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Nonstick skillets, ideas for good ones?

goniners Nov 13, 2012 08:25 AM

The ones we have (tramontina and calphalon) have warped. Or at least, the larger ones have. Need to replace with something more reliable? We have a glass cooktop (which I hate) if that makes a difference.

  1. c
    celesul Nov 16, 2012 07:24 PM

    So, I've had wonderful luck with a brand called TVS. I haven't found much information on them, but I can periodically find some of their pans from TJ Maxx, and made in Italy. I was initially curious because I found one in my dorm that was in good condition, even though I had seen people using metal in it and deep frying, etc. So, I grabbed one when I saw it, and it's been holding up well so far. I recently found a ceramic coated one, which I'm looking forward to playing with, and the aluminum is noticeably thicker than I'd expect, and it's rather heavy compared to similar pans. So, I'd recommend the TVS brand, but picking up whichever pan has the thickest aluminum also probably has some merit.

    Oh, and they're also cheap. Mine have been under $20.

    1. k
      kseiverd Nov 16, 2012 12:55 PM

      I'd have to recommend Calphalon. Bought a 2-pc set of skillets... one large and other kinda medium... bigger than an omelet pan. Got them at BB&B... think the 2 were on sale for $49... not dirt cheap but not a lot of money. Had them several years (at least 5-6), tried to always use wood/plastic tools (was VERY careful if usinig metal). Surface had no MAJOR scratches but beginning to be a little non-non-stick at times. Had "heard" that C was really good about returns and replacements, so decided to give it a whirl. Packed the 2 skillets and OLDER favorite non-stick sauce pan (showing wear in bottom... wood or plastic whisks only... easily 15+ yo) and sent them off... you can get info about this at C's website. About 7-10 days after sending out (hadd pay for that), came home to BRAND NEW replacements... no questions asked, no receipts required. Sauce pan was not an exact replacement... maybe discontinued... but same size.

      One of these days, gonna pack up smallish stock pot that has signs of wear in bottom and send that back... gotta be 15+ years old, too.

      1. Caroline1 Nov 14, 2012 05:38 PM

        I currently do about 99.99% of my stove-top cooking on induction, except I had no non-stick pan for omelettes. Last week I got a T-Fall "Red Dot" 8" skillet from amazon.com and love it! For the price of the damned Swiss Diamond pan that won't work on induction, I could have had a bunch of these puppies, and it is truly the very best non-stick surface I have ever cooked on. Ever! Aluminum on induction... These guys are good! '-)

        1. al b. darned Nov 14, 2012 05:23 PM

          I've had two of these (an 8" and a 10") for almost six months and I love them. It is not as non stick as Teflon, more like "low stick" but a great pan.

          See this discussion: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/857705

          1. g
            goniners Nov 14, 2012 08:09 AM

            Thanks for all the input. I think my cooktop has contributed to the warping, that and my husband and daughter making pancakes. I am always telling them to turn the heat way down. They also forget to turn the heat off when they are done.
            I'm looking for the T-Fal around here.

            1. j
              janniecooks Nov 14, 2012 04:40 AM

              I've been using a non-stick skillet for a good five years that was purchased at Sam's Club, in the restaurant supply aisle. The brand is Bakers and Chefs, which I think is Sam's Club private label. In any event, the skillet is cast aluminum, flat bottom that works perfectly on my glass cooktop, a non-stick interior that has held up with no scratches or flaking, and an extremely good price considering one doesn't expect these to last a lifetime. I think I paid about $15 or $19 for a 12-inch skillet (though the on-line price is now showing as $22.88, still a good price). Mine hasn't warped yet, warping tends be caused by putting cold water into a hot pan for cleaning, which I don't do. Here's a link:


              The skillet is also available in a 14-inch size.

              1 Reply
              1. re: janniecooks
                Tom34 Nov 14, 2012 05:14 AM

                I have the Sam's Club Bakers & Chefs 12" & 14". Mine are about 5 yrs old or better and say made in the US on the back. They look identical to the ones in several different restaurant supply houses and are probably made by Lincoln or one of the other manufactures of restaurant cookwear. Definitely heavy duty no nonsense pans at a great price.

              2. paulj Nov 13, 2012 07:35 PM

                I've been happy with induction compatible pans. They are cast aluminum with a steel insert in the base; that means they are thicker than stamped ones. My local TJMaxx has a larger than normal selection in this category. I look for a pokadot bare metal base.

                1. d
                  dalewest Nov 13, 2012 07:04 PM

                  I cook quite a bit so I try to buy pretty decent 12 inch non-stick pans and treat them well in terms of not using metal utensils, etc. I have had both tramontina and calphalon which lasted quite a while and were good pans but I never had any warping problem.

                  A couple of months ago I needed a new skillet and searched on amazon to see what they had. I got a very nice Analon 12" pan for a bit less than $35. I pulled it up today on AZ and it is showing $80. I am not sure what caused the price diff but I expect that at any given time you can find a decent pan on amazon in this size range. The reviews are generally pretty useful too.

                  1. t
                    toyopl Nov 13, 2012 06:44 PM

                    I'm thinking about picking up Debuyer Choc line pans, they should match my Mineral line nicely.
                    Hope they'll last me a while, and they don't seem to cost much.


                    1. Chemicalkinetics Nov 13, 2012 03:53 PM

                      Interesting. I am surprise that your skillet warped before losing the nonstick coating. For most people, the nonstick would have worn off before the pan started to deform. There are two very economical routes. First, you can get your next nonstick pans from TJMaxx, HomeGoods, or Marshall. Second, you can get it from a restaurant supply store.

                      In my experience, I found Calphalon nonstick pans to be very thick, so they are not that easy to warp. The fact, you are able to warp Calphalon means you may have use it on fairly high heat. For high heat cooking, nonstick may not be your best choice.

                      1. k
                        kaleokahu Nov 13, 2012 03:32 PM

                        Hi, goniners:

                        Well, go with the thickest aluminum pan you can find. One of the best is found here, but bring money: http://potshopofboston.com/bfc10ns.htm.

                        I still have a Swiss Diamond that, after about 6 years, is now losing its nonstick. It was about $100 new, so you do the math...


                        1. f
                          foodieX2 Nov 13, 2012 03:29 PM

                          Love love love my scan pan!

                          1. fldhkybnva Nov 13, 2012 03:19 PM

                            I recently had to replace my old nonstick cheapo pan - finish scratched and very sticky. I picked up an Ecosolution skillet at Wegman's. I just use my nonstick skillet for eggs and know that they will be need to replaced, so don't spend much. It was fairly inexpensive and so far has performed well.

                            1. m
                              mike0989 Nov 13, 2012 03:11 PM

                              I just get what ever is on sale at Smart & Final. Good heavy pans at a reasonablew price.

                              1. dcrf Nov 13, 2012 02:26 PM

                                We bought a Farberware Millennium skillet a year ago and use it almost daily. Its the best non-stick pan I've ever owned. But we also don't use it above med.high.I have a carbon steel Lodge pan and cast iron skillet for higher heat.

                                1. SanityRemoved Nov 13, 2012 02:18 PM

                                  If you must have nonstick then your best bet is to go to a restaurant supply house and check out some Vollrath or Wearever pans. They have some heft to them and the nonstick surface will last a lot longer.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: SanityRemoved
                                    sueatmo Nov 14, 2012 10:00 AM

                                    I have looked at a restaurant supply house at pans, and was not impressed at the pricing for retail buyers. Before buying there, be sure of your values, and if that is the pan you really want. Non stick pans generally won't last for many years.

                                    1. re: sueatmo
                                      SanityRemoved Nov 15, 2012 08:17 PM

                                      If they are charging different prices for different customers then you need to find another restaurant supply house. The only time something should feel costly is if you would be required to purchase a certain quantity of pans. Six pans is a common method of packing that the manufacturers use and if a restaurant supply house doesn't offer it as a normal cash and carry item then they may require it be purchased in quantity.

                                      I've used commercial pans that were at least 10 years old and although they had lost the new slick feel, they never flaked or peeled like many consumer pans have over time.

                                      1. re: SanityRemoved
                                        sueatmo Nov 16, 2012 03:44 PM

                                        I just assumed that the retail price was for people like me, and that people with businesses would be given a discount. I found the place fascinating, but pretty pricey.

                                  2. s
                                    sueatmo Nov 13, 2012 01:54 PM

                                    They probably warped because you used on them on high heat. If you use your non stick skillets on no higher than medium heat, they should last longer. However, almost everyone agrees that non stick pans don't last as long as other sorts of pans do. The non stick finish degrades eventually. When buying a non stick, I go to Home Goods and get one discounted. I handle the pan to make sure I Iike the weight and handle before I buy. Other places to look are Kohls and Target. I don't think it wise to pay an arm and leg for one of these.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: sueatmo
                                      RhonelyInsanediego Nov 13, 2012 02:10 PM

                                      Exactly. You should never use your non-stick on high heat for health reasons alone. In fact if I'm preheating the pan I always fill bottom with a layer of H2O to avoid any potential overheating issues. Really you should never be above medium heat and ideally the pan should stay at 360 or below. I too look at these as a consumable and CI advocates that you should never spend a lot on non-stick.

                                    2. Becca Porter Nov 13, 2012 09:41 AM

                                      I look at them as disposable. Every 2-3 years they need to be replaced. I recently bought a T-Fal based on a CI review, and I am very happy with it.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Becca Porter
                                        RhonelyInsanediego Nov 13, 2012 10:03 AM

                                        I did the same based on CI review. I think it was specifically the T-Fal Professional Total Non-Stick that was recommended. I now have three sizes and find that all perform well for their specific cooking niches.

                                        My absolute favorite though is my Swiss Diamond Crepe Pan. Heats very evenly and seems so far to be very durable. Inevitably it gets used for other things and still has yet to get a scratch.

                                        1. re: Becca Porter
                                          scubadoo97 Nov 16, 2012 05:55 AM

                                          "I look at them as disposable"

                                          Same here.

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