HexClad Review: Are Non-Stick Coatings Toxic?

HexClad Review: Are Non-Stick Coatings Toxic?


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HexClad is a cookware company that describes its products as "hybrid cookware." The brand claims that their products provide the benefits of stainless steel, cast iron and non-stick pans all in one.

But is HexClad really a better option than a standard non-stick pan? Does it contain any potentially unhealthy materials? How does HexClad compare to cast iron pans? And most importantly, how does it cook?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more, as we review clinical studies on non-stick pans to explain why we consider them to be unhealthy.

We'll share our opinion about whether or not HexClad is a healthier option than traditional non-stick, feature unsponsored customer reviews, and provide a cost comparison to show which retailer sells HexClad for the best price.

We'll also explain why HexClad was sued in 2023.

Are Non-Stick Pans Unsafe?

Most cooking pans you’ll find in big-box retailers are “non-stick,” meaning they contain synthetic chemical coatings on the cooking surface which allow food to cook without sticking to the pan.

This technology is convenient but medical research suggests it may be harmful to human health.

A 2017 medical review found that non-stick cookware coated with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), more commonly known as Teflon, presented significant toxicity concerns due to the chemicals used, and that newer versions of non-stick materials weren’t necessarily any less toxic than older ones.

As we discussed in our Gotham Steel reviews article on another cookware brand, a variety of non-stick compounds have been shown to be potentially harmful to human health, and we're unable to identify any definitively proven to be safe.

Another review published in the Social Studies of Science journal concluded that there’s not nearly enough safety data to show that the chemicals used in non-stick coatings are safe for consumers.

The above-linked review described the use of these chemicals as an “issue of social and scientific concern.”

We do not recommend non-stick cookware, and it seems illogical in our opinion to purchase non-stick cookware when there are alternatives that are free of this potentially harmful chemical coating.

Is HexClad Safer?

HexClad materials

HexClad’s base contains two layers of steel covering a layer of aluminum. These are high-quality cookware materials. However, we have concerns about the "Non-stick Valleys" described above.

Stainless steel is one of the most popular cookware materials for good reason: it’s stable at high temperatures and relatively non-toxic.

There is some medical research suggesting stainless steel cookware can leach nickel, but the researchers suggest the levels shouldn’t be a problem in regular, non nickel-sensitive individuals.

Aluminum may be a health concern when absorbed by the body, as we discussed in our Dr. Squatch review, but since the aluminum in this product is lined with stainless steel it shouldn’t leach into food.

HexClad doesn’t make clear whether the aluminum they use is anodized. This is a process ensuring the metal won’t leach into foods, so it’s typically recommended for cookware. We urge HexClad to publish this information.

HexClad PTFE statement

PTFE is the chemical coating used in the "Non-stick Valleys" in HexClad pans. 

This is the most common non-stick coating used on commercial pans. It’s very effective, but its safety is questionable as we discussed in the previous section of this article.

We do believe that PTFE is safer than perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is a different compound found in non-stick cookware.

It appears that the same technology and materials (including non-stick coatings) are used for all of HexClad's products: pans, woks and pots. For this reason our general comments apply not only to the pans but to all of their products.

While we consider HexClad to be a superior option to the average non-stick pan which may be made with PFOA, we do not recommend it overall due to the use of PTFE.

Real People Try HexClad

A YouTube creator named "Everyday Chris" has a HexClad review after three years of use that discusses the long-term durability of the products:

A YouTube creator named "Freakin' Reviews" has a HexClad review with over 1 million views that includes cooking demonstrations on eggs, shrimp, quesadillas and steak:

HexClad Sued over Materials

In 2023, HexClad was sued in a class-action lawsuit filed in the state of California.

According to Top Class Actions, the plaintiffs alleged that the company was engaged in deceptive marketing, because of the PFAS-free claim.

The lawsuit alleges that HexClad product(s) do actually contain some levels of PFAS, because PTFE is a type of PFAS.

At the time of updating this article, the lawsuit appears to be ongoing.

This information is concerning to us, because as described in the material review sections above, we consider PFAS to be potentially toxic to humans.

Real Customers Review HexClad

Amazon is a better resource for honest customer reviews than a brand's website in our opinion.

HexClad's most-reviewed product on Amazon at the time of updating this article is the 12-inch fry pan, which has been reviewed over 7,000 times and has an average review rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The top positive review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named "Teresa" who gives the product a 5/5 star rating, and claims that it's versatile and effective:

"Bottom line is - if you are on the fence about spending your hard earned bucks on these pans, as long as you use common sense to keep these pans in a good state, you won't regret the purchase...😊"

The top negative review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named "JM" who gives the product a 1/5 star rating, and claims that food sticks to the pan:

"Even well seasoned (3x seasoned with wax and 1x with oil), unless you swim the pan with oil (or butter) eggs will stick right off. The same oil in a stainless steel pan with zero non-stick gets the EXACT same results. Heat distribution is good, but so what! The pan need to be scrubbed like crazy after something sticks - and things stick like mad (it's all the texture of the pan that they claim is great)."

HexClad currently has an average review rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars on Facebook.

HexClad currently has an average review rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, and the company responds to the majority of customer complaints, which is a sign of a high-quality brand.

Our Clean Cookware Pick

Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet is our top clean cookware pick.

We consider cast iron pans to be the safest and healthiest cookware option. 

Cast iron has been used for thousands of years and this brand is free of non-stick chemical coatings. 

Cast iron pans are made primarily from iron and steel, and are somewhat naturally non-stick because of the effects of fat heated on the cooking surface over time. 

At the time of updating this article, Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet costs $63.04, while the same-sized HexClad pan currently costs $204.99 on Amazon.

Interested consumers can check out Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet at this link to its official Amazon listing.

Where to Buy HexClad for the Best Price

HexClad products are sold at a variety of online retailers. Here's a price breakdown for a one-time purchase at the time of updating this article:

8-Inch Fry Pan

Walmart: $144.99 (free shipping, link to official Walmart listing)

Brand website: $139.99 (free shipping, link)

Amazon: $139.99 (free shipping, link to official Amazon listing)

6-Piece Pot Set

Walmart: $384.99 (free shipping, link to official Walmart listing)

Amazon: $384.99 (free shipping, link to official Amazon listing)

Brand website: $379.99 (free shipping, link)

HexClad's fry pan is currently 3% cheaper at Amazon and the brand's website than at Walmart, and the 6-piece pot set is currently 1% cheaper at the brand's website.

Pros and Cons of HexClad

Here are the pros and cons of HexClad in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Aesthetically-pleasing design
  • Performs well functionally according to some customer reviews
  • Brand's website offers free shipping
  • Stainless steel is a high-quality base material
  • Most online customer reviews are positive
  • Healthier than non-stick pans with PFOA

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Company recently sued over allegations of PFAS contamination
  • Contains PTFE
  • Unclear if aluminum is anodized
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

We do not currently recommend HexClad products because the company uses a non-stick coating called PTFE that's associated with negative health effects in medical studies.

HexClad was sued in 2023 over allegations of deceptive marketing, because PTFE is a type of PFAS, and HexClad was marketing their products as "PFAS-free" according to the plaintiffs.

We consider HexClad pans to be superior to commercial non-stick pans because they're free of another non-stick chemical compound called PFOA, but we don't believe they're worth the high price.

In our opinion, cast iron pans are the healthiest and safest cookware choice, and are often cheaper than HexClad pans.

The cooking pan is a product category that doesn't need innovation. Cast iron works perfectly fine and is free of questionable chemical additives in the form of non-stick coatings.

HexClad has mostly positive customer reviews online.

At the time of updating this article, the brand's website has the best price on HexClad products.