June 17

360 Cookware: American Made Waterless Cookware (But Is It Any Good?)

By trk

Last Updated: June 17, 2022

360 cookware, best cookware, clad stainless cookware, cookware reviews, waterless cookware

360 Cookware is a "waterless" cookware brand (we'll explain what that means if you don't know). 360 is a high quality clad stainless steel brand, and it's made in the USA in one of the most ethical cookware factories in the world (we'll expand on that, too). It's not cheap, but compared to some other waterless brands (like Saladmaster), it's a bargain.

If this sounds interesting, keep reading: we've got all the details on 360 Cookware  you need to make a good buying decision: We compare it to other popular brands, take a thorough look at its performance, see what users and reviewers are saying about it, answer some common questions, look at pricing, and do a final summary of pros and cons. 

360 Cookware at a Glance

Here's a quick look at 360 cookware options. 360 also sells bakeware, flatware, and fire extinguishers. We only tested the cookware, so we didn't include the other items here, but you can see them by clicking the links. (The fire extinguishers are really cool.)

Piece/Set

Features

Header

-Tri-ply 18/8, 0.11" thick

-Short and long-handled avail.

-From 7" to 11.5"

-Most come without lids

-Oven safe to 500F

-Induction compatible

-Made in USA

-Lifetime warranty

-About $100-$180.

360 Cookware Frying Pan

-Tri-ply 18/8, 0.11" thick

-Short and long-handled avail.

-2.3/3.5qt 

-Lids included

-Oven safe to 500F

-Induction compatible

-Made in USA

-Lifetime warranty

-About $190-$260.

360 Cookware Short-handled Saute Pan

-Tri-ply 18/8, 0.11" thick

-1/1.75/2/2.3/3qt

-Lids included

-2 qt sauciér (no lid) 

-Oven safe to 500F

-Induction compatible

-Made in USA

-Lifetime warranty

-About $170-$220.

360 Cookware Sauce Pan

-Tri-ply 18/8, 0.11" thick

-4/6/8qt; 4qt fits slow cooker base

-6qt for slow cooker base

-Lids included

-Oven safe to 500F

-Induction compatible

-Made in USA

-Lifetime warranty

-About $260-$320.

360 Cookware Stock Pot

-Tri-ply 18/8, 0.11" thick

-5qt (about 12" diameter)

-Lid included

-Oven safe to 500F

-Induction compatible

-Made in USA

-Lifetime warranty

-About $300.

360 Cookware 5qt Wok

-Tri-ply 18/8, 0.11" thick

-3/4/5/6/9/15pc avail.

-(3pc sets are skillets)

-Oven safe to 500F

-Induction compatible

-Made in USA

-Lifetime warranty

-About $370-$1800.

360 Cookware 6pc set

-Tri-ply 18/8, 0.11" thick

-Avail. alone or w/2.3/4/6qt pot

-4 heat settings

-No nonstick coating

-Pots work on stovetop and base

-Works w/8.5" diameter bottoms

-2yr warranty 

-About $130 w/out a pot

-About $330-$420 w/pot (depending on size).

360 Cookware Slow Cooker Base

back to TOC

About 360 Cookware (The Company)

360 Cookware is owned by Americraft and made in their factory in West Bend, Wisconsin. Americraft is a private company, owned by the Hurley family. You can see more information about Americraft Cookware crunchbase.com.

Americraft has been around in some form since the early 1900s. 360 Cookware is their newest brand, founded in 2007. You can see more 360 Cookware company information at the Rocket Reach website.

One really interesting thing about 360 Cookware is that the factory uses green manufacturing practices. We talk more about this below. 

back to TOC

Where Is 360 Cookware Made?

The 360 Cookware factory is located in West Bend, Wisconsin. Until recently, their cookware was made 100% in the United States. However, they lost their American source of bonded metal (that is, tri-ply), so they were forced to source it from South Korea. 

They also source their single-ply steel (probably for lids) and long handles from China.

Thus, 360 Cookware is no longer 100% made in the USA. You can read more about it on the 360 Cookware website page Where is 360 Cookware Made? (It's an interesting read that goes into a lot of detail about materials and manufacturing processes.) 

back to TOC

What are 360 Cookware's Green Manufacturing Practices?

Many companies these days are jumping on the "green" wagon, claiming that their manufacturing practices have a small carbon footprint. However, in many cases, it's just greenwashing: claiming to be green because they recycle their office papers or something else equally small in scale.

(Note: If buying from green companies is important to you, don't take their word. Do your research to find out exactly what they mean when they say they're environmentally conscious. Unfortunately, greenwashing is a common practice.)

360 Cookware, though, is for real. They call themselves the "most environmentally advanced factory in the world" and they probably are. Their factory (Americraft) has a Green-E certification for their policies. Their manufacturing requires zero EPA permits because they don't use any harsh chemicals or emit any pollutants. They have their own water purification system. And they make a product that is "heirloom quality," meaning that it will last for generations and not end up in landfills.

They are also proud of the fact that their employees work in an environment so clean that there's no need to wear masks or other protective gear. They also pay a living wage and provide good benefits, which they believe are part of being an ethical company. 

We also love that 360 Cookware makes no nonstick cookware, so there are no worries of PTFE by-products polluting the environment. (In fact, this is one of the main reasons we believe that the 360 Cookware factory is as good as they say it is.)

Many companies claim to be green, but 360 Cookware really is--and they have striving to have ethical practices since their inception, not just because it's fashionable today. 

In fact, many cookware brands are made in China today, where manufacturing processes tend to be extremely unethical. There are few laws to protect employees or the environment there, so while imported cookware is almost always cheaper, buying it means there is a dear cost to both the environment and quality of life for thousands of Chinese workers. 

If you want to read more about 360 Cookware's ethical manufacturing, check out The Many Facets of Ethical Cookware page on the 360 website.

back to TOC

What Is "Waterless" Cookware?

360 Cookware is what's known as waterless cookware

This definition for waterless cooking is taken from our article Waterless Cookware: A Detailed Analysis:

Waterless cooking is a cooking method that uses low temperatures, very little water, and usually no added fat. Tight-fitting lids create steam from the naturally high water content of most foods, and the steam pressurizes the pot, causing food to cook at a lower temperature than it would without a lid.
...Additionally, this method involves using smaller vessels and packing them full of food. Browning is less important than steaming with this method, and filling a pot with a lot of food creates more steam than less food in a larger pot. 

Waterless cookware, then, is cookware that is sold for its ability to cook with the waterless method, which is considered a very healthy way to cook. It usually has these attributes:

  • Good quality clad stainless steel because stainless is safe and non-reactiven(so it fits well with the "healthy" vibe).
  • Tight-fitting lids that help build up steam inside the pots.
  • Some has special whistling valves that alert you when a pot has reached the desired temperature so you know when to turn the heat down.
  • Some is stackable so you can cook a few items on one burner (360 is not).
  • Waterless cookware sets tend to have smaller pieces because of the pan-loading theory of steaming (if you're cooking for more than 2-3 people, you may find this a disadvantage). 360 has a mix of small pieces and good-sized pieces.
  • Many brands are sold by the direct sales method rather than in retail establishments. Representatives come to your home, cook you a meal, then do a high-pressure selling technique to try to get you to buy before you can compare prices and quality with other brands. Because of this selling technique, some waterless cookware brands are vastly overpriced (although they are excellent quality). 360 Cookware is not sold this way, as you can buy it directly from Amazon or their website with no consultations required.  

In fact, waterless cookware sells a healthy lifestyle more than just cookware. Claims of better health (and in some cases, longer life) are most likely the main reason most people buy it, and in some cases are willing to pay thousands more for it than a set of non-waterless stainless steel cookware. 

If you read our analysis of waterless cookware (link above), you can find out in detail why we're not entirely sold on the waterless method or that it's exclusive to certain brands of cookware. Our research and testing shows that you can use the "waterless" method with any cookware that has snug, preferably unvented, lids (more on this in a minute).

Furthermore, the term "waterless" is a bit archaic, dating back to the days when boiling food was a common way to cook. Boiling destroys nutrients, especially in vegetables, so "waterless" cooking is much healthier because it retains nutrients. However, today few people boil their vegetables anymore. Most people steam or roast them. According to this website, steaming is the healthiest way to cook vegetables because it retains the greatest amount of nutrients. Steaming is a common method of "waterless" cooking not associated with waterless cookware.

360 Cookware is a waterless brand of cookware, but it lacks several of the gimmicks of other waterless brands. For example, they make skillets without lids, they don't have gimmicky valves, and they're sold on Amazon and on their own website (no direct sales or demos required to buy).

360 makers also stress the fact that you do not have to use the waterless method if you don't want to (which is true for all "waterless" brands, but rarely mentioned).

We'll look at 360's waterless claims in more detail below, but in our opinion, the main selling points of this cookware have nothing to do with it being a "waterless" brand. 360 Cookware is high quality cookware that's made in the US in one of the most environmentally conscious factories on the planet--and, though it's not cheap, it's price range is closer to All-Clad than Saladmaster (so if you want a good waterless brand, you can literally save thousands of dollars by going with 360). 

back to TOC

What Is "Vapor Technology"?

Vapor Technology is 360 Cookware's main "waterless" feature. When a covered pan reaches a certain temperature, the lid will spin easily (because steam has built up enough inside the pan). This lets you know that it's time to turn the temperature down (or off), and how long before the food is done. 

From the 360 website:

Vapor Technology creates fast, even heat that gently surrounds your favorite recipes...The lids are specially designed to create a Vapor® Seal that captures heat and keeps it moving around your food, not escaping out the sides. You can also use our cookware for traditional cooking style.

It's a healthy, low-fat (or no-fat) way to cook your food. 

But much as we love 360 Cookware (and we do), we're not sure how this is different from regular steaming, which you can do in any covered pot.

We take a more detailed look at this in the next section if you want to know more.

back to TOC

360 Claims: True or False?

Here we look at 360 Cookware's claims and how they stack up to our research and testing. (Looking at a brand's "claims" doesn't mean their marketing is disreputable. It just means you're doing your due diligence before buying.)

Professional Grade Quality Cookware

Could be true or false, depending on your definition. We're not sure what "professional grade quality" means. As far as we know, there's no such thing as "professional grade" cookware, and it's most likely a marketing term with an unspecific meaning.

There is cookware made for restaurants, but it's readily available to the public, and it tends to be lower quality than cookware marketed to home cooks. This is because restaurants are hard on cookware and go through a lot of it, so they don't want to spend a lot of money on it. In fact, many restaurants use the cheapest aluminum cookware you can find. 

Yes, you see a lot of celebrity chef endorsements for certain brands of cookware (Made In, we're looking at you), but this doesn't mean it's "professional grade." It just means that the company gave the chef free cookware (and probably a fee) to endorse their cookware. 

360 Cookware is high quality cookware, durable and high-performing, but it's more likely to appeal to serious home cooks than to professional chefs. 

Vapor Technology Is Unique to 360 Cookware (Or Waterless Cookware in General)

False. "Vapor technology," as well as other valves and whistles found on waterless cookware, is just an elaborate form of steaming. And you can steam in any pot that has a reasonably tight-fitting lid.

A lid may not dance on a pot or whistle, but that doesn't mean your food's not steaming. 

In fact, there's a standard, well-known cooking method called the covered sauté method. It is discussed in Modernist Cuisine (Volume 2 on Techniques), which says this about it:

The simple addition of a lid changes the cooking process in surprisingly complex ways. High heat sautéing is transformed into a gentler, lower-temperature combination of boiling and steaming. The boiling juices lower the temperature at the surface of the pan to 100C/212F, thus preventing the food from scorching (but also preventing it from browning)...When cooking very dry foods, add water or some other flavorful liquid to moderate the heat and finish the cooking.

They go on to talk about how you can make a delicious pan sauce by cooking down the juices with some butter and stock or wine, something you won't find in any waterless cookware recipe (because sauces are "unhealthy").

But the point is, this sounds a lot like "vapor technology," or the waterless cooking method in general. And the more significant point is that no special cookware is required to do it.

3 Times Thicker than Other Cookware 

True or False, depending on which cookware you're comparing it to. 360 Cookware is a thick, heavy brand of tri-ply clad stainless steel cookware, and there's no doubt that it's excellent quality and has terrific heating properties (more on that in a minute). 

But this statement solely depends on what you compare it to, because clad stainless cookware comes in a wide variety of thicknesses.

All-Clad D3 is about 2.6mm thick with an internal layer of aluminum that's 1.7mm thick (about 65% aluminum). D5 has the same thickness but with an internal layer of steel, even less aluminum.

Misen cookware is 3mm thick. We haven't measured the aluminum layer, but it's got to be about 2mm. (or about 67% aluminum).

The Demeyere Proline skillet is an amazing (and heavy) 4.7mm thick, with a layer of aluminum 3.7mm thick (or about 79% aluminum).

So, a lot of variation. 

So what's 360? Their cookware is about 2.8mm thick (0.11"), with an internal aluminum layer that's 1.9mm thick, or about 68% aluminum (this is taken from a reply to an email we sent them that they were gracious enough to answer, which is huge points in their favor).

It's almost certainly true that 360 Cookware is 3 times thicker than some brands of cookware, but they don't say which ones and we don't know what they are.

Made with Surgical Stainless Steel

Technically true--but "surgical steel" is a marketing term. Like most clad stainless cookware today, 360 Cookware has two types of stainless steel: T-304 on the cooking surface, and T-400 magnetic stainless on the exterior for induction compatibility. Magnetic stainless contains no nickel, which makes it less corrosion resistant, and why makers use it only on the external surface of most cookware ("nickel free" stainless cookware exists, but it tends to be lower quality, although it appeals to people with nickel allergies).

According to Wikipedia, both T-304 and T-400 grades are considered surgical stainless steel. However, Wikipedia also says that "There is no formal definition on what constitutes a surgical stainless steel, so product manufacturers and distributors often apply the term to refer to any grade of corrosion resistant steel."

Thus, all decent (as well as most mediocre) quality clad stainless cookware is made from "surgical stainless steel." 

We will add here that 360's T-304 is 18/8 stainless, which means is has 8% nickel. Their website says this is to reduce the nickel content, but it's more likely because 18/8 is cheaper than 18/10. According to studies, the small differences in the amount of nickel in cookware doesn't make much of a difference in how much will leach during cooking. 

This is not to say that 360 is lower quality cookware, as 18/8 and 18/10 are very similar in performance. However, in comparison to 316 stainless steel (used in brands like Saladmaster and Heritage Steel), both are slightly lower quality and can be more susceptible to damage from salt. 

Heirloom Quality Cookware/Built to Last

Absolutely true! 360 Cookware is excellent quality and it should last for decades or even generations. This is one of our favorite things about high quality cookware in general: it won't end up in landfills like cheaper brands (we're looking at you, nonstick) will in a few years. (We also love that it has stainless steel handles and no plastic parts, which are prone to breaking, like many waterless brands--even much more expensive ones.)

This top notch quality makes 360 well worth the higher initial cost, and will save you money in the long haul. (We call this the "cost-per-year-of-use," which is a better measure than just initial cost to determine how much you actually spend on cookware.) 

Only Cookware Company to Use a Dry Sanding Process

Inconclusive. Polishing can be done by either a dry sanding method or a chemical slurry ("dry polishing" and "wet polishing"), and we weren't able to find this information for other companies.

However, from what we know about the polishing process, it probably doesn't matter all that much. Any unpleasant chemicals used in wet polishing would be thoroughly rinsed away before the cookware is packaged for sale. Stainless steel is impervious to absorption of chemicals.

Having said that, most plants are probably more likely to use a wet polishing method, simply because it allows you to keep the steel cool--so you can finish the polishing faster. 

Whether the dry polishing is better for employees is also questionable: dry polishing would create a huge amount of steel dust, so it would have to be done in a vented or enclosed space, and even then will probably create some level of danger to workers. Wet polishing may also be unsafe (depending on the chemicals used), but the constant stream of water used to cool the process will certainly eliminate dust in the air.

Half a dozen of one, six of the other.

Green Manufacturing Plant

Absolutely true! Despite our doubts about the dry sanding, it's clear that Americraft--360's parent company, where the cookware is made--is a state-of-the-art, environmentally conscious facility. They use clean manufacturing processes and have been since their beginning (not just because it's fashionable now).

They use no nasty chemicals and require no permits from the EPA. All of their packaging materials are recycled. Their employees don't need to wear any protective equipment because of the clean environment.

And, they pay their employees a fair, living wage and provide good benefits, which is also an ethical practice.

We know all of this is true. What we don't know is how this compares to other cookware facilities in the US. We assume many are comparable, simply because there are laws in the US requiring safe employee conditions, fair wages, and compliance to EPA regulations (though there are far few than there ought to be, especially concerning nonstick cookware). 

What we are pretty certain of is that there are few to no cookware facilities in China--where most cookware is made now--that can say this. 

Yet another reason to spend more on American cookware (the other one being its heirloom quality).

back to TOC

360 Cookware Vs. All-Clad D3 (ComparisonTable)

If you want to buy American-made cookware, then you're probably interested in comparing 360 to All-Clad, which is by far the most well-known brand of American-made cookware. 

We compare to D3 because it's closest in construction to 360, which makes only one line: tri-ply clad with an internal layer of aluminum. All-Clad's other offerings have very different construction--however, the heating properties of all All-Clad's clad stainless lines are similar to D3. So this comparison works pretty well no matter for D5, Copper Core, Everyday, etc.

Overall, we think All-Clad is the prettier cookware because it has a more minimalist stye, lacking all the nooks and crannies of waterless cookware. But this is subjective, and the quality of 360 is virtually identical to All-Clad stainless cookware.

360/All-Clad D3 Cookware Comparison Table

Feature:

360

All-Clad D3

Owned By

Americraft

Groupe SEB

Age

Founded in 2007.

Founded in 1971.

Body Construction

-Tri-ply clad stainless, 2.9mm thick with 1.9mm aluminum internal layer.*

-18/8 stainless steel cooking surface, 18/0 magnetic exterior.

-Tri-ply clad stainless, 2.6mm thick with 1.7mm aluminum internal layer.

-18/10 stainless steel cooking surface, magnetic exterior.

Durability

18/8 steel slightly less durable than 18/10, but very similar.

18/10 steel slightly more durable than 18/8, but very similar.

Country of Origin

USA, with some raw materials sourced from Korea and China.

Most clad lines made in USA. Lids, nonstick, utensils, and appliances made in China.

Induction Compatibility

Yes.

Yes--All stainless lines and some of the nonstick.

Oven Safe Temp

500F

600F

Dishwasher Safe

Should be hand-washed.

Yes, but should be hand-washed.

Metal Utensil Use

Yes.

Yes.

Design

-100% stainless steel exterior.

-Lids/pots have grooves to promote "vapor" cooking

-Handles smooth with grips on bottom side

-Domed stainless lids to promote "vapor" cooking, stainless handles

-Good shape w/lots of flat cooking surface

-No lids w/skillets

-Heavier than All-Clad (10" skillet 3.2 lbs w/out lid).

-100% stainless steel exterior

-Lids/pots fairly smooth, but will still steam food

-Handles U-shaped, grooved for excellent grip

-Flat stainless lids, stainless handles

-Good shape w/lots of flat cooking surface

-Lighter than 360 (10" skillet 2.0 lbs w/out lid).

Heating Properties

-Even thermal conduction, slightly slower than A/C (because it's thicker).

-Better heat retention than A/C (because it's thicker).

-Even thermal conduction, slightly faster than 360 (because it's thinner).

-Less heat retention than 360 (because it's thinner).

Price

$$$$. 

10" skillet about $140

6 pc. set about $600.

$$$$

10" skillet about $150

7pc set about $500.

Warranty

Lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects (probably won't cover used nonstick coating).

Warranties vary from 10 year to lifetime. May or may not cover used nonstick coating (both good and bad experiences reported).

*360 Cookware has a comparison table on their site that says All-Clad is 0.09 gauge, or about 2.3mm thick. We have measured and re-measured All-Clad (mostly D3) many times, and have found to consistently be 2.6mm thick. We are standing by our measurement.

back to TOC

360 Vs. Saladmaster (Comparison Table)

If you're interested in waterless cookware, then you probably want to compare 360 to Saladmaster, the most well-known--and most expensive--brand of waterless cookware. 

Saladmaster buyers have a cult-like dedication to their cookware and have bought in completely to the Saladmaster lifestyle--so take their reviews with a grain of salt. Any good quality stainless cookware can last for decades, it's all "healthy" cookware, and it can all be used for the "waterless" cooking method. 

Saladmaster does have one advantage, which is their 316Ti cooking surface (more durable than 18/8). However, they're sketchy with specifics on their build quality, and you can't just buy one pan to sample its cooking performance. So all of our statements about Saladmaster's heating and build qualities are, unfortunately, theoretical. We think we're close, though.

Overall, we believe Saladmaster's exorbitant price makes it a poorer investment than other good quality clad stainless that will last just as long. And its plastic handles are ugly and prone to breaking (although Saladmaster knows this, and is good about replacing them). So if you're trying to choose between overpriced Saladmaster and more reasonably priced 360 (both made in the USA), we think 360 is the superior choice.

360/Saladmaster Cookware Comparison Table

Feature:

360

Saladmaster

Owned By

Americraft

Regalware

Age

Founded in 2007.

Founded in 1946.

Body Construction

-Tri-ply clad stainless, 2.9mm thick with 1.9mm aluminum internal layer

-18/8 cooking surface, 18/0 magnetic exterior.

-Tri-ly clad stainless, thickness unknown.

-316Ti cooking surface, 18/0 magnetic exterior.

Durability

-18/10 stainless less corrosion resistant than 316Ti (but very close)

-Steel handles more durable than plastic.

-316Ti more corrosion resistant than 18/8 (but not by a lot)

-Plastic lid pulls and removable plastic handles not durable (and kind ugly).

Country of Origin

USA, with some raw materials sourced from Korea and China.

USA, with some steel sourced from Switzerland.

Induction Compatibility

All lines are induction compatible.

All clad lines are induction compatible.

Oven Safe Temp

500F

Yes, max temp not given.

Dishwasher Safe

Should be hand-washed.

Yes, with handles removed, but should be hand-washed.

Metal Utensil Use

Yes.

Yes.

Design

-100% stainless steel exterior

-Lids/pots have grooves to promote "vapor" cooking.

-Handles smooth with grips on bottom side.

-Domed stainless lids, stainless handles

-Good shape w/lots of flat cooking surface, most on the small side

-Similar in weight to Saladmaster.

-100% stainless steel exterior (except for PTFE skillets)

-Lids/pots have grooves to promote waterless cooking

-Handles plastic, removable for easy stacking and oven use.

-Domed stainless lids w/round plastic handles

-Straight-sided pans with lids, most on the small side

-Similar in weight to 360.

Heating Properties

-Even thermal conduction, slightly slower than A/C (because it's thicker).

-Better heat retention than A/C (because it's thicker).

-Thermal conduction similar to 360.

-Similar heat retention to 360.

Price

$$$$. 

10" skillet about $140

6 pc. set about $600.

$$$$$$

-Prices not given (you need to book a demo), but sets range into up to about $4000 (possibly more).

-No individual pieces available.

Warranty

Lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.

Lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.

back to TOC

Is 360 Cookware Safe?

Yes. Having a cooking surface of 18/8 stainless steel makes 360 Cookware a safe, stable brand. It may be very slightly less corrosion resistant than 18/10 and 316Ti, but probably not enough to notice in everyday use. And compared to nonstick cookware, it's a thousand times a safe choice.

For more information, see our Guide to Safe Cookware.

back to TOC

Is 360 Cookware Induction Compatible?

Yes. All 360 Cookware is compatible with induction cooktops.

back to TOC

Is the 360 Slow Cooker Base a Useful Purchase?

360 Cookware Slow Cooker Base

See the slow cooker base with pot on Amazon

See the slow cooker base on the 360 website

Slow cooker alone is about $130

With pot prices vary by which pot you want, ranges from about $320 - $420

If you like to use a slow cooker, then the 360 slow cooker is a great choice; if you're not a big slow cooker fan, you probably won't get a lot of use out of it. 

But if slow cooking is something you're excited about, then you'll love this base, especially if you're trying to move away from nonstick PTFE. Because you use standard 360 cookware, all your cooking is done on clean stainless steel. 

Also because you use standard cookware, you can brown your meats and veggies on the stovetop before placing them on the slow cooker base. This is an excellent feature that negates a lot of people's issues with slow cookers.

The slow cooker has 4 settings, and works like a standard slow cooker.

And because the base is separate from the cooker, storage is easier than with standard slow cookers.

The 360 pieces that fit the slow cooker are the 2.3qt casserole, the 4qt stock pot, and the 6qt stock pot made for the base (there's also a 6qt stock pot that does not fit the base). You can see all of these on Amazon or the 360 Cookware site links above.

back to TOC

How We Rated 360 Cookware (What to Look at When Buying Cookware)

Our overall rating: 3.9

360 Cookware Featured Image

Here we get into the details of how our testing and rating of 360 Cookware.

These are also the things to look at when buying any cookware. If you look at all these factors--from basic heating properties to if the design pleases you--you will have an excellent chance of buying cookware that you will love using and will serve you well for many years.

We usually test a skillet because tend to see the hardest use, but no 360 skillets come with a lid, so we tested the 360 12" sauté pan. You can apply our results to all 360 cookware. 

Here are the factors we look at:

  • Heating performance
  • Durability
  • Safety and Stability
  • Design
  • Ease of cleaning
  • Value, Price, Warranty.

You may have additional considerations as well: you should give this some thought before you decide to buy.

Heating Performance

360 Cookware 3.5Qt Sauté Pan w:lid

We tested the 360 large, long-handled sauté pan--12", 3.5 quart--because we wanted a covered pan to test the performance of the Vapor Technology. 360 skillets do not come with lids.

This pan weighs about 5.5 pounds with the lid and retails on the 360 website for about $250, or $270 on Amazon. Compare to the All-Clad D3 4 quart, which weighs 5 pounds with lid and retails on Amazon for about $200. 

Note: The listed weight on Amazon is 7 pounds, but this may be shipping weight.

We used the pan for eggs, for frying hamburgers, chicken breasts, and even steaks. We also tested the Vapor Technology (traditionally known as the covered sauté method) by braising broccoli, carrots, and chicken breasts. 

But first, we boiled water in the 360 and an All-Clad 12" skillet to get a basic idea of its thermal conductivity and heat retention.

(Thermal conductivity measures how evenly a pan heats; heat retention measures how long a pan holds onto heat after the heat source is removed. These are the most important performance tests for cookware, and the goal of most clad stainless cookware is to be a happy medium between both: it should heat evenly, without hot and cold spots, and it should have a decent measure of heat retention.)

The 360 sauté performed well on all tests. As expected, it had slightly more even thermal conductivity and slightly longer heat retention. These results are due to the heavier build quality and slightly thicker aluminum layer. 

Not being nonstick, we used enough butter (for eggs) or avocado oil (for meats) to coat the pan well. We followed standard stainless steel cooking rules--heat pan on medium, add oil, wait until it starts to shimmer, add food, let food release naturally before moving--and the pan performed really well. 

360 Cookware with boiling water

Water test: This test is far from a controlled experiment, but it does show what we expected.

Thermal conductivity: On an induction cooktop at full power, the All-Clad skillet brought 2 cups of room temperature water to a full boil in about 2.5 minutes; the 360 sauté also took about 2.5 minutes. Note in the pic above that the water is also boiling pretty well around the entire pan, indicating even heating.

Heat retention: After 5 minutes of cooling, the All-Clad pan's water temp was at 120F; the 360 pan was at 122F. This is a smaller difference than we expected, but it does substantiate that 360's heavier build will hang onto heat a little better than the All-Clad pan. 

What does this tell us? The 360 pan has overall better performance--but not by a lot. 

360 Saute pan with eggs

Eggs: Fried eggs stuck just a little bit, leaving some bits in the pan, but they came out of the pan easily with a turner. We didn't try scrambled eggs as our choice for all eggs is cast iron (or carbon steel), but we did want to see how well the pan handled delicate food.

360 Saute Pan with Chicken Breast

Chicken breast and burgers: Chicken breasts browned nicely, which we expected from the pan's heft (lots of excellent heat retention). Hamburgers turned out great as well--and notice in the pic that there is almost no sticking to the pan. We used a tiny amount of avocado oil, but if you try the Leidenfrost effect, you can brown food with no oil at all. (We prefer the way food tastes with a little bit of cooking oil.)

You just have to allow the pan to heat for several minutes before you start to cook to let the heat distribute evenly. This is standard for heavy pans, and well worth the wait if you want stellar cooking performance.

And by the way, we used high heat to heat the pan and get a nice brown on the chicken breasts and burgers, then turned down the heat to cook through. This goes against advice from makers of clad stainless cookware, but it's the best way to get a nice crust on your meat.

Steaks: Steaks came out okay, but not great, also as we expected (also after heating the pan on high for several minutes to get it as hot as we could, which was about 550F). The 360 pan has better heat retention than thinner pans, like All-Clad, but it can never match cast iron, or the amazing Demeyere Proline skillet (with almost 4mm of aluminum), so the browning was good, but not great.

360 Saute pan with broccoli and carrots

Vapor test (covered sauté method): We cooked a few things with the covered sauté method, which 360 calls their vapor technology. In our opinion, vegetables are the best candidates for this method, unless you don't want much browning on your proteins (which we do). 

Covered sauté is an excellent way to cook hard vegetables like carrots and broccoli because it releases their natural juices and steams them gently to arrive at perfect doneness (though it takes a little practice to do it well and not overcook them). We used the 360 pan, and had a hard time getting the lid to spin as shown in their videos. Even so, we followed their instruction, turning the heat down to low when we suspected the juices were boiling, and gave the vegetables 5 more minutes. They weren't quite done, so we gave them another 3-4 minutes.

Perfection. 

Against 360's recommendation, we added some butter to the pan, then cooked down the juices into a delicious pan sauce and poured it over the vegetables. Fat not only adds flavor, but is necessary for your body to absorb certain nutrients, especially from vegetables. 

If you ever want to up your vegetable cooking game, this is the way to do it.

We also tried the covered sauté method ("vapor technology") with an All-Clad D3 skillet and got identical results. Of course, the lid didn't spin on the All-Clad pan either, but it was fairly easy to tell when it was time to turn down the temp and let the veggies cook (as we said, it takes a little practice).

Our overall opinion of the 360 sauté pan is that it's a versatile, all-purpose pan that you'll probably reach for often, whether you want to fry without a lid or use the covered method. We weren't terribly impressed with the vapor method because we couldn't get the lid didn't spin, but if you think of it as the more traditional covered sauté method, it works beautifully.

Durability

Like all clad stainless steel cookware (at least that of reputable brands), 360 Cookware is superbly durable. It's heavier than All-Clad, and All-Clad lasts forever, so 360 should last forever and a day. But seriously, it's heavy cookware with a top notch build quality, and it is extremely durable and warp-resistant. 

We could take a half point off for being 18/8 rather than 18/10, but this will have a minimal effect on durability. It may be slightly less resistant to corrosion and pitting, but you're unlikely to notice it in daily use.

Safety and Stability

Typically we give clad stainless cookware 5 stars in safety and stability. But because 360 Cookware is made with a slightly less corrosion-resistant grade of steel (18/8), we deducted half a star.

This may be a little unfair, because in daily use, you probably wouldn't notice the difference between 18/8 and 18/10 (which All-Clad is made of). But still, we're giving the ding because, well, buyers should be aware of it before they make a decision.

The 360 website says they use 18/8 because of its lower nickel content, but lower nickel content means less resistance to corrosion. If you have concerns about nickel, you probably shouldn't be buying any stainless cookware. Slightly less nickel isn't going to make it safer or healthier than 18/10.

Having said all of that, 360 Cookware is completely safe and stable to cook with. Just like any other steel cookware, it can leach small amounts of nickel and chromium into your food, especially when new or when used for acidic foods (e.g., tomato sauce). But leaching is a minor concern (your body needs trace amounts of both nickel and chromium), and it stops after the cookware has been used for awhile.

Clad stainless cookware made from any 300 grade of stainless is one of the safest, most stable and non-reactive surfaces you can cook on.

Design

360 Saute Pan with callouts

360 12" saute pan w/lid.

Overall look and feel: We give 360 the lowest rating in the design category because to be perfectly frank, we think it's a little bit ugly. The big, domed lids and heavily grooved lids and pot rims make this cookware look clunky and "busy" rather than smoothly minimal like some other brands. 

However, there's nothing inherently bad about the design, so if you like it, then you shouldn't listen to us. It has all the attributes of high quality clad stainless cookware.

In fact, though it's not the prettiest pan in the world, it feels well-balanced in your hand and is really great to use. 

Pan Shape: The pans are rather square shaped, which is standard for waterless cookware. However, the skillets are nicely shaped, and the straight sides add to the generous amount of flat cooking surface. 

It's more attractive and usable than many waterless brands, it's just not quite as pretty as, say, All-Clad, or even Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad (but this is just our opinion--if you disagree, add a half a star to our rating).

Lids: We're not crazy about the 360 lids. They're big and kind of clunky. The domed shape is designed for vapor cooking, and may be better at condensing steam and keeping it in the pot, but we think the performance is only marginally better than, say, flat All-Clad lids, if at all (it's a tricky thing to measure accurately). 

The many curves and angles make cleaning a little bit more of a challenge (though not by a lot).

On the positive side, the lids fit well and have comfortable handles. So if you don't mind the looks of the lids, you can add a half a star to our rating.

Handles: We really like the 360 handles. The long handles are super comfortable, have a great grip, and are easy to stabilize. We like that they're all steel rather than plastic, like many waterless brands. We like that the bigger sizes have helper handles, which are also roomy and comfortable.

360 Cookware Short Handled Frying Pan

360 short-handled skillet.

We also like that you have the option to buy skillets and sauté pans with two short handles instead of one long handle (and possibly a helper handle). If you use your cookware in the oven or are short on storage space, short-handled pans are a great option.

Weight: 360 cookware is thicker and heavier than all of All-Clad's stainless lines. For example, the 10" skillet weighs more than a pound more than All-Clad's, lids included (3 lbs vs. 2.0 lbs). This is a fairly considerable difference, and the weight difference is even more if you're used to using any brand of aluminum nonstick cookware. 

Heavier cookware almost always means better performance because the thicker materials heat more evenly and hold heat better--so you want to buy the heaviest cookware that you can comfortably handle.

Being heavier also tends to mean the build quality is better, so fewer worries about warping and denting.

360 Cookware fares well in this category, but if you can't handle heavy cookware, you may want to consider another brand. It's not a lot heavier than All-Clad (like Demeyere is), but you will notice the difference especially on the larger pieces.

Size: We also wanted to say a word about size, because waterless cookware tends to be smaller than other brands of cookware. This is because you're supposed to crowd the pan with food so it steams rather than browns, and you may have a very different idea than some waterless brands of what size pan it takes to feed 4 people.

If you're cooking for more than 2-3 people, be very cognizant about the sizes of the pans in sets--including 360 Cookware sets.

Having said that, some of their sets have great pieces, including this 11.5" 3.5qt. saute pan.

You can see set details below in the 360 Sets: Pieces and Prices section.

Ease of Cleaning

No stainless steel cookware gets a better than average rating for ease of cleaning because let's face it, food can stick to steel and require a fair amount of scrubbing to get clean. 

However, there are cooking methods that help prevent sticking food greatly, and once you get the hang of cooking with stainless, you get pretty good at how to use it with minimal sticking. 

The good news is that you can scrub it, soak it, or heat it with some baking soda and vinegar to loosen cooked on food, and these are all hands-off methods that pretty much always result in being able to rinse a pan clean easily. 

You can also throw it in a dishwasher, but this tends to result in worse cleaning, not better.

360 Cookware is typical stainless steel cookware. It cooks beautifully, is easy to clean when you use the right methods, and occasionally requires scrubbing or soaking. Overall, it's much the same as other stainless cookware we've tested (except Demeyere, which gets a 3.5 rating for ease of cleaning because of its Silvinox finish).

One minor drawback is all the curves and angles on the lids and rims of the pans. These make cleaning slightly more difficult because you have to be careful to get all those nooks. and crannies scrubbed out. But it's a minor complaint.

If you're coming from the world of nonstick cookware and want to move to a safer option, we highly recommend that you don't worry so much about cleaning stainless steel cookware and instead focus on learning how to use it, as well as its long-lasting durability. It's a much better choice in the long run. 

If you agree with this, you can add a star to our Ease of Cleaning rating (we would love to do that, but it's really up to you, the buyer, to decide).

Value, Price and Warranty

360 Cookware is priced similarly to All-Clad D3, but exact comparisons are impossible because the sets are so different, and even the individual pieces are different. For example, you can buy All-Clad skillets with or without a lid, but 360 skillets do not come with lids (although lids from other pieces in a set will probably work, as with most cookware sets).

We love 360's durability, and we think that if you like the looks of the cookware, it's as good and long-lived as any good quality brand of clad stainless. 

It also gets points for costing thousands less than Saladmaster, the most popular brand of waterless cookware. Not only is it as good as Saladmaster, it's prettier, lacking the bulky plastic handles. 

The lifetime warranty is as good as any in the cookware world, and our experience has been quick, helpful responses from their customer service department. 

There are better brands of clad stainless cookware out there, no matter how you measure them (e.g., heating, durability, or price), but 360 Cookware is definitely among the top brands in every category (except maybe aesthetics, but that's a personal opinion).

And remember, it's made in the USA in an environmentally conscious factory, by well-paid American workers. Most people are willing to pay a little more for an ethically and cleanly manufactured product, especially when compared to the dismal working conditions and environmental policies in most Asian factories.

If you agree with all of this, add a half a star to the rating; if you don't, subtract a half (or whole) star. This is just our opinion, and yours is the one that really matters.

back to TOC

What Users Are Saying About 360 Cookware

360 Cookware gets highly positive reviews on Amazon. Most pieces get a higher than 80% positive rating and less than 6% 1-star reviews. 

People are saying:

-Excellent quality

-Heavy and well made

-Great addition to the kitchen

-Heats evenly and cleans easily

-The vapor technology is fantastic! A healthy way to cook

Most of the negative comments are about the weight (this is heavy cookware) and food sticking. These are standard comments made by people who come from the nonstick cookware world.

Remember that stainless steel cookware has a learning curve, but it's well worth the effort. It's a safer, cleaner, and more environmentally friendly choice than nonstick.

back to TOC

360 Cookware FAQs

Is 360 Cookware Safe (Non-Toxic)?

Yes. Stainless steel is one of the safest, most stable and non-reactive surfaces you can cook on.

Is 360 Cookware Any Good?

Yes, 360 is high quality cookware that performed will in our testing. It's heavy and durable and will last for generations.

Is 360 Cookware Nonstick?

No. 360 does not make any nonstick cookware. All of their cookware has an 18/8 stainless steel cooking surface.

Is 360 Cookware As Good as All-Clad?

It depends how you're measuring "as good as." 360 is heavier and has slightly better thermal conductivity and heat retention, but not by a lot. If you want lighter cookware, All-Clad is the better choice. If you want slightly better performance, go with 360.

All-Clad has an 18/10 cooking surface, 360 has an 18/8 cooking surface. This means the All-Clad is technically more corrosion resistant, but the difference will probably be unnoticeable in daily use.

We also think All-Clad is the prettier cookware, but aesthetics are a personal choice, so you may prefer the 360.

Is 360 Cookware as Good as Saladmaster?

Yes, probably. 

Saladmaster's one advantage is that it's made with 316Ti stainless steel, which is more resistant to corrosion than 360 Cookware's 18/8 cooking surface. But we don't think the 316Ti is worth the exorbitant price, not to mention the high pressure direct sales tactics used by Saladmaster. 

Is 360 Cookware Worth the Price?

We think so. It's a big initial investment, but like any high quality brand, it will last for generations, so its cost-per-year-of-use is low. It's also a much healthier choice than nonstick cookware.

Is 360 Cookware Dishwasher Safe?

Yes, but we recommend washing all your cookware by hand. Dishwasher detergent has corrosive particles that can dull the finish of cookware--and it won't get it as clean as hand washing.

Where Is 360 Cookware Made?

West Bend, Wisconsin, USA. They source a few of their materials from Korea, but the vast majority of materials and all the labor is done in the US.

back to TOC

Summary: 360 Cookware Pros and Cons

Pros
  • High quality tri-ply 2.9 mm thick w/1.9mm internal aluminum
  • Stainless handles (no plastic like many waterless brands)
  • Very durable and well made (heavier than All-Clad D3)
  • Made in USA
  • Made in clean, eco-conscious factory
  •  Lifetime warranty.
Cons
  • Heavier weight may not be right for some cooks
  • Some pieces are on the small side (check sizes in sets before buying)
  • "Vapor technology" works, but is really just the covered sauté method and not exclusive to 360
  • More expensive than All-Clad (but less than many waterless brands).

back to TOC

Where to Buy 360 Cookware

Many brands of waterless cookware are sold by the direct sales method: you have to make an appointment, and a representative comes to your house and cooks you a meal (usually enough for four people) to show you how amazing their cookware is. 

This may sound intriguing, but it doesn't provide an opportunity to compare the cookware to other brands. And the salesperson (i.e., representative) does a hard push to get you to buy right away so you can't compare to other brands. 

360 Cookware doesn't do this, which alone would make it our favorite brand of waterless cookware, but the high quality and great cooking performance are both huge factors, as well. 

So where can you buy 360 Cookware? As far as we know, there are two places to buy it: Amazon and the 360 Cookware website.

We have found that the prices on the 360 site are usually cheaper than on Amazon, so we recommend you start there. But this can change, so you should check both sites.

You can also see the 360 bakeware, fire extinguishers, flatware, and specialty items on their site (so, just a few pieces of 360 bakeware on Amazon).

BUY 360 COOKWARE AT AMAZON

BUY 360 COOKWARE AT 360 COOKWARE WEBSITE

back to TOC

360 Sets: Pieces and Prices

360 offers of 3, 4, 5, 6, 9,15, and 21 pieces. Prices are taken from the 360 website, which has lower prices than Amazon--but check both sites, because prices can change.

360 also sells sets that include bakeware, which you can see at the link above. We didn't test any of the bakeware, so we didn't include those sets here. (We also think it's vastly overpriced, so we don't recommend it. You can find much less expensive stainless steel bakeware on Amazon.)

Here are the details:

3 Piece Long-Handled Skillets

360 3pc Long-handled skillet set

See the set on 360 website

About $370

Pieces (no lids included):

- 7.5" skillet

- 8" skillet

- 11.5" skillet.

3 Piece Short Handled Skillets

360 Cookware 3pc short handled skillet set

See the set on 360 website

About $400

Pieces (no lids included):

- 8.5" skillet

- 10" skillet

-1 1.5" skillet.

4 Piece Essentials Cookware Set

360 Cookware Essentials 4pc set

See the set on 360 website

About $390

Pieces:

- 1 quart sauce pan with lid (awfully small for an "essential" piece)

- 3.5 quart sauté pan with lid.

6 Piece Cookware Set

360 Cookware 6 pc cookware set

See the set on 360 website

About $600

Pieces: 

- 8" skillet with lid (small)

- 2 quart sauce pan with lid (better than 1qt, but still small)

-4 quart stock pot with lid. (works with slow cooker base).

9 Piece Cookware Set

360 Cookware 9 pc cookware set

See the set on 360 website

About $1000

Pieces:

- 3 quart sauce pan with lid (great size)

- 2.3 quart casserole with lid (small for casserole pan, we would call this a short handled sauce pan--works with slow cooker base)

- 3.5 quart sauté pan with lid (great size)

- 6 quart stock pot with lid (great size)

- 11" skillet (no lid--same app. size as 3.5qt sauté pan).

If you buy from 360 site, you will also get the slow cooker base with this set. Note that it will only work with the 2.3 quart casserole pan; if you want to use it with other pieces you'll have to buy the 4qt or 6qt pots made for use with the slow cooker.

15 Piece Cookware Set

360 Cookware 15pc cookware set

See the set on 360 website

About $1800

Pieces:

- 8" skillet with lid (small)

- 2 quart sauce pan with lid (medium sized)

- 3 quart sauce pan with lid (great sized sauce pan)

-2.3 quart casserole pot with lid (small; works with slow cooker base)

- 3.5 quart sauté pan with lid (great pan)

- 4 quart stock pot with lid (works with slow cooker base)

- 6 quart stock pot with lid (great size, but does not work with slow cooker base)

- 11" skillet (no lid).

If you buy from 360 site, you will also get the slow cooker base with this set. It will work with the 2.3 quart casserole pan and the 4qt stock pot. A 6 quart pot that fits the base is sold separately.

21 Piece Cookware Set

360 Cookware 21 pc cookware set

See the set on 360 website

About $2200

Pieces:

- 8" skillet with lid (small)

- 7" skillet (no lid, small))

- 8.5" skillet (no lid, small)

-11.5" skillet (no lid, great size)

- 1 quart sauce pan with lid (small)

- 2 quart sauce pan with lid 

- 3 quart sauce pan with lid (great size)

- 2.3 quart casserole pan with lid (fits slow cooker base but small for cassorole pan)

- 4 quart stock pot with lid (fits slow cooker base)

- 3.5 quart sauté pan with lid (great size)

- 6 quart stock pot with lid (great size)

- 8 quart stock pot with lid (great size).

If you buy from 360 site, you will also get the slow cooker base with this set. It will work with the 2.3 quart casserole pan and the 4qt stock pot. A 6 quart pot that fits the base is sold separately.

back to TOC

Final Thoughts on 360 Cookware

Recommended.

360 Cookware is a waterless brand, but it's great for all kinds of cooking. While we're not big fans of most waterless cookware brands--because the marketing hype is at best silly and at worst unethical--360 is different. It is high quality cookware sold in retail outlets (no high-pressure direct sales tactics), and it's priced similar to top brands like All-Clad D3. 

In comparison to All-Clad D3, the 360 cookware has better heat retention and better thermal conductivity, but not by a lot. It's also heavier, which is a plus performance wise but may make it the wrong choice for some users. 

It's not the prettiest cookware in the world, but it has some great features, whether you want to cook with their "vapor technology" (i.e., the covered sauté method), or are just looking for high quality, durable, great performing stainless steel cookware made in the USA.

We also love that the Americraft factory, where 360 is made, is one of the most environmentally conscious cookware companies in the world; we think it's worth paying a little bit more for it for this reason alone.

Thanks for reading!

back to TOC

If you found this article helpful, please share:

360 Cookware Review Pinterest

You might also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Thanks so much for the review. I was curious about the performance of 360 cookware. I am considering purchasing the slow cooker. I am also curious to know your thoughts on the 360 bakeware.

    1. Hi Mickey, thanks for your comment. I’m not a huge slow cooker cook, but if you are, I think the slow cooker base is a good buy. You can use it with different sized cookware, and you can use the pans as regular cookware when not slow cooking in them. It’s win-win for slow cooker enthusiasts. One caution is that steel won’t hold heat as well as the heavy ceramics you usually get with a slow cooker, so if you’re used to those, you may have to adjust your technique a bit. But definitely doable.

      We haven’t researched the 360 bakeware, but honestly, I think it’s overpriced. If you’re trying to avoid aluminum, you can find stainless steel baking sheets on Amazon for a fraction of the cost: https://amzn.to/3ABaY7x

      And you can use ceramic pie plates and cake pans/lasagna pans, also much cheaper than the 360 bakeware. But I’m sure it’s all very high quality like their cookware, so if that’s what you want, I’m sure you won’t regret the purchase.

      Let us know if there’s anything else we can help with. 😉

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}