Meet the contenders:
18cm Cuisinart Chef's Classic
18cm Demeyere Atlantis
18cm Matfer Bourgeat Excellence
18cm Paderno Copperline
18cm Sitram Profiserie
20cm Fissler Original Profi Collection
## Why these specific pieces?
Most of their features are my preference. A roughly 2.25 liter straight-sided saucepan is the smallest practical capacity for my uses and they have a disk bottom (which isn't really important to me anymore, but it's a little late for that). All work on induction cooktops, all have pouring rims and, with exception to the Cuisinart and Paderno, have welded handles. I went with a 20cm Fissler because the 18cm Original Profi saucepan isn't sold in the U.S. so it's virtually impossible to get for a sane price. One Amazon seller currently wants $414 for it! :rolleyes:
In addition to everything below, I also spent at least 3 weeks getting to know each saucepan better by making rice, lentils, mac & cheese, steamed vegetables, and liquor reduction sauces.
1. Water boil
Time how long each saucepan took to bring 48oz of water from 60F to 212F.
Cuisinart - 11:52
Sitram - 12:06
Demeyere / Fissler - 12:28
Matfer Bourgeat - 12:44
Paderno - 12:56
2. Pudding Test
Disclaimer: I have a low end Frigidaire gas stove. The closed burners have a large flame (see photo below) which comes out the left side in addition to the burner ring, so the burners are hotter in the 9:00 to 12:00 position than the rest of the circumference. This translates into an area which burns quickly on some pieces which you can see in the pudding and flour photos.
Fissler leads the group with the most even heating, very closely followed by Demeyere. These were the only two that had no burning whatsoever on the sidewall. Before you think the heavier construction is the reason, while the Fissler has the thickest wall in the lineup, the Demeyere is thinner than both Matfer Bourgeat and Paderno; all are 18/10 stainless steel. Both the Paderno and Matfer heat great in the center though they can crisp the edges against the wall. The Matfer seemed to crips the edge a tad less frequently, though I've put these through multiple pudding tests and all considered, the Matfer and Paderno are extremely close. The Cuisinart places next, but it's seen 2 or 3 pudding batches less (I decided to include it kinda last minute) than the other saucepans so I've not got as much info go on. At the end of the day, the Paderno, Matfer, and Cuisinart are so close that you'd notice no difference in real life (you do stir your stuff, right?). However, the Sitram's small disk base did poorly and yielded a burnt 'ring of fire' effect.
3. Flour Test
See the above disclaimer about my stove. That applies here too.
Similar to the pudding, Fissler and Demeyere are at the top, followed by Paderno, Matfer Bourgeat and then Cuisinart. The photo below doesn't do the Cuisinart any favors. I should have given it more flour in this run so it looks bad, but is again very close to the Paderno and Matfer. The Sitram consistently scorched the sides well before the center even started turning brown.
4. Capacity Test
Measure how much each saucepan holds when filled to 3/4" below the rim. This I call the usable capacity.
Results (Advertised / Usable):
Cuisinart - 2qt / 1.72
Demeyere Atlantis - 2.23qt / 1.97qt
Fissler - 2.6L / 2.20L
Matfer Bourgeat - 2.38qt / 1.79qt
Paderno - 3L / 2.36L
Sitram - 2.0qt / 1.80qt
5. Lid test
Measure how much water weight was lost to evaporation after boiling 48oz from 60F, then simmering covered for 45 minutes.
Results (oz of water lost):
Paderno - 2.0
Fissler / Matfer Bourgeat - 2.2
Cuisinart / Demeyere Atlantis - 2.6
Sitram - 3.3
As you'd expect, these needed thorough cleaning after testing. I had to boil out the glued-on pudding snot and then shine the interior with a boiled hot baking soda paste to get these usable again. The flour was mostly just scraped out with a wooden turner and washed away with soapy water.
The winner in the cleanup category is a tie between Demeyere, Fissler, and Matfer Bourgeat. They all cleaned up to showroom shiny new with no additional effort (one baking soda boil-down). The Cuisinart and Paderno had some patina after the first full clean, which was removed with more boiling baking soda paste (two boil-downs total). That would have likely been removed with subsequent use but the point here was to get them back to as out-of-the-box shiny new as possible. The Sitram placed last again because of the scorched flour in the corner. It needed three baking soda boil-downs to get perfectly clean.
## A Quick Mention of Tube Handles
This writeup taught me that I don't like the 'restaurant style' tube handles that taper to a pinched tab at the end. These handles aren't a size or shape ergonomic to a person's grip, so forget pouring with a wet hand, and though it wasn't much of a problem in the sizes I tested, washing a heavy pot on the end of a slippery tube is a clumsy experience. These handles get too hot to grab in the center of the stick when preparing anything which requires time and heat to soften, such as rice or beans, or even pasta. That means I need to place my hand further back on the handle, so I wind up with the tab in my palm. That would be fine if the tab's edge didn't dig uncomfortably into my hand when pouring.
I found I could more comfortably lift this handle type by placing my palm on top of or under the tab, similar to the 'comfortable' method of gripping All-Clad handles. While it helps somewhat, it's a habit I've not formed and it's a larger rotation of the wrist to pour. Another workaround is grabbing the handle with a towel or pot holder. That does a great job of locking the tab area into your palm and feels secure, but always reaching for the towel is one more step in the process, and I want maximum efficiency since I cook so often. Just my preference.
I have no affiliation or sponsor/partner-ships with anyone. Any recommendations or mentions made below are just based on my experience and findings.
Photos from right to left - Flour: Cuisinart, Atlantis, Fissler, Matfer, Paderno, Sitram (heat med-high), Sitram (heat low). Pudding group shot.