Unique attractive design
Multiple pouring spouts
Handle stays relatively cool
Handle may be hard to clean
End cap gets hot
The FINEX Cast Iron Skillet looks attractive, artisan-made and a bit rustic, but looks aren’t everything. We used it, seasoned it, cleaned it, and cooked with it again, for searing, baking, and gentle cooking, too. We admired the design, read up on the reasons for the look, and went back into the kitchen for even more testing. Is this really worth the price? We’ve got our opinion.
Design: Darned attractive
While most cast iron skillets look similar enough that you’d never be able to tell them apart if you met them in a dark alley, there’s no doubt you’d be able to pick the FINEX out of a lineup. It’s definitely not your grandmother’s cast iron pan, even though it evokes a homey, rustic look. This is the skillet you want to imagine that the pioneers might have used, but in reality, the design is very modern, with close attention paid to all the details.
The hexagonal shape offers multiple pouring options and makes it easy to portion a skillet cookie or a petite pie into neat wedges by cutting from point to point.
At first, the hexagon shape looks like it might have been chosen just because it’s different, but it’s there to offer multiple pouring options. The shape also makes it easy to portion a skillet cookie or a petite pie into neat wedges by cutting from point to point. Though it's available in 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch sizes, the latter two with the option for lids, we tested the 8-inch pan, which does not come with a companion lid. If the lid is placed so the points line up, the pan is sealed. If the points are askew, steam will release during cooking.
The spring-covered handle looks nice, but it also has a purpose—it makes the handle cooler to the touch. It’s still metal and will get hot in the oven or when the pan is on the stove long enough, but it’s much cooler than a typical handle on a cast iron skillet. We’ve heard that some users didn’t like the feel of the spring handle, but we had no issues with it. Opposite the long handle is a small helper handle. We didn’t need to use it, but it would definitely be helpful on the larger, heavier versions of this pan.
The end cap on the handle is made from brass with a hole for hanging. The brass was a design choice, and it’s meant to acquire patina over time rather than staying shiny and bright. Unfortunately, while the spring stayed cooler during cooking, that end cap got hot.
While it was too large for a single-serve dessert, it was perfect for making smaller shareable desserts that didn’t leave as many leftovers.
Like most cookware, the size is measured across the top rather than across the cooking area. We were pleased that the 8-inch size was measured from the flat sides of the hexagon rather than the tips, but the actual cooking size was just over 6 inches, which limited our cooking options. A ribeye steak didn’t fit, for example, while two boneless pork loin chops filled just about all of the space. We found the pan most useful for single servings or for small amounts of food meant for garnishing. It was great for toasting spices, for cooking a couple of eggs, and we loved it for baking. While it was too large for a single-serve dessert, it was perfect for making smaller shareable desserts that didn’t leave as many leftovers.
Material: Preseasoned cast iron
While the sides and exterior of the skillet are rough, like typical cast iron cookware, the cooking surface is completely smooth thanks to computer-aided manufacturing. Some cast-iron users will sand their cookware to achieve a smoother surface, but this one is as slick as any stainless steel cookware we own.
This cast iron pan is pre-seasoned with organic flaxseed oil. For our first test, we used it without any further seasoning, and our chorizo stuck to the pan just a little as we cooked, but it cleaned up without too much trouble. We continued to use the pan and season it, and as we expected, the pan performed better over time.
For some reason, the pan didn’t seem to blacken as quickly as other cast iron we’ve owned. Also, the cooking surface seasoned unevenly, while the rest of the pan darkened more consistently. After cooking a fish filet and cleaning the pan, we lost some of the seasoning on the cooking surface, and it returned to a more silvery color. When we cooked eggs immediately afterward, the eggs released evenly, though, so some seasoning had obviously remained.
Heating Capacity: Heats slowly, cools slowly
Cast iron, in general, takes time to heat up, it retains heat well, and it cools down slowly, so that’s what we expected. Since we were testing a small pan, it heated faster than a larger pan would, but it still did a good job retaining heat.
Cleaning: Like any cast iron
The company sells a care kit that includes a wooden scraper, a chain scrubber, and a small bottle of flaxseed oil with an eyedropper top. After owning cast iron for years, we know that once the pan is fully seasoned, a sponge scrub will be all we need unless we burn a sugary sauce onto the pan, and then we’ll bring out our chain.
While we haven’t run into any issues with the handle yet, food, grease, and splashing liquids will no doubt make their way into the spring and may be difficult to remove. Scrubbing the handle with a brush was sufficient during our testing, but we’re not sure if it will cause problems as the pan ages and more food spatters into the spring. Like any cast iron, it should be dried after washing to prevent rusting, and the nonstick quality and rust-resistance will improve over time.
While we haven’t run into any issues with the handle yet, food, grease, and splashing liquids will no doubt make their way into the spring and may be difficult to remove.
In terms of maintenance information, we were surprised at how little documentation came with the pan. There was a simple card with information about the company and the manufacturing along with the web address, but no information was included about care. Oddly, the only place we could find warranty information was on the box, which most people will discard. It simply stated that there was a lifetime warranty, with no other details.
Price: Priced like art
This is a very expensive pan when compared to other raw cast iron cookware. In fact, the price is more comparable to high-end stainless steel cookware. While we found plenty of uses for the 8-inch skillet we tested, if you’re going to spend a lot for cookware, we’d suggest getting a size that you will be able to use often—and consider buying the lid as well.
FINEX Cast Iron Skillet vs. Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 9-Inch Skillet
If you’ve got the money to spend on high-end cookware, the Le Creuset Signature Skillet is worth a look. The prices are in the same ballpark, although the FINEX is a bit more expensive, starting at $125 for an 8-inch pan and going up to $275 for a 12-inch skillet with a lid. The 6 1/3-inch Le Creuset costs $120 and goes up to $200 for an 11 3/4-inch skillet—but without a lid.
While both are attractive skillets, they’re attractive in different ways. The Le Creuset is colorful with rounded edges, while the FINEX looks like it might fit well in a steampunk setting, and we mean that in a good way. Looks aside, the real question is whether the cook values the properties of a properly seasoned cast iron pan, or whether they prefer the ease of enameled cast iron.
- Product Name Cast Iron Skillet
- Product Brand FINEX
- MPN S8-10001
- Price $125.00
- Material Pre-seasoned cast iron, stainless steel spring handle, bronze end cap
- Warranty Lifetime