How do you judge the quality of non-stick skillet coating?

I need some non-stick skillets. The best way to buy it, pricewise, seems to be piece meal at quality discount places like TJ Maxx/Ross/etc., but I’m not always sure how good the quality is, and I don’t want to save $15 if it just means I’ll have to replace the skillet in a few months when the enamel is all gone.

Is there any way to gauge the quality of non-stick coating on a pot or pan?

This is a great question and I look forward to reading the responses also. I need a set of non-stick-ware myself. Many of the recipes I have been trying lately have been asking for “heavy-bottomed” pans, and my nonstick stuff is Chefmate, from Target I believe, which i got as a gift and serves the purpose though I’m not bowled over or anything. My mom got Rachael Ray pans for Christmas from Woot- like half price! - and I found that they’re pretty great to cook with, though I was skeptical at first. I won’t be going that route because I hate the fluorescent handles.

In my experience, whether cheap or expensive, the non-stick coating comes off after a year or so of regular use. Might as well get the cheapest kind.

I would also like to know the real answer to this question. My strategy is to find a pan with the thickest bottom, which I think indicates overall quality.

It’s not going to stay non-stick for more than a year, year and a half anyway. Even if you scrupulously handwash and use non-metal utensils.

We get ours from the restaurant supply store for around $20 and replace them every year or so.

Hmm I was going to recommend Anolon. I got some a couple years ago and they have outperformed every other non stick by miles, and still going strong, very even and still very nonstick. I got a 10 an 12 inch Nouvelle copper skillet set for 42 bucks(possibly Woot!). And I highly recommend them at that.

So I went to find a link, however looking on my favorite cheap cookware site there isn’t a set, and together they are $180 bucks now, which I would never ever spend for non-stick cookware.

I have one non-stick pan, a 12-inch Anolon that I bought to make crepes and mostly use to fry eggs. It’s in excellent condition after 3-4 years. I much prefer stainless and enameled iron, though.

Buy the cheap ones and replace every year or so. IIRC, Cook’s Illustrated said roughly the same thing. The coating always abrades, no matter how careful you are, so why drop the coin when you don’t have to. Go to a restaurant supply store and shop around.

eta: Read the thread and discovered that CCL already linked to CI.

I have a couple of Berndes “Signocast” pans that I bought about five years ago. They’re still in great shape. Part of the reason is that they have very heavy bottoms that don’t warp and that heat evenly.

I also have a couple of Cuisinart anodized pans that I bought on sale. They’re pretty tough.

One thing to look into is enameled ware. More expensive, but extremely durable if treated properly.

I think temperature is a huge factor. We have a non-stick pan that’s still got its coating after 6+ years, but we make it a point not to expose it to high temperatures. It gets used for eggs, salmon, and other delicate things that can be cooked at low temperatures (slightly less than “medium” on the power dial). When we want to brown meat or cook anything fast, we go to an uncoated stainless steel pan, in which we can use whatever temperature we want.

In a blend of the above, my recommendation is to find a heavy bottomed pan, and use it gently like Machine Elf suggested. You get the benefit of the heavy bottom eliminating hot spots, and giving you a better cooking experience, and the coating will last a long time.

You really only need one teflon pan, for eggs and such. Your other cookware should be something more durable, stainless, enamel, cast iron or carbon steel.

I came in to recommend Anolon. Their nonstick skillets last 2-3 years for us. Everyone else’s, 1.5 years tops. We re-buy the same two skillet Anolon set from Amazon whenever the time comes around.

Thanks for the advice.

I bought a 3 pack at Costco for about $24; if I get a year and a half out of them, I’ll be content.