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I am on the search for a good general purpose frying pan.

However, I can't seem to find a comparison between cast iron and forged pans. I know that cast iron pans perhaps have longer life span but need seasoning while forged pans are lighter with less maintenance needs.

Is there a more thorough comparison between these two types or any advice why a person should go for the one vs the other?

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  • A lot of pans are “forged”, from carbon steel to Teflon-coated aluminum. What type of pan did you have in mind? – Sneftel Jan 7 at 21:15
  • Are you talking about "carbon steel" pans ? – Max Jan 7 at 21:48
  • Apologies for not clarifying this earlier. I am talking about forged iron frying pans e.g like this – pkaramol Jan 7 at 22:11
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Cast iron and carbon steel (aka “forged iron”) are fairly similar. Both require seasoning for best results, and can produce a decent non-stick effect when properly seasoned; both have high heat capacity but mediocre heat conduction; both are quite durable. Carbon steel is somewhat more lightweight than cast iron, making it more versatile (you wouldn’t want to flip the contents of a large cast iron skillet one-handed). Additionally, modern cast iron pans are rough-textured, which can make them more difficult to effectively scrape with a spatula.

I own and use both. These days I use carbon steel much more than cast iron.

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Cast iron is hard to warp - forged iron/steel pans can easily become warped/humped/non-flat if they are overheated, while a cast iron pan can withstand being "deliberately overheated" in the standard method of preparing it for re-seasoning by burning off the old seasoning.

Cast iron is slightly easier to break, but that's quite rare in practice and the forged steel/iron pan would end up dented for most impacts that would break cast iron.

Because it is normally thicker, cast iron heats more evenly (heat conduction is similar, but more thickness leads to more even temperature.)

Either should work fine for induction, if that's a factor in your choice.

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