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A range of the best pan sets

The best pan sets tried and tested

A good set of pans will enhance your culinary adventures for years to come. Read our reviews of stainless steel and aluminium offerings, from cheap to blowout, to find out which is best for you.

Over the years, kitchen cupboards can get cluttered with pots and pans of varying quality. Rather than picking up odd and mismatched saucepans along the way, buying a set where all perform in a similar way can help build your confidence as a cook.

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You’ll get to know your pans and their capabilities as you try different recipes, never having to second-guess which one to use. If you often cook for friends and family or your like to keep your cookware on display, style may also be a consideration.

Pan sets come in so many combinations of sizes and types, it can be difficult to decide what to go for. Every one of the combos we’ve tried and tested here has different items that can be added to complete your ideal collection. From steamers to casseroles, sauté pans to woks, there’s a lot you can add later to the basic trio of lidded saucepans.

As with any equipment you use daily, buy the best you can afford. A thin aluminium set with plastic knobs may be binned in a few months, but higher-grade stainless steel pans will last and save you money in the long-run.

Think about how much room you have to store pans. A heavy base is crucial for distributing heat efficiently. Consider the lining – we all love non-stick properties but some need to be oil-seasoned every month and may not be suitable to go in the dishwasher.

Well-fitting lids are important, as are comfortable handles. With regards to size, ask yourself if that giant casserole is going to languish on the shelf? And do you really need a tiny milk pan? Stick to the basics, with at least two 16-20cm pans, and you can grow your kitchen collection from there.

Read on to discover which saucepan sets stood out in our rigorous tests. For hundreds of buyer’s guides, visit our product reviews section and read about how we test products. Also find reviews of food processors, slow cookers, non-stick frying pans and much more.

How to choose the best saucepan set

There’s a lot to consider before choosing a saucepan set. If you’re starting out, a three-pot set will give you everything you need to cook most meals. All your hob needs for a Sunday roast are covered – there will be a pan for potatoes, vegetables and gravy. A number of the sets on this list form part of a wider collection of pans, like frying pans and sauté pans, meaning you can add to your set later on. We recommend always going for the very best quality you can afford. If you’re a seasoned cook, think about what gets used most in your kitchen (we all have our favourites) and look for a set that incorporates that style of pan in its wider range, if not already included in the box.

What to look out for when choosing a saucepan set

The majority of the pan sets we’ve tested include three different sized saucepans. Some sets also come with a frying pan and milk pan, whilst others also come have sauté pans. Consider what you need and what you already have – you don’t want to buy a set with a frying pan if you already have a much-loved one in your kitchen.

  • Weight: depending on the material used, the pans can get very weighty when full. Look for lug-handles for extra support. At the other end of the spectrum, a lightweight pan isn’t necessarily a good thing; they tend to be unbalanced on the hob and can be easily knocked.
  • Hob suitability: choose a set that’s suitable for your hob. Ideally choose one suitable for all hob types, so there’s no risk of the set becoming redundant if you move from gas or electric to induction.
  • Oven-proof: a saucepan that can go from hob to oven offers added versatility. It’s simpler to cook dishes like oven-baked risotto, that start on the hob and move to the oven, in a pan that can do both, and there’s less to wash up after. Check the maximum temperature the pan is oven-proof to – anything above 180C is ideal.
  • Easy to clean: in an ideal world, saucepans would always be washed by hand, but we’re all busy and it’s uber convenient to be able to pop the pans in a dishwasher once you’ve finished cooking. Always check whether the pans are dishwasher-safe before washing.

Best saucepan sets at a glance

  • Best saucepan set Ninja Foodi ZEROSTICK, £149.99
  • Best blowout saucepan set Crane stainless steel cookware set, £393.76
  • Best professional-quality saucepan set Samuel Groves stainless steel tri-ply 3-piece set, £243
  • Best hybrid saucepan set Circulon C Series SteelShield 3-piece saucepan set, £240
  • Best investment saucepan set Le Creuset 3-ply stainless steel saucepan set, £359.99
  • Best saucepan set for small spaces Tefal Ingenio Essential 14-piece pan set, £128.30
  • Best fuss-free saucepan set Stellar 7000 5-piece saucepan set, £144.95
  • Best saucepan set for students Judge Vista 3-piece saucepan set, £47.99
  • Best stylish saucepan set Robert Welch Campden 3-piece saucepan set, £170
  • Best starter saucepan set Lakeland stainless steel 5-piece saucepan set, £154.99
  • Best budget saucepan set Salter Megastone 3-piece pan set, £53.98

Best saucepan sets to buy in 2021

Ninja Foodi ZEROSTICK saucepan set

Best saucepan set

Ninja Foodi ZEROSTICK saucepan set

Pros: high-quality non-stick coating, comfortable, attractive handles, oven-safe to high temperature
Cons: handles get warm

Star rating: 5/5

Ninja are well known for their powerful blenders and air fryers, but their foray into cookware has proven an unmitigated success. Like the top-scoring Ninja Foodi ZEROSTICK frying pan from the same collection, Ninja’s saucepan set features an impressive non-stick coating and is a joy to cook with.

The handles are long and slender, making them comfortable to hold. The pans aren’t too heavy to carry from hob to sink and for added versatility and ease, they’re all dishwasher– and oven-safe to 260C.

In our tests, nothing stuck to these pans and they distributed heat evenly. They’re highly responsive to changes in temperature, allowing you to be fully in control. The handles do get a little hot though.

Read our full Ninja Foodi ZEROSTICK saucepan set review

Crane stainless steel cookware set

Best blowout saucepan set

Crane Cookware Set

Pros: attractive, minimalist design, heavy based, good weight, made in England, enjoyable to use
Cons: lug handles on S2 and S4 get warm, expensive, lids are not clear

Star rating: 4.5/5

Yes, these pans are expensive, but believe us when we say, they’re worth every single penny. Not only does the minimalist design and gorgeously shaped handles mean they look fantastic, but cooking with them is an absolute dream.

With these pans, you feel totally in control; they respond to changes in temperature well and produce the perfect finish every time. They’re uncoated, but you wouldn’t know it to cook on them, as we removed everything from the pans with total ease; nothing stuck.

For those who like to shop local, these pans are made in England. They’re certainly not a starter set, but if you’ve been coveting Crane pans for a while, this set is the perfect introduction to the brand.

Read our full Crane stainless steel cookware set review

Samuel Groves stainless steel tri-ply 3-piece set

Best professional-quality saucepan set

Samuel Groves stainless steel tri-ply 3-piece set

Pros: ergonomic handles, beautifully designed, oven-safe to 260C, metal utensil safe
Cons: lids are not transparent

Star rating: 4.5/5

Like Crane, Samuel Groves prides itself on hand-making all of their pans in England. This three-piece set features pans that are reassuringly weighty and have lovingly sculpted handles. You’d easily mistake these pans for the kind you’d find in a professional kitchen. With all Samuel Groves pans, you can make the most of their ‘pan for life’ scheme and the brand will refurbish the pans as needed.

They’re oven-safe to 260C and suitable for all hob types. The pans are fantastic to cook with; they’re careful and controlled, but produce consistently high results. Plus, nothing stuck. If you’re after a frying pan to go with the set, we recommend the Samuel Groves Tri-Ply frying pan.

Read our full Samuel Groves Stainless Steel Tri-Ply 3-piece set review

Circulon C Series SteelShield 3-piece saucepan set

Best hybrid saucepan set

Circulon C Series SteelShield 3-piece saucepan set

Pros: slim ergonomic handles, distinct S-shaped handles, oven-safe up to 260C, size of pan detailed on underside, dishwasher-safe, metal utensil safe
Cons: no steam vent, can’t place lids ajar

Star rating: 4.5/5

If you’re torn between a non-stick or uncoated saucepan set, this Circulon set promises the answer. These pans are non-stick, but cook like steel, producing an intense sear whilst also managing to cook delicately. Add to the collection with the Circulon C Series SteelShield frying pan.

These pans are attractive and feature Circulon’s tell-tale concentric circle design. The lid handles are also a distinctive S-shape. We struggled a little with the lids, they don’t have a steam vent so steam escapes underneath, so be sure to aim the steam away from you.

On the whole, cooking on these pans was a joy to do. They’re quick to heat up, but keep you in control. Our only minor gripe was that food got stuck to the ridges and overcooked slightly, but this would only be a concern if cooking something that needed to be silky smooth, like custard or bechamel.

Read our full Circulon C Series SteelShield 3-piece saucepan set review

Le Creuset 3-ply stainless steel saucepan set

Best investment saucepan set

Le Creuset 3-ply stainless steel saucepan set

Pros: classic styling, unsurpassed heat distribution, lifetime guarantee, diverse range of pans can be added to the collection
Cons: 
initially expensive, not easily stackable, heavier than most sets

Star rating: 4.5/5

Combining good looks with second-to-none construction, this set of three saucepans will be on display in your kitchen years from now. The pans’ triple-layer stainless steel ensures even, constant heat and the solid lids made cooking with less water possible, locking in steam and flavour.

Laser-etched measurements inside the pans and curved rims for no-spill pouring only made us love them more. They’re heavier than the other pans we tried, but an extra grab handle makes lifting easy, even when full.

Read our full Le Creuset 3-ply stainless steel saucepan set

Tefal Ingenio Essential 14-piece pan set

Best saucepan set for small spaces

Tefal Ingenio Essential 14 Piece pan set on a white background

Pros: small storage footprint, adaptable, hard-wearing, affordable, great choice of accessories
Cons: not suitable for induction hobs, relatively short guarantee, clipping from one pan to another may not suit those with mobility issues

Star rating: 4/5

A clever range that has long been a bestseller. Although this basic Ingenio line isn’t suitable for induction hobs, it did everything we asked of it on gas and electric hobs, and in the oven, too.

Clicking the detachable handle in place, then detaching to slot onto another pan can take some getting used to, but the benefit is that it only needs a tiny amount of cupboard space.

Read our full Tefal Ingenio Essential 14-piece pan set review

Stellar 7000 5-piece saucepan set

Best fuss-free saucepan set

Stellar 7000 5-piece saucepan set

Pros: helpful draining holes in lids, big pouring lips on pans, handles are long and comfortable
Cons: handles get hot

Star rating: 4/5

With its striking high-shine finish, this five-piece set from Stellar is professional looking, but comes at a reasonable price. These pans come with added extras like draining holes in the lid, which means there are no frantic searches for a colander or sieve.

Very little stuck to these pans either, so clean up, on the whole, was a doddle. The milk pan and frying pan are useful additions, particularly if you’re looking for a complete set. The non-stick coating on both of these pans is effective too.

Water came to a boil quickly, saving you time. And for added ease and versatility, they’re all dishwasher- and oven-safe up to 210C.

Read our full Stellar 7000 5-piece saucepan set review

Judge Vista 3-piece saucepan set

Best saucepan set for students

Judge Vista 3-piece saucepan set

Pros: draining holes in the lid, pouring lips either side of pan, volume markings up the side of pan
Cons: oven-safe to low temperature

Score: 4/5

This is a simple and sturdy saucepan set, ideal to pack your child off to uni with. It’s suitable for all hob types and comes with useful and space-saving added extras like draining holes in the lids and volume markings inside the pans.

They’re lightweight, but have a slightly weighted base. In general we found the pans quick to heat up, but some foods did end up sticking to the pan. Whilst the pans are oven-safe, they’re only suitable to a somewhat limiting 150C.

But if you’re just after a simple set for equally simple cooking tasks, this set gets the job done. Add to the collection with the Judge Vista frying pan. And for more key university items, read our best student kitchen essentials list.

Read our full Judge Vista 3-piece saucepan set review

Robert Welch Campden 3-piece saucepan set

Best stylish saucepan set

Robert Welch Campden 3-piece saucepan set on a white background

Pros: stylish design, top grade steel/copper bottoms, even heat distribution
Cons: investment price point

Star rating: 4.5/5

Lovely to look at, these pans are also a dream to use. This stylish trio comes from a British company renowned for their top-notch cutlery, so the handles are very comfortable to grip – and they stay surprisingly cool, even over intense heat.

Using the same high grade of stainless steel, they’ve sandwiched a layer of copper in the base of these weighty pans to ensure perfect heat control for serious home chefs.

Read our full Robert Welch Campden 3-piece saucepan set review

Lakeland stainless steel 5-piece saucepan set

Best starter saucepan set

Lakeland stainless steel 5-piece saucepan set

Pros: full set, added grip on handles, lug handle on largest pan, oven-safe to 200C
Cons: sometimes slow to respond to changes in temperature

Star rating: 4/5

If you’re looking for a saucepan set for a new home, or as a gift to those who’ve just moved, this five-piece set from Lakeland comes with all of the essentials. This is a simple looking set, with grey accents. The handles have silicone covers that protect the hands from the warm metal.

The pans are dishwasher-safe for easy clean up, though we found very little stuck to the saucepans and nothing stuck to the frying pan or milk pan, thanks to the non-stick coating. Generally they were a decent pan set to cook with, especially when it came to simple cooking tasks. Though we did find the pan a little slow to respond to changes in temperature.

Read our full Lakeland Stainless Steel 5-piece saucepan set review

Salter Megastone 3-piece pan set

Best budget pan set

SALTER 007

Pros: long, comfortable handles, hanging holes, suitable for all hob types
Cons: very light, lots of plastic packaging

Star rating: 4/5

Not all of us can afford to spend hundreds on a saucepan set and sometimes you just need something that will get the simple stuff done. This Salter saucepan set has an effective non-stick coating and wide, open pans.

The pans are very light, so be careful of accidentally knocking them. Thankfully the handles are comfortable to hold and do not get too hot.

They’re a little slow to respond to changes in temperature, but nothing stuck to the pans, meaning clean up is easy. They’re cheap and cheerful, so good if you’re on a budget or if you’re looking for a set to take camping with you, for example.

Read our full Salter Megastone 3-piece pan set review

How we tested saucepan sets

We put these saucepan sets to the test by cooking a variety of foods in the appropriate sized pan. We started with breakfast foods and cooked custardy scrambled eggs in the smallest pan to see how well we could control the heat, and if we were able to reach into the edges to ensure everything was fully incorporated. We also cooked notoriously-difficult-to-clean porridge in the smallest pan.

In the medium-sized pan we cooked fried onions. This let us see if the pan could cook slowly and caramelise the onions evenly. We played around with the temperature on this test to see how well the pan responded to changes.

Finally, in the largest pan, we cooked pasta. We brought the pan up to a boil from cold to see how quickly it heated up and how evenly the pan distributed heat. After adding the pasta, we popped the lid on. We wanted to know whether the pan would bubble over, and if you could still see through the lid.

Some pan sets came with frying pans as standard. We called on our frying pan tests to test these out and cooked American pancakes and omelettes.

As well as how the sets looked together on the hob, there was a long list of attributes on our list of must-haves.

  • Efficient cooking: crucially, they had to have excellent, non-stick linings and efficient heat distribution so we could rely on food being evenly cooked, with responsive heating and cooling when we adjusted controls.
  • Weight and balance: heavy-based pans are great for cooking, but they couldn’t be so weighty that we’d struggle to move one from hob to sink, or so light they could tilt easily on the stove.
  • Build quality: the saucepans had to be built to last, with firmly welded or riveted handles, which had to feel comfortable to grip when the pan was full.
  • Storage: finally, we looked at how the sets stacked together for storage, marking down any that were likely to topple over and cause cupboard chaos.

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