Affordable cookware that performs well is hard to come by. Sure, you can find cookware sets for under $50, but how long will they last? If your cookware is only lasting a few years before it needs to be replaced, is it really affordable?
This is why in the cookware industry, the term affordable doesn’t necessarily mean “cheap.” It means that a set of cookware is reasonably priced and will provide you with several years of use.
Is that something you really want? Let’s take a look at what the most affordable cookware is.
1. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is largely considered the most affordable cookware. It’s possible to find multi-piece sets for under $100 that perform well and will offer you many years of use if you take good care of it. The great thing about stainless steel is that it doesn’t require a great deal of maintenance. Most stainless steel cookware is dishwasher safe. Even those that aren’t are generally easy to clean.
It’s also possible to find stainless steel pots with aluminum encapsulated bottoms that improve heat distribution. This improves the cookware’s performance without inflating the price tag. For everyday cooking tasks, stainless steel is the most affordable option.
2. Cast Iron
Cast iron is also a great choice for those who are on a budget. Much like stainless steel, you can find multi-piece sets for under $100. Cast iron is revered for its exceptional heat retention and distribution. This type of cookware has been used for centuries, and providing you care for your cast iron cookware properly, it can easily last you a lifetime. The biggest issue is keeping the pan seasoned and preventing rust.
If durability and performance are your primary concern, cast iron is the most affordable choice.
3. Hard Anodized
Hard anodized cookware is another affordable and popular choice with home cooks. Part of its appeal, aside from its low price tag, is its non-stick capabilities. Most cookware in this category features a non-stick surface, so clean-up is a breeze. You can also cook with less oil, fat and butter.
While there are high-end hard anodized cookware sets that cost several hundred dollars, there are also more affordable options that run between $70 and $120 for multi-piece sets. If easy cleanup and healthy cooking are your main concerns, hard anodized is one of the most affordable options out there.
Most stainless steel, cast iron and hard anodized cookware sets are similarly priced, so finding the right option for you will largely depend on your own personal cooking style.