Features to look for when selecting cast iron cookware include weight, knobs and handles, cost, and style. Popular high-end cast iron cookware brands include Le Creuset and Staub.
While heavier cast iron cookware offers a more genuine iron cooking experience and holds more heat, lighter options offer nearly the same experience due to the advancements in cast iron technology. People who prefer lighter weight cookware without sacrificing most of the cast iron properties can opt for carbon steel products.
Handles and knobs are essential in cookware to ensure that the user can easily maneuver the equipment with little risk of injury. A good cast iron pot should have a potholder or heat-resistant cover over the handle for easy use. Bigger pans or pots should have double handles to help balance the pot when carrying.
The price of cast iron products largely depends on the brand. Determine your cooking needs before purchasing cookware to avoid paying too much for a product that you're not likely to use much. Purchasing secondhand cookware is fine as long as it is in good condition. Used cast iron cookware only needs to be cleaned and re-seasoned to be usable.
Cast iron products come in bare and enamel-coated styles. Bare cookware is not nonstick and must be seasoned by coating the cookware in oil or fat and heating it in the oven for a few hours. Enamel-coated products require regular care and maintenance to preserve the finish. Bare iron products are typically cheaper than their enamel or porcelain-coated counterparts.