Best saucepan 2021 – We put these top saucepan sets to the test

Best saucepan 2021 – We put these top saucepan sets to the test

On the hunt for the best saucepan? We’ve rounded up some of the top sets on the market to make that decision a little (actually, a lot) easier. Everything in our best saucepan set roundup has been tested by a member of the Ideal Home team, so we’re here to tell you where to buy the top non-stick and stainless steel saucepans for sale right now.

For more essentials, take a look at the best chef’s knives

Of course, there are a lot of considerations to take into account when buying new saucepans. If you want to invest in something that will last you for decades, it’s worth splashing the cash up-front on something you know will last. Many of the best saucepans come with heat-resistant handles, but these can sometimes get in the way of putting the pan in the oven, which isn’t ideal for those who like to go between hob and grill when cooking. 

Do I need new saucepans?

Image credit: Tim Young

You may want to upgrade your pans if they’re scruffy or you need different sizes, but the main reason to buy a new set is their performance. New pan sets combine multiple metals to get the best of both worlds: the sturdy, low maintenance of stainless steel combined with the fast, even cooking of aluminium.

How much should I spend on a saucepan set?

Budget at least £100 for a set of good-quality saucepans. Beyond that, it’s a question of how many pans and what size. More money buys quality and quantity, but if you get the sizes right then you only really need three or four saucepans and a frying pan – you’ll save money and storage space.

Best saucepans 2021

1. Lakeland 5-Piece Stainless Steel Pan Set

Best saucepan set overall 

Best saucepan

Type: Mixed
Sizes: 14cm, 16cm, 18cm, 20cm, 24cm
Reasons to buy: Amazing value, high quality
Reasons to avoid:
None we can think of

We’re long-time fans of the Lakeland 5-Piece Stainless Steel Pan Set. Despite the fact that the pans have a soft-touch grip, they’re completely oven-safe. There’s also a mix of non-stick and stainless steel, meaning every kitchen can enjoy it. 

Included in the set there’s a 14cm milk pan and 24cm frying pan, both non-stick, and 16, 18 and 20cm stainless steel lidded saucepans. The set is ergonomic and clearly designed to be held, and everything stacks together neatly which is perfect for space-conscious kitchens. 

Everything is oven-safe up to 200 degrees, and you can use the entire set on induction hobs. The vented lids prevent pans from boiling over and the silicone handles mean you don’t have to worry about lifting the lid after cooking for prolonged periods. There’s really nothing we don’t like about this set, but it’s not the most lightweight offering in our guide, so lifting out the bottom pan when you’ve stacked everything away can be a little heavy.

Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

Buy the set at Lakeland, £154.99

2. BergHOFF Leo 3 Piece Non Stick Saucepan Set

Best value saucepan set

Type: Non-stick
Sizes: 16cm, 18cm, 20cm
Reasons to buy: Tactile and easy to use
Reasons to avoid:
The look isn’t for everyone

Visually, the BergHOFF Leo 3 Piece Non Stick Saucepan Set isn’t for everyone, but you’ll know instantly if it’s up your street. Taking the pans out of the box instantly divided the kitchen. The pans are lightweight and the phenolic handles clearly designed for balance and safe grip. 

These pans feel high quality, too. They’re induction-friendly and the lids are tempered glass, with silicone rims that rattle the least of any of the pans we tested. The lids are also fitted with modern-feeling handles and a vent for steam. This vent also comes in handy when draining liquid from veggies and pasta. That’s one less sieve for hand-washing. 

The set is non-stick and includes PFOA free non stick coating which cuts down on the amount of oil you’ll need. The three saucepans are 6cm, 18cm, and 20cm in width, so not the most versatile set out there when it comes to hearty portions, but it would be a good set for students or small households who want their pans to slot together neatly. Everything is dishwasher-safe too. A great value set.

Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

3. Stellar Induction Draining Saucepan Set

Best induction saucepan set

Type: Induction
Sizes: 16cm, 18cm, 20cm
Reasons to buy: Very high quality, oven-safe silicone handles
Reasons to avoid:

We’ve tried to be fair to the non-stick sets out there, but in our view the best saucepans are typically those high-quality fuss-free aluminium types. The Stellar Induction saucepan set is no exception. 

It’s (as the name suggests) safe for use with induction hobs, and the pans are oven-safe up to 180 degrees. That’s despite the stay-cool handles, which really do just that when cooking on the hob. 

A standout feature with this set is the draining vents on either side of the pan. This makes draining anything from pasta to peas a relatively pain-free process, and the lids are fitted with holes to make sure you won’t lose anything. One caveat is that you may lose the odd grain of rice, because it’s fitted with small holes. The draining sides are also great for pouring drinks into cups and bowls (think hot chocolate or soup) without spilling. A great touch.

Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

4. Samuel Groves Stainless Steel Tri-ply 20cm Saucepan

Best single saucepan

Type: Standalone saucepan
Size: 20cm
Reasons to buy: Pure quality and designed to last
Reasons to avoid:
An expensive option with no stay-cool handles

Looking for the best saucepan without buying a whole set? Take a look at this option from Samuel Groves. It’s 20cm with a generous capacity, and the riveted lid and handles mean it’s designed to last. Enjoyable features include the fact that it comes in a burlap bag that can be used for groceries and other storage needs, and that it’s handcrafted in the UK. 

Everything is made of stainless steel, including the lid and handles, so be aware that these will heat up when cooking. The brushed exterior meant that heat spread evenly in testing, and the tri-ply stainless steel feels high quality and long-lasting. 

The company also offers a ‘Pan for Life’ refurbishment service, so they will re-polish and restore any damage it may incur over the years.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 

5. Tefal Ingenio Pan Set, Stainless Steel, 13 Piece

Best space-saving saucepans

Best saucepan

Type: Stainless steel, removable handles
Sizes: 16cm, 18cm, 20cm
Reasons to buy: Easy to store
Reasons to avoid: 
Prone to scuffing

We tested the Ingenio ’13-piece’ Tefal saucepan set but don’t expect 13 pans. It is in fact just five pans, plus glass lids, airtight plastic covers for storing leftovers in the fridge and two removable handles. With the handles off, the pans stack ingeniously (hence the name) inside each other, so you can store five in the space usually taken up by just a couple of pans We’ve tested both the stainless steel and non-stick induction versions of the Ingenio. Both are induction-friendly.

The three saucepans (16, 18, 20cm) in the stainless steel set are built with titanium to make them even tougher and have graduations inside to indicate capacity. The two frying pans (22,26cm) in the set are non-stick inside and have a Tefal Thermo-Spot that changes colour at the optimum frying temperature. The non-stick induction set has a titanium pro-non-stick coating on all pans, inside and out. We found it to be hardwearing but over the long term it does get scuffed around the rim, where the handle clips on and off.

Both saucepan sets come with superbly built handles that clip on and off very securely. Remove them and the pans are oven-safe to 260°C. Ingenio is also available in smaller saucepan sets and in other finishes, including enamel and “essential” (a more affordable non-stick set that isn’t induction-compatible). Ingenio saucepans are pricey but beautifully made and a great space-saver.

Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

6. John Lewis & Partners ‘The Pan’ Stainless Steel Saucepans With Lids

Best lightweight saucepan set

Best saucepan

Type: Stainless steel
Sizes: 16cm, 18cm, 20cm
Reasons to buy: Good-value, smart design
Reasons to avoid: 
Fiddly to clean

This three-piece set is one of the least expensive in our roundup, and it really does pack in some excellent features for the price. For a start, the silicone handles are heat-resistant and oven-safe up to 180°C. They are also very comfortable to hold and never get too hot. The set is durable and long-lasting, but still lightweight enough to sit comfortably on induction hobs.

There’s drainage holes on either side of the lid, which is perfect for pouring out water from peas or pasta without needing a colander. The pans also feature measurement markings to make recipes easier to follow.

The set is dishwasher-safe and looks like new after prolonged use. Our one gripe was that there is a gap between the glass top and metal sidewall on the lid where food can get lodged. This comes out easily in the dishwasher but could be tricky to clean by hand.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 

7. Salter BW05751S Megastone Collection Non-Stick Forged Aluminium 3 Piece Saucepan Set

Best non-stick saucepan set

Best saucepan

Type: Non-stick
Sizes: 16cm, 18cm, 20cm
Reasons to buy: High quality and durable non-stick
Reasons to avoid: 
Handles aren’t the most tactile

This set of three is a great price when you consider how sturdy they feel. This non-stick isn’t peeling off any time soon. The set is made of forged aluminium and coated in a PFOA free non-stick. The coating is rough to touch which was a surprise at first, but it actually helps with the cooking process because you’re able to use metal utensils when cooking. 

We enjoyed how the three pans, 16, 18, and 20 cm, taper out towards the top slightly. It makes stacking easy and increases capacity. 

Other winning features include the handles, which were easy enough to hold and not too light as to upset the balance of the pan, and the lids, which fit easily and securely.

Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

8. Prestige Eco 3 Piece Non-Stick Saucepan Set

Best eco saucepan set

Prestige Eco 3 Piece Non-Stick Saucepan Set

Type: Eco
Sizes: 16cm, 18cm, 20cm
Reasons to buy: Genuinely eco-conscious 
Reasons to avoid: 
A more basic handle construction

If you like to keep things green (both literally and figuratively) then the Prestige Eco 3 Piece Non-Stick Saucepan Set will be a welcome addition to your kitchen. The pans taper out towards the top and have steel induction bases.

Made of recycled aluminium and coated in scratch-proof PFOA-free non-stick, this set is designed to last. 

Prestige has partnered with TreeAid to donate one tree for each pan sold and there was absolutely no plastic in the packaging when it arrived. A win for the environment, and a good option for those who want a long-lasting pan set. 

Our one complaint is the handle, which was one of the least ergonomic in testing. We did like the one on top of the lid, though.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

9. Le Creuset 3-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Best premium saucepan set

Best saucepan

Type: Premium stainless steel
Sizes: 16cm, 18cm, 20cm, 24cm
Reasons to buy: Designed to last
Reasons to avoid: 
Very expensive

This one’s designed to last. The Le Creuset 3-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set comprises a deep non-stick saute pan, a deep casserole pot measuring 20cm, as well as two saucepans measuring 16cm and 18cm. The set slots together very well and has everything you need for a starter kitchen. 

The handles are riveted and incredibly sturdy. Construction is 3-ply stainless steel with an aluminium core, meaning the set heated very evenly. We enjoyed how easy the stainless steel was to clean, too, and everything can go in the dishwasher after use. 

Some would prefer a lidded saucepan with tempered glass over stainless steel, but the Le Creuset 3-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set will last for decades if you invest now.

Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

10. Progress BW09025EU Scandi Smartstone Non Stick Saucepan Set

Best looking saucepan set

Best saucepan

Type: Scandi non-stick
Sizes: 16cm, 18cm, 20cm, 24cm
Reasons to buy: Lovely to look at and hold
Reasons to avoid: 
Less durable

The Scandi look isn’t going anywhere, and we thought this non-stick set with its nod to scandi wood kitchenware would fit in well to a selection of kitchen designs. While lovely to look at we were also impressed with the lightweight feel and induction-friendly construction.

This set was less sturdy-feeling than other non-stick options but did hold up well under testing. The lids have an in-built vent to allow steam to escape and the handles are coated in a soft-touch wooden effect. This is lovely to hold, and the lid accent also resisted heat well when cooking. 

The lids on the Progress BW09025EU Scandi Smartstone Non Stick Saucepan Set were some of the best fitting, with minimal rattling. The three pans come in 16cm, 18cm and 20cm.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

11. J3A1A Judge Vista 3pc Draining set

Best cheap saucepan set

Type: Stainless steel
Sizes: 16cm, 18cm, 20cm
Reasons to buy: Budget-friendly
Reasons to avoid: 
The lid can rattle

If you’re on a budget it’s best to spend your cash on a saucepan set that’s made of stainless steel. This lasts much longer than some of the cheaper non-stick on the market. This set from Judge ticks the box for a reliable budget option, with plastic lid and handle fixtures that are oven safe to up to 150°C and covered by a Judge 10 year guarantee. 

The range has your classic 16, 18 and 20cm saucepans and is suitable for induction ovens as well as most other hob types. 

You can also place this option in the dishwasher. We didn’t find the handles or lid fixture particularly tactile in testing, and the lid can rattle a bit, but these are non-essential features that are offset by the low cost. 

Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

12. Zwilling 5 Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Best saucepan and pot set

Best saucepan

Type: Pots and saucepans
Sizes: 16cm stock pot and saucepan, 18cm stock pot, 20cm stew and stock pot, 24cm pot
Reasons to buy: Great for the whole kitchen 
Reasons to avoid: 
Not all of the pans stack together

The quality is immediately apparent with the Zwilling 5 Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set. For those who want a mixture of pots and pans (ok, more pots than pans) it’s our top pick. 

Everything feels well-made and the handle of the saucepan as well as the handles of the pots are all very ergonomic and clearly designed to be conscious of the modern kitchen. Saucepans can be irritating when it comes to storage, but we enjoy how well this set stacks together. Do keep in mind that, as there’s some duplicates in terms of size, you won’t be able to stack in one pile.

Included in this set is the largest pot we tested, the 24cm stock pot, as well as a 20cm stew pot, 20cm stock pot, and a 16cm stock pot and saucepan, which doesn’t include a lid. The entire set is made of 18/10 stainless steel and has a circular pouring rim, as well as markings in quarts and litres which come in very helpful when cooking and portioning.

Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

What size saucepans do I need?


Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

Saucepans measuring 16, 18 and 20cm are good standard sizes to aim for. Then optionally a larger stockpot for big dishes. The other size worth considering is a 14cm milk pan; these tend to have pouring spouts but no lids, perfect for sauces, gravy, custard, hot chocolate and more.

What are the other main features of a good saucepan?

  • What are the pans made from? Materials-wise, most modern pans use a combination of aluminium and stainless steel. The stainless steel is durable and low maintenance while the aluminium (usually a disc of it, encapsulated in the pan base) is light and spreads heat quickly and evenly. Meanwhile, cast iron is tough and induction friendly but takes a long time to heat up (and cool down).
  • Should I go for non-stick coatings?Non-stick coatings are easy to clean and tougher than they used to be, but they do wear over time. Ceramic pans are an alternative that avoids the chemicals in traditional non-stick coatings made using Teflon and PFOA.
  • What style of pan handle is best? Phenolic (black, plasticky) handles are cooler to the touch, so you can handle pans and lids without resorting to oven gloves. Metal handles and knobs get hotter but they’re oven-safe to higher temperatures. Basically, if you like to finish dishes in the oven or grill, go for metal. If not, weigh up the practicality and looks of both options. The trend is currently more for metal handles.
  • What other extra features are handy? Nice extra features include graduations for measuring quantities and lid materials – metal is tough and easy to clean; glass lets you keep an eye on cooking without lifting the lid. And if you’re short of storage space, look out for pans that stack well or fit inside each other neatly.

Will my saucepans work with induction hobs?


Image credit: Fiona Walker-Arnott

All the pans featured here are induction-friendly. Cast iron pans and some stainless steel pans work with induction. But if you have an induction hob, do check first because some types of stainless steel don’t.If you’re buying a pan made of a different material – such as aluminium or copper – definitely check. The base needs to contain a magnetic material so the pan works with induction. If you have a saucepan in front of you and want to check, simply hold a fridge magnet to the base of the pan: if it sticks then the pan will work with induction.

Are they dishwasher safe?

Most pans (and all the ones featured here) call themselves ‘dishwasher safe’ but the care instructions usually suggest hand-washing is better for them in the long term. It’s your call, but you won’t do them major harm by using the dishwasher.

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