best stainless steel cookware set for your kitchen? If so, look no further; we have the information you’re after.

Throughout the following sections, this comprehensive guide will cover the top stainless steel cookware sets available along with a detailed buying guide and some of the most frequently asked questions we get on the subject – so get yourself ready and let’s dive right in.

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Top 10 Stainless Steel Cookware Sets

1. Cuisinart 12-Peice Multi Clad Cookware Set

With no toxic coating to flake off, this stainless steel cookware set is 100% dishwasher safe, and each item features a drip-free pouring rim making them just as practical as they are durable. Unlike some other cookware sets made out of lower-quality stainless steel, the outside layer of all pots and pans is made of 18/10 stainless steel, which is one of the highest-quality food-grade options around.

If you’re looking for the best mix of quality and affordability, this 12 piece set by Cuisinart will fit the bill perfectly. Made with triple ply construction and a pure aluminum conductivity core, this collection of stainless steel pots and pans exhibits unparalleled heat conductivity, distribution, and retention, and all are built to be oven safe at temperatures up to 550F.

With no toxic coating to flake off, this stainless steel cookware set is 100% dishwasher safe, and each item features a drip-free pouring rim making them just as practical as they are durable. Unlike some other cookware sets made out of lower-quality stainless steel, the outside layer of all pots and pans is made of 18/10 stainless steel, which is one of the highest-quality food-grade options around.

Lastly, each lid is designed to provide a snug fit, ensuring that food juices and nutrients stay locked in for favorable results.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1.5 and 3 quart sauce pans with lids
  • 8 inch and 10 inch open skillet
  • 3.5 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 1 steamer insert
  • 8 quart stock pot with lid
Pros
Cons

2. Calphalon Premier 11-Piece Cookware Set

Like most stainless steel cookware, all items are made using a three-layered, or plied, system that helps to add durability and even heat distribution throughout the entire pot or pan. However, stainless steel alone isn’t the best conductor, and each item in this cookware set comes fitted with an aluminum core, allowing it to better absorb and retain heat.

For value, construction quality, and overall performance, this 11 piece set from Calphalon comes in at a very close second place and is undoubtedly one of the best stainless steel cookware sets in its price range.

Like most stainless steel cookware, all items are made using a three-layered, or plied, system that helps to add durability and even heat distribution throughout the entire pot or pan. However, stainless steel alone isn’t the best conductor, and each item in this cookware set comes fitted with an aluminum core, allowing it to better absorb and retain heat.

Additionally, the two outer layers are metal-utensil friendly, and each piece of the cookware set is 100% dishwasher safe and backed by a lifetime warranty.

This cookware set is very versatile and can be used with gas, electric, induction, and even glass stovetops, and all pieces are oven safe at temperatures up to 450F.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1.5 and 2.5 quart saucepans with lids
  • 10 inch and 12 inch fry pans with a single lid
  • 3 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 8 quart stock pot with cover.
Pros
Cons

3. All Clad 14 Piece Brushed Stainless Steel Cookware Set

By adding an extra layer of conductive aluminum, All Clad has dramatically increased both conductivity and heat retention. Furthermore, these added layers result in one of the evenest distributions of heat one can hope for in a cookware set, ensuring no cold or hot spots arise during the cooking process.

For those who are more concerned with quality and functionality over price, this 14 piece brushed stainless steel cookware set is worthy of some serious consideration.

Along with fine attention to detail and made-in-USA quality, one feature that really sets this collection apart from the rest is its patented 5-ply construction that uses alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminum.

By adding an extra layer of conductive aluminum, All Clad has dramatically increased both conductivity and heat retention. Furthermore, these added layers result in one of the evenest distributions of heat one can hope for in a cookware set, ensuring no cold or hot spots arise during the cooking process.

Lastly, these two extra layers greatly improve over durability, and each item in the set is both broiler and oven safe at temperatures up to 600F, which is noticeably higher than what the average stainless steel cookware set is capable of withstanding.

Besides durability and heat retention, these All Clad pots and pans are versatile and can be used on gas, electric, glass, and induction cooktops without issue. Moreover, all feature flared rims to ensure a mess-free pour every time.

To top it all off, each item in the set comes fitted with ergonomically designed cool grip handles and a brushed stainless exterior/interior, which some people strongly prefer over a polished finish.

Each Set Includes:

  • 2 quart and 4 quart sauce pans with lids
  • 8 inch and 10 inch fry pans
  • 3 quart sauce pan with lid
  • 5.5 inch Dutch over with lid
  • 8 and 12 quart stock pots with lids
Pros
Cons

4. Cook N Home 12-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set

One interesting feature worth noting is that almost all items come with tempered glass lids, all of which are fitted with small vent holes to allow steam to escape. While not everyone prefers glass lids, they have many advantages, the most important of which is the ability for users to visually inspect whatever they’re cooking without removing the lid and allowing heat to escape.

All the options we have looked at so far, especially the All Clad collection, have come with a much higher price than some people are willing to pay. If you fall into this group and you’re looking for a stainless steel cookware set that offers both quality and affordability, this 12 piece collection by Cook N Home is one of the better options around.

Made out of 18/10 stainless steel, this set of pots and pans is rated oven safe at temperatures up to 500F (although the lids are only safe up to 350F) and are fully dishwasher safe.

As is standard with tri ply cookware, each item in the collection features an aluminum core surrounded by two layers of stainless steel. However, the base of each item is extra thick to conduct and distribute heat evenly and is also designed to be perfectly flat for easy stacking.

One interesting feature worth noting is that almost all items come with tempered glass lids, all of which are fitted with small vent holes to allow steam to escape. While not everyone prefers glass lids, they have many advantages, the most important of which is the ability for users to visually inspect whatever they’re cooking without removing the lid and allowing heat to escape.

It is important to understand that, unlike the last three stainless steel cookware sets we looked at, this Cook N Home collection is no doubt a budget option and, as such, does have some flaws. To begin with, several user reports indicate that the bottom of the frying pan is prone to minor warping when used on high heat for long periods. Secondly, the stainless steel rivets are not as high-quality as some may like, and there are several reports of rivet heads popping off, although these reports are rare. Lastly, as we will see, some of the items, especially the sauce pan and stock pot, are a little undersized compared to what other stainless cookware sets offer.

These drawbacks aside, this offering by Cook N Home is no doubt one of the best stainless steel cookware sets in its price range, and for the money, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something of equal quality and functionality.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1 quart sauce pan with lid
  • 1.5 quart, 2 quart and 3 quart quart casserole pan with lid
  • 10″ frying pan with cover
  • 5 quart stockpot with lid.
Pros
Cons

5. Frigidaire 5 Piece Stainless Cookware Set

All three items are made out of two 430 stainless steel layers that sandwich a pure aluminum core designed to provide conductivity and even heating. Furthermore, two of the three items come with glass lids equipped with extra-large stainless handles.

Not everyone has sufficient kitchen space to justify purchasing a 12 or 14 piece stainless steel cookware set. If you find yourself in this camp, and want a highly-functional collection that is also space-conscious, this 5 piece set from Frigidaire is a great option.

All three items are made out of two 430 stainless steel layers that sandwich a pure aluminum core designed to provide conductivity and even heating. Furthermore, two of the three items come with glass lids equipped with extra-large stainless handles.

Like all cookware sets with glass lids, the items included have a different oven safe temperature limit depending upon whether or not they are placed in the oven with the lid or not. When placed in the oven without a lid, all three pans can withstand temperatures of up to 450F. This number drops by 50 degrees down to 400F when the glass lids are involved, which may be a minor drawback for some people.

That being said, at under $100, this small collection of stainless steel pans is very affordable and the overall construction quality is very good for the price. Additionally, each item is induction cooktop safe.

The major downside, of course, is the limited functionality of the three items. Although Frigidaire has done a good job at choosing three designs that cover a wide range of uses, basic items such as a sauce or fry pan are missing.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1.5 quart sauce pan with lid
  • 3 quart sauté pan
  • 5 quart stock pot with lid
Pros
Cons

6. Legend 5 Ply Copper Core 14 Piece Cookware Set

For those who don’t mind dishing out the extra money for a superior conductor, this 14 piece stainless steel cookware set by Legend is one of the better options on the market. Legend is a New York based company known for making high-quality stainless steel and cast iron cookware, a reputation they have certainly lived up to with this offering of 5 ply construction and professional-grade quality.

Many cooking enthusiasts strongly believe that copper has better heat transfer properties than aluminum, and as a result, have a preference for stainless steel cookware equipped with a copper inner core. That being said, copper is a much more expensive metal than aluminum, and anyone hoping to enjoy the superior conductivity of the reddish-brown metal will have to pay more to do so.

For those who don’t mind dishing out the extra money for a superior conductor, this 14 piece stainless steel cookware set by Legend is one of the better options on the market.

Legend is a New York based company known for making high-quality stainless steel and cast iron cookware, a reputation they have certainly lived up to with this offering of 5 ply construction and professional-grade quality.

However, the five ply construction used here is fairly unique, and instead of a single layer of copper sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel on either side, Legend has taken a different approach.

The first (inner) layer consists of 304 stainless steel for easy cleaning and high durability that gives way to the second layer of aluminum to help with even heating. The third layer is the pure copper core for superior conductivity, and the fourth layer is another installment of aluminum. The fifth and final layer is made out of 430 stainless steel, whose durability makes it useable on any type of cooktop.

What’s more, this collection of stainless steel cookware is as visually pleasing as it is durable, and as we can see from the photo, each item is fitted with a gold-colored set of handles.

In addition to all this, each item in the set comes with rivet attached handles and Legends’ well-known lifetime warranty. The only downside to this set of stainless steel cookware is the price, which will no doubt be too expensive for some people.

Still, given its 5 ply stainless steel construction, copper inner core, and lifetime warranty, this Legend collection is no doubt one of the best stainless steel cookware sets on the market.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1.4 quart and 2.3 quart sauce pan with lid
  • 3.5 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 3.4 quart casserole pan with lid
  • 8 inch, 10 inch, and 12 frying pans (only one lid)
  • 8 quart stockpot with lid.
Pros
Cons

7. Calphalon Signature Series

Speaking of durability, all items in this set (lids included) are oven safe up to 500F and are 100% dishwasher friendly for easy cleaning. Additionally, all pots and pans come with a cooking surface made out of robust 18/10 stainless steel, meaning not only is it highly corrosion-resistant, but it’s also metal utensil safe.

Next up, we have another quality cookware set from Calphalon – this one being a 10 piece, five layer collection with excellent heat distribution and tremendous durability.

Speaking of durability, all items in this set (lids included) are oven safe up to 500F and are 100% dishwasher friendly for easy cleaning. Additionally, all pots and pans come with a cooking surface made out of robust 18/10 stainless steel, meaning not only is it highly corrosion-resistant, but it’s also metal utensil safe.

For those who’re unaware, 18/10 stainless is a high-quality, food-grade type of stainless steel which, with its 10% nickel content, is significantly more rust-resistant and long-lasting than the cheaper, more common 430 stainless steel. For anyone wondering why this particular stainless steel cookware set has a higher than average price tag, it’s due in large part to its 18/10 construction.

Like all quality cookware, the Calphalon Signature Series comes with stainless steel handles fastened in place by rivets, a far superior method in terms of longevity to welding. Furthermore, the cookware collection is induction compatible and, in its price range, is no doubt one of the best stainless steel cookware sets available

Each Set Contains:

  • 2 quart and 3 quart sauce pans with lid
  • 3 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 8 inch and 10minch omelet pan
  • 8 quart stock pot with lid
Pros
Cons

8. All Clad D5 Stainless Steel Cookware Set

This particular set features two conductive layers of aluminum and three sturdy layers of 18/10 stainless steel, which, as we have already mentioned, is one of the highest-quality types of food grade stainless available. Sporting an aesthetically pleasing brushed cooking surface, excellent attention to detail, and a tastefully laser-etched All Clad logo on every handle, this collection of stainless steel pans and pots is truly is one of the better looking sets we have reviewed.

For over five decades, All Clad has been producing some of the finest collections of hand crafted cookware on the market, all of which are made in their Pennsylvania shop using their patented bonding process.

This particular set features two conductive layers of aluminum and three sturdy layers of 18/10 stainless steel, which, as we have already mentioned, is one of the highest-quality types of food grade stainless available.

Sporting an aesthetically pleasing brushed cooking surface, excellent attention to detail, and a tastefully laser-etched All Clad logo on every handle, this collection of stainless steel pans and pots is truly is one of the better looking sets we have reviewed.

Looks aside, each item is extremely durable and is both broiler and oven safe at temperatures up to 600F, which is significantly more than what most cookware sets can stand. On top of this, each item is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning and equipped with the classic All Clad flared rims for easy and spill-less pouring.

It’s also worth pointing out that each item in this stainless steel set is much more resistant to warping than many other stainless pots and pans on the market. As any cookware expert will agree, warping is one of the major drawbacks of stainless, an issue All Clad has done a good job at mitigating using high-quality stainless, a five ply construction, and their special bonding process.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1.5 quart and 3 quart sauce pans with lids
  • 3 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 8 inch and 10 inch frying pan
  • 5.5 quart Dutch over with lid
Pros
Cons

9. T-fal Copper Bottom Stainless Steel Cookware Set

One unique feature worth pointing out is the construction of the pots and pans in this set. While we have seen several examples of 5 layer cookware, T-fal has taken a very unique approach and incorporated both copper and aluminum into the design. The result is a highly conductive cookware set that not only retains heat very well, but because of the copper layer, is very quick to heat up.

Founded in 1956, T-fal (whose name is a portnamnue of the words Teflon and Aluminum) is a quality French manufacturer of cookware and small home appliances that still isn’t very well-known in the United States and North America.

That being said, don’t let T-fal’s lack of popularity fool you; the company makes some of the highest-value cookware sets one can buy, and there is perhaps no better example of this than their 13 piece Copper Bottom collection.

One unique feature worth pointing out is the construction of the pots and pans in this set. While we have seen several examples of 5 layer cookware, T-fal has taken a very unique approach and incorporated both copper and aluminum into the design. The result is a highly conductive cookware set that not only retains heat very well, but because of the copper layer, is very quick to heat up.

Along with the aluminum and copper layers, T-fal has outfitted all items in this set with high-quality, dishwasher safe, 18/10 stainless steel, which is impressive for its price point.

Lastly, the entire cookware set is oven safe at temperatures up to 500F when used without lids, which brings us to the one minor drawback to this set. While it is true glass lids are often preferable for stove top activities, they are not the best for oven use as they aren’t capable of withstanding high temperatures. This means that any stainless steel pan or pot from this set cannot be used at high temperatures with the lid on in the oven.

Still, for its price and the fact that it includes both copper and 18/10 stainless, this collection is undoubtedly one of the best stainless steel cookware options under $300.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1 quart, 2 quart, and 3 quart sauce pans with lids
  • 8 inch , 10 inch, and 12 inch fry pans (one lid)
  • 1 steamer insert
  • 5 quart Dutch oven
Pros
Cons

10. Lagostina Martellata Hammered Copper Exterior Cookware

When we look at this particular 10 piece set and its hammered copper exterior, it’s not hard to see why this manufacturer has garnered such a reputation, and with its triple ply, 18/10 stainless construction, it’s as durable as it is attractive. The tight fitting lids are also made of 18/10 stainless steel and polished to an almost mirror finish. Moreover, the handles are attached with high-quality rivets, and each pot/pan comes with flared edges for a drip-less pour.

Founded by a father and son duo in Italy during the early 1900s, Lagostina is one of the oldest manufacturers of stainless steel cookware around, one that has gained a reputation for creating cookware that is both high-quality and visually appealing.

When we look at this particular 10 piece set and its hammered copper exterior, it’s not hard to see why this manufacturer has garnered such a reputation, and with its triple ply, 18/10 stainless construction, it’s as durable as it is attractive.

The tight fitting lids are also made of 18/10 stainless steel and polished to an almost mirror finish. Moreover, the handles are attached with high-quality rivets, and each pot/pan comes with flared edges for a drip-less pour.

Unfortunately, there are some crucial drawbacks to mention. Because of the hammered copper finish, all pots and pans included in this cookware set are not dishwasher safe. Furthermore, unlike stainless cookware, which is relatively low maintenance, anything with a copper exterior requires much more attention and care, which not everyone will enjoy.

Each Set Includes: 

  • 2 quart and 3 quart sauce pans with lid
  • 3 quarts sauté pan
  • 8 inch and 10 inch frying pans
  • 6 quart stock pot with lid
Pros
Cons

11. Cuisinart 17 Piece Chefs Classic Set

Featuring a mirrored stainless steel exterior, an aluminum conductivity core, and an induction compatible base, all included items live up to the high-level quality one can expect from Cuisinart.

With 17 total pieces, this stainless cookware collection from Cuisinart is one of the larger sets we have examined.

Featuring a mirrored stainless steel exterior, an aluminum conductivity core, and an induction compatible base, all included items live up to the high-level quality one can expect from Cuisinart.

In addition, each stainless steel pan comes with convenient and easy-to-read measurement markings and a metal utensil safe cooking surface. Lastly, all items in this stainless cookware collection are freezer friendly and oven safe at temperatures up to 500F.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1 quart, 2 quart, and 3 quart sauce pans with glass cover
  • 3.5 quart sauté pan with glass cover
  • 4 quart Dutch oven with glass lid
  • 8 inch, 10 inch, and 12 inch fry pan with glass cover
  • 8 quart stockpot with glass cover
  • 1 20cm steamer insert.
Pros
Cons

12. OXO Stainless Steel Cookware Nonstick Version

This 13 piece stainless cookware set by OXO, a New York based manufacturer of kitchenware, comes with rolled edges and angled sides for the perfect drip-free pour.

This 13 piece stainless cookware set by OXO, a New York based manufacturer of kitchenware, comes with rolled edges and angled sides for the perfect drip-free pour.

Similarly, all handles feature a highly ergonomic design that provides a sturdy grip perfect for transporting pans in and out of the oven.

However, while OXO has used the term ‘nonstick’ in the title, none of the items actually come with a nonstick coating as such a feature is almost non-existent when it comes to stainless steel cookware.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1.5 quart and 2.5 quart sauce pan with lid
  • 3 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 8 inch, 10 inch and 12 inch frying pan
  • 3 quart and 8 quart stockpot with lid
Pros
Cons

13. All Clad Tri-Ply Bonded Stainless Steel Set

Unlike the other two All Clad cookware sets we have looked at, this one is designed as a three layer system, something which may surprise some individuals given the price.

Here we have another cookware set by All Clad, which, as may be clear by now, is one of our favorite manufacturers of stainless cookware.

Unlike the other two All Clad cookware sets we have looked at, this one is designed as a three layer system, something which may surprise some individuals given the price. However, all items are broiler and oven safe up to 600F, and all come with the made-in-USA quality that All Clad has become known for over the last 50 years.

Each Set Includes:

  • 2 quart and 3 quart sauce pans with lid
  • 3 quart and 6 quart sauté pans with lid
  • 10 inch chefs pan
  • 10 inch and 12 inch fry pan
  • 8 quart stockpot with lid.
Pros
Cons

14. All Clad D3 10-Piece Cookware Set

Even with such a large price discrepancy, every item in this collection is still oven safe up to 600F and built with two 18/10 stainless steel layers surrounding a single conductive layer of aluminum. As we have covered several times, this tri-ply construction is created for heat transfer and cause the cooking surface to heat evenly.

Each All Clad stainless steel cookware set we have looked at has come with a price tag of well over $1,000. If you would like to enjoy the All Clad quality and lifetime warranty but at half the price, this 10 piece cookware set is a great option.

Even with such a large price discrepancy, every item in this collection is still oven safe up to 600F and built with two 18/10 stainless steel layers surrounding a single conductive layer of aluminum. As we have covered several times, this tri-ply construction is created for heat transfer and cause the cooking surface to heat evenly.

As with other All Clad stainless steel cookware, this set is fully dishwasher safe and uses rivets to hold the handles in place.

Each Set Includes:

  • 2 quart and 3 quart sauce pans with lids
  • 3 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 8 inch and 10 inch fry pans
  • 8 quart stockpot with li
Pros
Cons

15. Duxtop Professional 19 Piece Cookware Set

Aside from this, all pots and pans are made out of high-quality, food-grade, 18/10 stainless steel, and all come with an extra thick piece of aluminum on their base. This larger than average aluminum layer results in an even transfer of heat, reducing the chances of cold and hot spots forming.

Duxtop is a lesser-known brand that has been producing some quality cookware over the last several years. This set in particular is interesting because it comes with five stainless steel cooking utensils, a perk that sets it apart from other options.

Aside from this, all pots and pans are made out of high-quality, food-grade, 18/10 stainless steel, and all come with an extra thick piece of aluminum on their base. This larger than average aluminum layer results in an even transfer of heat, reducing the chances of cold and hot spots forming.

For some users, the glass lids may be somewhat of a drawback, as when the lids are placed in the oven with their corresponding pot or pan, the max temperature drops to 400F. Without the glass lids, the max temperature rising to 550F.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1.4 quart and 2.4 quart saucepans with lids
  • 4 quart casserole pan with lid
  • 5.5 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 8 inch and 9.5 inch frying pans
  • 7.6 quart stockpot with lid
  • 1 boiler and steam basket
  • 5 stainless steel kitchen utensil
Pros
Cons

16. Faberware Millennium Stainless Cook Set

Sporting standard tri-ply construction and cool grip handles, this set provides a high level of functionality for the price, and the 10 inch skillet is a good stainless steel pan for the price.

If you’re looking for an alternative budget option to the ones we have listed so far, this 10 piece collection from Faberware is worth a look.

Sporting standard tri-ply construction and cool grip handles, this set provides a high level of functionality for the price, and the 10 inch skillet is a good stainless steel pan for the price.

Lastly, this set is fine in the oven up to 500F (with the lids off) and is 100% dishwasher safe for quick and easy cleaning.

The bottom line here is that while the Faberware Millennium set isn’t anything special, for those who only want to spend around $100, it’s one of the better options out there.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1 quart and 2 quart sauce pans with lids
  • 3 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 8 inch and 10 inch frying pans
  • 8 quart stockpot with lid
Pros
Cons

17. HOMICHEF 10-Piece Nickel Free Pots And Pans Set

For anyone in this camp, the only option is to choose a stainless steel cookware collection made out of non-nickel containing stainless, a requirement this 10 piece set from HOMICHEF satisfies quite well. On top of being Nickel-free, this set of pots and pans is also very affordable and comes equipped with an exterior copper band towards the bottom of each item for fast heat transfer.

As we will see in the FAQs section, stainless steel is one of the safest cookware materials around. However, some people are still concerned that Nickel may leach into their food during cooking.

For anyone in this camp, the only option is to choose a stainless steel cookware collection made out of non-nickel containing stainless, a requirement this 10 piece set from HOMICHEF satisfies quite well.

On top of being Nickel-free, this set of pots and pans is also very affordable and comes equipped with an exterior copper band towards the bottom of each item for fast heat transfer.

With all this in mind, because it lacks Nickel, this set is constructed out of 430 stainless, which is much less corrosive-resistant than 18/10 stainless, meaning, if not properly cared for, its longevity will suffer.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1 quart and 2 quarts sauce pans with lids
  • 2.5 quart sauté pan
  • 8 inch and 9.5 inch frying pans
  • 7 quart stock pot with lid
Pros
Cons

18. Magma 10 Piece Nesting Cookware Set

Made out of marine grade 18/10 stainless in a three layered system, this collection is designed specifically with boaters and RV enthusiasts in mind as each item is induction stove top friendly and neatly nests into half cubic feet of space.

Storage is one of the more annoying issues users face when it comes to cookware, an issue that Magma has attempted to make easier with their 10 piece set of nesting cookware.

Made out of marine grade 18/10 stainless in a three layered system, this collection is designed specifically with boaters and RV enthusiasts in mind as each item is induction stove top friendly and neatly nests into half cubic feet of space.

To add the finishing touch, the set comes with a useful storage cord to hold everything together in an easy to handle bundle.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1.5 quarts, 2 quarts and 3 quarts sauce pans with single lid
  • 10 inch fry pan
  • 5 quart stock pot
  • ‘Bungee’ storage cable
Pros
Cons

19. Viking Professional 5 Layer Cook Set

This 10 piece set from Viking is luxury model that features impressive 5 ply construction and is boiler, grill, and oven safe at temperatures up to 600F.

This 10 piece set from Viking is luxury model that features impressive 5 ply construction and is boiler, grill, and oven safe at temperatures up to 600F.

What’s more, each pan is designed with an ergonomic stay cool handle to ensure a strong grip, balance, control.

furthermore, each item is made in the USA and features tight fitting, domed lids that are also oven safe up to 600F.

All-in-all, this 10 piece offering from Viking is quite impressive, and while the name may not be as well-known as others such as All Clad and Cuisinart, it would make a great addition to any kitchen.

Each Set Includes:

  • 2 quart and 3 quart sauce pants with lids
  • 3.4 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 8 inch and 10 inch frying pans
  • 8 quart stock pot with lid
Pros
Cons

20. Cuisinart 10 Piece Tri-Ply Classic Stainless Cookware Set

Made out of high-grade 18/10 stainless and employing a three-ply construction, this set straddles the limit between a budget and higher-quality option and is one of the better choices to be found in its price range.

The last cookware collection we will look at is this simple 10 piece set from Cuisinart.

Made out of high-grade 18/10 stainless and employing a three-ply construction, this set straddles the limit between a budget and higher-quality option and is one of the better choices to be found in its price range.

Aside from being induction top friendly and oven safe at temperatures up to 500F, each item comes with a beautiful brushed finish that may have you thinking it was a much more expensive cookware set than it truly is.

However, the set is overall very basic, and while it does feature quality construction, it won’t be as long-lasting as some of the higher-priced options.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1.5 quart and 2.5 quart sauce pans with lids
  • 3 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 8 inch and 10 inch frying pans
  • 6 quart stockpot
Pros
Cons

Stainless Steel Cookware Set Buying Guide: What To Look For in Pots and Pans

It doesn’t matter how many stainless steel cookware reviews one reads; if they don’t know what to look for in a cookware set, there is no guarantee they will end up making the right decision.

Because of this, it’s worth taking some time to outline several key criteria everyone should take into consideration when reviewing stainless steel cookware sets.

Design and Construction: Layers, Core, and Functionality

The first thing to consider when looking at any stainless steel cookware set is the overall design of the included items and how many layers they have. Many low-quality budget options don’t employ a layered design which, while they might be cheap, make for a poor cooking experience as stainless is not the most conductive metal and it also suffers from poor heat retention qualities.

It’s for this reason that cookware manufacturers almost always employ a plied or layered approach, which typically sees a conductive core of aluminum sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel, most typically of the 18/10, 18/8, 430, or 304 variety (more on this later).

However, as we have seen, many of the more expensive cookware options employ a 5 layer system, which sometimes even incorporates copper as its conductivity core.

While we’re on the topic of copper, it’s worth mentioning that the metal does have superior conductivity and heat transfer properties than aluminum. As a result, it is often used as the inner layer on many higher-priced sets.

Although some people may feel it’s worth spending the extra money for a copper core cookware set, the average individual cooking for themselves or their family is unlikely to notice the difference, and copper core cookware sets are most often purchased by cooking enthusiasts or professional chefs/cooks.

Finally, it’s important to look at each item in the set and think about which ones you consider the most useful and if certain types of pots and pans that you frequently use are missing. For example, some stainless cookware sets come with sauce and sauté pans but not a casserole or small frying pan.

Lastly, while stainless cookware is typically fine to use on any time of stove or cooktop, it’s worth double-checking, as not all cookware collections are induction compatible.

Heating Capacity: What Heat Can The Cookware Tolerate?

Good stainless steel cookware should easily withstand temperatures above 400F in the oven, although some cheaper models may only be good up to 350F.

Heat tolerance is an area where stainless steel lacks compared to several other cookware materials, such as cast iron and carbon steel. At high temperatures, stainless steel is prone to warping and may even suffer some discoloration once it’s subjected to temperatures of 500F and over.

Still, with each stainless steel cookware set you look at, it’s highly recommended that you find out what its max heat capacity is – not just for the pot or pan body but the lid as well. As most will have guessed, stainless steel lids can withstand considerably more heat than tempered glass lids, a fact to be kept in mind.

Warranty: Know Your Coverage

Whether it be stainless steel cookware or any other purchase, warranty length and coverage are essential considerations that not everyone pays enough attention to.

Some manufacturers, such as Legend, will offer customers a lifetime warranty on their products (some conditions apply, of course), whereas others may only offer a 90-day money-back guarantee.

If a stainless steel cookware set has a defect or is bound to fail, depending upon how much you use the items, it may take longer than 90 for any issues to make themselves known. If you’re thinking about purchasing one of the higher priced cookware sets we covered on our list, make sure you know what kind of warranty you’ll be receiving.

Price: How Much Are You Willing To Pay For A Cookware Set?

Choosing the best stainless steel cookware set for you and your kitchen is a much easier task when you narrow down a price range to look at. As we saw from our list, the price of stainless steel cookware can vary greatly, and we looked at some items that cost just under $100 and others close to or more than $1,000.

Needless to say, picking a range will no doubt make the buying process much easier.

Handles: The Most Overlooked Aspect Of Stainless Steel Cookware

With everything from core material, number of layers, price, warranty, and other factors to consider, it’s easy to forget about the handles.

Although handle construction isn’t the most exciting aspect of stainless steel cookware, it doesn’t matter how well a particular pot or pan maintains and distributes heat; if the handles give way, the item becomes essentially useless.

The first principle to consider is material. While most sets will come with stainless steel handles, some use silicone instead, which is generally less durable and not oven safe.

Secondly, it’s important to check how the handle was attached to the pot or pan. Generally speaking, there are two methods manufacturers use, rivets and welding. Handles that are welded on are much more likely to break off over time than rivets, which are considerably stronger and last longer on average.

Number Of Items: How Many Pots and Pans Are In The Set?

Throughout our list, we covered some stainless steel cookware sets that came with as little as 5 pieces, others with as many as 15, and several options in between.

When choosing the right number of items in a cookware collection, it really depends on each person, their needs, what they’re looking for, and how much space they have to store the items.

One common mistake people make is they end up ordering a cookware set that includes items they rarely use. Similarly, not everyone considers how and where they plan on storing their new cookware collection, an issue they don’t realize is an issue until it comes time to put their cookware somewhere.

FAQs

As far as heat transfer is concerned, few cookware materials can compete with copper, and the only material that may perform better in this regard is cast iron. However, cast iron skillets and pans take much longer to heat up than copper-cored stainless steel cookware.

Similarly, in comparison to aluminum, copper is the superior conductor. However, in most cases, the difference between aluminum-cored stainless steel pans and those with a copper core may not be overly noticeable to the average cooker. Instead, as we touched on earlier, the advantages offered by a copper core are more likely to be appreciated by a professional chef/cook or someone who takes cooking very seriously.

For an interesting read exploring the safety of copper cookware, click here.

Not all stainless steel is food grade, and the FDA and other regulating bodies have strict rules in place regarding what stainless steels can and cannot be used as kitchenware.

For stainless steel cookware, most notably pots and pans, a handful of steels are commonly used, all of which have their own set of pros and cons.

430 Stainless Steel: 430 is a low carbon, magnetic stainless steel that is often used for making kitchen utensils, tables, and cookware and is consists of 17% chromium and 0.12% carbon. While it is a fairly durable metal, it is not the most resistant to corrosion and, give enough time, rust will undoubtedly occur.

If caught early, 430 can be polished back to its pre-corrosive state, meaning that while it does require more upkeep than other types of stainless steel, it can be long-lasting when properly cared for.

304 Stainless Steel: 304 is considered a much more premium stainless steel than 430 and is characterized by its chromium content which, at 18%, is higher than 430.

Not only is 304 non-magnetic, but it’s also very resistant to rust and corrosion, and all of the best stainless steel cookware will feature at least one layer of 304.

18/10 Stainless Steel: The 18/ system is used to denote a particular type of steel based on its nickel content. In the case of 18/10 stainless steel, this means a metal with 18% chromium and 10% nickel.

The advantage of adding nickel to a cookware set is durability, as nickel is known for having anti-corrosive properties. The downside, of course, is cost, which is why 18/10 stainless steel is almost much more expensive than its 430 counterparts.

18/8 Stainless Steel: Using the system outlined above, 18/8 refers to stainless steel that contains 18% chromium and 8% copper. While it’s more corrosive resistant than 430 steel, it is not as durable as 18/10 stainless.

When discussing stainless steel cookware, the question of stainless or glass lids is one of the more common questions we receive.

Neither option is outright better than the other, and the choice between one or the other really comes down to application. For example, stainless lids are superior for oven cooking as they can withstand much higher temperatures than tempered glass lids, many of which have a maximum heat capacity of around 300-350F. By comparison, stainless lids can withstand temperatures anywhere in the 400-600F range, which is quite the difference.

That being said, glass lids are often preferable for stove top cooking because they allow users to visually inspect their food without taking the lid off, releasing heat in the process. For this reason, if they come with a lid at all, most stainless steel pans are accessorized with a glass lid since the majority of their use is carried out over the stove top.

Yes, however, there are a few things to consider in regards to this question. First off, contrary to what many people say, stainless steel isn’t 100% inert. Still, it is far less reactive and more stable than copper and aluminum cookware.

Regardless of the type of stainless steel used, several studies have shown that all stainless steel pans leach some amount of chromium after continual use. While this may sound scary, neither the FDA nor The National Academy of Medicine consider chromium to be overly dangerous, and adults require up to 200 mcg per day for healthy functioning.

Similarly, much stainless steel cookware contains nickel, especially if made out of 18/10 or 18/8 stainless steel. Compared to Chromium, Nickel poisoning is a much more serious issue as ingesting too much can cause skin disorders and allergies.

Luckily, the amount of nickel that leaches out of stainless steel cookware is minimal and isn’t something to worry about. For those concerned about nickel content and decide to purchase nickel-free stainless pans, there is a trade-off – less nickel means the item is more susceptible to corrosion.

When we take all this into consideration, we can confidently say stainless steel cookware is not only safe but safer than several other common cookware materials.

One of the major advantages of stainless steel cookware is its anti-corrosive/rust properties. That being said, stainless steel pots and pans will still rust, especially after frequent use.

The extent to which a particular item of stainless steel cookware will rust also depends upon the type of stainless it’s made out of (a topic we will cover in further depth below). Generally speaking, cookware constructed out of 430 stainless is much more likely to rust than cookware made out of 304 or 18/10 stainless.

Unlike Teflon, coated aluminum, and other nonstick cookware, most stainless steel pots and pans don’t come with a nonstick coating of any kind.

While some strongly prefer the convenience of nonstick cookware, many people recognize the potential health issue that certain coatings can pose, especially as they begin to flake off and find their way into their food.

That being said, when properly seasoned, there is a way to make a stainless steel pan a nonstick skillet. To find out more about this process, read here.

Determining which cookware material is better depends entirely upon what traits you value over others, and for that reason, it’s an impossible question to answer objectively. Instead, a much better approach is to list out the pros and cons of each, which we will cover below.

Stainless Steel: One area in which stainless steel clearly beats cast iron is in ease of cleaning. Unlike the average cast iron skillet, which needs to be hand-washed, dried, and then re-seasoned to maintain its anti-corrosive and nonstick coating, stainless cookware can be placed directly in the dishwasher after use.

Moreover, with its aluminum core, stainless steel cookware heats up much quicker, much more evenly than cast iron, and is also much lighter and easier to handle.

Cast Iron: By comparison, a cast iron cookware set will require significantly more maintenance and upkeep, and while heating up, is prone to hot spots. The main reason for this is cast iron requires a thin layer of grease and oil to make it a nonstick skillet and protect it from corrosion. If this layer of oils, called the patina, breaks down, the pan can be damaged beyond repair.

However, cast iron pans are very durable, can be used under very high heat, and if the patina is well maintained, a cast iron pan can last longer than the average piece of stainless steel cookware.

As people have become more health-conscious over the last two decades, quite a bit of research has gone into determining just how safe many of the most common cookware materials are for our health.

If you’re partial to stainless cookware, then rest assured, it is considered one of the most healthy materials available and is considered safer than Teflon, cast iron, carbon steel, copper, and aluminum cookware.

The reason for its high safety profile is due to the fact that stainless steel is considerably more inert than the materials listed above, meaning even when heated to high temperatures, far fewer metals and chemicals leach into your food.

The only cookware material considered safer than stainless steel is enamel coated cast iron, titanium, and ceramic cookware.

While this question isn’t as straightforward to answer as some people would like, there are certainly a few brands that stand out above the rest.

But before we get to listing those brands, it’s important to understand that the answer depends largely on what one is looking for in a cookware set. Do you want value? Performance? Durability? A good warranty? Or a good selection of items?

The answer to the question will change depending upon what factors you value above others. That being said, we do believe that All Clad, Cuisinart, Calphalon, and Legend make the best stainless steel cookware sets.

A brushed finish is achieved by subjecting the exterior of a pot or pan to a fine sand-paper-like material that leaves the stainless steel with a rather dull finish instead of a shiny or mirror finish.

By contrast, a polish finish is much more time-consuming to achieve and involves using a polishing cream in conjunction with a polishing wheel to achieve a highly glossy, almost mirrored finish.

As far as stainless cookware sets are concerned, the difference between the two is purely aesthetic, and neither one is objectively superior or the other. That being said, unless maintained, polish-finished cookware will eventually wind up with a brushed appearance after continual use.

Final Thoughts

By now, not only should you be familiar with some of the best stainless steel cookware options on the market, but you should also know quite a bit more about stainless steel cookware than you did before you began.

Which ever set you end up choosing, good luck and happy cooking!

Dino Paccino

Dino Paccino

Dino is a lifelong writer and home improvement specialist. He enjoys bringing cutting-edge information on home renovation and remodeling to Kitchen Infinity.

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