So you've narrowed your cookware shopping down to Caraway and Hexclad. Both cookware brands offer high quality pots, pans and more, but they are different in many ways.
At first glance, Hexclad is sleek, dark, and aesthetically pleasing. You can also tell it's a well-made pan right when you hold it. It feels strong and sturdy, but also easy to twist and turn.
The Caraway pots and pans have more of a brighter / lighter look to them, but smooth and strong. I've been using their cookware and bakeware for most of my macro-friendly recipes. However, I'm very excited to start using Hexclad because of all the positive chatter that I'm hearing.
So let's start this Hexclad vs. Caraway battle of the cookware brands.
The Hot Takes: Hexclad Vs. Caraway Cookware:
- Hexclad's pricing is more in line with premium and professional-grade cookware.
- Hexclad's PTFE nonstick coating and induction-compatible stainless steel contribute to its longevity.
- Hexclad is a top pick for searing.
- Caraway's attractive ceramic design comes in up to 10 colors.
- Caraway is perfect for someone who wants cookware for whipping up simple dishes.
- Caraway's induction compatibility is questionable.
Overview of Hexclad
Is Hexlad really the Rolls-Royce of cookware? Famed for being the preferred cookware brand of Gordon Ramsay, Hexclad has an elite reputation. The big draw of this brand is that it solves the problem of choosing between nonstick and stainless steel by offering a hybrid design. It's a great pick to have on your radar if you need to get rid of your traditional nonstick or ceramic cookware after upgrading to a new induction stove.
The base of a Hexclad pan is made of high-quality, three-ply stainless steel. For those who are familiar with cookware, you know that this is the same material used for many high-end cookware lines sold around the world. However, the thing that makes Hexclad different from many other chef-quality pans is that the interior is made of a combination of stainless steel and PTFE nonstick coating.
Let's take a minute to talk about PTFE. Known formally as polytetrafluoroethylene, PTFE is a type of fluorinated plastic coating that has been used commercially in cookware since the 1940s. Most frying pans and skillets sold under the nonstick label contain PTFE. That means that the "science" behind Hexclad cookware isn't exactly revolutionary. However, the way that this brand blends the best of stainless steel with the performance of PTFE is a differentiator.
The reason why PTFE works so well in nonstick cookware is that its properties cause it to repel other substances. Its low-friction characteristics simply prevent food from sticking to it. For the chef, that means that you can cook without layering on butter or oil.
Like many cookware brands, Hexclad designs its pans to safely sustain heat up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. These pans are safe for use with both ovens and metal utensils.
It's worth dedicating a little bit of attention to the signature hexagon pattern of Hexclad cookware. No, that design isn't just there to look classy in your kitchen. Of course, its attractive appearance is a perk. Hexclad's hexagon pattern made of peaks and valleys of alternating stainless steel and nonstick PTFE actually helps to protect pans from scratching from cooking utensils. Anyone who has ever owned nonstick pans is already familiar with the way that scraping and scratching from utensils can actually cause the nonstick coating to disintegrate. This drastically reduces the lifespan of a pan. Hexclad solves the problem by keeping its nonstick PTFE coating "recessed" compared to the surface that is touched by utensils.
Finally, I'll point out that Hexclad could be the perfect choice if you're looking for new pans after upgrading to an induction oven. Induction ovens only work with ferrous cookware with magnetic qualities. Most nonstick cookware simply isn't compatible with induction cooking. Hexclad's hybrid design gives you the best of both worlds by combining an exterior made of magnetic stainless steel with an aluminum core.
What I Like
Let's start at the superficial level to talk about how handsome these pans look in a kitchen. They definitely give off a "professional chef" vibe. In addition to the attractive hexagon design that I covered above, these pans also come with handles made of polished stainless steel. Those crisp tempered-glass lids also add points!. I also appreciate that Hexclad thought to flare out the rims a bit for easier serving. This is important because the stainless steel used to construct these pans definitely adds some weight that can make maneuvering the stove-to-plate aspect of serving a little challenging.
I also appreciate the versatility of Hexclad pans. While the beauty and "solidness" of these pans make them seem ideal for searing large, restaurant-quality steaks, they are also perfect for simply whipping up an omelette every morning. What's more, you won't dread the idea of pulling out these pans to cook even the simplest of things once you learn how easy they are to clean.
These are dishwasher-safe pans. While I think that popping a Hexclad pan in the dishwasher after a heavy cooking day is fine, I'd actually recommend taking the company's advice for washing these pans by hand most of the time to preserve their nonstick qualities even longer.
What I Don't Like
While Hexclad pans solve a lot of problems in the kitchen, I think that the nonstick qualities of these pans can sometimes be overstated by the company. Yes, you can technically get to cooking without greasing a Hexclad pan. However, my experience is that you will get some sticking most of the time unless you grease things up with a little pinch of olive oil or butter first.
While this isn't a huge deal for me, the next place where Hexclad loses points is the broiler. Due to the PTFE coating on Hexclad pans, these products cannot safely be used under a broiler.
While I appreciate the hybrid qualities of Hexclad, there are times when I wish this brand would "pick a lane." While you need to care for this pan like it's made of stainless steel, you are a bit hampered by the nonstick properties when it comes to turning up the heat. My experience is that these pans only perform properly when greased at low to medium heat.
Cost and Where to Buy
The best way to shop for Hexclad is to simply browse the complete collection on HexClad.com. The company usually offers free shipping and coupons when you order through its online store. Additionally, Hexclad cookware sets are sold by Walmart and Costco.
Hexclad pricing varies based on how you choose to bundle pieces. The price for a six-piece Hexlcad set with lids is $449. A 13-piece set with lids is $999. A 20-piece set that includes more than just cookware is $1,199. With most individual pans costing between $199 and $399, bundling can be a great way to go if you're fully replacing your cookware.
While these are the full retail prices, you can expect to pay much less based on the fact that Hexclad.com almost always has a sale or promotion running.
Overview of Caraway
The first thing that pops about Caraway is the brand's use of color. Unlike the muted Hexclad look, the Caraway look is all about candy-like pastels. It's hard to give a full rundown of Caraway's color collection because hues do change from season to season. However, the navy, cream, marigold, and "pink terracotta" seem to be consistent. Caraway interiors are always gray.
Caraway pans are constructed from an aluminum base that has a steel plate on the bottom. That last bit is important because that plate is what makes this an induction-compatible product. This can be a very stylish option if you need to update your cookware because you've purchased a new induction stove that no longer works with your old pots and pans.
Like Hexclad, Caraway offers cookware with nonstick coating. However, Caraway doesn't actually use the popular PTFE that's used with Hexclad. The company instead uses a mineral-based nonstick coating.
Caraway pans are very aesthetically pleasing. The interior of each pan has a smart, shiny coating. The pans have curved handles that are both modern and ergonomic. The lids also pair beautifully with the pans to create a showroom-quality look in your kitchen.
Caraway pans can endure heat up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. While Caraway pans can do a lot, they can't do everything. These are not-broiler safe pans. They also cannot be placed in the dishwasher.
What I Like
Caraway pans are very attractive. While they look right at home in a modern kitchen, their colorful designs prevent them from taking on a cold, industrial look. Caraway pans are also great for preparing dishes that require "flipping" and other wrist maneuvers.
What I Don't Like
The high lip on the Caraway pan is nice for keeping food contained during cooking. However, you're going to find that serving food is tough with such an unforgiving lip. Caraway's bigger problem is that its magnetic bottom is something of an afterthought. I've seen many reviewers claim that they can't successfully and consistently use these pans for induction cooking on some surfaces simply because the magnetic disc doesn't cover enough of the pan's bottom to be effective.
Another potential issue with Caraway pans is that the mineral-based nonstick coating simply doesn't have the longevity of PTFE. You may find yourself replacing your Caraway pans much sooner compared to other options. These pans also have a reputation for being prone to chipping compared to similarly priced pans.
Finally, the slickness of Caraway's interior can cause food to slide around before it can heat up properly. While this is a great pick for pancakes or omelets, it might not be a dream for evenly cooking cuts of meat.
While the beauty of Caraway cookware is appreciated, I wish the company would focus on extending the lifespan of its designs. It's stressful to have to worry about chipping or reduced performance after falling in love with these gorgeous pans.
Cost and Where to Buy
The best place to shop from the full Caraway cookware catalog is CarawayHome.com. However, Caraway cookware products are sold by West Elm, Crate and Barrel, and Amazon.
A four-piece cookware set with lids will run you about $395. A full cookware set with minis is $595. However, coupons and free shipping are easily found when shopping directly on the Caraway website.
Comparing Hexclad and Caraway
How do these two cookware sets really stack up? Let's get the competition cooking by comparing look, performance, cost, and more.
Hexclad's construction features a base with three-ply clad steel that's paired with an exterior made of magnetic steel. A top layer of stainless steel gives weight and prestige to the design. The effect is a warp-resistant, heat-retaining pan with great performance.
Caraway keeps things much simpler by using a fully aluminum base. The brand gets around the induction problem by simply adding a steel plate to the bottom of its cookware. Heat retention is also very decent with Caraway.
Both Hexclad and Caraway excel at creating beautiful designs. As shared above, Hexclad uses a hexagon design to protect its nonstick coating from utensils. Caraway simply keeps its pan interiors slick and flat.
Both brands offer cookware with attractive, proper-fitting lids. They both also have attractive, durable handles that contribute to usability.
Hexclad actually wins in this category simply because its nonstick design is more resilient against wear and tear. Caraway doesn't add protective qualities into the design that prevent chipping, degradation of the nonstick coating, and other problems.
Hexclad offers a lifetime warranty against product defects. However, the warranty won't protect customers against issues caused by "use." Caraway offers a limited one-year warranty from the date of purchase that covers major damage to the body, handles, or lids of its products. However, damage and discoloration caused by wear and tear are not covered.
Hexclad is more expensive than Caraway. In fact, Hexclad is priced to compete with premium and high-end cookware brands specializing in chef-grade stainless-steel cookware. While a full cookware set can be found for under $600 with Caraway, the price is closer to $800 to $1,000 for something comparable with Hexclad.
What Are the Main Differences Between Caraway and Hexclad?
The biggest difference between Caraway and Hexclad comes down to the methodology for creating a nonstick pan. While Hexclad uses a hexagonal, honeycomb-like pattern of PTFE, Caraway uses a mineral-based nonstick coating. Overall, Caraway lacks the longevity of Hexclad. Caraway also has weaker induction power.
As far as performance, the final word is mixed. While Hexclad provides greater longevity with its nonstick powers, Caraway provides stronger nonstick properties for a shorter amount of time.
Which Cookware Is Better? Hexclad or Caraway?
Your cooking style is one of the big factors when it comes to choosing between Hexclad and Caraway. If you're looking for cookware that will be used for searing meats as part of elaborate, professional-level meals, Hexclad is probably the better fit. If you're looking for a good "breakfast pan" that's going to allow you to whip up great pancakes and scrambled eggs, you'll do just fine with Caraway. If you're not looking specifically for induction-friendly pans, Caraway could be a good "budget" option for getting boutique-looking pans without the need to worry about the brand's notoriously lackluster induction performance.
Overall, Hexclad is the heavy-duty choice that's going to give you extra years of nonstick performance compared to Caraway.