Settling on the right Wok for home use can be a bit tricky, especially with all the good looking options on the market, both online and offline. Which is the ideal wok for you?
Commonly considered to be among the most versatile and efficient cooking pans, a wok, whose culinary origins can be traced back to china, is a round-bottomed pot. For quite a while, they have been front and centre in commercial cooking experiences like I large restaurants and hotels. However, in more recent times, they have become increasingly popular in households, enabling you to have that perfect stir fry experience from the comfort of your home, and use it to spice up your recipes. However, all these benefits are directly linked to picking the right wok for you, which suits your specific cooking requirements and desires.
There are quite a variety of woks of different sizes and materials to choose from in the market. Depending on the intended use coupled with personal cooking preference. There are some types of woks that need to be seasoned and develop a unique flavour with each alternate use, while there are others that allow the users to enjoy the cleanliness and aesthetics of polished cookware. The difference is typically the material, but it also pivots on a few other factors. This buying guide is designed to point you toward the top 7 reviewed woks in 2020, while giving you an overview on how to pick the right wok for your kitchen, in line with your specifications.
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Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
17 Inches wide
2 Inches deep
School of wok Non-Stick Carbon Steel Wok
14 Inches wide
6 Inches deep
Non-stick carbon steel
Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel wok
14 Inches wide
6 Inches deep
ZWILLING Plus Wok with Handle
12 Inches wide
3 Inches deep
Stainless Steel (aluminium core)
Helen Chen's Asian Kitchen Wok,
14 Inches wide
10 Inches deep
Cooks Standard Multi-Ply Clad Fry Pan
12 Inches wide
3.5 Inches deep
Stainless steel (aluminium core)
Calphalon Triply Stainless Steel Wok Stir Fry Pan
12 Inches wide
5 Inches deep
Stainless steel (aluminium core)
Lodge – Best Cast iron model
This top cast iron skillet combines some of the best and most traditional aspects of a typical wok, from the cast iron material to its wide and shallow nature combined with the dual handle design, making it extremely versatile and convenient
- 17 inches wide and 2 inches deep
- Cast Iron material
- 2 handle design
- Seasoned with 100% Vegetable oil
- Round bottom
When it comes to using a cast Iron wok, good seasoning is undefeated. The manufactures at Lodge understand and value this, ensuring that it is perfectly seasoned with 100% vegetable oil; no chemicals or aesthetic coatings. This ensures that you not only get the best flavour from your food but also that it is as healthy as you make it. It is also oven safe, which greatly diversifies its uses and application in the kitchen. Its 17 inch width and 2 inch depth ensure it has a sufficient cooking surface while its two handle design make it perfect for oven and table top use.
Like any cast Iron cookware, the main downside to this Lodge skillet is that it is highly prone to rust. This means that the user needs to clean it very carefully and ensure it is fully dry before storing it in an equally dry environment.
- It has a convenient two handle design
- The lodge family is a trusted brand
- It is suitable for Oven use
- The cookware is seasoned with 100% vegetable oil
- Cast Iron is highly prone to rust, so it requires great care in maintaining the seasoning and quality of the wok.
The Lodge cast iron skillet is a must have. As mentioned above, it is your traditional wok, with all the modifications of a modern one.
School of wok – Best non-stick carbon model
This non-stick carbon material wok is the best combination of the benefits of having a non-stick cookware with those of having a carbon material one.
- Non-stick carbon material
- 14 inch width with a 6 inch depth
- Combines a long bamboo handle with a side loop handle
- Round bottom
The choice of material makes this wok inexpensive yet efficient for all cooking requirements. It is also seasoned, which is great for additional flavour in food, and the user can re-season it to their convenience. Carbon steel is actually the most recommended wok material, making this implement superior. The combination of the long and loop handle designs make it very easy to use as well as versatile in its handling.
The downside to this Wok is that despite its conducive deep frying shape, the non-stick material makes it so that it is not suited for that use.
- The combined nature of the handle design makes it versatile to use
- It combines the advantages of a non-stick pan with those of a carbon steel one
- It is deep, and ensures that heat is evenly distributed throughout the pan.
- The non-stick material is not suitable for extremely high temperature.
This carbon steel, non-stick frying skillet is one of the most efficient yet easy to maintain woks in the market, making it a great addition to any set of cookware.
Craft Carbon steel Pow Wok – Top round bottom carbon steel model
This Wok is specially designed to fast fry food with consistent stirring, stir-frying. However, it can also be used for soup preparation and deep frying food, as well as a smoker or steamer.
- Has a steel and wooden helper handle
- Carbon steel material (1.8 mm thick)
- Relatively heavy (2.1kg)
- Round bottom
- 14 inches wide and 6 inches deep
As mentioned above, this Wok is highly preferred for its diversity in uses, from frying to steaming. It has long steel helper handle with a wooden part, which ensures that you don’t burn while handling it, and increases the ease of tossing food during the cooking process. It is also suitable for deep frying foods and other cooking methods that require very high heat, as well as open fire cooking.
Because of its round bottom, it is not suitable for flat electric or flat induction stoves.
- The material is carbon steel, which is considered to be the best and most recommended
- The metal and wooden helper handle makes it very easy to use
- It is relatively heavy
This Wok is very handy and easy to use and maintain given that you remember to season your carbon steel pan, to keep it as efficient as possible. Information and videos on how to do this in the best ways are widely available online.
ZWILLING plus Wok – Top stainless steel model
This coated wok is ideal for all your stir frying needs. This is because it has a unique ‘ceraforce-ultra’ coating that is non-stick, making it scratch resistant while ensuring that food does not stick to the pot-base while cooking.
- Stainless steel material
- 1 litre capacity
- 12 inches wide and 3 inches deep
- Relatively heavy (3.6kg)
- Comes with a tight fitting glass lid
The ZWILLING plus wok has a 3-ply base with two stainless steel layers sandwiching an aluminium core layer. This is instrumental in combining the heat distribution and conservation qualities of aluminium with the durability of stainless steel. The stainless steel material ensures that the wok is dishwasher-safe, oven-safe and microwave-safe. It is also flat bottomed making it compatible for electric stovetops, induction stovetops and even regular gas stovetops. The combination of these two factors makes its uses rather versatile.
Users have complained that this wok may take a while to heat up. This is probably a result of the layered base.
- It is dishwasher safe
- The stainless steel material makes it less prone to rust and easy to maintain.
- The tight fitting glass lid helps save on cooking water and increases overall cooking efficiency
- The aluminium base core allows for even heat distribution and conservation
- It takes a relatively long time to heat up
This is a great all-round product, especially because it seems to ick all the kitchen boxes. It is microwave-safe, dishwasher-safe and can be used on virtually any type of cooking stove.
Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen Wok – Top flat bottom carbon steel model
This Wok can be referred to as the foundation of all woks being made from traditional carbon steel (1.6mm thick) while combining the side loop handle with a long wooden handle. The modern twist on this traditional wok is that it is flat bottomed, which greatly diversifies the stovetops on which it can be used.
- Carbon steel material
- Flat bottomed shape
- 14 inches wide and 10 inches deep
- Combined side loop and long wooden handle
- The set includes a lightweight aluminium dome lid with a wooden handle top and a 13-inch bamboo spatula
As mentioned above, this wok is a trend setter. Its flat bottomed shape allows it to be used on a wide range of stove tops, while its combined handle system makes it very easy to use. It is also made of the best wok material, carbon steel. The wooden handle has a loop to facilitate vertical storage.
Being made purely of carbon steel, this wok requires quite a bit of maintenance consisting of proper care and adequate seasoning, to ensure that the lacquer coating that forms after cooking is easy to remove and to make the Wok more durable. It is also hand-wash only.
- It is made of carbon steel, which is considered the best Wok material
- It combines a side loop with a long wooden handle making it easy to use
- It can be used on most stovetops because it is flat bottomed
- The dome lid and spatula are handy additions to the set
- It requires quite a bit of maintenance (Re-seasoning and careful cleaning)
The Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen Wok is the standard when it comes to carbon steel flat bottom woks, all it requires is a little bit of care and maintenance.
Cooks Standard Multi-Ply Clad Fry Pan – Top Multi Ply model
The Cooks standard multi-ply clad fry pan is one of the most highly recommended multi-ply models on the market. This is because it has the perfect combination of aluminium and stainless steel with an aluminium core along the walls and base coupled with 2 layers of high quality 18/10 stainless steel.
- 2 layers of stainless steel with an aluminium core along the walls and base
- Dual side loop riveted handles
- The pan comes with a fitting stainless-steel dome lid
- 20 inches wide and 3.5 inches deep
- 3 litres capacity
This cookware is an impressive combination of aluminium and stainless steel, making it efficient yet very low maintenance. It is also flat bottomed, which means it can be used on a variety of stovetops. It can be used for a wide variety of uses besides the typical ‘stir-fry’ including deep-frying, searing and even sautéing. It is also dishwasher and oven safe. This wok has a scratch resistant base which comes with a brushed finish which ensures that the base is not damaged during its use and a smooth transition from different stove tops.
As is the case with most stainless steel objects, negligence easily leads to staining of the pan.
- It is oven safe (up to 500F)
- It is dishwasher safe
- It is less prone to rust and easy to maintain
- It is safe to use on glass, electric, ceramic and gas stovetops
Stains easily if not properly cleaned.
The Cooks standard multi-ply clad fry pan would be a great addition to any collection of home cookware for its versatility in use and overall ease of maintenance and durability.
Calphalon Triply Stainless Steel Wok Stir Fry Pan– Impressive multiply model
This stir fry pan combines the aluminium and stainless steel benefits while having a stainless steel cooking surface that is non-porous, making it safe to use for most utensils.
- 2 layers of stainless steel with an aluminium core
- 12 inches wide and 5 inches deep
- Relatively heavy (3.6 kg)
- Combines a side loop with a long metal handle
- Comes with a transparent tempered glass lid
The transparent tempered glass lid is a beautiful aesthetic addition that also makes it easy to observe the progress of food while in the oven or on the stove. It is also microwave and dishwasher safe which is very convenient for most kitchen use
The pan is relatively heavy at 3.6kg, which makes moving it around when cooking quite tasking.
- It is dishwasher and microwave safe
- Safe for use with a wide variety of utensils
- Carries a Calphalon lifetime warranty guarantee
- The pan is heavy
This wok, as mentioned, is safe for use with nylon, metal, coated or even wood utensils. Add this to the durability of stainless steel combined with the efficiency of aluminium, this stainless steel wok is a must have
What you should consider before buying a wok for home use
Traditionally, woks are known to be made of cast Iron. However, in the modern market, there are woks of a variety of materials, each with its own specific use, and its pros and cons. This makes it essential to pick the perfect wok that perfectly addresses all your individual needs. These materials are mainly:
Cast Iron- This material means that the wok may take a bit more time to heat up and later on to cool down. This means that your food will be evenly cooked and preserved hot, because it retains heat for a long time. The major drawback of picking cast iron is that it rusts rather easily, making it essential to dry it completely after use. You should also avoid cooking greens and acidic foods with this material
Teflon (non-stick) – This is ideal and efficient for all your boiling, stewing and steaming needs. The downside to this is that it is not suitable for cooking that requires very high temperatures like stir-fry and deep-fry. This is because the high temperatures may cause the non-stick coating to come off and go into the food.
Aluminium- This material is very much like Iron, except that it is lighter and thinner. This ensures that it conducts heat very fast, making it such that it heats up and cools very quickly and also does not retain heat like cast Iron. It is suitable for cooking activities like stir frying and deep frying because the pot heats up rather fast. Overall, it is not as durable as a pan made of iron.
Carbon steel- This is the most widely and highly recommended material. This is because it manages to be the most durable wok material, while being the most inexpensive one. An added advantage of carbon steel is that it heats up evenly and quickly and with the right care and maintenance, is akin to a non-stick cooking surface
- Bottom shape
The traditional wok bottom is round that is the image of a wok that we have in our minds. However, with increased demand and research, there are also flat bottomed woks in the market. Each shape has its advantages and disadvantages.
Round bottom– This is the most recommended bottom wok shape and would be great for a gas stove. This shape is also convenient when using a cooking spatula and for cooking where the food requires an even distribution of heat.
Flat bottom– This is fairly new one and is ideal for an electric stove. It is also easier for food to burn on this shape of wok because heat is mostly distributed on the bottom of the pan. This means that you have to be very vigilant when using it.
The size of any kitchen implement is dependent on the kitchen size as well as the intended feeding capacity. Experts recommend a 14 inch wok for family use and an 8 inch wok for travel purposes. However, you can get a wok as big as 75 inches for restaurant use.
- Handle type
There is quite a variety of handle types to choose from when it comes to woks. Some come with a long wooden or metal handle, while some come with dual loops on each post side and others come with a combination of both. The long stick on one side handle is considered to be the best and easiest handle type, for tossing food. However, I would advise choosing the handle type that works for you depending on your cooking style and ease of lifting.
If you are looking to spice up your culinary experience from home, then investing in a high quality suitable Wok would be a great first step. However, in choosing and buying the right one, it would be advised to do due diligence in determining which material, shape and size will work best for you, to ensure that you get the most out of the whole experience.