I have noticed a few questions about the type of pan you should use for sugar work. Here is something that might help:
Copper Pots: They are great. Even heat conduction and all that. But they are expensive!
Stainless Steel: Most stainless steel pots are made from 18/8 gauge material and are perfectly capable of handling what ever you throw at them or in them they work great for sugar work as well.
Enamel pots can also be used.
There are more but I cannot find my notes to refresh my memory at the moment. Bottom line is you do not have to have a copper pot to boil sugar.
The recommendation I've been given, and follow, is to use a good stainless steel pot that is 18/10 and completely smooth and seamless on the inside and outside--no "plug" on the bottom that has a seam where it meets the sides because that means that the bottom heats differently than the sides and if you use gas, you have to mind the flame height so that it doesn't lick above the seam.
My instructor used an All-Clad or Calphalon. I have found a much less expensive knock-off that works just as well--I just have an aversion to spending $100+ for a pot that I will only use for sugar work.
Don't put your sugar pot in the dishwasher as it can pit the interior and leave soap residue in the pits--ruins a good batch of sugar really fast.
Just my .02
Good point about the dishwasher. I do not put mine in there either and I am like you I have this thing about spending $100 for a pot so I went to Wal-Mart and purchased a good heavy duty ss pan for less than $20 been using it ever since works great.
$100 for a pot! Blakescakes is right. I do not see myself spending a $100 for a pot! SugarCreations has the right idea. $20 SS pot from Wal-mart.$100, boy must be lined with gold.
Well whatever pan you decide upon, you are better off with a heavy bottom and one that has a copper core for even heat distribution. I guess I am a firm believer in getting the best quality pots and pans that you can afford. The purchase pays off in the long run, you get many years of even cooking in a pan that doesn't warp or burn easily.