September 23

Hestan Cookware Review: Better than All-Clad?

By trk

Last Updated: November 17, 2022

cookware, Hestan, high-tech cookware, induction, nanobond, Williams-Sonoma

Hestan cookware is a new, high-tech (and high-priced) line of cookware that makes some pretty incredible claims, such as"the first innovation in stainless steel cookware in 100 years," among many others. Their most popular line, NanoBond, is stronger than clad stainless and promises semi-nonstick performance with no nonstick coating. Hestan owns 14 patents on this nanobond technology.

We take a deep dive into all the Hestan cookware lines to find out if they live up to the marketing hype--and the hefty price tag. 

Hestan Cookware Summary: 

All Hestan lines are high quality and well-performing cookware. But you'll pay for all that quality.

NanoBond is a game changer if you have nickel allergies: the cooking surface is completely inert, yet there are no quality sacrifices as there are with nickel-free stainless cookware. 

ProBond and Insignia have great features, so buy if you have the budget and love the style.

CopperBond is beautiful, but if you want copper performance, go with a French brand (like Mauviel). If you just want the looks, this will perform about like All-Clad Copper Core.

Hestan Cookware Lines at a Glance

Here is a quick look at Hestan's cookware lines. You can read the detailed reviews below.

Hestan Line

Features

Rating/App. Price

Hestan NanoBond 10 pc Set

-Clad stainless w/patented titanium coating 

-3.0mm thick

-Won't scratch

-Won't tarnish or stain

-Safe up to 1050F

-Induction compatible

-Sealed rims

-Flush rivets on cooking surface

-Made in Italy.

11-inch skillet: $280

10 pc set: $1600

Hestan ProBond 10pc Cookware Set

-Clad stainless tri-ply (s-a-s)

-3.0mm thick

-3-layer TITUM™ nonstick

-Sealed rims

-Flush rivets on cooking surface

-Induction compatible

-Oven safe to 600F

-Dishwasher safe

-Made in Italy.

11-inch skillet: $180

10 pc set: $800

Hestan CopperBond 10pc Set

-5-ply (s-a-c-a-s) with copper/stainless exterior

-2.5mm thick w/~1mm copper

-100% copper core

-Flush rivets on cooking surface

-Induction compatible

-Oven safe to 600F

-Made in Italy.

11-inch skillet: $220

10 pc set: $1500

Hestan Thomas Keller Insignia 11pc cookware set

-Clad stainless tri-ply (s-a-s)

-3.0mm thick

-3-layer TITUM™ nonstick (8" skillet only)

-Sealed rims

-Flush rivets on cooking surface

-Induction compatible

-Sustainable packaging

-Oven safe to 600F

-Dishwasher safe

-Made in Italy.

11-inch skillet: $200

7 pc set: $900

11 pc set: $1300

Hestan Cue Smart Skillet 2

-Clad stainless with embedded heat sensors in handle

-Bluetooth compatible

-Works with Hestan Cue induction burner and an app

-NOT dishwasher or oven safe

-Made in Thailand.

Smart induction cooker: $290
11-inch skillet: $197

(discontinued at W-S)

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Who Is Hestan?

The name "Hestan" is a combination of "Helen" and "Stanley." These are the first names of the owner of the company, Stanley Cheng, and his wife, Helen. 

Hestan was founded in Napa Valley, California in 2015. In addition to Hestan cookware (Hestan Culinary), the company also makes high-end home kitchen appliances (Hestan Indoor), restaurant kitchen appliances (Hestan Commercial), outdoor gas grills (Hestan Outdoor), wine (Hestan Vineyards), and the Hestan Cue smart cooking system (Hestan Smart Cooking) which we look at briefly below and review in another article

You can read more about all of these subsidiaries and their products on the Hestan website.

Though Hestan is a new company, Mr. Cheng's cookware experience goes back much further. He was the first person to apply a nonstick (PTFE) coating to anodized aluminum back in the 1970s, resulting in more durable nonstick pans (aluminum is a soft metal that bends and scratches easily, while anodized aluminum is harder than stainless steel). Cheng branded his first anodized nonstick Circulon. He later produced a thicker, higher quality anodized nonstick pan he called Anolon. Both of these brands are still hugely popular today. 

Stanley Cheng is the CEO of Meyer Corporation, the second-largest cookware company in the world. While Meyer sells hundreds of cookware brands, their bread-and-butter lines are primarily inexpensive nonstick (though it does also own some premium brands, too). The formation of Hestan is probably meant to be a subdivision that produces and sells premium products to professional chefs and discerning cooks. 

It's possible that since Stanley Cheng was never able to buy All-Clad, he decided to launch his own competitive brand. The Hestan cookware lines are certainly comparable to All-Clad, and in some ways they're even better.

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About Meyer Corporation

Meyer Corporation was founded in 1951 by the Cheng family. It made inexpensive aluminum products for sale mostly in the American market (not cookware).

Stanley Cheng took over the family business in the early 1970s and changed its direction to aluminum cookware. His use of anodized aluminum for nonstick cookware was revolutionary at the time and it quickly became a large sector of the nonstick cookware market (and still is today). 

Meyer moved its American product headquarters to California in 1992. It has production facilities in China, Thailand, and Italy. Annual sales are about $75 million.

In addition to owning Hestan Culinary, Meyer makes more than 200 lines of cookware, including Circulon, Anolon, Farberware, SilverStone, Ruffoni, Prestige, NapaStyle, Rachael Ray, Paula Deen, Cake Boss, Ayesha Curry, Breville, and Bonjour Coffee and Tea. They also manufacture several private label brands for Sur la Table, Williams-Sonoma, and other kitchen stores. 

The Hestan cookware is a different direction for the company. It is high-end and meant to compete with top-notch brands like All-Clad and Demeyere. 

We'll see how the Hestan lines stand up to some of our favorite, top quality brands.

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What Is Hestan Cue?

Hestan Cue Smart Induction Cooktop

Hestan Cue is a "smart" cooking system that uses an induction cooker (pictured here), a smart piece of cookware, and an app you control from your phone or other smart device.  

Hestan Cue is primarily for people who aren't experienced at cooking but want to make delicious or fancy meals. While the controls hold the pan at a precise temperature, the app walks you through the recipe step by step so you can create a perfectly cooked meal. 

The Hestan Cue cookware is designed to work with this induction cooktop, and possibly with other smart induction cooktops, as well. The pans contain embedded bluetooth temperature sensors, so if you don't have a smart cooktop, there is no reason to buy this cookware. These pans are made in China and very different from the other Hestan cookware lines we review here.

The Hestan Cue system has had limited success. It has dropped several hundred dollars from its original $600 for the induction cooktop and skillet to under $300, or $600 for the entire set of cookware--2 skillets, a chef's pan and a sauce pan plus the smart cooktop. Williams-Sonoma no longer carries the Hestan Cue cooktop or cookware, but you can find it on Amazon, and the Hestan Cue website is still active.

see the Hestan cue products at the hestan cue website

see hestan cue products on amazon

see our Hestan cue review

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What to Look for When Buying Cookware

Before we get to the Hestan cookware product reviews, we want to briefly discuss what to look for in cookware. The features we think are important are heating properties, durability, stability and safety (non-reactivity), design and usability (is the cookware right for you), and budget/warranty. 

If you consider all of these categories, the end result should be cookware you will love, with all the features that are most important to you, that fits into your budget.

In all honesty, perfect cookware doesn't exist. It all has drawbacks, whether it be price, durability, stability, aesthetics, etc. You have to decide which traits are most important to you and buy accordingly. 

Here, we'll just briefly touch on the categories. We've gone into more detail on how to buy cookware in these articles:

Stainless Steel Cookware Sets: A Detailed Buying Guide (details about stainless steel, cladding, heating core, and cookware design)

The Best Induction Cookware: Get Out of the Kitchen Faster (cladding, stainless vs. cast iron, heating performance, design and usability, and more--geared to induction, but applies to all cookware)

The Best Stainless Cookware Set for Every Budget (cladding, steel quality, heating, stainless compared to other types of cookware including nonstick, copper, and coated cast iron)

Heating Properties

Heating properties are the most important consideration when buying cookware because it's the whole reason you use cookware: to heat and cook your food.

Engineering textbooks have been written about heating properties, so there are a lot of considerations. But you don't need to know the science to buy cookware that heats well.

For cookware, the two most important considerations are:

  • How even does the cookware heat? 
  • How long does the cookware hold onto heat (and do you want it hold onto heat, like cast iron, or do you want it more responsive, like copper)?

Some people also care about how fast cookware heats, but cookware that heats super fast also tends to heat unevenly and lacks the mass to hold onto heat well. 

In general, thin cookware doesn't heat very evenly and won't hold heat at all. But thick cookware is heavy and can be hard for some people to use. For many cooks, the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle: light enough to be easy to handle, but thick and heavy enough to provide even heating and retain heat well.

The material cookware is made of greatly affects the heating properties, as well as the construction itself (e.g., thick or thin). We discuss these properties of the Hestan cookware so you get a good idea of what you're buying, but if you want more details, check out the links above, as these articles go into more detail about heating properties and heating performance.

Durability

For most people, durability is second only to heating performance. That is, most people want cookware that lasts.

Clad stainless is one of the most durable options on the market, as well as being stable; while cast iron and carbon steel are also extremely durable, they require seasoning and aren't great for acidic foods. 

Enameled cast iron is durable, but it's heavy. So clad stainless is the best option for durable cookware, especially if you're looking for a set.

If you want to read more, check out our article The Best Cookware Brands for Every Type of Cookware.

Stability/Safety

Stability and safety refer to how non-reactive cookware is. The safest cookware does not react with foods or leach chemicals, much less toxins, into your food. (And while safety is the number one concern of most buyers, we list it third because it goes without saying that the cookware we recommend is safe.)

There are many schools of thought on cookware safety, and some divided opinions on clad stainless because it can leach small amounts of nickel and chromium into your food, especially acidic foods. Since these are chemicals our bodies need, we do consider stainless cookware safe, especially at the microscopic amounts that leach.

However, if you have a nickel sensitivity or for whatever reason want more stable cookware, there are other options. 

The Hestan Nanobond is revolutionary for this reason alone: it offers the great performance of high-end clad stainless but has the most stable, non-reactive cooking surface on the market right now. 

For this reason, we're really excited about the NanoBond line, but there are other safe options available, as well, including enameled cast iron and glass cookware (like Corningware). But you won't get the stellar performance from these that you will from the NanoBond.

Read more about cookware safety in our article Safe Cookware: The Definitive Guide to Healthy, Non-Toxic Cookware.

Design and Usability

Here, you look at what you want in cookware. What's important to you? 

Important factors to consider are weight, pan shape, handles and helper handles, lid type and how they fit, rivet design, and of course, the overall aesthetic: is the cookware pretty as well as functional? 

Once again, we go into more details in our Stainless Cookware Buying Guide

Budget and Warranty

You should set a budget and stick to it. There is good quality cookware at all budget levels, so there is no reason to get bad cookware, even if you can't spend a lot. If you're looking at Hestan, budget probably isn't an issue for you, but you should know that there are other options in the Hestan (high-end) range that are just as good or better. See our article The Top 5 Brands of Clad Stainless Steel for more information.

Warranty should be a given with good quality cookware and we recommend you avoid any cookware that has less than a 30 year warranty. If you're interested in good quality clad stainless, this shouldn't be a problem, as even good quality Chinese-made brands come with lifetime warranties.

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Hestan Cookware Features

These are the general features of the Hestan cookware lines. We have to say that some of the marketing jargon they use is frustratingly vague--but the pans do deliver great performance, nevertheless.

For features of the specific lines, see the reviews below.

35% More Heat Conductivity

Hestan NanoBond and ProBond lines have a patented aluminum core called ProCore™ that they call "pure aluminum" (though we're not sure how they could patent that), and that it's 35% more conductive than other clad cookware. 

We're not sure what this means because how conductive the core is compared to other brands really depends on the thickness of the core as well as the alloy, and both of these factors vary for every brand of cookware.

For example, ProCore's roughly 2mm compares favorably to All-Clad's 1.7mm of aluminum--regardless of the alloy used--but it won't be able to hang onto heat like the almost 4mm layer of aluminum in Demeyere Proline--again, regardless of the alloy used.

This doesn't mean Hestan is poor quality; in fact, quite the contrary. 2mm of aluminum is a good amount that allows even heating while keeping the pans lightweight and maneuverable. 

What it does mean is that Hestan cookware is closer to the the All-Clad end of the expensive clad cookware spectrum than the Demeyere end. Both are good brands, but they appeal to different markets. It makes sense that Hestan is closer to All-Clad because All-Clad is its primary competition in the American cookware market.

(For more information, see our article All-Clad Vs. Demeyere: Which Is Better?

What we can say for sure is that all three lines--NanoBond, ProBond, and CopperBond--were delightful to cook with. They heated quickly and evenly and held onto heat better than the thinner All-Clad D3 (though the differences were small).  

20% More Cooking Surface

Hestan says their skillets have 20% more cooking surface. But again: 20% compared to what

Skillets come in many different shapes (as we have shown in several of our cookware articles). Some have very sloped sides and a smaller flat cooking area, like the Anolon Nouvelle Copper skillet (left) and the Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad skillet (right):

Anolon Nouvelle Copper skillet
Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad Skillet

Some have straighter sides and more flat cooking surface, like the Demeyere Industry 5 skillet (left) and the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro skillet (right):

Demeyere Industry 5 skillet
Cuisinart Multiclad Pro skillet

The differences may not look huge, but they can amount to about a 20% difference in flat cooking surface for the same-sized pan. It can be the difference between being able to fit, say, 2-3 chicken breasts or burger patties in a 10-inch pan or fitting 3-4 of them.

In other words, more flat cooking surface can mean getting out of the kitchen sooner.

Hestan skillets are shaped like the Demeyere Industry 5 and Cuisinart Multiclad Pro, with a lot of flat surface and fairly straight sides:

Hestan NanoBond Skillet

Hestan skillets have a good amount of flat cooking surface, which we like for most skillet tasks. 

Flush Rivets and Sealed Rims Make Hestan Cookware Easier to Clean

Both of these features are fabulous. 

Sealed rims ensure that no water, detergent, or food can seep in between the layers of cladding and eat away at the soft internal aluminum. This makes the pans completely dishwasher safe. (Having said that, we recommend hand-washing all your expensive cookware because abrasive dishwasher detergents can dull a pan's finish.)

NanoBond Skillet Flush Rivets

Hestan rivets are flush with the cooking surface, making the pans easier to clean.

Flush rivets are also a great feature that helps prevent gunk buildup that you see on other pans. The rivets aren't 100% flush, so you may have to clean them out occasionally, but they are much better than the typical rivets that sit above the pan surface:

Cookware Rivets with Gunk

Gunk on cookware rivets.

The sealed rims and flush rivets are both excellent features, and a mark of thoughtful design that helps pans stay looking good (and helps the cook--or dishwasher--get out of the kitchen faster).

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Hestan NanoBond Review

Overall rating: 4.4 stars

Hestan NanoBond 10 pc Set

See Hestan NanoBond cookware on Amazon

See Hestan NanoBond cookware at Williams-Sonoma

See Hestan NanoBond cookware at Hestan Culinary

The first thing you'll notice about Hestan NanoBond cookware is that it's beautiful. The titanium nanobond coating looks like very shiny, very smooth, black stainless steel: there's no grain, texture, or polish marks at all like there is on stainless. These pans are completely smooth, inside and out:

Hestan NanoBond Skillet

 NanoBond really does look new and different. And it is: the titanium nanobond coating is not found on any other cookware that we know of. As Hestan says, this is a true innovation in clad stainless cookware.

Hestan owns 14 patents on nanobond technology. You can see the list of patents on Hestan's website and google each one to find out what they're for if you want to know more. 

The nanobond coating consists of 2,000 layers of molecular titanium that we estimate to be 2-3 microns thick; for reference, a human hair is about 70 microns thick--so very thin. 

The coating strengthens the pan and makes it less sticky than stainless steel alone. It also adds that unique dark sheen that makes these pans so gorgeous.

The cookware is extremely well-made, with a solid, expensive look-and-feel. And it performed well enough for us to recommend it, despite its extravagant expense.

Because here's the thing: if you have a nickel allergy and have avoided clad stainless cookware because of it, or if you are concerned about chemicals leaching into your food from your cookware, then NanoBond is a dream come true for you. (Stainless steel is a safe cookware material, but it may leach tiny amounts of nickel and chromium into your food, especially anything acidic. The body needs these elements and they are not toxic, but we understand that some people prefer to have no leaching at all.)

If you don't have a nickel allergy, then we're a little less enthusiastic about this cookware, simply because of the cost. It's great in every way except the price. 

Features

  • Tri-ply clad stainless with patented nanobond titanium coating (2-3 microns thick)
  • 3mm thick walls (excellent heat conductivity compared to All-Clad)
  • Scratch resistant, won't tarnish or stain
  • Flared rims for drip-free pouring
  • Completely sealed rims (dishwasher safe--though hand washing is recommended)
  • Flat, slightly grooved handle, perfectly balanced and excellent grip
  • Safe up to 1050F
  • Induction compatible
  • Flush rivets on cooking surface for easy cleaning/no gunk buildup
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Made in Italy.

What's Available

NanoBond Essential Pan

NanoBond Essential Pan.

NanoBond Wok

NanoBond Wok.

NanoBond cookware is available in open stock (that is, individual pieces), as a 5-piece set (see it on Amazon), or as a 10-piece set. Open stock pieces include three sizes of sauce pans, sauté pans, and skillets; two sizes of essential pans; a wok, a sauteuse, a soup pot, and a butter warmer.

See Nanobond open stock and sets at Hestan Culinary

see Nanobond open stock and sets on amazon

see nanobond open stock and sets at williams-sonoma

The 10-piece set includes:

  • 8.5-in. skillet
  • 11-in. skillet
  • 3.5 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 1.5 quart sauce pan with lid
  • 3 quart sauce pan with lid
  • 8 quart stock pot with lid.

The 5-piece set includes:

  • 11-in. skillet
  • 3.5 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 2 quart sauce pan with lid.

There may be other sets available at Williams-Sonoma, but these are the most popular sizes.

See Nanobond 5 piece and 10 piece sets on Amazon

See Nanobond 10 piece set at Williams-Sonoma

See Nanobond 10 piece set at Hestan Culinary

What Is Nanobond Technology?

Hestan doesn't supply a lot of details about their patented formula, but we're pretty sure that nanobond technology is a type of physical vapor deposition (PVD), a process by which extremely thin layers of materials are applied to an object in a vacuum to increase hardness and extend the range of working temperatures

PVD is typically seen on industrial and machining tools where extreme strength is required. This allows drill bits and other tools to withstand hard use and extreme temperatures. The molecular titanium coating is considerably stronger than stainless steel alone; according to Hestan, 400 times stronger. It can also withstand temperatures up to 1,050F; most clad stainless cookware is rated to 600F.

PVD can consist of several different materials, all with different applications. In the case of the Hestan NanoBond, the "2,000 layers" of coating are a patented composite of titanium and chromium.

As different as cookware is from industrial machining tools, PVD actually seems like a logical application for cookware from the guy who invented anodized aluminum cookware. 

The million dollar question is: Does the NanoBond coating really add anything to clad stainless cookware? 

We think it does.

The nanobond coating does not improve heating performance, as titanium has about the same awful heating as stainless steel. But the coating is so thin, it doesn't detract from heating, either.

Here's what the nanobond coating does really well:

  • Keeps the cookware looking shiny and pretty: You will have to polish it, but any surface scratches from utensils will polish right out, leaving the cookware looking like new for many years.
  • Makes the cookware easier to clean than standard clad stainless: It is not nonstick (the manual says to use oil or butter), but the ultra-smooth surface washes up well--despite the fact that you'll get plenty of fond for a pan sauce and can put a decent sear on a steak. You can also use steel wool or other abrasives on NanoBond if it needs it. 
  • Provides a completely inert cooking surface: The titanium coating completely covers the stainless steel, so if you have a nickel allergy or are otherwise sensitive to stainless steel cookware, or if you are concerned about nickel or chromium leaching into your food, this cookware has a completely inert and extremely stable cooking surface. It could be the most stable, inert cooking surface known to man.

If any of these sound appealing to you, then Hestan NanoBond just might be the cookware you've been looking for all your life. 

Heating Performance

With a wall thickness of 3.0mm, the Hestan NanoBond is almost half a millimeter thicker than All-Clad D3 (2.6mm). We did not cut the pan open (it's just too expensive), but we can assume that the greater wall thickness means a thicker aluminum core, which translates to more even heating and better heat retention than D3. 

Our testing showed this to be the case. The Hestan skillet heated quickly and evenly and the heat retention, though nothing close to cast iron, was better than All-Clad D3; that is, NanoBond held onto heat longer than D3, which we measured by boiling water and taking the temperature at 30 seconds, 1 minute, and 2 minutes after removing from heat. It wasn't the most scientific test, but we got consistent results a few times over, so we're pretty confident that NanoBond has longer heat retention than All-Clad D3. 

This translates to better searing, and that's exactly what we found. We let the pan heat up until it reached 600F, then we tossed an oiled steak into it and let it sear. The results were amazing:

Hestan NanoBond with Steak

Look at that sear! Look at that pan fond! 

Even though NanoBond doesn't have the heat retention of cast iron, it produced a perfect steak, partly because you can get the pan as hot as you want to.

The pan did a great job with eggs, too. We did scrambled and over easy, and as long as we used enough butter, the eggs cooked up without sticking (we talk about cleanup in a minute).

We loved using the pan, so we did a number of other "tests" in it, too: a stir fry, burgers, sautéed vegetables, and more. Everything cooked up evenly and the pan was a joy to use. 

We found it interesting that the pan heated as quickly as it did and yet retained heat really well compared to most other clad stainless brands. Maybe there really is something to the "35% more heat conductivity" of their patented ProCore technology. In any case, the pan was an excellent balance of fast-and-even heating and heat retention. We did not expect it to be better than All-Clad D3 and were surprised at how much we liked it.

One marketing claim out testing refuted is that the bottom of the pan is thicker than the sides: 3.0mm. We measured and re-measured with digital calipers, and found that the bottom was the same thickness as the sides. But this did not detract from performance in the least.

Overall, we give heating performance 4.5 stars, with the only thing better on the market (that we know of) being the Demeyere Proline, which is also much heavier and about as expensive (depending on size). 

Durability

The titanium coating makes these pans extremely durable. Stainless steel is already quite durable, so you may not care all the much about this, but the nanobond coating really adds another level of durability.

First, the coating is scratch resistant, so if you keep it polished, your cookware will remain looking like new for years and probably even decades.

Metal utensils leave scratch marks on stainless steel. They don't hurt the steel, but they do detract from its appearance. 

You shouldn't use anything sharp like a knife or fork, but marks from standard stainless utensils--spatulas, stirring spoons, and whisks, for example--are superficial, and they will polish right out.

Second, the coating also gives the pan the ability to withstand temperatures higher than regular clad stainless--up to 1,050F. No other cookware comes close to that number.

No kitchen range can reach temps that high, so it's kind of a moot point. But even so, it's pretty cool, and it tells you just how amazing this titanium coating really is.

Overall, NanoBond gets 5 stars for durability.

Stability/Safety

For most buyers, the stability and safety of NanoBond will probably be the deciding factor, because this is where it proves itself unique in the clad stainless cookware world.

The titanium coating is more inert than stainless steel, so there is no leaching of any chemicals into your food. Its extreme hardness makes it a completely non-reactive surface that is completely safe to cook on.

If you've been looking for the most stable, safest cooking surface that won't add anything to your food, NanoBond is the safest thing out there that still provides great heating performance.

Overall, NanoBond gets 5 stars for stability and safety.

Usability and Design

Hestan NanoBond Skillet w:Callouts

Cooking and Handling: These pans are really nice to cook with. At 2 lb 12 oz., the 11-inch skillet is about the same weight as the All-Clad D3 12-inch, so it was easy to maneuver. (It's logical that it's slightly heavier because it has thicker sidewalls/more aluminum than the All-Clad.)

The skillet handle design is great: super comfortable, easy to hold and stabilize a pan. (Why don't more pans have flat handles??) It is perfectly balanced with the weight of the pan, adding to maneuverability.

The short/helper handles and lid handles are roomy and comfortable.

Lids fit well. We love that they are stainless (not glass). Hestan did not cut any corners here.

The skillet has, as promised, a good amount of flat cooking surface. We really like the 11-inch skillet, which was big enough to sear a couple of steaks or scramble eggs for 4-5 people. Though an inch smaller in diameter than the All-Clad 12-inch, you can get about the same amount of food in it.

Helper Handles? One drawback of all the Hestan cookware is that the large skillet--the 12.5 inch--should have a helper handle and doesn't. We even think the 11-inch would benefit from a helper handle. (Even the small, 3.5 quart sauté pan has a helper handle; without the lid, it weighs about the same as the 11-inch skillet.) A helper handle is really helpful in maneuvering a hot skillet that's full of food. So the lack of helper handles on the large skillets is a fairly big miss. (All-Clad 12-inch skillets have helper handles.)

We are happy to say that the large 4-quart sauce pan does have a helper handle.

Induction: Hestan NanoBond works well on an induction cooktop. NanoBond's approximately 2mm of aluminum is enough to make it heat evenly on a super-fast induction burner; thinner pans do not do as well.

Cleanup: As we've said, NanoBond is not nonstick, but it is certainly semi-nonstick and easier to clean than stainless because the surface is so.much.smoother. You need to use oil or butter for best results, but even with a sticky pan fond, we were impressed with how easily this cookware cleaned up. 

The flush rivets were easier to clean than protruding rivets. With scrambled eggs, we had to be sure to scrub them out, or some residue got left behind. And we noticed that polish can work its way into the rivets, too, so you have to be sure to rinse well after polishing. But the flush rivets definitely make these Hestan pans easier to clean than cookware with standard rivets.

We read one review that said water got underneath the rivets and later leaked out in a rusty color. We let the pan sit in water for a few hours to test it and saw no signs of this, but it's something to be aware of. (If it happens to you, be sure to take advantage of Hestan's lifetime warranty.)

Polishing: One extra step involved in cleaning Nanobond is that it requires polishing if you want to keep it looking like new. Hestan included a sample pack of their special polish with purchase (not a whole bottle). A small amount of it and a couple of minutes of rubbing will bring the pans back to their original luster--but it is an extra step you may not want to do.

We give NanoBond 4.5 stars for usability and design: almost perfect.

Budget and Warranty

The lifetime warranty is great, but the price of NanoBond is...high.

It's understandable why NanoBond is so expensive: the PVD process is expensive, and the cookware is priced accordingly. The question is whether it adds significantly to the quality, performance, or durability of the cookware.

We think it does. However, what it adds will only appeal to a certain segment of buyers.

Of course, there's nothing wrong if you buy NanoBond simply because it's beautiful. The performance and durability is there, so you won't regret the purchase. 

Because of the high price, we give NanoBond 3 stars for budget.

Hestan NanoBond Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Beautiful and well made
  • Lightweight
  • Heat evenly, with good heat retention for clad stainless 
  • Flush rivets and sealed rims for easy cleaning
  • Withstands very high heat (1050F)
  • Excellent design, with comfortable, balanced handles, great skillet shape, lots of cooking surface
  • An excellent choice for people with nickel allergies or those looking for non-reactive cookware
  • Made in Italy.
Cons
  • Expensive
  • No helper handle on large skillet
  • Food sticks less than to stainless steel, but it still sticks (Hestan recommends using oil or fat for best results).

Hestan NanoBond Recommendation

Overall Rating: 4.4 stars

If NanoBond is in your budget, go for it. It's equal to or better than All-Clad, and you will love this cookware. It's gorgeous, it's an excellent performer, and it has some durability features above and beyond standard clad stainless. 

Where it really shines, though, is in its non-reactive cooking surface, which is possibly the most inert--and therefore safest-- cooking surface on the market. If you or anyone in your family has a nickel allergy or are otherwise concerned about chemicals leaching into your food, NanoBond is the right cookware for you. 

We take a point off for the high price ($150 for an 8-inch skillet borders on ridiculousness), but this is expensive technology that may be worth it to you. Other than the cost, NanoBond is an excellent option.

Hestan NanoBond Skillet

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Hestan ProBond Review (Including TITUM™ Nonstick)

Overall Rating: 4.1 stars

Hestan ProBond 10pc Cookware Set

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ProBond is Hestan's tri-ply stainless line, and it is almost as beautiful as the NanoBond. With its two-toned brushed/polished stainless exterior and swooping handles, it will raise the level of design in any kitchen. 

Hestan's D3? ProBond is clearly meant to compete directly with All-Clad D3; it's at a similar (though slightly higher) price point, and the construction is close to D3. Hestan says the ProBond is 2.3mm thick, but our measurements put it solidly at 3.0mm (it's identical to the NanoBond without the titanium coating). 

Maybe 2.3mm refers to the aluminum core--we're not sure. This means better heating than D3, which we found to be the case (read more in the Heating Performance section below).

Overall, we really like the Hestan ProBond. It's the most reasonably priced of the three Hestan lines and it's just a high-quality clad stainless cookware. If we had to choose a Hestan line, the ProBond would probably be our choice. It's beautiful, durable, performs slightly better than D3, and is the lowest-priced of the three Hestan lines.

Features

  • Tri-ply clad stainless with patented ProCore™ aluminum core
  • 3.0mm thick with approximately 2mm thick aluminum core (2.3mm?)
  • Two-toned brushed/polished stainless exterior
  • Fast, even heating and good heat retention
  • TITUM nonstick has 3 layers of nonstick coating reinforced with diamond particles
  • Flared rims for drip-free pouring
  • Completely sealed rims (dishwasher safe)
  • Flat, slightly grooved handle for safety and excellent grip, very well balanced
  • Safe up to 600F
  • Induction compatible
  • Flush rivets on cooking surface for easy cleaning/no gunk buildup
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Made in Italy.

What's Available

Hestan TITUM Nonstick Skillet

The ProBond TITUM Nonstick Skillet.

Hestan ProBond Soup Pot

Hestan ProBond soup pot (3qt.)

You can buy Hestan ProBond in open stock (individual pieces), as a 4- or 5-piece set (see them on Amazon), or a 10-piece set. The 4-piece set is two sauce pans with lids.

Open stock pieces available include several sizes of sauce pans, sauté pans, and skillets, essential pans, a wok, a sauteuse, a soup pot, and the TITUM nonstick skillet in three sizes (8.5, 11, 12.5 inches).

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The 10-piece set includes:

  • 8.5-in. skillet
  • 11-in. skillet
  • 3.5 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 1.5 quart sauce pan with lid
  • 3 quart sauce pan with lid
  • 8 quart stock pot with lid.

The 5-piece set includes:

  • 11-in. skillet
  • 3.5 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 2 quart sauce pan with lid.

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Heating Performance

As expected, we found the heating performance to be pretty much identical to the NanoBond; since the NanoBond is a ProBond with a titanium coating and the same ProCore heating core, this makes sense.

In other words, the ProBond pan performed very well. We were able to sear steaks and get as good a crust as with the NanoBond:

Hestan ProBond Skillet with Steak

This is surprising for clad stainless, but we would actually use ProBond in place of cast iron to sear steaks.

Everything else we cooked in this skillet, including eggs, veggies, burgers, and chicken breasts, turned out great. The pan heated quickly and evenly, and held onto heat as well as the Nanobond--which is to say, longer than All-Clad D3 hangs onto heat. 

Overall, we give the ProBond the same rating as the NanoBond for performance: 4.5 stars.

Durability

ProBond is well made cookware that should last for decades. 

Interestingly, Hestan does not state what type of stainless steel they use for ProBond, but it's obviously high quality, so we assume that it's an 18/10 grade of stainless. The cookware is too new to know if the stainless will corrode, but at this price point, we believe it will not; everything else about the pans is high quality, so the stainless probably is, too. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive and, like us, users find the cookware beautiful and well made.

The cookware will scratch, as stainless does, but the scratches won't hurt the cookware, only its appearance. The Hestan cookware polish, or other cleaners like Barkeeper's Friend, will go a long ways towards removing superficial scratches and restoring the pan's original luster.

We give ProBond 4.5 stars for durability; typically we gave good quality clad stainless 5 stars, but the NanoBond has changed that. 

Stability/Safety

The stainless steel cooking surface provides excellent stability, low reactivity with foods, and a safe cooking surface.

Yes, stainless can leach small amounts of chromium and nickel into your food, but not in dangerous amounts. And since both of these are micronutrients our body needs, we consider stainless steel cookware a safe, stable choice.

The only possible exception would be someone with a nickel allergy, who might have a reaction to nickel--although the amounts leached into your food are so small, this is unlikely to happen.

We typically give stainless cookware 5 stars for stability, but like durability, the NanoBond has changed our rating system. We give ProBond 4.5 stars for stability. If you have concerns about nickel or other chemicals, you can deduct another point. 

Usability and Design

Cooking and Handling: These pans are really nice to cook with in many ways. With the weight and balance nearly identical to NanoBond, it was easy to maneuver. 

Ditto nearly everything we said about NanoBond: great handles, great balance, beautiful, well-fitting stainless lids, great skillet shape with as much room as the All-Clad 12-inch.

And did we mention that they're beautiful? All in all, nothing to dislike about these pans.

Helper Handles? As with the NanoBond, one drawback of the ProBond is that the large skillet--the 12.5 inch--should have a helper handle and doesn't. (Even the small sauté pan has one, so Hestan is aware that helper handles are useful.) The 11-inch would also benefit from a helper handle, though it's not quite as crucial as on the largest skillet.

The large sauce pan (4 quart) does have a helper handle.

Induction: ProBond's 2.0mm (2.3?) of aluminum is enough to heat well on induction. We were impressed at how well these pans did on high, super fast induction heat.

About TITUM Nonstick: We aren't big fans of PTFE nonstick, which this pan is. (Check out our Cookware Page if you want to find out more.) Since we don't use it or recommend it any longer, we didn't test it. We can say it gets good reviews and seems like high quality nonstick. Having said that, if you must have nonstick, we highly recommend you go with a cast aluminum brand like Anolon Nouvelle Copper (also owned by Meyer): it's cheaper, will heat better, and will probably last just as long.

Cleanup: Being stainless steel, ProBond is not nonstick, and yes, it was more work to clean than the NanoBond (although not by a lot).

You will have to use cooking oil or butter for food to not stick, or else acquaint yourself with the mercury ball method, which when mastered, allows you to cook on stainless steel as though it were nonstick--without fats or oils. (Yes, really.)

Like NanoBond, the flush rivets were easier to clean than rivets found on other pans. We had to scrub them out after making eggs, or some gunk got stuck in them. As with NanoBond, we let the pan sit in water for a few hours to see if water got in under the rivets, but we didn't see any evidence of this.

We should also note here that ProBond, with its sealed rims, is completely dishwasher safe, but if you want to keep it shiny and new-looking, you should wash it by hand. 

As with all stainless steel, ProBond gets mediocre marks for cleanup: it's more work, but the durability and safety makes the stainless so desirable that we don't care.

Because of the harder cleanup than NanoBond, we only give ProBond 3.5 stars for usability and design. But despite the harder cleanup, we really liked this cookware. It's some of the most beautiful clad stainless cookware we've ever used, it's light and well-balanced, and it just has a lot going for it (performance-wise, especially). We could even go to 4 stars for all of its great qualities--but it's always going to have tougher cleanup than the NanoBond, thus the 3.5

Budget and Warranty

ProBond is Hestan's lowest priced line, with the 11-inch skillet going for about $180 and the 10-piece set going for around $800. This is no doubt premium-priced cookware--higher than All-Clad D3, but we think it's an equally good or possibly better choice.

The lifetime warranty is great, but all good quality clad stainless cookware comes with a lifetime warranty, so this is a given. 

Overall we're giving ProBond 3 stars for budget and warranty. 

Hestan ProBond Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Beautiful and high quality tri-ply clad stainless cookware
  • Lightweight
  • Flush rivets and sealed rims for easy cleaning
  • Oven safe to 600F
  • Excellent design, with comfortable handles, great skillet shape, lots of cooking surface.
Cons
  • Expensive (more than All-Clad tri-ply)
  • No helper handle on large skillet
  • Cleanup about the same as for other clad stainless brands.

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Hestan ProBond Recommendation

Our Rating: 4.1 stars

If you have your heart set on clad stainless cookware, ProBond is a great option. It's beautiful and well made, and seems a solid choice for clad, tri-ply stainless cookware. The design is gorgeous, the performance is stellar, and the cleanup is about standard for stainless cookware. The price is a little higher than All-Clad D3, but we think it's probably worth it. You won't regret the purchase.

Hestan ProBond Skillet

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Hestan CopperBond Review

Overall Rating: 3.9 stars

Hestan CopperBond 10pc Set

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CopperBond might be the most beautiful of all the Hestan cookware. With its wide band of exposed copper and polished stainless accents, it just might take your breath away.

Prices vary, with some pieces more expensive than NanoBond and some pieces less. The 10-piece set is about $100 less than the NanoBond set. 

CopperBond does not have the patented aluminum ProCore™ interior. Instead, it has a pure copper core with thin layers of aluminum (which is usually there to help with bonding to the stainless steel, not so much for heating performance). The outside layers of stainless and aluminum are cut away to expose the beautiful copper inside; this affects the heating properties marginally, if at all. 

The pan bottoms have a layer of magnetic stainless steel for induction capability; the internal cooking surface is 18/10 stainless that wraps around the outside, sealing the edges for added durability and giving that beautiful, two-tone finish.

Better than Copper Core? CopperBond was most likely designed to compete directly with All-Clad Copper Core. It has a similar, 5-layer design and some other features of Copper Core, such as being induction-compatible. However, the CopperBond pans are a little thicker and therefore (we can assume; we haven't measured it) have a thicker copper layer, offering better performance than Copper Core. 

We like CopperBond a lot. It's top quality cookware and really does take your breath away. And we like that they went a step above the Copper Core with a thicker layer of copper. But like Copper Core, the performance is that of very good clad stainless, and not like that of a "real" copper brand--one that a professional French chef would use--with 2mm or more copper. If you want copper performance, you should look at Mauviel or Ruffoni. But if you want beautiful, durable, responsive, induction-compatible clad stainless, CopperBond might be exactly what you're looking for. 

Features

  • 5-ply (stainless-aluminum-copper-aluminum-stainless) with external layers of stainless and aluminum cut away to expose copper core
  • 2.5mm thick walls with approximately 1.5mm copper (0.6mm more than All-Clad Copper Core)
  • 100% pure copper core
  • Fast, even heating with great responsiveness to temperature changes
  • Flush rivets for easier cleaning
  • Completely sealed rims, grooved for drip-free pouring
  • Induction compatible
  • Oven safe to 600F
  • Made in Italy
  • Limited lifetime warranty.

What's Available

Hestan CopperBond Essential Pan

Hestan CopperBond Essential Pan.

Hestan CopperBond Sauce Pan

Hestan CopperBond Sauce Pan.

You can buy Hestan CopperBond in open stock (individual pieces) or in a 10-piece set; we couldn't find any smaller sets as with the NanoBond and ProBond, but they may be out there. Check all the sites to see all the buying options, as they may change.

Open stock pieces available include three sizes of sauce pans, sauté pans, and skillets, two essential pans, a sauteuse, and a soup pot. 

Hestan CopperBond Sauteuse

Hestan CopperBond Sauteuse (3.5 qt).

The 10-piece set includes:

  • 8.5-inch skillet
  • 11-inch skillet
  • 3.5 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 1.5 quart sauce pan with lid
  • 3 quart sauce pan with lid
  • 6 quart stock pot with lid.

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Heating Performance

CopperBond is marketed as being more responsive than the ProBond and NanoBond, but we found that, like the All-Clad lines, the performance was similar to Hestan's other lines. (That is, all the Hestan lines are geared to provide approximately the same performance, though that performance is very good.) Since it takes approximately half as much copper to provide the same heating as aluminum, the thinner walls of CopperBond make sense. We estimate that the copper layer is 1.3-1.5mm thick, which should provide equal or slightly better heating than the (estimated) 2mm of aluminum in the other lines. 

Our testing showed this to be the case. Our boiling water/heat retention tests produced almost identical results as with the NanoBond and ProBond, with the CopperBond, surprisingly, holding onto heat slightly longer than the other lines. But then, if the copper layer is more than half as thick as the aluminum in NanoBond and ProBond, it would make sense that the heat retention is a little higher. 

Overall, we liked the performance of CopperBond. We were able to sear steaks, cook eggs, sauté veggies, and the pan did everything well. Compared to All-Clad Copper Core, the CopperBond pans weigh roughly the same; the cutaway exterior lightens them somewhat while still allowing them to provide excellent heating.

CopperBond doesn't contain enough copper to compete with the high-end copper brands we mentioned above, but it definitely gives All-Clad Copper Core a run for its money. They're both high-performance, beautiful clad stainless pans, with CopperBond just edging out Copper Core in evenness and heat retention. 

Overall, CopperBond gets the same rating as the other Hestan lines: 4.5 stars. If you're looking for thicker, heavier cookware, you can deduct a point here--but compared to average and even above-average clad stainless like All-Clad, CopperBond is just as good. 

Durability

The stainless cooking surface is great and gets 4.5 stars (no longer a perfect 5 because of NanoBond).

The copper exterior is going to tarnish, and while that doesn't affect performance, it does require periodic polishing to keep it beautiful. If this doesn't bother you, then keep the durability rating at 4.5.

Scratches are also going to be inevitable, but they won't hurt the stainless steel or the copper. In the case of the copper, most scratches will polish out.

If you don't like the idea of polishing the copper, deduct a point.

We give CopperBond 4.5 stars for durability for its excellent build quality and stainless cooking surface. 

Stability/Safety

Again, where we used to give stainless cookware 5 stars for stability, the NanoBond has knocked it down to 4.5. Stainless steel is still a safe, stable surface to cook on, but it can leach small amounts of nickel and chromium. 

If you don't care about tiny amounts of nickel and chromium, rate CopperBond at 4.5 stars. If you do, take a point (or two) off. 

We like a stainless cooking surface and aren't concerned about the microscopic amounts of leaching (of essential minerals), so we're giving it 4.5 stars.

Usability and Design

Cooking and Handling: CopperBond is great to cook with. 

Once again, we love the skillet handle, the short handles and the lid handles.

Lids are also great. And again, we love that they are stainless (not glass).

We love the 11-inch skillet, which has about the same amount of flat cooking surface as the All-Clad 12-inch Copper Core skillet. The design is thoughtful and functional.

No Helper Handles: As with the other Hestan lines, the large skillet--the 12.5 inch--should have a helper handle and doesn't. The 11-inch would also benefit from a helper handle. Helper handles are useful in maneuvering a hot skillet full of food. So the lack of helper handles on the large skillets is a shortcoming.

Both sauté pans and the large 4 quart sauce pan have helper handles. The large skillets, should, too.

Induction: The CopperBond skillet was great on induction. Even though the copper layer is thin compared to other copper cookware, the magnetic steel was thick enough to spread heat evenly and get good results on induction. We did not expect this, and prefer thicker heating layers, but the pan performed quite well with the super-fast induction heat.

Cleanup: Having a stainless steel cooking surface, CopperBond is not nonstick. So you will have to use cooking oil or butter, or else acquaint yourself with the mercury ball method, which allows you to cook on stainless steel as though it were nonstick without fats or oils. 

The flush rivets are great. As with the other lines, we let the pan sit in water for a few hours to see if water got in under the rivets, but we didn't see any evidence of this. (You should return the cookware immediately if you see any evidence of this happening.) 

Though CopperBond has sealed rims, please do not put it in the dishwasher, ever. It will ruin the gorgeous copper exterior. 

Because of the harder cleanup than NanoBond, the copper exterior that needs polishing, and the necessity of hand-washing, we give CopperBond 3 stars for usability and design. But the heatng performance was quite good.

Budget and Warranty 

Make no mistake, CopperBond is expensive cookware. You'll pay as much or more for it as All-Clad Copper Core, with some open stock pieces going for even more than the NanoBond. 

We give it 3.0 stars because it's so expensive, and the performance is minimally better than the ProBond and Nanobond (though that means it's pretty good). But if you have the budget for it and want it, you probably won't regret the purchase.

Hestan Copperbond Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Beautiful and well made, light and well-balanced with excellent handles
  • Fast, even heating and decent heat retention (better than Copper Core)
  • Flush rivets and sealed rims for easy cleaning (but not dishwasher safe)
  • Oven safe to 600F
  • Excellent design, with comfortable handles, great skillet shape, lots of cooking surface
Cons
  • Expensive
  • No helper handle on large skillet
  • Food sticks about the same as to stainless steel
  • Copper tarnishes and will require polishing to retain luster.

Hestan CopperBond Recommendation

Overall Rating: 3.9 stars

If CopperBond is in your budget and you want the beauty of copper with induction compatibility, then it's a good choice. If you're looking for high-end copper performance such as a French chef would want, we suggest you go with a "real" copper brand like Mauviel, Ruffoni, or Matfer Bourgeat, all of which will contain about twice as much copper for not a lot more. (See our article How to Pick the Best Copper Cookware if you want to learn more.)

Hestan CopperBond Sauce Pan

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Hestan Thomas Keller Insignia

Overall rating: 3.5 stars

Hestan Thomas Keller Insignia 7pc cookware set

Thomas Keller Insignia 7pc cookware set.

Hestan Thomas Keller Insignia 11pc cookware set

Thomas Keller Insignia 11pc cookware set.

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Well, now we know why All-Clad discontinued its Thomas Keller line. Keller found a new home at Hestan with Insignia, and it's very nice cookware, indeed. 

First, we want to say that a chef endorsement and/or name doesn't really mean cookware is any better than other lines, though it does make it possible to charge more for it. A chef endorsement just means that a cookware company has given a chef free cookware so they can say they cook with it. It may be better than some brands, but a chef's endorsement doesn't make that a given. It's just a way to advertise. (Made In cookware has gone nuts with chef endorsements, thinking it's a good way to sell cookware, and they've been quite successful with it. Their cookware is good, but it's not really any better than All-Clad D3 or any of the Hestan lines. It's really just a powerful way to ensure that people's confirmation bias goes in the direction they want it to.) 

Instead, a better way to judge cookware is to understand its composition (how much aluminum? how much copper? what is the grade of stainless?), which is what we try to teach you on this site.

The Thomas Keller Insignia line is basically Hestan ProBond (tri-ply clad stainless) with a few design changes. In particular, universal lids (as you can see in the pic above, a flat steel plate with a long handle that fits over any pan), and a forked handle where it attaches to the pan, which helps keep the handle cooler.

You also have different set options, with Insignia including a 2-qt. sauciér in both sets. Otherwise, it's nearly identical to ProBond. 

Hestan is marketing Insignia as "eco-conscious" because the universal lids "reduce clutter" and because the packaging is made from recycled materials. Well, okay; it's something, at least. (But then why isn't all Hestan cookware packaged in recycled materials? It's an easy thing to do.) 

The one thing we don't like about the sets is that they both come with a small nonstick skillet. We would much prefer a stainless skillet (and since when do pro chefs use nonstick anyway, unless they're getting an endorsement?). 

We weren't crazy about the universal lids, either. They don't fit as well as a lid that's made for a pot, and we found the long handle could get in the way if there was more than one pan on the stove. They also feel a little off balance with the just one long handle on one side. You can get used to them, and you may even prefer them. But we think one lid with a 7 piece set and two lids with an 11 piece set is skimpy.

If you prefer the pieces in the sets or the universal lids, Insignia is a good choice. If you prefer the pieces and traditional lids in ProBond, then go with that. The performance will be identical.

Features

  • Tri-ply clad stainless with patented ProCore™ aluminum core
  • 3.0mm thick with approximately 2mm thick aluminum core
  • Brushed stainless interior and exterior
  • Fast, even heating and good heat retention
  • Forked handle to keep it cool
  • TITUM nonstick on 8" skillet has 3 layers of nonstick coating reinforced with diamond particles
  • Flared rims for drip-free pouring
  • Completely sealed rims (dishwasher safe)
  • Flat, slightly grooved handle for safety and excellent grip
  • Safe up to 600F
  • Sustainable packaging (made from recycled products)
  • Induction compatible
  • Flush rivets on cooking surface for easy cleaning/no gunk buildup
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Made in Italy.

What's Available

Hestan Thomas Keller Insignia skillet

Insignia skillet.

Hestan Thomas Keller Insignia sauciér

Insignia 2-qt. sauciér.

Hestan Thomas Keller Insignia rondeau

Insignia rondeau.

You can buy Insignia in open stock (all pieces), a 7-piece set, or an 11-piece set. 

Open stock pieces include:

  • 3 sizes skillets (8.5", 11", 12")
  • 3 sizes TITUM nonstick skillets (8.5", 11", 12")
  • 4 sizes sauce pans (0.75qt. "butter warmer", 1.5qt, 3qt., 4qt.)
  • 2-qt sauciér
  • 2 sizes rondeaus (6qt., 9qt.)
  • 2 sizes stock pots (8qt., 12qt.)
  • 2 sizes universal lids (8.5", 12.5").
Hestan Thomas Keller Insignia sauce pan

Insignia sauce pan.

Hestan Thomas Keller Insignia universal lid

Insignia universal lid.

The 7-piece set includes:

  • 3qt sauce pan
  • 4qt Sauce Pot
  • 8qt stock pot
  • 2qt sauciér
  • 8.5-in. skillet
  • 11-in. skillet
  • 12.5-in. universal lid.

The 11-piece set includes:

  • 1.5qt sauce pan
  • 3qt sauce pan
  • 4qt sauce pan
  • 8qt stock pot
  • 2qt sauciér
  • 6qt rondeau
  • 11-in. skillet
  • 12.5-in. skillet
  • 8.5-in. universal lid
  • 12.5-in. universal lid
  • 8.5-in. skillet with TITUM™ Nonstick.

Heating Performance

We found the heating performance to be similar to NanoBond and ProBond. Which makes sense because all of these pans have the same Hestan ProCore™ aluminum interior. This approximately 2mm layer of aluminum compares well to most other high-end clad stainless cookware. It spreads heat quickly and evenly, and is enough to hang onto heat a little better than, say, All-Clad D3 or D5.

Overall, we give Insignia the same rating as the NanoBond and ProBond: 4.5 stars.

Stability/Safety

The stainless steel cooking surface is stable, non-porous, non-reactive with foods, and safe to cook on.

Stainless can leach small amounts of chromium and nickel into your food, but since both of these are micronutrients our body needs (they are only toxins in large amounts, much larger than you will ever get from your cookware), we consider stainless steel cookware a safe choice.

(If you have a nickel allergy, you should go with NanoBond, which is completely inert and won't leach anything.)

We give Insignia 4.5 stars for stability. If you have concerns about nickel or chromium, deduct an additional point. 

Usability and Design

Cooking and Handling: Insignia pans are great to cook with. They are fairly lightweight and easy to maneuver.

Ditto pretty much everything we thought about NanoBond: great handles, great balance, beautiful, great skillet shape with as much room as the All-Clad 12-inch.

The one thing we didn't really like was the long handle on the universal lids. These lids are actually a good idea because you can use them on all the pieces, so they're practical. However, the long handle could kind of get in the way if you had other pots on the stove--you had to be sure to line it up with the handle on the pot. And if it was a short-handled pot (stock pot or rondeau), it felt a little unbalanced.

Helper Handles? As with the NanoBond, one drawback of the Insignia is that the large skillet--the 12.5 inch--should have a helper handle and doesn't. The 11-inch would also benefit from a helper handle, though it's not quite as crucial as on the bigger skillet.

Like the other Hestan lines, the large Insignia sauce pan (4 quart) does have a helper handle.

Induction: Insignia did well on an induction cooktop, heating fast and evenly.

Cleanup: Cleanup on Insignia is much the same as ProBond and other clad stainless cookware: it's not nonstick, but if you're buying stainless cookware, you probably aren't expecting it to be (we hope not, anyway).

Using a fat when frying is essential for best results, or else you can learn the mercury ball method, which allows you to cook on stainless steel as though it were nonstick without fats or oils.

We prefer using a little fat because healthy fats (like avocado oil, olive, and ghee) help your body absorb certain nutrients, and are also good for you.

The flush rivets were easier to clean than brands with protruding rivets (which is most other brands). 

Insignia is dishwasher safe, but we recommend hand washing to keep it looking great. Dishwasher detergents can contain abrasives that scratch the steel.

As with all stainless steel, Insignia gets average points for cleanup: it's more work, but the durability and safety makes the stainless so desirable that we don't care.

Like ProBond, Insignia gets 3.5 stars for usability and design (because they are almost identical cookware). Even so, this is great cookware, just like ProBond. It performs really well, and it's beautiful. 

Budget and Warranty

Though Insignia and ProBond are almost identical cookware, the Insignia is higher-priced. The 11-inch Insignia skillet is $200, while the 11-inch ProBond skillet is $200. That's not a huge difference, but the set prices vary by quite a bit too. You can look at the table up at the top of this review for an easy way to compare.

In the case of sets, we prefer the ProBond because you can get a set without a nonstick skillet. Both Insignia sets come with a small (8-inch) nonstick skillet.

It's tricky to compare apples-to-apples because there are different pieces in the sets. As we said above, if you prefer the pieces in the ProBond set, go with ProBond; if you like the pieces in the Insignia set, and don't mind paying a little more, go with Insignia. Or, mix and match the open stock pieces you want. The performance will be the same.

The lifetime warranty is great, but all good quality clad stainless cookware comes with a lifetime warranty, so this is a given. 

Hestan Thomas Keller Insignia Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Beautiful and high quality tri-ply clad stainless cookware
  • Plenty of aluminum for excellent heating performance
  • Flush rivets and sealed rims for easy cleaning
  • Oven safe to 600F
  • Excellent design, with comfortable handles, great skillet shape, lots of cooking surface
  • Sustainable (recycled) packaging.
Cons
  • Expensive (more than All-Clad tri-ply and ProBond)
  • No helper handle on large skillet
  • Cleanup about the same as for other clad stainless brands
  • Both sets come with a small nonstick skillet (no option for stainless)
  • Only one lid with small set and two lids with large set
  • Universal lid has long handle that may get in the way if you've got more than one pot on the stovetop.

Hestan Thomas Keller Insignia Recommendation

Overall rating: 3.5 stars

We like the Insignia, and the performance is excellent (3mm walls are exceptional), but you can save a few bucks by buying ProBond and getting identical performance and warranty as well as very similar style.

We take points off for the small nonstick skillet in the Insignia sets (no option), and for the high price. But if you like the cookware and have the budget for it, it's excellent quality and will last for decades.

Hestan Thomas Keller Insignia 7pc cookware set

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Final Thoughts on Hestan Cookware

Hestan Culinary set out to make better cookware than top brands like All-Clad, and we think that for the most part, they succeeded.

NanoBond offers extreme durability and is the safest, most stable cooking surface we know of that still provides great heating performance (fast and even).

ProBond is more than a standard tri-ply, offering more aluminum and thus better heating than All-Clad D3.

CopperBond competes head-to-head with All-Clad Copper Core and with its higher copper content, will provide excellent, responsive heating, as well as durability and unrivaled beauty.

Thomas Keller Insignia is ProBond with an upscale design and different buying options; the universal lids are the main difference (may or may not be an improvement, depending on your opinion).

Thanks for reading!

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