Cookware Buying Guide

Choosing the right type of cookware to buy is made much simpler with our Cookware Buying Guide. Just click on a link below, to jump down to further information about the cookware area you're interested in:

Cookware Shapes & Uses

Always match a pot or pan to the task for which it is designed for. It's shape and size will affect it's performance, you wouldn't boil an egg in a frying pan would you? When choosing cookware the type of hob/cooker should always be taken into consideration.

Fry Pan

Used for fast cooking in oil.

Saute Pan

This pan sears & browns food over a high heat quickly, it can also be used for reducing sauces.

Casserole Pot / Dutch Oven

Best for casseroles & stews or food that is slow cooked.

Stock Pot

Can be used for stews, cooking stock or soups.


Saucepans come in various sizes and are used to cook almost everything from vegetables or cereals to rice and soups.


Perfect for cooking breakfast on, pancakes, eggs, steak or chicken - an all rounder for frying.

Pressure Cooker

Food cooks quick under super heated steam, reducing cooking time & is a healthier way to cook as it locks in nutrients. Saves on energy too.

Fondue Pot

Warm cheese for classic fondue or chocolate for a fashionable dessert.


Use for quick fry cooking over a high heat, this is healthy way to cook as the high heat reduces the amount of time needed actually cooking. Larger woks can be used for deep frying or steaming.

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Types of Cookware

Coated Aluminium

Coated aluminium pan are light in weight & have a non-stick interior to protect the food from transference of the metal. The outside can be polished to resemble steel, enameled or painted to produce a tough & easy to clean exterior. Always use nylon or wooden utensils to protect the non-stick surface & never over heat as this too can cause damage. Not suitable for induction hobs unless stated.

Hard Anodised Aluminium

The hard anodising process on aluminium pan produces an extremely tough non-porous surface that is as hard as saphire. A non-stick interior surface is sometimes added. The surface of a hard anodised pan is scratch resistant & cannot be stripped away by cooking. This type of cookware is not suitable for induction hobs. They cannot be used in a dishwasher as the chemicals used will damage the anodised surface.

Cast Iron

Cast iron pans are a heavy duty alternative, they have excellent heat transference properties & retain heat well - this makes them ideal for slow cooking or roasting. Food will cook in cast iron even after it have been removed from the oven, reducing energy. Care should be take on ceramic or halogen hob not to damage the surface, they should always be lifted off. The weight of a full pan should be taken into consideration when buying cast iron. The interior and exterior will have a non-stick or enameled surface. They are suitable for all hobs including induction.

Cast Aluminium

Cast aluminium has some of the properties of cast iron without the weight. It is has excellent heat retaining and conducting properties but is a fraction of the how heavy a cast iron version would be. For this reason it is more sutiable for cermic or halogen hobs.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is an alloy metal which means it is made up of more than one type of metal, notably iron with carbon for strength, nickel and chromium. It will not chip or flake and it does not break easily - for this reason it lasts for years, some quality stainless steel will last a lifetime if looked after correctly. It is a poor conductor of heat, helping retain it's shape but not good to cook for - for this reason the base sometimes has an aluminium core (encapsulated base) which transfers the heat evenly over the base. Stainless steel pans are suitable for all hobs unless stated otherwise. Some ranges of stainless steel pans come with a non-stick interior on all pan, some come with only a non-stick on the fry pan & milk pan - this varies from range to range.


Copper has superior heat conducting properties, for this reason, some stainless steel pans have a layer of copper in the base to aid heat transference. It is more expensive than an aluminium core in the base & needs a special cleaner to keep them looking at their best.

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Hob Types


Any type of cookware is suitable for gas. The correct size of pan however should always be used, never allow the flame to extend beyond the base of the pan, this wastes energy, can damage the cokware & is dangerous.

Radiant Ring

Any cookware can be used on an electric radiant ring. Again care should be take to use the correct size cookware for the ring.

Solid Hotplate

These are usually cast iron plates with an electric element within the plate. Flat base pans are needed to use on this type of cooker.


A ceramic glass hob with an electric element underneath heating the hob. This type of hob can be stratched easily & cookware should always be lifted off to avoid damaging the hob. Cast iron cookware is potentially damaging if not carfully lifted off this type of hob.


Halogen lamps under the glass top transmits heat upwards. Cookware with a heavy base should be used as intense heat can be generate from this type of cooker. Again, the surface of the hob can be damaged with careless use.


This type of cooker uses a magnetic coil to heat the cookware itself not the cooker - aluminium / hard anodized or copper based cookware does not work on this type of cooker.

Solid Fuel

Oil or coal buning ovens generate heat on hot plates, thick based pans should be used.

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Delay payment for a whole year when you spend £50 or more

Avoid interest by paying in full within 12 months.

Buy Now Pay Later typical interest rate is 44.9% per annum. Subject to status.

Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) allows you to delay payment for 12 months. The payment free period starts when you place your order (including items which are purchased on pre-order and/or are not ready for immediate dispatch).

Select BNPL at checkout and the repayment period of either 104 or 156 weeks. This is the repayment period you will pay over, once the payment free period (12 months) has ended.

The interest rate typically used to calculate BNPL interest is 44.9% per annum. Your interest rate will be detailed in checkout. The interest is calculated on the payment free period and the repayment period. You can avoid interest by paying the cash price in full within the payment free period.

Delivery charges and other Financial Services products are not available on Buy Now Pay Later and will appear on your next statement.

Please note, if you have non BNPL purchases on your account you will still need to make at least your minimum payment as detailed on your statement.

Credit provided, subject to credit and account status, by Shop Direct Finance Company Ltd, Aintree Innovation Centre, Park Lane, Netherton, Bootle, L30 1SL. Registered number: 4660974. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Over 18s only.