Copper cookware is the supreme conductor and distributor of heat in the world of cookware. The best copper cookware is lined with stainless steel, which lasts a long time and prevents the copper metal from reacting with what you’re cooking. If you polish it regularly, a copper kettle or copper pan set will help you--and perhaps your descendants--create amazing dishes. While most copper cookware reviews aren’t revised after years of regular use, we found the brand copper cookware set to hold up to the hype. The Lagostina Martellata set offers a great range of copper cooking pans for the dedicated cook, but copper pans come at a high price. We discovered the ExcelSteel 546 Professional cookware set could provide similar benefits for a bargain.
The Lagostina Martellata set is a ten-piece tri-ply set with a hammered copper exterior, stainless steel interior, and aluminum core. It offers more main pieces than the ExcelSteel set, but other than that they’re very similar. The Lagostina set is best for cooks who like a variety of options and want the extra heat conduction efficiency of an aluminum core. This set of copper cooking pots has flared easy-pour rims, riveted stainless steel handles, and several stainless steel lids as well. The brand is a well-established Italian cookware brand, so this set will appeal to fans of European cookware.
The ExcelSteel 546 Professional set provides enough cookware to satisfy most cooks at eight pieces, with each of the four main pieces coming with vented glass lids. The vented glass lids are a great feature for keeping an eye on the contents of a pot or pan without releasing moisture by lifting the lid. The Excelsteel set lacks the aluminum core that the Lagostina set offers, but this copper cookware still conducts heat incredibly well for amazing results. If you don’t mind having fewer pieces, a lighter overall weight, and not having aluminum cores, the ExcelSteel set still offers a quality build and great price.
The Lagostina Martellata set has 10 pieces: an 8" skillet, a 10" skillet, a 2qt saucepan with a lid, a 3qt saucepan with lid, a 3qt deep saute pan with a lid, and a 6qt stockpot with a lid. If you want the extra versatility of a deep saute pan and two fry pans to choose from, plus a slightly larger stockpot, you may prefer the Lagostina set to the ExcelSteel. Note that neither of the Lagostina skillets have lids, while the ExcelSteel skillet does.
The ExcelSteel 546 Professional set has 8 pieces: a 9.5’’ skillet with a lid, a 1.5qt saucepan with a lid, a 3.25qt saucepan with a lid, and a 5.5qt Dutch Oven with a lid. This set exchanges the two skillet sizes for one middle size and has one slightly larger and one slightly smaller saucepan than the Lagostina set. Its Dutch Oven (basically a stockpot) is 1/2qt smaller than the Lagostina version, and the ExcelSteel set lacks a deep saute pan. However, this set is still a full range of cookware that should satisfy most cooks.
The Lagostina set has a textured exterior due to the hammered copper technique used on the cookware. This finish is an aesthetic choice that doesn’t change the cookware’s mechanical function. Copper cookware requires regular cleaning to prevent corrosion and improve shine, so they’re a little more high-maintenance than other types of cookware.
The ExcelSteel set uses smooth mirror polished copper. Again, this is purely aesthetic and doesn’t affect how the cookware works. Both sets use copper exteriors for superior heat conduction and an awesome cooking experience. Quick tip: lemon or vinegar combined with salt and some scrubbing help clean up tarnished-looking copper pots and pans.
The Lagostina set’s insides are coated with 18/10 stainless steel, which is the highest quality available and ideal for searing. Steel is also an even heat distributor while adding sturdiness to each member of the set. The stainless steel provides an inert base for cooking ingredients that would otherwise react with the copper metal.
The ExcelSteel set uses a layer of 18/10 stainless steel on the inside, just like the Lagostina set. Less well-built copper pans tend to use a tin lining that degrades to the point of needing replacement every few years. Investing in a copper and stainless steel set ensures that your copper cookware will last a long time with minimal upkeep.
The Lagostina set features a layer of aluminum between two layers of stainless steel. This is another cookware feature that aims for even heat distribution. While it’s a great feature, not all cooks will notice the difference. Those looking for the best possible heat conduction will prefer the Lagostina set.
The ExcelSteel set lacks an aluminum core, only using stainless steel and copper metals for layering. These materials still provide amazing heat conduction that should satisfy most cooks. If you think copper and stainless steel alone are good enough, choose the bargain deal of the ExcelSteel set.
The Lagostina set package weighs 25 pounds. You want copper cookware to be heavy--that’s a mark of professional quality. This particular set is mostly made of copper and steel, which aren’t known for their lightness. It also comes with two extra main pieces compared to the ExcelSteel set. Still, if you’re looking for hefty copper pots and pans as a sign of durability, you might prefer the Lagostina set.
The ExcelSteel set package weighs 15.8 pounds. This is partly because it’s an 8-piece set rather than a 10-piece like the Lagostina. If the ExcelSteel set came with two more pieces and weighed 20% more than it does as a result, it would come in closer to the Lagostina set at about 19 pounds. At 15.8 pounds, this set might be a better option for people with joint problems or weaker arm muscles.
Each piece of the Lagostina set has riveted stainless steel handles that provide strength and durability. Welded handles are more likely to fail suddenly and spectacularly than riveted handles, so riveted handles give cautious cooks peace of mind.
The ExcelSteel set also features riveted stainless steel handles on every piece. The y-shaped handles provide stability and help the metal stay cool while you’re cooking. Plus, since both sets use stainless steel handles, they’re oven-safe.
The Lagostina set uses flared edges for easy pouring. This design helps liquid ingredients pour smoothly, without dripping or spilling. If you’re sick of chasing after dribbles and drops with a damp cloth, you’ll appreciate the flared edge design.
The ExcelSteel set also has flared or “rolled” edges to help avoid messes. We know how quickly a drip can solidify into an annoying mess on a hot stovetop, and rolled edges help avoid it. Both sets try to keep cleanup to a minimum, which any cook would appreciate.
The Lagostina set has four lidded pieces out of six main pieces. The lids are stainless steel and not vented. The materials mean the lids are safe to use in the oven, but you won’t be able to see what’s going on inside the pan without lifting the lid and releasing a cloud of hot steam. This is frustrating for more exact recipes that require constant supervision.
The ExcelSteel set has four lids for each of its four main pieces that are made of glass and stainless steel, and vented. The vents keep the glass lids from fogging up so you can easily keep an eye on your recipe. The lids are still as oven-safe as the Lagostina set but have some extra convenience that the Lagostina set doesn’t offer.