We all need to equip our kitchens with a range of versatile pots and pans so we can whip up delicious home-cooked meals. Here at CHOICE we test a range of saucepans and frypans in our kitchen lab so we can find the best cookware on the market. This is how we get our results.
There's no doubt that our home economist Fiona Mair knows her way around a kitchen and has endless knowledge about kitchen appliances. With over 30 years' experience she's seen a lot of new technology enter the kitchen space, and knows how to put any appliance – big or small – through its paces to see if it's worthy of a spot in your kitchen.
With so much cookware on the market to choose from, what makes us choose one saucepan or frypan to test over another? As with most of our product testing, our aim is to test the most popular models on the market and what you're most likely to see in stores. In the case of cookware, we make sure all the products we test are compatible with induction cooktops.
We survey manufacturers to find out about their range of models, we check market sales information and we check for any member requests to test specific models. From this information we put together a final list that goes to our buyers. They then head out to the retailers and purchase each product, just as a regular consumer would, so we can be sure the products haven't been 'tweaked' in any way for better performance.
We compare a range of saucepans and frypans by testing:
- heating efficiency for saucepans by timing how quickly they heat 1 litre of water
- evenness of cooking and sticking of food for saucepans by cooking scrambled eggs
- evenness of heating for frypans by cooking pancakes.
For non-stick frypans we assess the durability and resilience of the non-stick surface by scrubbing a section of each pan 10,000 times. We use a mechanical scrubbing arm with a Scotch-Brite scourer attached and with a 10kg weight applied.
The mechanical scrubbing arm we use to test the durability of the non-stick surface of frypans.
Ease of use
Our home economist assesses the ease of use of each saucepan and frypan by checking:
- how well balanced the saucepan or frypan is
- how comfortable the handles are to hold
- steam control (for saucepans)
- ease of pouring (for saucepans)
- how easy they are to clean.
For saucepans the overall score is made up of:
- performance (60%)
- ease of use (40%).
For frypans the overall score is made up of:
- performance (50%)
- surface durability (25%)
- ease of use (25%).
We maintain a kitchen lab that is up to date with the latest reference machines and calibrated measurement tools for our testers to bring you the right results.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.