10 Best Carbon Steel Woks in 2020

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10 Best Carbon Steel Woks in 2020

There are more woks on the market than you might expect, and the variety can be overwhelming if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for.

That’s why we’ve collected the top ten carbon steel woks available. We’ve studied each one in depth, and we’ll tell you their benefits and drawbacks so you don’t waste your money on the wrong one. Let’s get into it!

Our Recommended Carbon Steel Woks

Helen Chen's Asian Kitchen Flat Bottom Wok, Carbon Steel with Lid and Stir Fry Spatula, Recipes Included, 14-inch, 4 Piece Set
  • Helen Chen’s Flat Bottom Wok
  • Made from 1.6-millimeter carbon steel with heat-resistant bamboo handle
  • Seasons well
  • Easy to use
  • Price: See Here!
Joyce Chen J21-9972, Classic Series Carbon Steel Wok Set, 4-Piece, 14-Inch, Charcoal
  • Joyce Chen Classic Series Carbon Steel Wok Set
  • Made of 1-1/2 mm gauge carbon steel
  • Comes with essential cooking tools
  • Insulated handles
  • Price: See Here!
Carbon Steel Wok For Electric, Induction and Gas Stoves (Lid, Spatula and Seasoning Video Guide Included)
  • Souped Up Recipes’ Carbon Steel Wok
  • Carbon steel brings out the benefits from both cast iron and stainless steel, while excluding the pitfalls of them.
  • Easy to travel with and maneuver
  • High quality accessories
  • Price: See Here!

10 Best Carbon Steel Woks:

1. Helen Chen’s Flat Bottom Wok

Helen Chen's Asian Kitchen Flat Bottom Wok, Carbon Steel with Lid and Stir Fry Spatula, Recipes Included, 14-inch, 4 Piece Set

Review

Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen offers a handful of different models, but our favorite is the 14 inch carbon steel version. This is a good option for a minimalist cook who wants to season their own wok

Features

The wok has solid construction and bamboo handles that will keep you from burning your hands, and it comes with a lid, a bamboo spatula, and even some recipes. All this comes at a relatively low price point, making it a great place to start out if you’re just getting into asian cuisine.

With a steel hook on the back of the handle, you can hang this model from a wall hook to store it, freeing up more room in your cabinets. It’s medium size and simple construction make it the perfect wok to cook for your family. We think it’s the best 14 inch carbon steel wok for light use at home.

What we like:

  • Traditional design
  • Seasons well
  • Easy to use

What we don't like:

  • Takes a while to season properly
  • Fairly thin material

What Customers Are Saying

Customers have given Helen Chen’s flat bottom wok the maximum rating for ease of use, but a slightly lower score for ease of cleaning. Most customers have been very satisfied with this wok, but almost all of them insist that you should take the time needed to season it properly before you use it.

2. Joyce Chen Classic Series Carbon Steel Wok Set

Joyce Chen J21-9972, Classic Series Carbon Steel Wok Set, 4-Piece, 14-Inch, Charcoal

Review

This set has all the tools you’ll need to get the most out of wok cooking, but at a slightly higher price point. A great pick if you want the whole package.

Features

The Joyce Chen Classic Set comes with a bamboo spatula, a recipe booklet, and a steel dome lid that will seal in the flavor while you cook.

This wok requires seasoning, and you shouldn’t use it on induction cooktops, but it’s very versatile, and the lid is especially useful for steaming food and making sure your stir-fries are tender. This is our pick for the best carbon steel wok with a lid.

What we like:

  • Very versatile
  • Comes with essential cooking tools
  • Insulated handles

What we don't like:

  • Not induction friendly
  • Less easy to clean

What Customers Are Saying

The Joyce Chen Classic Set ranks highly with customers in maneuverability, but only somewhat well in ease of cleaning, maybe because it comes with more pieces. Most customer feedback is positive, but one customer warns that the wok might bend if used with an induction stove.

3. Souped Up Recipes’ Carbon Steel Wok

Carbon Steel Wok For Electric, Induction and Gas Stoves (Lid, Spatula and Seasoning Video Guide Included)

Review

This wok is the highest priced so far, and comes with fewer pieces than some entries, but everything included in the package is a premium item. It also functions on all kinds of stovetops, which is important for a flat bottomed wok.

Features

The wok has a flat bottom, and has been tested on gas, electric, and induction cooktops to make sure that it can handle all three. The wok has a textured interior and wooden handle to protect your hands. It comes with a rustic wooden lid, which is flat for easier storage, and a metal spatula.

It’s also accompanied by a video guide which will show customers how to season and use the wok to get the best results. If you follow the directions, this wok will have non-stick properties, and be usable for a long time. At only 12.5 inches, it’s smaller than the previous two entries, making it better for smaller portions.

Because it’s so versatile, it’s our pick for the best flat bottom wok.

What we like:

  • Easy to travel with and maneuver
  • Hammer-style pattern holds onto food
  • High quality accessories

What we don't like:

  • Tricky to season
  • Not many parts for the price

What Customers Are Saying

Customers appreciate this wok for its light weight and sturdiness, but some have had trouble seasoning it effectively. One customer even accidentally melted a stray piece of plastic while seasoning in the oven, so be careful while seasoning if you decide to purchase this wok.

4. Ecolution Non-Stick Carbon Steel Wok

Ecolution Non-Stick Carbon Steel Wok with Soft Touch Riveted Handle, 12",Black

Review

This non-stick wok is simple, stylish, and solid. It’s a good choice if you don’t want to season your own wok.

Features

This wok uses a non-stick coating that’s non-toxic and free of PFOA, which can cause health problems. It’s also produced using processes that release fewer greenhouse gasses, making it an eco-friendly choice.

It’s suitable for electric and gas stovetops, and has a striped texture on the inside of its bowl that will help hold onto food. With its safe and ethical non-stick coating, this is the best non-stick wok we’ve reviewed.

What we like:

  • Eco-friendly
  • Doesn’t need seasoning
  • Non-toxic

What we don't like:

  • Fragile coating

What Customers Are Saying

Customers found that this wok was a good value for its price, and reported that it cooks effectively. There were some reports of the non-stick coating flaking off, so if you buy this wok, try to avoid using metal spatulas that could scratch the coating.

5. Mammafong Traditional Round Bottom Wok

Authentic Hand Hammered Wok, 14 Inch Carbon Steel Chinese Pow Wok, Traditional Round Bottom Wok by Mammafong

Review

This is a wok made in the traditional chinese style, without a flat bottom or non-stick coating. It’s a good pick for a cook interested in making authentic chinese cuisine.

Features

The mammafong Round Bottom Wok is hand-hammered by a master craftsman in china, so you can be sure you’re getting the real deal. The hammer marks in the surface of the wok will help the food stay put, and once it’s seasoned, it will have a natural non-stick effect as well.

It’s light weight and long handle make it easier to manage the food inside while cooking, which would be a benefit if you’re cooking over a flame or another non-traditional heat source. It’s built for professional chefs, and it’s tough enough to be used in an industrial kitchen for years.

This is a solid choice for those looking for the best hand hammered wok.

What we like:

  • Traditional style
  • Sturdy
  • Easy to season

What we don't like:

  • Not everyone will want a round bottom
  • Needs maintenance after use

What Customers Are Saying

Customers praise this wok for its durability, heat distribution, and ease of cleaning. Customers also reported that this wok seasons easily.

6. Mammafong Traditional Flat Bottom Wok

Flat Bottom Wok, Traditional Hand Hammered Wok, 14 Inch Carbon Steel Chinese Pow Wok by Mammafong

Review

This wok is similar to its round bottom twin, and has the same high quality. It’s a good choice for cooks interested in cooking authentic chinese food on a traditional stovetop.

Features

This wok is hand-hammered in the same way as the previous entry, but has a machine-pressed flat base. This allows it to sit comfortably on a stovetop, and it will work with gas, electric, or induction stoves. This is a less traditional design, but more functional when using it with modern cooktops.

This wok still features all of the benefits of the previous entry, like ease of seasoning and sturdy structure, so don’t worry that you’re missing out. Because many cooks in China use modern electric or induction stoves, this is our pick for the best Chinese wok.

What we like:

  • Traditional style
  • Compatible with flat stove tops
  • Sturdy construction

What we don't like:

  • Needs maintenance after each use
  • Not fully hand-hammered

What Customers Are Saying

Customers like the long handle on this wok because it allows easy flipping. They rate its sturdiness highly on average, though one customer did notice some warping. Customers emphasize that you have to maintain the seasoning on this wok if you want to avoid rust, but it does come with instructions.

7. Chef’s Medal Traditional Hand Hammered Pow Wok

Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok with Bamboo and Steel Helper Handle - 14 Inch, Round Bottom by Chef’s Medal

Review

One of the higher priced woks on this list, but correspondingly high quality. This wok is best for a professional chef or a very serious hobbyist looking for the best equipment.

Features

This wok is heavier than most on this list, weighing in at over four pounds. It owes its weight to the especially thick material used to make it, so you won’t have to worry about warping over high heat.

This wok comes with seasoning instructions, and once seasoned, should prevent food from sticking and reduce the amount of oil you need to use when frying food.

The bamboo handle attaches to the bowl with three heavy-duty rivets, and there’s a metal helper handle attached in a similar way.

This wok will last a very long time if you take good care of it. It’s hand hammered, and has a round bottom, so it’s good for traditional Chinese cooking, but it’s made out of tougher stuff than most people will need. That’s why this wok is our favorite professional carbon steel wok.

What we like:

  • Sturdy material
  • Good value for quality
  • Seasons well

What we don't like:

  • High maintenance
  • Must be used with a gas range

What Customers Are Saying

Customers are most fond of the tough, heavy material this wok is made of, and the sturdiness of its construction. Overall, customer feedback was very positive, though a few responses mentioned that this wok takes a good bit of maintenance to keep it from rusting.

8. Eastman Gourmet Outdoor Wok Kit

Eastman Outdoors 37212 Outdoor Gourmet 22 Inch Carbon Steel Wok Kit,Black & Steel

Review

This wok kit is meant to be used outdoors, so it’s a solution for cooks who want to use a round bottom wok, but don’t have gas stoves.

Features

The wok is only part of this kit. It also includes a propane burner with a tripod, a thermometer, and a metal spatula and ladle. With all these extras, it’s no surprise that this entry comes at a much higher price than the others.

The carbon steel wok has solid construction, but an unconventional shape. It’s larger than most of the woks on this list, at 22 inches wide, and has a deep bowl. Instead of one longer handle and one helper handle, it has two small metal handles on opposite sides.

To use it effectively, wear oven mitts or thick gloves. It’s a little bit like a combination grill and wok, and would be ideal for outdoor cookoffs and porch parties. This is our pick for the best outdoor wok.

The wok pans are good for making many different dishes, but some of them such as omelette, need to be cooked in the pan that designed especially for an omelette.

What we like:

  • Large enough to serve a lot of people
  • Able to cook outside
  • Solidly build

What we don't like:

  • Protective coating must be burned off before seasoning
  • Requires propane to operate

What Customers Are Saying

Customers’ favorite qualities in this wok were its sturdiness and ease of cleaning. Customers have found this wok effective for outdoor cooking, and consider it a good alternative to working with a smaller wok on a stovetop burner.

9. Cook Pro Professional Lightweight Wok

Professional  Lightweight Carbon Steel Wok, 14-Inch with Nonstick Coating

Review

This is a heavy duty carbon steel wok with a non-stick coating at a surprisingly low price. It’s a good choice for home cooks on a budget.

Features

The wok comes with a non stick coating, and has subtle striped texture etched into its bowl to help keep food from flying away. It’s a flat bottom wok, so it will sit well on a flat stove top. The width of this wok is a standard 14 inches, and the bowl is deep enough to cook quite a bit of food at once.

It features a wooden handle, and a wooden helper handle, both with an appealing gloss. The back of the handle has a metal loop that can be used to hang the wok from a wall hook.

What we like:

  • Insulated stainless steel carafe and warming plate
  • Optional pre-infusion showerhead setting that mimics pourovers
  • 1,500-watt water heater
  • One-touch operation

What we don't like:

  • Pricey

What Customers Are Saying

Customers’ only complaints concerned the relatively thin material, and the tendency of the non-stick coating to peel off under extreme circumstances. For mild use, this wok seems to hold up quite well.

10. Joyce Chen Carbon Steel Wok

Joyce Chen J21-9978 Carbon Steel Wok, 14-Inch, Black

Review

This wok is one of the simplest on this list, and one of the lightest, making for easy maneuverability. We recommend it for anyone who wants to be able to toss their food without too much strength.

Features

This is another 14 inch wok. It has a smooth carbon steel bowl, and birch wood handles that are a little bit tougher than bamboo. It works on gas, electric, or induction stovetops, and has a flat bottom.

The area that makes contact with the cooktop is smaller than in some of the other woks on this list, but this wok will still heat up quickly. It’s price is similar to the woks that have been listed already, although this one does not come with a spatula or lid.

Because of its manageable weight, this is our pick for the best lightweight wok.

What we like:

  • Light and easy to use
  • Simple, durable design

What we don't like:

  • Possible rusting

What Customers Are Saying

Most customer responses to this product were positive. Some customers reported finding rust on their woks, but also that it was easy to remove. One seasoned properly, rust will not be an issue for this wok. Customers’ favorite qualities about this wok were its maneuverability and ease of use.

Factors to Consider when Buying Carbon Steel Wok

Should I Get a Non-Stick Wok?

One of the major factors that will help you make a decision on which wok to buy is how you’re going to use it.

If you’re going to be using your wok at blisteringly hot temperatures, you’ll want to avoid woks that come with non-stick coatings, because they could vaporize, and that vapor might be harmful to breath in.

Non-stick woks will be better for more casual cooks working at lower temperatures. They also have the benefit of being easier to maintain.

best 14 inch carbon steel wok

Seasoning a Wok

If you decide to buy a wok without a non-stick coating, then you’ll probably end up having to season it.

This process can usually be completed in a single day, but it can be labor intensive. You will need to heat the wok and coat it with an oil that has a very high smoke point, and it will likely smoke anyway.

Most woks that require seasoning will come with instructions, but if yours does not, you can use a tutorial like this one.

best carbon steel wok with lid

Wok hei, or “the breath of the wok” is a flavor achieved when cooking at very high temperatures with a wok, and some say that the seasoning of a wok over time contributes to it.

Carbon Steel Wok Maintenance

Once you’ve seasoned your wok for the first time, you will still need to make sure you’re caring for it correctly.

The most important thing is that you don’t use soap to clean it. Instead, soak it in warm water, and use a washcloth or a sponge to scrub it gently.

You don’t want to scrape off the patina that you created when you seasoned your wok.

best carbon steel wok

Wok Shapes and Sizes

Woks will either come with one long handle and another smaller bar on the other side, or two of those bars. For single-person use on a standard stove, a wok with one longer handle is your best bet.

Similarly, flat bottom woks will serve you better if you’re cooking on an electric or induction stove, though they will function on gas stoves as well. Round bottom woks are better suited for use over flames.

Carbon Steel Wok FAQ

Woks are usually used for asian cooking, especially dishes that need to be fried at very high temperatures. You can use them for making stews, for steaming, or most other uses that would usually call for a heavy saucepan, though. They’re especially useful for popcorn.

You can get a wok at most kitchen supply stores, but you’ll probably find a larger selection online.

A well made wok shouldn’t put you in any more danger than any other cooking pan. Because they often have less flat area to sit on, it’s important to make sure that they are stable before letting go of the handle, though.

Making A Decision

Now that you know everything you need to, it’s time to pick your favorite wok and start cooking! You should pick whichever model fits best with your personal needs and cooking style, but our top pick is the Chef’s Medal Traditional Hand Hammered Pow Wok.

As far as we can tell, this is the best carbon steel wok available for a reasonable price. It’s designed for professional chefs, and meant to last for generations if you can take good care of it. It’s hand hammered out of thick carbon steel, and designed for good heat distribution and ease of use.

If that wok is too expensive, or too heavy for you to use easily, we think the second best overall option is the Joyce Chen Carbon Steel Wok. It’s much lighter and more inexpensive, but still made of tough enough material to handle heavy use. This wok also has a flat bottom, so it will work with most stoves.

No matter which wok you choose, if you take good care of it, it will take good care of you. Happy cooking!