These tables can help you estimate the thickness of pans you see listed online.
In my experience, the thickness of the copper in a pan is the single most important indicator of how it will perform in use — and also its value. The problem is that many online copper sellers don’t think to include copper thickness in the listing (or don’t know how to measure it accurately). For that reason, the weight of the piece is often its most important attribute: if you know the weight of a pan, you can assess how thick the copper is likely to be.
But in order to do that, you need some known pieces to which to compare it, so I’ve pulled together some representative measurements from pieces I’ve been able to handle. I trust these numbers with the caveat that they’re collected with amateur equipment — that is, a tape measure, dial caliper, and home digital scale.
There’s a lot of data so I’ve broken the tables out by type of pan.
Use these measurements to estimate the thickness of other pieces by comparing weight.
For example, if you see a 20cm saucepan listed online that weighs 2200g, for example, you can compare it to the two 20cm saucepans listed below. In the table below, one example saucepan weighs 2000g and is 1.7mm thick; the other weighs almost 2900g and is 3.1mm thick. As 2200g, a 20cm saucepan you’re considering is just a little heavier than the 1.7mm piece, so it’s most likely about 2mm thick.
Keep in mind that there are natural variations in weight of pieces of the same measurement, from tens of grams for smaller pieces to 300g or more in the really big ones.
And always remember that weight — accurately measured! — never lies. Older pans are often thicker in the base than in the sidewalls: for example, an antique pan could measure 2.2mm at the rim and yet significantly outweigh a comparable 3mm piece. What this weight discrepancy usually means is that the antique pan has a base of thicker copper, which is an excellent quality in a cooking pan and quite desirable. Don’t overlook these hidden gems!
I hope this helps you know what to expect when you buy a piece of copper online. As always, let me know if you have questions about this!
These are reference 2.5mm measurements as provided by Falk Culinaire for the dimensions and weights of its 2.5mm Classical series of steel-lined pieces.
These are reference 2.5mm measurements as provided by Falk Culinaire for the dimensions and weights of its 2.5mm Classical series of steel-lined pieces. I used Falk’s “Casserole and pot-au-feu” category because the measurements most closely follow the proportions of what I call a stewpot, but note that the Falk examples may be a few cm shorter — and therefore lighter — than other 2.5mm stewpots of the same diameter.
This page (like everything on this site) is a work in progress. As of March 2021 I’ve revised it to reorder the entries by ascending size, sort by weight, and to eliminate duplicative entries that could be confusing. I’ve chosen the items that I believe are best representative of their size and thickness. I’m always open to suggestions to make this information more comprehensible and useful, and if you see data here that makes no sense to you, it’s also possible I’ve made a data error! As always, please feel free to reach out with comments and questions.
October 2021: I have added measurements from Falk Culinaire’s Classical Range of steel-lined pieces with cast iron handles. These pieces are consistently 2.5mm thick and provide a good baseline for thickness estimates.