The goal of many American manufacturers and retailers is too sell products at the lowest possible cost no matter how low the quality or how much it will cost consumers in the long run.
If you love to cook and bake, it usually isn’t worth the few dollars you save buying dollar store or low cost utensils, pots, pans, skillets and baking sheets and pans. Over your lifetime, you’ll end up spending more replacing low cost utensils and cookware compared to investing in higher quality products. This doesn’t mean you must spend a fortune for high quality cookware. Higher prices do not necessarily equal much higher quality.
When it comes to cookware, the most common materials include aluminum, chrome plated or nonstick steel, and stainless steel. Copper and cast iron products are available but less commonly used. Utensils are made from plastic, wood and steel. Plastics like silicone can withstand high temperatures.
High quality pots, pans and utensils made from high grade steels are virtually indestructible. Warranties from 10 years to lifetime are offered but the chances of replacing or repairing these products are rare. Most warranties exclude abuse or neglect so you won’t get a replacement if you happen to forget a pot on the stove and the liquid evaporates scorching the pot.
Some low cost products have 3 to 5 year warranties which nearly worthless. A 3 year warranty is reassuring until you read the terms of the warranty like:
1. Product must be returned to the manufacturer, assuming they are still in business, and insured.
2. A return postage fee is required.
I paid $4.00 USD plus tax for this less then stellar plated steel muffin/cupcake pan.
I new it was plated steel due to the low price, and the care instructions said to hand wash and dry immediately, and not wash it in a dishwasher. The reason was simple enough, the pan would rust if not washed correctly. Plus the pan is magnetic. A dead giveaway a product is made from steel.
If within 3 years, there was a defect in material or workmanship, I can return the pan to the manufacturer prepaid and insured including a original receipt, letter of explanation and a check for $2.00 for return postage. Defects probably don’t include the discoloration in the cups.
Returning this $4 pan will cost me about $15 for a box and postage, $2 for return postage, and an hour of my time to pack and ship it. You must spend 4 times the value of the pan plus labor to return it for a replacement? That assumes the manufacturer agrees it is defective and doesn’t reject your claim and return the pan.
Amazon has an uncoated, aluminum pan for $11 and free shipping if you combine it with other products totaling $25. A high quality aluminum pan, with proper care, will last you a lifetime.
How long will this pan last? I’ll update this post and let you know.