Best Overall: New Star International Steel Wok Rack
Whenever I talk to new wok users, this is the ring that I suggest they try first. It’s very inexpensive, fits most household woks, and is compatible with almost any gas stovetop.
The simple design can be used in two different ways. The first is to place the ring on top of your stoves’ burner grates. This method creates more space between the flame and wok. That will distribute heat a little more evenly and you won’t get a strong concentration in the very center of the wok. Great for more gentle cooking tasks.
The other method is to remove your stovetop grates and place the wok ring directly around one of the burners. Now your wok will sit close to or directly in the flame. This will provide more concentrated heat to the center of the wok for things like high-heat stir-fries.
The wok ring is tapered so one opening is larger than the other. This feature allows you to easily use a single wok ring to accommodate woks of multiple sizes. The larger side is perfect for common 14-inch woks but I wouldn’t recommend using it with any larger than 16-inches.
The ring provides a secure hold for the wok. But, because it doesn’t lock or attach to the stove in any way, it can easily slide around if you’re not careful.
At around $10, don’t expect top-of-the-line materials but it is plenty durable. The ring is constructed from zinc-plated steel and hand washing will go a long way in protecting that shiny finish.
At the end of the day, this wok ring does what it’s supposed to and doesn’t require any real investment. That makes it a great choice for beginners and experts alike.
What we like
- Very inexpensive
- Can be used with multiple wok sizes
- Compatible with most gas stoves
What We don’t
- Can easily move and slide on the stovetop
Best Affordable Option: Joyce Chen Wire Wok Ring
Wait, there’s a more affordable option than my $10 top pick?! Hold the phone folks, you heard right.
The wok ring from Joyce Chen is constructed entirely from solid steel wire. The wire is thin but it easily holds a heavy wok full of food.
The design is about as simple as you can imagine. Two wire rings, connected by several 2-inch wire pieces. The result is very similar to my top pick but without any sidewalls.
The open-sided construction allows for more airflow which can help with the flame output of some gas stoves. If you have a range with a strong enough burner, it will also allow flames to easily travel up the sides of the wok for better heating.
The downside of the thin wire construction is that the ring is extremely lightweight and can easily slide around the stove.
A bonus use for this wok ring is to use it as a rack for wok storage when you’re not cooking. It also doesn’t look out of place when used as a serving stand directly on a table or counter. When it comes to cleaning this ring, handwashing is recommended to protect the chrome finish.
This is another no-frills wok ring that gets the job done. And with its extra uses off of the stove, it’s more than worth its low price tag.
What we like
- Costs about as much as a fancy cup of coffee
- Doubles as a storage or serving stand
- Allows flames to travel up the sides of the wok
What We don’t
- Light-weight makes it easy to slide around on the stove
- Not dishwasher safe
Best Upgrade: MCAMPAS Cast Iron Wok Ring
For a safer and more stable wok ring, this is the way to go. The only reason this isn’t my top pick is that it’s only compatible with certain stoves.
Unlike my other choices, the MCAMPAS wok ring is built from solid cast iron and is designed to securely lock onto your burner grates.
Cast iron makes this piece extremely durable and will easily last a lifetime. So, even though the price is a little higher initially, you can be confident that you’ll never need to buy a replacement.
Aside from durability, the thing that sets this wok holder apart is the stability it offers while you cook. The grooves on the bottom of the ring lock onto your burner grates so that it can’t move or slide around unintentionally. That’s a big step up in safety compared to most steel and wire wok rings.
The textured cast iron brings even more stability to the table by gripping the wok so there is even less unwanted movement.
The simple design uses four raised points that will hold any size wok up to 16-inches in diameter. Since the whole thing is completely open, it also allows flames to easily travel up the sides of the wok.
Sure this is my “Upgrade” pick but we’re still talking less than $30 here. And for that price you’re getting better performance and durability, just make sure it will fit your stove before you make your decision.
What we like
- Lifetime durability
- Provides excellent stability and won’t move while cooking
- Fits any wok up to 16-inches
What We don’t
- Only compatible with certain stoves
Other Options That Are Great But Didn’t Make The Cut
This cast iron wok ring functions about the same as my “upgrade” pick. It offers excellent durability and stability when it comes to cooking. The problem is that it has a significantly smaller diameter which would make it less stable for a common 14-inch wok.
On the outside, this looks like a beefed-up version of my “affordable” pick. But, upon closer inspection, you’ll find that it’s constructed from lightweight metal tubing that many owners found to be very flimsy. Some even had instances where the soldering points began to melt during regular stovetop use.
I like this cast iron wok support because it has multiple notches in the bottom so that it can be used with a wider range of stovetops. The problem is that it’s almost completely flat. It does have slightly raised edges, but they’re not high enough to come in contact with most woks. Using this support would be about the same as placing your wok directly on your stove.
Buyers Guide: Choosing The Best Wok Ring
Primary Purposes Of Using A Wok Ring
The primary purpose of a wok ring is to add support and stability when using a round-bottomed wok. You can place a round bottom wok directly on a gas stovetop but it will have a tendency to wobble around leading to possible spills and injury.
Some wok rings can serve to concentrate the burner flame to the center of the wok. But, almost all wok rings are too wide and most home burners are not powerful enough for this to really make a difference. So, we’ll stick to the primary purpose being stability.
If you want more flame concentration from your home range, here’s a DIY way to do it.
Type Of Wok Ring And Material
There are three common types of wok rings to consider and my top three include one from each category.
Steel Wok Rings
These are made from plated or stainless steel and have sidewalls with holes stamped out of them. This option is inexpensive and easy to find. They hold woks well but they can easily slide around on the stove top.
Wire Wok Rings
These have the simplest design and are made from two rings that are connected by short lengths of wire. My “best affordable option” is built from actual wire but you can also find them made from metal tubing. Plated steel is the most common material used for this type of ring.
Cast Iron Wok Rings
These offer more durability and stability than the other two options. They generally “lock” onto your existing burner grates and have raised legs that hold a round bottom wok. Since they attach to the stove they offer more stability, but they’re not compatible with all stoves.
Size And Height
The most common size wok ring is around 10-inches across. That’s a perfect size for a 14-inch wok and that’s the size I normally recommend for home kitchens. I would stay away from rings that are smaller than 9-inches in diameter unless you plan on using a very small wok.
Wok rings for home use are usually around 1.5 to 2-inches tall. Since most stoves don’t have flames that shoot up, you don’t want a ring that’s any taller than that. Closer to the flame is better since you need as much heat as you can get.
Stove And Wok Compatibility
If you have a flat bottom wok, you don’t need a wok ring and you can use gas, electric, and even induction cooktops.
Round bottom woks really need an open flame for the best results, so gas is the easiest way to go. You can place a round bottom wok directly on your gas stove but it’s likely to be very wobbly and unstable. And that’s where the wok ring comes in.
Round bottom woks can be very unstable when left alone. That’s especially concerning when filled with hot liquid that sloshes back and forth. Adding a wok ring greatly reduces the risk of ingredients spilling and possibly burning you.
Steel and wire wok rings are perfectly fine if you’re careful and not moving the wok around too much. If you like to use your wok with a lot of gusto (I know I do), using a cast iron wok ring adds an extra level of stability and safety.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Does A Wok Ring Work And What Are The Advantages?
A wok ring creates a stable resting place for round-bottomed woks. Without a ring, a round bottom wok will wobble and tilt when used on a standard gas stovetop. Using a ring makes it easier to toss and stir ingredients and lets you keep your wok centered over the cooking flame.
What Are The Downsides Of Using A Wok On A Gas Range?
Many wok rings don’t attach to the top of the gas range. This can lead to situations where the ring moves and slides around. Also, if you have a ring that is too tall, the bottom of the wok may be too far from the heat source.
What Size Wok Ring Do I Need?
A 9 or 10-inch wok ring is perfect for most 14-inch woks. A 14-inch wok is the most common size that you will find for home use and is the size I recommended for most uses.
Most wok rings include dimensions and should note what size wok they are suited for. So double-check before making your purchase.
How Does A Wok Ring Compare To An Outdoor Wok Burner?
A wok ring makes cooking on your gas stove more stable but it doesn’t increase the heat or power that you can cook with.
An outdoor wok burner provides a much more powerful flame that is aimed directly at the center of the wok. They are usually powered by propane tanks and will offer higher heat, and better overall cooking results.
What’s The Difference Between A Flat And Round Bottomed Wok?
A round-bottomed wok works by getting very hot in the center and gradually cooling down as you move up the sides. This style should only be used over a flame when cooking.
A flat-bottomed wok can be used on any cooktop but the flat bottom has a larger center surface. This creates one temperature on the whole cooking surface and doesn’t decrease as gradually as you move up the sides.
How Should I Use My Wok Ring?
Choose the hottest burner that you have available on your stovetop, and try to get your wok as close to the flame as possible. This may mean removing a grate or two in order to fit the ring directly around the burner.
Woks are perfectly built for hot and fast stir-fries. Things like fried rice, and stir-fried noodles are always crowd-pleasers. Also, consider adding a bamboo steamer to your tool kit. These can be used directly in the wok above a small amount of boiling water.
Adding a wok ring to your kitchen is one of the biggest “bang for your buck” kitchen purchases you’re going to find. If you’ve never used one, I think you’ll be amazed at how much easier it makes cooking. Plus, this is one of the few “best” lists where most of us can actually afford the “upgrade” pick!
If your stove can accommodate a cast iron wok ring that’s definitely the way I would go. It costs a little bit more, but it’s much more stable and will last a lifetime. But, if you’re not one of those lucky cooks, a steel or wire ring will still make a huge difference every time you reach for your wok.
If you’re looking to upgrade your current wok or still thinking about buying one in the first place, be sure to take a look at my rundown of the best carbon steel wok available.