With so many different choices available these days, what kind of product features should you look for when you’re restocking the pots and pans in your kitchen?

A set or just one?  Sets are economical but only if you need every piece. If you have a lot of saucepans and just need frying pans, or vice versa, it’s probably more cost-effective to buy them individually.

Which kind should you go for?  Today’s pots and pans are made from many different materials including aluminium, stainless steel, copper, cast iron and glass. Speak to a salesperson about the benefits of the different materials such as heat distribution, scratch resistance, and ease of cleaning.  In general, you will find that heavier pans conduct heat better than thinner cookware.

Make sure it feels right.  Go through the motions of cooking with the pan when you’re in the shop. It should be comfortable to handle and this is the only way to see what is going to work for you.

Look for sturdy, heatproof handles.  Handles come welded, riveted, or screwed. Heatproof or ovenproof handles mean that dishes started on the hob can be finished in the oven, which will often come in handy with your cooking.

Check out the lid.  All lids should fit tightly to keep in moisture. For obvious reasons, always look for a lid with a heatproof handle.

Cleaning tips. Dishwashing soap and elbow grease are often all you need to clean saucepans, but try adding two tablespoons of baking soda to help cut through particularly heavy grease.  To make dull pots and pans sparkle, rub the cut side of half a lemon all over the outside and inside and then buff with a soft cloth.