In the world of non-stick cookware, there are a great number of pans that claim to offer a surface that will easily release your food, providing easy clean-up and a need for less fat as you cook. These pans have been around for many years, beginning with Teflon in the 1930s. While these pans have certainly seen their fair share of popularity followed by a series of potential health concerns, one thing has rung true with non-stick cookware: It is here to stay.
What’s In the Box?
12″ Pan with Lid
10″ Pan with Lid
8″ Pan with Lid
Over the years these pans have changed considerably. Progress has been made to make them more durable against damage from utensils and, with proper use, users can feel confident in their safety. These days, non-stick pans seem to be more popular than ever. As people have taken to cooking more meals at home and, with an ongoing interest in healthy cooking with streamlined cleanup, it stands to reason that non-stick pans have made their way into most households.
HexClad is the latest in nonstick cookware. It claims to be the most innovative cookware available today with a surface that is extremely durable, non-stick, and able to withstand high temperatures on the stovetop as well as in your oven. All of this comes with a lifetime warranty. Is it too good to be true? This HexClad cookware review will help you decide that for yourself, as I give you some insight into this cookware and compare it with others. In the end, my goal is to help you decide if HexClad cookware is a good fit for you.
What’s So Good about HexClad Hybrid Cookware?
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After reading about a number of collections of nonstick cookware and having had the experience of using some of those pans in my own kitchen, I was curious about the claims made by HexClad Hybrid Cookware. After all, how different could it be? A quick look into the way this cookware is designed had me thinking there was something unique about these pans. But is unique really better?
First of all, HexClad is made of three layers, beginning with a layer of magnetic stainless steel which makes it compatible with gas, electric, and induction stovetops. This flexibility makes it a fit for just about any type of cooking you plan to do.
The next layer is made of aluminum, which is an excellent conductor. This means that you can expect it to distribute heat evenly throughout the pan, including the sides, which translates to cookware that heats quickly.
Finally, there is another layer of stainless steel that is laser etched in a hexagonal pattern on the surface of the cookware. Stainless is what gives these pans the ability to sear your food at high temperatures – something unusual in nonstick pans. The etching creates a series of stainless steel “peaks”, which is the most unique part of these pans. In the “valleys”, you will find the nonstick coating which delivers the capacity for minimal oil and easy cleanup.
Because of the hexagonal design of the steel “peaks”, the Hexclad surface is protected against damage from metal utensils such as spatulas and knives. This kind of durability is unheard of in this type of cookware which has a history of susceptibility to surface scratching which not only hinders the pan from working effectively, it also makes them unsafe to use.
There are a number of things that set this cookware apart from others. The following are the three key features that make it stand out.
Important Feature #1: Durability
I have cooked with several different nonstick pans over the years, and one thing that has made me reluctant in the past is their inability to withstand scratches. Of course, there are silicone, wooden, and plastic utensils that are compatible with this type of cookware, but even with the most gentle care, these pans are prone to surface damage that hinders their nonstick characteristics, which is the reason we seek these pans out in the first place.
With its unique surface that is etched with stainless steel, the Hexclad cookware is much more resistant to scratches. So much so, in fact, that they claim to stand up to knives and metal spatulas without any surface damage whatsoever.
Furthermore, they are reported to be dishwasher safe. This is something that many competitors do not endorse because the dishwasher is likely to scratch delicate surfaces. Most nonstick coatings are susceptible to damage due to machine washing.
While all of this may be true, I would caution users to take a more moderate approach when cooking with these pans, as well as with the clean-up. A truly nonstick surface will not require much aggressive scraping with metal tools or scrubbing with abrasive cleaners. A light hand will assuredly do the trick, but it is good to know that these pans are more reportedly more durable than many other pans with a nonstick coating that requires careful handling.
Important Feature #2: Good for Searing
If you are familiar with nonstick pans, you probably know that they are not recommended for high-temperature cooking. While this may be fine when cooking eggs that are best cooked over medium to low heat for texture and flavor, it is impossible to get a good sear on a steak, for example.
With a Hexclad pan, you can feel comfortable cooking over medium-high heat, which sets it apart from other nonstick pans. This is due to the stainless steel etching on the surface, as well as the aluminum and stainless steel triple layers. Beyond stovetop use, this makes them oven-safe up to 500 degrees, perfect for searing, then finishing in the oven. The result is nice caramelization and one-pan meals that require less clean-up.
Important Feature #3: Easy to Maintain
In most cases, HexClad will clean up easily with hot soapy water and a sponge. In the case of more stubborn discoloring, you can use the slightly more abrasive side of a sponge. The stainless steel rim of the pan, as well as the handle, are made of stainless, so you can feel comfortable going at that a bit more aggressively, if necessary, without harm.
Once you have properly cleaned and dried your pan, simply preseason it with a few drops of oil and a paper towel so that your HexClad will be ready for next time.
Alternately, this cookware washes up in the dishwasher, which is convenient for those times when you want to skip the sink altogether.
What the Cookware Can Do/Can’t Do
As with any piece of kitchen equipment, there are ways in which cookware excels and other areas where it may fall short.
HexClad cookware is good for cooking at low and medium temperatures, but I wouldn’t use it over very high heat for extended periods of time.
HexClad can withstand cleaning with a non-abrasive sponge, but scrubbing it with something more abrasive could eventually damage the nonstick surface.
HexClad claims that it can withstand metal utensils, but repeated scratching could cause food to stick to the surface over time.
How Do You Use the Cookware?
Before getting down to some actual cooking with Hexclad cookware, you should take the time to prepare and season it properly.
First of all, wash it gently with warm soapy water and dry thoroughly. Then put it over low to medium heat and, with a few drops of vegetable oil, rub the surface to distribute the oil throughout. Let it heat up for 1 to 2 minutes. It is ready to use at this point, or you can store it for another time.
Another thing that happens after repeated use is that it can continue to improve over time. This is not a claim that other nonstick cookware companies make, setting this line apart from the others.
Once your pan is seasoned, you can use it like any other pan on your gas, electric, or induction stovetop. It is ready to saute, sear, or simmer with the use of a little oil or fat. The company does encourage that you heat over low heat and then increase as necessary. Because of that aluminum core, you can expect nice, even heat transfer, so sometimes lower heat is really sufficient.
When cleaning these pans, they recommend using a non-abrasive sponge that will easily remove most residue after cooking. For stubborn messes that you cannot remove easily, they do claim that steel wool is safe, though seldom necessary. With that said, I would recommend a more conservative approach to reduce the risk of damage to the nonstick surface.
What Do the Reviews Say?
I am a big fan of product reviews when I am purchasing kitchen equipment. After all, what sounds too good to be true often is. For that reason, I wanted to give you some insight into what users are saying about Hexclad cookware after getting it into their home kitchens and actually cooking with it for a while. The best claims are not well-founded until the reviewers have spoken.
While the majority of the reviews are quite favorable, there is a number who indicated that, despite seasoning the pans properly and using a small amount of fat, there were still issues with food sticking to the pans. Most of the negative reviews were around this same issue.
Meanwhile, most users had few issues with food sticking to the pan. These reviews suggest that when used over lower to medium heat there were fewer problems. As recommended by the company on their website, it is best to start with lower heat and increase as necessary. I suspect that the issues more likely arose in instances when cooks started with the pans at temperatures that were too high.
Another issue that surfaced in the negative reviews was how poorly these pans cleaned up after use. While most had few problems with this, some were dissatisfied with keeping the Hexclad pans clean.
It seems to me that there is a connection between high heat cooking and difficulty cleaning these pans. My conclusion leads me to believe that starting at lower temperatures and increasing as needed would likely lead to the best outcome.
How Does Hexclad Cookware Compare?
As with any purchase, it is worthwhile to see how HexClad stacks up to some cookware competitors. In this next section, I will give you some insight into how these brands perform compared with HexClad.
HexClad vs Misen Nonstick Cookware
Having a look at how HexClad stacked up to Misen Cookware, it is notable that the Misen brand offers three different cooking surfaces to choose from – 5-ply stainless steel, aluminum non-stick, or carbon steel. Within these three options, there are obvious design differences that set them apart. For this comparison, I will focus on the nonstick Misen cookware in order to draw some conclusions as to which is a fit for you.
The most obvious difference between HexClad and Misen is the nonstick coating itself. While the HexClad has the stainless etched hexagon pattern on the interior and exterior of their pan, Misen has a more traditional nonstick interior with an aluminum base. The durability that HexClad claims their pans can withstand differentiates them from Misen, while one really can not ignore the popularity of the Misen pans. Reviewers tended to favor the Misen nonstick pans over HexClad for their nonstick properties.
The Misen handle design is quite different. It is fitted with a silicone grip that makes it comfortable and safe to grab at higher temperatures, while the Hexclad handle is curved and more ergonomic in design. Both companies are rather young, so it is not possible to compare the pans in terms of longevity, but many would say that the Misen has a better reputation in terms of nonstick release.
Expect to pay considerably more for the Hexclad line, making it a less budget-friendly option. Take, for example, the price of the HexClad 10-inch pan and compare that with the Misen nonstick 10-inch saute pan. The HexClad pan is almost twice the price of the contender. In the world of nonstick pans, that is a rather drastic price jump. Some would say that with the HexClad pan you are getting the benefit of stainless steel and nonstick cookware in one pan. Alternatively, for the same cost, you could just as well purchase two Misen pans for that same price.
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Next, let’s see how HexClad measures up to cookware giant, All-Clad. First of all, it is worth noting that All-Clad has 50 years of experience in cookware production. In that time, it has become a well-known name in commercial kitchens as well as in-home use. It is hard to deny its integrity, but does the unique design of HexClad give All-Clad a run for its money?
While HexClad features one basic design in its cookware, All-Clad has seven collections to its name. In all fairness, I want to focus on the nonstick collections of which there are a couple to choose from. These include fully clad stainless steel or hard-anodized aluminum. The options offered by All-Clad give you a bit of flexibility as there are advantages to each of them. For example, the stainless steel All-Clad Tri-Ply Bonded nonstick cookware, made with a responsive aluminum core bonded together with 2 layers of durable stainless steel, is less likely to warp and cleans up easily with a shiny stainless steel exterior. The Hard-anodized aluminum nonstick pans from All-Clad are known for fast, even heating with a stainless steel base. Its exterior has a dark, matte look.
Reviews of the All-Clad nonstick pans are somewhat mixed. While a number reported issues with the nonstick surface itself, there are quite a few users who complained about the handle. It is a stainless steel straight handle that is angled. Several commenters indicated that they are uncomfortable to hold. While this may not be a deal-breaker for many users, it is worth mentioning. The stainless steel HexClad handles, on the other hand, are big, round, and hollow which helps disperse the heat so they don’t get too hot.
When it comes to comparing prices, HexClad’s pricing is in line with All-Clad’s higher-end cookware like its copper core line or the stainless steel 5-ply lines. However, when we consider the prices of All-Clad’s nonstick pans, it is much more reasonably priced than HexClad. So the question is whether or not you feel it is worth it to invest in expensive cookware that has nonstick properties without the company or product history you might prefer when making a well-informed purchase. Perhaps those cooks who have tried other nonstick pans in the past and have been dissatisfied would be ready to take a leap of faith and purchase the HexClad pans which are backed with a significant warranty.
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Calphalon is another line of cookware with a long history of quality products. Much like All-Clad, there are a number of cookware lines to choose from ranging from very high-end stainless steel pans to more basic nonstick options. With so many variations, there is sure to be a collection that will suit your cooking needs.
If we are just looking at Calphalon’s nonstick pans, there are a few to choose from. They are best known for their hard anodized aluminum that has been treated with a process that hardens the aluminum, making it more durable, resistant to corrosion, and heat conductive than standard aluminum. This has been the signature cookware for Calphalon since the 1960s, but there are many other options available making it a cookware company that really has something for everyone.
When it comes to cost, HexClad remains the highest-priced cookware of its kind. You can certainly find comparably priced pans by Calphalon in the Elite, Signature, and Premier collections while other lines, like Select by Calphalon and Simply Calphalon, are more affordable, as well as nonstick.
The Calphalon Signature nonstick pans claim that they can endure the use of metal utensils and are able to withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees, which is just like the HexClad in those respects. Also similar is the lifetime warranties for these two companies. Calphalon remains considerably less expensive than HexClad. So in the end, you have to ask yourself if you are willing to spend more for a more expensive pan with less product history to back it up.
Overall, HexClad is significantly more expensive than Calphalon, even when you compare it to Calphalon’s high-end collections.
Is Hexclad Worth the Money?
High-quality kitchen equipment is not cheap, and Hexclad cookware is no exception. You can expect to pay more for this nonstick cookware than you would for others of comparable sizes. The bottom line is this: How long do these pans last, and will you get your money’s worth in the end?
The truth is, nonstick pans do not last forever. Inevitably, they get scratched or suffer some sort of damage to the cooking surface that alters the way it releases food. It is really just a matter of time before that happens and you need to replace your cookware.
With a lifetime warranty, it seems that HexClad is a company that stands behind its products, but bear in mind that this cookware line is rather new on the market. This translates to some ambiguity in terms of the expected lifespan of HexClad pans. The truth is they are more expensive than their competitors, and there is not enough history to indicate if they are truly worth the cost.
Is Hexclad Really Safe?
There is no evidence to support the idea that HexClad is in any way hazardous. The nonstick coating does contain PTFE which is in over 95% of all nonstick cookware. PTFE is safe and a better choice than PFOA which is what gave nonstick cookware a bad rap in the past. It is a bit unclear if HexClad is really safe, though there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that it isn’t safe if that makes sense. In short, it is most likely safe.
Is HexClad Oven-Safe?
HexClad has made it abundantly clear that their cookware is oven-safe. With that said, it is worth noting that it is not designed for temperatures in excess of 500 degrees. I would caution users to be even more conservative with oven temperatures. Reviewers who reported discoloration of HexClad cookware indicated that using it at high temperatures seemed to be the culprit. In an effort to maintain the aesthetic look and integrity of the nonstick surface of these pans, my suggestion is to keep it under 400 degrees.
Verdict about Hexclad Cookware
If you want a product that looks great and has reasonable nonstick properties at relatively high temperatures, the HexClad is a good choice.
If you are trying to stay within a budget and want a pan that has a proven track record, you are better off choosing the All-Clad nonstick cookware.
The truth about nonstick pans is that, while they may start out working well, releasing food with ease and cleaning up without a great deal of scrubbing, that surface is not going to last forever. There are a lot of options out there that offer the promise of durability, but until you get your pan into the kitchen and give it a try for yourself there is no way to know if it will live up to your expectations.