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9 best kitchen starter sets for students |

9 best kitchen starter sets for students

Cooking may not be the first thing on your mind as you head to university, but putting a decent starter kit together is crucial to getting organised. When you’ve spent your loan quicker than expected, those pots and pans will be a lifesaver. A housemate who can cook will quickly find friends, so a decent set could serve you well in those daunting first couple of days.

There’s a number of basic starter sets aimed at students – some you can even arrange to be delivered straight to your accommodation. With the more extensive sets, check what your halls provide or housemates might be bringing too, to avoid multiples. 

If you’re already an accomplished cook, you might consider spending more on high-quality pots and pans than going for a kit that tries to include too much. A good set can last you well beyond your student years.

1. Argos Simple Value 20-Piece Kitchen Essentials Starter Set: £20.99, Argos


The Argos starter set is the best value on the list, working out at just over a pound apiece. The set includes pans, trays, knives and cutlery, plus a couple of extras like the essential tin-opener. The quality is basic, as you’d imagine, and it shows worst on the pans and cutlery. But if your budget is tight, and you don’t mind replacing the odd pan later in life, then this is an excellent buy. 

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2. Uni Kit Out The Kitchen Kit: From £85, Uni Kit Out


Hassle-saving online service Uni Kit Out offers not only to pack your essentials, but deliver them too. The Kitchen Kit covers more than the usual saucepans and utensils by including a kitchen towel, oven glove and Tupperware too. There are two quality options: silver has non-stick pans and costs £85; gold has pans suited to induction hobs, and costs £125. It’s pricey, but a lifesaver if you’re lacking a ride to your new digs or halls. Bedroom and bathroom kits are also available.

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3. Prestige Ultimate Student 14-Piece Cookware Set: £124.99, Prestige


This set from Prestige is good if you’re looking for the big kitchen elements: a kettle and toaster, as well as five non-stick pans and three pieces of ovenware are included. Though with just three utensils (and a pizza-cutter), you’ll need to stock up on smaller things elsewhere. With appliances, it’s wise to check what’s provided at your accommodation first, or liaise with future housemates if possible. Ending up with six toasters in a tiny kitchen is not uncommon.

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4. Swan 10-Piece Non-Stick Cookware Set: £42.99, Wayfair


If you’d rather not share pots and pans with housemates, or find you only have half your set left at the end of the year, it’s a good idea to go for something distinctive. This off-white set from Swan includes three pots, two frying pans and five utensils. The non-stick pots and pans are made of ceramic-coated aluminium, have soft-touch handles and lids with vents – all are a decent quality and can be used with induction hobs. The cookware is not dishwasher-safe though.

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5. My Student Essentials Just Cook Pack: £69.99, My Student Essentials


Just Cook is another pack that’s aimed exclusively at students, with the option of guaranteed delivery to your halls of residence. This one contains lots of colourful extras: grater, peeler, jug and chopping board, as well as the usual pots and pans. It covers everything you need to get started straight away. The saucepans are non-stick and work on all types of hob – handy if you’re not sure what your accommodation provides. A luxury version, with crockery and cutlery included, costs £99.99. 

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6. Tower Essentials 22-Piece Kitchen Starter Set: £79.99, Very


At the higher end of the list price-wise, this 22-piece set by Tower is a more professional option if you like to take cooking seriously. There’s a good range of stainless-steel pots and pans (plus a three-tier steamer), utensils, knives and a set of baking trays. To top it all off there’s an apron and two oven mitts. This is a quality set that should last well beyond your degree. It would also benefit someone setting up their first home.

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7. Typhoon Living 10-Piece Cookware Set: £49.99, Studio


This is a very high-quality set that includes two pans and three pots in stainless steel, and five utensils. The pots and pans have comfortable silicon handles and are guaranteed by Typhoon for 10 years – a reassuring sign. A helpful feature is the measuring gauge on the inside of the pans. Again, this is a buy that would make a great wedding or housewarming gift, as well as a good buy if you are off to university. 

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8. Ikea Skänka 6-Piece Cookware Set: £40, Ikea


Ikea rather cheekily calls this a 6-piece set, when really it’s just four pans and two lids. Nevertheless, it’s a pretty useful and compact set with a strainer lid for the largest pot and comfortable handles. The set is made from aluminium coated with Teflon, and each piece has an impressive thickness that makes it feel substantial. There are no added extras here, but it’s a good start for building your own kitchen kit.

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9. Morphy Richards 17-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set: £79.99, Wayfair


Starter sets aren’t renowned for quality, so it might be reassuring to go with a household name like Morphy Richards. This set covers a lot and is possibly more than the average student needs: including two pans, three pots and a three-tier steamer. A set of utensils and handy gadgets (such as a grater and tin-opener) are also included. The whole set looks very sleek, made in stainless steel with highly polished exteriors. The pans are dishwasher-safe and suited to all hob types.

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The Verdict: Kitchen starter sets for students

Every penny counts when you’re setting off to university, and the value of the Argos 20-piece kit just can’t be beaten. It covers most of the essentials needed to get started in the kitchen straight away, although the cake pan does seem a bit non-essential. If you don’t see yourself cooking every night, (who does?) then the pots and pans should see you through for a while. Going for cheap and cheerful means it won’t be a disaster if something gets lost or ruined, and the cost of replacing or upgrading items can be shared with housemates as you go. 

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