The Best Carbon Steel Woks

Elevate your stir-fry game with a versatile carbon steel wok.

Best Overall

The Best Carbon Steel Wok Option: Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Wok

Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Wok

See It

Best Value

The Best Carbon Steel Wok Option: Homeries Carbon Steel Wok Pan, Stir Fry Wok Set

Homeries Carbon Steel Wok Pan, Stir Fry Wok Set

See It

Best High-End

The Best Carbon Steel Woks Option: Made In Blue Carbon Steel Wok

Made In Blue Carbon Steel Wok

See It

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

A wok may seem like a specialized piece of cookware that’s only good for stir-frying, but it’s a versatile pan that can also be used to sear meat, simmer a stew, or steam fish. Woks come in a variety of metal designs, but professionals consistently prefer those made of carbon steel. This material heats quickly and then retains that heat, so it’s a great kitchen tool for searing ingredients.

Stir-frying is less about stirring the food and more about shaking the wok, so maneuverability is key. Lids, while not traditionally a wok feature, make the pans even more versatile. Keep reading to learn more about this type of traditional Asian cookware and how to choose the best carbon steel wok for your kitchen.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Wok
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Homeries Carbon Steel Wok Pan, Stir Fry Wok Set
  3. BEST HIGH-END: Made In Blue Carbon Steel Wok
  4. BEST LARGE: Craft Wok Big 16-Inch Heavy Hand Hammered Wok
  5. BEST WITH WOODEN HANDLES: Joyce Chen Carbon Steel Wok Set
  6. BEST FLAT BOTTOM: Souped Up Recipes Carbon Steel Wok 
  7. BEST ROUND-BOTTOM: Mammafong Round Bottom 14-Inch Traditional Wok
  8. BEST INDUCTION: Smithey Ironware Carbon Steel Wok
  9. BEST WITH WOODEN HANDLES: Yosukata Carbon Steel Wok Pan 
  10. BEST FOR SMALL SPACE: Kenmore Hammond Flat Bottom Carbon Steel Wok
The Best Carbon Steel Wok Options
Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best Carbon Steel Woks

Choosing the best carbon steel woks required examining a blend of features ranging from the materials and manufacturing to the accessories included with the wok. We looked at more than 50 woks from various manufacturers to find the best of the best.

Manufacturing/construction: Traditional woks are hand hammered, so we wanted to make sure to include models made in the traditional style for a truly authentic cooking experience. However, machine manufacturing can also produce top options. We also looked for high-quality machine-made woks with precision in the design.

Handle design: A wok’s handle plays a vital role in the cooking experience because of the tossing motion used in traditional Asian cooking. Long heat-resistant handles that balance the wok made the list. We also looked for models with two handles to make it easier for cooks to move the wok.

Accessories and extras: Nonstick coatings, spatulas, and lids can all broaden the wok’s uses and make cooking easier.

Our Top Picks

Featured below are some of the best carbon steel woks with varied designs and features to suit different cooks’ needs.

Best Overall

Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Wok

See It

The Craft Wok traditional hand-hammered carbon steel wok combines traditional wok design with a modern handle. It’s made of 15-gauge commercial-grade carbon steel that has been hammered by hand into a traditional round-bottom shape, so it heats quickly. It has a small metal handle on one side and a long wooden handle on the other, so it’s easy to toss food around using just one hand.

This traditional wok pan is 14 inches in diameter, enabling users to cook enough food for three to five people. It’s built to last for years. Users will need a wok ring, sold separately, to use it on an electric or induction cooktop.

Product Specs

  • Size: 14 inches
  • Gauge/thickness: 15 gauge/1.8 millimeters
  • Bottom shape: Round

Pros

  • High-quality carbon steel construction provides both durability and reliability
  • Seasons well and gets better with use; suitable for long-term use
  • Round bottom and wood handle can support traditional-style cooking with a wok

Cons

  • Heavy compared to similar options; may not be the best option for maneuverability
  • Requires separate purchase of a wok ring for use with electric or induction stoves

Get the Craft Wok traditional carbon steel wok at Amazon or Craft Wok.

Best Value

Homeries Carbon Steel Wok Pan, Stir Fry Wok Set

See It

The Homeries carbon steel wok pan stir-fry wok set comes with a lot more than just a wok. The 12.5-inch noncoated carbon steel wok offers versatile cooking options with a wooden lid that opens the door to cooking dishes that go well beyond stir-fries, like rice or noodles. The set also includes a wok spatula that helps those just learning how to manage stir-fry to flip meat and vegetables in the wok. The final piece of the set is a pasta spatula.

The carbon steel has a nonstick coating, which is easy to use and clean. A flat bottom also makes this model easy to use on traditional stovetops, including electric, induction, and gas.

Product Specs

  • Size: 12.5 inches
  • Gauge/thickness: N/A
  • Bottom shape: Flat

Pros

  • Extra accessories for user-friendliness; comes with a lid and 2 spatulas as well as a stir-fry pan
  • Coating and flat-bottom design work well on modern stovetops
  • Spatula easily moves food around rounded sides for even cooking

Cons

  • Nonstick wok construction breaks down over time; may not be ideal for some user preferences

Get the Homeries carbon steel wok at Amazon or Wayfair.

Best High-End

Made In Blue Carbon Steel Wok

See It

The Made In blue carbon steel wok is made of high-quality carbon steel that can withstand heavy, frequent use in temperatures up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. The steel withstands high heat for the serious chef who wants the perfect sear. One of the best flat-bottom carbon steel wok options, it works on electric, gas, glass, and induction stovetops.

The flat bottom offers a 5.5-inch cooking surface, but the rounded 5-inch sides make it easy to flip and stir ingredients. A curved handle helps chefs maintain the right motion when preparing stir-fries and other dishes.

Product Specs

  • Size: 12.5 inches
  • Gauge/thickness: 14 gauge/2 millimeters
  • Bottom shape: Flat

Pros

  • High-quality carbon steel construction is both durable and reliable for long-term use
  • Flat bottom works on most common household stovetops, including glass
  • Withstands temperatures up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit; suitable for heavy-duty use

Cons

  • Requires seasoning before first use; may take some time to break in

Get the Made In carbon steel wok at Amazon or Made In Cookware.

Best Large

Craft Wok Big 16 Inch Heavy Hand Hammered Wok

See It

The Craft Wok big 16-inch heavy hand-hammered wok has room to prepare enough food for a crowd. It has a traditional round bottom, so it concentrates high temperatures to give food delicious smoky flavors. It’s made of 15-gauge steel that’s been hand hammered in China into a round Canton-style shape.

This wok has two handles—a short steel one on one side and a long wooden one on the other—so it can work on an open flame or a traditional stovetop. Users will need a wok ring, sold separately, to use it on an electric cooktop. Note that this option is heavy, weighing 5.7 pounds, so it will take some muscle power to move it around as users sear food.

Product Specs

  • Size: 16 inches
  • Gauge/thickness: 15 gauge/1.8 millimeters
  • Bottom shape: Round

Pros

  • 2 handles for easier use and movement; suitable for pouring or placing at the table
  • Hand-hammered, highly durable design is suitable for long-term use and durability
  • Gets hot quickly; suitable for cooking things quickly if needed

Cons

  • Requires a high-output stovetop to reach ideal cooking temperatures
  • Might be too heavy for some users; may not be ideal for some maneuverability

Get the Craft Wok hand-hammered carbon steel wok at Amazon or Craft Wok.

Best With Wooden Handles

Joyce Chen Carbon Steel Wok Set

See It

Those who want reduced heat transfer and safety while wok cooking may want to rely on the Joyce Chen carbon steel wok set. This 14-inch wok, nonstick dome lid, 12-inch bamboo spatula, and recipe booklet can take the place of many pieces of cookware in a given kitchen, and the wok has a birchwood stay-cool handle for user comfort and added protection.

The flat-bottomed wok is made of 1.5-millimeter-gauge carbon steel for even heating, and the additional handle allows for pouring and added stability while carrying. The lid comes with an additional handle to keep moisture and nutrients in the pot. Finally, this wok is safe for use on gas and electric stovetops.

Product Specs

  • Size: 14 inches
  • Gauge/thickness: 17 gauge/1.5 millimeters
  • Bottom shape: Flat

Pros

  • Comes with a wok, cooking lid, 12-inch bamboo spatula, and recipe book
  • Flat-bottomed design is suitable for household as well as professional cooking
  • Birchwood stay-cool handles for added protection; reduces the risk of heat transfer

Cons

  • Not suitable for use on induction cooktops; may not be ideal for some users
  • Hand-wash only; not suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher or for soaking for long periods

Get the Joyce Chen carbon steel wok at Amazon or Wayfair (4-piece set).

Best Flat Bottom

Souped Up Recipes Carbon Steel Wok

See It

For those who want to make traditional Asian meals on a modern stovetop, the carbon steel wok by Souped Up Recipes may be the best wok for electric stove use. Its flat bottom sits evenly on electric or induction cooktops (no wok ring required), and its long handle keeps the user’s hands out of the heat while offering maneuverability.

This small wok also includes a wood lid that gives it a rustic look and feel while also adding to the pan’s versatility. As a bonus, it comes with a metal spatula that’s designed to work with the rounded sides and flat bottom.

Product Specs

  • Size: 12.5 inches
  • Gauge/thickness: N/A
  • Bottom shape: Flat

Pros

  • Design is made for safety; long handle keeps hands away from the heat
  • Compatible with most heat sources; works on electric, gas, and induction stovetops
  • Includes a wok spatula for added convenience and user-friendliness

Cons

  • Can be difficult to use for beginners; may take some finessing for first-time users
  • At nearly 5.5 pounds, it may feel heavy for some users to maneuver

Get the Souped Up Recipes carbon steel wok at Amazon.

Best Round-Bottom

Mammafong Round Bottom 14-Inch Traditional Wok

See It

The round-bottom 14-inch traditional carbon steel wok pan from Mammafong has a traditional shape and hand-hammered construction, so home chefs can use it for traditional Asian cooking techniques. The pan is made of 16-gauge carbon steel for excellent heat conductivity and retention.

Heat concentrates in the wok’s center, which is key to producing the signature smoky flavor of stir-fries. The pan has an extra-long wooden handle and a short steel handle, so it’s maneuverable and users’ hands stay away from the heat.

Product Specs

  • Size: 14 inches
  • Gauge/thickness: 16 gauge/1.6 millimeters
  • Bottom shape: Round

Pros

  • 16-gauge steel heats quickly for faster searing; suitable for fast cooking
  • Lightweight at 3.3 pounds for its large size; suitable for serving or maneuvering if necessary
  • Hand-hammered construction adds to the authenticity of Asian cooking

Cons

  • Short handle compared to other carbon steel woks; handle may be too close to the heat for some users

Get the Mammafong carbon steel wok at Amazon.

Best Induction

Smithey Ironware Carbon Steel Wok

See It

Induction ranges can be powerful tools for cooking, but they can be too intense for some cookware on the market. For induction cooking, rely on the Smithey carbon steel wok. This top pick has a preseasoned, hand-forged, and hammered form that makes cooking a breeze with the help of the functional depth of 3.25 inches. The lightweight design is also perfect for maneuvering while cooking.

The flat-bottomed design of this induction wok also ensures stability and ease of use on other noninduction stovetop and burner types for sautéing, boiling, steaming, and more.

Product Specs

  • Size: 12.5 inches
  • Gauge/thickness: 16 gauge/1.6 millimeters
  • Bottom shape: Flat

Pros

  • Hand forged and hammered; comes preseasoned for ease of use
  • Functional depth of 3.25 inches is suitable for cooking small to large meals
  • At 3.25 pounds, it’s lightweight and maneuverable; easy to carry or hold while cooking
  • Flat-bottom wok is perfect for household as well as professional use

Cons

  • No thickness or gauge listed on brand website for this wok
  • All-metal construction may be less comfortable than wood-handled options for some users

Get the Smithey Ironware carbon steel wok at Smithey.

Best with Wooden Handles

Yosukata Carbon Steel Wok Pan

See It

The ergonomic wood handle on the Yosukata carbon steel wok resists heat and feels comfortable in hand, so it’s easy to maneuver while cooking. The pan also has a small steel handle on the other side for two-handed use. In all, it weighs 4.7 pounds.

This wok is preseasoned, meaning users don’t need to preheat it and add oil before the first use. It’s designed to distribute heat evenly throughout the pan instead of just in the center. Beginners may like the fact that it works more like traditional cookware and is ready to use right out of the box.

Product Specs

  • Size: 14.2 inches
  • Gauge/thickness: 15 gauge/1.8 millimeters
  • Bottom shape: Round

Pros

  • Arrives preseasoned; does not need to be oiled before first use
  • Low-maintenance option; distributes heat more evenly for versatile cooking uses
  • Easier for beginners to use; ready to use and works more like traditional cookware

Cons

  • At 4.7 pounds, it’s heavier than some; may be harder to maneuver compared to similar carbon steel woks

Get the Yosukata carbon steel wok on Amazon or Yosukata.

Best For Small Spaces

Kenmore Hammond Flat Bottom Carbon Steel Wok

See It

Small spaces need all the room they can get, which is why we picked the Kenmore Hammond flat-bottom carbon steel wok for this category. This wok comes with a double-riveted ergonomic acacia wood handle that resists heat transfer for safety and comfort while cooking.

The flat-bottom design is suitable for steaming, stir-frying, or cooking a regular dinner. The PolyTetraFluoroEthylene- (Teflon) and perfluorooctanoic (PFOA)-free wok itself is made with 1.8 millimeter carbon steel that distributes heat evenly and is nonstick and heat-resistant to up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. This 14-inch Kenmore wok is also safe to use on gas, electric, ceramic, and even induction stovetops.

Product Specs

  • Size: 14 inches
  • Gauge/thickness: 15 gauge/1.8 millimeters
  • Bottom shape: Flat

Pros

  • Suitable for cooking the average dinner, stir-frying, steaming, and more
  • Double-riveted ergonomic acacia wood handle prevents heat transfer and allows for maneuverability
  • Distributes heat evenly and quickly; heat-resistant to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Safe to use on gas, electric, ceramic, and even induction stovetops

Cons

  • Some users report that this option loses its nonstick ability after some wear and tear

Get the Kenmore carbon steel wok at Amazon or Target.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Carbon Steel Wok

There are a few considerations to keep in mind when shopping for a carbon steel wok. From the type of wok to the size, thickness, and handle style, here are some of the top features to review when shopping for a carbon steel wok.

Types of Carbon Steel Woks

Carbon steel woks come in two shapes: round bottom and flat bottom. Shape choice is often dictated by the type of stovetop or heat source on which the pan will cook. No matter the type chosen, most carbon steel woks will need to be seasoned before first use to make sure food doesn’t stick.

Round Bottom 

Traditional carbon steel woks have a round bottom. They’re designed for traditional Asian cooking, which takes place over an open fire. The round bottom pulls food toward the center of the wok where the steel is the hottest, so meat and vegetables cook quickly and get a light smoky flavor. The round bottom resists warping under high temperatures.

This design makes it the best wok for gas stove cooking or for cooking over open fires, but it doesn’t work on electric, induction, or ceramic stovetops. To counter this, some woks come with a ring that holds the wok level on electric stoves.

Flat Bottom

Modern stovetop designs led to the development of the flat-bottom wok. With the flat bottom, these woks are a good option for use atop electric, ceramic, or induction stoves. The flat area on the bottom is relatively small, so heat concentrates in the wok’s center.

For those who are new to wok cooking, a flat-bottom wok might be the best bet because it doesn’t require additional accessories.

Size and Thickness 

Woks are measured by their diameter and range in size from 10 inches to 16 inches. A 12-inch wok can cook enough food for two to four people, while professionals who cook for a crowd may need a 16-inch wok. For household use, 12- and 14-inch pans are most common.

The carbon steel’s thickness (or gauge) plays a part in its ability to disperse heat and resist warping. It’s a fine line between too thick—which takes longer to heat and disperse heat—and too thin, which warps due to the high temperatures used for Asian cooking.

When looking at the wok’s gauge, the higher the gauge, the thinner the metal. Generally, a wok at (around) 14 gauge or higher offers the right balance of thickness and durability.

Handle Style

Traditional Cantonese woks had a small handle on each side that made it easy to remove the wok from an open flame. Most contemporary woks have a small handle on one side and a long handle on the other for maneuvering them on stovetops.

Wok handles are made of carbon steel, wood, and stainless steel. Many chefs prefer wood handles because they don’t get as hot, making it easier to use and move the wok. However, a wood handle is heavier than a steel handle and adds slightly more (yet still noticeable) weight to the pan.

Additional Features

Woks can include a few extra features that may or may not be helpful, depending on the chosen cooking style.

  • Lid: Traditionally, woks were not used with a lid. Woks with lids became popular when the pans moved into mainstream Western use, and they became common when cooking recipes other than traditional Asian fare. A lid turns a wok into a multipurpose pan that works for a wide variety of dishes, ranging from popped corn to steamed rice.
  • Nonstick coating: Teflon, silicone, and sol-gel are the three major nonstick coatings. PTFE or Teflon is the most well known of the coatings and is usually used on cookware that reaches higher temperatures, like woks. Teflon-coated pans made prior to 2013 may contain PFOA, which has been linked to harmful health effects. No matter the age of a Teflon-coated pan, the Teflon isn’t known to pose a health risk until the coating starts to flake. When it flakes, replace the pan.
  • Wok ring: A wok ring sits atop a gas or electric stove burner so that a round-bottom wok can sit in the ring over the burner. Woks are traditionally used over an open flame, but a wok ring allows the round-bottom woks to be used on a modern stove.
  • Cooking utensils: Some wok sets come with extra cooking utensils like spatulas, chopsticks, and pasta forks. A cooking set often offers a better bang for the buck, so if users will use the utensils, they’ll save money by buying a set.

Care and Maintenance

Treat a wok like cast iron. That is to say, care for it gently and nix the dish soap. Do not use soap, harsh cleaners, or a metal scrubber. These materials can remove the carbon steel’s patina/seasoning and cause sticking. Scrub the inside of a wok using a wok brush or kitchen sponge with hot water.

Dry the wok with a kitchen towel before placing it on the stove over heat to finish drying. It needs to be completely dry before storing to prevent rust.

Users might need to season a new wok, which involves heating the entire wok to burn off any industrial resins. Then, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil while the wok is on low heat, and tilt the wok until it’s completely coated by the oil. Use a paper towel to wipe off the cooking oil while the wok is still over the heat. Continue to wipe and heat until no oil is visible on the surface.

FAQs

Still have questions about carbon steel woks? Here’s a little more information to help you decide on the best carbon steel wok for you.

Q. Is a carbon steel wok better than a stainless steel wok? 

Carbon steel and stainless steel are some of the most popular and reliable options when it comes to cookware for their durability, versatility, and ease of use. But, some users complain that stainless steel is thinner than carbon steel, ultimately causing hot spots or uneven heat distribution. Plus, stainless steel is known to need more oil while cooking, which may be an issue for some users.

Q. What is the best brand of carbon steel wok?

Of all the carbon steel woks we researched, we believe that the best brand to buy from is Craft Wok. This brand of Asian woks and cookware makes genuine carbon steel products from China and ensures commercial-grade quality for household or professional use. Some things we really love about this brand are the long wooden handles, even heat distribution, and heavy-duty construction for long-term use.

Q. What is the best type of wok?

The best woks for traditional Asian cooking are round-bottom carbon steel woks with a long wooden handle. Hand-hammered woks made in China are popular because you can see the individual hammer marks in the steel, which give them an authentic appearance.

Hand-hammered and machine-made woks have similar cooking performance. Choosing a handmade wok is more about the cooking experience and feel.

Q. Is a carbon steel wok better than a cast-iron wok?

Professional chefs generally prefer carbon steel woks to cast-iron ones because carbon steel weighs less and maneuvers more easily. Cooking stir-fries requires moving, lifting, and shifting the pan to toss vegetables and meats for even cooking; it can be tough to do that with a heavy cast-iron wok.

The two materials have a lot in common. Both absorb and hold heat well, are durable, and resist warping. But, if not properly seasoned and cared for, both materials are also prone to rust.

Q. Is it safe to use a carbon steel wok?

Yes. Carbon steel is in no way toxic and can be used for cooking household or professionally made meals. A carbon steel wok gets its nonstick properties from oil residue left by cooking, so there’s no chemical coating to chip or flake into food. You need to season a carbon steel wok before its first use. Over time and with regular seasoning, carbon steel builds up a nonstick surface, becoming easier to clean the more you use it.

Why Trust Bob Vila

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

Share

Stacey L. Nash Avatar

Stacey L. Nash

Contributing Writer

Stacey L. Nash has written for BobVila.com since 2020 and more widely for the past 6 years about home products, home decor, and general home improvement. Diving into research is one of her favorite parts of writing, but she especially enjoys hands-on testing to get a feel for how products really function in everyday life.  

WHY YOU CAN TRUST BOB VILA