Top End Non-Stick
Shortly it will be my b-day and when asked what I wanted, I realized that my 12" non-stick fry pan (calphalon commercial) has finally bitten the dust and needs replacing. Since it will be a bit of a splurge, I'd like to get a high quality pan.
The problem I'm facing is that reviews of "the best" in this category rarely review anything that isn't in the mid range. So I am hoping to turn to this forum hoping that there might be a range of opinions on these top of the line (at least price wise) frying pans.
I don't want anything under 12". Must be non-stick. Weight is not an issue.
Here are some of the names that I have dug up for your consideration.
Swiss Diamond (diamonds in the coating? Sounds like marketing bunk)
Cristel (no handle? detachable handle?)
Eva Solo XO (11" is largest)
De Buyer (love the specialty handles but I can't find them in the US)
Echoing some of the other posters, I've purchased a variety of non-stick pans at a range of price levels. My two favorites are a very heavy aluminum T-Fal which I purchased for half-off at Marshall Field's 12 or so years back and a very inexpensive one that was part of an egg-poaching set from a Le Gourmet outlet (about $30), If I could find the Le Gourmet one again I'd buy a dozen; still holding up after easily a decade of use.
I concur with a number of the replies to this question. If you mean by "high quality" a name such as All Clad, Calphalon, Le Creuset, that's really meaningless for a non stick pan. Whether the pan has a high quality name has absolutely no relation to the fact that all non-stick pans, regardless of their pedigree, will eventually get scratched and lose parts of their Teflon coating. Which means they need to be replaced when that happens. Why pay top dollar for something that inevitably will go South? I buy my non stick Tramontina pans at Bed, Bath and Beyond, or a restaurant supply house, for relatively few dollars.. When they go South, they get replaced, cheaply. If you need "name" cookware for some other reason, that's another issue.
This link is to the 12" version of the nonstick used on America's Test Kitchen. It's $30. I bought the 10" version a couble of months ago and love it. The spot turns color when the pan is properly preheated, which is handy. It's surface is more slippery than the Calphalon nonsticks I've been buying for 15 yrs. The latter lasts me maybe 5 yrs, if I don't accidentally overheat it or badly burn food in it. Hopefully the T-fal will last longer but nonstick will never have the longevity of stainless or cast iron.
I have an all-clad non-stick (10-in, but you can get a 12), its still in great shape after 10 years of moderate use (mostly just used for eggs and fish). Just never put in the dishwasher, ruined my first one after 10 years or so.
I also have an high end Ikea non-stick (11-in) at a 2nd home which I probably like just as well.. It has a very heavy bottom, and does good on the gas stove. Have used for 3 years now and is still in great shape. If I needed another non-stick today, this is probably what I would get.
I have the AC 12 inch round grill pan and the two burner grill pan, and both have held up beautifully after 10+ years.
I preheat to 6-7 mark, brush with a bit of oil, and come the time for cleanup - I handwash them. Seriously, there are no indications that they were even used from being new. I have a soft plastic brush that cleans the nooks and crannies.
I use them weekly to grill chx, fish, beef, pork, etc. while indoors with this -- NEVER ENDING COLD CRAP OF A WINTER.
My son or daughter will happily get the pans if I get hit by a bus. Well, except for the funeral part, hopefully they won't be happy.
So, for the original question -- I think AC non-stick is pretty tough.
I am really, really hating this winter.
I have a Tramontina skillet I bought at Costco years ago that has been used by my boys. It has a few tiny chips but still is pretty nonstick. It is marked restaurant ware, made in USA. Heavy gauge aluminum.
I very recently bought a Fissler nonstick skillet that has been used a handful of times and is scratched already.
I use these Matfer Bourgeat non-stick pans. The aluminium is pretty thick so they cook well. The non-stick coating wears away as quickly as any other, so they need to be replaced from time to time - buy a few if you have a budget to burn up!
$20 from a decent restaurant supply store will get you as good of a fry pan as any $100 name brand. Since you'll need to replace it every 1--5 years, it makes little sense to drop the extra cash. I've not seen a substantial longevity difference between cheap and expensive non-stick pans.
Now if you have other unstated requirements, such as "made in the USA," then that might change the equation.
I've had a Scan Pan for a few years now and it's held up to use very well. I wouldn't spend more for a non-stick than that as none will last for a long long time. You're buying a better substrate, but the non-stick is more or less the same on all of them and won't last forever.
I just bought one of the T-fal professional 12" skillets and I love it. It replaced an abused 13" T-fal with the helper handle that finally bit the dust (Loose handle that couldn't be tightened). The new one has a riveted handle and is much nicer.
Sent your pan back to Calphalon. It has a lifetime warrany and unless you really abused it(cut the NS coating or put it in the dishwasher a lot)it will be replaced. I sent in mine and the one I got was a Unison that MSRP'd for $125. The process is faster now . You do it on line beforehand and that way they know it's coming. Only cost is your shipping which should be about 10-15 with USPS. Good Luck
I was given a Swiss Diamond as a birthday gift several years ago. About $99 at the time. It retained its nonstick effect pretty much 100% for 3-4 years, but has tailed off gradually ever since. Now, 5-6 years later, it's just barely describable as non-stick.
However, I'll note that the *surface* has held up well against cuts, nicks and scrapes, and the first 3-4 years it was great. It's also made from thick enough aluminum that it would be a useful pan with the PTFE stripped off.
A final note: the handle bolts to the pan with a single machine screw. After 5-6 years the handle has a slight movement to it, and the screw is already so tight, I'm afear'd of twisting its head off.