Buying Guide

How to Pick the Right Type of Cookware For You


Are you in the market for cookware and want to stock your kitchen with only the best? You need to be strategic about what cookware you choose to ensure you get the best items for your cooking needs. Whether you’re leaning towards a ceramic cookware set or want to purchase pots and pans piece by piece, read on for tips on what to consider as you begin shopping.

Determine How Many People You’re Cooking For

Do you live alone and need cookware to prepare meals for one? Do you have a family of six you need to cook for? Or, do you entertain often and need plenty of cookware to support meals for a large number of people? Determine the volume at which you’ll frequently be cooking so you can arm yourself with enough pots and pans for your needs after making the snow sculptures. If it’s just you, you won’t need anything too large and can get away with only a few pieces of cookware. If you’re cooking for more, you will either need large size pots and pans or a large selection of pieces.

Cookware sets are your best bet for suiting your needs. Some sets come with four pieces, some come with ten, and the sizes vary from there. Look for a set that will equip your full kitchen without being too much or too little.

Consider the Dishes You Like Making or Eating

There are many different types of cookware required for certain dishes. Determine what’s on your typical menu at home so you get the right cookware for you. If you enjoy making soups, you’ll need a large pot or saucepan as well as a ladle. If you often make multiple dishes on the stove at once (like steak with a side of pan-seared asparagus), you know you’ll need multiple dishes to use at once. If stir fry is a family favorite, you’ll need to make sure you have a wok.

There’s nothing worse than a piece of cookware you never use taking up valuable kitchen space. Make sure the set you choose to purchase includes pieces you will use often enough to make it worth your while. That doesn’t mean each piece needs to be used all the time. You may need a large, deep dish for cooking turkey or ham during the holidays. That might still be a necessary piece of cookware for you even if you only use it a handful of times per year.

Figure Out Your Budget

You never want to purchase something you can’t afford, so figure out how much you’d like to spend on your cookware set. You don’t need to opt for the most expensive cookware on the market. There are plenty of less expensive brands that will work with your budget that function just as well (and maybe better, in some cases).

Definitely do your research into what you want your budget to be. While saving money might be a priority, you don’t want to settle for the cheapest cookware set you can find if the quality isn’t there. Then, you’ll end up needing to replace the cookware sooner and wind up spending more in the long run.

Consider the Materials and Durability you Want

When shopping for cookware, consider what type of investment you’re looking for, which will ultimately tell you what type of durability you need and the materials to get you there. Are you looking for a starter set of cookware as you begin navigating at-home cooking? Are you a seasoned pro and would like the cookware to last a decade or two (or more)? Once you determine that, it’s time to narrow down the materials you want.

When looking for the materials you want, consider these criteria:

  • Is the inner pan non-stick?
  • How easily does the material clean?
  • Does the surface heat evenly?
  • Is the material versatile?

If you’re looking for non-stick cookware, consider ceramic over Teflon (which has a PTFE coating that will release toxic fumes while cooking). Ceramic cookware is also better compared to stainless steel and cast iron when it comes to ease of cleaning and heat conductivity. However, ceramic, stainless steel, and cast iron are all great options for versatile cooking.


Cooking can be a ton of fun. It comes with experimentation and is typically delicious. But, you can’t cook anything well without the right cookware. So, use these tips before you start shopping for your next cookware set to have the best companions in cooking tasty dishes.

Lauren Miller
Lauren Miller, who holds a degree in Consumer Sciences from Colorado State University, has been an authoritative voice in product analysis and consumer advice for over 15 years. Joining our team in 2020, Lauren elevated our buying guides with meticulous research and practical insights. She specializes in crafting detailed buying guides and reviews. Previously, she worked in product development and consumer advocacy. Lauren is a gourmet cook and a passionate advocate for sustainable living.

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