I'm of the mind, now being older, hopefully wiser, to purchase good quality for a life time rather than replacing cookware every few years. I have also found that quality and performance go hand in hand. When it comes to stainless, we purchase All-Clad. Welcome to DC!
Emeralds are real Gems! C. caninus & C. Batesii.
There are different type of SS cookware. I recommend pans that either have an encapsulated disk on the bottom or are tri-ply with aluminum. They work much better to distribute heat evenly and prevent scorching. My preference between the two is try-ply. You can find try-ply Spans in a number of different brands from very expensive to more reasonable.
You don't really need a set. Buy individual pots and pans that you use frequently rather than a set. While the price of the set is discounted, you also end up with one or two pieces you really don't need.
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
I am in the buy the highest quality you can afford camp. I have Lecreuset enamel pans. I've had them for 35+ years. I also have SS pans and Ci pans. You don't need a set. You need what you will use. I scour the thrift stores for add ons. Know the brands and only look for those. Welcome to DC.
Calphalon is also a good brand of tri-ply stainless steel at a reasonable price. And I agree that you should just buy the pieces you use. DH bought me my set of Calphalon for Christmas years ago and I rarely use the small skillet.
Of course, I might use it for toasting spices if I didn't already have a small cast iron skillet.
The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again. ~ George Miller
If you can afford it buy '316L' SS cookware. Here's some good reading. Check out the 'comments'.Stainless Steel: All About Food Grade 304, 18/8 and 18/10 | MightyNest I found a 316L small fry pan in a thrift store a few years ago. As long as I keep the heat down and the pan has been seasoned with salt/oil once in awhile it's a non-stick deam to use.
It’s hit or miss, but the off-price retailers (Marshalls, TJ Maxx, etc.) sometimes have decent quality cookware at good prices. I picked up a Lenox tri-ply stockpot for about half the price that BB&B sells it for (and waaay less than an All Clad), and I’m pretty happy with it. All Clad has blemished products on sale once or twice a year (through homeandcooksales.com), but still awfully expensive.