The Farberware Classic Series 12-Quart Covered Stockpot offers good value for the price. In professional tests, it gets good marks for its even heating and rolled rim. Its weak point is the handles, which reviewers say get quite hot during cooking and are also uncomfortable and hard to grip.
Heats evenly. In professional tests, its cooking performance rivals the top-rated Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless 12-Qt. Stockpot with Cover (*Est. $70) and the pricey All-Clad Stainless 12-Qt. Stock Pot with Lid (*Est. $380). Owners say that the pot also holds its heat well and that the pot's heavy bottom does a good job of searing meat for a pot of chili. The only complaint we saw about hot spots came from one Amazon user who says that after an hour of simmering, homemade applesauce burned to the bottom. Other users, however, specifically note that they had no problem with food sticking to the pot.
Snug-fitting lid is a pro and con. Mariette Mifflin of About.com says the tight fit is good for "self-basting," and reviewers at a foodie magazine note that it does a good job trapping moisture. However, an owner at Amazon complains that because the lid does not have a vent to release steam, it seeps out under the edges, creating a risk of burns "even when using the handles." Other users corroborate the hot-handle issue; one owner complains about the need to use oven mitts for draining pasta, which is "not something I have to do with my other pots."
However, this isn't a unique problem given that the other stainless-steel stockpots covered in our sources require potholders as well. Professional testers complain about the shape of the pot's handles, saying they were uncomfortable and difficult to grip. However, owners do like that the handles are welded in place, so there are no rivets to trap food. This makes the stockpot easier to clean by hand -- a good thing, since one owner points out that this large pot may not fit in the dishwasher. Another nice feature of this stockpot is its rolled rim, which Mifflin says allows for "dripless pouring."
Shiny finish. Most users like this, although we did see one reviewer who would have preferred a "brushed" finish that doesn't show scratches. However, users who have had their pots for a while say the mirror finish actually holds up quite well to heavy use. One says it has "kept its sheen and good looks through many cleanings," and another reports that the pot has "stayed beautiful in our active kitchen for over a year despite constant use and frequent washing."
Holds up well over time. One Amazon review says that the pot "looks as good as new, and works just as well" after four years, and another says that it "has taken quite a beating over the years without so much as a ding." One user notes the durability of the Farberware line as a whole, saying it would take a psychic to distinguish the 45-year-old pots from the new ones.
We found only a couple of scattered complaints about the pot's durability, both of them relating to the exterior finish. These two owners say that the interior of the pot began to show signs of rust or wear after just a few uses. This appears to be an unusual problem, however, and one that would be covered under Farberware's lifetime warranty. A couple of users expressed concern that the welded-on handles might not be as secure as riveted handles, but we did not see any reports of actual breakage.
1. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Review Credibility: Very Good Although this is an older review, it's still the most thorough test of soup pots we found. Editors at Cooks Illustrated magazine test nine 12-quart stockpots, including the Farberware Classic Series 12-Quart Covered Stockpot. They boil water, cook pasta and corn, and prepare large batches of chili. In general, they find that heavier pots provide more even heat, while a wider shape is convenient for cooking and cleanup. Large, easy-to-grip handles are also a plus. Three pots are recommended, one of them highly -- but most perform fairly well.
Review: Stockpots, Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, Feb. 1, 2007
Review Credibility: Good We found about 40 Amazon reviews for the Farberware Classic Series 12-Quart Covered Stockpot, with an average rating of 4.6 stars out of a possible 5. Overall, most owners consider this stockpot a great value. They say it delivers fast, even heat and holds its heat well. They also like its large capacity, heavy base and comfortable handles. We did find a couple of complaints about rust or wear to the surface, but most owners say this pot is quite durable.
Review: Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Covered Stockpot, 12-Quart, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2013
Review Credibility: Good Mariette Mifflin, About.com's guide to housewares and appliances, includes the Farberware Classic Series 12-Quart Covered Stockpot in this list of her top 10 stockpots. She says its aluminum disk base delivers good heat distribution, and she likes its rolled rim and snug-fitting lid. However, it's not clear that Mifflin has actually tested this pot or any of the others on the list.
Review: Best 12-Qt Stock Pots, Mariette Mifflin, Not dated