Cookware Kitchen Resources

A Guide to Nonstick Cookware

All-Clad HA1

There are quite a few options you have when looking at nonstick cookware. The terms and names can be confusing, but if you’re investing in nonstick, it’s a good idea to know your coatings and terms. Let’s take a look.

The History of Nonstick Coatings

We have evidence that some civilizations have been trying to make nonstick cooking surfaces for forever, but the modern history of nonstick starts with the accidental discovery of polytetrafluoroethylene. In 1938, Roy Puckett discovered PTFE while working at DuPont, and the resulting coating was named “Teflon.”

You’ll often hear nonstick coating referred to as Teflon, but in reality, that’s simply the trademarked marketing name. It wasn’t until the 1960s that it began appearing in cookware and changed the way we think of cookware surfaces forever.

Teflon wasn’t very durable at first, but through continued research, many Teflon based products are guaranteed to offer a long life; some even have lifetime guarantees. However, some studies suggested the presence of PTFE could pose potential hazards to human health, and their manufacturing process could create a substantial environmental impact.

 

What are PTFE and PFOA?

Polytetrafluoroethylene is the primary agent in preventing sticking in traditional nonstick cookware, but another compound, Perfluorooctanoic Acid, is produced sometimes during the making of nonstick cookware. PFOA is highly toxic but is burned off during the process.

Sometimes your nonstick cookware will say “PFOA” free, and that means that it doesn’t use any PFOA during the process to make nonstick coatings at all, not just that it burns off during the process. Most reputable nonstick companies are PFOA free under regulation from the EPA.

 

Is Teflon/PTFE Safe?

Consumers got a bad taste for Teflon at one point because of the potential danger of breathing in fumes. Leaving pots and pans on high heat for long periods of time can cause the lining to off-gas, causing potential fumes.

The temperature would have to be high, around 500 degrees, to even cause this potential danger, however. If this happens, you may experience flu-like symptoms after breathing in the fumes. It can also be potentially fatal to birds because of their physiology.

If your Teflon coating happens to chip, the material is considered inert. It’ll just pass through you without causing any issue. So, as long as you’re careful about the heat level for your Teflon pan, you should be safe.

Concern about Teflon, PTFE, and PFOA gave rise to a new generation of nonstick cookware, the ceramic nonstick coating. You can read more about nonstick ceramic linings in this guide.

 

Nonstick Coatings – Brand Names

Since it can be challenging to keep up with what brand names mean, here are a few very common nonstick coatings you might encounter.

PTFE Based

The following brand names use some form of PTFE to make their traditional nonstick coatings. Let’s start with the most famous one.

Teflon

Teflon is made by Dupont, and it comes in a variety of different versions. The versions use different numbers of layers and different specialties for niche cooking tasks.

  • Manufacturer: Dupont
  • Used in: Tramontina, T-Fal, Ikea, and Jamie Oliver

Includes:

  • Teflon Classic: two layers with a 25-micron thickness
  • Teflon Xtra: three layers
  • Teflon Select: three layers with a minimum of 35-micron thickness
  • Teflon Platinum: three layers with a minimum of 40-micron thickness
  • Teflon Platinum Plus: includes 50% more scratch resistance than Platinum
  • Teflon with Radiance: induction capable
  • Teflon with Infinity: for everyday cooking
  • Teflon with Scratchguard Ultra: extra scratch protection
  • Teflon Professional with Metal Guard: additional scratch protection for professional kitchens
  • Teflon Professional: Durable professional nonstick

Autograph 2

Autograph 2 is another Dupont made a nonstick coating that uses Dupont’s long history for scratch resistance and nonstick surfaces.

  • Manufacturer: Dupont
  • Used in: Circulon Hard Anodized, Analon Hard Anodized

Eterna

Eterna has a reputation for being the world’s most durable nonstick coating, and Whitford backs that claim up with guarantees. It’s also durable, scratch-resistant, and easy to use.

  • Manufacturer: Whitford
  • Used in: Cuisinart DSA-11 Dishwasher Safe Hard-Anodized Cookware

Excaliber

Excaliber’s nonstick coating is particularly suited for stainless steel applications. It’s durable and provides cooks with induction cooktops the chance for a better nonstick coating and relief from stainless steel’s sticky surface.

  • Manufacturer: Whitford
  • Used in: Joyce Chen Pans, Helen Chen Pans, Cuisinox

Eclipse

Eclipse is a reinforced coating designed to be long-lasting and resists chips and scratches. The company gives it a ten out of ten rating for durability from its own rating system. It also includes a high-build version, Eclipse HB, with extra strength.

  • Manufacturer: Whitford
  • Used in: Rachael Ray Hard Anodized, Kitchenaid Hard Anodized

QuanTanium

Whitford also makes a nonstick coating reinforced with titanium designed to provide extra durability and scratch resistance. The company gives it an eight out of ten from their own rating system for durability.

  • Manufacturer: Whitford
  • Used in: Cuisinart Hard Anodized

Halo

Halo’s coating is Whitford’s higher-end version designed with the commercial cooking system in mind. It offers a highly responsive coating with good heat distribution and less wasted energy.

  • Manufacturer: Whitford
  • Used In: Analon, Sea to Summit

Xylan

Xylan is Whitford’s budget cookware. It has a less expensive lining and an entry-level price point for new cooks.

  • Manufacturer: Whitford
  • Used in: Joyce Chen Woks, Helen Chen Woks

 

Ceramic Based

These brands use a ceramic base to create their nonstick coatings. Some are all ceramic while others are a blend of PTFE and ceramic bases.

Greblon

Greblon’s ceramic nonstick options are a blend of PTFE and ceramic designed to prevent corrosion and increase durability.

  • Manufacturer: Weilburger Coatings Germany
  • Used in: Josef Strauss, Ozeri, Healthy Legend

Thermolon

Thermolon has a ceramic coating that uses Sol-Gel technology. Small inorganic particles are suspended in a gel to create a nonstick matrix that’s PTFE and PFOA free. It’s temperature resistant up to 450 degrees, releases no toxic fumes if overheated, and it’s highly durable.

  • Manufacturer: Thermalon Corporation
  • Used in: GreenPan, Zwilling JA Henckels

Ecolon

This lining is a ceramic glass-reinforced nylon coating that is durable and provides excellent heat resistance.

  • Manufacturer: Wellman Engineering
  • Used in: Neoflam

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I care for my nonstick cookware? – Nonstick linings have different requirements for heat and care, but generally speaking, you’ll want to handwash nonstick pots and pans to prolong the life of the coating.

You’ll also want to avoid using metal cooking utensils so that you don’t accidentally chip or scratch the lining. While it doesn’t hurt you to ingest small flakes, you don’t want to have to replace your pots before its necessary.

Check with the specific manufacturer to figure out your cooking set’s heat tolerance. Most nonstick cookware does better with low to medium heat and not reaching over 450 to 500 degrees.

  • Is nonstick cookware safe? – There was some concern about PFOA and PTFE being carcinogenic. Initially, PFOA was burned off in the manufacturing process, making it safe for humans, but not the environment. PTFE creates fumes when overheated that can cause flu-like symptoms.

However, recent studies show that PTFE is not quite as dangerous as we may have believed in the past. As long as you’re careful not to overheat your pots and pans, you aren’t in danger of toxic fumes. And because PTFE is inert, swallowing any little chips isn’t too big of a deal either.

  • Is nonstick durable? – Nonstick did have a reputation for not lasting a long time when it was first introduced, but with research, durability has undoubtedly improved. Many pots and pans come with guarantees for longevity, and if you care for your pans gently, you should be fine.

The most significant caveat with nonstick cookware is to allow it to cool down before washing and to hand wash even if it’s rated for the dishwasher. Hand washing goes a long way to helping your nonstick coatings last as long as possible.

 

Investing in Nonstick Cookware

These are the most popular nonstick coatings and some examples of more well-known brands that use them, but there are more options out there. Generally, if you see nonstick coatings designated as PFOA free without other descriptive markers, you’re looking at a PTFE based coating, usually a Teflon style.

When coatings are made with another style of nonstick coating, there’s usually a more descriptive marker or name mentioned than just PFOA free. Regardless of what set you decide to invest in, nonstick coatings can undoubtedly make your life easier and cooking more pleasant.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment