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A popular story surrounding the origin of pot racks tells of a French king who was concerned about the lack of order in the kitchens of his castle. Wanting to improve the way that the items used for cooking meals were stored, the king ordered three of his chefs to create a special rack to hold the pots and pans. According to the story, this first rack produced by the trio of men was made by hand by hammering and shaping metal into the desired shape.

While the name of the French king and the exact year of the event are unknown, history does tell us that the very first racks were luxury items. Only those who could afford to pay for the raw materials and a craftsman to fashion and shape them had racks in their homes.

Over time, the cost of materials gradually decreased thanks to the mass production of sheet metals like steel. Improvements in tools and the founding of factories and workshop guilds made labor less expensive as well, and soon, racks became more and more affordable for everyday people.

In our modern age, racks are available in a wide variety of price ranges to allow everyone to enjoy the benefits of a hanging rack or wall rack in their homes. As you begin to shop for a rack for your own kitchen, you're sure to find a piece that will fit within your budget and within your home space.

Many customers ask us what constitutes the price differences between different models, and so to help you make sense of the pricing in today's styles, we created this Buyers' Guide to Shopping for Pot Racks by Price. The guide reviews all of the major factors that contribute to the pricing of the pieces in the collections that are popular today. By understanding what goes into the pricing, you'll be able to prioritize the features that are most important to you in order to get the perfect model at a price you can afford.

Price Ranges

Before you get started shopping for models by price, it's important to have a rough idea of the common price ranges found in today's product lineups. Generally speaking, there are five major price ranges.

Within each price range, you'll find a variety of different styles in terms of shape, materials, size and special features. While each manufacturer uses a different system for pricing, there are some general trends that exist among the collections of racks that exist today. The rest of this guide will examine these five major trends. Of course, exceptions may apply when you examine individual styles, but by understanding the general trends, you will be able to anticipate what sort of features will make a rack more expensive than another.

Size and Shape

One of the largest determining factors for the prices of racks is their size. This is particularly true when you're comparing the pieces among others produced by the same manufacturer. Pot rack designers must purchase raw materials like wood and steel from suppliers. To cover this expense, manufacturers set prices high enough to make back what they have paid to obtain the materials used to produce a particular model.

The bigger the piece, the more materials the manufacturer must purchase to create the piece, and in turn, the more materials that are purchased, the higher the cost. As a result, larger racks cost more to make and therefore have higher prices. You'll notice this difference the most if you compare two similar styles made from the same materials and with the same stylistic elements and features.

The shape of the rack can also have an effect on its pricing. Pot racks with round or oval shapes require more work either by hand or machine to create the curves. The difference in labor could make the shapes slightly more expensive than angled rectangular styles. Bar styles typically have narrower frames and require less raw materials than other styles, which often makes them less expensive.

Materials

Another factor that plays an important role in pricing is the actual materials that are used to produce the styles. Metals are commodities with prices set across world markets that fluctuate frequently due to demand, supply and the state of world economies. Even though prices may vary slightly every day, some materials are nearly always more expensive than others. For example, copper is generally more expensive to purchase than stainless steel, largely because copper is a raw element that must be extracted from the Earth in a pure form, while stainless steel is produced in a factory by blending together a variety of common metals.

Two styles that are identical in terms of size and shape may be priced differently according to their raw materials if one is crafted from a solid metal with a high cost like copper and the other is crafted from solid stainless steel; however, manufacturers have developed technologies to help make frames made from copper and similar metals more affordable.

One way that manufacturers make it possible to provide a variety of metal looks at one price is through electroplating. With this process, electricity is used to melt a more expensive metal and apply it onto a frame made of a less expensive metal. Only a small amount of the more expensive metal is needed to make this thin coating and the cost of performing the process is affordable. As a result, designers can offer frames with chrome, brass and copper finishes all for the same price as stainless steel.

Another way to get the look of copper or another more expensive metal like brass is to opt for a painted metal pot rack that is finished to be the color of these more precious metals.

Lighting

Another major difference between rack styles that can account for price variations is the presence of lights. Lighted racks are designed to brighten up work spaces and eliminate the shadows that are sometimes cast by hanging rack styles. To produce a lighted rack, not only does the frame need to be shaped and finished, but it also must be wired to safely supply electrical current to the added lights. In addition, many of these styles feature decorative shades and coverings for the lights that must be manufactured and cost designers money to produce.

Hi-Lite Manufacturing Co. is the leading producer of lighted rack styles. Their lineup of lighted racks typically retails for regular prices from around $370 to $2,900, depending on their sizes, shapes, materials and stylistic enhancements. If you're considering purchasing a lighted rack for new construction or a major kitchen renovation, keep in mind that the rack can serve as both your overhead lighting fixture and your place for cookware storage. Even the high end models in the Hi-Lite line are often less expensive than the cost of buying a high quality chandelier or candelabra lighting fixture along with a rack of equal quality to the Hi-Lite styles.

Brand Name

Another point of comparison to consider when thinking about the pricing of models is the brand name associated with the piece. The biggest brand names are associated with a high level of quality and craftsmanship that set them apart from other manufacturers. For example, Enclume is a tremendously popular brand because all of the major construction of their products is done by hand to allow for greater quality and attention to detail.

Selecting a model produced by a top brand doesn't mean that you're just paying for a name; the companies that are considered the best of the best have reached their status due to customer satisfaction and proven quality. Some homeowners prefer to buy from the big brands because they feel assured that they will receive a high quality product based on the company's reputation. This does not mean that models produced by other brands are not made from quality materials or carefully assembled, however. If you are looking for a cost effective rack with a lot of features, you may decide to purchase a piece from a less well known brand to enjoy some savings.

Decorative Elements

The final cost determination for racks is the addition of any decorative elements that enhance the appearance of the piece. Pieces that feature elaborate scroll work or whimsical added elements, such as the sea creatures, stars and leaf patterns found in racks by Rainsford and Gale, often fetch a higher price because these additional flourishes require extra materials as well as additional labor to produce.