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I was thinking about getting a chaffing dish set up to use for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I saw a disposable set at Smart and Final. It was a wire stand, a warming pan, 2 serving pans and a sterno can. I looked online and found disposable sets with 3 serving pans. Both were in the $25-$50 range. Then I saw some non-disposable sets from various stores that had 2 or 3 pans. Most were electric but others had sterno type set ups also. Prices varried but alot were low end about $50 give or take $$. Some were very expensive $600 plus. I guess i'm looking for some guidance. I don't think I would use them often maybe 6-8 times a year. Any suggestions??
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Depending on how nice you want it, a disposable wire stand is about $3.50 from Sam's Club, then you'd need sterno, a water pan, and some half pans, all of which can be bought at Sam's too. Looking at piece cost, you're at ~$6-7 dollars per stand, but your investment would be higher because you'd have to buy a case of sterno and 20-30 each of the water pans and half pans, but you'd have them for next time.

Other options are regular chaffing stands like Tom mentioned. Costco and Sam's usually have them ranging from about $40 to $100, but you might want to make sure they use standard pans, or you might not depending on your use. Here's a bunch that should give you a good selection from $30 to $1000.
Chaffing Stands

If you go with any of these, order a couple of steam table adapter bars to make half pans fit better and keep in the steam.
Adapter Bars

Or, an electrically heated stand can pay for itself pretty quick. I have a bunch of these that I beat the crap out of and they keep working. About $80. Food Warmer

Lastly, an electric chaffer heating element that can be used by itself or in a stand. These aren't as powerful as the one above, and I don't think as versatile, but YMMV. $60

Electric Heater
Originally posted by DMassey:
What about something like this runs about $59

I bought a couple of those this week for the church I attend. $39 at Sam's Club. They'll work great for the church and likely for most folks at home, but you're limited in that they don't fit standard size steam table pans. I'm not sure if there is a roaster pan that would fit it's unusual shape, but I'm looking tomorrow. If you can't find a pan, you're looking at a pretty deep vessel to fill to make it look good. The one's I bought say they'll cook a 24# turkey if that gives an indication of size.
I have several of the electric roasters, they work very well to keep foods warm or even cook. we use them to put the pulled pork in and I will grab a couple boxes of the cheese potato. Heat the water with my turkey fryer and mix with some peppers and pepperoni and hard salami, will cook in a few hours.

The problem with the small chaffers is you need to keep refilling or replacing pans.
Todd I did see those at Sam's tonight went to pick up a couple biskets to put on tonight. I looked long and hard at them, im thinking that will work just fine for me at home and I could even use it cook sides in. The only thing i dont like is it doesnt fit a steam table pan! May just have to buy 2.

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