Made In vs. Misen: Which Cookware and Kitchen Knives Are Better?

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In this comparison, I break down the differences between two new but highly acclaimed brands in the cookware and cutlery business: Made In and Misen.

You’ll learn how their pots, pans, and kitchen knives compare in terms of materials, performance, design (with lots of pictures), price, and much more.

So, if you’re shopping for new kitchen knives and cookware and want an in-depth comparison of Made In vs. Misen, keep reading.


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


Overview of Made In

Made In Pan Review

Made In was launched in 2016 by founders and childhood friends, Jake Kalick and Chip Malt.

Kalick brings a wealth of industry knowledge to the brand; his family has been in the kitchen supply business for over 100-years.

Because the company cuts out the middlemen and sells directly to consumers on its website, its prices are affordable. Made In is not a budget brand by any stretch. But compared to premium brands like All-Clad and Wusthof, it’s a steal.

Made In’s product offerings include fully forged kitchen knives and a variety of pots and pans.

In the cookware category, you can choose between three cookware sets and individual stock, including a mix of 5-ply stainless steel cookware, 5-ply non-stick pans, and carbon steel pans and woks.

Advantages:

  • High-quality cookware and knives at a lower price than high-end brands.
  • Excellent heat control due to its 5-ply construction across both stainless steel and non-stick cookware.
  • The stainless steel and non-stick fry pans are made in the United States.
  • Ove 8,000 excellent reviews from verified purchasers, backed by Michelin-star chefs.
  • More product offerings than Misen.

Disadvantages:

  • New brand with unproven durability (launched in 2016).
  • Fewer product options compared to high-end cookware competitors (ex. All-Clad and Calphalon).
  • Less expensive than high-end brands, but not cheap.
  • More expensive than Misen in most cases.
  • Only available through Made In’s website.

Overview of Misen

Misen chefs knife

Misen is another highly touted cookware and cutlery brand focused on thoughtful design, quality materials, and affordable pricing.

The name comes from “mise en place,” a French term that translates to “put in place.” Chefs use this term to describe the process of preparing their cooking stations with all the tools and ingredients necessary.

Misen was born from a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $1.2 million from 13,000 supporters in 2018 to bring the Misen Chef’s Knife to market.

Over time they’ve released stainless steel cookware and non-stick cookware, and there are plans to bring a carbon steel cookware line to the Misen family as well.

Like Made In, Misen is a more affordable option than high-end brands, but it’s still not cheap. The lower prices are possible due to Misen’s direct-to-consumer model (cookware and knives are only available on Misen.co), and the fact that it manufactures its products in China.

Advantages:

  • Direct-to-consumer model means more affordable pricing.
  • Less expensive than Made In.
  • Simple product offerings without unnecessary extras.
  • Available in sets or individual stock.

Disadvantages:

  • New brand without a long-term track record.
  • Limited offerings (compared to Made In).
  • Made in China.
  • Only available on Misen’s website (can’t touch the products before buying).

Cookware: How Does Made In Compare to Misen?

Are you shopping for pots and pans and wondering how Made In and Misen stack up? In this section, I’ll compare:

  • The cookware sets each brand offers
  • Materials and how it’s made
  • Where it’s made
  • How it looks and performs
  • How much it costs

If you don’t care about the cookware, and you want to learn about how Made In and Misen’s kitchen knives compare, skip ahead to the next section

Cookware Offerings

Both brands offer stainless steel and non-stick cookware.

Only Made In offers carbon steel cookware at present, but Misen is raising money on Kickstarter to debut its own carbon steel pans.

Only Made In offers mixed sets that include a mix of stainless clad, non-stick, and blue carbon steel. The pots and pans in Misen sets are all stainless clad.

Here’s a detailed look at what both brands offer:

(Click the product names to view more details and pricing on MadeInCookware.com and Misen.co)

Made In Offerings:

  • The Starter Set: A 6-piece stainless clad set that includes a stainless steel fry pan, a non-stick frypan, a stainless stockpot/lid, and a stainless saucepan/lid. Perfect for a new chef or those with limited space.
  • The Sous Chef: An 11-piece set with stainless clad, non-stick, and carbon steel fry pans, two stainless saucepans, one stockpot/lid, and one saute pan/lid. Ideal for a home chef ready to elevate their cooking or a great housewarming gift.
  • The Executive Chef: A 14-piece set that includes two non-stick fry pans, two stainless fry pans, one carbon steel fry pan, one carbon steel wok, two saucepans/lids, one sauté pan/lid, and one stockpot/lid. Made In also throws in seasoning wax. This top-of-the-line set is the epitome of professional cooking at home.
  • The Carbon Sous Chef: A collection of carbon steel cookware including two fry pans, one wok, one paella pan, a roasting pan, and a can of seasoning wax. You can cook pretty much anything with this set, from an omelet to a pot roast.
  • Blue Carbon Steel Sets: Made In offers multiple carbon steel sets with two to three pieces of carbon steel cookware suitable for quick or slow cooking, for use on a grill, or perfect for oven-baked meals.
  • Stainless Clad Cookware Stock: You can choose individual stainless steel clad pieces to build your own set. From skillets to a butter warmer, choices and sizes are abundant.
  • Non-stick Clad Cookware Stock: Choose an 8-inch, 10-inch, or 12-inch non-stick fry pan in harbour blue or graphite tones to round out your cookware collection.
  • Blue Carbon Steel Stock: You can buy individual carbon steel cookware pieces to build your ultimate personalized collection. If you like stainless steel and cast iron, this is a great alternative that combines the best of both worlds.
  • Aluminum Sheet Pans: It’s always nice to have a stainless steel sheet pan for shallow baking of fish, roasting vegetables, clam bakes, or making your favorite cookies. Pans come in two sizes.
  • Universal Lids: These lids are made from high-quality stainless steel wrapped in premium silicone. They fit all stainless and non-stick fry pans, stockpots, saucepans, sauciers, saute pans, and the carbon steel wok. 

Misen Offerings:

  • Starter Cookware Set: A 5-piece stainless clad set that includes a frying pan, sauté pan/lid, and saucier/lid. Suitable for a college student or a new chef.
  • Essentials Cookware Set: With this 9-piece set, you’ll get everything included in the Misen Starter Cookware Set plus a stockpot/lid and larger fry pan/lid. 
  • Complete Cookware Set: This set is for the serious home chef that likes to keep several pots and pans on the burners at once. It includes two skillets (one with a lid), one sauté pan/lid, two sauciers/lids, one rondeau, and one stockpot/lid.
  • Stainless Clad Cookware Stock: Misen has five individual stainless clad pieces that you can mix and match to build your own collection, including a frying pan, sauté pan/lid, rondeau/lid, stock pot/lid, and saucier/lid. The fry pans come in three sizes (8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch).
  • Non-stick Cookware Stock: Misen offers three sizes of non-stick pans, including 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch that can be purchased individually or as bundles.
  • Roasting Pan: This is a stainless clad roasting pan with convenient handles and high side walls to keep liquids from spilling over in your oven.
  • Bundles: Misen offers two cookware/knife bundles. The Starter Bundle includes a 10-inch skillet, 3-quart saucer, 3-quart sauté pan, chef’s knife, paring knife, and serrated knife. The other bundle consists of a chef’s knife and a 10-inch skillet.

How It’s Made

Made In and Misen offer 5-ply (five-layer) stainless steel clad cookware. Both brands utilize three layers of aluminum at the core, sandwiched by stainless steel.

This multiple layer construction, also known as fully-clad or multi-clad, is known for its superior heat control. Well made, fully-clad pots and pans heat evenly and retain heat well.

Made In uses 18/10 stainless steel on the pan’s cooking surface and 430 stainless steel on the bottom. Misen uses 18/10 stainless steel on the cooking surface and exterior.

What do these numbers mean? Simply, 18/10 stainless is a food-safe surface that is rust-resistant and holds its brilliant sheen over time. The use of 403 stainless steel accommodates induction cooking, but you can also get that capability with a magnetized 18/10 stainless steel surface.

Made In utilizes that same 5-ply construction for its non-stick frypan, but adds a multi-layer, PFOA-free non-stick coating the cooking surface.

Misen uses a commercial-grade aluminum base on its PFOA-free non-stick pans with a bonded stainless steel plate to ensure compatibility with all cooking surfaces.

Made In also offers carbon steel cookware made from steel with high carbon content, ideal for high heat cooking. For more information, please check out my Made In Carbon Steel Cookware Review.

Where It’s Made

Made In sources its aluminum used for the core layers from suppliers in Kentucky, the steel is sourced from suppliers in Pennsylvania, and the stainless steel and non-stick pans are manufactured in the South (United States).

Other stainless steel cookware such as saucepans and stock pots are made in a world-class facility in Italy.

All carbon steel cookware is made in France in a factory with three centuries of experience crafting carbon steel.

All Misen cookware is manufactured in an area just outside of Shanghai, China.

Design

Made In and Misen pots and pans both have a brushed stainless steel exterior and interior cooking surface.

Made In versus Misen Cookware Brushed Exterior
Made In (left) and Misen (right) Brushed Exterior

Misen pans are slightly thicker (3 mm) than Made In (2.7 mm). Although this difference may seem minor, it makes Misen pans heavier, and you can feel the difference when you hold both pans. Misen’s 10-inch frying pan weighs 2.9 pounds, and Made In’s 10-inch frying pan weighs 2.25 pounds.

Made In’s handles feature a brushed stainless steel finish to match the rest of the pan, while Misen handles are polished stainless for a shinier look. 

Made In versus Misen Cookware Handles
Made In handle (top), Misen handle (bottom)

Both look nice, but Misen’s polished handles show fingerprints and smudges, while Made In’s brushed handles hide them.  Both brands feature helper handles on sauté pans.

Made In lids are brushed stainless with handles that leave plenty of room for the use of bulky oven mitts. Misen also has brushed stainless lids, but the handles have a lower profile, leaving less space between the top of the handle and the surface of the lid.

Made In and Misen cookware lids
Made In lid (left), Misen lid (right)

Made In pans feature flared rims with sides that are more shallow than Misen. This design is excellent for reducing sauces, pouring, and provides more surface area. 

Made In and Misen cookware shape
Made In (right) and Misen (left)

Misen pans have a steeper design, ideal for keeping ingredients contained, boiling, roasting, and braising.

Performance

Which pans perform better in the kitchen, Made In, or Misen?

Cooking performance comes down to three things:

  • Responsiveness: How quickly can the pan heat up and respond to temperature changes?
  • Heat Distribution: How evenly can the pan distribute heat?
  • Heat Retention: How well can the pan hold onto heat?

To determine which brand wins in each category, I set up a simple test. I poured two cups of cold water into a Made In and a Misen frying pan, placed them on the stove, and turned the heat to high.

Made In versus Misen Cookware Heat Test
Made In versus Misen Cookware Heat Test

I made sure the initial water temperature, burner sizes, and burner settings were the same for both brands to isolate the impact of the pans only.

Here are the results:

  • The water in the Made In pan started boiling after 2 minutes and 35 seconds, and the water in the Misen pan started boiling at 2 minutes and 13 seconds. The difference was minimal, but it’s worth noting that the Misen pan brought water to a boil 14% quicker.
  • The air bubbles in both pans were completely even across the cooking surface, indicating excellent heat distribution (no cold spots).
  • To measure heat retention, I took both pans off the burner at the same time and dumped the water. After 10 minutes, I placed my hand on each pan. The Made In pan was still moderately warm, while the Misen pan was noticeably cooler, indicating that Made In has superior heat retention.

What should you make of these results? Do the differences in responsiveness and heat retention translate to better/worse cooking performance? 

The truth is: not really. I’ve cooked dozens of meals with both pans and can confidently say that most home cooks won’t be able to tell the difference.

If performance is your primary concern, you’ll be glad to hear that both brands deliver thanks to their thick, 5-ply fully-clad construction.

Since the difference in heat properties is minimal, my advice is to focus more on the design elements that impact how the pan functions and feels, such as the handle shape and wall slope.

Learn More about Made In and Misen cookware on MadeInCookware.com and Misen.co.

Kitchen Knives: How Does Made In Compare to Misen?

Made In versus Misen Kitchen Knives

Are you wondering how Made In and Misen kitchen knives stack up? In this section, I’ll share details about each brand, including:

The types of knives and knife sets available

  • Blade and handle materials
  • Where the knives are made
  • How they look and feel
  • Cutting performance
  • Price

First up, let’s explore the offerings.

Kitchen Knife Offerings

Misen has a wider variety of knives to choose from compared to Made In. There are five styles, and each can be purchased separately or come as a part of three sets.

Made In offers only four kitchen knives and two knife sets. Some knives, such as the Made In 8-inch Chef’s Knife, can be purchased separately, while others, like the utility knife, are only available as part of a set.

Only Made In allows you to personalize its knives by engraving a message into the blade—a perfect gift for someone who loves to cook.

Made In Offerings:

  • 8-inch Chef’s Knife: This forged, full tang knife comes in three handle colors: pomme red, truffle black, and beaune gray. If you only buy one knife, this is an excellent option due to its versatility.
  • Santoku Knife: This 7-inch knife is also forged and is available in three colors.
  • 4-piece Knife Set: This forged set contains the 8-inch Chef’s Knife, Santoku Knife, Utility Knife, and Paring Knife. All in your choice of color.
  • 2-piece Knife Set: In this collection, you’ll find the Utility Knife and Paring Knife, also in your choice of color.
  • Personalized Knives: The 8-Inch Chef’s Knife and Santoku Knife can be personalized. You may engrave the blade or the handle, and you have a choice of three colors.
  • Accessories: Made In offers a 12×18 maple wood butcher block designed to take it easy on your blades.

Misen Offerings:

  • 8-inch Chef’s Knife: This is a forged knife with full-tang construction available in your choice of pale blue, black, or gray. If you have a budget for one knife, choosing a Chef’s Knife will give you the most mileage in the kitchen due to its ability to tackle many cutting tasks.
  • Utility Knife: Unlike Made In, you can purchase a Misen Utility Knife separately. Size-wise, it’s a middle of the road choice between a Chef’s Knife and a Paring Knife. 
  • Serrated Knife: This forged, full tang knife is sometimes called a bread knife, but it can also handle thick, bulky foods such as a pineapple. It comes in three colors.
  • Santoku Knife: This 7.5-inch knife boasts similar versatility to a Chef’s Knife, but features a more horizontal shape and comes in three colors.
  • Paring Knife: This forged, full-tang knife is perfect for small or intricate cutting jobs and comes in three colors.
  • Steak Knife Set: You have a choice of five colors and can get a 2-piece, 4-piece, or 8-piece set. Blades are serrated.
  • Essentials Knife Set: You can get a 3-piece or 5-piece set in your choice of color that combines all of the knives offered except the steak knives.
  • Accessories: Misen offers 12×18 cutting boards in ash or carbonized acacia wood and a 1,000-grit sharpening stone. Made In doesn’t provide any sharpening accessories at present.

How It’s Made

Both brands use the forging process to create their knives, a method that uses intense heat to shape a single piece of steel.

Made In uses X50CrMoV15, a premium steel blend often used by German knife makers such as Wüsthof. It’s an ideal stainless steel for kitchen knives due to its strength and rust resistance. The blades are treated with Special NITRO+, a nitrogen-based hardening treatment that increases durability and locks in sharpness.

Made In blades have a Rockwell Hardness Score of 58-60, which is hard enough to hold a razor-sharp edge, but soft enough to resist chipping. Check out this behind-the-scenes video of how a Made In knife is manufactured.

By contrast, Misen has chosen AICHI AUS-10 steel for most of its knives (AUS-8 for the Serrated Knife) as it offers a high carbon content, edge angle retention, and durability. This type of steel is produced by Aichi Steel in Tokai, Japan. It has a rating of 58 on the Rockwell Hardness Score, making it comparable to Made In in terms of hardness.

Made In handles are made of a synthetic resin similar to polyoxymethylene (POM). Misen handles are made from synthetic polymers known collectively as thermoplastic elastomers or TPEs.

POM and TPEs offer a good grip even when your hands get wet. They have a tight molecular structure, making them highly durable and resistant to fading and discoloration.

Where It’s Made

Made In manufactures its knives in Thiers, France, through a partnership with 5th-generation, family-owned knife makers. I like that Made In is extremely transparent about where they source their materials and where the knives are crafted.

By comparison, Misen makes its knives in a facility in China, just outside of Shanghai, and that’s all we know about the production process.

Next, let’s look at the design of each knife brand.

Design

Made In and Misen knives both have a sleek, modern aesthetic. At a glance, they look very similar. However, when you look closer, you’ll notice significant differences.

Let’s review the design of each brand’s 8-inch chef’s knife.

Both knives are full-tang with prominent half bolsters. The tang is the part of the blade that extends through the butt end of the handle, and the bolster is the thick piece of steel where the blade and handle connect.

Made In versus Misen Kitchen Knife Tang and Bolster
Made In (top), Misen (bottom)

Made In’s blade has a prominent curve along the edge and is wider than Misen’s blade, making it easier to scoop ingredients.

Made In versus Misen Kitchen Knife Blades
Made In versus Misen Kitchen Knife Blade Sizes

Made In’s edge is sharpened to a 12.5 angle on each side, while Misen’s is sharpened to 15 degrees per side, this means Made In’s edge is sharper out of the box.

The most significant differences between the design of Made In and Misen knives are that Made In handles are round and straight, while Misen handles have flat sides, squared edges, and a finger guard at the butt end.

Made In versus Misen Kitchen Knife Handles

These differences are a big deal because they impact how the knife feels in your hand. I am not a fan of the squared edges on the Misen knife because they dig into your hand and, to me, felt uncomfortable during intense chopping sessions.

At first, I thought Made In handles wouldn’t provide enough grip due to the rough shape. But, over time, I found them to be smooth, comfortable, and secure.

Made In offers three handles colors: red, black, and gray.

Misen offers choices of pale blue, black, or gray. I love the pale blue option; it’s unique and goes well with most modern kitchen décor.

Misen Knife Handle Pale Blue
Misen Knife Handle (Pale Blue)

Both have double-riveted handles, but Misen’s have more space in between them.

Misen handles are longer than Made In handles, making them feel a bit unwieldy for those with small hands but perfect for those with large hands.

Performance

When it comes to performance, you want a knife that’s sharp and holds its edge well.

While both knives are incredibly sharp out of the box, I noticed that the Made In chef’s knife is sharper, producing thin slices of fruits and vegetables with ease. I’m not surprised the Made In knife felt sharper because it technically is sharper (25 vs. 30 degrees).

Made In and Misen knives cutting an orange

While no knife will stay sharp forever, I’ve also noticed over time that Made In holds up better and requires less sharpening. This could be due to the premium German stainless steel Made In utilizes for the blade, or the Nitrogen treatment applied to lock in the sharpness. Either way, the Made In knife performs exceptionally well.

Made In and Misen knives cutting a butternut squash

The Misen knife performs well, but after testing across various ingredients, I found that cutting and slicing is a bit more effortless with the Made In knife.

Weight-wise, they are the same, both coming in at half a pound. Misen’s knife is half an inch longer, which may be uncomfortable for those with shorter hands, but perfect for someone with large hands

What Others Are Saying

Both brands are popular and are highly rated by verified purchasers. In fact, Made In has over 8,000 mostly 5-star reviews on its website and Misen has over 6,000.

In addition to customer reviews, Made In and Misen both receive praise from several prominent media outlets. Let’s take a look at what the experts are saying.

  • Good Housekeeping awards the Made In Starter Set as Best Stainless Steel Cookware for Beginners. They love the 5-ply construction for its even heating and noted that they are “super durable.”
  • CNET awards Made In as the Best Overall Direct-to-Consumer Cookware to Buy for 2020. They love its professional-grade quality, price, variety of selection, and lifetime warranty.
  • Consumer Reports awards the Made In Starter Set as one of the Best Cookware Sets of 2020. They love its performance, even and quick heating, and food release.
  • Good Housekeeping awards the Made In 8-inch Chef’s Knife as the Most User-Friendly Chef’s Knife. They love the style and performance during multiple cutting tasks.
  • CNET awards Made In as the Best Overall Direct-to-Consumer Kitchen Knives in 2020. They love the weight and feel of the knives, along with their sharpness and full-tang construction.
  • Architectural Digest awards Misen as being one of the Best Places to Buy Quality, Affordable Cookware Online. They love the quality and price.
  • Good Housekeeping awards the Misen 8-inch Chef’s Knife as the Best Multi-Purpose Chefs Knife. They love its durability, balance, comfort, and extreme sharpness.
  • CNET awards Misen as the Best Looking Direct-to-Consumer Kitchen Knives of 2020. They love the price, heft, comfort, durability, and color options for the handles.
  • Epicurious awards the Misen 8-inch Chef’s Knife as the Best Heavy Chef’s Knife. They love the look and feel you get for the price.

Price

Since Made In and Misen sell their cookware and cutlery exclusively on their websites, they can offer significantly lower prices than brands, like All-Clad and Wusthof, that sell primarily through retailers. 

Overall, Misen is less expensive than Made In. How much less expensive? You can expect to save up to 35% on cookware and 25% on kitchen knives.

Why is Misen less expensive? A lot goes into it, but the core reason is that Misen cookware and kitchen knives are manufactured in China, while Made In produces its cookware in the United States and Italy, and its knives in France.

Both brands have partnered with buy now, pay later providers if you don’t want to pay the full price upfront. Made In offers financing through Klarna, and Misen works with Affirm.

The chart below makes it easy to compare prices for similar products:

(the links send you to MadeInCookware.com and Misen.co)

ProductMade InMisen
Stainless Steel Starter SetView PriceView Price
12-Inch Non-Stick PanView PriceView Price
12-Inch Stainless Steel PanView PriceView Price
8-Inch Chef’s KnifeView PriceView Price

Bottom Line: Should You Buy Made In or Misen?

Now that you know all the key facts about Made In and Misen, it’s time to decide which cookware and kitchen knives are right for you.

Before I give my recommendation, let’s recap the pros and cons of both brands.

Made In Pros:

  • Premium 5-ply cookware and fully forged kitchen knives for an affordable price.
  • Sources and manufactures its stainless steel and non-stick fry pans in the United States, and knives in France.
  • Used in Michelin-star restaurants and backed by 5-star chefs.
  • Wider variety of cookware offerings (stainless clad, non-stick, and carbon steel).
  • Stainless steel cookware is oven safe up to 800°F, and the non-stick is oven-safe up to 500°F (Misen stainless steel is oven-safe up to 500°F and non-stick up to 450°F).
  • Award-winning universal lids that are oven safe up to 350°F.
  • Compatible with all cooktops, including induction.
  • Option to personalize knife blades.
  • Limited lifetime warranty.

Made In Cons:

  • Made In is still new to the cookware/kitchen knife industry (founded in 2016).
  • It is a less expensive brand but still not cheap, so expect to shell out a decent amount.
  • Made In doesn’t have multiple cookware collections like well-established brands such as All-Clad and Calphalon.
  • Knife handle is shorter than Misen’s handle.

Misen Pros:

  • About 25% to 35% less expensive than Made In.
  • People believe in the brand. It was able to raise over one million dollars on Kick Starter to launch.
  • Cookware is compatible with all cooktops, including induction.
  • Cookware has steeper sidewalls that contain ingredients better than Made In.
  • Cooking heats slightly quicker than Made In (according to my test).
  • Elegant light blue knife handles.
  • Knife handles are longer than Misen, which might be more comfortable for people with larger hands.
  • Free knife sharpening for life.
  • Misen offers a lifetime guarantee and a 60-day home trial.

Misen Cons:

  • Manufactured in China.
  • Knife handles have squared, uncomfortable edges (in my opinion).
  • No option to personalize knives.
  • Misen offerings are limited (this can also be a ‘pro’ if you just want the basics).
  • Oven-safe temperatures are lower than Made In.

Bottom line — if you high-quality made-in-America cookware, and can afford a higher price, go with Made In. It boasts a more extensive range of products than Misen, it’s used in Michelin-star restaurants, and well-known, respected chefs back it. Though still young on the scene, Made In is a more established brand than Misen.

If you don’t care that it’s made in China (some of the best products in the world are made there) and you’re on a tighter budget, I recommend Misen. Compared to Made In, the cookware heats up slightly faster, the walls are steeper to contain ingredients, the knife handle is longer, and they offer free knife sharpening for life.

Either way, you’ll get quality cookware and kitchen knives at a great value.

Check out MadeInCookware.com and Misen.co to learn more about these up-and-coming brands.

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