Consumer Reports Best Woks Reviews Of Top Picks
Stir-frying is among the healthiest way of cooking food. It is also the most popular way, but to stir fry food, you need a special utensil, i.e., a wok. This versatile cooking utensil offers even heat distribution and long heat retention, thanks to its non-stick surface. A wok isn’t just used for stir-frying, but several other cooking styles such as deep-frying, searing, sautéing, steaming, and even grilling.
If you take proper care of your wok, it won’t just last for a few years, but an entire lifetime. So, you must definitely have a wok in your kitchen. You can buy the best electric wok if you are interested in an electric model, but if you are an old-school type of a cook, then you should buy a traditional wok after reading consumer reports best wok reviews. I’ve reviewed 5 products after which, I provided a detailed buying guide to help you out with your buying decision.
Reviews Of 5 Best Woks
1. Craft Wok Traditional Pow Wok With Steel & Wooden Helper Handle
This wok is for professional cooks, as is made of 15-gauge, commercial-grade carbon steel. The shape of this wok is similar to traditional Chinese wok, so if you were looking for an authentic wok, then this can be a great option. Before you use this wok, make sure to season it, as it will make the meals tastier and prevent steel from rusting. The wok is hand-hammered by Chinese professionals in the famous province of Guangzhou, so you can expect excellent results from this wok.
The wok is very easy to use, even when it is piping hot, thanks to the steel helper handle. Using this handle, you can stir fry over high heat without worrying about burns. The wooden handle comes with a special hygroscopic surface, which isn’t slippery at all, thus allowing you to have a tight grip while stir-frying the food. The only downside to this wok is that it isn’t compatible with an electric or flat induction stove.
2. Lodge Pro-Logic Wok With Loop Handles & Flat Base
Check out this wok, which comes with a flat base and loop handles. This wok is made of 14-inch cast iron, which comes to you pre-seasoned with 100% natural vegetable oil, so you don’t have to do it. The wok features large handles that allow you to easily handle it when stir-frying.
I really like the ability of this wok to retain heat beautifully and offer even heating from start to end of the cooking process. You can use this wok to sauté, sear, broil, bake, fry, braise, and grill meals. You can use the wok on a grill, stove, oven, or over a campfire. You can even use the wok on portable induction cooktops.
3. Souped Up Recipes Carbon Steel Wok For Electric, Induction And Gas Stoves
This is another top-class wok that is made of carbon steel, which makes it durable and long-lasting. The wok is pre-seasoned, so you can use it right after receiving the package. The wok can be used to deep fry, stir fry, crisp, and sear different types of food items. It can also be used to prepare stew and soups.
The wok has a flat bottom, which makes it compatible with a wide range of stoves, including induction stoves, electric stoves, gas ranges, and other heat sources. You will get all the instructions for taking care of this wok, which allows it to work longer without getting rusty.
4. Willow & Everett Non-Stick Stainless Steel Stir Wok
This wok is made on the lines of traditional Chinese woks, as it features a 13-inch large pan and a round-bottom that allows you to cook meals in different types. The stainless-steel wok is ideal for stir-frying, deep-frying, steaming, searing, and boiling. The 3-layer wok is made of rust-resistant stainless steel, thus letting you use it for years to come. The wok works perfectly on electric, induction, and gas cooktop.
You can even use the wok in an oven. The wok features an ergonomic handle and aluminum core that creates a scratch-resistant and non-stick surface. When you’re done cooking your favorite meals, you can easily clean the wok in the dishwasher. With this wok, you will get a stainless-steel bamboo handle spatula and dome cover lid. The large size of this wok allows you to cook meals in large quantities to serve several people at a time.
5. Kenmore Hammond Flat Bottom Carbon Steel Wok
Kenmore brings to you a versatile wok, which comes with a flat bottom to let you prepare meals the way you like. The wok can be used for stir-frying, deep-frying, steam, or just heating the food quickly. The wok is made from heavy gauge 1.8mm carbon steel that helps distribute and retain the heat evenly. The wok comes with double-riveted handles made from acacia wood, which offer an ergonomic grip along with better heat resistance.
The non-stick cooking surface of this wok is made without non-toxic materials such as PFOA and PTFE. The wok can withstand temperatures as high as 500 Fahrenheit. You can cook food with less oil and fat, which makes cleaning a breeze. The flat bottom of this wok allows you to use it on all stovetops including electric, gas, induction, and ceramic stoves. The wok isn’t dishwasher safe, so make sure to hand wash it for long-lasting use.
What Materials Are Woks Made Of?
As wok cooking requires high heat at high temperatures, you need materials that can withstand very high heat:
Cast iron/Enameled cast iron
Cast iron, enameled or not, takes a little time to heat up, but once done, it retains heat extremely well. This is what makes it one of the best wok materials.
Raw cast iron is 100% natural, whereas enameled cast iron contains alcoholic binders to bond the enamel.
On the other hand, it is heavy, so you will not be able to sauté the food with a turn of the wrist. For this, you will need to use utensils. Cast iron is also very expensive, and it takes a lot to make a wok.
Natural or raw cast iron (unenamelled) also requires seasoning before first use.
Carbon steel is only made of iron and carbon, so 100% natural. Also called sheet steel, carbon steel rises very quickly in temperature and the diffusion of heat is also homogeneous. Combine these two advantages and you have one of the best materials for high-temperature cooking.
Carbon steel is much cheaper than cast iron, plus it's virtually indestructible.
Also widely used in the manufacture of woks, coated aluminum has the advantage of not snagging food.
On the other hand, it must be reinforced to withstand very high temperatures. Non-stick coatings contain PTFE and last much less than raw materials like cast iron or carbon steel.
How To Choose The Right Wok?
The woks have the particularity of having very high edges to be able to sauté the food. At the same diameter, the capacity can then change from one manufacturer to another. Remember that the larger a wok, the more difficult it will be to handle.
Here is the correspondence of the diameters:
- 24cm: 2 people
- 26 cm to 28 cm: 4 people
- 30 to 32 cm: 6 people
- 34 to 36 cm: 8 people
A majority of woks are made from carbon steel or cast iron. Carbon steel is a 100% natural material, it heats up very quickly and is almost indestructible. On the other hand, it must be seasoned and oiled so that it does not rust.
Cast iron or enameled cast iron is also 100% natural and retains heat very well. Downside: it is very heavy and very expensive. Raw cast iron also requires seasoning before first use.
Bottom Of The Wok
This is one of the most important criteria.
Woks with a concave bottom are very suitable for circulating food. They are generally designed to be held in one hand while cooking. The only downside is stability.
Indeed, for some models, it will be necessary to tinker with an iron circle to put the wok on. Concave bottoms are not compatible with induction cooktops.
Some woks have a flat bottom precisely to overcome this disadvantage. They can be placed on an induction cooktop and have better stability. These are usually the very heavy woks that cannot be sautéed with one hand.
This point joins the paragraph on the bottom of the wok. If it is concave, it will not be induction compatible.
Kitchen utensil manufacturers are well aware that more than 60% of US households are equipped with induction cooktops. That's why most utensils are compatible.
Nowadays, more and more woks are also compatible with the oven. This allows you to expand the circle of possible recipes and gives the wok even more versatility.
Another very important criterion is to check what type of handle is attached to the wok. If the wok weighs less than 2 kg, it is conceivable to sauté it with one hand. In this case, a wooden handle is the most suitable.
On the other hand, if the wok is very heavy (sometimes up to 5 kg), it is not intended to be sautéed. The use of utensils for sautéing food is then mandatory. Generally, these woks are equipped with one or two handles to be able to maintain them during the sautéing of food.
For most cooking, you will only need a wooden spoon or spatula. So, you surely have what you need in your kitchen.
Only steaming requires a lid and a steamer basket to be placed inside the wok. These two accessories are rarely included. Only the first model in our ranking includes a lid. But it is also the most expensive.
Also remember that for woks with a concave bottom, you will need a base to put it on a gas stove. Otherwise, you will have to hold it by hand throughout the cooking. It is possible to DIY a steel circle yourself to put it on, but let's face it, it is not very practical.
There are two kinds of wok: light ones that you can stir-fry with one hand, and heavy ones that you cannot stir-fry with your wrist. It is therefore very important to find out about the weight of the wok before buying it.
Light woks (less than 2 kg) are generally equipped with a handle that is intended for sautéing. As for heavy woks (up to 5 kg), these are handles that encircle it to be able to hold it when you turn the food with a utensil.
It takes between $20 and $200 for a quality wok. It is the material that will mainly define the price of a wok. Cast iron, enameled or not, is the most expensive. Carbon steel is much more affordable. The size of the wok is the second criterion determining the price: the larger it is, the more expensive it will be.
There is no denying that a wok is an important utensil for every US kitchen, as it will be used every day in different capacities. If your kitchen was missing a wok, then you should buy one from the aforementioned list of consumer reports best woks. Get the wok of your favorite brand and the right size to enjoy stir-fried meals in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Last Updated on April 10, 2022