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Dec 14, 2010 09:20 AM

when to replace non stick pans?

hi everyone? i generally cook on stainless, but i do have a couple non stick pans which i've bee using for the past couple years. at what point do i need to replace these? they have no visible wear to them and they've never been in the dishwasher.

i assume i just wait until they're dingy but i recently read that they should be replaced every other year or so? is that right? i maybe use them once a week each max.


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  1. qwerty: If you're not squicked out by using PTFE in the first place, and they're not flaking or scratched, I'd keep using them until you don't like the way they stick.

    Some folks say that you should toss them as soon as water droplets no longer bead up on the surface, i.e., when water "sheets" instead of beads. The thinking is that it is this hydrophobic property of PTFE that makes it nonstick. The problem with this theory is that, when you fry or sear in a pan that beads, the water that comes out of the food in contact with the lining stays there, and your food will not tend to brown as well. And frankly, the pan is very nonstick even after water starts to sheet. I have a Swiss DIamond pan in late middle age (about 5 years) that is getting "dingy", but still doesn't stick, and actually browns well.

    I say use them until they don't work for you.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kaleokahu

      My set of Dansk Master Series non-stick is heading toward its 10-year mark with nary a scratch. Some of the items get almost everyday use and they still perform as well as the day I bought them.

    2. You replace them when (1) they are no longer nonstick and/or (2) there are many visible wear to the nonstick surface.

      People tend to replace them every other year only because many people use these pans everyday and they often wear out after 1-2 years under heavy use. There is no need to replace them if they are no worn.

      From what you describe, you should able to keep using them for a long time.

      1. thanks- yes on my replace i'll likely go with bare cast iron, but i'd rather replace something worn than just get something new (i don't have a lot of space)

        it didn't seem right that i needed to replace them when they still looked and functioned essentially like new.


        4 Replies
        1. re: qwerty78

          IMO the answer to this depends on whether you are concerned about health issues or performance issues. If the latter, I would go with kaleokahu's response, if the former, you may consider replacing as soon as there are signs of wear and never use them on high heat, nor use metal spatulas on their surface

          1. re: CocoTO

            Replace your non-stick teflon pans ONCE with non-stick carbon steel pans and then never have to worry about replacing your pans again.

            1. re: ToothTooth

              CocoTO: Yep, the only reason you'd have to replace them is finding a better pan.

          2. re: qwerty78

            I don't think nonstick frypans and cast iron skillets have the same functions. I have both, and use both. If you don't use your nonstick on high heat, and are careful how you store them, you should get years from your pans. Ultimately, as other posters say, you replace when the surface is no longer slick.

          3. Has anyone tried the new pans called "Scan Pan" that is made from ceramic titanium that is
            nonstick with a 10 year warranty. They are manufactured in Denmark and are carried by
            Sears...a little pricey but evidently they are a super product.

            2 Replies
            1. re: bevo

              In a Scanpan, the ceramic titanium surface is the base to which the PTFE (better known by the trade name "Teflon") nonstick coating is applied. The nonstick surface is not ceramic titanium. Actually, the manufacturing process seems to be very similar to that for Excalibur nonstick, except that in Excalibur, the PTFE nonstick coating is applied to a rough surface obtained by spraying tiny droplets of molten stainless steel onto the pan surface. Swiss Diamond uses tiny diamonds instead of ceramic titanium or stainless steel. They all use PTFE.

              The following quotes are taken from various Scanpan websites:

              "Our cast aluminum products with our patented ceramic titanium technology make up the core of our business. Liquid, 100% recycled aluminium is poured into a mould by hand and is then squeeze-cast by 250 tons of pressure. Hot titanium is then fused to compressed aluminum at 30,000 degrees creating a surface that is 10x harder than steel. Our non-stick coating is then applied and allowed to harden."

              "What is PTFE? Did it not get some bad press recently?

              PTFE (short for polytetrafluoroethylene) is the base compound for any and all nonstick coatings. PTFE provides the food release. The SCANPAN formula works with the patented ceramic titanium surface construction to provide long lasting nonstick performance. This PTFE is safe to use for food preparation and is FDA approved. Only if the pan is accidentally overheated or cooked dry could temperatures be reached that may cause the PTFE portion to break down and emit fumes that have been known to be harmful to exotic birds, due to their extra sensitive respiratory system (they would, for instance, be harmed by burnt butter fumes, as well). It is a good idea to keep birds away from the kitchen!"

              PS. I personally have nothing against PTFE (Teflon), and happily use my Swiss Diamond, De Buyer CHOC Induction, Archetun, Infinite Circulon, Excalibur, etc. frying pans, all of which use PTFE nonstick coatings. And based on what I have read, Scanpans may well be among the best nonstick frying pans available. However, I do find it rather annoying that some manufacturers (Scanpan and Swiss Diamond in particular) seem to bend over backwards to give the impression that they don't use the dreaded "Teflon". It strikes me as deceptive advertising.

              1. re: bevo

                I've got a Scan Pan, only had it a couple of years now and only use it on weekends to make omlets. It has held up extremely well, but it hasn't been abused either. I'm amazed at how well it releases egg-beaters with absolutely nothing else in the pan. Egg-beaters seem to be way more sticky than just a regular egg. A little more expensive than your average K-Mart non-stick, but well worth it

              2. they'll last even longer if you put something in your pan when you're putting it away-- a couple of paper towels, an old dishrag, a paper plate -- just something that will keep other pans from marring the nonstick surface if you have to nest them together..