The only sets that I generally like are Lego sets and book sets. This epiphany dawned on me while I was writing this Tefal saucepan set review. It hit me like a ton of bricks, there are absolutely no pre-packaged set of items to buy that you can say with 100% certainty, each and every item in the set is something you truly wanted or needed. Sets usually have only a few of the items you want and are then filled up with all the added scrap that the company is struggling to sell. And we fall for this daily!
Unless you know that you truly want and need every item in a set, and let's be honest, this is only true with book sets and Lego sets, why in the world would you pay more to get an additional item you are never going to use? Although I would love to go into the psychological philosophy of this phenomenon, I have a lot of reading to do before then.
I know there may be a few good reasons to opt for buying a set of saucepans, none of which I believe will be better than buying each item individually. Maybe you are moving into your own place for the first time, or you had to throw out all your old ones which happen to be the exact ones in the set, and you are looking for a cost-effective way of replacing them.
Tefal is known for their non-stick, Teflon coatings, which is a great help when making certain dishes.
I am not a fan of Teflon coated cookware, except for one frying pan I use to fry an egg and make pancakes or omelettes.
Besides these things, I don't have a lot of use for a second Teflon pan let alone a set of 5.
- Teflon is a great non-stick feature to have
- Different sized pans for different uses
- Easy to clean
- Heat indicator on frying pans
- Takes a while to heat up
- Not necessary to have 5 non-stick Teflon pans
Although not the number one cookware brand in the world, Tefal makes a few pretty decent and affordable products for the average home cook. This set consists of 5 items:
- 14cm milk pan
- 16cm saucepan with lid
- 18cm saucepan with lid
- 20cm frying pan
- 24cm frying pan
The first three items are exactly the same besides the varying sizes. The same goes for the two frying pans. This bothers me because it limits me to only cooking on the stove.
I would much prefer if the 24cm frying pan was a cast iron pan, not only would the cast iron be perfect to cook steaks in, but it would also be able to go into the oven, which you should not do with a Teflon pan fitted with a plastic handle. So, besides my objections over the pans all being the same, let's take a look at some other factors.
As I have mentioned, a Teflon coating is good to have although I don't see a need for 5 Teflon pans. Teflon has two great advantages; the non-stick ability is second to none and they are easy to clean. Furthermore, they are extremely fragile, once you have accidentally damaged the Teflon coating you have unlocked a rapid decrease in the products' lifetime.
You have to keep an eye out for a myriad of threats that can damage them. Dishwashers are a NO-GO, metal utensils hurt their feelings and don't you dare put them in the oven or expose them to high temperatures – crazy right! Who would have thought that a tool used on a stove would not be able to handle high temperatures? The non-stick coating also reduces heat to a certain extent, making it a good option for cooking delicate foods.
With the Teflon coatings not being able to go into the oven, the plastic handles do seem fitting. If you have a gas stove in your kitchen, you'll have to take extra care when using these pans as the plastic might heat up and even melt if they are accidentally exposed to an open flame. The handles are attached to the side of the pan using a little coupling with one screw which you can see if you flip the pan over.
In my experience, these screws generally hold up for the first few months and due to the fluctuating temperatures, they begin to come loose. You will eventually notice the handle feels wobbly and not tightly secured therefore you will have to re-tighten the screw every few days. If you keep tightening them the pan will last quite a while however, I cannot say that much for the non-stick coating.
There is not much to say about the different sizes besides the fact that they are pretty standard, these sizes almost cover the spectrum you would generally want and need in any home kitchen.
- Can't use metal utensils
- Plastic handles
- Won't last very long
- Very fragile
- Not compatible with induction hobs
14cm milk pan, 16cm saucepan with lid, 18cm saucepan with lid, 20cm frying pan and 24cm frying pan
Features & Benefits
A very cool feature I noticed is Tefal's unique Thermospot technology, in the middle of these frying pans you will notice a dark, almost greyed-out, red dot with a visible pattern. Once you start heating the pan you will notice the colour changing to a brighter red. Once the dot is solid and the pattern is no longer visible, the pan has reached an ideal cooking temperature.
And obviously, no big company is without dodgy marketing practices. Have a look at the product photos online, you will not find an image of the set where the saucepans are visible from the top, you can only see the dot on the frying pans, leading you to believe that the deeper saucepans are also equipped with the Thermospot dot.
Having a non-stick frying pan is essential to any kitchen. There may be people out there who would prefer to have all their pans have this feature, I am not convinced of the benefits of owning more than 2 non-stick frying pans and even less convinced of any reason to own a non-stick saucepan.
Reasons To Buy
- You currently resort to frying your eggs directly on the electric hob and are in desperate need of a set of saucepans at an affordable price.
- You are in need of one non-stick frying pan and a friends' birthday is coming up. Buy the set, select your frying pan (you can even take both) and give the saucepans as a gift.
Keep one lid as well. Although not a perfect fit, the lid from the 18cm saucepan will fit in the 20cm frying pan, just enough to cover your eggs while frying. A little bit of steam helps make an excellent fried egg!
How Do I Care For My Teflon Pans?
Teflon pans are easy to clean and should be done by hand after each use using a soft sponge and warm soapy water. A thin film of grease accumulates while cooking if the grease is not removed properly each time stains may occur.
Depending on how frequently you use your pan, seasoning your pan once a month will ensure the non-stick layer stays protected and intact. Avoid using metal utensils as this may scratch the non-stick layer and result in faster decay. Never expose the pan to sudden drastic changes in temperature like submerging it in cold water right after cooking or dumping hot foods & liquids into a cold pan.
What Utensils Should I Use In My Non-Stick Pan?
As a good rule of thumb, avoid any metal utensils or utensils with sharp edges. Although the manufacturer guide says that metal spoons will be fine, I assure you that some people will find a way to screw it up with a spoon. It would be best to use plastic, wooden or silicone utensils.
Is Teflon Cookware Safe?
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was generally used in the production of non-stick cookware and was linked to some health conditions such as cancer. Obviously, with these findings, the use of PFOA has been stopped and since 2013 all non-stick cookware is PFOA free.
Tefal Saucepan Set Review: Summing Up
Unless you need to buy a set for some or other reason, I would urge you to reconsider. Consider what cooking techniques you use most frequently, decide which materials would be best for the job and buy a single pan for the job. Do not limit yourself by getting an entire set of pans that all do the exact same thing. Do not fall prey to the attractive idea that is non-stick pans, they truly aren't that great, have at least one but don't get a whole set of them it is a waste.
Non-stick cookware does not last very long, I prefer to buy cheap non-stick pans, take good care of them and when they eventually need replacing it doesn't cost me a fortune. Invest in a good quality cast iron skillet. I have one that was handed down from my great-grandmother, it is still going strong and will last another two lifetimes.
Tefal has some great products both in the non-stick and non-non-stick ranges. My terrible review of this Saucepan set is truly aimed at the fact that there is no need for 5 non-stick pans and not aimed at their quality. This set will be fine if you don't mind cooking everything on non-stick and is then definitely worth the price.