Stainless steel cookware is great for its long-lasting durability and non-reactive properties. It also looks professional and can handle high heat. But it’s slow to heat.
On the other hand, non-stick cookware is great for easy food release. It’s my go-to for scrambled eggs. But traditional non-stick is notoriously short-lived, and it can’t handle the high heat like stainless steel.
So why not just combine the two materials into one pan? Hexclad Hybrid Cookware and All-Clad cookware have done just that.
All-Clad vs. Hexclad Cookware: At a Glance
The All-Clad cookware brand has been around since 1971 when metallurgist John Ulam pioneered bonded metal cookware. Although most people think of strictly stainless steel cookware, All-Clad does make pots and pans in a variety of materials.
Hexclad is a newer kid in the cookware market, but this brand has risen in popularity, thanks to its unique design and celebrity spokesman, Chef Gordon Ramsay. Hexclad products have earned a reputation for innovation.
For a quick breakdown of the major features, see the chart below:
I would recommend Hexclad for those who really want a hybrid cookware. It’s best if you’ve cooked with both stainless steel cookware and nonstick cookware before, so you know what you’re getting.
However, if you want high-quality stainless steel with a nonstick pan or two, I would go with All-Clad’s stainless steel cookware and purchase a cheap non-stick pan as a supplement.
Which stainless steel non-stick cookware will rise to the top? Learn more by reading below.
Hexclad vs. All-Clad: Product Reviews
First up we have the All-clad Tri-Ply D3 Pots and Pans Set. These pans feature a tri-ply construction with a stainless steel exterior and aluminum core.
The set comes with the following 10 pieces:
- 8-inch (20 cm) frying pan
- 10-inch (25 cm) frying pan
- 2-quart (1.89 liters) covered saucepan
- 3-quart (2.84 liters) covered saucepan
- 3-quart (2.84 liters) sauté pan with lid
- 8-quart (7.57 liters) covered stockpot
You also have the option to get a single frying pan, with several size options available.
It might appear that just the frying pans are non-stick, which makes sense. After all, who needs a non-stick stock pot to boil water? However, some customers reported that the other pots and pans also have a nonstick surface. Not the most practical, but helpful to know.
Buyers had mixed reviews for this stainless steel nonstick cookware set. Their favorite features were the easy cleaning and the even heat distribution. The most common complaints were regarding the durability of the nonstick pans.
Next up is the Hexclad Hybrid Cookware Set. This set has a whopping 12 pieces, although half of those are lids. Every single piece comes with a lid, which is unusual for most cookware sets. I reviewed a similar set previously. Here’s what you get:
- 8-inch (20 cm) fry pan with lid
- 10-inch (25 cm) fry pan with lid
- 12-inch (30 cm) fry pan with lid
- 2-quart (1.89 liters) covered saucepot
- 3-quart (2.84 liters) covered pot
- 8-quart (7.57 liters) covered pot
If an entire set is more than you need, there is a single covered Hexclad skillet available, as well. This Hexclad cookware collection features full-clad stainless steel construction with a core of aluminum.
The non-stick coating has a laser-etched stainless design. This coating is both on the cooking surface and the bottom section of the exterior.
Customers loved the ease of cleaning and excellent heating performance of this Hexclad cookware set. They also enjoyed the durability of these pans. A small percentage reported that the nonstick coating peeled after a while and a few had issues with food sticking.
All-Clad vs. Hexclad Feature Comparison
This All-Clad cookware features a tri-ply construction with two layers of stainless steel surrounding an aluminum core.
The interior is an 18/10 stainless that’s designed to be durable and non-reactive with food. The exterior features magnetic stainless steel that’s induction-compatible.
The stockpot, sauce pans, and sauté pan have a stainless steel cooking surface, while the frying pans have a triple-layer non-stick cooking surface.
Hexlad has a similar construction with some key differences. It also features two layers of stainless steel and an aluminum core layer. It also has a non-stick surface, but here is where the design differs.
Instead of a smooth cooking surface like the All-Clad cookware, the Hexclad cookware has a patented laser-etched hexagon pattern of stainless steel on the non-stick layer. This coating is applied not only to the interior surface but also to the bottom of the exterior.
While the cookware collections are distinct from one another, they both have solid, fully-clad stainless steel construction. It comes down more to personal preference than anything.
The Hexclad Hybrid and All-Clad cookware sets both have a non-stick coating, but the design and quality of those coatings are quite different.
Hexclad pans have a distinct hexagon design of raised stainless steel. Not only does that help with braising, searing, and browning, but it makes the non-stick coating scratch-resistant.
That’s why you can use metal utensils on a Hexclad pan without damaging the non-stick coating. But just because these pans are metal-utensil safe doesn’t mean I would risk it.
Most customers were pleased with the food release on their Hexclad cookware, but some said food sticks to the pan. It’s important to note that Hexclad pans require seasoning, and it’s unknown if those customers followed the proper seasoning guidelines.
The All-Clad pans have a smooth finish, with three layers of non-stick. Like most nonstick skillets, these pans are not metal utensil safe. Go with wooden or heat-resistant silicone cooking utensils, instead.
Customers were initially thrilled with the easy food release of this non-stick coating. However, the honeymoon phase ended quickly for many.
There were several reports of the non-stick peeling away from the stainless steel. For some it was after a few years, but for others it was just a matter of months.
You should not use metal utensils on this All-Clad cookware. It will damage the nonstick coating. Instead of metal utensils, go with wooden or heat-resistant silicone.
Even though All-Clad’s non-stick outperformed Hexclad’s at the start, it quickly breaks down. The durability of the Hexclad non-stick surface gives it a big advantage in this category.
Winner: Hexclad Cookware
Heat conduction not only includes how fast a pan responds to heat, but it also includes the heat distribution.
Heat distribution is where All-Clad cookware shines. This set is no different. Buyers raved about the even heating. The fully-clad stainless steel pans distribute heat without hot or cold spots.
Hexclad cookware also received high praise about the heat distribution. They also commented on how fast these pans heat.
Even though Hexclad has good heating, All-Clad cookware is one of the best in terms of heating performance. Therefore, they get a slight advantage.
Heat retention is important because it allows you to cook at a lower temperature, thereby reducing your energy and preventing overcooked or burnt dishes.
It’s also great for keeping dishes warm when you’re waiting on another dish to finish cooking.
The All-Clad non-stick stainless cookware line has decent heat retention. Hexclad seems to have slightly better heat retention, though.
That ability to hold in heat is why people can use it for searing. The heat doesn’t immediately dissipate upon adding cold ingredients.
Neither of these sets will give you the heat retention of a cast iron pan, but I give a very slight edge to the Hexclad cookware line.
Winner: Hexclad Cookware
All-Clad cookware typically has superior durability, thus making it a popular heirloom set. While All-Clad offers long-lasting, high-quality cookware, the non-stick set doesn’t have the same staying power as your average All-Clad pan.
The reality is, even the very best non-stick cookware is going to need replacing. It’s just not designed to last forever.
That being said, the amount of users that had issues with peeling non-stick would cause anyone to hesitate. Especially when you’re spending that kind of money.
Hexclad cookware will likewise need replacing…eventually. However, the coating seems to last longer on a Hexclad pan, even with more hard use. Of course, proper usage, cleaning, and maintenance is a big part of that.
But if I’m choosing Hexclad vs. All-Clad for enduring performance, I have to go with Hexclad in this case.
Winner: Hexclad Cookware
Other nonstick pans can’t handle high oven temperatures. Not so with Hexclad and All-Clad. Being able to realistically use non-stick cookware in the oven separates these cookware brands from others.
This All-Clad cookware set is oven-safe up to 500°F (260°C). Likewise, the Hexclad pans are oven-safe to 500°F (260°C). If you’re looking for stovetop-to-oven cookware, you’ll have no problems using either of these brands.
The hybrid pans feature a magnetic steel base that makes Hexclad induction-compatible. All-Clad is also compatible with induction cooktops.
Customers confirmed that they were able to use their pans on their induction cooktops. Both sets are also safe for electric, gas, ceramic, and halogen stovetops.
Therefore, there is no clear winner in this category.
All-Clad offers stainless steel, double-riveted handles on their stainless steel non-stick cookware. These handles are long, straight, and feature a u-shaped curve.
The Hexclad handles are also stainless steel and dual-riveted, although they have a y-shaped fork at the base to help keep them cool while cooking.
Both All-Clad’s handles and Hexclad’s handles stay cool, but the comfort is the main difference. And since both sets are heavier, comfortable handles are super important when lifting the pans.
Customers consistently complain about the discomfort of the All-Clad handles. The shape creates pressure points on the hand, which is why so many people complained of the All-Clad handles digging into their palms when handling.
Hexclad’s handles, however, have a rounded design that sits better in the palm. Customers didn’t report discomfort when handling the cookware.
When it comes to Hexclad vs. All-Clad handles, Hexclad has the advantage.
Winner: Hexclad Cookware
The All-Clad pots and pans are topped with oven-safe stainless steel lids. These lids don’t allow you to monitor food while cooking, but they are tight-fitting and more durable. They can also withstand higher heat in the oven.
The Hexclad pans, on the other hand, sport tempered glass lids with stainless steel rims. These see-through lids are great for monitoring food, but they can only go in the oven up to 350°F (180°C).
However, you do get more lids with the Hexclad cookware set. I like having at least one frying pan with a cover for melting cheese on burgers or other one-pot meals.
Ultimately, you have to choose between lids that can handle higher oven temps and see-through lids.
It mostly depends on personal preference, but I like the snug-fitting design and durability of the All-Clad lids. I give them the edge in this category.
Ease of Cleaning
One of the major appeals of non-stick cookware is the ease of cleaning. Generally, a simple wipe with a wet dish cloth is enough to clean a pan. This isn’t always the case with stickier foods like eggs or seared meats.
The Hexclad cookware set is easy to clean. Even though it’s dishwasher-safe, hand washing is better. However, even among those customers who hand washed their Hexclad cookware, they found it to be easy to clean.
The All-Clad cookware is also advertised as dishwasher-safe, but I would be hesitant to clean it that way. The non-stick surface might peel or degrade faster in the dishwasher. I recommend hand-washing it.
Customers said washing these pans is a simple task. Simply wipe down the nonstick coating with a wet sponge and mild soap, if necessary. Avoid abrasive sponges or steel wool on the interior cooking surface.
You can keep the stainless steel exterior nice and shiny with an occasional application of Bar Keeper’s Friend.
Both of these stainless steel lines are a cinch to clean up. You could go either way, so there is no clear winner for this category.
This is Hexclad’s achilles heel, if you will. While this cookware has great performance and a lot of benefits, you have to be willing to put in the time to achieve those results.
Upon receiving your Hexclad pan, you’ll need to season it. You don’t have to season it after each use, but you should do it often enough that the nonstick coating maintains its easy food release.
If food sticks to your pan, you can try washing it and re-seasoning it. Here are the steps:
- Heat your pan to medium-low and spread 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil around the interior of the pan.
- Leave the pan on to heat for 1-2 minutes.
- You’re ready to cook. Easy as 1-2-3!
Watch as Hexclad’s CEO explains how to season your cookware:
Realistically, it isn’t that much different than having a cast iron pan, but most people gravitate to non-stick cookware for its convenience and easy cleaning. If you have to season the pan frequently, you may prefer the no-fuss style of All-Clad.
Both sets have polished stainless exteriors, with the Hexclad pans also having the non-stick finish on the lower part of the pan.
While the All-Clad and Hexclad cookware look nice and professional, it’s tough to beat the classic elegance of the All-Clad stainless steel sets.
It does boil down to personal preference, but the stainless steel finish, along with the stainless lids, should look nicer over time than the Hexclad. All-Clad has the edge in this category.
All-Clad has a limited lifetime warranty that covers manufacturing defects. Users had mixed reviews regarding the warranty, with several complaining that All-Clad was unresponsive or combative to their requests.
Hexclad also offers a limited lifetime warranty. Like All-Clad, it covers manufacturing defects but not misuse. There isn’t as much of a track record in regards to their customer service, mostly due to the company’s younger age. It only started in 2016.
But on the face of it, there is virtually no difference between these two cookware brands.
Even though both Hexclad and All-Clad’s sets are on the pricier side, the Hexclad cookware is slightly more affordable. When you also consider you’re getting two additional lids, it’s clear that Hexclad cookware offers more bang for your buck. Hexclad is the winner in this category.
Winner: Hexclad Cookware
What are the Alternatives?
I’ve been breaking down Hexclad vs. All-Clad, but they aren’t the only cookware brands on the market. You have a few solid alternatives. Keep reading for a closer look at each one.
Scanpan HaptIQ 13-Piece Stainless Steel Nonstick Cookware Set: Best Splurge Alternative
Scanpan Cookware is a Danish cookware brand that manufactures high-quality non-stick cookware. I reviewed Scanpan’s offerings in a previous article.
This Scanpan HaptIQ Stainless Steel Set comes with 13 pieces, including three skillets, three saucepans with lids, a covered sauté pan, and a covered Dutch oven.
Each piece has a 5-ply fully-clad construction with an aluminum core and a stainless steel outer layer that’s mirror polished for a beautiful shine.
The interior is created with Scanpan’s proprietary Stratanium+ non-stick coating, which is super resilient. You can even use a metal spatula on it, even though I would still go with wooden utensils.
The reason this non-stick is so durable is the micro-textured surface that won’t warp, blister, or peel.
The squeeze-cast body eliminates hot spots for even heat distribution. You can brown and sear in this pan, something most nonstick cookware can’t do. They have glass lids with a stainless steel rim so you can monitor food while it’s cooking.
The cast stainless steel riveted long handle stays cool. On top of that, this set is oven-safe up to 500°F (260°C) and is induction-compatible.
This set is fantastic, but it’s very expensive. It will set you back a bit, so I consider it a splurge alternative.
- Durable Stratanium non-stick
- Good for browning and searing
- Easy to clean
- Oven-safe to 500°F (260°C)
- Not dishwasher-safe
GreenPan Treviso Stainless Steel Ceramic Non-Stick, 10 Piece Cookware Set: Best Ceramic Alternative
GreenPan is known for their healthy ceramic non-stick, but they aren’t automatically associated with stainless steel. However, this GreenPan Treviso Cookware Set has a stainless steel body with a ceramic coating for easy food release.
It comes with two frying pans, two covered saucepans, a sauté pan with lid, and a covered stockpot.
GreenPan uses a proprietary Thermolon coating, which is silicon-based and free of Teflon or toxic chemicals. This coating has great release and is easy to clean, but its non-stick properties don’t last as long as a Teflon coating. Expect this set to need replacing in a couple of years.
The GreenPan pans are dishwasher-safe, however. They’re also oven-safe to 600°F (315°C), so this is versatile cookware.
Even though the Treviso set is affordable, one drawback is that it’s not fully-clad. Instead of having layers throughout the walls and base, it only has an encapsulated base.
That means there are only layers in the bottom disc. That makes this set cheaper but less efficient in heating.
Still, if you want an affordable alternative, or if you want to avoid PTFE (Teflon), this GreenPan set is your best bet. You can also visit my complete reviews for the best non-stick pans without PTFE.
- Teflon-free ceramic
- Oven-safe to 600°F (315°C)
- Food sticks after a short time
- Not fully-clad
Circulon Momentum Stainless Steel Non-Stick 11-Piece Cookware Set: Best Budget Alternative
Lastly, we have the Circulon Momentum Stainless Steel Non-stick Set. It comes with 11 pieces, including three fry pans, a pouring saucepan, a covered saucepan, a covered sauté pan, and a stock pot with lid.
This versatile set is oven-safe to 400°F (200°C), lower than the other sets but still usable. It’s also induction-compatible.
The dual riveted stainless handles are covered in heat-resistant silicone to stay cool and be comfortable in the hand.
The non-stick layer has raised circles to help release food without problems. These circles also add to the durability of the non-stick surface.
Like the GreenPan Treviso set, the Circulon Momentum pans have an encapsulated base. That means it’s not fully-clad but has layers only in the base. This is better than a single-ply pan, but it does lead to more uneven cooking than a fully-clad pan.
When you’re done cooking, though, you can put these pots and pans in the dishwasher.
- Lower max oven temp
- Not fully-clad
Things to Consider Before Buying Non-Stick/Stainless Steel Cookware
Stainless steel, non-stick cookware is also called hybrid cookware. This type of pan is supposed to enhance the cooking experience by combining the benefits of non-stick properties with stainless steel pans.
But if you’re going to go with stainless steel non-stick cookware, you want to make sure the cookware has a few important features:
Stainless steel cookware comes in a wide range of styles, so how do you know you’re getting the best stainless steel pan?
The construction makes a big difference. Many companies, including All-Clad and Hexclad cookware, use a bonded metal construction. All-Clad was a pioneer in this process. Here’s how it works.
Instead of using a single layer of stainless steel, manufacturers bond multiple layers of metal together. Most of the time, they use aluminum as the middle, core layer.
The reason is simple–aluminum has excellent heat conductivity. On top of that, it’s inexpensive. Other cookware features a copper core, but copper is heavy and expensive. So it’s not as popular for a core layer. All-Clad does have a copper core set, which I reviewed here.
The number of layers depends on the cookware line, but many cookware brands make tri-ply cookware, which is cookware that has three layers.
You’ll find 5-ply cookware, as well. All-Clad’s D5 Collection has five layers with an aluminum and steel core. There’s even some 7-ply cookware out there, although it’s uncommon and quite expensive.
By combining the heat retention, scratch resistance, and non-reactivity of stainless steel with the heat conductivity and even heat distribution of aluminum, manufacturers bring the best of both worlds to the home chef.
Undergoing a fully clad bonding process gives cookware durability and superior heating properties.
America’s Test Kitchen explains in this video why they believe fully-clad cookware is worth it:
Other nonstick cookware features simple aluminum construction and a PTFE (i.e. Teflon) coating. This is what you’ll find on the average nonstick skillet in the big box stores.
These pans have excellent food release, but the coating breaks down quickly, even with proper use and cleaning. That’s why you have to replace them so often.
If you’re going to go with fully-clad stainless steel cookware with a non-stick coating, it’s going to cost more than cheap nonstick cookware. It only makes sense to have the best nonstick properties possible, so you aren’t just throwing money down the toilet.
Many non-stick pans include Teflon. When used at normal cooking temperatures, it’s completely safe. However, if overheated (above 500°F/260°C), it can be toxic to humans and lethal to birds. For that reason, some people wish to avoid it.
Teflon does have superior non-stick properties when compared with other materials, like ceramic. Teflon also lasts longer than other materials, but it’s easily scratched.
It’s also important to realize that, no matter how durable the non-stick is, you’ll eventually have to replace it. It won’t be a forever piece like other cookware.
Hexclad vs. All-Clad: The Winner Is…
In the Hexclad vs. All-Clad showdown, which one is best? If you want hybrid cookware, I would go with Hexclad Cookware. It has good performance with a longer lifetime than the All-Clad stainless non-stick pans.
However, if you just want a non-stick skillet or two, I would rather get All-Clad’s basic D3 Tri-Ply stainless steel pans and supplement them with an inexpensive Teflon pan.
If you wish to avoid Teflon altogether, the GreenPan Treviso has a ceramic coating that’s free of toxins and PTFE.