March 21

Hexclad Cookware Review: The Best Nonstick on the Market?

By trk

Last Updated: June 25, 2021



Our usual advice about nonstick cookware is to buy cheap and often because the coatings don't last no matter how much you spend. But does this advice apply to Hexclad "hybrid" cookware--the latest in nonstick technology? 

In this Hexclad review, we take a detailed look at this hybrid cookware: what it is, how it's innovative, what makes it great (or not so great), performance, and more. Find out how Hexclad stacks up against other cookware and if it's worth the extra cost.

The Hexclad Lineup at a Glance

These are all the Hexclad pieces and sets available today. Be sure to check both Amazon and Hexclad.com to get the best price, because the prices can vary quite a bit.

Hexclad Lineup

Rating/Features


Hexclad Skillet (~$90-$180): 

8", Amazon/Hexclad.com

8" w/lid, Hexclad.com

10", Amazon/Hexclad.com

10" w/lid, Amazon

12", Amazon/Hexclad.com

14" w/lid, Hexclad.com

-Tri-ply base

-Hybrid cooking surface

-Stay cool handle

-Oven safe to 500F

-Metal utensil/dishwasher safe

-Induction compatible

-Lid not incl. unless stated

Hexclad Skillet - Hexclad Cookware Review: The Best Nonstick on the Market?

Hexclad 12" Griddle (~$150)

see it on Amazon

see it at Hexclad.com

-Tri-ply base

-Hybrid cooking surface

-Stay cool handle

-Oven safe to 500F

-Metal utensil/dishwasher safe

-Induction compatible

-Limited lifetime warranty.

Hexclad Griddle - Hexclad Cookware Review: The Best Nonstick on the Market?

Hexclad Wok (~$180-$230): 

12", Amazon/Hexclad.com

12" w/lid, Amazon/Hexclad

14" w/lid,  Amazon/Hexclad

-Tri-ply base

-Hybrid cooking surface

-Stay cool handle

-Oven safe to 500F

-Metal utensil/dishwasher safe

-Induction compatible

-Lid not incl. unless stated

-Limited lifetime warranty.

Hexclad Wok - Hexclad Cookware Review: The Best Nonstick on the Market?

Hexclad 6 pc Pot Set (~$450)

see it on Amazon

see it at Hexclad.com

2 qt sauce pan w/lid

3 qt sauce pan w/lid

8 qt stock pot w/lid

-Tri-ply base

-Hybrid cooking surface

-Stay cool handle

-Oven safe to 500F

-Metal utensil/dishwasher safe

-Induction compatible

-Limited lifetime warranty.

Hexclad 6 Pc Set - Hexclad Cookware Review: The Best Nonstick on the Market?

Hexclad 7 pc Skillet Set (~$400)

see it on Amazon

see it at Hexclad.com

8" skillet w/lid

10" skillet w/lid

12" skillet w/lid

12" wok

-Tri-ply base

-Hybrid cooking surface

-Stay cool handle

-Oven safe to 500F

-Metal utensil/dishwasher safe

-Induction compatible

-Limited lifetime warranty.

Hexclad 7 Pc Skillet and Wok Set

Hexclad 13 pc Set (~$700)

"Chef's Package"

see it at Hexclad.com

8", 10", 12" skillets w/lids

12" wok

2 qt sauce pan w/lid

3 qt sauce pan w/lid

8 qt stock pot w/lid

-Tri-ply base

-Hybrid cooking surface

-Stay cool handle

-Oven safe to 500F

-Metal utensil/dishwasher safe

-Induction compatible

-Limited lifetime warranty.

Hexclad Chef's Package set

-Lids sold separately for most pieces unless specifically included.

Hexclad Glass Lid - Hexclad Cookware Review: The Best Nonstick on the Market?
Hexclad 14 inch Lid - Hexclad Cookware Review: The Best Nonstick on the Market?

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About Hexclad

Hexclad Closeup

Closeup view of the Hexclad hybrid lattice.

Hexclad was founded in 2016 by CEO Daniel Winer. It began as a direct-to-consumer company, and now sells on Amazon as well as on the Hexclad site.  

Winer's hybrid design--part nonstick, part clad stainless--with its striking hexagonal lattice on both the interior and exterior of the pans--is an innovation in the cookware industry. There are a few similar products on the market now, but Hexclad is the original. 

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Where Is Hexclad Cookware Made?

Hexclad headquarters are in Los Angeles, California. The cookware is made in Korea and China. 

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So, What Exactly Is Hexclad?

Hexclad Construction Diagram

Hexclad's innovative hybrid design.

Hexclad has what they call a "hybrid" design that uses both clad stainless steel and nonstick technology. The pans are standard tri-ply clad stainless steel with an aluminum interior for fast, even heating (see more on our performance testing below). They then add a nonstick coating and a laser-etched stainless steel lattice over the nonstick. The lattice is made up of hundreds of tiny hexagons, which give Hexclad its name.

The Hexclad website describes this lattice as a system of "peaks and valleys," with the stainless steel being the peaks and the nonstick coating being the valleys. The slightly protruding stainless steel protects the nonstick coating from damage while still providing the benefits of a nonstick pan.

Hexclad also puts the nonstick coating/stainless lattice on the exterior of their pans. This is probably purely for appearance--the pans are strikingly beautiful--but it makes the pans easy to clean and scratch resistant both inside and out. 

It's a new design, but it's not an entirely new idea. Other nonstick makers use reinforcements like granite, titanium, and diamond dust in their coatings to make them more durable, and for the same reasons: the reinforcement material protrudes above the nonstick coating to protect it.

However, Hexclad is the first (as far as we know) to actually place a protective layer of latticed stainless steel over a nonstick coating.

It's innovative, and it looks phenomenal. But does it really work?

Let's find out.

Hexclad Vs Tri-Ply Vs Standard Nonstick Comparison Table

To get a general idea of Hexclad's performance, this chart compares Hexclad to tri-ply clad stainless and PTFE (Teflon) nonstick skillets. 

Data given here should be similar for most clad stainless and nonstick brands of comparable quality, but we used the data for All-Clad D3 tri-ply and All-Clad HA1 nonstick; Hexclad prices are similar to All-Clad D3 prices, so we thought this would be a good comparison.

We did not include tri-ply nonstick--which might seem like a fairer comparison price-wise--because we don't recommend buying it; cast aluminum pans are less expensive and heat just as well, so we think they're the practical choice due to how short-lived nonstick coatings can be. 

Header

Tri-Ply

PTFE Aluminum Nonstick

Hexclad

Build Type:

Stainless-Aluminum-Stainless

Cast, anodized aluminum w/PTFE cooking surface

Stainless-aluminum-stainless w/hybrid nonstick-stainless overlay

Durability:

Good compared to nonstick; mediocre compared to tri-ply.

Nonstick Properties:

Must use oil or butter

No oil or butter needed

Must use oil or butter 

Oven Safe to:

600F

500F

500F

Induction Compatible:

Yes

Yes or No*

Yes

Made in:

USA

China

Korea and China

Price (12" skillet):

$170 (lid not included)

$80 (lid included)

$155/$210 (lid not included)

*Aluminum pans must have stainless disc to work with induction, so induction compatibility varies by brand.

The stainless lattice makes these pans more durable than other nonstick products, but it also makes them less nonstick; you have to use cooking oil or butter to avoid sticking (more on this below when we talk about nonstick performance). 

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Do Hexclad Pans Contain PTFE (aka Teflon)?

Hexclad Closeup - Hexclad Cookware Review: The Best Nonstick on the Market?

Yes. 

Hexclad calls their nonstick coating ceramic, but says that it does contain PTFE (you can read more about that here). It's probably some type of hybrid nonstick coating like that used by ScanPan, but we're not sure. Companies tend to be rather close-mouthed about their nonstick coatings, considering it proprietary information.

The good news is that the Hexclad nonstick coating is free of PFAS, which is the chemical family of perfluorinated compounds that PFOA and the new GenX--which has replaced the now illegal PFOA in several nonstick coatings--belong to. These are nasty, carcinogenic chemicals and it's great that Hexclad is not using them in the manufacturing of their cookware.

Unfortunately, they do not say what they use instead, so we can't say with complete certainty that the nonstick coating is safe for humans or the environment; in fact, it's likely that whatever they're using, it's similar to PFAS.

If so, that just makes Hexclad a typical maker in the nonstick industry...we have very little information on what any manufacturers are using these days instead of PFAS.

(For more info on these chemicals, see our article What is PFOA? A Guide to Nonstick Cookware Chemicals--there's a lot to know before you buy nonstick cookware.)

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Is Hexclad Cookware Safe? 

Like all cookware that contains PTFE, the best answer is probably.

As long as you use the pans correctly--no high heat, no aerosol cooking spray--the bigger concern is the chemicals used to apply the PTFE to the pan (i.e., PFAS, as discussed above).

The truth is that no matter what Hexclad is using to apply their nonstick coatings, these chemicals are almost completely used up in the manufacturing process. In some scratched PTFE cookware, trace amounts of PFOA were found, but in many cases, no PFOA (or similar chemical) was found at all.

In fact, you are more likely to be exposed to PFAS or similar chemicals from your drinking water than from your nonstick cookware.

However: because Hexclad pans do contain PTFE, there are a few considerations. As with any PTFE cookware, you should always use low-to-medium heat because high heat can cause the PTFE to break down and release toxic fumes. These fumes can cause "polymer fever" in humans, creating flu-like symptoms, and are absolutely lethal to birds. (If you own a pet bird, you should NOT own any PTFE cookware.)

But Hexclad pans require a little more consideration: because of Hexclad's unique hybrid design, we wonder what happens when the PTFE in Hexclad begins to break down, as it inevitably will over time (true no matter how careful you are with it because that is the nature of PTFE coatings).

Does the stainless overlay make it harder to detect deteriorated PTFE?

And if so, does this make Hexclad cookware potentially more unsafe than regular PTFE cookware?

We don't have the answers to these questions, but we will say that in our testing, we noticed that after several uses, the pan surfaces looked a bit like worn-out Teflon; you can see an image of this below and decide what you think.

In any case, Hexclad cookware is almost certainly safe when used properly. But we are a little concerned about the appearance of possibly degrading PTFE after our testing. Some of it is obviously dulled stainless steel, from scrubbing, but we aren't sure it can all be attributed to that. 

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Do You Have to Season Hexclad Pans?

Seasoning Hexclad Pan

Yes, according to Hexclad.

Wash the pan with soapy water before you do anything. Then, to season the pan, you simply wipe the interior with a teaspoon of any cooking oil and heat the pan for 1-2 minutes over medium-low heat. Done.

We've noticed that an increasing number of nonstick cookware makers recommend this type of "seasoning" before use. It's supposed to help make the pan more nonstick and to make the nonstick surface last longer. Many makers, including Hexclad, also tell you that if you notice sticking to re-season the pan.

There are many different instructions for nonstick pan seasoning. Most of them are like Hexclad's, but some of them say you should heat the pan at 300F for an hour or two. According to Cook's Illustrated, you heat a clean, empty skillet over low to medium heat for 30 seconds, remove from heat, rub with 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, then wipe it clean.

We are skeptical that this "seasoning" does anything at all to the pans. Traditional seasoning, as applied to cast iron and carbon steel, requires heating a pan at high temperature--400F or above--for at least an hour, and repeating a few times to build up a coating. These high temps and long curing times cause cooking oil to polymerize--it actually changes into a different substance and becomes a sort of slippery plastic, not unlike PTFE (aka Teflon®). 

Such polymerization is not possible at the low temps used on nonstick cookware, so this "seasoning" process is something very different than that used on cast iron and carbon steel. And even if you heated the oil to polymerization temps (i.e., 400F and above), the nonstick coatings are going to behave very differently than cast iron and carbon steel, both of which interact with the cooking oil to create polymerization. 

Furthermore, seasoning shouldn't be necessary for the obvious reason that nonstick coatings should be slippery without such a treatment. 

It seems to us that all you're really doing is coating the pan with oil. This coating may help prevent food from sticking, which is why you use cooking oil on stainless steel (and other) surfaces. The coating may also help protect the nonstick surface from damage (though we're less sure on that point). 

In any case, we followed the instructions before we used the Hexclad pans, and we recommend that you do, too--even though we have our doubts about the science behind seasoning nonstick pans.

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Is Hexclad Induction Compatible?

Yes: all Hexclad cookware is induction compatible.

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Hexclad Claims: True or False?

Here are all the claims you've been hearing about Hexclad--debunked.

The Nonstick Coating Is Ceramic

Hexclad Construction Diagram

The Hexclad coating contains ceramic particles, but it is a PTFE (Teflon) coating.

True but incomplete: in the fine print, Hexclad admits that their nonstick coating contains PTFE (aka Teflon). They aren't forthcoming with this information, but we suspect that Hexclad nonstick coating is a basic PTFE coating that's reinforced with ceramic and diamond particles (much like GraniteStone or ScanPan).

In other words, it's probably a pretty typical reinforced PTFE coating, found on many products today. The difference is the stainless lattice overlay, which we believe does more to protect the nonstick coating than any other innovation thus far in the nonstick cookware world.

Hexclad has a Nonstick Cooking Surface

Hexclad with Egg Residue

The nonstick layer makes these easier to clean than stainless, but it's not true nonstick.

False. Hexclad says these are hybrid pans, which means that they are not truly nonstick: you must use oil or butter, or food will stick. 

The nonstick coating makes the pans easier to wash, and it helps food to stick less than it does to stainless. But in some ways it's actually worse than clad stainless: all those "peaks and valleys" provide a lot of places for food to get lodged in--so use oil or butter, or risk having a sticky mess to clean up.

Also, for best nonstick results, you have to use low heat. If you crank the heat up, this will also cause food to stick (ask us how we know). 

Superior Searing

Chicken Breast in Hexclad Pan

Hexclad sear: good, but not great.

False. Yes, for a pan you only use on low to medium heat, you can get a decent sear--but not a great one. 

In order to get a delicious sear--the kind you want on those juicy ribeyes--you have to use high heat. And to use high heat, you need to use a different pan (we recommend cast iron).

Hexclad will put adequate browning on your food, but if you want a deep, caramelized sear, Hexclad is not the tool to use.

Oven Safe to 500F

Hexclad Skillet in Oven

You can put Hexclad in a 500F oven, but you may not want to, as it takes a toll on the PTFE.

True. However, this is not unusual for PTFE cookware that has stainless handles. PTFE begins to degrade around 390F, but does not emit toxic fumes until it reaches about 590F. Thus, most PTFE cookware is technically oven safe to 500F. Even so, you should think twice before you put your nonstick (or Hexclad) pan in an oven this hot; high heat is terrible for PTFE coatings.

Truly Metal Utensil Safe

Hexclad Wok with Stir Fry

Hexclad is truly metal utensil safe--a true innovation in nonstick cookware.

True! The stainless steel lattice really does protect the underlying nonstick coating from damage. Although you can run a metal spatula or pizza cutter (for example) over the pan surface and not harm the pan, we don't recommend poking it with a knife tip or a fork, as these may reach below the lattice and damage the nonstick coating. (Hexclad doesn't say this, we do; it's our common sense conclusion after using the cookware.)

Truly Dishwasher Safe

Hexclad Pans in Dishwasher - Hexclad Cookware Review: The Best Nonstick on the Market?

A lot of nonstick cookware is "dishwasher safe" but it will last longer if you wash by hand.

True. But we recommend washing by hand, anyway. Dishwasher detergent has harsh abrasives that are terrible for nonstick coatings, and the stainless lattice can't protect it from this.

You should wash all of your nonstick cookware by hand, always. 

Can Use Abrasive Sponges On It

Hexclad with Abrasive Sponge

You can use abrasives on Hexclad, but you should avoid it if you can.

True. But as with the dishwasher, we're not sure you want to use any abrasives on your nonstick. The stainless lattice may help protect the nonstick surface from scratching, but we don't think that it protects it completely--you may be able to reach the PTFE with an abrasive sponge.

Hexclad has a tendency to discolor from use, and abrasives are the easiest way to bring back their original shine. But even so, we do not recommend it.

Backed By a Lifetime Warranty

Hexclad Warranty

Technically true. But incomplete: like many cookware warranties, it is limited to manufacturer defects. You can read the warranty here.

Their 30 day money back guarantee is good, but you must pay your own return shipping, and it does not apply to Hexclad cookware purchased through third party sellers.

This isn't unusual, and we're not picking on Hexclad here: If nonstick cookware makers exchanged every pan with a worn out coating, they would quickly go out of business.

So while the Hexclad warranty isn't stellar, it's better than average for nonstick cookware. 

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What Users Are Saying about Hexclad

Hexclad Skillet with Bacon

Like a lot of nonstick cookware, Hexclad gets mostly positive reviews and a few scathing ones.

Like many nonstick cookware brands (even high-end expensive ones), reviews of Hexclad are mixed. Also mixed are opinions about the Hexclad hybrid technology. Some people think it's the greatest thing since Teflon itself, while others are skeptical or unimpressed with performance.

Here's what we've found on Hexclad around the Internet:

Amazon: On Amazon, 4- and 5-star reviews for the different Hexclad products average about 85%, which is good (we like to see 80% and above). However, the 1- and 2-star reviews average about 14%, which is higher than we like to see (we like to see bad reviews under 10%). 

This isn't too bad, but some of the negative reviews were interesting. Several users complained that the cookware is not nonstick (which we already knew). Some complained about bad (or nonexistent) customer service. Someone said the pan flaked, though Hexclad replaced the pan when they sent in photos (which is great). Another reviewer said the lids felt cheap (which we agree with). Some people complained about discoloration (which we also experienced in our testing).

Overall, most of the reviews were positive--but even the positive reviewers seemed to not have high expectations of these pans being truly nonstick.

If people expected true nonstick, they tended to leave negative reviews; if they didn't mind using oil or butter and low heat, they tended to leave positive reviews. 

Costco: Reviews on Costco were similar to Amazon's: mostly positive (an average of 4.2 out of 5), but with some scathing negative reviews about sticking, flaking, being defective out of the box, and bad customer service. 

Consumer Reports: Consumer Reports really liked these pans, giving them an overall positive rating. They dinged the cookware on handle sturdiness but otherwise gave it mostly good reviews. (Which is kind of weird, because we liked the handle and did not find it lacking.)

Fakespot: Fakespot ratings on Amazon varied quite a bit, too: most Hexclad products were rated "A" or "B," but a few of them were "C" and there were even two "D" ratings.

Note that this doesn't mean the product is inferior but rather that some of the reviews may be deceptive. For the most part, Hexclad products, and the company itself, gets good ratings from Fakespot--but it's something we're going to keep an eye on, and update if things change for the worse.

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What to Look at When Buying Cookware (Or: How We Rated Hexclad)

These are the important characteristics when buying nonstick cookware, and the features we looked at when rating Hexclad:

  • Heating performance
  • Durability
  • Nonstick performance
  • Design
  • Ease of cleaning
  • Price
  • Warranty.

We rate Hexclad in each category and give an overall rating at the end.

We tested the Hexclad skillet, and recommend buying only the skillet or griddle; possibly the "wok" if you're not going to use it as a wok--that is, with high heat--but rather as a deep skillet or chef's pan.

Though technically Hexclad is a hybrid cookware, the nonstick coating is its biggest limitation. You can't use high heat (like you can with clad stainless). This makes it a nonstick pan, even though it's not truly nonstick because you have to use oil or butter for food to not stick. 

If you think of Hexclad as a more durable nonstick skillet, and not as a clad stainless pan that food doesn't stick to, you're less likely to be disappointed with the pan's overall performance. 

Heating Performance

Pancake in Hexclad Pan

We tested the 12 inch skillet, as that is the size most of us typically reach for. We used it for a couple of weeks to get a good feel for how the pan performed, cleaned up, and held up. 

The 12 inch skillet weighs 4 pounds without the lid. That may sound heavy, but this heft is largely responsible for the pan's excellent heating performance; too light, and a pan--especially a clad stainless pan--doesn't have enough mass to heat evenly or hang onto heat well. 

Before use, we seasoned the pan per Hexclad's instructions: just a few minutes of low heat with a small amount of oil before the first use. This is supposed to prevent sticking, though as we discussed earlier, we don't understand the science behind it and aren't sure if it makes much of a difference. 

First we boiled water in the Hexclad skillet side-by-side with All-Clad D3 to see how fast the Hexclad pans were in comparison: Hexclad fared well, coming to a boil about 15 seconds faster than All-Clad D3. (This was a surprising result, so we re-tested and got the same outcome--the Hexclad pan actually heats slightly faster than the All-Clad D3.) 

To test heat retention, we poured out the water and left the pans on the burners to dry. This wasn't a scientific test, but both pans stayed hot for about the same amount of time--or in other words, the Hexclad and the All-Clad D3 skillets have similar heat retention properties.

When we cooked, we also cooking oil or butter, just as Hexclad told us to: no bare pans. 

To test the Hexclad skillet's performance, we made pancakes and cheese omelets, we seared burgers and chicken breasts, and we sautĂ©ed mixed vegetables (broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower). 

Seared Chicken Breast in Hexclad Pan

We used low to medium heat for all the tasks, as we found cautions all over the Internet against using high heat: the nonstick properties become pretty much nonexistent above medium (and, in our experience, aren't that great at medium heat--more on that in a minute). 

This heat limitation is normal for nonstick cookware because high heat destroys the nonstick coating--and Hexclad, containing PTFE, is not exempt from this limitation (yes, even though it's oven safe to 500F--a stovetop burner on high can go well above 500F in a surprisingly short amount of time). 

All-Clad also states that you don't need to use high heat with their clad stainless cookware, but for different reasons: the pans are so efficient and rapid-heating that you don't need high heat to get fast, even heating.

We found this to be true for Hexclad, too.

(The difference is that if you want to use high heat with clad stainless, you won't hurt it. But if you want to use high heat with a nonstick or Hexclad pan, you will destroy it; maybe not immediately, but heat damage is cumulative to nonstick, so over time, high heat will kill your nonstick pan; even medium heat can take its toll, depending on how hot your burners can get.)

In any case, even at low and medium heat settings, the Hexclad skillet heated quickly and evenly--it was very close to what you'd expect from an All-Clad D3 skillet, or a high-end, cast aluminum nonstick pan (like All-Clad or ScanPan). In fact, it was a little better than D3: just as even, and a little bit faster. Everything we cooked came out evenly browned and nicely done. Even pancakes came out surprisingly evenly golden brown.

We do like to get more of a sear on meat than we can get at low heats, and here we'd like to caution buyers to not be taken in by some of the Hexclad videos you'll find on the Internet: there's no way to get a sear like that on a steak or a burger without using high heat--a task best suited to cast iron or very heavy clad stainless like the Demeyere Proline skillet. In fact, in some of the videos, if you look closely, you can see the high flame under the pan. 

But other than that, we can't really fault the Hexclad heating performance. Overall, it's as good as All-Clad D3--but if you like a good sear, we recommend using a different pan, or risk harming your Hexclad, not to mention ending up with a sticky mess. 

Durability

Hexclad Pan with Metal Spatula

The durability issue is a bit hard to nail down. Because yes, Hexclad cookware is definitely more durable than your average nonstick. The stainless steel lattice that overlays the PTFE coating does a good job of protecting it from scratches--so you actually can use metal utensils with Hexclad without scratching. At least, you can use metal utensils that aren't capable of digging below the stainless surface, so anything with a wide blade is going to be okay.

So Hexclad provides above-average durability when compared to other nonstick pans. But when you compare it to a clad stainless cooking surface, its durability is considerably worse.

With clad stainless, you don't need to use high heat most of the time--but you can do so without harming it in the least. And with clad stainless, you may not want to use steel utensils if you're concerned about scratching, but you can, and it won't do any damage other than possibly cosmetic.

Neither of these facts are true for Hexclad. You can use some metal utensils, sure--but you have to always be careful not to poke below the lattice. 

Hexclad does an electric mixer demo where they run the beaters all over the surface of the pan. Impressive, but again, the stainless lattice protects the underlying nonstick coating. This is good, and it's great that you really can use metal utensils. But this is not the only only limitation of nonstick: high heat is also a killer of these pans.

High heat, is a huge no-no for any PTFE pan, which Hexclad is. You may not notice the PTFE coating wearing out because of the lattice overlay, but it definitely will wear out, because that's what PTFE does. 

(And how safe is a PTFE coating when you can't tell how worn out it is? Is it releasing fumes at high heat? Is it releasing toxic PFAS chemicals? We don't have the answers to these questions, but we'd sure like to know.)

For these reasons, we gave the Hexclad an average durability rating: better than nonstick, but nowhere near a real clad stainless pan. So, if you want a pan you can use like clad stainless, then you should deduct a star or two for durability. However, if you want a nonstick pan but with greater durability--and you're willing to treat the pan like a nonstick pan--then you can add at least one star.

For durable nonstick, Hexclad is probably the best there is--except for the fact that it's not a truly nonstick pan.

Nonstick Performance

Hexclad Skillet with Egg Residue

Here's maybe the biggest drawback of all for Hexclad: the pans aren't truly nonstick. 

For food to not stick, you have to use cooking oil or butter. (Hexclad tells us this: "our pans do require a bit of oil since they are hybrid pans.") Without this lubrication, the sticking is bad. In fact--because yes, we tried to make a fried egg without any oil in the pan--we think it's worse than regular clad stainless, because clad stainless will, for the most part, release food even without cooking oil when the food has developed the proper crust (even an egg, though it will probably be overcooked by the time it does so).

But the Hexclad pans were awful at releasing food without oil or butter in the pan, no matter how well-browned the food was. 

We attribute this to the uneven surface of the pan: though those "peaks and valleys" are marketed as a huge innovation in cookware design, they actually provide all kinds of surface area for food to stick. And because the surface is uneven, it doesn't clean up all that easily, either.

So, you have to use cooking oil or butter with a Hexclad pan, and this fact makes it not a nonstick pan in the truest sense of that word.

We know that's a little bit harsh because most nonstick pans only stay that way for a brief time when they're new, and after that you have to use cooking oil for food to not stick. But at the prices of these Hexclad pans, we expected something a little more impressive, a little more innovative, and a little more nonstick.

So again: if you're looking for a great nonstick pan you can use without adding oil or butter, Hexclad is not it. And if you're looking for a durable clad stainless pan that will last for decades and take a ton of abuse, Hexclad is not it, either (because, PTFE).

If you're looking for something in-between, something that's usually easier to clean than clad stainless, and you don't mind using cooking oil, and can live with many of the care and use restrictions of nonstick (low heat!), then Hexclad is a good choice.

Design

Hexclad Skillet with Callouts

Overall Look and Feel: The Hexclad pans have great design. They're made for practical use, with comfortable handles, a grooved lip for drip-free pouring, shallow sides for excellent evaporation (which is how you get a nice brown on your foods), and have a good amount of flat cooking surface (about 9 inches in the 12 inch skillet). 

The lattice has its pros and cons, but it does make for a more durable nonstick pan.

In addition, they're extremely great-looking pans: the Hexclad design--found on both the inside and the outside--is striking, and really makes these pans stand out in your kitchen; the external nonstick also makes these pans easier to care for; cooking stains wash off more easily, and stains don't show up as well against the dark surface.

The pans are heavy enough to provide even cooking, but light enough to be easy to handle. 

Overall, really nice design. The only thing we really dislike is the glass lids, for which we deduct half a point; if you love glass lids, you can add a half point here. (More on the lids below.)

Induction: All Hexclad cookware is induction compatible, too, so this adds to their versatility.

Lids: The glass lids also have tiny vent holes; another trait that some people love but we at TRK despise. We understand the point of the vent hole (to release pressure and reduce boil-overs); we just don't like it or find it necessary. We much prefer a stainless lid with no vent holes: glass is heavy, fragile, and typically found on lower quality cookware. And when you put a lid on a pan, it's usually because you want to build up a little pressure. For example, water boils faster with a lid because of the pressurized environment, which means your food will cook faster, even at low heat settings. A vented lid won't be as efficient at this.

If these pans had stainless lids, or even unvented glass lids, we'd give them 4 stars for design; maybe even 4.5.

Handles: The Hexclad handles are nicely shaped and comfortable. We give them 4.5 stars. But we take a point off for the 12 inch skillet not having a helper handle. This pan weighs only half a pound less than the All-Clad D3 12 inch skillet, and we think a helper handle is a must-have for a pan of this size. It was a little tricky to maneuver when full of food. 

They put a helper handle on the 12 inch wok, so why not on the skillet?

They solve this problem in the even larger 14 inch skillet and wok by giving them two short handles. It's a good solution, but we're still left wishing the 12 inch skillet had a helper handle.

Heat Settings: We also wish the pans could be used at any heat setting, because having to use low heat restricts the pan's versatility (for example, you'll never be able to get a nice sear on a steak at low temps). We're not deducting any points for this, but if you want a pan you can use at any heat setting, Hexclad (or any nonstick, for that matter) is not it.

Being oven safe to 500F is a bit misleading, because it may lead you to think you can use high heat on these pans. But you really can't. A stove top burner can get a lot hotter than 500F, and this is really the absolute max to which you should heat a PTFE pan (and the PTFE will start to degrade even lower than 500F--about 390F--so you shouldn't use high temps, even in the oven, very often).

And About the Hybrid Nonstick Design: As for containing PTFE yet technically not being a nonstick pan (which is what "hybrid" means in the marketing literature), well, we'll leave that up to you to decide whether you think it's a huge innovation in cookware design, or just plain dumb. Because, to be honest, we couldn't fully decide--probably because we actually liked these pans, despite their shortcomings. 

Ease of Cleaning 

Hexclad pans clean up pretty easily. In fact, this is probably the best reason to put PTFE underneath a stainless lattice: to help pans wash up more easily than clad stainless alone; if you don't mind the heating limitations of a PTFE pan, it's actually pretty genius.

We also like that the exterior has the lattice-covered PTFE because it cleans up more easily than bare stainless, and the darker, patterned surface hides stains better than stainless steel. 

Discoloration: Hexclad pans tend to get some discoloration from cooking, especially on the sides of the pan, as you can see here:

Hexclad Pan Discoloration

Hexclad says this is normal, and due to the stainless steel part of the pan. They recommend using steel wool or an abrasive scrubby pad to remove it. (Yes: steel wool.) In other words, to treat this like a stainless steel pan (not a nonstick one). As you can see in the closeup above, most of the discoloration looks like it's on the stainless steel, so it sort of makes sense.

The question is, will the steel wool harm the nonstick coating?

We don't know--but we think that it's certainly a possibility, because why have any PTFE at all if it's not part of the surface of the pan? And if it is part of the pan surface, then won't steel wool or other abrasives harm the PTFE?

After scrubbing, we got rid of most of the discoloration, but not all of it--and it took a lot of scrubbing, perhaps more than you'll want to do to keep your pans looking new. Also, after this thorough scrubbing, the pan looked (to us) like an old teflon pan with heat damage, and possibly damage from scratching, too:

Hexclad Pan After Scrubbing

The pan looks old after scrubbing with steel wool.

So, we have mixed feelings about ease of cleaning with Hexclad. Although Hexclad is easier to clean than clad stainless, it's far from pure nonstick. And because of the peaks and valleys all over the pan surface, food can get stuck and not come off easily, especially if you try to use a Hexclad pan without oil or butter (which we do not recommend). 

And is using an abrasive scrubby--recommended by the makers!--really safe? 

We typically give clad stainless cookware an average--3 star--rating for ease of cleaning, and nonstick a top--5 star--rating. Hexclad falls somewhere in the middle, but because of the discoloration and how much work it took to get it off (and not all of it came off), we gave it only 3.5 stars in this category.

Price

We had to give Hexclad a low rating in the price category simply because they are expensive for PTFE pans that are made in Asia--and though we liked the pans overall, we're not sure they're worth the cost.

There are other spendy nonstick options out there (ScanPan and Swiss Diamond, for example). And as we said in our ScanPan article, there are reasons beyond the nonstick life span to pay more for these pans, such as the environmentally conscious manufacturing philosophy that you're not going to find in Chinese-made cookware.

Hexclad cookware is made in Asia (Korea and China), so other than that stainless lattice, we're not sure exactly what you're paying for; it's more expensive than even most Chinese-made brands of clad stainless cookware (such as Cuisinart and Tramontina).

So, Hexclad is reasonably priced when compared to All-Clad cookware (any of the lines), but compared to just about everything else, it's high. 

Furthermore, though the jury is still out on how long Hexclad will last, we can say with near certainty that it's not going to last as long as clad stainless steel cookware will last. The PTFE coating is going to wear out just as all PTFE coatings do because that's just what heat does to PTFE.

Because these pans contain PTFE, we think the best price comparison is to other brands of nonstick. 

Which means it's expensive for nonstick, Chinese-made cookware. 

If you love the design and have no concerns about budget, then Hexclad may certainly be worth the cost to you. But if you're on a budget and looking for long-lasting cookware, we'd recommend just about any decent brand of clad stainless steel instead. 

And if you're looking for a good quality nonstick pan, you can find it at a much lower price.

Also, since Hexclad is a "hybrid" cookware, it doesn't qualify as true nonstick, anyway (which makes this a very weird review).

Warranty

Hexclad offers a limited lifetime warranty on their cookware, but we've found some complaints that the company requires you to pay to ship your defective pan to them for replacement, and that the warranty won't cover wear and tear but is primarily for manufacturing defects.

In other words, the warranty is about average for nonstick cookware: it sounds good in theory, but in practice, the burden is on you to prove that you didn't mistreat the pan in some way. 

Hexclad does offer an impressive 30 day, no-questions-asked refund policy, so if you're not happy with the cookware, you can return it for a full refund if it's within 30 days of purchase. Unfortunately, you have to pay for return shipping. 

For this reason, you may want to buy from Amazon, especially if you're an Amazon Prime member. If you want to return the cookware, Amazon covers shipping. Just be sure to do a price check before buying because prices on Amazon can be very different than prices on Hexclad.com--sometimes higher, sometimes lower.

Overall Hexclad Rating: 3.1

Hexclad Skillet with Bacon - Hexclad Cookware Review: The Best Nonstick on the Market?

Our overall rating for Hexclad cookware is 3.14. It gets above average points for even heating, for being more durable than other nonstick cookware (though it's less durable than clad stainless), for its great design, and for ease of cleaning (though just barely). It gets average or below ratings for nonstick performance, price, and warranty.

What this tells you is that Hexclad is high quality cookware with good design that performs well--but that it also has many of the drawbacks of nonstick cookware, like questionable durability and limited versatility, that makes us question if it's worth the clad-stainless prices you'll pay for it.

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Hexclad Buying Options

Hexclad started out as a direct-to-consumer brand, but it is now available on Amazon (it was on Costco as well but they seem to have stopped selling it). Do a price check on both sites before buying: the Hexclad site may have considerably lower prices than Amazon on some pieces, while Amazon may have lower prices than Hexclad on some pieces. Costco sells only the 7 piece skillet and wok set.

Our recommendations below are based on the above criteria (heating performance, durability, design, ease of cleaning, price, warranty). We tested only the Hexclad skillet, but our results should apply to all Hexclad cookware. We included all buying options, but (again) we recommend Hexclad be considered a nonstick pan. That is, all you really need is a skillet. 

Nonstick coatings aren't as necessary in sauce pans or stock pots, much less woks, which require high heat (although the Hexclad wok would make an excellent Chef's pan, if you don't mind using low heat settings with it). 

Hexclad Skillets

Hexclad Skillet - Hexclad Cookware Review: The Best Nonstick on the Market?
Hexclad Skillet w/Lid - Hexclad Cookware Review: The Best Nonstick on the Market?
Hexclad 14 inch Skillet with Short Handles

Hexclad skillets come in 8-, 10-, 12-, and 14-inch sizes. Lids are sold separately unless otherwise stated. 

The Hexclad skillet has nice design and heats quickly and evenly. If you want a nonstick-type skillet and don't mind not being able to use high heat with it (you can't sear steaks in it), it's a nice and great-looking piece. Nonstick is cheaper, and clad stainless will last longer, but even so, there are probably a lot of people who can find a spot for a Hexclad skillet in their kitchen.

See Hexclad 8 inch skillet at Hexclad

See Hexclad 8 inch skillet on Amazon

See Hexclad 8 inch skillet with lid at Hexclad

See Hexclad 10 inch skillet at Hexclad

See Hexclad 10 inch skillet on Amazon

See Hexclad 10 inch skillet with lid on Amazon

See Hexclad 12 inch skillet at Hexclad

See Hexclad 12 inch skillet on Amazon

See Hexclad 14 inch skillet with lid at Hexclad

Hexclad Skillet w/Lid - Hexclad Cookware Review: The Best Nonstick on the Market?

See all Hexclad buying options (including lids):


Hexclad Griddle

Hexclad Griddle

We like the Hexclad griddle. With a little butter or cooking oil, it will turn out fabulous, evenly-browned pancakes, bacon, and eggs. We prefer a square griddle, but the 12-inch diameter provides a good amount of room. The slight lip discourages spills, and--maybe best of all-- you can use a metal turner to flip your pancakes. At around $150, it's a little steep, but being able to flip your pancakes with a metal turner might make this griddle worth every penny to you.

See Hexclad 12 inch griddle at Hexclad

See Hexclad 12 inch griddle on Amazon

Hexclad Woks

Hexclad 14 inch Wok w/lid
Hexclad 12 inch Wok w/Lid

They're certainly pretty--but if you want a wok for traditional Asian-style stir frying, we do not recommend Hexclad. Wok cooking is done at high heat, per this guide, and high heat is not recommended for Hexclad cookware. In fact, high heat is a disaster, causing terrible sticking as well as damaging the PTFE coating.

BUT--if you think of these as Chef's pans, or Essential pans--which they could certainly pass for--then they become much more versatile. If you forget the whole wok thing and view these pans as oversized skillets, then you might just find that they are one of the most versatile pans in your kitchen. 

You can get the 12 inch with or without a lid; the 14 inch comes with a lid. Interestingly, the 14 inch lid is domed and partially stainless, while the 12 inch lid is not domed and all glass.

Note that if you buy the pan for use as a chef's pan, you definitely need to get the lid. The 12 inch lid is about $50; the 14 inch lid is about $70--be sure to check both sites before buying because prices can vary  considerably.

See Hexclad 12 inch wok at Hexclad.com

See Hexclad 12 inch wok on Amazon

See Hexclad 12 inch wok with lid at Hexclad.com

See Hexclad 12 inch wok with lid on Amazon

See Hexclad 14 inch wok with lid at Hexclad.com

See Hexclad 14 inch wok with lid on Amazon

Hexclad 14 in Wok w/Lid

SEE ALL HEXCLAD BUYING OPTIONS (INCLUDING LIDS):

Hexclad Sets

Hexclad 7 Pc Skillet Wok Set
Hexclad 6  Pc Pot Set
Hexclad Chef's Package 13 Pc Set

Hexclad sells a 7 piece set of skillets with a wok, a new 6 piece set of Hexclad sauce pans with stock pot, and, if you really want to fully commit to this new hybrid technology, a behemoth 13 piece "Chef's Package" that includes all of these; the only pieces missing are the 14-inch skillet and wok.

Don't forget to count the lids, which are considered separate pieces.

See 7 Piece Skillet and Wok Set at Hexclad.com

See 7 Piece Skillet and Wok Set on Amazon

See 6 Piece Pot Set on Amazon

See 6 Piece Pot Set at Hexclad.com

13 Piece "Chef's Package on Hexclad.com

Hexclad 7 Pc Skillet/Wok Set

SEE ALL HEXCLAD BUYING OPTIONS (INCLUDING LIDS):

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Summary: Hexclad Cookware Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Gorgeous design
  • High quality, well made pans
  • Heat quickly and evenly
  • Induction compatible
  • Oven safe to 500F
  • Truly metal utensil safe
  • Can use abrasive pads to clean (though we're not sure you should)
  • Easier cleanup than clad stainless
  • More durable than regular nonstick.
Cons
  • Must use low-medium heat only (no high heat)
  • Not truly nonstick; hybrid design isn't nonstick and isn't clad stainless
  • Food sticks without oil and at higher heat
  • Can discolor from normal cooking (and it can be hard to remove the discoloration)
  • No helper handle on large (12-in) skillet
  • Glass, vented lids 
  • Expensive for nonstick cookware
  • Not as durable as clad stainless cookware.

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Recommendation

All-Clad D3 7 Pc Set - Hexclad Cookware Review: The Best Nonstick on the Market?

It's tough to beat All-Clad for all around versatility and durability.

We like Hexclad for its quality and gorgeous design, but overall, we can't recommend it. It's too expensive for cookware with a nonstick coating that is going to wear out faster than its durable clad stainless body. It's also awfully expensive for cookware made in China--however, the technology really is an innovation, so it's probably more expensive to make than regular nonstick. 

If you fall in love with Hexclad and have the budget for it, you probably won't regret buying it. But we think there are better options out there, whether you're looking for long-term durability or easy-to-clean nonstick.

What should you buy instead? We think it's hard to beat clad stainless for all-around versatility and durability; particularly true if you're looking for an entire set (which you should not get in nonstick or even hybrid nonstick). 

All-Clad D3 is excellent cookware that will last forever and has a lifetime warranty that the company will actually honor in the rare case that it doesn't. You can read about our other favorite brands of clad stainless cookware here; if you have a big budget, you can go even higher end than All-Clad, and you should definitely check out our clad stainless reviews.

Anolon Copper Nouvelle Skillet

Anolon Nouvelle Copper is high quality and affordable nonstick.

If you're more interested in a nonstick skillet, you have several options for good quality at a substantially lower price than you'll pay for Hexclad. We like All-Clad HA1 and Anolon Nouvelle Copper for PTFE; if you want to go a little upscale, then ScanPan is a good choice (read our ScanPan review here).

If you want to avoid PTFE, then GreenPan is a good choice (but keep in mind that ceramic nonstick simply won't last as long as PTFE).

Check out our Cookware page for a complete list of our cookware reviews.

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Final Thoughts on Hexclad Pans

Hexclad 7 Pc Skillet and Wok Set - Hexclad Cookware Review: The Best Nonstick on the Market?

Hexclad is beautiful, but it's expensive, and it has many of the limitations of nonstick pans.

Like a lot of hybrid products, Hexclad cookware is cool, but it's kind of a solution looking for a problem: nonstick cookware has its place, and is great for eggs and delicate foods. When used this way and taken care of properly, a nonstick pan can last for many years. 

Clad stainless cookware is some of the most versatile cookware in your kitchen, infinitely usable and durable, with no worries about high heat or metal utensils. 

Hexclad is part nonstick, part clad stainless, so it has properties of both. Unfortunately, it also has some of the limitations of nonstick cookware (you MUST use low heat!) without having the benefits of clad stainless (you MUST use low heat!). And even though the nonstick coating is protected by the really cool-looking hexagonal lattice, heat will take its toll eventually, as it does on all nonstick coatings. And when it does, you may wish you'd gone with a clad stainless brand. 

Thanks for reading!

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