Carbon steel is an alloy of carbon and iron. It’s the material of choice for professional chefs because it’s relatively inexpensive, and designed to take a beating.
When it comes to carbon steel woks, there are plenty of options to suit all budgets. But what we don’t advise is that you randomly purchase the first carbon steel wok you see.
We’ve picked out seven carbon steel woks that excel at durability, heat retention, and even cooking. So whatever you are looking for, we’ve found the best round bottom carbon steel wok that will fit your needs and budget.
What is The Best Round Bottom Carbon Steel Wok?
See our comparison chart below. We’ve listed seven professional carbon steel woks with good feature sets and wallet-friendly prices.
1. Carbon Steel Round Bottom Wok with Wooden Handle
If you’re looking for a high-quality traditional wok at a reasonable price, it’s hard to beat the Craft Traditional Wok. It is crafted from 15-gauge, carbon steel that has been hand-hammered by professionals in China.
The solid, lightweight carbon steel body has a build quality that outshines most of the woks in its category. It doesn’t have any extra bells and whistles, but you can feel it’s reliable and durable enough to take abuses in the kitchen.
It measures 14 inches in diameter, which gives you enough room to cook for the entire family. The helper handle offers effortless maneuvering – from the stovetop to the countertop. On the other hand, the long wooden handle makes it easy to remove the wok from an open flame.
Thanks to its round bottom design, this wok distributes heat evenly from the bottom up to the sides.
That said, this wok isn’t ideal for flat induction or electric stovetops. You will need to buy a wok ring (sold separately).
Even though this wok requires regular seasoning to retain its nonstick properties, it’s still low-maintenance cookware.
- Has excellent heat distribution and retention
- Helper handle
- Solid and durable
- Not dishwasher safe
- Prone to rust
2. 16 inch Round Bottom Carbon Steel Pow Wok
If you’re looking for another hand-hammered wok that won’t break the bank, this carbon steel wok has everything you need.
The wok has a traditional look with a dark interior. It is made from 15-gauge, food-grade carbon steel. It weighs 5.59 pounds, which is quite decent for a 16-inch wok. It has a riveted wooden handle that is easy to grip and pleasing to the eyes. The round bottom design makes it perfect for an open flame, making it the best wok for camping.
According to several customers, this round-bottomed wok heats up pretty fast and maintains the heat for even cooking.
However, it doesn’t come pre-seasoned. To truly make it nonstick, you will have to season it frequently.
Overall, this is a nice wok worth consideration. You can use it in a wide variety of Chinese cooking methods, including braising, boiling, deep frying and stir-frying.
- Large cooking surface
- Lightweight and compact
- Helper handle
- Wooden handle makes it not safe for ovens
- No lid included
3. Traditional Carbon Steel Wok Pan
This carbon steel wok from Mammafong is a worthy contender as the best round-bottomed wok for under 100 dollars. It’s a quality product at a reasonable price.
This wok weighs 3.3 pounds which is relatively lighter than what you should expect for a 14-inch steel wok. There is a long wooden handle for lifting the cookware from the cooktop to the counter. As well, it comes with a helper handle that makes it easy to lift and store (hang) the wok.
Its round bottom means this wok is suitable for a range of Asian cooking techniques, such as deep-frying, stir-frying, boiling, stewing, and more. We really like the natural nonstick surface that is easy to clean. But just like other carbon steel woks in the market, this will need seasoning before use. It heats up relatively quickly, and the round shape at the bottom means it has an evenly distributed heat.
- No synthetic coating
- Built to last
- Easy to season
- Heats up quickly and uniformly
- Doesn’t work on most stovetops
- Prone to rust
4. Round Bottom Wok by Chef’s Medal
If you’re looking for a nonstick carbon steel wok that doesn’t contain toxic chemicals, have a look at the Chef’s Medal wok.
The Chef’s Medal wok has a size of 14 inches and weighs 4.5 pounds, meaning it’s super easy to carry in your travel backpack. The cookware is sturdy, easy to use, and affordable. It consists of a bamboo handle that makes lifting and maneuvering from the stovetop easier.
This cookware has received plenty of positive feedback from customers, thanks to its aesthetics if hand hammered interior. And as with all carbon steel cookware, the Chef’s Model wok requires hand washing and seasoning. Even so, most users say this product is easy to clean and main to maintain. If you need to use in a flat stovetop, you’re going to need to buy a wok ring separately.
- Elegant hand-hammered finish
- Excellent heat distribution
- Easy to maintain
- Quite heavy
- Highly susceptible to rust
5. COUNER Traditional Carbon Steel Chinese Wok
You don’t need to spend a fortune on a high-quality hand-hammered carbon steel wok. Try this traditional round-bottomed wok from Corner.
This wok boasts a 14-inch diameter and weighs 17.6 pounds. The carbon steel construction ensures precise cooking control and unmatched thermal conductivity. The wooden handle stays cool and is riveted for firmness. The helper handle is made of steel that makes it easy to lift and move the wok.
There is no doubt this cookware is durable and will survive a lot of abuse. Still, it comes with a money-back guarantee. You can return the product to the manufacturer if it’s defective. They’ll be pleased to refund your money.
- Heats up quickly
- Excellent heat distribution
- Comes with a money-back guarantee
- Requires frequent seasoning
6. Bielmer Carbon Steel Pow Wok With Wok Ring
This hand-hammered wok from Bielmer is just superb. The wok feels solid and sturdy without being overly heavy.
This 14-inch wok weighs 4.52 pounds and features a solid helper handle. It comes with a wok ring, making it suitable for all stovetop types, including electric, gas, and induction. The riveted wooden handle provides excellent grip and stays cool to the touch.
The wok doesn’t come with any coating. You don’t have to worry about the nonstick coating wearing off after a few uses. However, you will need to season it before use. In general, this wok offers one of the best heat control, retention and distribution.
- Comes with a ring
- Even heat distribution
- Heats up quickly
- Doesn’t come with a lid
- Pretty hard to season
7. Thickness Carbon Steel Round Bottom wok
Here is another excellent hand-hammered wok from Sunrise Kitchen Supply. It’s pretty affordable, cooks nicely, and last a lifetime. If you regularly stir-fry or deep-fry for a big family, this round bottom wok is your go-to option.
This wok is praised for its large cooking area, affordability and durability. It has a diameter of 14 inches and weighs 4.69 pounds. Its carbon steel construction means that this cookware will stand the test of time. The handle is riveted for extra security and is comfortable to hold.
It features a helper handle to lift, transfer or empty the wok. While you can put it in the dishwasher, hand washing with mild soap and warm water is recommended. Moreover, you will need to season it before use.
- Even heat distribution
- Easy to clean and season
- Quite thick and takes longer to cook
- Does not come with a wok ring
How to Pick the best Round Bottom Carbon Steel Wok – Buying Guide
If you have decided that a carbon steel wok makes sense for your home, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when searching for the ideal one.
Do you usually cook food for one person, or do you usually deep frying for several people? If you are cooking for many people, you may want to go for woks with a diameter of at least 14 inches.
All woks in our list use carbon steel, and the reasons are quite simple. It’s affordable, lightweight, and easy to maintain. Plus, it cooks evenly and can withstand high temperatures. Many carbon steel woks can hold up years of rough use.
Ease of use
Generally, woks are easy to use. However, some are easier to use than others. For example, woks that come equipped with helper handle are easy to lift from the stovetop, even when it’s full to the brim.
Simple carbon steel woks with no bells and whistles can cost less than $50. If you are looking for one that will last for a long time, then high-end models that cost over 100 bucks are probably a better bet.
You don’t want to spend your hard-earned money on something that won’t last a year. You want to use your wok for decades, and even pass it to the next generation. As aforementioned, price is one of the main indicators of durability. A wok worth $10 is less likely to be durable than a 100$ one.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
In this section, were are going to look at some of the commonly asked questions about carbon steel woks.
Why do I need to season my carbon steel wok?
The dark layer that gives carbon steel its nonstick properties is called patina or seasoning. Apart from making your wok nonstick, the seasoning prevents corrosion and rust. The more you season your carbon steel or cast iron cookware, the better your nonstick coating will turn out.
Can I put my carbon steel wok in the dishwasher?
No doubt, carbon steel appliances are durable and sturdy. But the patina is the most delicate part of a carbon steel wok, skillet, or saucepan. For this reason, you need to be careful when you’re cleaning it. In short, you can’t put your carbon steel wok in the dishwasher. Use warm water and mild soap. Also, avoid using metal scourers and harsh detergents.
What not to cook in a carbon steel wok?
Acidic foods like tomatoes and vinegar shouldn’t be cooked in a carbon steel wok. The acid will react with the coating, removing the patina which takes so many months to develop. Additionally, your dishes will end up tasting quite metallic.
How to season a carbon steel wok
Clean the wok with soapy water and rinse it with clean water. Spread a generous amount of cooking oil over the wok. Use a paper towel or a clean cloth to rub the oil around the wok’s entire cooking area. Heat the wok to its smoking point and let it cool down. You will have to season your wok frequently until it develops a nonstick coating.
Read more: How to Clean Carbon Steel Wok?
Our Top Pick
Out of all the models we’ve reviewed, the Carbon Steel Round bottom Wok with Wooden Handle is our favorite. It is durable, inexpensive, easy to maintain, and features a generous cooking area.
We recommend these seven carbon steel woks for anyone who doesn’t want to break the bank. All our picks are reliable and greatly practical. So if you are looking to buy a wok for the long haul, these are great options.