The 7 Best Hard Anodized Cookware Sets (In 2021)

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In a hurry and just want to know what is the best hard anodized nonstick cookware set? Then, I recommend the Calphalon Premier Hard-Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set.

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Anodized cookware is subtle but high quality. It doesn’t have the flashiness of ceramic or the antiquity of cast iron. Yet it’s cookware that lasts, cooks well and is easy to handle.

I’ve reviewed the 7 best hard anodized cookware sets, which are:

Read on to find the best non stick anodized cookware for your kitchen.

What is Hard Anodized Aluminum Cookware?

Hard anodized cookware is aluminum cookware with an extra aluminum oxide layer. This makes it harder.

Hard anodized aluminum, just like regular aluminum, is lighter than other metals used in cookware.

As aluminum is an excellent conductor with an even heat distribution, it will heat your food efficiently. No more hotspots!

Hard anodized aluminum really comes into its own when compared with stainless steel. It distributes heat more efficiently, is much lighter, and the non-stick layer makes it easier to clean. Beware however, stainless steel cookware almost always lasts longer.

The rest of the features depend on the manufacturer, and in particular, the nonstick coating.

Best Hard Anodized Cookware

Nonstick and PTFE

Whether hard anodized cookware is nonstick depends on the coating. Most hard anodized aluminum cookware has a nonstick coating.

This coating will probably contain Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). This is harmless as long as you use it correctly. There used to be a potentially harmful chemical in nonstick called Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA). However, this isn’t used anymore. So, “PFOA free”, as many manufacturers advertise, doesn’t mean much!

Dishwasher Safe

Whether hard anodized aluminum cookware is safe for the dishwasher will depend on the coating.

This is really helpful as it’s easier to stick everything in the dishwasher in a rush.

However be aware, non-stick pots and pans will have a shorter lifespans if you regularly wash them in the dishwasher. The best thing to do, even with dishwasher-safe cookware, is to hand wash as much as you can.

Hard Anodized Pan being cleaned with a sponge

In my experience the only cookware that you can always throw into the dishwasher without worrying is stainless steel cookware.

Metal utensils

Generally it’s not a good idea to use metal on surfaces you don’t want to scratch. This is especially the case with any sort of nonstick coating, even if it has a durable hard-anodized aluminum body.

Some hard-anodized cookware sets are advertised as scratch-resistant or even “metal utensil safe”. I would take this as a good sign of their durability, but still avoid metal utensils. Manufacturers sometimes exaggerate a little and using metal utensils will definitely wear out non-stick pots and pans faster. Even if made of hard anodized aluminum.

Remember “scratch-resistant” is “scratch-proof”.

Induction Stoves

As a non-ferrous metal, aluminum isn’t suitable for induction stoves. So, generally, hard anodized aluminum cookware sets won’t work on induction stoves.

The only way around this is to include a layer of ferrous metal in the hard anodized cookware. Unfortunately, this isn’t as efficient.

In conclusion: if you have an induction stove, hard anodized aluminum cookware isn’t ideal but there are some choices! There’s plenty of other options for induction stoves though.

One word of warning; the best way to check if something is induction-ready is to to check the description. Don’t assume. Not all stainless steel cookware is induction-compatible for example.

Ceramic And Glass Stoves

Aluminum cookware is ideal for glass stoves where light smooth surfaces are needed. Check out my guide to glass stove cookware for more information.

Now on to the hard anodized cookware reviews…

Calphalon Premier Hard-Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set (Best Hard Anodized Cookware Set)

This is an amazing top end set both quality and price wise. You can feel it is sturdy and long lasting as soon as you hold it.

It’s all the “safes”, dishwasher safe, oven safe and metal utensil safe. I would avoid metal utensils, though, just in case.

This hard-anodized cookware set is built to last a lifetime with a warranty to match. What’s more the manufacturer appears to honor the warranty.

It has almost all the pieces your could want, including a pasta insert. It would have been nice to have a true, flat, griddle, but there is a frying pan with low sides that should work fine.

If you only want to buy one cookware set that will last then this could be the one. As with most long lasting, high quality products it does need a significant upfront investment.

Pros

  • Genuine lifetime warranty which does seem to be honored
  • Very high quality set – built to last
  • Frying / sauté pan with lid
  • Steamer AND pasta insert
  • Cool touch handles
  • Oven safe to 230°C (400°F) – enough for most uses
  • Metal utensil safe
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Heat Resistant Tempered Glass Lids

Cons:

  • High end price
  • No true griddle
  • Not PTFE free – not a problem for me
  • Big and quite heavy for aluminum
  • Lid handles can get hot

If you are looking to shop around then Bed Bath and Beyond has the 11 piece version of this Calphalon hard anodized cookware set:

Check 11 Piece Price on BBBY

There’s a cookware set that I don’t mention in this review. It’s a top quality set but I’m not convinced the extra price is worth it for non-stick.

It’s All Clad.

However I do compare it with Calphalon: check it out if you are interested.

Anolon Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set (Most Attractive Hard Anodized Cookware Set)

This lovely 11 piece hard anodized nonstick cookware set is on the pricier side of the options.

Interestingly, the manufacturer claims the non-stick cooking surface is metal utensil safe. I would avoid using metal utensils, but it’s a good sign and protection in case you ever forget.

I like the rubberized stainless steel handles. This adds color, keeps them durable, yet also cool to touch. At least in theory; there a reports of the handles getting hot when cooking–despited the rubber coating the stainless steel.

There are many reports of the warranty being voided for flimsy reasons. These include putting the cookware in the dishwasher, or exposing the pans to high heat.

This is a nice set but I think the quality doesn’t quite match the price. If you fall in love with the look then go for it, but be aware they might not last as long as you expect.

Pros

  • Metal utensil safe
  • Easy to clean up
  • Shatter-resistant glass lids
  • Very attractive and well presented
  • Range of color options
  • Frying / Sauté pans with lids
  • Oven safe to 205°C (400°F).

Cons:

  • Not suitable for dishwasher
  • Reports of lifetime warranty not being honored
  • Surface is prone to scratching, chipping and flaking
  • Contains PTFE (though this shouldn’t be a problem)
  • Stainless steel handles get hot when cooking
  • Often reported to arrive damaged

T-fal Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set Best Titanium Hard Anodized Cookware Set)

T-fal has a strong reputation for quality and I know that I’m happy to use them.

They can be more expensive, but that is because they use high quality materials. In fact this set is on the cheaper side for hard anodized aluminum cookware, which is a premium material.

T-fal offers three sets: a 12 piece, a 14 piece and a 17 piece set. The 14 piece set is the best value, in my opinion, offering everything you need, including a griddle! Griddles are perfect for making yummy pancakes…

The 14 piece set is just right

It has a saute pan and fry pans with lids which makes the clean up easier as well as a steamer insert.

It is dishwasher safe. As with any nonstick pans you should make sure nothing can touch the inner surface of the pan in the dishwasher.

Avoid using metal utensils around these pans.

The non-stick coating on these pans is reinforced with titanium for durability. This, when combined with the hard-anodized aluminum body, should really help them last.

But they aren’t invulnerably and won’t last forever. Treat with care.

There are reports of T-Fal not honoring the warranty for what, in my opinion, are flimsy reasons. That being said at this price point that’s perhaps understandable.

The 17 piece set might be too much

You get a lot of good quality, nice cookware for what you pay. It won’t last the longest of the hard anodized cookware, but it is a premium product at an affordable, even budget, price.

I’ve bought T-Fal before and I would get it again.

Pros

  • Good quality
  • Reinforced Titanium adds extra durability
  • Good value
  • Steamer insert
  • See-through lids for most pans, including frying / sauté pans
  • Oven safe to 205°C (400°F) without lids
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Durable nonstick surface works well

Cons:

  • Glass lids are only oven safe to 175°C (350°F) – not enough
  • Can develop water markings and other discolorations
  • Griddle pan is thin and prone to warping (other pans ok)
  • Will last a while but not forever
  • Reports of warranty not always being honored

Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Non-Stick Hard Anodized Set (Most Pots and Pans)

This is a decent quality cookware set for a reasonable price. You get most of the anodized pots and pans that you could want.

It would have been nice to see a griddle, but you can use one of the fry pans instead.

These seem to be a sturdy set of pans that should last if treated correctly. Unfortunately this means never putting them in the dishwasher. That’s a bit of a red flag for me, and puts me off buying them.

I do understand that they are easy to clean up so might not need the dishwasher, but it is useful to be able to use it occasionally.

If you wash your cookware by hand, this might be the set for you.

Pros

  • Steamer insert
  • Tempered glass lids for most pans, including frying / sauté pans
  • Oven safe to 260°C (500°F) without lids – enough for most uses
  • Includes pasta insert

Cons:

  • No griddle even on 17 piece set
  • Not suitable for dishwasher
  • Doesn’t appear to be PTFE free, this doesn’t bother me though
  • Lids only oven safe to 175°C (350°F) – not enough
  • Pans are prone to fading and scratching

Rachael Ray Brights Hard Anodized Nonstick Pots and Pans Set (Most Stylish Hard Anodized Cookware Set)

Rachael Ray doesn’t claim to be a professional chef. She’s someone who likes to quickly and easily cook healthy food. I love the look of this stylish cookware with colorful handles. It’s not gaudy or excessive, it’s just well designed.

It’s also a good quality nonstick cookware set offered for a reasonable price.

It isn’t the highest quality (or the highest price) though. For example, the pans are prone to denting if you’re not careful. This is because the metal is slightly thinner than it should be. The nonstick surface and also lose its nonstick properties after heavy use.

If you’re looking for some stylish cookware at a reasonable price, consider this hard anodized aluminum cookware set.

It’s not for me, mainly because there isn’t a color option that goes well with my kitchen. (My kitchen uses similar colors as this website).

If you can find a color option you could see working in your kitchen, and can live with these pans only lasting a few years, this could be the set for you.

Pros

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Nice selection of colors for handles
  • Very stylish
  • Glass lids

Cons:

  • Only oven safe to 175°C (350°F) – this isn’t enough
  • Reports of small frying pan losing its nonstick properties after heavy use
  • Can slide on stovetop when cooking on flat surface
  • Metal is a little bit too thin, meaning the pans can dent or warp

If you like Rachael Ray, she also offers a dedicated baking pan set. I’ve included it in my bakeware set roundup. In my opinion it’s quite a decent set.

Amazon Brand – Stone & Beam Kitchen Cookware Set (Best Budget Hard Anodized Cookware Set)

The 17 piece nonstick cookware set offers all the pots and pans you could want at a reasonable price It includes a steamer as well as a griddle. It also has a frying / sauté pan with a see through lid.

Also offered is a 12 piece set, though it is really only 10 cookware pieces as it includes 2 spatulas.

For me the 17 piece set is a bit too much and the 12 (10) piece set not quite enough. It’s missing an option for something in the middle.

Other than that it’s a nice, good value own brand set.

Pros

  • 17 piece set offers everything you could want at a very reasonable price
  • See through lids for most pans including frying / sauté pan
  • Glass lids have venting holes – minimises splatter
  • Steamer and griddle included
  • Oven safe to 205°C (400°F)

Cons:

  • 17 piece set is a little too much and 12 piece not quite enough – need something in between
  • Not dishwasher safe
  • Contains PTFE – this wouldn’t bother me though
  • Not induction compatible

Cooks Standard Nonstick Hard Anodized Cookware Set (Runner Up Best Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware)

This is a great set of high quality pans for a budget price.

This good value deal is missing a few pieces though. It would be nice to have a steamer insert, as well as a griddle. The sauté pan, which comes with a lid, is a bit big for frying, and the frying pans don’t have any lids.

Nitpicking aside, these anodized pots and pans are definitely worth a close look.

It’s a quality product that’s well engineered. The stainless steel handles, for example, reek of durability yet remains cool-to-touch when cooking.

Pros

  • Induction compatible – a rarity with anodized pans
  • See through lids, including for sauté pan
  • Nonstick interior AND exterior = easy to clean
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Glass lids with vent holes
  • High quality product
  • Oven safe to 260°C (500°F) without lids – enough for most uses

Cons:

  • Dishwasher safe, hand wash recommended – what does that mean?
  • More pieces would be nice – steamer and griddle in particular
  • Lids are only oven safe to 175°C (350°F) – not enough

FAQs

Is hard anodized cookware better than stainless steel?

Anodized aluminum pots and pans have a more even heat distribution than ordinary stainless steel, and usually come with a nonstick coating making them easier to clean.

On the other hand stainless steel pots and pans are normally much more durable, can take a lot of abuse and don’t have any chemical coatings.

Neither one is better. One premium option that combines the even heat distribution of aluminum with the durability and safe cooking surface of steel is tri-ply stainless steel, which has two layers of stainless steel and one layer of aluminum. Yet nothing is perfect and the downside of tri-ply is it is normally costly and doesn’t come with a nonstick coating.

Is hard anodized cookware safer than stainless steel?

Stainless steel is one of the safest cooking materials there is. The only risk is if you have a nickel allergy or excess iron.

Anodized aluminum cookware should be safe as the anodization layer is unreactive, but there are a couple of things to be aware of:

  • If you overheat the pan, the non-stick coating could release toxic fumes.
  • If the surface is scratched, exposing the bare aluminum, this might be toxic.

So if you don’t over heat anodized-aluminum cookware and throw it out when the nonstick surface is scratched, you should be fine.

My Verdict

Best Hard Anodized Cookware Set

My choice for best hard anodized cookware is the Calphalon Premier Hard-Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set. It’s a well thought out and designed set. Little details, like the helper handle on the sauté pan count for a lot.

I also like how they do seem to be honoring the lifetime warranty. It makes purchasing this, very expensive set, a way of potentially saving money. Rather than shell out every few years for a replacement set, you pay upfront to get a set that lasts.

It’s not as stylish as some of the other sets reviewed. If that matters to you, by all means go with the one that caught your eye.

For me, this Calphalon set has just about everything you could ever want in a cookware set. If I was going to have one set for the rest of my life this one would seriously tempt me.

Remember if you are shopping around, you can also check availability and price on Bed Bath and Beyond:

Check 11 Piece Price on BBBY

Runner Up

Although it is only the runner up, the Cooks Standard Nonstick Hard Anodized Cookware Set tempted me. It seems like very high quality at a very good price.

The reason I hesitated to recommend it is I couldn’t find enough information about how well it honored it’s warranty and how long the pans lasted.

If you have a tight budget, then consider this idea: Get the Cooks Standard Anodized Cookware and if you want a pasta insert or a lid for the frying pan, buy them separately. You’ll still save money vs. buying Calphalon.

Here’s An Alternative Idea

Are you not sure about buying hard anodized pots and pans? How about trying just one? This jumbo anodized aluminum skillet from T-Fal might be all you need. It’s a cheaper way of testing the waters and an extremely versatile pan. You might find it’s all you need!