“ Brand: Argos / Product Type: Cookware Set „
Argos Value Four Piece Non-stick Budget Pan Set
The pan set comprises of three saucepans measuring 15, 18 and 20cm or small, medium and err medium, complete with matching domed lids and black plastic handles cuffed with a chrome trim piece. A 24cm deep styled frying pan completes the set, however, despite resembling a sauté pan it does not have a lid at all. The set I have are grey in colour and I believe the set is also available in other colours, currently red and black. The set are non-stick Xylan with stay cool handles that are not suitable to be put in the oven. The pans can be used on induction and ordinary hobs as well as gas.
When we bought a new cooker at home, I discovered that I could no longer use my Prestige copper bottomed pans on the hob. I therefore decided to bring the plain set of pans home from the caravan, together with a large enamel casserole dish home from the cottage. Skip forward a few months and we needed pans for the caravan. I did not want to take my prestige set and leave them in the caravan. We needed to stop on the way to pick up some batteries from Argos and decided to see what they had in the way of pans. Finding these at a remarkably cheap price we decided to purchase this set at the same time and reserved a set.
The pans arrived at the counter in a large box and once we arrived in Cornwall, we unpacked them to find them well wrapped and protected. Initially, I was surprised that there was not a lid with the fry/sauté pan and thought it was missing from our box. However, I later discovered that for some strange reason, this pan does not come with a lid at all.
The pans were rinsed out and put away in the little cupboard, the domed lids proving a little problematic to store and the shape not really being necessary.
We ate the usual camping fayre of cooked breakfasts, scrambled eggs and beans on toast ( well, we actually had homemade lasagne on the first night, because that has become a bit of a tradition!). The pans worked well, cleaned up easily and gave us no cause for concern. They survived two years of very occasional use in the caravan and have just come home, due to the sale of our latest used caravan. So far they have stood up to home use well, they are not entirely non-stick though and I do need to use the special non-stick scourers for my porridge pan almost daily and occasionally the fry pan when I have made omelette with fry light as well.
The handles are cool to touch and have stayed in place well, giving no cause for concern, we do not have a dishwasher, so I cannot comment on how they would stand up to that. Apart from the disappointment of the lack of a lid for what should be a sauté pan, I am very pleased with the performance of this budget set of pans.
I guess this set is ideal for anyone on a tight budget or for a second home, such as students away from home. I believe care is needed when cleaning as things do stick a little bit and should only be removed with the special scourers. I don't think these would stand up to even green scouring pads, and to use such an item would reduce their usefulness.
CONCLUSION & STARS:
All in all a low priced saucepan set, that works OK, Looks OK and lasts OK!
They are OK. No bells or whistles, nothing exciting. However due to the low price it would be unfair to award anything less than 4/5 stars.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY:
Usual price is £9.99 from Argos, we used reserve and collect service which was very efficient.
When I first lived away from home, I decided that I would buy the best cookware that money could buy (I came from a family where hand me downs were regularly given). Fortune came my way when my mum's best friend gave me gift of a budget set of three sauce pans from Argos decked in stainless steel with matching lids. That was back in the 1990's and now 17 odd years on I still have the same set looking as good as new save for the bases that have received different stages and types of convection heating such as gas, ceramic and radiant ring abuse not to mention the odd water collector for drips in shoddy rented properties! When my cousin borrowed them and several years later returned them before she left the country I had to make do with alternatives in between the years of not having them. All I needed was something that I could cook basic foods in given that I had already purchased a microwave the same month and at the time Argos didn't stock any cheap stainless steel saucepan sets. When I saw their AVR range (or "Argos Value Range,") advertising their 4 Piece Non-Stick Budget pan set at £9-99 I thought this would be a good makeshift at the time; I notice that they are currently £9-79 (product code 860/7319).
The "Argos Value 4 Piece non stick budget pan set" consists of three painted matt coloured saucepans measuring 16cm, 18cm and 20cm with matching lids and black rubberised handles respectively. A "deep" 24cm sized frying pan is also included but has no accompanying lid. The Argos website shows that they currently have a silver metallic paint on them but mine came out in green (the saleslady did confirm at the till that they may be cosmetically different) and I wasn't that bothered about the change of colour. All are non-stick coated with "Xylan," have stay-cool touch handles and the pans are suitable for electric and gas hobs. There are several warnings on a tiny piece of paper that come with the product, most of which make sense such as the fact that they are dishwasher safe but no metal objects or scourers should be cleaned or placed in it to avoid scratching and taking off the non-stick coated product.
The most usage that this set has been given has been with the saucepans. I found the size of them perfect when cooking for one or two people and the handles are quite long from the pan rims which means you can accommodate them easily on any standard size gas or electric hob. Being basic in design however means that the accompanying lids tend to slide off evaporated steam drops when the lids are opened but again, this isn't much of an issue to me but one of danger if you are using these saucepans to teach your children how to cook. They are quite light individually so they are easy to hold initially without food in them but they aren't insulated on the exterior either. Some saucepans I've used in the past have good insulation but not here! The smaller 16cm pan is ideal for boiling eggs or doing a light scrambled egg whilst the largest pan is deep enough to cook a half-chicken with a sauce or boiling pasta. The handles on the pans do stay cool - for a time - but if you are cooking for a couple of hours on a low heat they tend to feel warm in the middle. For four months the pans were a fantastic boon to have even though with washing on the outer body some of the paint had started to flake away due to abuse of being stored away or simply clanking about in my kitchen sink ready to be washed. Again you get what you pay for in this respect and although the paint may have flaked away it wasn't detrimental to the inner non-stick coating. A few months later however the 16cm pan decided to show up how cheap it was; cooking a sauce for fish turned out to be a disaster and when it had stuck to the bottom of the pan, a few black flakes of the non-stick formula also decided to come away too.
One day I decided to fry a few sausages; when it comes to frying I like to use pans rather than faff about with microwave convection; it always turns into more cleaning in the end. I turned the gas hob on at a low temperature and waited for the frying pan to heat up with the sausages in them, already coated in a little oil despite the non-stick claim. When it comes to pan usage I always make sure the pans are dead centre on the stove to ensure uniform heat but also one of safety so that one side doesn't heat up too much. The plastic handles on this set are all the same, long and angled upwards slightly to make them more heat resistant and they all have holes at the top of them to make storage easier if you have hanging hooks. However they aren't all completely "cool touch" like Tefal handles and the handle on this frying pan although steady and fixed did get warm as the pan started to heat up.
So there I was quite the thing standing by the cooker and frying my sausages, having done 4 of them for a hearty sausage and white bap roll. When I'm cooking generally and frying, I always turn off the heat and transfer food prep to plate and here there wasn't anything unusual or different. I left the frying pan on the stove to cool down and went about eating my snack. However when it came to washing the frying pan later when it was cold, I put the pan into the sink and the handle immediately snapped off the moment the pan hit the water. Whilst the non-stick coating was cold, I never really thought to check the handle mount that was bolted to the end of the pan; clearly it was still quite hot from the prep. Back to Argos I went armed with my receipt and frying pan. The sales person took a look at it and agreed that the handle had clearly snapped off from its metal fixing point; she even added that most of the sets suffer from buckling under high heat! Argos could only supply me with a fresh kit and I was issued with the silver metallic set as I had originally ordered from the catalogue.
Frying pan number 2 lasted three weeks and it dangerously decided that the handle would snap off when I was frying a steak. Despite the fact that the pan has quite a deep set wall to it, thus containing the fat and oil at the sides, I was lucky to duck out of the way when I lifted the frying pan off the stove to transfer to the plate. My poor steak never even got to the plate, instead the whole pan and hot oil steak smashed to the floor and I was left with a slight burn on my finger, the black handle still in my hand and a look of astonishment on my face; what if, a child had used this or a parent with children around them?
It was at this point that I decided enough was enough. I gave whatever saucepans I had left away to a friend who works in a charity shop but she thought they looked good enough to keep for herself. Whilst the saucepans have never been a let down until later in the year when the non-stick coating began to flake, I have never suffered any quality problems with cookware before until I bought the Argos Value Range. My mother has a set of Tefal pans she's had for more than 10 years and they haven't flaked! I did however keep the frying pan as a reminder never to buy this product range again; without the handle, its rather rotund, deep fill aspect, compact shape and silver colouring became an instant hit in my kitchen as an ideal fruit bowl instead! Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2009
16, 18 and 20cm saucepans with lids / Xylan coated non-stick easy clean interior.