Pay The Right Price for Pots and Pans -- Savings Experiment

Pay The Right Price for Pots and Pans
Pay The Right Price for Pots and Pans

Shopping for pots and pans can be confusing. Some sets cost as little as $30, while others can run you as much as $2,000. With such a huge difference in price, you can't help but wonder if paying more means you'll actually be getting more. Here are a few tips to help you figure out which pots and pans are right for both your kitchen, and your wallet.

First, consider what material the piece is made from. Copper looks pretty and conducts heat the best, but unless you're a pro chef, it might not be worth it to pay over a thousand bucks for a top-of-the-line set.

Cast iron is really durable and great at cooking your food evenly. However, it's also heavy and tough to clean, which might not be appealing if you plan on using it a lot. The most popular aluminum options are coated in Teflon because it keeps food from sticking, but over time the pan's surface will peel and flake off into your food.

So, what are we left with? Stainless steel. his can be a great choice since it's affordable, sturdy and, no matter how many times you use it, it won't peel or rust. It's also great for browning and searing meat.

And while you're shopping, don't feel pressured to buy an entire set. If you're not going to doing anything too fancy, you only really need three pieces: A 2-quart saucepan for cooking rice, soup and sauce; astockpot for boiling water to make pasta or steamed vegetables; and a sauté pan that you can use to sear and sauté meats and vegetables, deep-fry chicken or even to make stir-fry dishes. The best part is, you can usually find deals on all three of these for around $150.

Regardless of what you choose, shop carefully -- sometimes, the numbers on the box can be deceiving. Some manufacturers will advertise a 10-piece set, but what you may not realize is that each lid counts as a piece.

Finally, don't look past the handles -- they matter, too. Plastic handles are the least reliable because they crack easily and can't be used in the oven if the temperature is over 350 degrees. Wooden handles are a decent middle-of-the-road option, as they're sturdy and will stay cool to the touch. However, you can't put them in the oven, or the dishwasher. So, if it's all around durability you want, metal handles can be a great choice. Just be sure to use a rubber grip or a potholder since they can heat up fast while cooking.

As you shop for pots and pans, remember these tips to help you buy the right piece for the right price. You'll find that you can heat up your cooking skills, without burning your budget.

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