Are you looking to outfit an entire kitchen quickly or do you simply need a new saucepan? Knowing this will help you to determine whether it's a better value to buy cookware by the set or the piece.
How do you intend to use the cookware? A variety of materials are used to manufacture cookware making it ideal for browning, stewing, stir-frying or all of the above.
What is your threshold for care and handling? Are you willing to season a cast iron pan? Do you have the patience to care for copper pots? Maybe you just want something simple and easy to clean. Check the manufacturer's information before buying cookware to be sure it will suit you.