Let’s be honest, most people who get an induction range have just spend a small fortune on an entire appliance package. I know our entire kitchen package was over $7,000 which didnt include the new washer and dryer plus the other $50,000 you spend on contractors, or if you bought a new place, the down payment and escrow fees. I get it, you feel cash poor and start to look for ways to save a little money after spending all that cash.
But realistically, going cheap is a ultimately a waste of money. I have bought cheap items and I end up regretting it. Now, just because I tell you not to buy cheap, doesn’t mean you HAVE to buy the most expensive as well. There are a lot of mid priced sets you can buy that will give you years of service.
Buying Cheap Stainless Steel
A lot of what people buy for their induction range is stainless steel appliances. For things like pots I like stainless steel for a variety of reasons. But I have noticed a distinct difference between the cheap stuff and everything else.
15 years ago I bought a heavy duty stainless steel set of pans from Sams Club. While they were branded as Members Mark, the set was actually made by Tromatina. Tromatina is a Brazilian metal company that makes what I think is a high quality stainless steel pot set without the price tag of All-Clad. There are tiny things in the All-Clad set, that sets it apart from the Tromatina, but you still get a set that lasts you for years.
On the other hand, about a year ago I bought a stainless steel, induction compatible pot from Ikea. It was low priced but I can see why it is so cheap, and I will probably have to throw it away soon. To make that price point, the side walls are ultra thin. It gets its induction functionality from an induction plate strapped to the bottom of it.
The only good thing about it is you can boil water quickly because the pot gets hot faster because of the cheap material. But what I am really worrying about, is it is starting to show rust. The top, because it is cheap, curls over and I can already see rust forming after not using it that much.
I don’t want rust in my food so after a year, I will be throwing out a pot and continuing to use the 15 year old set I already have. The chromium coating was so thin it started rusting after one year. If you don’t want to spend the money on All-Clad, below is a nice set you can get from Amazon that should last you for years.
Buying Cheap Non-Stick Pans
Non-stick pans are a conundrum because by themselves, they tend to be a disposable item. Once the lining goes away they stop being so non-stick, and you throw them away. A simple way to solve that is to get a carbon steel pan. They are induction compatible and like a cast iron, after they are seasoned have a slippery surface for making things like eggs.
The hard part with Carbon Steel is, like cast iron, you can’t throw it in the dishwasher as it washes the seasoning off of it. You also can’t use things that are naturally acidic like lemons or tomatoes because the acids strip away the seasoning.
Which leaves us with non-stick pans. The problem I have with cheap non-stick pans are multiple. First, the coating tends to be thin and they wear out quick. Second, most have plastic handles which means I can’t throw them in the oven. Pan searing a steak and finishing in a 350 degree oven is perfectly fine with the non-stick coating, just don’t put it in over 400 degrees.
I have one non-stick pan that is probably overly large for what I use it for most times but is big and heavy. It cooks eggs fantastically and because of the metal handle, I can throw it in the oven to finish off a piece of fish or meat that I am doing in doors. If you have the room, the set below is a decently priced from a reputable manufacturer.
Penny wise and pound foolish is how we can be at times when we buy things. Spend the extra $100 or $200 for a high quality product that will last a lifetime. Not only will it make cooking easier but you won’t be upset at yourself for wasting money on another piece of cheap chinese throw away garbage.
What do you think, is there an underrated piece of cooking equipment that you like that doesn’t break the bank? Leave a comment below and let me know.