Hard anodized vs ceramic cookware: who will win the battle for the title of safest cookware? In these last few years, health has become the center of many people’s attention. I would not call it a trend, that would be awfully superficial. But it is true that people are becoming increasingly aware of their own health. 2020 was also an eye opener for many people. With lockdown, we were all forced to face our less than healthy eating habits. And, as a result, many of us have turned to our stoves in search for a healthier alternative to take out.
In this article I will go over both hard anodized and ceramic cookware. I will list both their pros and cons and everything in between. This way you can make an informed choice and find the safest cookware for you.
What is Hard Anodized Cookware?
This is where we get a little bit technical, but please bear with me. I will make it as simple and informative as I can. What is hard anodizing? Anodizing a metal is an electrolytic process in which the natural oxidation of the metal has been controlled. Anodizing a metal is an oxidation process. This means that the natural oxidation of a metal is sped up.
This process is fairly simple. First, the metal is immersed in a chemical bath. Then an electrical current is applied. The resulting rust of the process produces oxide. This oxide then hardens on the surface of the metal and makes it resistant to corrosion.
Hard anodized metals have been subjected to higher voltage. This means that they are harder and more durable. The process also prevents the metal from reacting to acidic foods. That way the metal does not emit any toxic residue.
Anodized aluminium pots, although durable, are not necessarily non-stick. They can have a non-stick coating applied, but make sure they do before buying. Otherwise, Anodized cookware is best for liquids or movable foods.
It should be relatively easy to clean, but if you do need to give it a scrub be careful. Even if it isn’t a fragile material, you should avoid using harsh cleaning products and steel wool. Just to be on the safe side.
Hard anodized aluminium pots are great heat conductors as well. Which means you won’t have any issues in that regard.
But the question everyone is asking is still unanswered. If we were to compare hard anodized vs ceramic cookware, who would win?
Is Hard Anodized Cookware Safe
Now, this is what we are all really here for. The one quality that will determine a winner. Are hard anodized aluminium pots safe? The thing about hard anodized aluminium is that it has no definite answer to this question. It is regarded as safe, but only because no one could determine otherwise. There is no evidence that it isn’t safe. Which is why it is one of the most sought after materials when it comes to cookware.
We should take into account that some non-stick coatings are made of PTFE. This is by no means a small detail since PTFE (Teflon) is known to be harmful.
Pros and Cons of Hard Anodized Cookware
We need to determine who the winner is for our hard anodized vs ceramic cookware battle. And the only way to do that is to compare and contrast each material before we make our choice. In one corner we have hard anodized pots and pans. They are great heat conductance and have no known health risks. Although they do not have non-stick (unless specified) this is not entirely a bad thing. The fact that they often do not have non-stick makes them dishwasher safe. Conversely, if they do have non-stick coating it might be made of PTFE.
Best Hard Anodized Cookware Set
1.OXO Good Grips Cookware Pots and Pans Set
This product is made of hard anodized metal with good heat distribution. It is highly scratch resistant. It has a three layered PFOA free non-stick coating.The handles are made of stainless steel and glass lids. This product is dishwasher safe, and oven safe. It works with most types of stoves except induction. It is supposed to withstand up to 220 °C . Although you will have to be careful not to put it on high heat right away, reviewers are quite satisfied with the quality. This product should not be cooked in with metal utensils.
2. Ninja C39800 Foodi NeverStick Premium
This product seems to have it all and then some. It is made of hard anodized metal with non-stick coating and stainless steel handles. It is oven safe and compatible with all stove tops including induction. This set is free of PFOA, lead and cadmium. It can withstand up to 260° C and has a lifetime warranty. All of this seems too good to be true but the reviews confirm that this is indeed a quality product. The only downside to it is that it isn’t dishwasher safe.
3. GreenPan SearSmart
This product is the hybrid between hard anodized metal and ceramic non-stick coating. It is free of PFAS, PFOA, lead and cadmium. Metal utensils can be used to cook because the ceramic finish is diamond infused. It can withstand up to 315° C and is oven safe. It comes with glass lids and stainless steel handles. This set is dishwasher safe and can be used on all stovetops except induction. The only complaints I have found is that they are quite fragile. Unlike what the description says the ceramic finish is just as fragile as any other. If you decide to buy it, it should be cared for as such.
What is Ceramic Cookware?
Unlike what the name implies, ceramic cookware isn’t actually made of ceramic. Although solid ceramic cookware exists, it is not what we are addressing here. What I mean when I say ceramic cookware is rather different. The kind of cookware we are speaking of is metal cookware that has a ceramic coating. This ceramic finish is made of sol-gel coating, which is PTFE and PFO free.
Not only is ceramic cookware PTFE and PFO free, it is also non-stick and easy to clean. It is known to be pricier than cookware made from other materials as well.
Because of it’s non-stick coating it isn’t dishwasher safe. And it should not be cleaned with harsh cleaning products or steel wool for the same reason.
Metal utensils should be avoided while cooking so as not to damage the non-stick coating. It should be left to cool down before attempting to clean it as well.
Ceramic finishes don’t have great heat distribution either. The fact that it has great non-heat properties makes it harder for heat to be distributed evenly.
Is Ceramic Cookware Safe
Now for the question everyone wants the answer to: Is ceramic cookware safe? Everything we have seen up until now would suggest that yes, ceramic cookware is safe. But here are some things I have found during my research that are worth considering. Just like hard anodized aluminium, there is no proof that ceramic cookware is harmful. But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be. As for it being PTFE and PFO free it depends on the manufacturer. There are places where regulations are rather lax, so you should do your research first.
Pros and Cons of Ceramic Cookware
Now let us do one final evaluation of the benefits of ceramic cookware. It has a fantastic non-stick coating and is very easy to clean because of it. If manufacturers follow regulations, it is also PTFE and PFO free.
But this amazing non-stick is the cause for many if not all of the drawbacks. Ceramic cookware is not as durable as other types and requires more care. It is not dishwasher safe either, although it is easy to clean. The non-stick material would be damaged otherwise.
The non-stick, as high quality as it may be, makes heat conductance hard and uneven. And the health risks that it may have lack solid proof.
Best Ceramic Cookware Set
1. MICHELANGELO Copper Pots and Pans Set
This set is made of copper and has a ceramic and titanium coating. The finish is non-stick and scratch resistant. With even heat distribution and precise temperature control. It is oven resistant and can withstand up to 232° C . This set is free of PTFE, PFOA, lead and cadmium. Each piece comes with a glass lid. Reviewers only have good things to say about this set. Even though it isn’t dishwasher safe. It does not specify if it is suitable for induction stovetops. It does not say it is suitable for metal utensils either.
2. GreenPan Chatham Ceramic
This cookware set is made of hard anodized metal and has a thermolon ceramic finish. This non-stick covering is PFAS, PFOA, lead and cadmium safe. All pieces are oven and dishwasher safe. They can withstand up to 315° C . Each piece comes with a glass lid and a stainless steel handle. These pots and pans are suitable for all stovetops except induction. It does not specify if they are suitable for metal utensils. Furthermore some reviewers say the non-stick covering does not last. Even when cared for properly by the user.
3. GreenPan Prime Midnight Healthy Ceramic Nonstick
This cookware set has thermolon ceramic nonstick coating. It is made of hard anodized metal and is free of PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium. It is safe to use with metal utensils and comes with glass lids. It is also oven and dishwasher safe. This set can withstand 315° C . It does not specify, however, which stovetops it is suitable for. The only concern reviewers have is its durability. This is because the lightweight feeling of it makes them a little uneasy.
Hard Anodized vs Ceramic Cookware – Which One To Choose?
As I always say, the final decision is up to the buyer. Depending on the needs you have, one alternative will make more sense to you than the other. But for the yet undecided, I will make one last breakdown, one last comparison and contrast. Hopefully this will solidify your final decision.
Heat Resistance or Cooking
There is a common misconception about ceramic cookware. People think that it isn’t as heat resistant as other types of cookware. It might surprise you to know that this is not exactly true. ceramic cookware can withstand up to 450° F . What can damage ceramic cookware is harsh changes in temperature. Which is why we suggested above to let it cool down before cleaning it. As for the cooking, we also said that heat distribution is rather uneven . Thus you’d have to be a little more attentive to whatever you are cooking.
Hard Anodized aluminium, on the other hand does not have issues with temperature. Its heat distribution is very even. As for the cooking, it might prove a little more difficult. You will have trouble cooking anything other than movable foods or liquids. Thi is because most do not have non-stick coating.
Because of the care involved in the maintenance of ceramic cookware it is said to be less durable. Cleaning, cooking and even storing should be done carefully. For the more clumsy cook this might not be the best alternative.
Hard anodized cookware on the other hand is very durable and not as fragile. Although it should be stored carefully as well to avoid any dents, it is easier to cook in.
One can be harsher when cleaning hard anodized cookware, but this does not make it easier to clean. The porosity of the surface and the fact that it isn’t completely non-stick might pose a problem.
Ceramic cookware is much easier to clean simply because food doesn’t stick to its surface. The only thing that might be bothersome for some is letting it cool before cleaning it.
Although we often read otherwise, hard anodized cookware is pricier. The difference in prices is not insignificant either. Sometimes a hard anodized set can be $100 pricier than a ceramic one. Even when the difference in quality is not big. And even within the same brand the difference in prices can be abysmal. Please consider your options before deciding on one cookware set.
As I always say, the final decision is up to the buyer. Depending on their preferences and needs, each choice will differ. But here I will do my best to choose a winner among our six contestants in this review of hard anodized vs ceramic cookware
First we have the GreenPan Prime Midnight Healthy Ceramic Nonstick, Cookware Pots and Pans Set, 11-Piece, Black. Although it is on the fragile side, this set has very good qualities. It is free of all those chemicals we wish to avoid. It is also dishwasher and oven safe.
Then we have the GreenPan Prime Midnight Healthy Ceramic Nonstick, Cookware Pots and Pans Set, 11-Piece, Black. This set is free of PFAS, PFOA, lead and cadmium. It is dishwasher safe and can be used with metal utensils. Depending on your preference, it being lightweight could be a pro or a con.
Thirdly, we have the OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Pro, Cookware Pots and Pans Set, 12 Piece, Gray. This cookware set is PFOA free. It has stainless steel handles and is dishwasher safe. Even if it is not suitable for metal utensils, the reviews speak for themselves.
This battle of hard anodized vs ceramic cookware has been hard. But I believe we can all agree that the clear winner is the Ninja C39800 Foodi NeverStick Premium Hard-Anodized 12-Piece Cookware Set, nonstick, durable, oven safe to 500°F, slate grey. This cookware set is PFOA, lead, and cadmium free. It has stainless steel handles and is oven safe. This set is compatible with all stove tops including induction. And let us not forget the lifetime warranty! If somehow you were to be disappointed, you would get compensation for it. An incredible, multipurpose cookware set that is essential to any home.