When shopping for cookware how much stock do you place in a brand name? You might expect Le Creuset and Cuisinart to be the crème de la crème, or the prestigious Culinary Institute of America to know a thing or two about what makes cookware great, but Consumer Reports' cookware tests have found a name isn't enough to go by.
Our ratings report on the performance of a specific model. That's because performance can vary by model even within a brand. Our latest tests of three different EarthPan sets, which are different but all claim to use SandFlow nonstick coating, revealed big differences, especially in nonstick durability. In our tests, the surface of the frying pans in the $150 EarthPan II and $130 EarthPan Plus sets wore out before 400 strokes with steel wool. But the coating on the EarthPan Hard-Anodized skillet still provided non-stick performance after 2,000 strokes, when the test ended.
The Hard-Anodized model is the same cookware set we tested in 2009, the manufacturer confirmed, when it was called EarthPan with SandFlow. The manufacturer claims, as do other cookware manufacturers in our tests, that the cookware doesn't use the conventional nonstick coating made with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and polytetrafluoroethylene (PFTE).
Whether you're shopping for nonstick, "green," uncoated, or mixed cookware sets, you'll find them all in our Ratings of 30 models, and see our buying guide for helpful tips.