What’s the bargain frypan winning over the experts?

Shiny, expensive kitchen appliances have appeal for their very existence, but

Well, according to comparison site CHOICE, we may be wasting our cash, especially when it comes to buying expensive frypans.

Let’s face it, we all know the famous brands, Le Creuset, KitchenAid, Tefal and Chasseur, to say nothing of all those celebrity-endorsed ranges.

What about Kmart? Does that make you take a second look?

CHOICE has once again done the hard work for us, bless them, and if you want a decent frypan at a decent price then run, don’t walk, into Kmart because once the secret is out, I predict the shelves will be empty.

CHOICE put 38 frying pans and 24 saucepans through their exhaustive tests, which included measuring heat distribution, durability (one section of the pan is scrubbed 10,000 times with a mechanical scrubbing arm), ergonomics and being oven-safe.

Well, taking all of that into consideration as well as price, at $20, Kmart’s Anko 24-centimetre frypan impressed the renowned hard-to-impress testers at CHOICE.

“It’s a lightweight, well-balanced pan that’s easy to clean,” said CHOICE kitchen expert Chantelle Dart.

“In our tests, it scored well for evenness of heating and durability. Even though it’s only $19, it’s comparable with other brands that are significantly more expensive.”

It didn’t all pan out well

If that all sounds great, of course there are some lows to that high. The testers were not impressed with the pan’s non-stick capabilities. That’s a big “boo-hoo” for me.

“In our tests, we’ve found that the more expensive frypans generally have better non-stick properties than the cheaper products,” Ms Dart said.

“While it did receive a high CHOICE Expert Rating, this pan has a thin base so it will continue to heat as you cook. This means you need to adjust your heat settings as you cook to prevent burning or sticking.

“Avoid high temperatures as it can warp over time.”

Kmart’s Anko 20cm stainless steel, $20 saucepan also came in for some praise. It wiped the floor against some of the bigger, well-known brands such as Le Creuset, Scanpan and Swiss Diamond.

“When we tested the saucepan for how quickly it boils water and how well it cooks scrambled eggs, it did really well,” Ms Dart said.

“We use these tests because they’re good indicators of how well a saucepan heats up, how evenly it cooks and whether the food sticks as you’re cooking.

“These scores are comparable with other saucepans that cost hundreds of dollars.”

There were some minor issues with the pan. CHOICE found bits of it might be fiddly to clean and the handle might become hot, but for $20, I’m prepared to look past that.

But – and of course there’s a ‘but’ – make sure you are buying the right frypan, because one Kmart offering was an absolute shocker.

CHOICE scored the $15 Kmart Anko 24cm aluminium three-layer non-stick frypan and the Anko 24cm aluminium four-layer non-stick frypan as complete lemons, with an expert rating of just 54 per cent. 

What is your favourite bargain kitchen appliance? Why not share your savvy buying tip in the comments section below?

Also read: What are the best cooking oils for your health?

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisherhttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/JanFisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.
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