How Can Lodge Cast Iron Skillets Be So Darn Inexpensive?

updated Jul 14, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Joe Lingeman

If you were on a game show and had to guess the price for, say, a Lodge cast iron skillet, would you be able to do it? If you haven’t been in the market for one in a while, I’d be willing to bet that you’d guess way over — way, way over. Because a Lodge cast iron skillet usually costs less than $25, but can almost always be found on sale for closer to 15 bucks. Which is practically nothing for a skillet from a top brand — the best brand of cast iron!

To find out why you can buy a Lodge cast iron skillet for about the price of a bottle of wine, I went right to the top and interviewed the CEO and President of Lodge Manufacturing, Mike Otterman. He had a few key factors to point out.

1. These pans aren’t all that complicated to make.

It takes just a few steps to make Lodge cast iron skillets. A mixture of hot molten metals is poured into a mold made of sand, and then baked. Once the pan is formed and the sand is broken away, there’s no drying, stamping, or painting. The entire process is automated, fairly quick, and consistent. While it cost Lodge a lot to install the machinery initially, that part has been done and now it doesn’t cost much to keep everything up and running.  

2. They’re made locally.

The fact that Lodge skillets are manufactured in the USA helps, too. Cast iron is heavy and it’s cheaper to ship to stores and shoppers from Tennessee than China.  

A fun plus to being made in America is that the company creates lots of jobs for locals. With home cooking so popular right now, Lodge products are in demand and Lodge will be hiring 75 workers this summer. Mike says, “We want our skillets to be affordable to the residents of Marion County, Tennessee, where Lodge is located.” 

3. There’s no packaging.

When you buy a Lodge skillet, it doesn’t come in a box. The use and care instructions are printed on a sticker inside the pan. This is key because boxes and manuals cost money. By keeping things simple, Lodge is able to keep materials and assembly costs down. 

Do you have a Lodge cast iron skillet? Let us know in the comments!