What's the best cookware for induction cooktops?
Your main options are clad stainless steel, cast iron, and carbon steel. Aluminum cookware works if it has a magnetic stainless base (which many brands do).
We'll demystify your options, explain what makes induction cookware great--or not so great--and provide recommendations of our favorite brands.
The Best Induction Cookware at a Glance
Here's a summary of the best induction cookware: the first table is clad stainless steel cookware sets; the second table is skillets (non-clad stainless). See detailed reviews of each below. With a set of clad stainless steel cookware and a nonstick skillet or two, you have about 99% of your cooking essentials covered.
Best Induction Cookware Sets (Clad Stainless Steel)
Best Overall (heaviest):
-3mm thick (excellent heating)
-Rivetless cooking surface
-Made in Belgium
-30 year warranty
-Insulated lids (SLT only).
-Heavier than All-Clad
-Smallest set is 10 pc.
Best Overall (lightest):
-2.6mm thick (excellent heating)
-Many sets and open stock to choose from
-Made in USA
-Some people hate the handles.
Best Bargain Set: Cuisinart Multiclad-Pro
-2.6mm thick (excellent heating)
-Made in China
-Lower quality stainless than A/C
-Super thick, heavy pieces
-Rivetless cooking surface
-75% more alum. than AC D3
-Made in Belgium
-30 year warranty.
-May feel unbalanced to people used to fully clad cookware.
Best Cast Iron Skillet: Lodge
-Nonstick when seasoned
-Excellent for high heat searing
-Made in USA.
-Slow, uneven heating (must preheat several minutes)
-Rough base can scratch glass cooktops
-Seasoning can react with acidic foods and liquids
Best Carbon Steel: Matfer-Bourgeat
-Nonstick when seasoned
-Great for high heat searing
-Made in France.
-Heats unevenly (must preheat several minutes)
-Rough base may scratch glass cooktops
-Seasoning can react with acidic foods and liquids.
First: What Is Induction?
Here's a short video, made by the Belgian cookware manufacturer Demeyere, on how induction cooking works:
If you want to learn more, check out our other articles on induction and induction cookware:
The Definitive All-Clad Cookware Review
All-Clad Vs. Demeyere: Which Is Better?
Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad Review
Cuisinart Clad Stainless Cookware Review
Heritage Steel Cookware Review
The Advantages of Cooking with Induction
If you don't see what you're looking for, check out our articles on induction cookware and our articles about induction cooktops. We have several more articles on induction cooking and induction cookware.
Induction Cooking Pros and Cons
Quick Tips on Buying Induction Cookware
If you don't want to read the whole article, here are some quick tips that will help you select the best induction cookware for your needs:
How Does Induction Cookware Work? (The Basics)
The basic feature of induction cookware is that it's magnetic: the bottom of the pan must stick to a magnet.
But there's a little bit more to it than that.
Magnetism: The Key to Induction Cookware
Most people in the market for induction cookware know that induction-compatible cookware has to be magnetic. That's not all there is to it. Here are some important considerations:
What Cookware Works on Induction Cooktops?
So, magnetic cookware works with induction. But which cookware is magnetic?
Here's a list:
Clad stainless steel. The most common stainless steel, called 18/10 or 18/8 or "surgical stainless" or 300 grade, is not magnetic. To make clad stainless cookware magnetic, an 18/0 grade--also called 400 grade--is used on the exterior of the cookware. 400 grade stainless steel is nickel free, which makes it magnetic.
Why isn't magnetic stainless steel used throughout induction cookware? Because it isn't as corrosion resistant as 300 grade stainless. Thus, most clad stainless cookware has magnetic stainless on the exterior and 300 grade on the cooking surface. (Some cheaper clad stainless cookware is all 18/0 and advertised as "nickel-free." It tends to be inexpensive and poorer quality cookware, so you don't want this unless you have a nickel allergy and are sensitive to the nickel in good quality clad stainless cookware.)
Older clad stainless cookware, made before the mid-1990s, may be all 18/10 and therefore not induction compatible. But almost all new clad stainless cookware is induction compatible.
Cast iron. Cast iron is magnetic, so all cast iron cookware is induction compatible. This includes enameled cast iron cookware like le Creuset and Staub.
Carbon steel. Carbon steel is magnetic, so all carbon steel cookware is induction compatible.
Cookware with a magnetic stainless disc on the bottom. Aluminum cookware, like most nonstick skillets, are not magnetic, but many brands have a magnetic disc on the bottom to make them compatible with induction. We aren't huge fans of nonstick cookware because it's not the safest choice, but if you must have a nonstick skiller, Anolon Luxe Nouvelle is a good choice.
What Cookware Does NOT Work on Induction Cooktops?
Any cookware that is not magnetic or does not have a magnetic disc on the bottom is not induction compatible.
Here's a list:
Copper. Pure copper cookware is not induction compatible because copper is not magnetic. However, clad copper cookware, like All-Clad Copper Core, is induction-compatible because of the magnetic stainless exterior.
Note also that pseudo-copper cookware--those inexpensive copper-colored nonstick pans--do not contain any actual copper, and may or may not be induction-compatible: Like other aluminum cookware, they need to have a magnetic base in order to work with induction; some have these, and some don't.
Aluminum. Aluminum is not magnetic so if there is no magnetic disc, it is not induction compatible. Many aluminum brands of cookware do have a magnetic plate on the bottom to make them induction compatible.
Ceramic. 100% ceramic cookware, like Xtrema and Corningware Visions, does not work with induction.
Does Induction Cookware Work on Gas and Electric Cooktops?
Yes. In fact, we think the best induction cookware--clad stainless steel--is also the best all-around cookware, no matter what type of stove or cooktop you have.
Cast iron and carbon steel also work well on gas and electric--if you have a glass cooktop, cast iron can scratch it, so you have to be careful (e.g., don't drag the pan across the cooktop or set it down hard).
For more information, see our article The Best Cookware for Gas Stoves.
Why Is Clad Stainless Steel the Best Cookware for Induction?
We think clad stainless is the best cookware for induction cooktops.
When you combine stainless steel and aluminum, or stainless and copper, you get the best of both worlds: the durability and stability of stainless with the fast, even heating of aluminum (and/or copper).
Clad stainless steel cookware is as durable as cast iron, has the heating properties of aluminum (that is, fast and even), and is stable and non-reactive.
And you don't have to season it.
Clad stainless cookware also has a smooth exterior and is lighter than cast iron and carbon steel, so it won't scratch your induction cooktop.
You can also find large sets and a large variety of open stock clad stainless pieces, which is not the case for cast iron or carbon steel, which are most often seen just as skillets.
For these reasons, clad stainless steel makes the best all-around induction cookware. In fact, most cooks believe that clad stainless cookware is the best all-around cookware period--so even if you don't have an induction cooktop, there are a lot of reasons to go with clad stainless steel cookware.
Yes, we know that stainless steel can be "sticky" and that it's harder to clean than nonstick cookware or even well-seasoned cast iron or carbon steel. But if you use the right cooking method--fat or oil heated to shimmering before you add food and allowing food to release naturally before trying to move it--it's really not that bad. Stainless steel's durability and heating performance make it well worth the slightly more cleanup time it might take over nonstick.
What About Cast Iron and Carbon Steel?
We group cast iron and carbon steel together because they have a similar makeup of iron and carbon.
Cast iron and carbon steel both hold heat extremely well, and both are extremely durable. While both materials work on induction and are excellent for some things (such as high heat searing), they have some drawbacks in general and for induction cooking in particular.
Here are the drawbacks of cast iron and carbon steel for induction cooking:
- Cast iron is heavy and can have a rough exterior, so it can scratch or crack glass cooktops if not handled carefully.
- Cast iron heats slowly and unevenly, which is not ideal for induction, which is super fast--so you can end up with a lot of hot/cold spots if you don't allow it to pre-heat enough before cooking.
- Carbon steel is lighter than cast iron, but heavier than clad stainless.
- Most carbon steel pans have a smoother exterior than cast iron, but may still scratch a glass cooktop.
- Both cast iron and carbon steel require seasoning or they rust. Seasoning is not difficult, and it gives the pans a nonstick surface, but it takes practice to get the hang of it. Even pre-seasoned pans need more seasoning before they form the smooth, nonstick surface that makes them so great to cook with.
- Cast iron and carbon steel can impart a metallic flavor to acidic foods (e.g., tomatoes, wine, lemon juice, vinegar), and liquids can ruin the seasoning, so they're not as versatile as clad stainless steel.
Having said all of this, there is definitely a time and place for cast iron and carbon steel in induction cooking (or any type of cooking). Cast iron is the absolute best choice for high-heat searing and deep frying. Carbon steel will work too, though its heat retention isn't quite as good. However, a well-seasoned carbon steel pan makes a great egg pan and even works as an all-purpose skillet if you prefer it over clad stainless.
Our favorite choice for cast iron is the always affordable Lodge brand: you can spend hundreds more on beautiful, artisan cast iron that will be smoother out of the box, but it's not going to cook your food any better because all cast iron heats pretty much the same.
For carbon steel, we like both Vollrath and Matfer-Bourgeat. These brands have welded handles so there are no rivets on the cooking surface (an excellent feature).
See our article Cast Iron Skillets: How Much Should You Spend? for more information on differences between inexpensive cast iron pans and artisan cast iron pans.
For a comparison of carbon steel and stainless steel pans, see our article Carbon Steel Vs. Stainless Steel Pans: Which Are Better? For more on carbon steel pans, see The Best Carbon Steel Pans.
And of course, there is enameled cast iron, which we prefer for Dutch ovens because of the 1) excellent heat retention and 2) protective enameled coating (no seasoning required). The enameled exterior is also smoother than bare cast iron, so there's less chance of scratching your glass cooktop.
You can find sets of enameled cast iron, but they're heavy pans, so we prefer to use them where their performance is stellar, and that's for Dutch ovens: braising, stews, and soups. We like Le Creuset, but you can go with a cheaper brand like Lodge or Tramontina without sacrificing a lot: the heating properties will be about the same, but the enamel won't be as durable.
For more information, see our article The Best Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Ovens.
Does Nonstick Cookware Work with Induction?
Most nonstick pans are aluminum, so they will only work with an induction cooktop if they have a magnetic base. If they're clad stainless, then yes, they should work with induction.
However, our recommendation is that you don't buy nonstick cookware for your primary cookware.
The life span of a nonstick pan is short--estimated at 1-5 years, and often ends up on the low end of that. (Yes, there are exceptions to this, and taking very good care of your pans can help, but in general, you shouldn't expect more than a few years of use from your nonstick cookware.)
Nonstick pans are also fussy to use: You have to use utensils that won't scratch. You can't use anything abrasive to clean them. You can't put them in an oven--at least over 400F or so--because it degrades the coating. Aerosol cooking spray also degrades the coating if it's PTFE. And you should never, ever use high heat because heat kills the nonstick coating faster than just about anything else--and can possibly release toxic fumes, too, if the pan is PTFE (anything above 490F is dangerous).
Even if the manufacturer says you can use metal utensils, put it in the oven, and put it in the dishwasher, doing any of these will shorten the life of your pan. (In fact, most manufacturers who claim you can use metal utensils tell you not to use them in the fine print.)
Finally, the PTFE nonstick cookware industry is a huge polluter of the planet, having contaminated the world's water supplies with PFOA and now that PFOA is outlawed, with GenX, a very similar chemical. There are no EPA regulations for these chemicals, so the manufacturers continue to dump GenX-laden waste into local water supplies. More than 90% of Americans have PFOA in their bodies, and if things don't change, it's going to be the same with GenX. These are "forever" chemicals that have been linked to several health issues, including several types of cancer.
For more information, check out our article What Is PFOA? A Guide to Nonstick Cookware Chemicals.
But if you're a serious cook, probably the biggest issue with nonstick pans is that it's hard to get good browning on your food, or a fond in your pan to make a sauce with. Even if you use high heat (which--again--is not safe), the slippery surface isn't conducive to a proper Maillard reaction--and browning is extremely important to add flavor to your food.
If you want nonstick performance that's safe, that you can use to get a good sear or brown on your food, and that is durable enough to last for decades, we recommend cast iron or carbon steel.
About Clad Cookware (And Why It's So Great for Induction)
This section explains why we think clad stainless steel is the best cookware for induction.
Tri-Ply and Multi-Ply Cladding
Clad cookware is cookware that has more than one type of metal "clad," or fused, together to capitalize on the best properties of each. Usually the cladding is done so the durable stainless is on the outside, with an internal layer(s) of aluminum and/or copper, called the heating core.
Three-ply cladding, also called tri-ply, is the most common configuration: stainless-aluminum-stainless (i.e., stainless exterior, aluminum heating core).
Here's a diagram from All-Clad showing their tri-ply construction:
Clad cookware can have more layers, but this gets expensive without always creating a lot more heat conductivity. If you're interested in multi-ply cookware, you have to do your research in order to get the best product. (The Demeyere Industry 5 we recommend here is an excellent 5-ply option. We also like Heritage Steel, which is made in the USA.)
Here's a diagram of a 5-ply clad stainless pan (Demeyere Industry):
The plies in multi-ply cookware can vary. They can have 3 internal layers of aluminum (as shown here), aluminum and copper (like All-Clad Copper Core), or aluminum and stainless steel (like All-Clad D5).
For multi-ply cookware, we recommend three layers of aluminum or the aluminum/copper heating core for best heating performance. But even more important than the number of layers is the total thickness of the heating core (more on this in the next section).
Many brands of clad cookware are now made in China, with varying degrees of quality control. You needn't avoid all cookware made in China, but you do have to be careful about which brands you buy. We like and recommend a few brands, but we also recommend you steer clear of brands you know little about, especially if the makers don't give detailed information about the configuration.
Some brands are still made in the USA, including All-Clad (their fully clad lines only) and Heritage Steel. Some European brands, like our favorite, Demeyere, are also excellent quality (but tend to be expensive).
If you want American-made cookware, see our Guide to Cookware Made in the USA.
What You Need to Know About the Heating Core
The heating core is comprised of the inner layers of aluminum and/or copper, and it can differ a lot in quality among brands.
If the internal layers are too thin, the result is poorly heating cookware with hot and cold spots and an inability to hang onto heat. Thin cookware is also more prone to warping.
Thus, one of the most important questions to ask when buying clad stainless cookware is, "How thick should the heating core be?"
The industry standard is All-Clad D3. D3 is the cookware against which everyone else is competing. It has an internal layer of aluminum that's 1.7mm thick. (We know this because we measured it.) This is enough to provide excellent, even heating without being too heavy.
Many other brands have thinner cladding, which is part of what makes them less expensive. (Lower quality stainless steel can also reduce cost.)
Demeyere, a Belgian company, went in the other direction and is trying to outdo All-Clad. Its thicker aluminum layers provide better heating as well as more resistance to warping--but it is also heavier, which means excellent quality, but some people find it too heavy to handle easily.
NOTE: We provide heating core thickness for every brand we recommend in the reviews below.
How do you determine the quality of a cookware brand's cladding? It can be difficult, because often the information is not given (unlike when buying copper cookware, which makers disclose because you pay by the thickness). One way is by weight: heavier cookware will have a thicker heating core. Another is by doing as much research as you can before buying.
The Rational Kitchen has done the research, so we provide the configurations of many cookware brands. (That is, we've actually cut open the cookware and measured it.)
So even if you can't get the information about the heating core from the makers, you can often get it from an independent tester (like us)--and you should, because it's arguably the most important factor in buying clad stainless steel cookware.
Some stainless steel cookware has an aluminum disc--surrounded by magnetic stainless for induction compatibility--welded to the bottom of the pan. The sides are one layer of stainless steel.
You can tell disc-clad cookware by the seam around the bottom:
Most disc-clad cookware is cheaper and lower quality than fully-clad cookware, especially if the disc is thin and does not wrap around and up the sides of the pan slightly.
However, some very high quality cookware is disc clad, such as Demeyere Atlantis, which you can see here:
Note how much thicker the disc is than the example above and how it wraps slightly up the sides. This design gives Atlantis excellent heating properties. However, it is some of the most expensive clad stainless cookware on the market, and it's also some of the heaviest. For these reasons, as much as we love Demeyere Atlantis, we tend to recommend fully clad cookware (but if you don't mind the weight, this is some of the best clad cookware you can buy).
Summary: What Makes Clad Stainless Steel Cookware Good Quality?
Good quality clad stainless is better than other types of cookware for induction.
Here are some reasons to buy only brands of clad stainless steel that you know are good quality (though not necessarily the most expensive):
You don't have to spend a fortune to get good cookware. If you're on a budget, there are reasonably priced options you can be very happy with.
Good quality clad cookware is an investment that will last a lifetime. But you have to do your research to get a good brand.
What Do I Need to Know Before Buying Induction Cookware? (A Buying Guide)
These are the most important things to think about: heating performance, durability and stability, design/features, ease of cleaning, and warranty.
With all cookware, the heating performance is the most important feature. That is, how quickly and how evenly a pan conducts heat and how well a pan retains heat. After all, this is why we use cookware in the first place: to cook our food.
In clad stainless cookware, heating properties are a factor of how thick the heating core is. There's more to the science of heating, but the two most important properties are 1) thermal conductivity and 2) heat retention.
Thermal conductivity refers to how quickly and evenly a pan can spread heat. Copper has the best thermal conductivity of all cookware materials because it's fast, even, and responsive to temperature changes. Aluminum is second to copper, and also heats quickly and evenly and is responsive to temperature changes.
Stainless steel has terrible thermal conductivity, but it's durable, which is why it's used on the exterior of cookware.
Cast iron has poor thermal conductivity, meaning it heats slowly, unevenly, and is slow to respond to temperature changes--but this last thing is what gives it excellent heat retention properties, which makes it a favorite choice of many cooks. (Ditto carbon steel.)
Heat retention refers to how long cookware hangs onto heat. Cast iron has the best heat retention of all cookware materials because once hot, it hangs onto heat for a really long time. This is what makes it great for heat-retentive tasks like searing steaks and deep frying chicken.
Copper has fairly poor heat retention, which is another way of saying that it's responsive.
Aluminum is somewhere between cast iron and copper (but closer to copper than cast iron), which makes it good all-around cookware.
Stainless steel actually has decent heat retention, so when clad with aluminum, the result is versatile cookware that you can use for almost any task.
Also when looking at heat retention, mass is almost as important as material. That is, the thicker and heavier a pan is, the longer it will retain heat. A thick pan is going to retain heat better than a thin pan, regardless of what it's made of. (Most cast iron skillets are about 4mm thick, while most clad stainless cookware is less than 3mm thick--this added mass also aids cast iron's impressive heat retention.)
In general, heating properties are often a trade-off between thermal conductivity and heat retention. Good quality clad stainless steel cookware, with enough internal aluminum and/or copper to heat your food evenly, provides an excellent combination of heat conductivity and heat retention that makes it the most versatile type of cookware on the market.
If clad stainless cookware is much less expensive than competitors, it's usually for one or more of these reasons:
- It may be disc-clad only (examine images for a "seam" or look for phrases like "impact-bonded").
- It may be fully clad, but have thin internal layers of aluminum, meaning poor heating properties and the likelihood of warping.
- It may use poor quality stainless steel on the exterior, making it more prone to rusting, pitting, and other corrosion.
Durability and Stability
Second only to heating is durability. You want cookware that can withstand a beating in the kitchen and keep going. You don't have to worry about heat, utensils, the dishwasher, or how much abuse a pan can take. You want cookware that's going to last--and even stay shiny and looking great over years of hard use.
Stainless steel is extremely durable cookware.
You also want cookware that doesn't react with food and is impervious to corrosion and rust--that is, you want cookware that's stable and non-reactive. Stainless steel wins this category too, being very non-reactive with food or the environment (unlike cast iron, which can react with food if not properly seasoned).
It also requires no seasoning or polishing, and it will retain its durability and stability throughout its life--which should be several decades (or more).
You should have cookware that you love and that's a joy to use. This means you have to like the design and find it comfortable to use--and, that you like the looks of the cookware. If you don't like the design of your cookware and find it pleasurable to use, your kitchen time may feel like drudgery. Nobody wants that!
Here are the design considerations we think are important.
Cookware can come with stainless lids, glass lids, or no lids at all. (Most skillets do not come with lids, for example.)
The best material for lids is stainless steel, for these reasons:
- Steel lids make the best fit.
- Stainless can go in the oven; glass may or may not be oven-compatible.
- Glass lids are more fragile, heavier, and can be harder to store.
You may disagree and prefer glass lids so you can see inside your pans without removing the lid. We've found that steam tends to make this impossible most of the time, so even the one advantage of glass lids isn't much of an advantage.
Stainless lids are often an indication of higher quality, while glass lids tend to be found on mid-range and less expensive cookware.
Handles present a number of considerations:
- Overall ergonomics: Is the handle easy to grasp? Does it cut into your hand? Does it feel unbalanced? In general, does it make the pot easier or harder to use?
- Short or long: Traditionally, skillets and saucepans have one long handle, but some instead have two short ones. A long handle makes a pot easier to grab, while short handles can make it easier to use in the oven and store. This is purely preference, but know that both options are available.
- Helper handles: Helper handles are short handles opposite from the long handle. They're called helper handles because they make it easier to maneuver heavy (and full) pots. They're incredibly useful, especially on larger sauce pans, skillets, and sauté pans.
- Silicone-coated and plastic handles: Some lines of cookware have silicone-coated or plastic handles. These are nice for gripping, but not so nice on a gas stove or in an oven. Although usually guaranteed to be oven safe, the silicone and plastic will wear out long before the rest of the pan. Gas flames will also take a toll. This is not the case with stainless handles--which we vastly prefer for this reason.
Some cookware has flared rims, which reduces drips when pouring. Other cookware has flat rims, which can drip more when pouring:
Some people prefer flared rims for drip-free pouring, but in our testing we honestly didn't find a great deal of difference. If a flared rim is important to you, skip the All-Clad D3 and go with Copper Core, Demeyere, or Cuisinart MultiClad Pro.
The weight of your cookware is important. If it's too light, it won't perform well. If it's too heavy, you won't enjoy cooking with it because it will be hard to maneuver, especially when full.
All-Clad cookware and its good quality knockoffs (Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad, Cuisinart Multiclad Pro) are a good compromise between heavy, super-high performing clad cookware (like Demeyere Atlantis) and cheap, poorly performing cookware.
Carbon steel is a viable substitution for cast iron if you find that cast iron is too heavy for you (though carbon steel won't hold heat as well as cast iron).
Our general recommendation for clad stainless cookware is to buy the heaviest cookware you can comfortably handle. Heavy clad cookware will heat more evenly and hold heat better because it has a thicker heating core.
However, many people find heavy clad stainless like Demeyere hard to handle, which is why medium weight All-Clad is a good choice. But if you go any lighter, you risk uneven heating, scorching, and warping.
Rivets Vs. Rivetless
Some clad cookware (Demeyere) has a rivetless cooking surface because the handles are welded. This is a nice feature because it eliminates the gunk buildup that can happen around rivets. Rivets are far from a deal-breaker, but a rivetless cooking surface is definitely appealing.
Ease of Cleaning
Most stainless cookware is dishwasher safe, which is a great feature. However, we recommend hand-washing all your cookware because dishwasher detergents contain abrasive materials that can dull cookware over time.
Stainless steel is not a non-stick surface, so all stainless pans are going to require some elbow grease if used for messy, sticky foods. Some brands are easier to clean than others. Demeyere, for example, has a proprietary finishing process called Silvinox® that makes them easier to clean. And rivets vs. no rivets is also a factor.
In general, though, stainless cookware is not the wicked mess that a lot of people believe it to be. If you heat oil first, then add the food, then wait until the food releases naturally from the pan before trying to stir or flip it, you will be amazed by how little your food actually sticks to the pan--and what does stick you can use to make a pan sauce (which picks up all those bits, making cleaning easier, too).
No, it can't compete with nonstick cookware, but clad stainless has so many qualities that make it superior to nonstick that it's really a no-brainer for most cooking tasks. You can use any utensils and any level of heat you want, because stainless can take all the abuse you throw at it and still look and perform like new--for decades.
How to Cook with Stainless Steel for Easy Cleanup
First heat the pan, then add oil, then add food when the oil is hot. Do not turn or flip food until it has released naturally from the pan. Following this method goes a long way toward preventing sticking and makes all your pans easier to clean.
Most brands of clad stainless steel come with very long--30 years--or lifetime warranties. Even many of the lower-priced brands do, including Cuisinart. So there is no reason to buy a brand that doesn't come with a long warranty.
You should buy a reputable brand name, as some lesser known brands may not honor warranties--but established makers almost always will (including makers of inexpensive cookware).
Is It Better to Buy Sets or Individual Pans?
There are good reasons to buy sets, and there are good reasons to buy individual pans. Your cookware collection is likely to be a mix of both, as no set is going to have all the pieces you'll need.
Reasons to Buy a Set
- Because you're just starting out and need everything.
- Because you know you'll use every piece in the set.
- Because you want your cookware to match.
- Because sets are a good deal, even if you have to put up more money up front (and again, if you'll use all the pieces in the set).
Reasons to Buy Individual Pieces
- Because you don't want and won't use all the pieces in a set.
- Because you want different quality levels--for example, you want a top-of-the-line skillet because it gets the most wear and tear, but you don't want to pay for a high-end stockpot, which won't get as much use (and doesn't need to spread heat as evenly).
- Because you're adding to an existing collection.
- Because the pieces you want aren't available in a set (e.g., a roasting pan, cast iron frying pan).
- Because the size you want isn't available in a set (e.g., a 12-inch frying pan).
- Because there's a sale going on and you can't pass up the great deal you found.
One of the main problems with sets is that they can contain "filler" pieces that bulk the set up, but which you won't find very useful. For example, some sets have a 1.5 quart and a 2 quart sauce pan. These are so similar in size--and both small--that you'll use them for the same tasks, whereas a set with a 1.5 quart sauce pan and a 3 quart sauce pan is much more versatile.
Furthermore, large pieces are more useful in general than small pieces--you can use a large piece for a small project, but you can't use a small piece for a large project. So unless you're routinely cooking for just one or two people, larger pieces are better.
Our advice is to buy a small, 5- or 7-piece set of a skillet, sauté pan and sauce pan or stock pot (including lids), like this All-Clad set. This is an economic way to acquire basic pieces that you're sure you'll use. Then you can augment with other pieces as you know you'll need them.
One exception to this rule, though, is the Demeyere Industry 5 10-piece set. Often, a 10-piece set has small, filler pieces that you won't find very useful. However, all the pieces in this set are really nice, including an 11-inch skillet, a 4 quart sauce pan, and an 8 quart stock pot. So even though Demeyere sets are more expensive, you really do get better pieces overall than you do from many other makers.
We also like the Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad 12 piece set, which has usable pieces and no filler pieces, including 10"/12" skillets, 3 quart sauce pan, and 8 quart stock pot.
Remember: If the set doesn't have the pieces you want, no amount of saved money will make you happy.
What Are the Most Important Pieces (and Sizes) in a Cookware Set?
Whether you decide on a set or choose to buy pieces separately, the most important pieces--the ones you'll use almost every time you cook--are a skillet and a saucepan. You also need a Dutch oven or stockpot and a roasting pan. With these 4 pieces, most basic cooking tasks are covered.
Baking sheets are also incredibly useful multi-taskers that we include in our 5 Must-Have Pieces of Cookware.
What size pans should you get? Well, you have to think about how you're going to use your pans--How many people do you cook for? Do you entertain? Do you like to make enough for leftovers or just enough for one meal? Will you get more use out of a Dutch oven or a stockpot? Do you have other pieces that will take up the slack (like hand-me-down pots from your mom or an old cast iron skillet) when necessary?
But if you're trying to cover as many bases as possible with a few pieces, here are our suggestions:
Best All-Purpose Size:
12 inches/5 quart
Dutch Oven or Stockpot
5 qt Dutch oven, 6-8 quart stock pot
app. 20 in. x 14 in. (including handles; sizes vary by brand)
You will discover, as you use your pans, where you might prefer to have other sizes: a smaller skillet or saucepan for when you're just cooking for yourself; larger options if you're cooking for a crowd or meal prepping; maybe a good quality sauciér for bechamel and other sauces. But these are good basic pieces in good sizes for the foundation pieces of your collection.
Best Induction Cookware Set Overall (Heaviest): Demeyere Industry/Industry 5/5 Plus
Pros: 3mm wall thickness for superb heating, Silvinox@, welded (rivet-free) handles, excellent pieces in the set (no too-small filler pieces), optimal for induction.
Cons: Heavy, expensive, 10 piece is the smallest set available.
Other cookware makers competed against All-Clad with lower prices, but Demeyere's strategy was to make a better product for the same or slightly higher cost. We think they've succeeded with Industry 5, because their design is better than All-Clad's in several ways.
Demeyere introduced Industry 5 in the mid-1990s, probably to compete in the US market against All-Clad. You might also see it called 5Plus, but it's the same cookware. Demeyere has changed the name a few times, but the construction is the same--and it's excellent.
Demeyere Industry 5/5 Plus has three internal layers of aluminum sandwiched between stainless steel:
Industry 5 cookware has a total wall thickness of 3.0mm, with a total aluminum thickness of 2.1mm. This is about 25% more aluminum than All-Clad D3 (and remember, D5 has less aluminum than D3).
Being thicker than All-Clad makes Industry 5 heavier, as well. To compare, an All-Clad D3 10-inch skillet weighs 2 pounds, an Industry 5 9.4-inch skillet weighs 3.3 pounds.
It's not as heavy as the Demeyere Atlantis (reviewed below), but it's heavier than All-Clad D3.
This is why we have two "best overall" options: if lighter weight and maneuverability is more important to you, go with All-Clad D3 (or D5, or Copper Core). If you instead opt for top notch performance and don't mind that the cookware is thicker and heavier, than Industry 5 is the way to go. They are both excellent options.
Industry 5 has all the great features of classic Demeyere cookware, including:
- 3mm walls with 2.1mm of aluminum (about 25% more than All-Clad D3)
- Silvinox® finish for long lasting shine and easier cleanup
- Welded handles, which means no rivets on the cooking surface
- Flat base for optimal induction cooking and resistance to warping
- Grooved lip for spill-free pouring
- Shot-blasted handles for better grip
- Double-walled insulated lid (Sur la Table only)
- Oven safe to 600F
- Dishwasher safe
- 30 year warranty.
Demeyere Industry 5 comes in a 10-piece and a 14-piece set, and you can buy several open stock pieces available, as well. It's unfortunate that there aren't smaller sets available, but the 10-piece set does contain all useful pieces and nothing we consider filler pieces. So if you're looking for a set and need everything, the 10-piece Industry 5 should definitely be a consideration. Even the 14 piece set contains excellent, usable pieces, though we prefer an enameled cast iron Dutch oven--for reasons you can read about in our review of enameled cast iron Dutch ovens--so you may not get the use out of that piece, even though it's a great size.
The 10-Piece Set includes:
- 9.4 inch skillet
- 11 inch skillet
- 3 quart sauté pan w/lid
- 2 quart sauce pan w/lid
- 4 quart sauce pan w/lid
- 8 quart stock pot w/lid.
The 14-Piece Set includes:
see industry 5 sets/open stock on amazon
With 2.1mm of aluminum, Industry 5 has about 25% more aluminum than All-Clad, giving it excellent heating performance. It is also extremely flat on the bottom to provide maximum contact with induction hobs.
Industry 5 is also oven safe to 600F.
Demeyere cookware is made with the user in mind. It has a lot of really great design choices. Some of the great design includes:
- Grooved lips for drip-free pouring
- Welded handles for a rivet-free cooking surface
- Shot-blasted handles for better grip
- Flat, level base for optimal induction use and resistance to warping
- Helper handles on all the larger pieces
- Double-walled lids to hold in heat (Sur la Table only).
Ease of Cleaning
Demeyere finishes their clad stainless cookware with a proprietary process they call Silvinox®. Silvinox essentially removes all the impurities from the surface of the stainless steel, which makes it easier to clean and helps it keep its silver-white finish for years and years.
Industry 5 also has welded handles, which means no rivets on the cooking surface. This not only makes the pans easier to clean, it's also more sanitary, as there's no way for gunk to build up on the cooking surface.
Nobody buys clad stainless cookware because it's easy to clean, but because of Silvinox and the welded handles, Demeyere is some of the easiest clad stainless cookware to care for.
If you want excellent quality and great performing cookware--and don't mind the heavier weight--go with Industry 5. If you want lighter cookware and are willing to sacrifice a little on performance, go with All-Clad D3. (And if you really don't care about weight and are concerned only with performance, consider the Demeyere Atlantis reviewed below.)
Buy demeyere industry 5 cookware:
Best Induction Cookware Set Overall (Lightest): All-Clad D3 Stainless Tri-Ply
Pros: Excellent quality, many set and open stock options available, made in USA, limited lifetime warranty.
All-Clad is the original clad cookware. It is made in the USA and it offers a limited lifetime warranty on all of its products. Every other clad cookware brand, including high-performing competitors like Demeyere, are competing for the All-Clad market.
All-Clad makes several lines of cookware. This review is for the stainless steel tri-ply (D3)--the line we believe to offer the best all around performance and durability of all the All-Clad lines.
For a more in-depth look at the All-Clad lines and how they compare to the other top-of-the-line brand Demeyere, see The Definitive All-Clad Review and All-Clad Vs. Demeyere: Which Is Better?
Check out the All Clad Stainless Steel Tri-Ply set on Amazon.
Check out the All Clad Stainless Steel Tri-Ply set at Sur la Table.
All-Clad D3 sets come in 5 piece, 7 piece, 10 piece, and 14 piece. We like the smaller 5- or 7-piece sets for a great start on your collection; you can buy other pieces as you discover you need them. This way you get a good deal on a decent amount of cookware, but don't have to feel bad about buying the exact pieces you want (such as an enameled cast iron Dutch oven).
Note that the 12-inch skillet--a very useful piece and the best size for most people--is not included in the smaller sets. This is typical for most manufacturers, and it's one of the reasons we recommend going with a smaller set, then supplementing with the pieces you know you want. It's more economical than buying a huge set just to get the larger skillets and sauce pans, and you can get the exact pieces you want.
Always pay attention to the sizes of the pieces in sets. They're usually small, and you'll often have to supplement with additional individual pieces.
The 5 Piece set Includes:
The 7 Piece set includes:
The 10 Piece set Includes:
- 8 inch skillet
- 10 inch skillet
- 2 quart saucepan with lid
- 3 quart saucepan with lid
- 3 quart sauté pan with lid
- 8 quart stockpot with lid.
The 14 Piece Includes:
- 10 inch skillet
- 12 inch skillet
- 2 quart saucepan with lid
- 3 quart saucepan with lid
- 3 quart sauté pan with lid
- 6 quart sauté pan with lid
- 12 inch chef's pan
- 8 quart stockpot with lid.
The stainless line has a 1.7mm layer of aluminum sandwiched between a magnetic stainless exterior and a polished stainless interior, with a total overall thickness of 2.6mm. This is enough to provide excellent evenness of heating.
As mentioned above, All-Clad D3 has the even heating that all other clad cookware is competing against. This doesn't mean it's the very best, but the performance is excellent for how light the cookware is. For overall even heating, All-Clad D3 is one of the best options on the market.
All-Clad D3 pans are oven safe to 600F.
Design (Lids, Handles, Rims)
Lids: All All-Clad D3 lids are stainless and fit snugly over the pans. The saute pan lids will fit the skillets. The lid handles have a nice rounded shape, easy to use and grip. They stay cool under all cooking conditions with the exception of high gas heat.
Note: If you buy All-Clad skillets separately, they can come with or without lids. If you want lids, make sure the skillet you order comes with one!
Handles: The long handles are grooved on the top; this has advantages and disadvantages. You can clamp your thumb into the groove to stabilize a pan while you're handling it, which is a nice feature. But if you just grip the handle, or steady it under your forearm, the groove can dig into your hand or arm uncomfortably.
A lot of people dislike the traditional All-Clad handles because of this. However, we like them: that "U" shaped design is there so you can stabilize the pot with your thumb, and it works very well once you get the hang of it.
Rims: The rims of the skillet/frying pans, sauté pans, and Dutch oven/stockpot are flared for easy pouring. The rims of the saucepans are not.
Ease of Cleaning
One of the costs of high-end clad cookware is the polished surface of the stainless steel. More expensive cookware generally has a more polished surface, which makes it smoother, and thus food sticks less. All-Clad D3 has a highly polished surface, so it tends to be easier to clean than less expensive stainless cookware.
Putting your cookware in the dishwasher will wear away the highly polished surface, so we actually recommend hand washing your stainless cookware. But in a pinch, you can certainly throw it in the dishwasher.
All-Clad D3 is lightweight, maneuverable, and yet provides great heating performance. You could go with more expensive lines of All-Clad, but you don't really get much of a boost in performance.
If you want maneuverability yet still great heating performance, All-Clad D3 is the way to go. If you want a boost in performance and don't mind heavier cookware, go with the Demeyere Industry 5 reviewed above.
Buy ALL-CLAD D3:
Best Bargain Induction Cookware: Cuisinart Multiclad Pro
Pros: Good quality cookware at an affordable price, lifetime warranty.
Cons: Made in China, not quite as high-performing as All-Clad.
Cuisinart Multiclad Pro is a Chinese knockoff of All-Clad. It has similar cladding but with a slightly thinner aluminum layer, so the performance isn't quite as good--but it's really close. So if you want something close to All-Clad without the high price tag, Cuisinart MC Pro is an excellent option. The 7-piece set has a 10-inch skillet and two covered saucepans. The 12-piece set includes an excellent variety of pieces, including a steamer (which is a great piece you'll get a lot of use out of).
Stainless lids are included for the sauce pans, sauté pans, and stockpot. The larger lids will also fit the skillets.
You can go cheaper--there are a lot of those options out there--but you won't find the near-to-All-Clad performance that you'll get with the Multiclad Pro set.
The company also offers a lifetime warranty, which is not something you'll find with a lot of other cookware sets at this price point.
Check out the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro set on Amazon now.
The 7 Piece Set includes:
The 12 Piece Set Includes:
The Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Tri-Ply has cladding similar to All-Clad, but with a slightly thinner aluminum layer, which makes the performance less even than All-Clad--but still very good.
In our testing, we found that the Multiclad Pro heated as fast as All-Clad and only slightly less evenly; once it had a had a chance to even out, performance was virtually identical to the All-Clad D3.
All pieces and lids are oven safe to 550F.
In our testing, the stainless held up well. We had no issues with corrosion, rusting, or pitting. However, it's quite possible that MC Pro won't hold up over time as well as a higher end brand.
Some reviewers had issues with the skillet warping. We did not, but it's something to be aware of. For best results, don't heat an empty pan on high heat, and don't subject it to extreme temp changes (let it cool down completely before washing).
Cuisinart's lifetime warranty should cover any issues with corrosion or warping. So if you have any problems, they should replace a pan at no cost.
Design (Lids, Handles, Rims and Rivets)
The overall design of this cookware is excellent. In fact, one reason we really like this set is that it is as pretty as All-Clad. It looks a lot more expensive than it is.
Lids: The lids are made of stainless and fit the pans snugly. They are as oven safe as the pans themselves (to 550F). The skillets do not come with lids, but you can use some of the lids interchangeably on the different pieces.
Handles: Both the long and the short handles are easy to grasp and hang onto:
The large sauté pan has a helper handle, which is a helpful feature.
Rims: One of the really great design features of the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro line is that all the pans have flared rims. Even the saucepans have flared rims, which is great for dripless pouring.
Ease of Cleaning
The finish is (surprisingly) about the same as All-Clad, so this along with the rivets make the ease of cleaning about average. MultiClad Pro is also dishwasher safe.
Similar In Performance
Cuisinart French Classic (Tri-Ply): This is similar to the Multiclad Pro set, but it is made in France. It's higher priced than Multiclad Pro, but still considerably less than All-Clad. It's also gorgeous cookware, with swoopy handles and an extra shiny finish. If you don't want to buy "made in China," this is a great choice that won't break the bank.
Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad is another All-Clad knockoff that's very close in performance to D3. It's more expensive than Multiclad Pro but still a great deal, and made of 18/10 stainless. Be sure you're looking at the Tri-Ply Clad line--Tramontina makes several cookware lines and this is the one closest to All-Clad performance.
See our Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad Cookware Review
Buy this set if you want All-Clad like performance, want a lifetime warranty backed by a reputable company, and don't mind a product made in China. The Cuisinart Multi-Clad Pro is an excellent Chinese All-Clad knockoff.
buy CUISINART MULTI-CLAD PRO SET:
Best Disc-Clad Induction Cookware: Demeyere Atlantis
Pros: Superb design and performance, optimal for induction cooktops, Silvinox® finish, welded (rivet-free) handles.
Cons: Heavy and expensive. Disc-clad pieces can feel unbalanced to people who haven't used them before.
Atlantis is Demeyere's original line of clad stainless cookware, and everything about it is geared to absolutely superb heating performance, particularly on induction cooktops.
Only the straight-sided pieces are bottom clad; this includes sauté pans, sauce pans, and stock pots. The curve-sided pieces--i.e., skillets and sauciérs--are fully clad.
There is method in this madness: Demeyere designed their cookware this way because straight-sided pieces are used primarily for liquids, which don't need full cladding to heat evenly; and curved-sided pieces are used for solid foods and delicate sauces, which do require full cladding for optimal performance.
We love this design. It's thoughtful, and it makes the most of every piece of cookware. It shows that Demeyere has put real effort into coming up with the absolute best performing cookware you can find.
We also love that the magnetic steel is encased inside layers of 18/10 stainless: since magnetic stainless is less corrosion resistant, this design means the cookware is going to be more durable than that with the magnetic (18/0) stainless steel exposed. (This is what their "TriplInduc®" technology means: 3 layers of stainless steel.)
We also love that the smallest skillet is 9.4 inches--almost as big as the big skillet in most sets. So even if you go with the smallest set, you get a good-sized skillet.
In short, everything about Demeyere Atlantis indicates well-thought-out design.
Here's a diagram of the bottom-clad pieces:
That's an astonishing 2mm of copper in there, surrounded by two thin layers of silver. You can begin to see why the performance of these pans is superior to other clad stainless cookware, even though they have disc cladding.
Here's a diagram of the fully clad pieces:
The aluminum layer in the Proline skillet is almost 4mm thick--more than twice that in All-Clad D3 (or D5). This also makes for superior heating.
Atlantis is definitely not cheap. But here's what you get for your investment:
- Fully clad pieces have approximately 75% more aluminum than All-Clad D3 or D5
- Bottom-clad pieces contain 2mm of copper, plus two thin layers of silver (the best heat conducting metal known to man)
- Rivetless cooking surface (welded handles)
- Silvinox® finish ensures long-lasting shiny finish and makes cleaning easier
- Optimized for induction cooking with TriplInduc® technology that makes it 30% more efficient on induction cooktops than other clad stainless cookware
- Good sized pieces in the set, with an 11 in. skillet and 8 qt Dutch oven/stock pot
- 30 year warranty.
Atlantis is almost twice as thick as All-Clad D3, which makes it heavy. And, the thick, heavy bottom-clad pieces can feel bulky and unbalanced, especially if you're accustomed to working with fully clad cookware.
These design choices make this cookware incredibly high performance, and an excellent choice for induction cookware, but may not be ideal for the average American cook.
Is all this performance needed? It depends on how serious you are about cooking. Some chefs, once they've tried Demeyere Atlantis--especially the Proline skillet--can't bear to go back to the "flimsiness" of All-Clad. Others find it too heavy, comparing it to working with cast iron cookware (and some of it really does feel that heavy).
So if you're really into cookware, or want the best of the best, or are in search of an over-the-top gift for someone who loves to cook, Demeyere Atlantis is the best possible choice, especially for induction cooking.
On the other hand, All-Clad D3 is excellent quality, will last you a lifetime, and is much easier for the average cook to work with. Both are superb choices; it's really a matter of your preferences.
If you're not looking for a set and would rather buy piecemeal so you get exactly what you want, we highly recommend the Atlantis Proline skillet. Since a skillet gets the hardest use in most kitchens, and since it tends to be the piece that needs to have the best heating performance, the skillet is the best place to invest your cookware budget. And there is no better skillet on the market than the Proline. Its only drawback is that it's heavy, so if you have hand or wrist issues, this is not the skillet for you. It's a superb piece of cooking equipment.
see the demeyere atlantis proline skillet on amazon now
Sur la Table carries a house brand of Atlantis called Silver 7: it's made by Demeyere for SLT and is identical but with double-walled lids. If you're interested in the Atlantis cookware, be sure to compare prices between it and the Silver 7 before buying.
For more information, see our article about Demeyere and how it compares to All-Clad.
Atlantis is available in 3 piece, 6 piece and 9 piece sets.
The 3 Piece set includes:
- 9.4 inch Proline skillet
- 5.5 quart sauce pot w/lid.
The 6 Piece set includes:
- 9.4 inch Proline skillet
- 5.5 quart sauce pot w/lid
- 3.2 quart sauce pan w/lid
- Steamer insert for sauce pot.
The 9 Piece set includes:
- 11-inch Proline skillet
- 2.3 quart sauce pan w/lid
- 3.5 quart sauciér w/lid
- 5 quart sauté pan w/lid
- 8.9 quart Dutch oven w/lid.
For Silver 7 sets, go to Sur la Table to find out more.
Demeyere Atlantis/SLT Silver 7 is top notch cookware; some of the best induction cookware around. If you can afford it, it will provide excellent performance for decades. Remember, though, that this is heavy cookware, so if you have any ergonomic issues, it may not be the right choice for you.
If you don't want a whole set, but do want to invest in one or two excellent pieces, the Proline skillet is hard to beat. Again, it's almost twice as thick as an All-Clad D3 or Copper Core skillet, but all of that heft means unbeatable heating performance.
Buy Demeyere Atlantis:
Buy the Demeyere proline skillet:
Review: Best Cast Iron Skillet: Lodge
See Lodge cast iron skillet on Amazon
See our review of the best cast iron skillets
If you want nonstick properties without the potential health and environmental issues associated with nonstick cookware, cast iron is a great choice. And no worries about metal utensils or high heat, because cast iron can take everything you throw at it.
Or, if you want a pan for high heat searing, deep frying, or other tasks that require good heat retention, cast iron is a great choice. It hangs onto heat better than all but the very thickest clad stainless pans (like the Demeyere Proline).
In fact, we think a cast iron skillet is a necessity in any cook's kitchen. It's not as versatile as clad stainless, but what it's great at, it's hard to beat.
We like Lodge because it's inexpensive, will last forever, and is made in the USA. Most other brands of inexpensive cast iron are made overseas.
You can spend more on artisan cast iron (we talk about it in our review, linked to above). It's beautiful stuff, and it will be smoother out of the box than Lodge, which has a rough texture until repeated use fills in those gaps with polymerized oil (which is what seasoning is). But if you can live with the rough texture for the first several uses, your reward is saving hundreds of dollars for a pan with literally the same heating properties as the expensive ones.
Lodge cast iron is cheap, durable, made in the USA, and great for a number of tasks. For about $30, this pan will provide a nonstick surface that you won't have to replace every few years, and will put a sear on a steak like nothing else can.
buy lodge cast iron skillet on amazon:
Review: Matfer-Bourgeat Carbon Steel Skillet
See Matfer-Bourgeat skillet on Amazon
See our review of the best carbon steel pans
If you want nonstick properties without the dangers of PTFE and ceramic nonstick coatings, and you want them in a lighter package than cast iron, then carbon steel might be the right choice for you.
Carbon steel is most similar to cast iron in care, performance, and weight--but because it's thinner than cast iron, it weighs less. The density is about the same.
You also have to keep it seasoned, but once well-seasoned, a carbon steel pan provides a smooth-as-glass cooking surface that some people prefer to nonstick coatings.
We like Matfer-Bourgeat because it's a fairly thick pan and the handles are welded, so there are no rivets to clean around. It is also an affordable brand: as with cast iron, you can pay more for artisan brands, or even popular brands like Made In and Misen, but you don't really get more for the higher price because the heating properties are about the same.
Carbon steel comes in different gauges, and the heavier gauges are going to perform closest to cast iron. But they're heavier, so if you want a lighter pan, we like Vollrath, which also has welded handles and is made in the USA (but is considerably thinner).
You can read more about carbon steel in our review, linked to above.
buy matfer-bourgeat carbon steel skillet:
Other Induction Cookware Brands We Looked At
Here are several of the induction cookware brands we looked at that didn't make it into our top picks. Some we liked, some we didn't: an asterisk indicates a brand we like.
All-Clad D5: As high quality as D3 but more expensive without really adding a lot to the party. It has an internal layer of stainless which All-Clad says makes it their premium induction cookware. We disagree, and think both D3 and Copper Core are better induction cookware. It comes in brushed or polished stainless, though, so if you like the brushed look and are willing to spend more to get it, then D5 is the way to go. See our detailed comparison of D3 and D5 for more information.
*All-Clad Copper Core: One of the few copper options that is also induction compatible. Also very high quality cookware but more expensive than D3. If you love it and don't mind spending more, Copper Core is a great choice for induction cookware. See our Copper Core Review for more information (and we recommend you read the full review before you buy).
Calphalon: Mid-range cost and performance, and glass lids make this set less desirable than Cuisinart MC Pro.
*Cuisinart French Classic: The build quality and performance is pretty much identical to Cuisinart Multiclad Pro, but this line is more expensive. It's also prettier, and it's made in France, so if you love it and don't mind the higher cost, the French Classic is a great induction cookware option. You can read more about it in our Cuisinart Clad Cookware Review.
Duxtop: Would love to recommend this set as the price is great and we love some Secura products. (Secura owns Duxtop). But we haven't tested it, so the quality of this made-in-China set is largely an unknown (and yes, we say this despite its many positive reviews on Amazon). You're probably better off getting fewer pieces of higher quality induction cookware that you know you'll use, or a set of Cuisinart Multiclad Pro or Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad for a little more.
*Heritage Steel: A made in USA brand and excellent quality. If you want American made and don't want All-Clad for whatever reason, Hammer Stahl/Heritage Steel makes excellent, though expensive, cookware. You can read more in our Heritage Steel review.
Le Creuset Stainless Clad: Not made in France. Not comparable quality to Le Creuset enameled cast iron. Probably overpriced.
Made In:So many people want to know more about this brand because it's gotten rave reviews and is a made in USA brand that's cheaper than All-Clad--although not much cheaper. They now include a carbon steel skillet in their stainless sets, probably instead of nonstick, which is pretty cool. You should know, though, that Made In's carbon steel and nonstick cookware are not made in the US--they are both made in Europe. Which is fine, but it seems to go against the brand's "Made In" name, which implies that all their cookware is made in the US. Any set you buy from them is going to have foreign-made pieces in it, as only their clad stainless cookware is made here. If it weren't for their Made In shtick and the fact they now make several products overseas, we would like and recommend this brand.
See our Made In Vs. Misen review for more information.
Magma Nesting Stainless Cookware: This set of low-performing, bottom-clad cookware has removable handles and is designed for RVs and other small spaces. But if you have limited space, why not just get a few basic, good-quality pieces instead? Those removable handles are going to loosen quickly, and few things are more potentially hazardous than cookware without solid handles. Do not recommend.
Mauviel: French cookware with performance similar to All-Clad but more expensive. See our review for more information.
*Misen: Another direct-to-consumer brand that's gotten huge press in recent years. Unlike Made In, Misen is made in China. The cookware is 5-ply with three layers of aluminum. However, the cookware is a full 3mm thick--considerably thicker than any of All-Clad's offerings (or Made In's), so it's closer in construction to Demeyere Industry. If you like the looks of the set, or like the idea of getting a knife or two with your clad stainless cookware, Misen is a good choice. See our Made In Vs. Misen review for more information.
*Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad: Good performance similar to Cuisinart MC-Pro. It's more expensive than the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro, which is why we didn't pick it as the best bargain brand. However, it's still considerably less costly than All-Clad. The 12-piece set comes with a large (12 inch) skillet and other large pieces, so it's actually a pretty great price--but you have to buy the 12 piece set, or bigger, to get the big pieces, and most people don't really need a 12-piece set of cookware. But if you prefer the pieces and design of this set, we recommend it. (See our detailed Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad review for more information.)
Viking: Some made in China, some made in USA. Expensive. Be sure you get the made in USA for best quality. Probably overpriced. See our Viking review for more information.
*Vollrath Optio: Good quality and decent price, but very heavy, disc clad, utilitarian (not very pretty), and no lids are included. This is super heavy duty cookware, but designed more for professional kitchens.
See also: Clad Stainless Cookware: 55 Microreviews to Help You Choose
Final Thoughts on the Best Induction Cookware
Finding the best induction cookware for you can be a challenge. We like clad stainless steel as the best all-around induction cookware, with Demeyere Industry and All-Clad D3 our top picks. If you're on a tighter budget, both Cuisinart Multiclad Pro and Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad are good choices.
Other brands of clad stainless that we like are Misen, Heritage Steel. All-Clad Copper Core is a good choice too if you have the budget for it (though just a slight improvement over the less expensive D3).
Most kitchens also benefit from having a cast iron or carbon steel skillet for high heat searing or as a cleaner substitute for nonstick skillets (and many cooks like them for their all-purpose skillet).
Do you have any thoughts or ideas about the best induction cookware? Please share in the comments section.
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