Skillet Shop but not ‘Till you Drop
Most all-purpose skillets have either flared or straight sides. Those with flared sides are called fry or omelette pans , and usually they come without lids; food just slides right out of these pans and onto a plate. Those with straight sides are called saute pans, and they come with lids.
I decided to limit my spending to less than $150, although it’s possible to buy skillets that cost twice that price. I tested numerous skillets for “release-ability” (whether the food stuck to the pan), heat distribution and cooking time. I cooked a variety of foods, including eggs, pancakes, eggplant, plantains, tofu and chicken.
Appearance, durability, feel and whether the skillet was oven- or broiler-safe also were evaluated.
Appearance. This may seem frivolous, but a cookware’s design is what initially will attract your attention. Imagine how the pan will look in your kitchen, on your stove. Evaluate its scratch-resistance. The best skillets I tested were heavy-gauge metal pans with stainless steel exteriors; they resisted scratches and dents better than either black enamel or anodized aluminum pans.
Durability runs a close second to appearance. All the skillets I liked were listed as dish-washer safe, but company representatives all recommended hand-washing. Although better cookware will come with a lifetime warranty, be sure to read the fine print before you buy.
Feel is an important consideration, too. With the exception of cast iron pans, you shouldn’t have to pump iron to fry an egg. A skillet should be a comfortable weight, but keep in mind that quality skillets are heavier than bargain-basement pans. But don’t confuse “heavy weight” with “heavy gauge.” “Gauge” is a measurement of the thickness of the metal used in the cookware’s construction, not its weight.
Skillet handles will vary in feel, too, so test them out to find which suits you best. Metal handles probably won’t feel quite as nice as wooden ones, but they will last forever. For safety’s sake, handles should have a “stay cool” quality and be riveted through the pan rather than screwed in place. (Article source)