It can be difficult to know what makes a saucepan better than others, what you should look for and the difference in price. Never fear though as help is at hand. We’ve put together our own On The Hob Saucepan Buying Guide to explain the key things you need to know when looking for a new saucepan range, something which can be both a product which will last for years and a long term investment.
What do you need?
The first question will be what do you need? There are so many different types of saucepans and cookware on the market and one size doesn’t fit all. Good starting points are
- Do you need dishwasher safe pans?
- Are they suitable for your hob? Eg Induction and Gas hobs may have cookware which is better suited, equally some will also be suitable for oven use
- How do you like to cook, which pans are best for you?
What type of hob do you have?
The hob you use will affect your choice of cookware. Here are the key things you need to know.
- Solid Fuel Hobs – Eg Rayburns and Agas. These hobs will produce intense heat and the pans must be capable of withstanding it.
- Gas hobs – Any type of Saucepan is suitable for a gas hob. just be wary of the handle – do not let the gas flame near it as it may be to hot to pick up.
- Induction Hobs – Induction hobs work by the transfer of heat magnetically from the induction coil. Pans will state whether they are suitable for this type of hob, they must be magnetic – eg Cast Iron. Aluminium and Copper are not suitable.
- Ceramic Hobs – Any pan can be used but they must be lifted and not slid as sliding may damage the ceramic plates. With this in mind consider weight, cast iron pans may not be suitable.
- Halogen Hobs – Similar to ceramic except thick saucepans should be used as they may be subject to intense bursts of heat.
- Electrical Radiant Spiral Hobs – All types of Cookware can be used on Radiant Spiral Hobs
- Solid Hotplate Hobs – As these hobs are a solid plate it is best to use a flat based Pan for the most even heat coverage.
That describes the type of Hobs now on to the types of Cookware.
Stainless Steel Pans – Stainless Steel pans can come in a variety of metal combinations, so be sure to check the quality – 18/10 (18% Chromium 10% Nickel) is considered high quality. Stainless Steel Pans can be highly polished, Scratch and dent resistant, suitable for induction hobs (as a general rule but always check the product details), usually dishwasher safe. Also many stainless steel ranges come with non stick coatings.
Aluminium Pans – Aluminum Pans can be coated or uncoated. Aluminium is an inexpensive lightware marterial which heats quickly. Coated pans will have an enamel coating to make them easy to clean and hard wearing. Many Aluminium pans have non stick coatings.
Hard Anodised Pans – These Aluminum pans have been through a chemical process to make them smooth and non porous. They are resistent to scratches and peeling, stronger than stainless steel with great durability and heat distribution.
Cast Iron Cookware – Cast Iron pans are heavy as they have thick walls. As such they retain heat well. A popular brand of Cast Iron cookware is Le Creuset. Usually Dishwasher safe
These are the key points to bear in mind when buying Saucepans. Do you have any favourites? Leave a comment with your views.