Hexclad markets its pans as non-toxic, with famous chef Gordon Ramsey as a spokesperson. Understandably, a reader wrote in to ask why we don’t recommend Hexclad. Despite their popularity, here’s why Hexclad doesn’t make the cut.
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We’re constantly revising and refreshing our cookware recommendations, based on the experiences of the Leaf Score team and new product launches.
One set of pans that has never made the Leaf Score cut, and likely won’t in the future, comes from Hexclad.
Here’s the reader question that prompted this post:
I am looking for a non-toxic non-stick frypan and notice that you do not rate Hexclad (a favorite of Gordon Ramsey). Do you have an opinion to share? Thanks.Martha
If you want opinions about cookware, you’re in the right place, Martha!
My quick take on Hexclad is that, no, we don’t recommend it because Hexclad is made with PTFE.
Although many popular cookware brands manufacture products with PTFE, including Made In and Zwilling, we never recommend cookware that contains PTFE. No matter how you soup it up, PTFE is bad for people, planet, and pets.
What is Hexclad?
Hexclad is a cookware brand that offers, among other things:
- Non-stick pans
- Cutting boards.
The brand markets its pans as being great for home chefs who feel inspired by their sponsor, Gordon Ramsay.
Sure, the Hexclad pans look pretty punk rock, what with their stainless steel lattice pattern and black interiors. Appearances can be deceiving, though,
Why we don’t recommend Hexclad
Our readers want to avoid forever chemicals at all costs, which makes it easy to suggest green alternatives to Hexclad.
Hexclad Hybrid cookware claims to be:
- Metal utensil-safe
- Warrantied for its lifetime.
Let’s debunk those claims.
First, as I mentioned above, a quick dig into Hexclad specifications shows that this cookware is made with PTFE. This is a synthetic chemical coating as used in Teflon. Sure, Hexclad won’t use PFOA to apply the PTFE (no U.S. cookware brand can, legally), but PTFE itself is not safe by the standards of our readers at least, or non-toxic.
Hexclad also markets itself as great for high-heat cooking. The trouble is, high-heat cooking and PTFE don’t mix.
Once you get to temperatures close to 500 F, PTFE starts to break down. That releases toxic fumes into the air. Toxic fumes that can kill birds and cause serious health issues in humans. Even if you accidentally overheat the pan once, the PTFE is damaged and will release fumes every time it heats up.
Put simply, you won’t want to use Hexclad pans to sear a steak.
Let’s look at the non-stick claim.
Is Hexclad non-stick?
The Hybrid Hexclad cookware has a stainless steel lattice work over top of a PTFE non-stick coating. That means the surface isn’t smooth and instead holds oil or juices in the honeycomb structure, which is largely what helps keep things from sticking… at least at first.
Unlike stainless steel or straight up PTFE pans, where you have a smooth surface, the Hexclad pans have a textured surface. This is supposed to protect the PTFE coating. While it might do that to some degree, it also means you don’t have a smooth, non-stick surface to fry eggs, fish, or whatever else. And that means you lose a lot of the sear or fond when removing food from the pan.
The reality is that you get a better, more flexible, and longer lasting non-stick experience with properly seasoned stainless steel, carbon steel, or cast iron. And you can do so without the durability and toxicity issues of PTFE coated cookware.
Which brings me to the lifetime warranty.
Reading the smallprint at Hexclad, you’ll note that this warranty doesn’t apply to surface imperfections from general wear and tear.
For a PTFE coating on a product where you’re told you can use high heat and metal utensils with abandon, those surface imperfections are likely to stack up fast. But they aren’t covered under the warranty.
Safe use and cleaning
Hexclad also claims to be different from most PTFE non-stick pans because it’s safe to use metal utensils and harsh cleaning methods, and to put your pan in the oven and dishwasher.
Sure, go ahead and use metal utensils when cooking with Hexclad. The stainless steel lattice will protect the PTFE coating to some degree, but what it mainly does is make it hard to see scratches and imperfections in the coating that would easily show up in a smooth PTFE pan.
The same goes for the dishwasher and harsh cleaning. Chances are that those marks are there, you just can’t see them as clearly because of the lattice.
As for using the pan in the oven, unless you’re absolutely sure your oven never gets beyond about 475 F, this is not something to mess around with. If these pans reach high temperatures just once, it’s even less safe to use them.
Final thoughts on Hexclad
Unsurprisingly, I don’t recommend Hexclad.
I think the claims made about this product are overbaked.
These pans aren’t non-toxic, at least by my standards. They’re certainly not sustainable. And they’re very expensive.