Is HexClad Cookware a scam?


If you’re like me and you’ve made the mistake of Googling nonstick cooker recently, then you’re probably seeing ads for this pan a lot. HexClad’s Hybrid cookware gives you the performance of stainless steel, the durability of cast iron and the convenience of nonstick. Welcome to the hybrid revolution. Welcome to HexClad. – Those are some bold claims and so I purchased a few HexClad pans and today, we’re gonna review them.

We’re gonna talk about what do they do well, what do they not do as well and maybe have a short conversation about when marketing claims become intentionally misleading. But before we look at the performance and durability of these pans, if you’re new to this channel, welcome. My name’s Chris Young, and you might be wondering who I am and why you should listen to me.

I’ve been combining science and cooking for almost two decades. While I studied chemistry and mathematics at university, my actual career began when I became the head development chef for the three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck Restaurant in the early 2000s, before co-authoring “Modernist Cuisine” with Nathan Myhrvold.

After that, I co-founded the online cooking community Chef Steps and created the Joule Sous Vide Circulator. These days, I’m the founder of a company called Combustion Inc, where our team is creating the most advanced wireless predictive thermometer and its kitchen timer display. Now, this can just be a great instant-read thermometer, but its real superpower is to use its eight temperature sensors to do things that no other thermometer can do.

Like automatically locate and measure the temperature at the core of your food, measure the real cooking temperature at the surface of your food, and most importantly, answer two very basic cooking questions: how long does my food need to cook for and how long should it rest for to end up at my perfect doneness? Now, if you’re interested in learning more about these products, I’ll put a link to the Combustion Inc.

website in the description below. But this channel is about exploring the science and technology of cooking, and if that’s interesting to you I’d really appreciate it if you click that like button and hit subscribe. Thank you so very much. Now, back to our review.

This being a review video, let’s start with an unboxing.

Comes with a nice reasonable dust bag, which I guess you can use to protect it when you’re not using it. Nothing worse than people stacking other cookware on top of your pristine nonstick cookware. So, that’s thoughtful. And the panel looks very well constructed. Two layers of stainless steel and an aluminum core for good heat diffusivity.

This is induction capable, which is useful since I mostly cook on induction these days. The edges are flared, which is nice to protect them from delaminating from utensils banging against them. Very nice hollow-core handle with thermal standoffs that’s riveted on for durability. Overall, this is a very well-constructed pan. The stainless steel is very polished.

The quality of finishing is as good as any other premium pan, whether All-Clad or Demeyere or the like. Obviously, the really unique thing about this pan is the embossed tesselating pattern on the inside and outside of this pan. And I’ll talk about what this achieves and what it doesn’t achieve.

But to do that, it’s really helpful to understand why food sticks and how Teflon works. Nonstick cookware has one job to do: keep food from sticking.

Food sticks to cookware because molecules in the food, especially proteins, form strong chemical bonds with the metal. To prevent this, we need something between the metal and the food that doesn’t bond well to either. This is where Teflon is unmatched in performance. Now, I understand that there are many people who abhor the idea of cooking with Teflon, and if that’s you, I completely understand. There are other non-sick coatings available but objectively none are as nonstick as Teflon.

Now, this isn’t gonna be a video defending the safety of Teflon. If you’re interested in that topic, the YouTuber Adam Ragusea has an excellent video and I’ll put a link to it in my description below.

Now, Teflon is the commercial name for polytetrafluoroethylene, PTFE for short. It’s a long molecule, a carbon chain, the ethylene backbone, with fluorine atoms put into every spot possible and the bonds between the fluorine and carbon are so strong that neither have any interest in reacting with anything else, neither you nor your food. The challenge with Teflon though has always been how do you get it to stick to the metal pan in the first place?

The usual approach is to apply a primer that sticks to the metal, but whose molecules kind of look like Teflon so that when a midcoat layer of Teflon is applied it will think it’s among like-minded molecules and diffuse into it, binding them together. The midcoat layer also includes some inert ceramic filler that makes it more durable and scratch resistant. This filler also gives the pan it’s charcoal-colored nonstick sparkle. Finally, a topcoat of pure Teflon is applied. It’s this pure topcoat of Teflon that makes a brand new nonstick pan so, well nonstick.

Alas, it’s also the first layer to wear away. And that brings us to the clever idea behind HexClad hybrid cookware. Listen to this. (pan scrapes shrilly) That’s the sound of metal on metal. Let me compare it against a pure Teflon-coated pan.

(pan scrapes dully) That’s the sound of metal on polymer. Nothing alike. The patented idea here is to laser etch an embossed pattern into the pan then coat the entire pan with Teflon and then polish away the Teflon from those high spots to expose the stainless steel leaving the Teflon behind in those low spots where it’s protected. This raised pattern of stainless steel keeps utensils from actually colliding with the Teflon surface, keeping it from getting scratched. They also divide the pan up into a bunch of individual zones so that if one zone gets scratched and starts to delaminate it won’t spread quickly to the rest of the pan.

It’s kind of like the mesh in ripstop nylon. HexClad even says, and this is from their website, that you can scrub these pans with steel wool. Can I just pause for a second and say how very, very wrong it feels to use steel wool on Teflon? Now, this all sounds too good to be true, and it is. This little card included in the packaging is the first hint that there might be a catch.

“As with most fine cookware, HexClad hybrid cookware should be seasoned before first use. Heat the pan to medium-low and spread one teaspoon of vegetable oil around the interior of the pan. Leave on heat for one to two minutes then you’re ready to cook.” If this is the answer, it raises the question, why have this in the first place? Why not just get a carbon steel or a cast-iron pan and season it?

Online reviews suggest my concern isn’t unfounded.

Most folks seem to really like these pans but there’s a concerning number of negative reviews that consistently claim that food sticks to these pans, which kind of defeats the idea that these are uniquely durable nonstick pans. So is HexClad cookware solving a fundamental shortcoming of traditional Teflon nonstick cookware or is it just very well marketed? To sort this out, I’m gonna compare the HexClad cookware against All-Clad D3 cookware. It’s a pan of comparable price, quality, and construction.

Is HexClad Cookware a scam?

To compare these two pans, I’m gonna cook some eggs because eggs are among the stickiest foods there are. But first I’m gonna test both of these pans with a bit of water. Remember, the stuff in the food that sticks to cookware is mixed into water. When I pour water into these pans, the more it beads up and tries to pull away from the surface, the more hydrophobic, water-fearing, the coating of the pan is which is a very good indication that food won’t stick to it.

You can also see that the pure Teflon pan beads water more effectively than the HexClad pan.

If I empty the water from the pans and see how much remains behind, it’s a little more obvious. The pure Teflon pan is droplet-free whereas there’s still a few drops in the HexClad pan. Looking closely, the water seems to be sticking to the exposed stainless steel in the HexClad pan which hints at where sticking will occur. Okay, so I’ve preseason the HexClad cookware as the manufacturer recommends, which involves heating it with a thin layer of oil on it a few times. The first thing I’m gonna try are sunny-side up eggs and I’m not gonna use any oil in the pan because I know that that works with a classic Teflon nonstick pan and I really want to get a sense of how this HexClad pan performs by comparison.

Let’s get started. (UFO warbling) (spatula scraping) Well. So obviously this is not quite as nonstick as a pure Teflon nonstick pan. It’s not that bad. A little bit of oil in the pan would definitely have helped.

And it demands a lot from your nonstick cookware surface, which will wear out over time, especially if you treat it like a chef. That’s why I was really excited to learn about HexClad cookware. My previous nonstick cookware had begun to wear out, omelets had started to stick.

The idea of a nonstick pan that’s durable and will last a lifetime, that’s incredibly appealing. It was probably this moment in their advertisement that really sold me. – Watch this. (exhales) – The reality is somewhat disappointing. Now, they’re not faking what they show in their advertising but it’s what they don’t show you that makes it work.

And then you cook it until it’s very dry before… (Chris exhales forcefully) That is not a classic French omelet. It’s a dry sheet of egg.

And personally, I think their advertising is being a bit misleading here. They’re trying to communicate that their hybrid pans are as nonstick as pure Teflon when in reality they’re not.

In my testing, HexClad cookware does fine for tasks that don’t demand an exceptionally good nonstick coating like searing a steak. But their hybrid design doesn’t perform very well for more delicate tasks that really benefit from what a pure Teflon coating offers like a classic French omelet or seafood. Of course, what you give up in nonstick performance, you gain in durability.

Sort of. Let’s talk for a moment about why nonstick coatings fail and HexClad’s advertised lifetime warranty. Pure Teflon is an incredibly soft material that scratches easily. Now, modern Teflon coatings like the one used in this pan includes hard ceramic particles, clever bonding techniques, and multiple layers to make the Teflon coating more nonstick and scratch resistant but it will eventually scratch and fail. HexClad, by contrast, has a clever approach to protecting their Teflon coating by embossing it below a stainless steel pattern.

Now that does protect it from scratches and that does make it more durable but at the expense of being less nonstick than this pan. Now, that might be a reasonable trade off for you. Maybe it’s acceptable to be somewhat less nonstick in exchange for the increased durability. But scratches are only one of the reasons Teflon coatings fail and HexClad’s approach does nothing to protect from the other reasons that Teflon coatings will eventually fail.

The Teflon coating on both of these pans will begin to break down above 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

That’s about 260 degrees Celsius. But perhaps you’re incredibly careful with your nonstick cookware and you never let it get too hot. Sadly, it will still fail. It turns out that metal and Teflon don’t expand and contract at the same rate when heated and cooled. As a result, each time you heat the pan up and cool it back down, stress starts to accumulate between the layers of Teflon and metal in the pan.

Over time, this accumulating stress will cause the Teflon to delaminate and fail. Teflon is a remarkable material, but unlike diamonds, it won’t last forever. “This certifies that your HexClad product is warranted to be free from defects in material and craftsmanship for the lifetime of the purchaser. This warranty does not apply to damage caused in a food-service setting, abuse, misuse, or altering the product. Over time, surface imperfections may appear.

This is considered normal wear and tear.” Hmm, that doesn’t sound like they’re promising these pans will remain nonstick for a lifetime at all.

And that feels, well, disingenuous. The implication of HexClad’s advertising and the marketing claims on their website is that they have come up with an innovation that overcomes one of the fundamental flaws of Teflon nonstick coatings when in reality that’s not what they’re promising. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with HexClad’s warranty and I think the pans themselves are incredibly well made and comparable to other pans at this price point.

I do however, think their marketing has crossed a line to be intentionally misleading in an effort to close the sale. Nevertheless, these pans are very popular and most online reviews are favorable. The negative reviews tend to point out what I hope I’ve demonstrated in this video, that these pans are not as nonstick as a pure Teflon coated pan, and if you buy them with that expectation, you’re likely to be disappointed. So who do I think these pans are for? I think it comes down to what you want out of a nonstick pan.

There are some people, such as myself, that want a nonstick pan for cooking things that demand the pan be, well, as nonstick as possible.

But there are likely a lot more people that want a pan that’s reasonably nonstick, generally easy to clean, but also durable enough for misuse in a realistic kitchen. And if that’s you, you’re likely to be entirely satisfied with HexClad cookware. But for me, I’ll be sticking with conventional Teflon nonstick pans because, well, it’s just a lot more nonstick. But what do you think?

Do you have HexClad cookware? Do you like it? Let me know in the comments below. And thank you so much for watching..

Read More: Best Cookware Made in the USA: Top Brands Reviewed

What do you think?

Written by receipy

Leave a Reply

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

Best Cookware Made in the USA: Top Brands Reviewed

Picking The Right Pan For Every Recipe | Epicurious