Pans are crucial cooking tools for many types of foods. The best ones for you will depend on what, how and how much you expect to cook.
Skillets and frying pans can be used for frying, searing and browning many types of foods, including eggs, meat or vegetables. They have long handles and sides that flare outwards. Saute pans, in contrast, usually have straight vertical sides and often come with lids. They can be used like frying pans, but their higher, straighter sides make them especially well suited for sauteing. A wok has much higher, sloped sides, making it ideal for stir-frying. Grill pans and griddles are flat and have low sides, so they're best for foods that are well contained, such as pancakes, bacon and fried eggs. Griddles are often large enough to use when you cook for a crowd. A saucepan is a pot with fairly high, straight sides and a long handle, used for simmering or boiling sauces, soups or stews.
In addition to pans designed for use on a stovetop, you'll find electric skillets, electric griddles and electric woks. These handy appliances can be plugged into an outlet and used on a countertop.
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