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So, you’ve grown up and are ready to class up your kitchen by giving away that hodge-podge of pots and pans you’ve assembled over the years, and upgrade to a matching set that can handle virtually all of your culinary needs. Where do you start? There are a lot of variation in these sets, and if you want to make sure you get one that’s right for, consider these three things.

Built to Perform

This pick features tough but slippery surfaces, aluminum bodies and bonus features like heat-indicating spots. T-fal

Build quality is first and foremost. You want your surface to be slick enough so that you need virtually zero oil, but tough enough that it won’t chip or flake. You most certainly want to make sure it’s PFOA-free, as you don’t want to breathe in those nasty chemicals while you cook. You also want the base to be made of aluminum or copper, both of which are highly conductive, and with therefore distribute heat evenly across the surface.

Oven Safe

A PFOA-free pack means effortless food release, easy cleanup and no harmful chemicals. Rachael Ray

So, what items do you actually need? I find it helpful to envision a dinner party that you would like to throw, where you’re doing all the cooking. How many things would you need to have going at once? Are you wanting to host a holiday feast? Balance your wants with the amount of storage space you have.

Flat Tempered Glass Lids

This beautiful, high-end set is PFOA-free and aluminum-based. It’s also stackable, which helps to save cabinet space. Calphalon

One of the reasons to get a set rather than each item a la carte is that it brings a cohesive look to your kitchen. This is especially true if you have a pot rack where the set will be hanging. If it’s going to be prominently displayed it might be worth a little more to find something that really makes your kitchen look fantastic.

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