The more you research cookware, the more you realise how vast the market is. There are so many brands, collections, ranges, materials, eco-friendly options and aesthetics out there.

When looking for a new cookware set, it’s understandably frustrating when you find a whole bunch of products with technical names you don’t really recognize. You just want to know, “what is this? What’s it made of and will it serve me well?!”.

Editor's Choice
All-Clad 2100090556 13 Piece HA1 Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set, Aluminum, Black
Best Budget Buy
T-Fal Scratch Resistant, Aluminum, Gray, 12-Piece
Rachael Ray Hard Anodized Nonstick Dishwasher Safe 14-Piece Cookware Set, Orange
Simply Calphalon Nonstick 10 Piece Cookware Set
Circulon 87526 10-Piece Hard Anodized Aluminum Cookware Set, Black
All-Clad 2100090556 13 Piece HA1 Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set, Aluminum, Black
T-Fal Scratch Resistant, Aluminum, Gray, 12-Piece
Rachael Ray Hard Anodized Nonstick Dishwasher Safe 14-Piece Cookware Set, Orange
Simply Calphalon Nonstick 10 Piece Cookware Set
Circulon 87526 10-Piece Hard Anodized Aluminum Cookware Set, Black
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88%
Editor's Choice
All-Clad 2100090556 13 Piece HA1 Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set, Aluminum, Black
All-Clad 2100090556 13 Piece HA1 Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set, Aluminum, Black
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94%
Best Budget Buy
T-Fal Scratch Resistant, Aluminum, Gray, 12-Piece
T-Fal Scratch Resistant, Aluminum, Gray, 12-Piece
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86%
Rachael Ray Hard Anodized Nonstick Dishwasher Safe 14-Piece Cookware Set, Orange
Rachael Ray Hard Anodized Nonstick Dishwasher Safe 14-Piece Cookware Set, Orange
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92%
Simply Calphalon Nonstick 10 Piece Cookware Set
Simply Calphalon Nonstick 10 Piece Cookware Set
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88%
Circulon 87526 10-Piece Hard Anodized Aluminum Cookware Set, Black
Circulon 87526 10-Piece Hard Anodized Aluminum Cookware Set, Black
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88%

Today we’re tackling one very common cookware material…hard-anodized aluminum. We’ll find out what exactly it is, what benefits it offers, and then we’ll reveal the top five best hard-anodized cookware sets.

Calphalon Simply Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set

Calphalon Simply Nonstick

Calphalon is a well-known, trusted brand in the cookware world. This particular set is from their “Simply” range and it has thousands of reviews…most of them 5-star. What’s evident with this set is that it offers great value for money.

The price is very low, considering you get six cookware items (plus four lids). The cost per item and cost per use is rather miniscule when you think about it.

You get: 8-inch and 10-inch omelet pans, 1-quart saucepan with lid, 2-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart saute pan with lid and a 6-quart stockpot with lid. There’s really nothing missing here, you can satisfy your entire cookware requirements with this one set.

It’s an attractive set, with a deep, inky charcoal outer and glass lids. Great for people who have a classic, classy taste and like to keep their cookware simple and sleek.

Sale
Simply Calphalon Nonstick 10 Piece Cookware Set
  • Cookware set features Calphalon's signature hard-anodized aluminum construction for excellent conductivity and even heating
  • The interior surface of the pots and pans is double-coated with Calphalon's sturdy, reliable nonstick coating
  • Tempered glass covers. Oven safe to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
  • This is not dishwasher safe
  • 8-inch omelet pan, 10-inch omelet pan, 1-qt covered sauce pan, 2-qt covered sauce pan, 3-qt covered saute pan, 6-qt covered stock pot, 4pcs tempered glass lids

The hard-anodized aluminum is coated with two layers of non-stick coating, which is PFOA-free. The reviews show an overwhelming consensus that the non-stick coating on these pots and pans is truly non-stick.

Customers have raved that their eggs (everyone uses eggs as the prime example!) slide about with ease. This is great for people who are trying to cut down on fat in their diet as it completely cuts the need for adding extra oil and butter.

We really like the handles, as they’ve been enhanced with silicone to remain cool and easy to get a steady grip. The lids are great too, made from tempered glass, shiny metal rims and silicone-coated handles.

The only potential downside to this cookware set is that none of the items are dishwasher safe. However, this shouldn’t pose a problem as the non-stick surface makes them super easy to hand wash anyway.

In fact, even cookware which is said to be dishwasher safe usually lasts longer when hand-washed most of the time anyway.

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Affordable
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Attractive
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Versatile selection
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Great lids (tempered glass)
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Oven safe

Final Verdict

This is an attractive and comprehensive cookware set with a great variety of shapes, sizes and uses. It’s ideal for people who have a low-medium budget but need a full set to get them fully equipped for all kinds of cooking.

We love that everything is oven-safe so you can easily switch between stove and oven without changing vessel. We recommend this set to anyone who either doesn’t have a dishwasher or prefers to hand wash their cookware. Great for people who want a non-stick range which actually stands up to the claim.

  • Safety 80% 80%
  • Durability 80% 80%
  • Versatility 100% 100%
  • Attractiveness 90% 90%
  • Value 90% 90%

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Video Review

 

Rachael Ray Hard-Anodized Nonstick 14-Piece Cookware Set

Rachael Ray Hard-Anodized

Next we have a large cookware set from Rachael Ray. This set includes 8 items (plus 6 lids). You get: 1-quart, 2-quart, 3-quart and 4-quart saucepans with lids, 6-quart stockpot with lid, 3-quart saute pan with lid, 8.5-inch and 10-inch skillets.

The cost of this set (without a discount or on sale) is pretty high at first glance. However, when you consider how much you get and the versatility of the cookware, it’s actually pretty great. Every piece made from hard-anodized aluminum with an effective non-stick coating.

Sale
Rachael Ray Hard Anodized Nonstick Dishwasher Safe 14-Piece Cookware Set, Orange
  • 1-, 2-, and 3- quart,covered saucepans, 4-quart,covered saucepot, 6-quart,covered stockpot, 3-quart covered saute, 8.5-inch and 10-inch skillet
  • Hard-anodized cookware is durable and heats quickly and evenly, reducing hot spots that can burn foods
  • Clear coat exterior makes this cookware dishwasher safe; rubberized handles provide a comfortable grip and are oven safe to 350°F
  • Nonstick Interiors - A long-lasting nonstick interior lets food slide off with ease and makes cleanup quick and easy
  • Watch your foods cook without having to remove the lid to keep heat and moisture locked in,lifetime limited warranty

This set is dishwasher safe and oven-safe (up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit). We love this because it increases the ease-of-use and makes for a multi-tasking cookware set. You can slow-cook meats and casseroles in the oven once you’ve browned the meat on the stove, without messing up two cookware items.

The handles have a rubberized cover on them which makes them very easy to grip confidently. It also adds a cool pop of color as the handles are bright orange to contrast the charcoal body.

The lids are really well designed, with tempered glass and a tight-fitting shape. This means you can see the food as it cooks, while still keeping that moisture and heat locked in tight.

The reviews (of which there are many) are strongly weighted in the 4 and 5-star sections. The most common comments are that this cookware is really easy to clean, truly non-stick, heats evenly and doesn’t mark or fade.

See also:
Rachael Ray Cucina Hard Porcelain Enamel Nonstick Cookware Set Review

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Comprehensive range of items
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Attractive
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Dishwasher-safe
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Rubber, easy-grip handles
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Oven safe

Final Verdict

We give this cookware set two thumbs up. The hard-anodized aluminum base and non-stick surface have proven to be effective according to many happy reviews. The range of cookware items is great, with no gaps left to be filled.

We think this would be a great gift for a first-home owner, a young couple or someone who needs a complete set of versatile and high-quality cookware.

  • Safety 80% 80%
  • Durability 90% 90%
  • Versatility 100% 100%
  • Attractiveness 100% 100%
  • Value 90% 90%

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Video Review

 

Circulon 87526 10-Piece Hard-Anodized Aluminium Cookware Set

Circulon 87526

Here we have a 10-piece cookware set made from hard-anodized aluminum with a non-stick coating. You get: 2 skillets (different sizes), 1 large stockpot with lid, 1 saute pan with lid, 2 saucepans (different sizes) with lids.

The price is reasonable, considering that you get a comprehensive cookware set with everything you need. Do keep in mind that some brands will charge the cost of this whole set for one pan, just to put things in perspective.

These pots and pans have Circulon’s own TOTAL(r) Nonstick System. This is characterized by lots of raised concentric circles. These help the food to be easily released from the surface, helped even further by the 3 layers of non-stick coating.

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Circulon 87526 10-Piece Hard Anodized Aluminum Cookware Set, Black
  • Heavy gauge hard-anodized aluminum construction is twice as hard as stainless steel and provides lasting durability; dishwasher safe
  • PFOA-free metal utensil safe interiors features the TOTAL(r) Nonstick System of raised circles and triple layer, premium quality nonstick for long-lasting food release and easy cleanup
  • The cookware set handles are crafted from stainless steel, wrapped in silicone for a comfortable grasp and oven safe to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
  • Circulon nonstick technology is so advanced, it lasts 10 times longer than ordinary nonstick

The concentric circles help the surface to be compatible with metal utensils without risk of scratching and chipping.

You’ll see that the bottom of these pots and pans are made of a shiny, silver metal. This is stainless steel which has been “impact-bonded” to make it suitable for induction cooktops.

Circulon claims that their non-stick coating lasts “10 times longer than ordinary nonstick”.

We really like the handles on these pots and pans. The base is made of stainless steel, and they’re coated with rubber to keep them cooler, and provide a sturdy grip even when wet or greasy.

We love the tempered glass lids too, with a tight fit and rubberized stainless-steel handles for a comfortable grip.

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Dishwasher-safe
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Oven safe (up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit)
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Suitable for induction cooktops
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Attractive
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Tempered-glass, sturdy lids

Final Verdict

We give this hard-anodized cookware set from Circulon a big nod of approval. We think it would be a great choice for anyone in need of a complete cookware overhaul. Ideal for people with induction cooktops and a habit of using the oven and dishwasher with their cookware.

This set has a few extra little features such as the TOTAL(r) Nonstick System, stainless steel base and rubberized handles which nudges it up in the quality ranks.

  • Safety 80% 80%
  • Durability 90% 90%
  • Versatility 90% 90%
  • Attractiveness 100% 100%
  • Value 80% 80%

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T-Fal E765SC Non-Stick Hard-Anodized 12-Piece Cookware Set with Thermo Spot Heat Indicator

T-Fal E765SC Non-Stick Hard-Anodized

T-Fal is an extremely well-known brand. They’re characterized by their special red spot (Thermo-spot) in the center which glows when the pan is sufficiently heated. We’ve chosen this hard-anodized cookware set because it’s incredibly affordable considering everything you get with it.

It comes with: 8-inch and 10.25-inch fry pans, 11.5-inch fry pan with lid, 10.25-inch square griddle pan, 1-quart, 2-quart and 3-quart saucepans with lids, 3.5-quart saute pan, 5-quart Dutch oven with lid. They are, of course, made from hard-anodized aluminum with a PFOA-free non-stick coating.

T-Fal Scratch Resistant, Aluminum, Gray, 12-Piece
  • Set includes 8-inch and 10.25-inch fry pans, a 5-quart covered Dutch oven, and 1-quart, 2-quart, and 3-quart covered sauce pans, as well as a nylon solid spoon and slotted spatula
  • Hard anodized aluminum construction for durability
  • The unique T-fal Thermo-spot heat indicator shows when T-fal pan is perfectly preheated for cooking
  • Prometal Pro nonstick interior is exceptionally durable and scratch resistant, safe for use with metal utensil. Heat source : Gas,electric,ceramic,halogen
  • Riveted silicone handles; Oven safe to 350-degree F; Glass lids; Limited lifetime warranty; Safe for all cooking methods except induction

Despite the very low price, these pots and pans are extremely versatile and user-friendly. They can be thrown into the dishwasher for a fuss-free wash. They’re oven safe so you can switch from stove to oven without switching cookware. The exterior is super hardy (thanks to that hard-anodized aluminum) and is scratch-resistant and safe for metal utensils.

Of course, they have the Thermo-spot heat indicator to let you know when they are hot and ready to go. This is helpful for newer home cooks, as it stops you from adding food to a pan which isn’t quite ready. This can affect the flavor and overall end result.

The handles (on the pots, pans and lids) are coated with a silicone layer to stop them from getting painfully hot. It also makes them easier to grip and transport firmly. Some cheaper cookware can be prone to warping which completely ruins the effectiveness.

This set has been created with T-Fal’s TechnoResist Anti-Warp base which stops them from getting that annoying uneven surface after a while.

And as a little extra bonus, the set comes with a slotted spatula and large spoon made from durable nylon.

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Extremely affordable
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Warp-resistant
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Scratch-resistant interior suitable for metal utensils
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Comes with a spatula and spoon
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Dishwasher-safe and oven safe

Final Verdict

This has to be the ultimate cookware set for very limited budgets. We think this is a perfect set for students, young couples or “first-time living away from home” cooks.

Do take note that it’s not induction-compatible, but it’s great for all other cooktops and ovens. You get a great variety of cookware, with no missing items a regular home cook would need.

Great durability, user-friendly features and attractive design for all kitchens.

  • Safety 80% 80%
  • Durability 90% 90%
  • Versatility 90% 90%
  • Attractiveness 80% 80%
  • Value 100% 100%

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Video Review

All-Clad E785SB64 HA1 Hard-Anodized Nonstick 13-Piece Cookware Set

T-Fal E765SC Non-Stick Hard-Anodized

This is the most expensive set in our list, but it does offer the fantastic quality associated with All-Clad cookware. The hard-anodized construction is coated with a non-stick surface which is scratch-resistant and durable.

The deep charcoal exterior is beautifully offset with shiny, stainless-steel handles and lid handles. However, the handles aren’t coated with rubber or silicone, so they might get a little hotter than other cookware handles.  

All-Clad 2100090556 13 Piece HA1 Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set, Aluminum, Black
  • Set includes 8 inch, 10 inch and 12 inch fry pans, 2.5 quart and 3.5 quart sauce pans with lids, a 4 quart sauté pan with lid, a 4 quart Soup pot with lid and an 8 quart stockpot with lid
  • Hard anodized aluminum construction for fast, even heating and easy cleanup; stainless-steel bonded anti-warp base; optimized for induction
  • Pfoa-free scratch resistant nonstick coating for healthier cooking with less fat; secure-fitting lids trap in heat and moisture and allow for checking on food at a glance
  • Stainless-steel handles contoured for a comfortable hold and permanently secured with stainless-steel rivets and heat source is induction, gas, electric, ceramic, halogen
  • Oven safe to 500 degrees F (without lids); dishwasher-safe, Hand wash recommended; Limited Lifetime warranty

You get: 8-inch, 10-inch and 12-inch frying pans, 2.5-quart and 3.5-quart saucepans with lids, 4-quart saute pan with lid, 4-quart soup pot with lid, and an 8-quart stockpot with lid. The lids are made from tempered glass for a see-through finish and a very snug fit.  

When looking at the bottom of the cookware, you’ll see that it’s made of a shiny silver. This is because the bottoms are made from a bonded stainless steel. This is to make them completely resistant to warping and makes them induction compatible. 

You can pop these pots and pans into the oven up to 500 degrees (not the lids), which is fantastic for versatile cooking. It really makes a difference to be able to saute on the stove then finish off a dish in the oven, or even slow-cook in the oven from the start.

They’re also dishwasher safe, which comes in handy when you’re too tired to stand at the sink scrubbing and drying.

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Induction compatible
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Oven-safe
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Dishwasher-safe
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Non-stick surface

Final Verdict

This is a serious cookware set for serious home cooks with a generous budget. These pots and pans have a unique shape with curved, slightly flared bottoms and a lightly brushed, dark-charcoal exterior.

They have a few extra features to answer for the price, such as bonded stainless steel bottoms for an anti-warp, induction-friendly experience. They offer dishwasher-safe and oven-safe user-friendliness and a very durable, non-stick surface.

You get everything you need with this high-quality, highly-rated set.

  • Safety 90% 90%
  • Durability 90% 90%
  • Versatility 100% 100%
  • Attractiveness 100% 100%
  • Value 90% 90%

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Video Review

 

What is “hard-anodized?”

When you read “hard-anodized” in a cookware context, it’s referring to aluminum which has been treated. The purpose of the treatment is to create a thicker layer of oxide on the surface of the aluminum. Aluminum oxidizes naturally anyway, so the anodization process just speeds it up and makes it extra oxidized.

The surface is then extremely hard, non-stick and durable against scratching and marking. One of the main reasons why we don’t simply use untreated aluminum is because it can be harmful if it leaches into our food.

The process of anodizing is quite complicated (if you’re not a science buff). It involves bathing the aluminum in an acidic bath, with electric currents being passed through it. This causes the surface of the aluminum to oxidize which results in that hard, non-reactive, durable surface we love. 

Benefits of hard-anodized cookware sets

  • Non-stick: the hard-anodizing process creates a reasonably non-stick surface. Most hard-anodized cookware sets have a non-stick coating added to ensure a true non-stick performance.
  • Non-reactive: some metals, such as non-treated aluminum are reactive to acids. This means that foods such as tomatoes can cause the metal to leach into the food. Hard-anodizing creates an oxidized layer which is totally non-reactive, protecting your food from nasty metal contamination.
  • Scratch-resistant: the hard-anodized surface is really hardy and stands up to scratches and scrapes. (Some hard-anodized cookware sets do advise against using metal utensils, but that’s mostly due to the added non-stick coating).
  • Hard-wearing: it’s called hard-anodized for a reason, it’s durable and strong against wear and tear.
  • Even heat distribution: hard-anodized aluminum is a fantastic conductor of heat, better than stainless steel. It grabs the heat efficiently, and distributes it evenly across the cookware. This is crucial for evenly-cooked food without those annoying overcooked patches due to “hot spots”.

Now, let’s take a look at the top five best hard-anodized cookware sets…

Final Thoughts

As we can now clearly see, hard-anodized aluminum cookware is durable, resilient, non-stick and almost always oven and dishwasher-friendly. All five of these cookware sets are very similar in terms of what the offer to the user. They’re all comprehensive and offer everything a home cook would need for a wide range of cooking tasks.

All five cookware sets come with snug-fitting, durable lids and most of them feature enhanced handles for cool-touch, secure handling. If you have an induction cooktop, consider the All-Clad and Circulon sets as they’re safe for all cooktops.

The cheapest set here is the T-Fal set, with the most expensive being the All-Clad set if you’re budget can stretch to this high-quality set.

When it comes to cleaning your hard-anodized aluminum cookware sets, it is best to hand wash when possible. Even if the set does state that it is dishwasher-safe, it’s generally best to go for hand washing just to be sure. This can help to care for the longevity of the set. Make sure to use soft washing brushes and utensils, just to safeguard against scratching the non-stick surface.  

When choosing which one to get, take a look at what each set offers you, the particular features and user benefits, and match it to your needs.

We’re completely confident in each and every hard-anodized cookware set in this list, and we know there’s a perfect match for you!