The 7 Best Hard Anodized Cookware Sets (In 2020)

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.

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.

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.

Since it is aluminum it is lighter than other metals.

As aluminum is an excellent conductor it will heat your food efficiently and evenly. No more hotspots!

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

Nonstick and PTFE

Whether it is nonstick depends on the coating. Most 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 cookware is dishwasher safe will depend on the coating.

This is important to me as it makes a big difference to the clean up since I tend to stick everything in the dishwasher. Although since nonstick is easy to clean, not everyone will be bothered by this.

Metal utensils

Generally it’s not a good idea to use metal utensils with surfaces you don’t want to scratch. This is especially the case with any sort of nonstick coating.

Induction Stoves

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

The only way around this is to include a layer of ferrous metal in the cookware. Unfortunately, this might spoil the heat distribution and lightweight properties of the aluminum.

In conclusion: if you have an induction stove, forget about anodized aluminum cookware! There’s plenty of other options for induction stoves though.

Now on to the hard anodized cookware set reviews…

Anolon Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set

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

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

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
  • Nonstick
  • Very attractive and well presented
  • Range of color options
  • Frying / Sauté pans with see through lids – saves the mess
  • Oven safe to 205°C (400°F).

Cons:

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

T-fal Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick 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 sauté and frying 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.

These pans have a nice copper bottom inlay. This helps distribute the heat efficiently but isn’t essential. Unfortunately over time it is prone to wearing away.

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
  • 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
  • Nonstick works well

Cons:

  • Lids are only oven safe to 175°C (350°F) – not enough
  • Can develop water markings and other discolorations
  • Inlaid copper bottom is prone to wearing away
  • 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

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 frying pans instead.

These seem to be a sturdy set of pans that should last if treated correctly. Unfortunately this means not 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 much more convenient.

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

Pros

  • Steamer insert
  • See-through 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 dishwasher safe
  • 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

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 cookware 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.

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

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
  • See through 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

Amazon Brand – Stone & Beam Kitchen Cookware Set

The 17 piece set offers everything 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

Calphalon Premier Hard-Anodized Nonstick 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.

It’s 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 in your whole life 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

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

Cooks Standard Nonstick Hard Anodized Cookware Set

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.

Pros

  • Induction compatible – a rarity with anodized pans
  • See through lids, including for sauté pan
  • Nonstick interior AND exterior = easy to clean
  • Dishwasher safe
  • 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

My Verdict

Best Hard Anodized Cookware Set

My choice 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.

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!

Find Out More About Safe Cookware

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