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Finex Cast Iron Skillet

The handsome Finex skillet promises versatility, good release, and a stay-cool handle. Does it live up to its high expectations and big price tag?

How We Tested

We were astonished at the price of the Finex 12'' Cast Iron Skillet with Cover: It costs nearly nine times as much as our favorite 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Its octagonal shape and thick steel coil–covered handle with a brass tip give it a striking appearance, but could this unusual pan offer nine times the performance? 

 It arrived lightly seasoned, with a pebbly finish on the sides (which stuck to foods) and a smooth cooking surface (with slightly better release). As we did with our lineup of traditional and enameled cast-iron skillets, we used this pan to scramble eggs, sear steaks, make a tomato-caper pan sauce (to see if its acidity reacted with the pan’s surface), skillet-roast thick fish fillets that went from stove to oven, bake cornbread, and shallow-fry breaded chicken cutlets. At the end of testing, we scrambled more eggs to see whether its surface had become more nonstick with use. We also abuse-tested the pan by heating it and then plunging it into ice water, banging it with a metal spoon, cutting in it with a chef’s knife, and scraping it with a metal spatula. 

 Our conclusion? This pan seared steak nicely, producing good fond and flavorful sauce, and cornbread emerged from the pan intact. But the steel-coil handle that promised to stay cool became hot, and it was fat and slippery, making it difficult to grip with a potholder. Eggs and fish stuck, and it took a lot of scrubbing to get the pan clean. In the end, its innovative octagonal design didn’t really pay off. The shape was touted as offering “eight pouring spouts,” six more than we needed, and we chased food around all those extra corners; on the plus side, the squared-off shape made the pan more compact on a crowded stove. While this is a decent cast-iron skillet, at this price, we think the pan should be perfect.

Methodology

We tested the 12-inch Finex cast-iron skillet. Pan was purchased online. Oven-safe temperature rating is from manufacturer.

RATING CRITERIA

Browning: We seared steaks and made an acidic sauce, looking for good crust and flavor without off-notes. We rated browning with skillet-roasted fish fillets, shallow-fried breaded chicken cutlets, and cornbread.

Sticking: We cooked thick fish fillets and baked cornbread; we scrambled eggs as first and last tests to evaluate changes in the pans’ surfaces.

Ease of Use: We considered features that helped make the pan easy to use and clean.

Durability: We heated the pan to 400 degrees and then plunged it into ice water, made five cuts inside with a chef ’s knife, scraped with a metal spatula 10 times, and whacked a metal spoon five times on the rims and sides of the pan.

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The Results

Winner
Recommended

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

$33.31*

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.