A sauté pan is a wide pan (generally 10-12 inches (250-300 mm) with high sides (shorter than a saucepan but higher than a skillet, about 2-3 inches (50-75 mm) and a long handle (often also with a smaller handle on the other side to aide in moving the pan when full). It is used on the stovetop for many purposes, though in some cuisines, primarily for sautéing. In Italian cooking, it is one of the most versatile pans, used for a huge variety of tasks and heats, as the broad pan allows for fast cooking and for large quantities of ingredients to be in contact with the base of the pan simultaneously, while the high volume can accommodate completed sauces, high quantities of vegetables, and so forth.
A good sauté pan should be of fairly heavy construction to allow even heat distribution, and have a tight-fitting lid to help contain heat. Non-stick surfaces will be slightly easier to clean, but will inhibit good heat distribution and be less durable than other materials.