Investing in one of the
best stainless steel pots is an easy upgrade to any kitchen that will deliver a faster and more even-cooking experience. But, there are a lot of subtle differences in the composition of a generic stainless steel pot on the shelf in the kitchenware aisle.
The first thing you'll want to look for is a stainless steel pot with an aluminum core,
which conducts heat faster and lessens your cook time. The safest and most efficient pots are also built with two layers of steel sandwiching the layer of aluminum (hence why it is called a "core"), which is often referred to as "tri-ply," and eliminates any risk there might be of cooking with aluminum. A lot of tri-ply pots also feature cool-touch handles since the steel layers keep the hot aluminum sealed off, which come in handy when you use your pot in the oven.
From there, the biggest decision you'll have to make is in regards to size and budget. This may go without saying, but if you have a tiny kitchen, a smaller stainless steel pot will be better, and vice versa with large kitchens. And, if you are looking to really build out your cookware, consider a set of pots of varying sizes.
Here's a list of some of the
best stainless steel pots on the market to help get you started. 1 Best Overall, All Things Considered Capacity: 12 quarts What's Great About It: This huge stainless steel pot can take on the heftiest batches of soups, stocks, and stews while still heating through evenly. It features tri-ply construction with an aluminum core, and its riveted stainless steel handles are easy to grip and lift. It's also dishwasher and oven safe up to 500 degrees and comes with a lifetime warranty. And at about $80, this high-quality pot comes in at a very affordable price point, especially since you'll never have to pay to replace it. What Fans Say: This brand is a cult-favorite among both novice and more advanced chefs. On reviewer raves: "It is light, but strong. It's really easy to clean, it's smooth, and it looks like it's expensive competitors. With [this] pot, I can simmer a soup for 48 hours, and it comes out tasting WAY better than any other soup I've made in a different pot." 2 Runner Up: A Heavy-Duty Pot With Cool-Touch Handles Capacity: 8 quarts What's Great About It: This heavy-duty pot runs a bit smaller, but it still gets the job done. It features an aluminum core for quick and even heating, and the double-layered handles stay cool to the touch, no matter how high you crank up the heat. This pot is safe in the dishwasher and oven, and it features a mirror finish that won't scratch or discolor over time. Bonus: There are fill lines etched inside for perfect measurements every time. Tradeoff: While this pot has all the essentials, it's only 8 quarts, which may not be big enough if you're cooking for a larger crowd. There's also no lifetime guarantee, which is another reason this pot is this list's runner-up. What Fans Say: "LOVE this pot. I have already used it twice since receiving it, once for pasta. [It] is so well made, I will put it in my will for future generations! There is a measuring guide inside the pot. So handy [...] worth every penny and more." 3 Most Affordable: A 12-Quart Pot That Costs Less Than $50 Capacity: 12 quarts What's Great About It: If you're looking for something a little more budget-friendly, this durable pot boasts an affordable price tag without compromising on size or quality. Even though this pot is only $6 cheaper than the runner-up pick (above), it holds 33 percent more liquid. It also features the essential aluminum core and tri-ply construction, polished mirror finish, and tight-lock lid to seal in heat. Tradeoffs: While you can still use this pot in the oven, it's only safe up to 350 degrees before the metal starts corroding. That might make the number of recipes you can use it for more limited. Some reviewers also mention that the lid and handles can get super hot, so be sure to use potholders with this one. What Fans Say: One fan writes, "This pot is wonderful! It cooks evenly and food tends not to stick to the bottom. Because it's so big, nothing splatters outside the pot" 4 Smallest: A 4-Quart Pot With An Aluminum Core And Cool-Touch Handles Capacity: 4.5 quarts What's Great About It: This stainless steel mini pot is perfect for small batches of sauces and stews. It features an aluminum core with a cool-touch lid and handles, and at only 11 inches in diameter, it can fit in just about any cupboard. It also stacks and nests with other Calphalon pots and pans for easy storage. Tradeoffs: While it's great for a few servings, its size limits the types of meals you can prepare with this pot. What Fans Say: One reviewers writes, "Calphalon has always meant quality for our family, and this stainless steel cookware certainly meets that criteria. It’s a sturdy, heavy-gauge pot and its aluminum core does heat quickly and evenly. It also cleans nicely after cooking." 5 Also, Great: A Complete Set Of High-Quality Cookware What's Great About It: This stainless steel cookware set comes with two saucepans, several skillets, a lidded sauté pan, and a stock pot with steamer insert. All the pieces feature tri-ply construction, cool-touch handles and lids, and are dishwasher and oven safe up to 550 degrees. Tradeoff: This set is a little pricey, especially for a novice chef who may not use all of the pieces. But given the its durable materials and reliable brand name, there's a good chance it'll last a lifetime. What Fans Say: "The days of 'toss whatever frozen meal bag in a non stick pan and let's eat' are over for me. The first night we used them on come chicken breast, steamed some carrots, and made a brown sugar glaze for them. The even browning of the multiclad technology was incredible. This set makes me feel like I CAN make more than just something to eat, were actually making delicious meals." Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.