Stainless Steel – If you’ve ever seen 18/10 in relation to stainless steel, it refers to the percentage of chrome and nickel. So 18/10 is 18% chrome and 10% nickel. It contains the most nickel and because nickel is more expensive, you will see that reflected in the price. The great thing is that is helps to resist corrosion and helps with shine.
Cast Iron – This is made through smelting raw iron or “pig iron” (it’s not pig, also called crude iron) poured and hardened and then remelted and recast into a variety of different shapes. This is my favorite because of my kettlebells for working out and my lodge cast iron pan. It is slow to heat but retains it well! Inexpensive and will last a lifetime.
Enameled Cast Iron – This is cast iron that has been coated with a layer of enamel. Fused glass particles. This protects the cast iron from rust and is less maintenance. Heat distribution is about the same, but doesn’t work as good on higher heat like the cast iron. Helpul for low and slow and less maintenance.
Carbon Steel – Made of iron and carbon. Similar to cast iron in that it needs to be cleaned and maintained the same way and can both handle higher heat. Carbon steel pans are lighter and easier to handle than cast iron.
*Non-Stick and ceramic pans are much more nuanced and I would need to do proper research before sharing accurate information. If that is something you are interested in, please let me know.