When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
- Sardel is an online kitchen brand with durable and affordable stainless steel pans.
- We tried a number of Sardel’s pans in our own kitchens, where they’ve become new favorites.
- Their ergonomic handles are one of the standout features that makes them especially great to use.
As much as I love cool kitchen gadgets and testing high-tech sous vide machines and blenders that can cook soup, I still have to say that a solid stainless steel pan will always be the cooking tool I can’t live without.
New kitchen brands have realized the importance of the essentials and are making it easier to buy good ones without blowing your budget. At online startups like Made In and Goldilocks, you can find durable and versatile pots and pans at more affordable prices than equipment from big-name brands like All-Clad or Calphalon.
Founded by three brothers who wanted to cut down the clutter of poorly made kitchenware, Sardel is the cookware collection they’ve always wanted for themselves — inexpensive, unintimidating, and made with high-quality materials.
Learn more about how Insider Reviews tests kitchen products here.
The designs are as classic as cookware gets, and that’s the point. There are no gimmicks, merely the promise that the pieces will perform for all kinds of cooking tasks and won’t cost a fortune. Each pan is priced between $80 and $145, but there are also discounted bundled options if you’re thinking of overhauling your existing cookware set.
We tried a number of Sardel’s pans in our own kitchens, where they’ve become new favorites. Read on to find out how they performed.
The pans we tested:
- Saucepan (2-quart), $105, tested by Sally Kaplan, executive editor
- Skillet (10-inch), $90, tested by Sally Kaplan, executive editor
- Nonstick Skillet (10-inch), $100, tested by Ellen Hoffman, former editor-in-chief
- Skillet (12-inch), $105, tested by Connie Chen, former senior reporter
- Sauté Pan (4-quart), $145, tested by Connie Chen, former senior reporter
Testing heat distribution and retention:
“After years of working in professional catering kitchens, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of heat distribution — particularly when you’re working with a large pot or pan over a small flame. I used the 10-inch skillet on a few differently sized burners just to see how well the pan held its heat, and from my tests, I came away with crispy and evenly cooked latkes, vegan Beyond Sausages, and sauteed broccolini — even when cooking on the tiniest of burners. The two-quart saucepan is just as excellent.” —Sally
“I’ve never made more evenly cooked scrambled eggs in my life. The Nonstick Skillet’s heat distribution is excellent; the edges of the pan cook at the same rate as the middle. It’s a marvel of engineering”. —Ellen
“Does the pan cook food quickly and efficiently? Does it retain the heat necessary to do so? These are simple tests that immediately distinguish the good from the bad, and Sardel passed with flying colors. Cooking with the Skillet feels effortless while cooking with the large Sauté Pan is also surprisingly easy due to the effective combination of stainless steel and aluminum.” —Connie
Testing construction and feel:
“Both the 10-inch skillet and the two-quart saucepan feature Sardel’s signature ergonomic handles, and for this, I am eternally grateful. I cook rather aggressively by shaking my pots and pans to flip or stir things, which is hard to do when you have a poorly shaped handle digging into your palm. The rounded handles on Sardel’s cookware make it comfortable and easy for me to cook deftly, especially when the food I’m cooking is heavy.” —Sally
“The Nonstick Skillet feels substantial in the hand but not too heavy; the stainless steel handle is heat-resistant, too, so there’s no fear of grabbing it with my bare hands.” —Ellen
“Handles aren’t the primary reason to buy cookware, but when they’re good, you notice. The handles on my Skillet and Sauté Pan felt very durable and sturdy. And since they’re actually hollow, they were never too hot to hold with my bare hands.” —Connie
“I mean, you can’t really beat a stainless steel 10-inch skillet and a two-quart saucepan as far as versatility goes — they’re both sizes you’ll use often. The skillet is just the right size for sauteeing veggies for two, searing two servings of protein, and pan-frying four latkes at a time. The two-quart saucepan is great for cooking and heating sauces, making small servings of soup, or even cooking single to double servings of smaller pasta shapes like bowties.” —Sally
“Everyone needs a 10-inch Nonstick Skillet in their kitchen arsenal for cooking eggs and pancakes, and Sardel’s $90 one is worth every penny. It’s a perfect size for sauteing single servings of veggies, too”. —Ellen
“My easy fallback meal when I don’t want to exert a lot of effort but still want a nourishing dinner is usually some type of pasta dish, and thanks to Sardel’s large Sauté Pan, I can make an entire salmon and spinach alfredo in one pan. It pan-roasts and sautés as well as a skillet, but because of the 2.5-inch straight walls, I can also stir large batches of sauce and pasta in it right afterward. I use the Skillet for less intensive meals, and it’s always a reliable choice for cooking practically any meat or vegetable I want.” —Connie
Testing ease of use and care:
“I had a tough time cleaning my skillet after frying a ton of latkes in it, but I also used several other large stainless steel pans to fry them and each one had the exact same issue of oil caking on and sticking. So I don’t think it was the pan that created the issue because it’s been easy to clean every other time besides this one.” —Sally
“Egg remnants glide off this pan with little more than a stream of hot water and the single swipe of a soapy sponge. Although Sardel says the Nonstick Skillet is very durable and dishwasher safe, I always hand-wash it and only use wooden or silicone utensils when cooking to prevent damaging the non-stick surface.” —Ellen
“I’ve noticed that Sardel’s pans are easier to clean than other pans I’ve tried, and I like that there aren’t any special restrictions on how to clean and use them. The site also offers care tips to get the most out of your cookware. While they may seem basic, they’re excellent foundational tips for anyone starting out in the kitchen and helpful reminders for seasoned home cooks.” —Connie
The bottom line: If you’re looking for well-made, accessibly priced cookware basics, we recommend Sardel.
These are the types of pans you’ll use all the time, and if you plan on making your cookware last, you’ll want the pieces from Sardel.
Shop all cookware at Sardel