It's that time of year again. The time when legacy brands mark up their prices so they can pretend things are on sale at a massive markdown!
Most of these brands are lying — at least a little bit — but that doesn't mean there aren't still some good deals in the mix. We'll also compare them to their actual historic prices rather than the fake prices listed on product pages.
We'll be scoping out all the sales to find the best products at the best prices through Monday. If you think we're missing something, drop us a comment or a message on TikTok or Instagram!
If you need to fry in something, this should be your default. Nonstick is fine for some things (and we'll get there shortly), but stainless steel is old reliable. Anything we recommend is going to be fully-clad (we don't fuck with disc-bottom construction) and ideally comes with a lid.
10-inch models are our favorite because it's typically the best balance of space to weight. Other sizes are probably on-sale too, but we prioritized whatever size was closest to that 10" sweet spot.
Typically the price point we're looking to beat here is $75, but we'd classify anything under $100 as reasonable. Beyond that, you're primarily paying for brand caché and maybe aesthetics.
A lot of folks seem to think of these as the default pan, but they're fragile and they have short lifespans comparatively, so they're best saved for specific use cases where they have the biggest impact.
Again, we're prioritizing that 10" sweet spot, but that doesn't mean it's the only option.
Target price range is $50 or less because we're mostly looking at cheap aluminum construction. If we find one that's fully-clad stainless with a nonstick coating, that's worth a bit more. Either way, its days are numbered so we don't want to go overboard price-wise.
The oldest nonstick in the book. These take a little getting used to for most people but don't need babied nearly as much as social media would have you think. They'll take a beating and live to meet your great grandkids, so a little extra splurge isn't the worst.
A lot of this market is defined by low-quality brands like Lodge and even mediocre entries from legacy brands like Le Creuset. We're skipping those and focusing on units with a nice, smooth finish that'll make cooking a better experience (not to mention maintenance). Target prices are $75 for carbon steel and $100 for cast iron.
Enameled cast iron is a classic workhorse of the kitchen. There are a ton of high-quality options and even more low-quality options.
The biggest problems in the space tend to be chipping caused by mediocre enameling. There are legacy brands who've worked through these issues, but a lot of the newcomer brands still struggle with it.
Target price range depends largely on size with 4qt typically being about $120 and 6-8qt running about $200-250. We'd expect lower from DTC brands and higher from brands like Le Creuset and Staub.
The typical, standard 2-3qt saucepan is a beautiful thing, but they're often overcomplicated. We're keeping it simple: the only things we'll recommend are fully-clad stainless steel or enamelware. Nonstick need not apply. If it's got a disc on the bottom, we don't want it.
Target price range is $50-75 and we expect lids to be included.
Insert mandatory "every chef's best friend" preface.
We're looking for good quality steels that make the right compromises in terms of cost, edge retention, and durability. Typically, we'll target an 8" length which we think is the best size for most people.
If you've got small hands, we'd recommend a little smaller. Big hands, go a little bigger.
Target price is hard to pin down in this category and depends entirely on the materials and the design. If you're in the market, we'll ask you to trust that we're evaluating for a good cost/quality ratio and pick whichever one fits your budget best.
There are tons of handheld electronic or mechanical tools that make our lives easier as cooks. We'll keep our eyes peeled for anything worth your time and money.
Stand mixers. Toasters. Food Processors. You know the drill. If it lives on your counter and heats up or spins, it's going here.