I've been buying kitchen equipment, including skillets, for 45 years, but do not have ready access to a large local equipment supplier where I can go pick up the skillets to get a feel for them. Most are several hundred miles away, so I buy mail order from some very reputable companies I've been doing business with for many years.
I use a lot of cast iron as well as stainless, even a couple of carbons. And a few stainless non-stick.
I am familiar with quite a few of the various brands, cheap and expensive, high end and low end. I have an open mind, I just want to know if anyone knows which brand would have the heaviest bottom in their experience.
My present skillets ran from $40 to around $150, pots and pans are all higher end, though. These are mostly Vollrath Centurian's, and I've had some of them for over twenty-five years. Even a couple of Centurian 12" skillets. Two or three, I've had since the things first came out. Don't know when, but probably got them in the early seventies with my first restaurant, and they're still going strong...bottoms still flat as a flitter. So I definitely agree about buying quality.
Back to the original question, I want non-stick simply because they are non-stick. I want aluminum because it is lighter than stainless steel. I don't want expensive because they're gonna get beat up. I just want a thick-bottom, inexpensive, non-stick aluminum skillet recommendation. Hopefully the things won't warp easily.
Trying to keep the price down, for example on a 10" skillet, to around $30-$40. I would like $30 much better than $40 !! <[ : ^ )