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Need Your Expert Advice -- Hard Anodized Cookware

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I understand what Hard Anodized Aluminum is - but I do not understand these issues...

--if it is harder than steel why can't you use metal utensils?
--the same thing goes for putting it in the dishwasher?
--why is it easily scratched?

In short, I love the characteristics of aluminum but I am afraid this oxidation will come of in time. Will it?

I am not speaking about Teflon coated products - just plain ole Hard Anodized Aluminum.

Please help me understand a few of these concerns as this stuff appears to have a great advertising spin but I am afraid it will not last.
post #2 of 20

Anodized Aluminum only converts a very thin layer on the surface, depending on a number of variables anywhere from .0001" to perhaps .001".  as it it a lot harder than base aluminum and more (corrosion resistant) but not as hard as steel. 

The reason not to put it in the dishwasher It will scratch when bounced up next to metal utilsils/pots in the dishwasher and also the detergent abrasion can scratch the coating (the same as using a scouring powder in the sink will) so dishwasher and scouring powder are both no-no.

As far as the oxidation coming off, not if it is handled without undue abuse.  Normal wear should not wear through the anodized layer in a lot of years if the anodizing is done well.  I would not expect a $9 Anodized pan to last very long but a $40+ pan will most likely be built well and last many years.

post #3 of 20
I've had a couple of pieces. Calphalon and some off brand. Overall I don't like it. It's not much better than untreated aluminum, you have to fuss with it as much as with non-stick, yet it it's harder to clean and costs extra.

I see no real upside to the material for cookware. It does nothing better than other materials yet has plenty of drawbacks.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #4 of 20
Theoretically, I am against non-stick cookware BUT I bought 2 Emeril hard anodized fry pans. I need them for eggs.  I love them.  Everything comes out perfectly.  The set cost me $33.  If they get ruined in time, it is no big deal to discard them as I would never use non-stick that has been scratched
post #5 of 20
I have been researching this, it looks like the best answers are these:

--if it is harder than steel why can't you use metal utensils?
  You can use metal utensils as long as there is not a non-stick coating added on. Almost all non-commercial cookware has a non-stick coating added on. Because of this, and the problems with chemicals coming out of these coatings, I recommend buying commercial quality cookware that does not have non-stick coatings.

--the same thing goes for putting it in the dishwasher?
  Two problems with dishwashers: sometimes the dishwashing detergent is too strong and will damage or discolor the anodizing. Also, anodized cookware banging against other anodized cookware is bad.

--why is it easily scratched?
  The anodizing is not easily scratched. But as I noted above, there is often a non-stick coating that is. The hard anodized coating itself is something like twice as hard as stainless steel.
 
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post #6 of 20
Oh, it is pretty easily scratched in my experience and not just with cookware.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #7 of 20
    I had a set of the older Calphalon pans back when they were still the older (heftier) style.  I never put them in the dishwasher, never used anything other than wood utensils and still was left with a raw aluminum pan after a few years.  They did heat decent...but I wouldn't buy them again.

  My set of pans came with the anodized lids.  But a few single pieces I bought separate had a glass lid.  The glass lids were even worse than the anodized lids.  They lost their seal and would leave a nice ring of water trapped between the lid and the outer metal frame.  We never submerged the lids in the sink....but I'm guessing they lost their seal from the moisture/heat inside the pot when cooking.

    We also had many set at work that resulted in pans no better than regular aluminum.  Keep in mind the ones at work were abused.  My experience is that you'll end up with something comparable to regular aluminum pans unless you don't add heat to them.

   just my $0.03,
  dan

  
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
I want to thank each of you for contributing and helping me get a better handle on hard anodized cookware.

I own some Calphalon myself and it doesn't seem to hold up very well at all. It has been on the gas range 12 times and the outside looks pretty bad. Even using silicone utensils the inside is getting scratched. I was hoping to hear some good reports of this stuff - regardless of price. If you know of ANY hard anodized that is worth the money please let me know.

Here's why I am so interested... I am setting up a cookware review site. I am tired of seeing people getting ripped off because of "reviews" being done on cookware. It appears these reviews are all regurgitated from the same info that is online. People then read this info -- go out and buy cookware -- and then find themselves wishing they had not wasted their money. I can't imagine how bad some people feel having made a poor decision and knowing they have to live with it becasue they have no money to do something different.

My site will be different. I will tell it like it is and then it's up to the consumer. I am also going to have videos showing people my findings.

I appreciate any input that you have so we can help guide people to spending their hard earned money to the best cookware within their particular budget.

Thanks again!!!!
post #9 of 20
Phatch -  Please give details. Hard anodized or not? Inside or outside? non-stick coating or not? What is your experience? Statements like yours above do not help figure this out.

sam520 -

I am hoping to acquire an exclusive deal on commercial hard anodized cookware that is built in the USA. I would appreciate an E-mail to admin at hardanodizedcookwaresets dot com when you get the site going.

 
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post #10 of 20
What IS  so special about anodized cookware?

My thoughts on this are as follows:

Anodized cookware is just as expensive or even more than regular s/s cookware with disc bottoms.

Anodized cookware--and any other aluminum cookware hardly EVER comes with disc bottoms 

I have NEVER seen a single guage aluminum pot/pan--anodized or not-- without a warped bottom.  Mind you I cook for a living, so I haven't been to that many people's homes to see what kind of cookware they have.

I have NEVER seen any type of a non-stick coating last more than a few years, and the ones that actually remain on the metal have looong lost their non-stick properties.

Aluminum cookware companies would rather walk on the moon without a suit than weld on handles, many claim that "you can't weld aluminum".  Handles are invariably riveted on.  Rivets are usually a good thing--but only if the rivet material is just as strong or stronger than the material it is riveted on to.  Every piece of aluminum cookware I have seen has aluminum rivets.  Some are good, I remember working with 20 yr old commercial "Wear-Ever" pots and pans in one place that were very solid-- they had warped bottoms, but solid handles, but I have seen and worked with lots of other commercial aluminum cookware where the rivets have worked themselves loose.  Loosey-goosey handles and liquid dribbling out when it goes above the rivet line.

If you start to look at the advantages alumium offers, there are only three:  Price,  light weight, and heat conductivity.  When you consider the anodized cookware, you can take away the price advantage, and you are only left with two.  Add into the mix that the pot/pan will warp some time soon, you better hope you have a gas range, and not a smooth solid top range, or you'll have a rock-a-bye-baby-pot/pan.

So I ask again:  What's so special about anodized aluminum cookware?  
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #11 of 20
I'm not sure about foodpump's assertion that anodized cookware *will* warp.  I have some 30-year-old Calphalon pans that I've used constantly (at home, not professionally).  In my current home I'm (sadly) forced to use them on a smooth top range, and there is no sign of warping at all.  Nada. Not a bit.  And I am not gentle to my cookware.  I've never treated them as if they were non-stick, and have never expected them to act as if they were non-stick.  After 30-odd years, the coloring inside has worn off, they're a bit pitted, but they're very flat and conduct heat well.

Cheap thin-gauge anodized aluminum pans that well-meaning relatives bought as gifts have warped, but not the heavy-gauge stuff.  (And since I love my family, I still use them )

I suspect it's the thickness that prevents warping, not the anodized coating.  Very thick plain aluminum will probably work just as well.
post #12 of 20

 

Naaa.... it's the cooktop.  Most Commercial ranges put out anywhere from 22,000. to 30,000 b.t.u's per gas burner.  The smooth cooktops never get that hot.  But don't take my word for it, ask Chefs who work in commecial kitchens, they'll tell you the same thing, all aluminum warps.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Keep the info coming. I really appreciate the feed back. Thanks!
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by RockyWenz View Post

Phatch -  Please give details. Hard anodized or not? Inside or outside? non-stick coating or not? What is your experience? Statements like yours above do not help figure this out.

sam520 -

I am hoping to acquire an exclusive deal on commercial hard anodized cookware that is built in the USA. I would appreciate an E-mail to admin at hardanodizedcookwaresets dot com when you get the site going.



I've used Calphalon, a set of rebadged Tramontina (I think) with some non-stick, military grade HAIII flashlights, bicycle frames and parts, tactical pens, knife scales....

I've used lots of hard anodized aluminum. It all scratches and fairly easily.Hardness isn't everything. It is subject to wear and abrasion. In fact HA has low wear resistance. Yes softer materials wear and abrade faster but the HA wears too. Also consider brittleness. Very hard items are generally brittle making them susceptible to cracking, chipping and so on.

HA harder than stainless is a meaningless claim. Which type of HA compared to which type of stainless at what RC? Besides, we're not claiming that stainless doesn't scratch too.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #15 of 20
Sam, I would like the link to that site when you are up and running

Quote:
Originally Posted by sam520 View Post

I want to thank each of you for contributing and helping me get a better handle on hard anodized cookware.

I own some Calphalon myself and it doesn't seem to hold up very well at all. It has been on the gas range 12 times and the outside looks pretty bad. Even using silicone utensils the inside is getting scratched. I was hoping to hear some good reports of this stuff - regardless of price. If you know of ANY hard anodized that is worth the money please let me know.

Here's why I am so interested... I am setting up a cookware review site. I am tired of seeing people getting ripped off because of "reviews" being done on cookware. It appears these reviews are all regurgitated from the same info that is online. People then read this info -- go out and buy cookware -- and then find themselves wishing they had not wasted their money. I can't imagine how bad some people feel having made a poor decision and knowing they have to live with it becasue they have no money to do something different.

My site will be different. I will tell it like it is and then it's up to the consumer. I am also going to have videos showing people my findings.

I appreciate any input that you have so we can help guide people to spending their hard earned money to the best cookware within their particular budget.

Thanks again!!!!
post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
I want to thank each one of you for helping me get a better handle on HA. I really mean this... thanks!

I have done a fair amount of research and it appears that HA is plagued with problems. I feel that many of the problems are due to the manufacturing being done overseas to the lowest bidder.

At any rate, I feel that to advise people to rush out and buy this type of cookware could result in their not being happy in the long run. That is unless they need the reduced weight that this type of cookware brings to the table.

Thanks again. You folks are the best!
post #17 of 20

I have one pan that is hard anodized inside and out, and I love it.   I want another one... a 3 qt. pan.   Do you know where I could get one, and what the price may be?

post #18 of 20

I looked at Calphalon down at Bed Bath & Beyond, and I just don't like that plastic coating on the inside.   

post #19 of 20

Are they hard anodized on the inside?   If so, where did you get them?

post #20 of 20

I use cast iron and stainless steel for my pots and pans, but I have an anodized cast aluminum griddle that I love. It is much much lighter and therefor easier to clean and pack than an equivalent sized cast iron griddle. I purchased it new on Amazon about 5 years ago. It was made in America at the Wisconsin Aluminum Forge. For care, I treat it as if it were cast iron, keeping a slight residue of grease on it all the time and allowing it to darken in color. It has nonstick properties I find to be comparable to a well seasoned cast iron skillet, and has the advantage of not utterly losing those properties and needing to be re-seasoned if accidentally overheated. and of course since it isn't subject to rust I don't have to be as careful about dry storage in between uses. 

 

I use it for pancakes, fried eggs and hamburgers.

 

Although it conducts heat very evenly, it doesn't ABSORB heat as rapidly as my cast iron, so I need to give it a longer time to warm up at a lower temperature.  (This also prevents it from overheating.)

 

My husband is subject to occasional fits of temper in the kitchen and he put a small gouge in the anodized surface by throwing a spatula at it after he heated it on too-high a burner and it scorched his pancakes. The mar in the finish doesn't affect the pan, but is visible.  I use a metal spatula (I don't even own a plastic one) and I have no problems with scratching the finish under normal (non-throwing) type use. I love the griddle and wouldn't hesitate to buy it again. If I could find good quality inexpensive anodized aluminum skillets (with no plastic coating inside or on the handles) I would consider them as an alternative to my cast iron skillets, just to save the weight. But I've never seen such a thing. 

 

Hope this helps!

 

P.S. Mine was model 54220 which seems to be discontinued. I can't tell from their website if they're coating all of them now, or if the 'premium nonstick finish' on some of them is the anodized layer. However, they're very nice folks and full of information when you call them on the phone.

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