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How we test cookware

We test saucepans and frypans in our kitchen lab to find out which will give you the best results.

frypan on induction cooktop

We all need to equip our kitchens with a range of pots and pans so we can whip up delicious home-cooked meals. Saucepans and frypans are versatile and must-have pieces of cookware. We've tested a range of saucepans and frypans in our kitchen lab and here we'll tell you how we put them to the test to give you results.

Our expert testers

There's no doubt that our home economist Fiona Mair knows her way around a kitchen and has endless knowledge about kitchen appliances. With 30 years of experience she has seen a lot of new technology enter the kitchen space. She is a wiz in the kitchen and knows how to put any appliance, big or small, through its paces to see if it's worth a spot in your kitchen.

How we choose what we test

With so much cookware to choose from on the market, 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 are most likely to see in the retailers. 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 normal consumer would.

How we test

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.

Durability

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.

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

Test criteria explained

Overall score

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%)

Our test lab

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.