Hard anodized aluminium is one of the most popular materials used to make cookware. Hard anodized cookware is made via anodizing the aluminium the cookware is made out of. Anodizing is the electrochemical process of thickening the already existing oxide layer on the metal.
Why is it used?
By thickening the oxide layer, the aluminium becomes harder, more durable than stainless steel while retaining the heat conductivity properties of aluminium. In essence, the hard anodizing process creates a material that contains key benefits of many other materials. For instance, hard anodized cookware does not chip or corrode. It’s highly durable nature makes it as appealing, if not more, than stainless steel.
Furthermore, one of the biggest reasons materials like aluminium are treated wearily is their reactive properties. The hard anodizing process makes the aluminium chemically stable, in other words; non-reactive.
The anodizing process consequently removes a lot of the disadvantages of plain aluminium as a cookware material and provides many benefits found in other popular cookware materials. Thus, hard anodized aluminium is a popular cookware material choice.
Is it Safe?
This is a controversial topic due to the health hazards related to aluminium consumption. Some people believe that using aluminium cookware can actually increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. This belief is based on some scientific reports claiming a connection between aluminium and patients with Alzheimer’s. In those studies Alzheimer patients had unusually high levels of aluminium in their system, thus leading people to believe there was a connection.
There have since been several studies which show that there is no conclusive evidence of a connection between aluminium levels and patients with Alzheimer’s.
Furthermore, many scientists claim that the amount of aluminium you would consume through using aluminium cookware would be too insignificant to have an impact on peoples health.
Most producers of hard anodized aluminium cookware products believe that their product is safe to use. This claim is based on the anodizing process, making the aluminium non-reactive. Due to its non-reactive property, the aluminium will not contaminate the food being cooked. While this is generally true, some people warn that cracks or other damage to the hard anodized cookware could cause aluminium exposure to food.
However, as stated previously, it is still debated whether aluminium consumption as a result of aluminium cookware is of any significance in any case.
The general belief regarding hard anodized is that it is safe. However, it would be wise nonetheless, to ensure the cookware is well maintained to prevent any chips, cracks or scratches.
Best Hard Anodized Cookware Sets
The following are some of the most recommended hard anodized cookware brands and sets to help you get started!
This is a highly recommended brand by many users. There are many advantages of this brand such as its durability, how easy it is to clean with its non-stick coatings, that it is dishwasher safe and can be used on induction cooktops.
However, it has one truly unique feature which is the ‘Total Food Release System’. This is a construction concept where there are a series of raised non-stick circles on the bottom of the pans. The reason for this is that it means that cooking utensils, such as spatulas, come in less contact with the hard-adonized surface. As a result, there is increased durability and less chance of the hard-adonized surface being scratched (and thus, potentially reactive).
Anolon hard adonized cookware sets are quite similar to Circulon sets. They do not, however, have the ‘Total Food Release System’, meaning that the surfaces of the pots and pans are smooth.
This cookware is made out of heavy gauge hard adonized material, which means that these products are very durable and have the additional feature of evenly spreading heat, for higher quality cooking. The handles are coated with a silicon rubber coating to make the cookware more easily transportable by giving the handles better grip. The silicone grip handles can withstand reasonably high temperatures of up to about 200 degrees Celsius.
Unfortunately, the cookware pieces are not dishwasher safe mainly due to the high quality non-stick triple layer coating. However, due to such high-quality non-stick coating, they are very easy to wash by hand, so this is only a slight disadvantage when regarding the many pros. Another disadvantage is that the cookware is not able to be used on induction stovetops. The Circulon brand may be better if you are in need of either of these features.
Cuisinart is highly regarded as a professional quality brand by its users. This brand offers the hard adonized chefs classic cookware set. This is a highly durable, easy to clean, non-stick cookware option. What is unique about this set is the way it is constructed. The outside layer is made of hard adonized aluminium while the core is bare aluminium. This is for the purpose of quick heat generation. The inner layer (where you cook) is made with ‘QuanTanium’. This is a non-stick coating which is unique due to its incorporation of titanium particles which makes the coating very durable.
Similarly to Anolon, this Cuisinart cookware set is unable to be put in the dishwasher, nor is it able to be used on induction surfaces.
This is another highly rated brand for hard adonized cookware. Like the other brands discussed above, these cookware sets are highly durable with a particularly durable non-stick coat. The non-stick coat makes the pots and pans easy to clean. Unlike many other non-stick coated hard-adonized cookware items, these products can be put in the dishwasher, an extremely convenient advantage. Furthermore, these cookware sets are known to be very well priced and affordable.
The handles are made of stainless steel making them extra sturdy. They are coated with a silicone grip to make it easy to transport the pot or pan as needed.
A very unique and convenient feature of this cookware brand is their ‘Thermo Heatspot’ technology. This is a technology invented by Tfal where there is a circle in the centre of the pan which will become red when the right temperature is reached. This helps improve your cooking experience and efficiency.
One downside to these hard anodized sets, common to most, is that the cookware cannot be used on induction stovetops.
Rachael Ray Hard Anodized
This cookware brand is all the rage with its users. The products are very durable and meant to last a lifetime, so it is a good option for a once off purchase of cookware. The non-stick coating in the interior of the pots and pans is said to be the most durable type of coating you can get. Because of how durable the non-stick coating is, it can be used in the dishwasher unlike many of the other brand’s cookware pieces mentioned above.
However, it is recommended by a lot of users to hand wash the cookware products nonetheless, as this will preserve the non-stick coating for longer. Because of the high-quality non-stick coating, the cookware is said to be very easy to clean by hand.
The handles are made of stainless steel to increase their sturdiness. The stainless steel handles are covered by bright orange rubber to allow for better grip and thus transportability. The bright orange colour is the signature look of the Rachael Ray hard anodized cookware sets.
The main downsides to this adonized cookware set are that it is not induction compatible, and it is recommended that the cookware is not used above medium temperatures.
Calaphon hard anodized cookware sets are slightly more on the expensive side. However, the cookware pieces are of high quality and meant to last a lifetime, so it is a once off investment. This cookware has a non-stick coating which makes it easier to clean and reduces the need for the use of oil or butter when cooking. Even with the non-stick coating, this cookware set is still able to be washed in a dishwasher. Many users of this brand have commented on the even heating this cookware produces. Furthermore, unlike some other hard anodized cookware sets, this set can withstand high temperatures.
The major downside to this set is that it cannot be used on an induction stovetop. Some users of this brand have also claimed that the cookware can be more difficult to maintain due to peeling of non-stick coating and scratches. However, with proper care, the overall verdict is that this is a high quality, highly recommended brand.