Cookware Rating Sources
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
ConsumerReports.org lists test results for 18 sets of cookware, including 13 nonstick sets and five uncoated sets. Editors cook pancakes to measure cooking evenness and clean sticky bŽchamel sauce to evaluate ease of cleaning. They also test the surfaces of nonstick pans by cooking four eggs in a row without adding oil between each, and they scrub the surfaces with steel wool to test their durability. This report puts special emphasis on handles, which get three separate scores for safety, comfort and sturdiness. Only two nonstick sets are recommended, with one also receiving a best buy designation.
by Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine
Cook's Illustrated has a number of individual reviews of cookware that are extremely helpful in extrapolating how well cookware sets made up of similar pieces will perform. Reviews include stainless steel, nonstick and cast-iron cookware Skillets, pots, pans, fry pans, Dutch ovens, stock pots and roasting pans are all reviewed. Each review is thorough and includes testing. For more expensive items, comparable alternatives are suggested.
The Best Skillet
by Michael Zhao
Cooking enthusiast Michael Zhao chooses the best skillet by hands on testing, research and speaking with experts. Ultimately, he chooses the All-Clad 12-inch Stainless Steel Fry Pan, but his exhaustive research results in a lot of useful information about other pots and pans that are top picks (or not) for the kitchen. He does not review any nonstick pans, but this was a great resource for both stainless steel and cast iron products.
by Editors of Chowhound.com
Like Cook's Illustrated, Chowhound.com has thorough reviews of individual cookware items that are very helpful in determining how a set of cookware made up of items in that cookware line will perform. Chowhound.com's reviews are some of the most rigorous and detailed of any testing organization, with an up to 5-star rating and breakdowns for various attributes. However, this site is more difficult to navigate than Cook's Illustrated, and it can take some searching to find specific cookware reviews.
by Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine
In this review, editors narrow the wide selection of cookware on the market to six sets that offer what they consider to be the most usable pieces. Reviewers test using specific cooking tasks and also consider the cookware's construction, pan weight and whether the handles get hot. Three sets are recommended. This test doesn't include any nonstick cookware sets, which Cook's Illustrated editors are not fans of. This is an older review, but the recommended products have not changed since the test was performed.
Best Nonstick Cookware
by Editors of Good Housekeeping
Editors of Good Housekeeping evaluate 10 lines of traditional cookware, giving them a thorough test of cooking performance, ease of cleaning, perceived durability and nonstick properties. Reviews include pros and cons as well as an overview of each set. Elsewhere on the site, individual pots and pans are tested, including All-Clad, Tramontina, Lodge and Simply Calphalon.
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Amazon.com has thousands of cookware sets in all price ranges and categories. It is an excellent source for owner reviews of cookware -- which often note durability problems that are missed by some professional tests. It's also a great way to learn how well the cookware performs in real-world use. Cheap cookware sets get the most ratings, but better brands get reviews from foodies or people who really care about cooking, so they tend to be more detailed and informative.
by Contributors to Walmart.com
Walmart.com is a great resource for cookware brands that you might not find elsewhere, and is the primary seller of one of our top picks, the Tramontina 8-piece 18/10 Stainless Steel TriPly-Clad Cookware Set. There are a good number of reviews for the products and they tend to be thorough and well-thought-out. Reviewers can also say if they would recommend the cookware to a friend.
by Contributors to Macys.com
Macys.com is a particularly good resource for mid-level to high-end cookware sets. There are fewer reviews overall, but the top-rated sets can have hundreds. Reviews are thorough and reviewers have the option to recommend the product. There is also a demographic breakdown that includes the cooking skill level of the contributor, which offers interesting insight, especially in negative reviews where it may be obvious that the buyer did not understand what they were purchasing.
by Contributors to Wayfair.com
There aren't quite as many cookware sets overall at Wayfair.com as at some other retailers, but it's still a great resource for many of the most popular ones. Some sets get hundreds of reviews, although they tend to be briefer with less detail than at other sites. Also, we found many reviews -- both positive and negative -- that focused on shipping or other issues specific to the site, rather than the overall performance of the cookware.