“a consumer reports for the cheap” — the new york times

Cookware Performance

Home cooks, for the most part, seem pleased with the cheap pots and pans gracing their kitchens. Cookware reviews touch on topics ranging from the finished product (that is, the cooked food) and how even the heat seems, to durability and ease of clean up.

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Many cookware reviews also comment approvingly on the low price of the collections; shoppers often note the cheap cookware sets on our list of top picks make a good gift for novice cooks and newly-marrieds. We did, however, come across a fair bit of grousing in cookware reviews concerning the small sizes of the included pots and pans. But this isn't a performance issue so we won't address it any further except to say make sure you have a solid hold on the actual dimensions of the components and know whether they suit your cooking needs.

Cookware Sets Build Quality.

Users' assessments of build quality vary by cookware set. We found few complaints in cookware reviews about the 10-piece T-fal Basic Easy Care set. On Walmart, consumers say the pieces seem durable, heavy, and solid; the lids fit the pots well but sadly don't fit the skillets. Overall, they conclude, this is a good quality set from a reputable brand. The Farberware Classic Stainless Steel set is lauded for its durability -- several users posting cookware sets reviews on Sears report having used Farberware pieces for decades -- even though the bottoms sometimes stain a bit. Users like the tight lids but some aren't crazy about the nonstick skillets and a few gripe about scratches on the exterior finish.

The Cuisinart Advantage set and the JC Penney stainless steel cookware set have their strengths as well as some weaknesses, according to cookware reviews. Users laud the attractive styling and tempered glass covers and the price-to-value ratio of the Cuisinart pots and pans, but cookware reviews on Amazon report numerous problems with the exterior finish and nonstick cooking surface. Many users write of peeling, flaking, bubbling, and chipping but others assert that using plastic utensils, low heat, and following the use and care instructions prevents such problems. About the JC Penney set, a few users posting on the JC Penney website say the cheap pots and pans dent easily, some edges are not finished smoothly and feel sharp to the touch, and the hollow handles don't inspire confidence. Others, however, appreciate the vented tempered glass lids that fit the skillets and not just the pots, and the overall quality given the price.

Disappointment and complaints fill cookware reviews for Chef's Du Jour Kitchen Combo and Bialetti Fusion. On Amazon, users say the thin carbon steel Chef's Du Jour cookware dents easily and warps with minimal use, the knives are so flexible that they don't cut through much of anything, and the flatware is light as a toy. The nonstick surface and general build quality problems plague the Bialatti Fusion. Users posting reviews on Amazon describe the coating as inconsistent and say it begins peeling shortly after purchase. In general, users deride the craftsmanship, pointing to loose handles, surfaces that knick easily even when using wooden or plastic utensils, and glass lids that break when they get too hot.

by Maralyn Edid (Google+ Profile)

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