Buying Guides

Cookware Buying Guide: How To Choose Your Pots & Pans

Ensure your cookware is compatible with your hob! Our cookware buying guide will help you choose the best pots and pans for your lifestyle and your kitchen.

6 Min Read

pots and pans jasper morrison for alessi

Cookware is an essential item for any home. Whether you're a pro chef in the making or a one-pot expert, having a staple range of pots and pans is a must. Your wedding gift list is the perfect opportunity to invest in higher-quality cookware that will last for many delicious occasions. But with so much to choose from, where do you start? This cookware buying guide will take you through the key things to consider when choosing your pots and pans. 

greenpan cookware range

What Types of Pans Can I Use on My Hob?

Gas Hob
Gas hobs and gas stoves are compatible with any cookware type. However, keep an eye on the gas flame when cooking. The gas flame shouldn't extend beyond the base of your pot or pan, as this wastes gas and can overheat your cookware.

Electric Hob
You can use any type of pans on an electric hob except for copper. 

Induction Hob
When cooking on an induction hob, your cookware must have a magnetic metal base. Why? Because induction hobs work by heating your cookware through a magnetic induction coil. Heat won't transmit from the induction coil to your cookware without a magnetic metal base. Magnetic materials include cast iron, enamel, carbon steel and stainless steel.

Solid Plate Hob
A solid plate hob works by heating a metal ring using an electric coil. When cooking on a solid plate hob, you should only use flat-based cookware to ensure an even heat distribution.

Ceramic Hob
A ceramic hob is named for its flat ceramic surface. It produces heat through different heating 'zones' that are powered electrically. When it comes to choosing pots for a ceramic hob, well, that couldn’t be simpler. You can use any pot or pan on a ceramic hob. However, to avoid damage, it is important to always lift cookware (and never slide) across its surface. 

Halogen Hob
A Halogen hob is made of glass and uses indirect radiation to heat your pot or pan. When cooking on a halogen hob, your cookware should have a thick flat base, allowing it to withstand intense heat.

Solid Fuel Cooker
A solid fuel cooker uses fuel (or fire) as its heat source. A prime example of a solid fuel cooker is a Swedish oven or AGA. Often, fuel cookers double up as a heating source for the home too.

aluminium cookware stellar

Pot & Pan Materials


⁠Aluminium is an excellent heat conductor: which is why most cookware uses this lightweight metal in at least one part of its production process. However, aluminium isn't very durable and reacts with acidic food. High-quality aluminium cookware will be anodized or coated with a non-stick material, increasing its durability and functionality.

Safe To Use: All hobs except induction hobs.
Best For: Good quality, non-stick aluminium cookware is best for frying and cooking most foods on low to medium heat.
Why We Love It: ⁠Affordable and highly conductive, provides fast and even heating.


forged hardened aluminium kitchenaid cookware and bakeware

Hard-Anodised Aluminium

Hard-anodised aluminium refers to aluminium that has undergone an electro-chemical process to make it more durable. Anodised aluminium is non-reactive, is an excellent conductor of heat and performs better than standard aluminium. Similar to standard aluminium, hard-anodised aluminium is often coated with a non-stick material or used in the production process of other cookware.

Safe to use: all hobs except induction hobs.
Best for: stir fry, eggs, vegetables, pancakes, sauteing or searing.
Why we love it: durable, highly conductive, scratch-resistant, non-reactive (Resistant to chipping, peeling, abrasion and corrosion and doesn't react to acidic food)


zwilling pro stainless steel frying pan

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel cookware is highly durable and should last a lifetime. You will need a little more oil when cooking as this material is not non-stick. Stainless steel cookware is often bonded with a conductive metal (such as aluminium) to improve its heat conductivity. All stainless steel pans and pots available at The Wedding Shop are of premium quality and are corrosion resistant.

Safe to use: all hob types. 
Best for: everything!
Why we love it: extremely durable, corrosion resistant, dishwasher safe, versatile, heats evenly and quickly when bonded with another conductive material.


le creuset signature cast iron shallow casserole

Cast Iron

Cast iron is renowned for making excellent quality cookware. Cookware that uses this traditional material has excellent heat conductivity and is very versatile. If you're looking for cookware that doubles up as serveware, cast iron cookware should be your go-to as it retains heat wonderfully. Cast iron cookware is built to last, making this cookware a worthwhile investment.

Safe to use: all hob types, ovens and grilling.
Best for: frying, braising, roasting, simmering, sauteing, and searing.
Why we love it: exceptionally durable, excellent heat conductor, versatile, retains heat.


kitchencraft carbon steel wok

Carbon Steel

Carbon Steel heats quickly and cooks evenly. It is a popular material used for bakeware and most traditional woks. Uncoated carbon steel needs to be seasoned. Most carbon steel cookware is coated with non-stick material to increase the ease of cooking and cleaning.

Safe to use: All hob types, ovens and grilling. 
Best for: pretty much every recipe, especially cooking meats or baking.
Why we love it: durable, lightweight, quick-heating, versatile.


maitre d cookware scanpan


Copper has excellent heat conductivity and durability. Good-quality copper cookware should last a lifetime. All copper cookware must be lined with a non-reactive material, such as stainless steel, to prevent them from reacting with acidic food.

Safe to use: hobs, oven and grill. ⁠
Best for: a variety of cooking styles, but best used under low-medium heat. ⁠
Why we love it: the best conductor of heat.


Types of Cookware


Best for: making sauces and boiling small quantities of liquid. 
A saucepan sits between a pot and a pan. It has a round base, high sides, a long handle and typically comes with a lid. True to its name, it's excellent for making sauces. But a saucepan has many other functions too. You can deep fry, boil liquids, and make stock, pasta sauce and soups with a saucepan.

Milk Pan

Best for: warming milk and making sauces.
⁠A milk pan is smaller than a saucepan, specifically used to heat milk and make sauces. It has a lip on one side (sometimes both sides) to allow easy pouring. Milk pans should have a non-stick coating and typically do not come with lids.

Sauté Pan

Best for: reducing sauces, searing and browning foods and slow cooking.
A sauté pan is wide and shallow, with a long handle. It also has sloped sides and a non-stick coating, making it an ideal choice of cookware for reducing sauces. You can also use a sauté pan to sear and brown foods, and once its lid is on, it's excellent for cooking slow and tender dishes.

Frying Pan

Best for: frying, searing and browning.
⁠A frying pan, or skillet, has a flat base with shallow, flared sides. Usually, a frying pan will have a long handle allowing for an easy grip when tossing. As its name suggests, frying pans are excellent for frying, searing and browning food at medium to high heat.

Grill Pan

Best for: chargrilled food
A grill pan, or griddle pan, has a wide ridged surface. Like a barbeque, it's excellent for grilling foods at high temperatures and adding char marks, texture and colour to a dish. A grill pan not only sears food evenly, but its ridges also allow for easy drainage of excess fat. You can cook vegetables, meat and fish on a grill pan. Grill pans can be used on oven tops and, depending on their material, in ovens.

Woks & Stir Fry Pans

Best for: stir-frying
⁠A wok or stir fry pan is deep and round. It's designed for quick stir-frying, allowing foods to keep their flavour and crunch. Cooked food can be moved to the sloped side of a wok, allowing other food to cook at its base. You can also easily toss and swirl food in a wok due to its deep, round sides. 

Stock Pot & Casserole Pan

Best for: Stocks, broths, stews and soups
⁠A stock pot or casserole pan is a large pot with a flat bottom and very tall sides. They have two side handles for carrying and should come sold with a lid. Stocks, broths, stews and soups are all typical dishes made in a stock pot: mainly because a stock pot is large enough to hold many ingredients. 


Best for: steaming vegetables, meat, fish, shellfish and fresh pasta
⁠A steamer consists of multi-tiered pans that allow you to steam food healthily on the hob. The first layer will be a typical pot where water will boil to create steam. The second and third layers will be a pots with holes in their bases - allowing steam to flow through and cook your food. You can use a steamer to steam vegetables, meat, fish, shellfish and fresh pasta.

Pressure Cooker

Best for: slow cooked dishes and tenderising meat
⁠A pressure cooker is a sealed pot that builds up steam and pressure, cooking food quickly. The high pressure forces moisture into your food, resulting in tender and flavourful dishes. You can cook almost anything in a pressure cooker, especially foods that require slow cooking, such as roasts and meats.

greenpan frying pan cookware guide

Caring for Your Pots and Pans: Tips to Preserve Pans

How To Take Care of Non-Stick Cookware

  • Don't overheat your pot or pan as this can cause the coating to peel.
  • Use wooden or silicone utensils. Metal utensils can scratch non-stick surfaces.
  • Use a pan protector when storing non-stick pans to prevent damage to the coating.
  • Always hand wash.

Best Cookware Cleaning Practices

  • Washing your cookware by hand is always the best practice.
  • When hand washing, wait until your cookware has cooled down before cleaning. Washing hot pans with cold water can cause thermal shock that will cause cracks over time. 
  • Don't use scouring pads, wire wools or strong cleaning products to clean your cookware.
  • For stubborn stains, soak your cooled-down cookware in warm soapy water. 
  • Always dry your pots or pans straight away.

How To Heat Your Cookware

  • Your cookware should be the same size or slightly larger than the hob ring. If your pot or pan is too small, it can damage the handle and waste gas. 
  • Be careful when cooking with metal cookware as the surface will be hot to touch. 
  • Never place an empty pan on a hot burner.

Added to List!

Tips To Preserve Your Wok

Preparation Before Cooking

  • Wash your wok with hot water and soap. Unseasoned woks are coated in oil to protect them before being bought. You must wash this coating off before use.
  • Dry your wok.
  • Use a paper towel to rub cooking oil over the surface of your wok.
  • Place your wok over the heat, turning and tilting the wok until the metal turns a darker shade. The wok should start to smoke before you start cooking.

⁠Preparation After Cooking

  • Allow your wok to cool completely.
  • Wipe the inside of your wok to dry completely.
  • Before you store your wok, drizzle a teaspoon of fresh oil into the wok and rub it over its inside.

That brings us to the end of our cookware guide. Now you have everything you need to make the best choice when selecting your cookware. Whether frying pan, wok or even a pressure cooker, we know many flavourful feats await! If you're looking for more kitchen inspiration, we have many other gifts to tempt your tastes. Why not take a look at our 99 Most Popular Kitchen Gifts? Or take the table outside with our Alfresco Life collection.


Looking for More Advice?

Finding the perfect homewares for your style and preference is made simple with our helpful buying guides.

How To Choose The Right Types Of Kitchen Knives

Choose the best and safest kitchen knives with our expert guide.

Read more

Cookware Buying Guide: How To Choose Your Pots & Pans

Choose the best pots and pans for your hob with our cookware buying guide.

Read more

Buying A Barbecue: A Complete Guide

Buying the perfect BBQ is easy with our expert guide.

Read more