Martin Stove and Range #3 skillet

"Where do I begin???" Choosing the best first skillet for you!

Beginner collector / cook questions:

When we began using vintage cast iron pieces we had so many questions to ask.  And correspondingly, we had so many questions that we KNEW we wanted to ask, but didn't KNOW what to ask!  So it's important for every beginner collector / chef to ask themselves some basic questions.  We thought it would be helpful to detail them out here and give some insight about our journey at the same time.

1. Am I a cook, collector or a combo?

2. Cook surface is critical.

3. What size skillet should I start with? 

1. Cook? Collector? Combo?

As you begin looking into cast iron, you should ask this question to start narrowing down what is best for you.  Are you a collector?  Are you a daily user/cook looking for what fits you?  Are you a little of both?  The majority of us are cook/collectors, and the two are a perfect marriage.  We started out looking at different #8 skillets.  I bought a few common style skillets and we learned which ones felt best when cooking.  It was then from those styles that we chose which we liked best.  Then from there, we began putting together sets of skillets from those we liked best, because we are going to give them one day to our kids.  It became a fun challenge finding pieces of matching sets.  So ask yourself, are you a cook, a collector, or both?  Our recommendation is to start with a few styles and see what you naturally like to cook with first.  Then from there you can decide which to keep!  

2. Cook top surface is CRITICAL!  

There are a handful of cook surfaces that most of us have at home.  There are induction and glass tops, and then there are gas and electric coil tops.  If you have either induction or glass, you want to make sure the piece is mostly flat.  We delineate three types on our site:  "sits flat", "moves when prompted" or "spins".  We will blog on these types coming up in the next few weeks, but for now, if you have induction or glass, stick to flat or moves when prompted.  If you have gas or electric coil, you can choose from all three.  

3. What size skillet should I choose?:

When choosing your first pieces, ask yourself what you will be cooking regularly.  If you cook big batch stuff for lots of family or friends, you'll want to go with a size 10 or larger.  If you cook quick style meals for one or two, you may want to look at sizes 6 or smaller.  There is a handy skillet chart online here :

Also, we have a filter on the sides of every page that will allow you to navigate through our different sizes.  Again, make sure you refer to the chart or pictures to see what sizing is best for you.  And at the end of the day....if you choose the wrong one and you want to exchange it, we do that too!  Happy hunting!  Phil



Back to blog