This budget buy compares well to more expensive frying pans.
By Julia Addison
Note: this product is currently out of stock on Kmart's website, but is still available instore at some locations.
The humble frypan – it’s an everyday kitchen essential, but is it worth paying more for a premium brand? We tested 20 non-stick frying pans, ranging in price from $15 to $389, and found a budget buy that outperformed the rest.
The second cheapest – Kmart’s $17 24cm stainless-steel frying pan – was a star performer, proving its mettle against premium brands such as Scanpan and Le Creuset.
It’s easy to use
The Anko pan is lightweight yet well balanced. The handle doesn’t have a non-slip grip, but it is reasonably comfortable to hold.
Cleaning was a breeze, but as with many such stainless-steel products, the rivets, exterior and base will probably discolour over time.
The surface is even
A quality pan should be as flat as a pancake, so that’s what we cooked. Brown spots indicate an uneven surface, and if the batter sticks … well, that speaks for itself.
The Anko pan aced both aspects, with perfect scores for evenness and non-stickability. The only other pan to perform as well was a $100 Tefal. More expensive pans often had good non-stickability but lost points for uneven colour.
Where it came unstuck
You can't make an omelette (or in this case, assess frying pans) without breaking eggs, so we got cracking.
Unfortunately, this was the one test where our affordable Anko pan bombed. In fairness, very few pans performed well in the “cooking eggs” test. (Previous tests didn’t include eggs-over-easy, so the score doesn’t count towards the overall rating.)
Finally, we check durability.
Bizarrely, we couldn’t find any volunteers to scrub each pan 10,000 times, so we had to bring out our mechanical scrubbing arm. We checked the pans periodically for surface scratches, worn coating and exposed metal – and the Anko did well. Scratch marks appeared at the 500-scrub-mark and by the end the coating was thinner, but still intact.
Is it a bargain?
So, was our cheap-as-chips frying pan really a steal? On the whole, yes.
It’s not perfect, but the Anko pan did as good a job as others costing considerably more.
A word of caution, though: make sure you get the stainless-steel SKU P_42748281 model. The other Anko frying pan in our test, the 24cm Aluminium 3 Layer Non-Stick Frypan – Stone Grey 42621010, didn’t fare as well, with scratch marks and bare metal visible before the mechanical arm had scrubbed the surface 500 times. And, adding insult to injury, it cost $2 more than our bargain buy, proving that cut-price doesn’t necessarily mean cut-rate.