Are you thinking of buying a new set of cookware? Or maybe your first set? Possibly you're considering purchasing a set as a gift! With all the different types and brands of cookware available, it can be very confusing. There are two types of pots and pans on the market today that are the most popular by far. Let's discuss the differences of hard anodized vs stainless steel cookware.
Any purchase of a cookware set is considered an investment in terms of $$$ (especially so with a high quality set). Well, both hard anodized and stainless steel are durable. They'll both last years with proper care. And proper care differs depending on the type you choose. With anodized aluminum, even though it is scratch resistant, using metal utensils can scratch the coating over time. Using plastic, teflon or wood utensils would be a safer bet. Stainless steel, on the other hand, will not be damaged by metal tools. However, cooking over high heat can discolor the finish and salt can cause the surface to "pit".
EASE OF COOKING
Hard anodized cookware is non porous and usually bonded with a non-stick coating. Therefore, this type of cookware is stick resistant at the very least. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is not. Also, anodized aluminum is a great heat conductor. Stainless steel is often bonded to either aluminum or copper in order to improve the heat conducting properties. In general, anodized will conduct heat more evenly than stainless.
Well, stainless steel cookware is dishwasher safe and most anodized aluminum is not. That being said, since the surface of anodized is non-stick, hand washing should not be a chore. Cleaning stainless steel pots and pans may require a little more work to remove any stuck on food, but the finish can stand up to steel wool or abrasive cleansers. If the stainless steel is bonded to a copper bottom, you may need a copper cleaner to keep the finish looking shiny (I know this by personal experience).
I've heard some say anodized aluminum is pricier and vice versa. Upon comparing brands that offer both types of cookware, I could not find any significant difference in price between hard anodized and stainless steel. The prices all depend on the quality of the cookware. You'll find different price points available for each type. It's all a matter of what your budget can allow.
I personally own both anodized aluminum and copper clad stainless steel cookware. Some like the look of stainless steel and lets face it, it's been around a long time. I tend to use the anodized aluminum cookware more because of the ease (non-stick and easier to clean by hand). Whichever type you choose, make sure to read some reviews of different brands available before you buy a set.
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