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Best Budget Cookware Reviews

My Best Budget Cookware Reviews includes 2 very reputable brands. Covering stainless steel and aluminum nonstick, every household on a tight budget will enjoy these cookware items. I have and use these items regularly and they continue to impress me in their quality. While they don’t have features higher priced products offer, they are excellent for everyday cooking.

Best Budget Cookware Reviews

Criteria for Budget Cookware

I have 3 criteria for my best budget cookware reviews. It’s a tall order, but I am pleased to have 2 products I can solidly recommend.

  1. They must be durable and able to last a long time. Just because it’s low priced cookware, I don’t want it to be cheap quality. I want it to last, and that’s why I tested these products regularly.
  2. They must be priced under $10 per piece. I already have a low priced category which covers under $20 per piece, so the budget category must be significantly lower priced than that. $10 or less per piece.
  3. They must have a history or performance as gauged by many other users. I want to see plenty of reviews where cooks were pleased with the performance, and very low amounts of unhappy users. That’s a tall order for a budget category!

Best Budget Cookware Reviews

KitchenAid Aluminum Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set

KitchenAid is famous for making consumer oriented cookware. While they are famous for their mixers and food processors, their cookware is equally good but for a different market. With an enamel exterior, aluminum core, and nonstick interior, it is attractive and durable. My experience with using this KitchenAid cookware is that as long as you wash it by hand, and don’t use it on very high heat, it will last a very long time. The nonstick surface has endured much and still performs like a champ. For more details, please see the full cookware review.


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Farberware Classic 17-Piece Cookware Set

Farberware classic stainless steel cookware was likely in your parents home. This product line has endured throughout many years with a few changes. Today Farberware Classic Stainless Steel cookware has a cap on the bottom encasing the aluminum versus having the aluminum raw on the bottom. They have added features like drip pour spouts and straining lids. While we all have fond memories of a time long ago, the new Farberware Classic cookware is still very good. To tell you how good the product line is, I am still using a 4qt sauce pot that my parents used over 40 years ago! My newer 1 qt pot I use regularly for oatmeal or soups. I do like the straining lids. While the stainless steel pieces are healthy and dishwasher safe, the nonstick skillets are not. Please hand wash those items.

The 17 piece cookware set below is very complete for anyone getting started or just looking for a complete outfit. This set even includes mixing bowls. It’s hard to go wrong with Farberware Classic. For more details please see my complete review.


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Consumer Advocate Mark Jala Issues Warning About New PFOA Free Nonstick Cookware

PFOA free nonstick cookware should be healthy cookware, right? It might not be. Consumer advocate Mark Jala issues a warning to all buyers of healthy and safe cookware that just because a cookware advertises as PFOA free that it may not be healthy or safe cookware. The problem lies in that huge companies making millions of dollars on PFOA over the years are not going to stand by and just watch that money go away. DuPont, 3M, and other makers of PFOA have replaced PFOA with another chemical compound. Time will tell just how good, or how bad, it really is.

Is PFOA Free Nonstick Cookware Healthy?

PFOA in Our Bodies Today

PFOA has been manufactured in industrial quantities since the 1940’s. It is not a new product. It helps create a slick surface. Today, PFOA is applied to pre-treated carpets, carpet care liquids, apparel, upholstery, textiles, medical garments, floor wax and wax removers, tile sealants, food contact paper, dental floss and of course, cookware. Studies show 98% of all people have PFOA in their bloodstream right now.

Imagine you come home from work, tired and exhausted. You take your coat off and walk on your ScotchGuard protected carpet and plop down on your stain resistant sofa. It feels so good to relax. You take in a good deep, relaxing breath. Little did you know that the dust you stirred up walking on the carpet and sitting down on the sofa lifted up tiny particles of PFOA that is now being inhaled in that relaxing deep breath. Congratulations, you are now one of the 98% that has PFOA in your system.

A good history about PFOA and how deceptive the manufacturers have been over time can be found here at Environmental Working Group.

PFOA Free Nonstick Cookware Consumer Warning

Consumer advocate, and founder of www.YourCookwareHelper.com, issues a warning to all buyers of PFOA free nonstick cookware. “If you think the new PFOA free nonstick cookware you are buying is healthy cookware, you may want to look again. DuPont, 3M and other manufacturers of PFOA products have replaced PFOA with another chemical compound. That new chemical compound may be what is in that new cookware you are considering. The bottom line is no one knows the health implications of that new chemical compound. PFOA started being made in the 1940’s and it wasn’t until the late 1990’s to early 2000’s before any action was even considered about PFOA. PFOA will have been in production 75 years before being voluntarily removed from products. How long will it take for the PFOA replacements to be fully vetted for health concerns?” says Mark Jala. “We just don’t know yet about these new products.”

Healthy Cookware Recommendations

Mark Jala recommends, until these new PFOA replacements can be fully vetted, to stick with the known healthy and safe cookware products. These products include:

  • Stainless steel
  • Ceramic
  • Cast iron and enameled cast iron
  • Clay
  • New variations in “green” cookware

Until the PFOA free nonstick cookware is fully vetted for safety, this website will show on the dashboard the following graphic(this change will be fully implemented in 2014):

Maybe Healthy Cookware  For more details on healthy cookware please see the other articles on this site:

  1. Healthy Cookware and Safe Cookware Trends
  2. Healthy Nonstick Cookware for Your Health and Cooking
  3. What is Safe Cookware and Healthy Cookware
  4. Is Anodized Aluminum Cookware Considered Safe Cookware?

Some of the favorite healthy cookware items recommended on this site include the following:


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Circulon Infinite Cookware Set Review

This  Circulon Infinite Cookware Set review is unique. It awards my choice for Best Value of both anodized aluminum cookware sets and best value for nonstick cookware sets. Circulon Infinite cookware is durable, dishwasher safe, and has unique ridges on the cooking surface making Circulon an industry leader, and the Circulon Infinite cookware line, a winner in multiple categories. Innovative design elements like easy-pour edges, locking straining lids, nonstick surfaces both inside and outside, and the Circulon patented hi-lo cooking system are easy to like.

No more warping, mismatched sets, or scratched cookware. Say hello to a set that is flat, durable, nonstick, and dishwasher safe.

Circulon Infinite Cookware Set Review

People enjoy cooking even more when they have new cookware!

Perhaps your cookware is chipped or peeling. Maybe they are slightly warped and don’t lay flat. Maybe yours sticks too much, doesn’t perform the way you would like it to, and perhaps you want a cookware set that is dishwasher safe.

You may have noticed scratches on the cooking surfaces of your cookware and concerned about the health safety. Do the handles get too hot? Is too heavy? Perhaps you would like cookware that is nonstick and easy to clean.

If you are like me, I have some cookware that has been passed down from my parents and other family members. I have a little bit of everything. I know I get tired of some pieces that are warped and don’t lay flat on my GE flat ceramic stove top. It would be nice to have cookware with comfortable handles that stay cool, heats evenly and all the way up the sides of the cookware, and maybe even uses less heat. And it would be great if that cookware could last for many years to come!

Hard Anodized Aluminum Cookware Sets

In reviewing hard anodized aluminum cookware sets, I found one that stands above the rest when it comes to VALUE. There are many brands to consider including All Clad, Calphalon, Circulon, Cuisinart, Farberware, and KitchenAid. But when it came to the ultimate value of the set, only 1 kitchen set remained. 

Hard anodized aluminum is a popular material for cookware because it is lighter and stronger than stainless steel. That makes it easy to use and durable! Being aluminum, it provides excellent, even heating. When you start cooking with this Circulon Infinite hard anodized aluminum set, you will find it heats very quickly! You will find that being aluminum all the way up the sides, it heats all the way up the sides of the cookware, surrounding your food with a perfectly even heat. Unique to Circulon Infinite, the stainless steel base assures level cooking that is great for all stoves, including induction.

Nonstick Cookware Sets

There are plenty of nonstick cookware sets available to choose from. They come in all price ranges. However, when you start to handle the various cookware brands some just don’t compare. Some don’t perform well and start to peel or flake rather quickly. Some lose their nonstick surface qualities. One product stood out for best value.

Circulon is well known for their durable, long lasting nonstick surface. In fact, their nonstick surface, called TOTAL, is guaranteed to outlast all other nonstick surfaces! Unique to Circulon, their TOTAL nonstick surface has raised circles that minimizes the surface area touching your food. It helps keep fats and oils below your food, and makes cleanup a snap. The TOTAL nonstick surface, like more expensive anodized aluminum cookware, includes the nonstick surface not only on the inside of the cookware, but also on the outside. This avoids the traditional dingy appearance some anodized aluminum cookware can get over time, and makes cleanup super easy.

Circulon Infinite Cookware Set Review 

The Circulon infinite Cookware Set Wins for Best Value in BOTH Hard Anodized Aluminum and Nonstick Cookware Sets

You don’t have to worry about a mess after you cook up a storm. Just throw the Circulon Infinite nonstick cookware in the dishwasher! The cast stainless steel handles stay cool. The stainless steel lids fit securely. And the Circulon Infinite stainless steel base stays flat on whatever type of stove you have. The flat bottom base is great on flat top stoves! Thinking about induction? No worry. The Circulon Infinite 10 piece cookware set is induction ready!

REVIEW: What I liked

  1. It is well built. When you hold Circulon Infinite cookware, you know you are handling solid cookware that will last.
  2. It has a very flat bottom that does not warp. It bugs the Dickens out of me when cookware warps and makes it hard to cook. Circulon Infinite has a very flat and sturdy bottom that does not warp.
  3. The handles do stay cool. 
  4. It is dishwasher safe. I put mine in the dishwasher almost every time and the nonstick surface is still very good.
  5. The stainless steel lids are easy to clean and attractive. They fit well.
  6. The 8qt stock pot and 3qt saute pan are excellent sizes.
  7. The aluminum construction heats up the side walls and surrounds food with a nice even heat.
  8. The hi-lo ridges. I have to admit I wasn’t fond of them in the beginning thinking it was all hype. After a little usage I realized they do help make the nonstick surface better than most.
  9. The price. You get a lot of long lasting cookware for a great price and this makes it an excellent value. 

REVIEW: What I didn’t like

  1. As a serious cook I want a 12″ skillet. Is it too much to ask for? The extra size makes it easier to cook larger quantities of food. 
  2. You can’t use high heat. Using high heat with Circulon Infinite cookware will reduce the performance of the nonstick surface. Minimize even the use of medium high heat. Pre-heated, even medium heat can however do a great job on most cooking jobs. 
  3. As with most nonstick and hard anodized cookware sets, they don’t come with a stainless steel skillet. As a serious cook, you’ll want a stainless steel or high heat nonstick skillet for searing and browning. Check out the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro 12″ stainless steel skillet.

 YCH Cookware Dashboard

Healthy? Dishwasher Safe? Induction Ready? Price?
NOT Healthy Cookware Dishwasher Safe Induction Ready Medium Price
Outside Material? Inside Material? Oven Safe? Clad?
Traditional Nonstick Traditional Nonstick 500 Degrees Bottom Only

Please note: While the dashboard says it is clad only on the bottom, that is true, but the anodized aluminum material is at the entire core of the cookware including the side walls.


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  Features How It Benefits You!
checkmark Stainless Steel Flat Bottom Great for all FLAT top stoves>
checkmark Hard Anodized Aluminum construction Lightweight and durable
checkmark TOTAL Nonstick System Durable and long lasting
checkmark Nonstick coating on BOTH inside and outside Easy to clean
checkmark Cast stainless steel handles Easy to hold. Stays cool.
checkmark Induction ready Future proof for induction stove tops
checkmark Oven safe to 500 degrees Expands the cooking techniques you can use
checkmark Dishwasher safe Easy to clean. Rare for hard anodized nonstick cookware
checkmark Lifetime Limited Warranty It’s a risk free purchase

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Cuisinart MCP22-30HNS MultiClad Pro Nonstick Stainless-Steel 12-Inch Skillet

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Cuisinart MCP22-24NSN MultiClad Pro Nonstick Stainless Steel 10-Inch Skillet

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Cuisinart GG-10 GreenGourmet Hard-Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set

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Cuisinart GG44-22 GreenGourmet Hard-Anodized Nonstick 4-Quart Dutch Oven with Cover

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Cuisinart GG-12 GreenGourmet Hard-Anodized Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set

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Cuisinart GG192-18 Green Gourmet Hard-Anodized Nonstick 2-Quart Saucepan with Cover

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Cuisinart GG33-30H GreenGourmet Hard-Anodized Nonstick 5-1/2-Quart Saute Pan with Helper Handle and Cover

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