Updated: June 8, 2015
Skillet Reviews:When you think of a cooking skillet, many of us think of the older cast iron skillets used in outdoor situations. These cast iron frying pans were heavy and food stuck to them so cleaning was a real headache. The current kitchen skillets are made from stainless steel or aluminum and their nonstick surfaces make them great for cooking up omeletes or vegetables. They typically come in 8 inch, 10 inch, or 12 inch sizes and made from materials like anodized aluminum, cast iron, stainless steel, and copper. You want a skillet that is designed properly and one that distributes heat evenly when you are cooking. The top brands are All-Clad, Lodge Logic, Staub, Calphalon, WearEver, Heuck, Cuisinart, Precise Heat, Le Creuset, and Rachel Ray. The more expensive All-Clad stainless steel skillets will run you $150+ for the 12" models while the same size skillet from Calphalon will cost closer to $50. We found a great selection of cooking skillets on Amazon.com and Cooking.com.
Buying Guide - Things to look for when buying a skillet for your kitchen: Purchase a material that will conduct heat evenly and properly. Cast iron is perhaps the best type of skillet to own for even heat distribution and the ability to retain heat. Stainless steel does look great but it is not as good at conducting heat as the cast iron variety. However, the newer tri-ply layered stainless steel skillets do a good job of heating evenly and cooking consistently. Anodized aluminum is probably the most popular choice in skillet materials, like the Calphalon NonStick Skillet that sells on Amazon and Cooking.com. Owners say it heats up evenly, cooks up perfect omeletes and cleans quite easily. The Calphalon skillet is a best seller on several websites because the price matches the performance. If you are heading to the great outdoors and want a rugged skillet that will last a long time, consider the Lodge Logic 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet ($16) which is a best seller on Amazon. The heavy cast iron skillet from Lodge weighs about 8 pounds and comes pre-seasoned so you don't have to deal with that part of it. Owners say this makes a great camping skillet that will last for generations. Another type of skillet are those that are powered by electricity like the Cuisinart CSK-150 1500-Watt Nonstick Oval Electric Skillet and the Precise Heat 3-1/2-Quart Surgical Stainless-Steel Oil Core Skillet. Both sell for over $100 and their are cheaper options on the market, but reviews point buyers to these 2 models. Simply plug them into the wall and the skillet will heat up evenly and retain heat extremely well. The electric skillets tend to have 2 shapes - square or round. They should have temperature controls on the side of the unit and look for those that are dishwasher safe with nonstick surfaces. Electric skillets will almost always be made of aluminum versus the stainless steel offerings you see with the models that for stove use only. The electric skillets also tend to have glass lids unlike the stove models. Some people ask "Why use an electric skillet?" One of the big advantages is that an electric skillet will give you a more evenly heated surface which in turn relates to consistent frying. Also, some owners say that the french skillets (electric models) are great for frying oil when you are trying to make fried chicken. When it comes to sizes, most cooking experts say the 8 inch skillet is best for omelettes and burgers, the 10" skillet is good for chicken breasts or eggs, and the 12 to 14 inch skillets are best for sauteing, heating up soups, and steaming vegetables. For the best skillet reviews we suggest going online to cooking forums where actual users make comments on various brands and models they own. Places like Chowhound.chow.com, Amazon.com, and Cooking.com. We found the top listings on Amazon and Cooking.com and cross referenced them with comments from users in the cooking forums to verify that users across all skill levels agree on what really works. We did not find any listings from Consumer Reports, but perhaps they will include skillet testing in one of their issues in the future. Keep reading to find out which models rated best and delivered performance to owners. You can browse the top selling cooking skillets online here.