If you’re not a trust fund kid like most of us, and you want to start cooking rather than always buying takeout, you’ll have a hard time setting up a functional kitchen.
Setting up a quality kitchen with everything you need requires planning, budgeting, and several compromises. You can’t buy all the appliances and cookware you want, because most kitchens have very limited space, and the accumulated cost of everything can be enormous.
Cookware sets are among the most important things you might buy because of their effect on your cooking. Fortunately, there are multiple options available on the market that deliver acceptable performance and are available at reasonable prices.
This article focuses on the best cookware set under 200 dollars. We’ve selected the 5 best performing cookware sets you can currently find on the market. The prices are capped at $200 to ensure that they’re both affordable and deliver excellent performance.
Sets vs Stock Pans: What’s Better?
Whether you should buy an entire set or simply choose individual pots and pans for your kitchen has been a topic of debate. Both sides present solid arguments, but we believe that the right approach depends on your circumstances.
If your kitchen is already set, you’ll probably be more attracted to separate pans. This will allow you to focus only on the things you need and manage the limited kitchen space more effectively. However, for someone setting up a kitchen from scratch, a cookware set seems like a more viable option as it has everything you’ll need to get started.
Generally, you’ll notice that getting a cookware set is more cost-effective. If you collect the total cost of all the open stock pans you buy, it will always be more than a set. However, you won’t be spending all the money at once. When you buy something in bulk, you’ll find it to be more reasonably priced.
Professional cooks or people who are serious about cooking will mostly be against going for cookware sets. Each pan and pot comes with its application and suitability for a dish. Moreover, you won’t find many specialty items like a wok or a skillet in a cookware set.
When it comes to deciding whether it’s better to buy a cookware set or open stock pans, there are no clear answers. The best approach depends on what you’re looking for and how you plan to use the cookware.
Home cooks setting up a kitchen and looking for a budget option such as the best cookware set under 200 dollars may prefer to get everything at once. However, professionals would want the option to select each pan and pot according to the precise requirements or can even go for specialty cookware sets that cater to these advanced requirements.
Top Picks: The Best Cookware Set Under 200 Dollars
Objectively speaking, it’s extremely hard to declare one option as the best cookware set under 200 dollars. Multiple sets come with excellent capabilities and characteristics, so it’s hard to settle on one.
While the competition in this segment is fierce, the following 5 options deliver the best performance and a lot of value for your money. Despite being under $200, you’ll find them able to hold a candle against many top-tier models in the market. Let’s take a look at the options now.
The entire cookware set is inspired by Italian designs but possesses different qualities that make it a good choice for all-purpose cooking. From cooking a difficult Asian dish to a regular steak with a side of mashed potatoes, you’ll find that this cookware set will help you handle everything.
Here are the items you’ll find in the 10-piece cookware set:
- 8” and 10” sauté pans
- 2 and 2.5-quart saucepans with glass lids
- 11” deep sauté pan with glass lid
- 5-quart Dutch oven with glass lid
As far as the best cookware material goes, Aluminum is the second-best when it comes to responsiveness. Considering the material’s overall price, you’ll find it in many products that cater to a home cook needing an excellent option.
The Bialetti cookware set is entirely made of high-grade Aluminum which has undergone several tests to ensure 100% quality with no hotspots.
The internal surfaces of all of the pans in this cookware set come with a non-stick coating, so you can cook healthily without using too much oil. Many non-stick surfaces are not suitable for metal utensils and may get damaged over time.
Bialetti comes with a nano-tech infused non-stick coating that is both metal friendly and can be used in ovens for up to 400 degrees. This cookware set works equally well with both electric and gas stoves.
Moreover, you also get comfortable silicone handles for a secure grip while cooking and mixing your ingredients.
- Durable Aluminum bodies with equal heat distribution
- Silicone handles for comfortable grip and portability
- Nano-tech infused internal lining
- The non-stick layer works with metal utensils, as well
- Versatile for both gas and electric stoves
- Glass lids for better control of the dish during cooking
- No lids on the sauté pans
This is another budget-friendly product on our best cookware set under 200 dollars list. It comes with all the basic functionalities to get you started in the kitchen. The Cuisinart pans are made from top-quality anodized Aluminum and come with an eco-friendly non-stick coating that’s free of PTFE, PFOA, and other petroleum components.
Here are the components you’ll find in the Cuisinart GG-10 Set:
- 8-inch skillet
- 1-quart saucepan with lid
- 2 1/2-quart saucepan with lid
- 3-quart sauté pan
- 6-quart covered saucepot
- Pasta inserts
To keep your hands protected from the heat, the Cuisinart set comes with riveted stainless-steel handles that don’t conduct any heat and remain cool. All of these materials are recycled to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the entire product. That’s not all, the riveted handles and lid can trap in all the heat and keep your dishes warm for serving.
The cookware set comes with the ability to work with both ovens and all kinds of stoves. The set is suitable for heat up to 500 degrees and even comes in a very convenient packaging that keeps everything safe and protected.
- Anodized Aluminum with a durable body
- Non-stick surface for oil-free cooking
- Recycled and environment-friendly materials
- Secure fitting lids
- Non-transparent lids
- Reported durability issues
Among the 5 cookware sets listed on this page, the Calphalon Pots get maximum points when it comes to durability and non-stick performance. The anodized Aluminum cookware set comes with 2 separate non-stick layers that don’t let the food stick to it and make it easier to clean.
Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of this cookware set is the 10-year warranty it comes with. The Calphalon pots are made from anodized Aluminum and can resist corrosion and warping. To protect your hands, the pans also come with silicone-based handles and tempered glass lids.
All Calphalon pans are safe for oven use and have a maximum temperature of 400 degrees. The pans also have an excellent aesthetic element to them. From looks alone, you won’t be able to recognize this cookware set as a budget option.
- Premium design
- Anodized Aluminum body with a double non-stick coating
- Even heating across the entire surface
- Tempered glass covers that fit precisely
- Silicone grips
- Tempered glass may shatter due to weak packaging
The T-Fal Nonstick cookware set is the most durable option on our best cookware set under 200 list because of its quality construction and high-quality materials. The cookware set is designed to deliver the premium experience of a professional toolset at a reasonable price.
The cookware set has all the components you’ll need in the kitchen.
Here’s a list of things you’ll get with the T-Fal cookware set:
- 8 and 9-inch fry pans
- 2-quart saucepans
- 3-quart deep sauté
- 5-quart Dutch oven
- Solid spoon
- Slotted spatula
The two things that make this option a viable candidate for the best cookware set under 200 dollars are their titanium-based non-stick coating and heat indicators. The premium nonstick surface handles food without any issues even if you decide to cook without a drop of oil. The thermal indicator lets you know when the pans are preheated to the optimum temperatures.
As for the handles, the T-Fal cookware set comes with soft-grip handles that cover the entire area and resist any temperature change. Even When you use these pans in the oven, the handles will remain safe-to-touch as long as the oven temperature is less than 350 degrees.
- Aluminum body with a Titanium-based non-stick coating
- Tempered glass lids
- Limited warranty by the manufacturer
- Safe to use with a dishwasher
- Suitable with all types of heat sources
- Low quality nonstick surface
This is perhaps the most comprehensive budget option on the market, and on our best cookware set under 200 list. This 23-pc cookware set comes with everything you’ll need for both cooking and baking in the kitchen.
If you have a friend moving into a new home and setting up a kitchen, the Kitchen Pots and Pans set would be a perfect gift for them because of its wide variety and decent quality.
Being a budget option, the cookware set obviously compromises a little on quality. You can’t expect it to perform on the same level as a professional cookware set. However, it works perfectly for its intended market.
Home cooks don’t need much precision and responsiveness. Any option that reduces its prices by compromising a little on these parameters would be well received by domestic users. That’s the exact case for this cookware set. You get countless items of decent quality and that, too, at a throwaway price.
A common problem with many cookware sets is their compatibility with different kinds of stoves.
You’ll find many models that can work well in ovens and are dishwasher-friendly. However, it’s quite difficult to find cookware sets that can work with induction stoves, as well. This is a unique option as it comes with that capability and works perfectly with induction stoves.
The cookware set is also made of durable material that doesn’t break or bend due to impact. Kitchens are a messy place especially when you’re cooking for a large party. Things sometimes fall and the manufacturers of this cookware set have added the capability to sustain such incidents in its product.
- A comprehensive set for all cooking and baking needs
- Available at a very reasonable price
- Even heat distribution and a non-stick coating
- Safe for ovens
- Comes with additional items like spatulas, scrapers, and cleaning sponges
- Some durability issues
- All pans are slightly smaller in size
Buying Guide: Things to Look for When Buying a Cookware Set
Choosing and buying the best cookware set under 200 dollars isn’t exactly an easy task. They’re usually a one-time investment that lasts for years before you start considering a replacement. This is especially relevant for people looking for a cookware set on a budget.
Multiple manufacturers compromise on durability and quality to deliver more pieces and features and stand out. With so many options on the market, you should be careful before making a choice and select the option that delivers decent quality, performance, and value for the money.
The aforementioned models do all of that, and they’re capped under $200 as super budget friendly options. Here are some general considerations to help you make the best choice.
In the culinary world, responsiveness is the pan’s ability to change its temperature when the heat is turned on/off. This characteristic depends on the material’s heat conductivity and is
quite important for cooking precise meals.
Many dishes are temperature sensitive and you need to turn the heat off at a very precise window to achieve perfection. Responsive cookware is the best choice for such dishes. They immediately start to cool down when you remove them from heat and help you stay precise.
Generally, copper pans are the best response option on the market. However, they’re quite expensive and may be too fancy for the home cook. Professional environments, however, use copper very frequently because they need to regularly churn out precise and complicated dishes with the utmost consistency.
As stated before, no one shops for cookware every other month. You need to make sure that whatever choice you’re making is durable enough to last for some time. There are many options that, despite being cost-effective, provide you with decent build quality that lasts for a long time with regular use.
Obviously, you’ll have to stay careful with any product you buy. Things that continue to perform well without any care or maintenance generally cost a lot. This is true in the case of cookware, as well.
Taking care of the small things like using a soft sponge for cleaning, not using metal utensils with nonstick pots, and starting the cleaning process when the pots are cold would increase their life and performance.
Whether you’re going for an expensive option or a budget one, you’ll have numerous choices between the kind of internal lining you have. The most common characterization would be stainless steel and non-stick cookware.
Both options come with their own pros and cons, but generally nonstick pots perform better in a home where there’s no restriction in cuisine and food type.
Even if you choose non-stick lining, there are other choices you’ll need to make, as well. Petroleum-based products are generally cheaper but come with health and environmental risks.
As an alternative, people go for ceramics or nanotech-based nonstick coating. These options have been well received on the market and are now available in the budget category, as well.
Another important factor that determines the performance of your cookware is the material it’s made of. Physical properties like heat conductivity, resistance to corrosion, and durability play an important role in enhancing your overall experience. While selecting any cookware set, you need to make sure that the type of material is suitable for your intended use.
Cooking is a chemical process. Many foods have certain acidic and alkaline properties and at high temperatures, they may react with the surroundings. You must make sure that the cookware you’re selecting is made up of material that doesn’t react with the food as it may affect the taste or properties of what you eat.
For instance, consider the example of copper. In its natural state, copper can react with minerals and acids in your food. The worst scenario, in this case, is a yellowish shade and a metallic taste in your food.
The compounds created with copper at cooking temperatures are generally harmless for human beings. However, the manufacturer still addresses this issue by coating copper pans with other unreactive materials.
There are multiple other examples of material that can react with certain foods and leave a bad taste in your mouth. Cooking requires many resources, time, and hard work. If you follow everything perfectly and your perfect dish gets ruined due to the pan, you’ll definitely wish you had gone with a different set.
Avoid that by making sure that the cookware you’re selecting is safe to use.
Another important factor you should consider is the maintenance requirements of your selected cookware. Some pans don’t work with dishwashers or have certain maintenance requirements. Before making a choice, go through the instructions and ensure that you can meet all those demands.
Otherwise, you’ll waste your money and will have to come back for a new cookware set in a short while. This process will cost you more money and even waste your time. So, take care of the maintenance requirement of your selection before making a decision.
Your Cooking Experience
You might have the perfect tool at your disposal but there’s no point if you don’t know how to use it. Consider a wok as an example. It’s quite tricky to master and requires years of experience.
If you don’t know how to use a wok, then you shouldn’t spend too much money on getting the best one, because it won’t make a difference as long as you don’t increase your skills.
The Cuisine You Make
Another important consideration before making a choice of a cookware set is the type of cuisine you make. Generally, nonstick pans are excellent all-rounders and can be used for any dish or cuisine under the sun.
However, if your staple diet heavily leans on a particular side, then why not buy the right tools for it?
The type of stove you own also has a key role to play in determining the type of cookware set you should choose. Many materials don’t work well with induction stoves. If you’re using one, make sure that the cookware you buy is compatible.
Finally, it goes without saying that the price is an important parameter for determining the best cookware for you.
You should always go for the best choice that gives you a balance between quality, durability, and performance at your price point. Simply buying the most expensive one and thinking that it would perform better is not a sustainable strategy and may often backfire.
The best cookware for you is a very subjective decision that’s based on variable factors like your preference, experience, and your budget.
There’s no rule of thumb in deciding which choice is the best for you. That’s why we were unable to declare any one option from our top picks as the best cookware set under 200 dollars. There are many considerations to make and our 5 choices fulfill all of them one way or the other.