Best Nonstick Frying Pans for $40 or Less

CR's tests find five inexpensive nonstick skillets that can take the heat

A nonstick frying pan with potatoes being sautéed.
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Finally, nonstick skillets that aren’t a flash in the pan. Consumer Reports’ tests have found five inexpensive nonstick frying pans that are keepers. Fried eggs easily slide out of each pan, one after another. Cleanup is a cinch. The clincher? These pans range in price from $15 to $40.

"Food cooks evenly in all five pans, and each handle stays cool to the touch," says Cindy Fisher, who oversees Consumer Reports’ cookware tests. "Even after we roughed up the pan in our tests, eggs slid out with just a nudge or two."

Our lab kitchen heats up when our experts put frying pans to the test. We evaluate both nonstick and uncoated pans for how well they turn out evenly browned pancakes, and how well nonstick surfaces release fried eggs when the pan is new—and then again when the coating is worn.

We assess a handle’s sturdiness and how hot it gets when you’re cooking. We test the durability of nonstick surfaces with a machine that rubs steel wool over the coating until it has worn through or up to 2,000 strokes, whichever comes first. A big part of nonstick’s appeal is easy cleanup, so we note how difficult it is to wash away a sticky bechamel sauce.

Here, listed alphabetically, are five impressive 10-inch nonstick frying pans that sell for $40 or less. All come with a lifetime warranty. Keep in mind that prices can fluctuate, so you may see a pan here for a bit more than $40—or even much less.

For more choices, see our full cookware ratings and recommendations and our cookware buying guide.

Go to Consumer Reports' 2019 Holiday Gift Guide for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more.

Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick
Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick

    Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick

    CR’s take: The Calphalon Contemporary is made of anodized aluminum in which the aluminum has been through a process that hardens its surface. Food cooks evenly and the pancakes in our tests were nicely browned, meriting a Very Good rating on the cooking evenness test. When the pan is new, you'll have to nudge food out just a bit and, like all nonstick frying pans, more so as the coating starts to wear.

    Farberware Neat Nest Stacking
    Farberware Neat Nest Stacking

      Farberware Neat Nest Stacking

      CR's take: Farberware is a well-known cookware brand, and the Neat Nest frying pan is included as part of a nonstick set, but you can also buy it in open stock. It aces our cooking evenness test, earning an Excellent rating. It is also impressive in our food-release test, so it's a good choice for frying eggs. But while the handle stays cool to the touch when cooking, it isn't as sturdy as the handles of many of the frying pans in our tests.

      Member's Mark Nonstick (Sam's Club)
      Member's Mark Nonstick (Sam's Club)

        Member's Mark Nonstick (Sam's Club)

        CR’s take: A Sam’s Club brand, the aluminum Member's Mark pan turns out evenly cooked food that easily slides out of the pan when it's new. The nonstick coating withstood all 2,000 strokes in our durability test, but food needs nudging out of the pan once the coating starts to wear. The handle stays cool to the touch but isn’t very sturdy, which is true for most frying pans in our tests that are $40 or less.

        Red Copper Nonstick
        Red Copper Nonstick

          Red Copper Nonstick

          CR’s take: The Red Copper nonstick pan is made of aluminum, and the coating is copper-colored. The pan earns Excellent ratings for both heating evenness and food release, two things you want in a nonstick pan. The handle isn't very sturdy, but it does stay cool to the touch when you’re cooking.

          The Rock by Starfrit Nonstick
          The Rock by Starfrit Nonstick

            The Rock by Starfrit Nonstick

            CR's take: Is it a frying pan or is it an action hero? Joking, of course, but The Rock by Starfrit is a star in our cooking evenness test, earning an Excellent rating. That means pancakes come out evenly browned every time. It's almost as good in our food-release test, so you can fry eggs one after another and they'll easily slide out of the pan. The handle stays cool to the touch but isn't as sturdy as some in our tests. And this pan held up well in our durability test, so it should last longer than some other low-priced pans.

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            Mary H.J. Farrell

            Knowing that I wanted to be a journalist from a young age, I decided to spiff up my byline by adding the middle initials "H.J." A veteran of online and print journalism, I've worked at People, MSNBC, Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, and an online Consumer Reports wannabe. But the real thing is so much better. Follow me on Twitter.