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I still remember how stressful it was trying to find the perfect set of kitchen cookware when my wife and I got married. Cookware is expensive so we wanted to make sure we made the right choice.
There’s so many different sizes, shapes, brands, and all the different types of cookware materials to pick from.
You’re trying to figure out which type of nonstick coating will actually work, which ones will last, and you want to make sure you don’t buy one that’s bad for you!
Every Sunday I spend a couple hours meal prepping for the week so I know how frustrating it is to have a nonstick pan that doesn’t work.
Below you can find our guide to the 5 of the most popular types of nonstick coatings as well as 3 to avoid!
Why should you trust us?
Our team has spent over 30 hours researching and comparing all of the most popular cookware options. We’ve read through hundreds of customer testimonials and reviews and we’ve personally tested dozens of different kinds of cookware like All-Clad, Ninja, Hexclad, and more. I’ve published over 40 articles all about cookware and can tell you way more than you’d ever want to know about the different types of nonstick materials.
- High Level Breakdown: Comparing the 8 Different Types of Non Stick Coatings
- Why Is Choosing The Right Coating Important For Non-stick Cookware?
- 8 Types Of Non-Stick Pans Coatings
- Can You Recoat A Non-Stick Pan?
- Which Non-Stick Coating Options Are The Safest?
- Which Coating Options Are The Most Effective?
- Common Questions About Non Stick Coatings
- Final Thoughts: Which Type of Nonstick Pan Should You Buy?
High Level Breakdown: Comparing the 8 Different Types of Nonstick Coatings
|Type of Nonstick||Is it safe?||Nonstick-ness||Heat||Total Score||Our Favorite|
|Carbon steel||9||7||10||26/30||Lodge 12 in. Steel Skillet|
|Enameled cast iron||8||9||9||26/30||Lodge enameled|
|Seasoned cast iron||9||7||8||24/30||Lodge Pre-Seasoned Skillet|
|Hard anodized||8||7||9||24/30||Calphalon contemporary 12in|
|Teflon (PTFE)||4||8||6||18/30||Don’t recommend|
My One Minute Take
The best type of nonstick pan is going to be a ceramic nonstick coating! These are highly safe with no PFOAs, have excellent nonstick qualities, and are great at retaining heat and heating evenly. I recommend going with Hexclad’s 10in pan. It’s stainless steel with the ceramic coating that’s infused with diamond dust to make it extra durable.
If you don’t want to go ceramic, then get yourself a carbon steel pan.
Why Is Choosing The Right Coating Important For Nonstick Cookware?
Choosing the right coating is extremely important as they all come with a range of unique properties. For example, a silicone nonstick coating is excellent for baking but may not be a great choice for cooking meat.
Affordability is also an important factor to consider when comparing the many nonstick coatings out there. There are a few options on the market that are slightly more expensive than others, such as a seasoned cast iron coating.
Before you decide on a specific nonstick coating, always consider the alternatives. You may quickly discover that your chosen coating isn’t the right choice for your personal needs!
The 5 Best Nonstick Coatings We Love
Knowing the difference between the many types of nonstick coating on the market is a great way to ensure you are buying a product you can rely on. Each type of coating will feature unique positives and drawbacks, so it’s worth comparing them before splashing out.
Take a look below to find out what each nonstick coating offers and whether or not we would recommend them today!
1. Ceramic Coating (Used in Hexclad!)
Easily considered one of the best types of nonstick pans on the market, ceramic coating is a durable and effective nonstick coating. It’s incredibly easy to clean and won’t require any specialist cleaning care.
Ceramic cookware has been used for decades for a reason. It maintains heat exceptionally well, and when applied as a coating, it stops food from sticking to your pan and inevitably burning.
One of the main benefits of ceramic coatings is that they don’t contain any harmful chemicals or toxins. This makes them the ideal choice for use alongside any cookware items you may find in your kitchen.
What’s more, ceramic cookware tends to be cheaper than cast-iron cookware. This means that even budget shoppers will be able to afford ceramic coatings and wave goodbye to sticky pots and pans!
One of the most popular new brands, Hexclad, uses ceramic coating infused with diamond dust on their stainless steel pans. These are the highest rated on our list of pans and are excellent for heat retention, durability, and nonstickiness! They also are super scratch resistant because of their unique technology.
Ceramic coatings scored 28/30 making them near perfect. They have excellent heat retention, but didn’t score a 10 because the carbon steel coating is slightly better. In my opinion, this is the best nonstick material to buy.
Perhaps the biggest letdown regarding ceramic coatings is that they aren’t as durable as other options out there. When using ceramic, try to avoid using metal tools as this will scratch away the coating.
- Affordable price – especially when compared to metallic nonstick cookware!
- Excellent heat retention – ensures that your ceramic pan can maintain high temperatures.
- Eco-friendly coating – the nonstick surface found in most ceramic pans is entirely free of toxic chemicals.
- Prone to scratches – metal utensils should be avoided when using ceramic nonstick pans.
- Nonstick surface lacks durability – the nonstick surface tends to only last a year which isn’t the most economic choice out there.
2. Carbon Steel
Closely related to cast iron, carbon steel cookware is another traditional form of nonstick cookware. Both cast iron and carbon steel share extremely similar properties. However, carbon steel tends to be a little more durable while costing slightly more than iron options.
Carbon steel itself isn’t entirely nonstick, which means it will need to be seasoned to ensure that the nonstick surface works effectively. To achieve this, you will need to constantly heat a layer of oil onto the pan to form a nonstick coating. Because they have to be seasoned we only scored it a 7.
Much like iron, carbon steel cookware is incredibly effective at maintaining heat. We scored it a 10/10 because there’s no comparison. Although it tends to heat food unevenly, it is still an excellent choice for searing meats such as steak and chicken.
You can also expect carbon steel cookware to last a while as it is one of the most durable options available on the cooking market.
Overall, if you’re looking for a durable set of nonstick pans and don’t mind seasoning a pan to form a nonstick layer, carbon steel can be a decent option! Carbon steel pans are safe to use so you don’t have to worry about any health issues.
- Excellent temperature retention – Carbon steel cookware can maintain constant high temperatures. That’s what makes it our #1 pick on our list of the best high heat pans.
- Solid durability – Carbon steel cookware is easily one of the most durable options on the market.
- Lightweight design – Perfect if you prefer lighter cookware options.
- Requires seasoning – Similar to iron cookware, you will need to season your carbon steel pans before use.
3. Enameled Cast Iron (Le Creuset, Lodge)
Step into any professional kitchen in America, and you are sure to find an enameled cast iron pan or two. This eco-friendly and toxic-free cookware option is a fantastic option for most cooking purposes and can compete with similar types of nonstick cookware.
Enameled cast iron coatings are made by combining powdered glass with any cast iron pan. Both the pan and the glass are heated up, causing the powdered glass to melt and fuse with the cast iron cookware.
Once your cookware has been coated in enameled cast iron coatings, the chances of iron leaching into your food are extremely slim. This is why professional kitchens tend to stock up on enameled options as opposed to seasoned cast iron cookware.
We gave enameled cast iron a total score of 26/30, near perfect in every category. It’s great for nonstick, safe, and heats up very well.
The main disadvantage to enameled cast iron cookware is that it can be expensive, especially when compared to similar iron options. If you don’t mind splashing out, then enameled cast iron is one of the best options out there!
- Eco-friendly coating – No harmful chemicals or toxins are used in enameled iron cookware.
- Incredible heat distribution – Ensures that your food is cooked evenly without any burnt or undercooked sections.
- Fantastic durability – Iron is easily one of the most durable materials used in cookware products.
- Sometimes pricey – This is why it is mostly found in commercial kitchen settings.
- Can be chipped – Enameled cookware is sensitive to sudden temperature changes, which can cause chips and cracks.
4. Seasoned Cast Iron
Seasoned cast iron is easily one of the most traditional types of nonstick cookware you will find in any kitchenware store. Resistant to rust and high temperatures and offering fantastic nonstick properties when coated, cast iron cookware is a traditional favorite.
As with all types of nonstick cookware, there are a few negatives to cast iron. The main issue is that if you suffer from iron sensitivity, scratched cast iron cookware can lead to a few problems. This is why we gave it a 7/10 for “nonstickiness.”
Another issue that a few people may face when using seasoned iron is that it can be heavier than similar options. But this added weight will add to the durability of your pan, so if you want a pan to last a lifetime, seasoned cast iron is an excellent choice.
Fortunately, unlike similar types of nonstick coating, seasoned iron cookware is completely free from any harmful chemicals. What’s more, when your cookware is seasoned, the amount of iron that can be leached is drastically reduced. We gave it a 9/10, which is near perfect. The only issue is the amount of iron that could be potentially leached into your food.
While seasoned cast iron comes with a unique selection of benefits and drawbacks, it is still a favorite in home kitchens. Its high levels of durability and nonstick capabilities, when seasoned, make this an excellent choice for any budding chef.
My opinion is that seasoned cast iron are the best pans for cooking steak!
- Chemical-free – Seasoned iron cookware is completely safe for use in the kitchen.
- Incredible durability – You can expect your iron pots and pans to last you for many years.
- High availability – Iron is one of the most traditional and popular types of cookware available.
- Requires seasoning – You will need to season your pans before use to ensure they are nonstick.
- Can be heavy – It may not be suitable for chefs who prefer lighter style cookware.
5. Anodized Aluminum Coating
An anodized aluminum nonstick coating is a fairly popular option due to its strength and incredible heat resistance. It also features slight nonstick properties, which is why many commercial kitchen settings use anodized aluminum cookware – But how exactly is it nonstick?
During the manufacturing process, the aluminum is passed through a mixture of organic acid and sulfuric. Once it has been dipped, it is electrically charged. This will smooth the surface of the aluminum pan, sealing any crack or pores and providing a makeshift nonstick coating.
The main worry many chefs have with anodized aluminum pots and pans are that they might be prone to leaching aluminum oxide when scratched. This can be toxic in high doses, which is why you mustn’t scratch the surface of aluminum cookware when cooking. This is why scored it an 8/10 for safety. They are perfectly safe as long as they don’t get scratched too much.
Thankfully, your typical anodized aluminum coating used today will not leach significant amounts of aluminum, making it a safe and effective option in most kitchens. In my opinion, hard anodized pans are safe to use.
If other types of nonstick cookware have let you down in the past, then consider checking out anodized aluminum cookware.
Read more: Hard Anodized vs Stainless Steel Cookware
- Superb versatility – You can be sure that you will be able to find a range of anodized aluminum pots and pans.
- Dent resistant – High levels of durability mean that aluminum pans are sure to last you a while.
- Fantastic nonstick properties – You don’t need to worry about food sticking to your pan when cooking.
- Difficult to clean – Most anodized aluminum pans aren’t safe for use in a dishwasher.
- High price tag – The best hard anodized aluminum options can be too pricey for use in your home kitchen.
Three Types Of Nonstick Pans Coatings We AVOID
6. Teflon (PTFE) Coating
Teflon is one of the most effective coatings available due to its natural anti-stick properties. In addition, PTFE is an FDA-approved variant of Teflon, meaning it is deemed safe for use in both commercial and personal kitchens.
The main downside to PTFE coating is that metal utensils can easily scratch it. This lowers its durability and means your Teflon cookware may not last as long as similar options. When cooking with Teflon, try to stick to wooden or silicone utensils!
Your average PTFE coated pan will last for anywhere between 2 to 3 years under normal use.
However, Teflon makes up for this by being the most effective nonstick coating for cookware on the market. Even at high heat, PTFE prevents food from sticking to your pans, which is the main purpose behind any nonstick coating.
There are a few things to keep in mind when using a PTFE pan to ensure you are protecting both your health and your pan:
- Try to keep the pan below 500F (260C), especially when the pan is empty.
- Ensure that you are only using wooden or silicone kitchen utensils with your pan to prevent scratching away any Teflon coatings.
- If your Teflon pan is scratched, consider throwing it away and picking up a new set of PTFE cookware.
Because of the safety issues and concerns with heating, we scored this low on our list of rankings. We do not recommend them.
- Incredibly effective – Teflon is one of the best nonstick surfaces available today!
- Durable coating – You can expect your Teflon cookware to last for at least 2 to 3 years.
- FDA-approved – Modern PTFE-coated pans are approved by the FDA for use in personal and commercial kitchens.
- Potentially toxic – although most modern PTFE coatings are toxin-free, older pans may not reach the FDA standard.
- Sensitive to high temperatures – This can lead to a weakened nonstick surface or even a damaged pan.
7. Superhydrophobic Coatings
Superhydrophobic coatings are a fairly recent innovation in the world of nonstick surfaces, so they’re not quite ready for use in cookware. This means that while you can’t yet buy superhydrophobic cookware, you may be able to in the near future.
In terms of pure nonstick performance, no other coating can compete with superhydrophobic. For example, where a Teflon pan will require a greater than 70-degree tilt to tip out leftover oil and water, a superhydrophobic pan will only require a 5-degree tilt!
One worry about superhydrophobic coatings is that they may be expensive when they are available to use in cookware. As it is one of the most innovative types of nonstick coating, the first wave of superhydrophobic pans is likely to be expensive.
Although superhydrophobic coatings are currently limited to food packaging, the future is looking promising for nonstick cookware. Few types of nonstick coating will be able to stand up to the efficiency of this innovative nonstick coating!
- Incredible nonstick properties – ensures that any food you cook won’t stick to your nonstick pan.
- Toxic-free – no toxic chemicals will be used in superhydrophobic coatings.
- High-temperature resistance – so you won’t need to worry about high temperatures damaging its nonstick properties.
- Likely to be expensive – superhydrophobic cookware will probably cost a little more than other nonstick options.
- Low availability – as superhydrophobic coatings are a work in progress, it can be hard to find a full cookware set.
8. Silicone Coating
If you’re looking for a flexible nonstick coating, then silicone is the option for you. Mainly used in the baking world, silicone is an extremely heat-resistant but flexible material that offers decent nonstick qualities.
Silicone is made by heating silica, a mineral found in sand, to a whopping 3272F (1800c). It’s then mixed with water and a range of toxic-free chemicals to create the silicone material we are all familiar with.
The main letdown to silicone-coated cookware is that silicone isn’t entirely nonstick. This means you may still need to grease your cookware before you place it in the oven to ensure that your food doesn’t stick.
In terms of cleanliness, it is fairly easy to keep any silicone cookware clean. Warm soapy water and soft scrubbing are generally enough to remove any stains from silicone!
But while it may lack the efficiency of some of the coatings covered today, it is incredibly affordable. Silicone kitchen utensils and cookware tend to be some of the cheapest on the market, making this an excellent bargain choice!
- Low cost – This means you won’t need to break the bank to purchase a complete silicone set.
- High heat resistance – You won’t need to worry about your silicone cookware being damaged by your oven.
- Easy to clean – Simply soak your silicone cookware in warm soapy water and give it a gentle scrub.
- Requires greasing – This isn’t ideal if you want to avoid the use of oils and fats when cooking.
- Not suitable for hobs – Silicone cookware is generally designed for use inside your oven.
Can You Recoat A Nonstick Pan?
Once your pan’s nonstick coating has begun to fade, you are asking yourself whether or not you can recoat it. It is possible to re-coat any nonstick cookware, but it can be fairly complicated and shouldn’t be done at home.
When the nonstick surface has worn away, you can usually choose one of two options. Either seek a professional coating surface to reapply a nonstick surface to your pan or invest in a new set of cookware.
Generally, it is easier to just buy a new set of nonstick cookware as opposed to spending money on reapplying a nonstick coating. If you are attached to a specific set, then it may be worth it to recoat your pots and pans – but always take the time to weigh up the pros and cons!
Which Nonstick Coating Options Are The Safest?
There is a range of nonstick coating options that are completely safe for both commercial and personal use. However, it’s still worth taking the time to compare your options and find the safest option out there.
As you can see, the safest option on the market is ceramic-coated pans. Ceramic coatings are completely free of any harmful chemicals, which is why they are such a popular choice for anyone looking for a toxic-free pan coating!
Which Coating Options Are The Most Effective?
Most of the different nonstick coatings are very effective as long as the coating stays intact. We scored pans based on the effectiveness of the nonstick coating, the durability of the coating, and how much maintenance or seasoning was required.
Here’s the breakdown…
As you can see, the ceramic coating was the overall winner because it has no toxic materials and is highly durable!
The enameled cast iron is a close second and only because they require maintenance with being seasoned. The carbon steel pans have the same issue but don’t perform quite as well.
When comparing cookware, consider what sort of cuisine you mainly cook and how much you are willing to spend. This is the best way to compare the many options out there so you can find the most effective option for your kitchen.
Common Questions About Nonstick Coatings
Which nonstick coating is most durable?
Ceramic nonstick coatings are some of the most durable and toxic-free options on the market. A ceramic coating can withstand high-temperature levels, which is why it’s perhaps the best nonstick pan material.
How long does a nonstick coating typically last?
Most nonstick coatings should last for anywhere between 2 to 3 years, with some high-quality options lasting for up to 5 years. To ensure your coating lasts as long as possible, avoid using abrasive sponges when cleaning your nonstick pans.
Is Teflon a dangerous material?
Although there are some rumors about Teflon being toxic, this is no longer true under normal use. Modern Teflon is generally completely safe to use, so you shouldn’t need to worry about Teflon causing health issues!
Can I add a nonstick coating to cast iron cookware?
Generally, it’s not possible to add a nonstick coating to cast iron cookware. When using iron cookware, you should try to use oils and fats to produce a nonstick coating that will prevent food from sticking to your pan and burning – this is known as seasoning!
Final Thoughts: Which Type of Nonstick Pan Should You Buy?
Whether you work in a professional kitchen or you are responsible for mealtimes at home, picking the right type of nonstick pan is a great way to wave goodbye to burnt food. Using our guide, we are confident that you can find the right type of nonstick pan for your kitchen needs.
In my opinion, these are the best nonstick coating options: 1) Hexclad pan that uses ceramic coating, 2) a carbon steel pan or 3) a seasoned cast iron pan by Lodge.
Try to consider how long your coating will last, how easy it is to clean, and whether or not it fits inside your budget. This is the best way to ensure that your chosen coating is worth purchasing.
Richmond Howard started Meal Prepify in 2019 and has helped over a million people learn how to meal prep, get better at meal planning, and create a kitchen they love to use. He’s an avid home chef and loves to bbq, grill out, and make awesome food for family and friends. He’s been featured on MSN, Renaissance Periodization, and Good Financial Cents.