The 15 Best Cast Iron Brands, Ranked

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Cast iron is one of the home kitchen's most finicky yet rewarding materials. Cast iron is manufactured into a variety of shapes like skillets and Dutch ovens and used for cooking everything from vegetables on the grill to baked cornbread. Cast iron is easily the most versatile material in a kitchen and can produce fantastic results if used and cared for correctly.

If you plan on purchasing your first cast-iron skillet, you should know a few things. The first is that cooking in cast iron is vastly different from stainless steel and non-stick skillets. Cast iron skillets are heavy, take a comparatively long time to heat up, and won't always heat food evenly. Plus, in order to get the optimal use out of a cast iron skillet, you must constantly season the cast-iron skillet by carbonizing oil and fat into the pan's surface. The fatty coat will come off the skillet with time and use, so the cast iron skillet necessitates constant upkeep and re-seasoning. If you're worried about maintaining the quality of your pan, we recommend sticking to a stainless steel pan, grill, and traditional baking ware.

If the adventure of owning a cast iron skillet excites you, you're in luck! Here are our top picks for the best cast iron brands you can buy. Prices may vary.

15. Butter Pat Industries

Butter Pat boasts numerous benefits to purchasing one of its cast iron skillets. Each piece is polished before packaging, resulting in an easy-to-clean and more scratch-resistant product. Butter Pat pans are comparatively light because of their thinner walls, making flipping and maneuvering this cast iron skillet much easier than other heavyweight brands. In a comparison between Butter Pat pans and Lodge skillets, we noticed ButterPat offers a smoother surface on its pans – an experience many people liken to cooking on a non-stick pan. Plus, the smooth surface on these pans makes cleaning a breeze.

But do these features justify the price? The Lili 14" cast-iron skillet is listed at $435 on the website, while the Eric 1.5-quart, flat-bottomed pot is listed at $225. The performance of Butter Pat's products is similar to that of a skillet costing less than $40. Stick to buying a cheaper model than purchasing one of these skillets or pots.

14. Borough Furnace

Borough Furnace is ranked last on our top picks for its price. A 10.5-inch skillet is listed on the website at $210, while a two-piece set with a 9-inch and 10.5-inch skillet is listed at $350. Borough Furnace also manufactures Dutch ovens in both enameled and pre-seasoned finishes. The main criticism we noticed with this pan was the ergonomics of the handle; which a user may find uncomfortable to handle and hold.

Ergonomically speaking, Borough Furnace has an upper hand on some of the brands on this list. The skillets feature low walls for optimized airflow and a heavy base. From a purely aesthetic angle, you can tell that the folks at Borough Furnace put a level of craftsmanship into its products not often seen with other mass-produced cast iron brands. Plus, Borough Furnace is a family-owned business with renewable energy offsets. For an eco-minded consumer, these values may justify the price.

13. Lancaster Cast Iron

Lancaster Cast Iron is an Amish-made cast iron brand from Pennsylvania. The brand offers two sizes of cast iron skillet: a 10.5-inch (No. 8) and an 11.6-inch (No. 10). These skillets are priced at $175 and $225, respectively, on Lancaster's website. Although these skillets are cheaper than other artisan manufacturers like Butter Pan and Borough Furnace, Lancaster products are still not as cost-friendly as Lodge or Victoria models.

Some features set Lancaster skillets apart from other brands. You'll find a pour spout on either side of the pan for easy draining as well as a smooth, pre-seasoned finish for a cooking experience like a non-stick pan. Similar to other artisan cast iron manufacturers on our list, Lancaster products are made with thin walls for easy movement and flipping. Customers appreciate the lightweight feel of this cast-iron skillet and the handle — which is designed to be comfortable either with or without oven mitts.

12. Staub

Staub has risen in popularity as a brand with the release of similar aesthetically-designed cookware brands like Le Creuset. Staub offers several functionalities that set it apart from Le Creuset. The lid of the Staub cast iron Dutch oven has small spikes to keep the food inside from drying out; it is also heavier and flatter than the Le Creuset to keep moisture retained in the pot.

The Staub Dutch oven also has a dark interior finish which will hide minor scuffs and abrasions much better than Le Cruset pans. Although the dark interior preserves the aesthetic value of the pan, it is more difficult to tell when the food inside is finished cooking.

According to Boonie Hicks, Staub is priced higher than its competitors because each cast iron piece is individually molded and inspected for hairline cracks and defects prior to enameling. Each enameled cast iron piece is covered in three layers of protective enamel to prevent cracking and damage — thus making Staub a superior product in terms of durability. Overall, we love Staub's style and its durability in the kitchen.

11. Finex

Finex's most interesting feature is its octagonal shape. The eight rounded corners can be used as pour spouts or steam vents for the pan's contents, according to the Finex website. The unique shape is also helpful for scooping bread and cornbread out of the pan with a spatula. We also love the spring handle — which stays cool longer and is easier to hold than traditional cast iron handles. Each Finex cast iron pan comes pre-seasoned with organic flaxseed oil. The lid of the cast iron skillets is beautifully designed with two concentric rings to drip steam back into the pot; you won't need to worry about dry and wet spots.

Finnex cast iron products are priced at the higher end of the cast iron skillets we reviewed. A 10-inch skillet with a lid is priced at $250. If you're in the mood to splurge, Finex also sells a complete set with every product in its lineup for $2,920. Finex is our favorite of the high-end brands, but the price point is not practical for all home cooks.

10. Field Company

The Field Company cast iron skillets are elegant and classically designed. Inside Hook reveres baking in a Field Company No. 8 pan and claims, "Field Company's deep, thin cast iron gave me a golden, flaky crust and the dessert similarly slipped out of the pan without incident." While the lightweight design and shape of the pan make baking, grilling, and searing easy, this pan won't replace every other piece of cookware in your kitchen.

At first glance, it's clear that Field Company does not offer some of the same features as other pans — including pour spouts. However, the pan wins some brownie points for its classic design and comfortable handling. The brand also features an array of sizes and pan types including skillets (both single and double-handed), Dutch ovens, braisers, and griddles. The 10.25-inch No. 8 pan is sold for $145 — which rivals the price of some of our middle-of-the-road-priced cast iron pieces.

9. Marquette Castings

Marquette Castings' cast iron skillet is one of the more expensive of the products we reviewed; a 10.5-inch skillet is priced at $249.95. The skillet is on the smoother end and we appreciate that the company designed a handle that is raised to operate the skillet even easier. The company also seasons the cast iron with four layers of flax oil. Although these design features make the skillet distinct from other high-end brands, it is difficult for users to justify spending $250 on a skillet.

If you're looking for a great value on a quality Dutch oven, the Rational Kitchen suggests looking at a Marquette Castings 6-quart Dutch oven. Although the Marquette Castings pan is slightly heavier than a Le Creuset, its durability, color, and lifetime warranty make it a better budget-friendly option compared to the famous Dutch oven brand. You can purchase a 6-quart Dutch oven from Marquette Castings for less than $100 in the option of six different colors.

8. Stargazer

Stargazer cast iron products are designed to be lightweight and smooth to the touch, according to online retailer Cook Culture. We love Stargazer's flared rim, which makes pouring super simple. The extended handle, along with the fork design for maximum airflow, also allows the user to keep safe proximity to the hot base. Consumers can purchase the cast-iron skillets from Stargazer in one of two finishes: bare and seasoned. Bare pans arrive coated in oil, according to Thrifty Nifty Mommy, while the seasoned skillet will have already been pre-seasoned and are ready for use straight out of the package.

The reviews on the cast iron skillets from Stargazer are fairly positive. The main complaint was the price and the minimal selection; the Stargazer skillets only come in a 10.5-inch and 12-inch skillet and a 13-inch braising pan. The 10.5-inch skillet is slightly less expensive than other brands (like Finex and Lancaster) at $115.

7. Nest Homeware

Nest Homeware handles give us major Harry Potter vibes. The most striking feature of these pans besides the wand-like handles is the beautiful color. The pans are marketed as pre-seasoned and lightweight. Nest Homeware's website features several sized skillets, Dutch ovens, and braising pans. The skillet pricing starts at $155 (including the lid for a total of $225) for a 9-inch pan.

Nest Homeware's products tested favorably compared to other brands. The Curated Cook notes that the products had a better heat distribution than Le Crueset and Lodge. But, the ornate handle was awkward to hold in different ways; it would likely only be conducive to a right-handed user. The skillet also didn't have any drainage spots on the rim, thus making pouring from the skillet even more awkward. From a design perspective, the high sidewall of the pan makes flipping difficult. Users find this pan most useful for braising and baking rather than searing.

6. Le Creuset

Le Creuset may be the peak of designer cookware. Although the brand is famous for making some of the most beautiful cast-iron Dutch ovens, the brand also includes several cast iron pieces. According to Viva Flavor, the signature skillet is top-of-the-line when it comes to aesthetics and design. While enameled cast-iron isn't truly non-stick, it offers a cooking experience similar to that of a non-stick pan. The signature skillet is durable, evenly heats food (unlike other cast iron skillets), and will retain its color over time thanks to high-quality pigments. The price tag is likely the only thing stopping you from ordering a La Creuset from Williams Sonoma; its retail value is $160.

You'll find an equally impressive quality in Le Creuset's other cast iron items including the skillet fry pan ($210), 13-inch enameled deep skillet ($260), or the 4.5-quart deep sauté pan ($350). We believe the cost justifies the longevity of Le Creuset's products — and you're unlikely to find a piece with the same quality at a lower price.

5. Valor

Valor makes reasonably priced, practical cast iron pans for the home cook or commercial chef. A three-piece pre-seasoned cast iron cookware set from Valor is valued at $112.99 at Webstaurant Store. Tin Roof Country Store & Creamery recommends Valor products for their pre-seasoned, ease-of-use design. The pour spots are a valuable feature for these pans as well. Forbes awarded Valor's pre-seasoned cast iron skillet "best budget cast iron skillet" in 2021. The cheap price and overall quality of these pans make Valor a great value for bulk purchasing.

Although Valor products are cheap, these cast iron pans do not come with many of the innovative features of other cast iron pans that fetch a higher price tag. The handles of the pan are short, which creates a burn risk for the chef. Otherwise, there are minimal comments regarding the durability and longevity of Valor's products. More features, like lids and longer handles, would make Valor's products more valuable for the consumer.

4. Utopia Kitchen

Utopia Kitchen sets come in a 6-inch, 8-inch-and 12-inch skillet on Amazon for $26.99. This bundle is a no-frills cast iron set that can be used for both cooking and baking. These pans come pre-seasoned. After hand-washing these skillets, users will need to be diligent about re-seasoning.

Several of the folks who have purchased Utopia Kitchen's pans note that the finish is very rough; sanding down the cast iron will provide a more refined feeling to the pans. Some users also found that the pans were not seasoned enough to prevent rust. It took several rounds of seasoning to make sure the pans would be durable enough to survive everyday use. Overall, this brand has the potential to be a mainstay for basic cast iron cookware. If you're looking for cheap cast iron, this is the brand to go with. We would have ranked Utopia Kitchen higher if the products were better seasoned and had additional features like a longer handle.

3. Smithey Ironware

Smithey Ironware is a notable name within the cast iron industry. The brand produces unique, ornate, and beautifully-designed cookware. If you're looking for a creative gift idea for the foodie in your life, consider adding a personal engraving to your cast iron pan for an additional $40!

Not only are these cast iron pans beautiful to look at, but each of these pans holds the key to some of the best recipes you can try in your home kitchen. Smithey Ironware manufactures a variety of skillets, braisers, griddles, Dutch ovens, and grill pans. One reviewer said the No. 10 cast iron pan was, "Just a very well made, beautiful cast iron pan! If you want a cast iron pan ... and you don't get this one ... you wasted your money." For the avid cast iron fan, Smithey Ironware manufactures a 20-piece set for $1,995 that includes some of the most highly-reviewed products from the brand. The No. 12 skillet is priced at $200 (lid not included).

2. Victoria Cookware

The Victoria Cookware skillet offers a similar design, shape, and quality as skillets three to four times its price. However, this skillet was one of the stickier brands of the cast iron pans we've reviewed; it may require extra seasoning to prevent residue. Folks who have purchased from Victoria Cookware claim its searing ability and shape are on par with other brands.

One of our favorite features of Victoria Cookware is its variety in shapes, sizes, and uses. You can purchase cast iron skillets, fajita pans, Dutch ovens, presses, griddles, and specialty cookware from the website to fit whatever your heart desires. As a whole, Victoria Cookware cast iron products are affordable. A 12-inch cast iron skillet is sold on Amazon for $24.99. Of the over 10,000 reviews, the average rating was 4.7-stars with the most common complaints being about the weight of the skillet and the difficulty in maneuvering the pan.

1. Lodge

It's no surprise that our top-performing cast iron brand is Lodge. The New York Times rated Lodge's products as the best cast iron on the market for their affordability, durability, and quality — especially the 12-inch Chef's Collection skillet. This model is lighter than the traditional Lodge skillet and can be used for the same uses as the traditional skillet (except deep-frying; you'll want to use a deeper skillet for frying). The pre-seasoned skillet is ready to use right out of the box, unlike many of the other brands that require additional seasoning before use. Unlike the more expensive Butter Pan and Stargazer brands, Lodge's skillets do not tend to develop blotches post-searing, thus ensuring that the Lodge was much more evenly seasoned than these brands.

Lodge pans are easily budget-friendly for the home cook. The Chef's Collection skillet is sold for $49.95 from Sur la table, while the traditional skillet with handles is sold for $44.85 on Amazon.