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The bargain Kmart pans that beat the big brands

A $19 frypan and $20 saucepan sizzled in our lab, ranking higher than expensive brands like Le Creuset, Scanpan and Tefal.

kmart saucepan and frypan on teal background
Last updated: 08 April 2024

Need to know

  • Our experts gave a $19 Kmart frypan and a $20 Kmart saucepan top marks in our test, ranking them above expensive brands such as Le Creuset, Scanpan, Tefal and Chasseur
  • However, other Kmart cookware failed to impress, with some products ranked lowest overall
  • Our experts recommend checking our detailed reviews before you buy to ensure you get the best value for your money

A good frypan is a must for every cook's kitchen, for everything from scrambling eggs to cooking a golden batch of pancakes or searing a steak. You might be using it every day, so it's important to find one that you love to cook with and that will last the distance. 

But, for what seems like a simple, straightforward purchase, there's an eye-watering amount of options to choose from, all at wildly different prices. With options ranging from as little as $13 up to more than $400, how can you tell how much you should spend? 

It's important to find one that you love to cook with and that will last the distance

Our CHOICE experts put 38 frying pans and 24 saucepans from leading brands to the test, and they found several budget buys that outperformed other pans costing hundreds of dollars more. 

The $19 Kmart Anko stainless-steel non-stick 24cm frying pan and the $20 Kmart Anko 20cm stainless steel saucepan were our low-cost standouts, scoring higher on performance, ease of use and durability than brands such as Scanpan, Le Creuset, Jamie Oliver, Tefal, Chasseur and Swiss Diamond.

The difference between $19 and $300 cookware

As might be the case with things such as your favourite knife or appliance, your idea of what makes 'the best' frying pan can differ from the next person. 

Different materials, styles or features may be more important to you than others: do you like a heavy or a light feel, for example, a stainless-steel finish or a heat-resistant handle? 

Is it important to you if you can chuck it in the dishwasher? Or are you more concerned about how perfectly it distributes heat to fry your eggs? 

High-end brands generally have more premium features that may be important to you

And when we're talking differences of hundreds of dollars – is it really worth splashing the cash? 

If you look at factors such as performance for everyday cooking, general ease of use and durability, our experts say that some cheaper models do stack up.  

frypan on induction cooktop

All the frying pans and saucepans we test are induction compatible.

Separating the best and worst

"Many of the frying pans we tested in our labs performed quite well across the board, despite what they cost," says CHOICE kitchen expert Chantelle Dart

"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." 

High-end brands generally have more premium features that may be important to you. Scanpan pans, for example, are made from 100% recycled aluminium for a greener production process. 

Heavy-duty materials such as enamel cast iron if looked after can last a lifetime. If you want to avoid non-stick coated cookware then ceramic cookware is a possible alternative.

Some cheaper frying pans may have a thinner base, which can change shape over time, affecting its ability to evenly distribute heat

Frying pans at the top of the price scale may use a higher quality of stainless steel, which can protect them for longer against rust or corrosion, or the non-stick coating may last longer than cheaper brands. 

This is reflected in the fact that more expensive brands usually come with warranties of one to two years or more, with customer service and repair centres available should you require. 

Some cheaper frying pans also may have a thinner base, which can change shape over time, affecting the pan's ability to evenly distribute heat. 

This is more of an issue if you have an induction cooktop because it will only heat the parts of the pan in contact with the surface. Look for a fully magnetised base for induction cooking.

kmart anko 24cm frypan

The 24cm Kmart Anko frypan that performed as well as leading brands in our tests.

Should you buy a frypan from Kmart?

At just $19, the 24cm stainless steel Kmart Anko frypan impressed our testers, who gave it one of our highest scores, proving yet again that price is not always an indicator of performance. 


"It's a lightweight, well-balanced pan that's easy to clean," says Chantelle. "In our tests, it scored well for evenness of heating and durability. Even though it's only $19, it's comparable with other brands that are significantly more expensive." 

If pancakes are a regular on your breakfast menu, this pan delivers the goods. It has excellent distribution of heat, making evenly cooked, golden-brown pancakes in our tests. 

Even though it's only $19, it's comparable with other brands that are significantly more expensive

Chantelle Dart, CHOICE kitchen expert

And it rated well in our durability test too, where we scrub one section of the pan surface 10,000 times with a scourer attached to a mechanical scrubbing arm.

It's also oven-safe, as well as being suitable to use on any type of cooktop. (All the pans we tested in our latest review are suitable for induction.)

The product says that it's dishwasher safe as well – but our experts recommend against putting any non-stick pan in the dishwasher, as it will damage the coating over time. 


On the downside, our testers were less than impressed with the pan's non-stick capabilities. 

You shouldn't need any oil to fry an egg in a non-stick pan, but our experts found they needed to use oil to stop the egg sticking (an issue that may be avoided if you opt for a more expensive pan).

"In our tests, we've found that the more expensive frypans generally have better non-stick properties than the cheaper products," says Chantelle. 

However, over time you may need to add oil or butter to make releasing foods easier. Cleaning and high temperatures can also reduce the non stick capabilities.

While it did receive a high CHOICE Expert Rating, this pan has a thin base so it will continue to heat as you cook

Chantelle Dart

"While it did receive a high CHOICE Expert Rating, this pan has a thin base so it will continue to heat as you cook," says Chantelle. "This means you need to adjust your heat settings as you cook to prevent burning or sticking.

"Avoid high temperatures as it can warp over time." 

The frypan's stainless-steel handle is fairly comfortable to hold, but it doesn't have a non-slip grip. It also has straight sides, which can make it difficult to lift or flip food. 

And exposed rivets inside the pan and the stainless-steel exterior and base can discolour and require extra cleaning attention.

kmart anko 20cm stainless steel saucepan sku p42621508

This $20 Kmart saucepan ranked higher than products worth hundreds of dollars.

Should you buy a Kmart saucepan?

At just $20, Kmart Anko's 20cm stainless steel saucepan is certainly favourably priced if you're on a budget, but is it any good?

Our experts thought so: they rated it as one of the best of all the saucepans we tested, scoring it higher than products costing many times more, from big-name brands such as Le Creuset, Scanpan, Swiss Diamond and more. 


"When we tested the saucepan for how quickly it boils water and how well it cooks scrambled eggs, it did really well," says Chantelle.

"We use these tests because they're good indicators of how well a saucepan heats up, how evenly it cooks and whether the food sticks as you're cooking. 

"These scores are comparable with other saucepans that cost hundreds of dollars."

The Kmart saucepan's scores are comparable with other saucepans that cost hundreds of dollars

Chantelle Dart, CHOICE kitchen expert

Like the frypan, the saucepan is also light and well-balanced, and easy to use one-handed and to pour from. The glass lid means you can easily check on your food as it's cooking. 

And the stainless steel makes it easy to clean – as long as there's no baked-on food. 

You can also pop it in the dishwasher if you don't fancy washing by hand, and it's reportedly safe to use in the oven (though there's no detail provided with the product about what temperatures it can withstand, so we advise you proceed with caution). 


While the saucepan aced the cooking tests, it lost marks on how easy it is to use. 

Most of our experts' criticisms relate to its lid: it has a narrow handle that offers limited protection from heat, crevices around the rim of the lid can accumulate grime and be difficult to clean, and the lid rattles and jumps when boiling. 

The circle of stainless steel under the lid handle can become dangerously hot, so you need to be very careful when using it. 

A tale of two pans

If you're hot-footing it to Kmart already, be wary. You need to be sure you're picking up the right pan, because several other Kmart buys were panned (sorry) by our expert critics. 

kmart anko 24cm aluminium 4 layer non stick frypan wood look sku p42567066

The not-so-hot Kmart Anko Aluminium 4 Layer Non-Stick Frypan.

The Kmart frypans to avoid:

The Kmart Anko 24cm aluminium 3-layer non-stick frypan ($15) and the Kmart Anko 24cm aluminium 4-layer non-stick frypan ($14) both totally bombed in our tests, with a CHOICE Expert Rating of just 54%. 

Neither did very well in our durability test, which means the non-stick surface is less likely to hold up well over time, and their non-stick capabilities were questionable. 

They're both also prone to discolouration over time due to exposed stainless steel rivets, and the base of the four-layer pan can warp during cooking, which will see your food run to one side of the pan.  

There's yet another Kmart frypan in our review – Kmart Anko 24cm Stone Blast Frypan, which costs $19. With a score of 71%, it's not terrible, but it's also not the hottest pan in town either. Give it a miss.

kmart anko 20cm stainless steel saucepan with lid

Same name, wildly different performance: This Kmart 20cm saucepan bombed in our tests.

The Kmart saucepans to avoid

Buying a saucepan from Kmart is where you have to be extra careful: you want the Kmart Anko 20cm Stainless Steel Saucepan, not the Kmart Anko 20cm Stainless Steel Saucepan with Lid

The former also has a lid, just to confuse things further. Clear as mud, right?

The latter is cheaper – just $13 – but it's not the great buy that its sibling is. It scored just 66% overall and didn't do particularly well on the scrambled egg test. 

In a slightly anti-Goldilocks situation, Kmart not only had a saucepan at the top and bottom of the table, but also in the middle, too – only this one isn't 'just right'. 

The Kmart Anko 20cm Aluminium Saucepan in Stone Grey ($20) isn't a fizzer, but it's not exactly hot stuff, either. It scored 72% overall, with middling performance in each of our tests. 

Read our full frypan review and detailed saucepan review to find out how Kmart's cookware stacks up against other brands.

Which type of frypan should I choose?

If you've decided to replace your pans but you're not sure what type to buy or where to start, head to our induction cookware buying guide. CHOICE members can view the top recommended pans in our expert reviews.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.