How Do I Choose the Best Small Wok?

Misty Amber Brighton

A small wok can be a good choice if you are cooking for less than four people, but the exact size of this device may vary. You should make sure the wok fits over your stove burner, or one with a metal ring could be used on burners of varying sizes. This pan could have a flat or curved bottom, and the right choice can depend on how you plan to cook with it.

It is best if a wok is about the same size as the stove burner it's sitting on.
It is best if a wok is about the same size as the stove burner it's sitting on.

Many wok sizes are ideal for household use. If you are cooking for only one or two individuals, a small wok that is between 8 and 10 inches (20.32 to 25.4 cm) wide can be an ideal size. A pan around 12 inches (0.31 m) wide might be better if you are preparing meals for three or four guests. If you sometimes have visitors over for dinner, you may want one this size even if there are only one or two people in your household.

Shrimp and noodle dish stir-fried in a wok.
Shrimp and noodle dish stir-fried in a wok.

Since the size of stove burners vary, it can be a good idea to check the dimensions of them first. Measure the burner from side to side at the widest point, and then measure the bottom of the small wok in the same way. The bottom of the pan should not be larger than the burner is because the wok may not heat evenly if this is the case.

A metal ring can be placed on a burner of an electric or gas stove so a small wok can fit on top. This can be a good idea when cooking with gas heat because doing so can enable you to turn the flame up higher. Some people find it easier to remove the wok from the stove or to turn food while cooking when using a metal ring. If you choose a small wok with one of these accessories, be sure to ask a sales representative to show you ones that can be adjusted for the size of burner your stove has.

The right bottom is important in a wok, and there are advantages and disadvantages of each type. A small wok with a flat bottom could be more stable on a flat top stove, while those with a curved bottom are often easier to use with raised burners. You may choose either a flat or curved bottom wok if cooking with a ring, but this can largely be determined by the size and shape of this device. It could be helpful to try each type with a metal ring so you can see how easy it is to use while you are cooking.

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Discussion Comments

What do most small woks cost and where are the best places to shop for them?

There is a home store close to my house but I know for sure that they do not carry them.

Is it all right to buy online or would you recommend picking it up and looking it over before buying?


I have never heard of a small wok, or even seen one I don't think. I thought that woks came in one standard size. I have always avoided getting one because they are so huge and I have a little kitchen. But if I could get a smaller sized version that would solve a lot of my problems.


I live by myself and I am usually only cooking for one or two so I knew that I did not need one of the massive woks that lots of people have and then struggle to store. The wok that I have is about 4 quarts roughly. I can easily make enough stir fry for three people but beyond that you are kind of pushing it.

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