Stainless Steel vs Hard Anodized Cookware

Cookware material is a big factor when it comes to choosing cookware for your kitchen. If you are considering between Stainless Steel vs Hard Anodized Cookware, this post compares the safety, pros and cons, heat conductivity, cost, and more on the cookware types.

With thousands of cookware models from different materials, it can be overwhelming to choose one.

Stainless steel and aluminum have been used for years for cooking tasks but standard aluminum has lost its popularity due to health reasons.

Every cookware material has great benefits and drawbacks which are key for making a decision which one to choose.

Let’s find out the differences and better qualities the two cookware types have before buying.

Also Read: Stainless Steel vs Copper Cookware

Stainless Steel Cookware

Stainless Steel vs Hard Anodized Cookware

Stainless steel is a popular material used as a finish and for the construction of pots and pans. It is durable to last for many years in your kitchen.

The only drawback of stainless steel is not a good conductor of heat.  For better performance, it has to be bonded with a good heat conductor material like copper or aluminum.

Stainless steel is an alloy of both iron and Chromium which makes it resistant to corrosion and lasts long.

There are different types of stainless steel you can find in various stainless steel cookware.

  • Ferritic
  • Austenitic
  • Martensitic
  • Duplex
  • Precipitation Hardening

Cookware made of Austenitic type tends to be of high quality. You will see cookware labeled stainless steel 304 or 18/10 or 18/8 which shows the composition of stainless steel and chromium. The 18 is the chromium amount and the other numbers are for a nickel.

Is Stainless Steel Safe?

Yes, the stainless steel cookware is one of the safest you can find apart from cast iron. It’s hard for chemicals to penetrate food from the material.

Cooking with stainless steel cookware poses no health issues, unlike copper and aluminum.

Important Factors To Consider When Buying Stainless Steel Cookware

  • Heat Conductivity
  • Ply Cookware
  • handles and lids
  • Price
  • Magnetic or non-magnetic
  • Durability – 18/10. 18/10
  • Maintenance


  • Tough and durable, would last a long time
  • Easy Maintenance
  • Time Saver
  • Completely Safe
  • Smooth and shines, less cleaning
  • Versatile
  • Cost-effective, worth the value
  • Attractive appearance
  • Non-reactive to acid and basic food


  • Easy to move, lightweight
  • Expensive
  • Not a good heat conductor
  • Does not cook evenly

Recommended stainless steel Cookware

T-fal C836SD Ultimate 13 See On Amazon
Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro12 See On Amazon
Cooks Standard 02631 Classic10 See On Amazon
Viking Tri-Ply Complete Cookware Set13 See On Amazon
Cook N Home Cookware Set10 See On Amazon
Duxtop SSIB-17 Professional 17 See On Amazon
Cuisinart FCT-13 French Classic Tri-Ply Cookware Set13 See On Amazon

Hard-Anodized Cookware

Stainless Steel vs Hard Anodized Cookware

Aluminum on its own is a good conductor of heat only second to copper. It is lightweight which enables easy handling.

The cost of aluminum is inexpensive due to its availability in the world. One downside of aluminum is softer and reacts with some foods.

This is why the Calphalon company started to apply nonstick coating on top of aluminum to prevent leaching to food.

Hard anodized aluminum cookware is made through the electrochemical process to transform aluminum together with the nonstick coating.

When aluminum is anodized, Hard-Anodized aluminum is 30% harder than stainless steel, therefore, making it durable.

The nonstick surface of the cookware deteriorates after some years which requires buying another cookware.

Is Hard Anodized Cookware Safe?

The cookware is safe to use since the anodization reduces the chances of reactiveness of the aluminum. According to the manufacturer, the nonstick coating seals the aluminum perfectly and it cant react with the food.


  • Excellent heat conductor
  • Lower price
  • Non-toxic non-stick, less or no oil used
  • High cooking performance, even cooking
  • Easy to clean, no food remnants


  • Reactive to acid and basic food
  • Not safe to use high heat
  • Manual washing
  • Not compatible with induction cooktops

Recommended Hard Anodized Cookware

Kitchara Hard Anodized Cookware Set10 See On Amazon
Circulon Premier Professional13 See On Amazon
T-fal E765SH Ultimate17 See On Amazon
Rachael Ray 87375 Brights10 See On Amazon
Cuisinart DSA-11 11 See On Amazon

Difference Between Stainless Steel Cookware And Anodized Cookware

Very good conductive of heat so food is evenly cooked and no hot spots. Cooking is easy since it comes with a non-stick coat.

Stainless Steel vs Hard Anodized Cookware Comparison

Heat Conductivity

Even when anodized, aluminum cookware is great in heat conductivity. The food is cooked faster and evenly.

Stainless steel is not a good conductor of heat which results in hot spots while cooking. The heat conductivity is nowadays solved by bonding stainless steel with good conductors of heat like copper and aluminum.

When looking to buy stainless steel cookware, it’s better to check whether its a multi clad of either copper or aluminum.

Non-stick Coating

The stainless steel cookware mostly doesn’t have a nonstick coating which makes some foods stick.

Hard anodized cookware comes nonstick coatings which are stick-resistant repealing food easily. Cooking with nonstick helps to use a little amount of oil promoting healthy practices.


The cost varies within the models of the cookware. Stainless steel cookware price is determined by the quality due to nickel and multi-ply used to make the cookware.

You can find inexpensive stainless steel and the high-end ones are expensive.

Price varies depending on the hard anodized cookware line.


Both materials used for making the cookware are strong and durable. They can resist corrosion and scratching because of the extra hardness of the surface.

Hard anodized aluminum cookware is harder than stainless steel as the coating acts as an extra layer. Although the nonstick coating wears down with time, it works perfectly during the estimated time of longevity.


Stainless steel is safer than hard-anodized aluminum cookware in terms of toxicity of cookware for healthy reasons.

Aluminum is reactive with acidic food and excessive consumption of aluminum can cause health issues.

The good news is that coating the aluminum surface with nonstick coatings reduces the risks of food reacting with aluminum.


Maintaining cookware is not a hard task with both cookware having simple maintenance routines. For instance, the cleaning of stainless steel is easier due to it being dishwasher safe.

Cleaning stainless steel cookware by handwashing needs a metal scrubber to remove the sticking food.

On the other hand, hard-anodized aluminum cookware has a nonstick coating that is easy to clean. A sponge cleaner and warm water with dish soap clean the cookware safely and easily. Nonstick cookware is not dishwasher safe.

Stainless Steel vs. Hard Anodized Cookware – FAQ

Is stainless steel cookware better than hard-anodized?

The idea of “better” depends on what you’re looking for in your cookware.

If you want excellent maintenance of your cookware, stainless is a great option for any kitchen. If your priority is for better heat conduction, then in this respect hard anodized is the superior choice.

What is the difference between anodized and hard-anodized?

The main difference is that hard-anodized is thicker than anodized, so you’ll obviously have better durability in terms of dent and scratch-resistance.

Does hard anodized cookware scratch?

It is a very durable material that will not scratch, chip, or peel easily. It’s actually a harder material than stainless steel in this aspect of durability.

Is anodized aluminum cookware bad for you?

Many people know that aluminum metal leaching into your food is not good for you and is linked to some health issues.

Anodized aluminum is sealed and the metal will not leach out into foods or react with acidic foods.

How long does hard anodized cookware last?

This partly depends on the quality of the workmanship of the pans you’re choosing, but you can expect them to last many years, the best up towards 50 years.

How long does stainless steel cookware last?

The same as with hard anodized cookware, you’ll see differences in longevity depending on the quality of the product you purchased. Cheap, poorly produced products will scratch and wear out before their more expensive and high-quality counterparts.

The average stainless cookware out today, the more budget-friendly options, may last a decade or so, but well-made (ie more expensive) stainless steel that is cared for properly may also last upwards of 40-50 years.


Finally, the two cookware types are great for cooking with each offering different strengths. The drawbacks are not scary to opt-out of using either one of the two cookware materials.

Hard anodized is a great choice especially from Calphalon if you like cooking with nonstick cookware. Also, Nonstick cookware is easy to use and wont stick-like in stainless steel cookware.

Stainless steel has a great aesthetic for the kitchen and performs well if its a multi-ply for better heat conductivity.

Hard anodized aluminum cookware is inexpensive than stainless steel if you want cost-effective pots and pans.

Further Reading

  1. Best Cookware For Electric Coil Stove
  2. Calphalon Classic vs Contemporary Cookware Comparison
  3. Different Types of Non-Stick Coatings
  4. Cuisinart MCP-12N – Piece Cookware Set Review
  5. Is Carbon Steel Cookware Safe? Here Is The Proof
  6. Zojirushi NS-TSC10 Review [Best Rice Cooker]