Michael Chu over Cooking For Engineers posted a technical way on how to choose a good cookware. There are some good criteria like durable, efficiency on heat transmission and easiness for cleaning etc:

…The purpose of cookware is to impart energy to ingredients. In America, the energy comes mainly in two forms: burning natural gas or propane gas and electrical resistivity. In both methods, the source of the heat is not uniformly spread over the pan. In a gas stove, the gas come out at regular intervals and forms a ring of individual flames. The heating elements of an electric range are designed to cover as much area as possible, but still have patterns (usually spirals) where there is no heat. Because the heat is not applied evenly, the cook must be aware of this and either compensate with cooking technique or through cookware.

High quality cookware should not only be durable, but also take the energy from the heat source and effectively transmit this energy to the ingredients. There are several factors that affect this capability. The two most important factors are thermal conductivity and heat capacity. Almost all discussions concerning the materials used in cookware are focused on these two factors…

It touches very detailed on thermal conductivity, heat capacity and thermal diffusivity so if you want to have final review on cookware materials at the end of the article.

Equipment & Gear: Common Materials of Cookware – [Cooking For Engineers via robot wisdom weblog]

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