What You Should Know Before Picking Out A Wok

Picking a wok isn't as complicated as you might believe it is. There are a handful of characteristics to look for that will indicate your money will be well-spent, rather than wasted on something that will only last a short time. While the best wok for cooking your veggies doesn't have to be the most expensive, you should take note of the materials and style that the wok is made of before purchasing it, according to Spruce Eats. A good wok should be made of carbon steel with sides that are around two millimeters thick or slightly more to prevent the wok from bending too easily (via Serious Eats). 

Carbon steel is a great material because it is very capable of heating fast and heating evenly so you don't have to preheat your wok to avoid hotspots. Another mark of a good wok are Northern-style handles, which include one long handle and one smaller handle. You also want the wok to have a flat bottom that is several inches wide. Both of these characteristics of a wok allow you to cook more easily and more efficiently. It's also worth noting that quality woks are either hammered by hand or made on a lathe. Both methods make slight indentations or shapes on the interior walls of the wok, which is very important.

How to avoid picking the wrong wok

All of these characteristics work together to make cooking easier because they allow you to work at higher temperatures, as well as flip the food more easily (via Serious Eats). The shapes on the walls of a wok will help food that doesn't need to be cooked as long, cling to the sides. In the meantime, food that does need to cook longer can easily cook on the wider, flat bottom of the wok. If you buy a stainless steel wok or one with a non-stick coating, you won't be able to cook as quickly or at as high of temperatures. Having shorter handles on both sides of the wok is another poor choice because it makes it harder to flip the food inside. 

According to Spruce Eats, it's also a mistake to buy a wok without a lid because you won't be able to simmer or steam food as needed. However, the worst choice you can really make when buying a wok is to get one that is made by being punched out of a single piece of metal by a machine. Stamped woks are cheaply made with metal that doesn't hold up. Plus, the sides of the wok don't have any kind of indentations, which means food will stay on the bottom of the wok and won't heat evenly. So, look for these key elements when picking a wok and you can't go wrong with your next stir fry