Today we all have more options than ever before when shopping for cookware. Gone are the days when cast iron and stainless steel were the only options and with the innovations in cookware productions came more types of cookware than we can count.

While this means you have the ability to choose what is best for you, sometimes it can be hard to distinguish among all the different kinds of pots and pans. Hard anodized and hard enamel are definitely among the types of cookware most talked about in the culinary world.

Distinguishing between the two is not hard once you understand what each of these names mean. The two types of cookware are quite different, but they also have some similar features. Today, we will weigh out all of the pros and cons of both hard anodized and hard enamel cookware to see how do they compare.

What Is Hard Anodized Cookware?

Hard anodized aluminum is one of the most hip words in the cookware today. Hard anodized cookware only became widely available in the last few decades, but it has seen an astonishing rise in popularity in the recent years.

But is it really that good or is it all just hype? Hard anodized cookware is basically aluminum cookware with super-powers. Hard anodized cookware refers to cookware that has been toughened through a process called anodization.

Anodization is an electrolytic process that creates an oxide coating on the surface of the aluminum. If this sounded like something from a chemistry coursebook, we agree, it does, but what basically happens is that aluminum is submerged in acid than electrically charged.

The oxidized surface layer that is created in this way is what distinguishes hard anodized cookware from regular aluminum cookware. The result of this process is an aluminum pot or pan with a surface that is much harder than aluminum and almost as tough as stainless steel.

Hard anodized aluminum is also more impact- resistant and denser than non-anodized aluminum. Moreover, this type of cookware is resistant to corrosion and rust. The hard anodized surface is non-porous which prevents the food from sticking.

In conclusion, there are many reasons to love hard anodized cookware. Good hard anodized
pots and pans are lightweight but extremely tough, they conduct heat evenly, and they are easy to clean and completely non-reactive.

 

Hard Anodized Cookware: Pros

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Since it’s made of aluminum, hard anodized cookware is usually very lightweight and
conducts heat quickly and evenly

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Hard anodized aluminum is extremely tough and impact-resistant

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Hard anodized cooking surfaces are close to non-stick and also non-reactive

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Versatile and easy to use

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Hard anodized cookware is easy to clean and it can usually be washed in the
dishwasher

Is Hard Anodized Cookware Safe?

Yes, hard anodized cookware is completely safe to use. A distinguishing feature of this type of cookware is that it’s completely non-reactive.

When cooking with regular aluminum cookware (not hard anodized), traces of the metal can indeed leech into your food, especially when cooking acidic foods such as tomato sauce for long periods of time.

Even though aluminum cookware is generally safe to use, there have been some studies that made a connection between long-term exposure to high levels of aluminum and Alzheimer’s and various other issues.

Even though the amount of aluminum that can get into your food from cookware is quite low, it’s reasonable to want to avoid it completely. Luckily, hard anodized cookware does not react with food at all.

What Is Hard Enamel Cookware?

“Hard enamel” or “porcelain enamel” pots and pans are actually made of metal, but what makes them special is the porcelain coating they are covered with, sometimes on the inside, sometimes on the outside, and sometimes both on the inside and the outside.

Most people who haven’t used this type of cookware usually ask the same question – what’s the difference between porcelain and porcelain enamel. Well, porcelain is a type of ceramic made with white clay that’s very tough and non-porous (besides looking beautiful).

Porcelain enamel, on the other hand, refers to cookware where a coating made of porcelain and/or glass elements is fused to metal. Porcelain enamel gives cookware a smooth, glossy surface. Food doesn’t stick to it and consequently, it is quite easy to clean these pots and pans.

The base of hard enamel cookware is usually made of cast iron, stainless steel, or aluminum, but in any case, getting high quality enameled cookware means getting pots and pans that will last for years.

 

Enamel Cookware: Pros

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Hard enamel cookware can be extremely durable, and it’s very hard to damage it

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When applied to the inside of pots and pans, porcelain enamel coating gives them non-
stick properties

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Enamel cookware is amazingly easy to clean

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There are no harmful chemicals to worry about

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Enamel is often very beautiful and comes in a variety of colors

Final Thoughts: Hard Anodized vs Hard Enamel Cookware

So, what is better, hard anodized or hard enamel cookware? It is hard to say because both have distinct advantages. What is common to both of these types of cookware is a cooking surface that is nice to work with.

Both hard anodized and enamel cooking surfaces are smooth, easy to clean, and able to stand high temperatures. Both of these materials are also free of any harmful chemicals that might be dangerous for you.

On the other hand, these two materials are quite different both in appearance and in composition. Hard anodized aluminum generally only come in one color – gray, which is the result of the anodization process.

While this gives these pots and pans and elegant classic look, those who prefer colorful cookware might be drawn to porcelain enamel. These pots and pans generally come in any color you can imagine.

Enamel cookware has been around for centuries and it has a much longer history than hard anodized aluminum. Enamel cookware that our grandmothers used is a lot similar to how it’s made today, attesting to its quality.

On the other hand, even though more recent in origin, hard anodized cookware has also proven itself to be a good choice.

See also:
How to clean hard enameled cookware