A good non-stick frying pan is an essential item in your kitchen kit. It means you can use less (or no) oil or fat when cooking, and your pancakes will still gracefully slide off your pan when they're done.
They're generally easier to clean than other types of frying pans and although you shouldn't use them for high-heat cooking tasks such as searing, a good non-stick pan should be your go-to for things such as a perfectly cooked fried egg.
But with prices for non-stick pans headed into the hundreds, how much do you need to spend to get a good one and which cheaper pans receive the CHOICE Recommended tick of approval by our experts?
Cheap vs expensive frying pans
Each year, CHOICE experts put over 30 pans through their paces assessing factors such as how easy they are to use, their durability and how well they perform tasks such as cooking pancakes.
Not only do we cook up lots of pancakes and eggs, but we use a mechanical arm to repeatedly scour the surface of each pan 10,000 times to assess the resilience of the coating – a good sign if the pan is going to go the distance in your kitchen. The frying pans we tested recently range in price from just $14 up to around $450. When looking at the final score each pan receives, our experts say that some cheaper models do stack up against more expensive brands, outscoring pans that cost hundreds of dollars more. However, some of the high-end brands may have more premium features that could be important to you.
"The aspects that separated the best and worst models mostly came down to their durability and things like how easy they are to clean, the ergonomics of the handles and how well-balanced the pan is," says CHOICE expert Chantelle Dart.
Which cheaper frying pans scored well in CHOICE tests?
CHOICE members can access detailed reviews from our frying pan test to discover which pans give you the most bang for your buck. Become a CHOICE member or sign in to find out which budget buys under $150 our experts recommend.
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