Are you shopping for new non-stick pans and wondering if Circulon is worth considering?
The brand claims its signature raised circular grooves on the cooking surface of every pan make the cookware 15 times more durable and longer-lasting than the competition.
Are these claims true? Is Circulon cookware any good?
In this review, I break down the pros and cons of Circulon cookware.
- What Circulon offers
- How it looks, feels, and performs
- How it compares to the competition
- The downsides
- How much it costs
- And more
By the end, you’ll have all the key facts to decide if Circulon cookware is right for you.
Use the links below to navigate the review:
- Cookware Collections
- Circulon vs. the Competition
- FAQs About Circulon Cookware
- Bottom Line: Should You Buy Circulon Cookware?
Circulon offers eight main collections of cookware and numerous accessories, specialty bakeware, and other kitchen tools.
Below is a quick review of the brand’s most popular collections to help you put your options into context.
Momentum is a durable non-stick collection crafted from hard-anodized aluminum. It features the patented TOTAL non-stick coating, double-riveted handles, and tempered glass lids.
The Symmetry collection is induction compatible, oven-safe up to 400°F, and features the reliable TOTAL non-stick coating. Silicone-wrapped stainless steel handles complement the hard-anodized aluminum body of the cookware.
Circulon utilizes many of the same basic features in its cookware collections. However, the Innovatum series adds a bit more heft to the usual lineup and has a softer, more muted feel than some of the sleeker, modern collections. The hard-anodized body is finished with a triple layer of Circulon’s proprietary TOTAL non-stick coating.
Acclaim is one of Circulon’s more aesthetically appealing collections and is built for versatility and ease of use. The same basic specs are used in this series, including a hard-anodized aluminum body and TOTAL non-stick coating. However, this cookware features more rounded handles than the others.
This Ultimum collection adds a layer to the aluminum body design of non-stick cookware by using forged aluminum, which is heavier, more durable, and heats faster than traditional aluminum. The collection features stainless steel lids and flat rivets rather than rounded ones, making cleanup easy.
With the usual raised circular grooves on the cooking surface favored by Circulon, the Elementum collection shares many features with the rest of the brand’s lineup. The hard-anodized aluminum used in the construction of this collection is labeled as “2X harder than stainless steel.” The silicone-wrapped steel handles are comfortable and ergonomic.
As you may have noticed from the above section, Circulon doesn’t offer much variety in its design. However, there is a decent amount of color variation across collections.
Nutmeg, chocolate brown, red, black, and merlot are some of the colors offered. Most of the aesthetic variation in Circulon’s products comes from these color differences.
Another design feature unique to Circulon is the raised, circular rings inside the pans, branded as the “Circulon TOTAL® Nonstick System.”
These rings prevent abrasion from utensils and make the cookware more durable. Adding to this, the brand uses three layers of premium non-stick coating that the company claims “lasts 15x longer than the competition.”
This non-stick coating is also on the outside of Circulon’s cookware, making the cleaning process easier by preventing food from clinging to the exterior.
Circulon cookware features comfortable, soft silicone-wrapped handles that stay cool throughout the cooking process.
The drawback of this is that silicone reduces the cookware’s heat tolerance. Circulon pans are only oven-safe up to 400°F, whereas most brands without silicone-wrapped handles can tolerate up to 500°F.
The Symmetry collection is induction-compatible despite having a hard-anodized aluminum construction. The inclusion of a bonded steel plate to the base allows this collection to maintain its induction versatility while utilizing the benefits of non-stick technology.
Circulon pans feature steep walls, which are great for containing ingredients and making thick, fluffy omelets. However, the steepness makes the cookware a bit less spatula-friendly and less convenient for sliding food off.
Overall, Circulon cookware has a functional design, but it’s not the most elegant-looking cookware.
The biggest differentiator is its raised circular grooves on the cooking surface. So, do those grooves actually make a difference? Let’s take a look.
The only way to get a true feel for cookware is to use it every day to cook various meals.
I’ve been cooking with Circulon for several months and, so far, I am not overly impressed. I’ve cooked eggs, chicken, sausage, vegetables, pancakes, steak, among other things.
While the pan heats up quickly and evenly, food sticks much more frequently than most other non-stick pans I’ve tested (I’ve tested dozens).
Initially, the food release was excellent, exactly what you expect with non-stick cookware. But after a few months, certain types of foods started to stick more often.
It’s difficult to tell if it’s the circular grooves causing the food to stick or the coating. Either way, eggs don’t slide around in the Circulon pan like they do in almost every other non-stick pan.
I’m not alone; food sticking is one of the most common complaints about Circulon.
Another issue I noticed is that the circular grooves make it harder to clean. Instead of scrubbing the pan in any direction, you have to wash in a circular motion to remove bits of food stuck in the grooves.
On the flip side, I appreciate the fact that the grooves provide some protection for the non-stick coating. If you drag a utensil across the surface, it will only contact the raised grooves, not the coating in the “valleys.” So you get partial protection.
Does the design make these pans last 15 times longer than normal non-stick coating? It’s difficult to say for sure, but I doubt it.
The truth is that every non-stick coating will wear down within five years or so, regardless of the design. The best way to prolong the lifespan of your pans is to use plastic, nylon, or wood utensils.
Overall, the performance is decent, but nothing special. Its non-stick coating and circular grooves make it stick-resistant, but the non-stick properties begin to fade after a few months.
If you’re looking for pans with the best food release, you may want to consider another brand (here’s a guide to my top picks).
Circulon vs. the Competition
To see how Circulon cookware compares to the competition, I conducted two simple tests.
The first test was to determine how well it conducts heat. In other words, how fast and evenly does it heat up.
The test was simple. I poured two cups of cold water into a Circulon pan and placed it on the stove. Then, I turned the heat to high and started a stopwatch.
The goal was to observe how evenly the bubbles were spread across the cooking surface and how long it took to boil the water.
When the bubbles started to form, they were uniformly dispersed across the pan — no hot or cold spots.
The first bubbles formed after 2 minutes and 7 seconds, and the water came to a complete boil at 2 minutes and 55 seconds.
|Pan||Time to First Bubbles||Time to Boil|
|Circulon fry pan||2 minutes and 7 seconds||2 minutes and 55 seconds|
|Anolon fry pan||1 minute and 55 seconds||2 minutes and 27 seconds|
|Made In fry pan||1 minute and 40 seconds||2 minutes and 21 seconds|
|All-Clad skillet||1 minute and 55 seconds||2 minutes and 55 seconds|
|Calphalon fry pan||1 minute and 45 seconds||2 minutes and 40 seconds|
|Misen fry pan||1 minute and 50 seconds||2 minutes and 25 seconds|
As you can see, the Circulon and All-Clad pan took the longest to boil the water.
I conducted a second test to see how Circulon’s heat retention compares to the competition.
After the water came to a boil, I removed the pan from the heat and set it down on the counter.
After five minutes, the water temperature measured 133.3°F.
I waited another five minutes and measured the water temperature again. At that point, the water temperature measured 102.0°F.
I repeated this process with the five other pans. Here are the results:
|Pan||Water Temperature After Five Minutes||Water Temperature After Ten Minutes|
|Circulon fry pan||133.3°F||102.0°F|
|Anolon fry pan||112.7°F||90.9°F|
|Made In fry pan||121.1°F||106.6°F|
|Calphalon fry pan||112.8°F||101.1°F|
|Misen fry pan||118.6°F||103.4°F|
After five minutes, the water in the Circulon pan was the warmest, indicating excellent heat retention. After ten minutes, the water in the Circulon pan cooled off and had a similar temperature to the All-Clad, Calphalon, and Misen pans.
Despite the slow heat time compared to the competition, the Circulon pan distributed heat evenly and retained heat well.
While Circulon has plenty of fans and is a well-reviewed brand, its cookware is not without its flaws.
Food sticking: As I covered earlier, food tends to stick despite these pans falling into the non-stick category. That is the number one complaint about Circulon. At first, you won’t have any issues. But after a few weeks or months, you’ll likely notice a decline in its food release properties.
Imperfections: The silicone on the handles isn’t completely smooth and flush with the steel. Although it’s a minor imperfection, it cheapens the look.
Scratching: Although Circulon labels its non-stick cookware as metal utensil-safe, some consumers report scratches and nicks when using metal spatulas or other accessories.
Dents Easily: After only a month of using the Circulon pan, I noticed a pretty significant dent in the sidewall. I didn’t slam it against anything or drop it on the floor, so I’m unsure how it happened. I’m not the only one; several customers complain that their Circulon cookware dented easily or arrived in the mail with an existing dent.
Lifespan: The non-stick coating used by Circulon is no more immune to wear than any other. All non-stick cookware has to be periodically replaced or resurfaced. Circulon’s products are no different.
No variation: Circulon only makes non-stick cookware. They technically offer some “stainless steel” options, but the cooking surface is still coated with non-stick material. If you want true stainless steel or cast iron cookware (without non-stick coating), Circulon isn’t the brand for you.
Limited searing ability: One of the downsides of Circulon’s abrasion-resistant raised ring technology is that food doesn’t make complete contact with the pan’s entire surface. That limits the cookware’s ability to sear meat. If you’re looking to achieve a perfectly even sear on a steak or pork chop, Circulon isn’t the best pan.
Lower oven-safe temperatures: Because Circulon’s cookware is all non-stick and features silicone-wrapped handles, the oven safety of its products is limited compared to other brands. You can expect averages in the 350-500°F range, but most of their products will fall on the lower end of this scale.
One of the benefits of buying from a specialized non-stick brand like Circulon is lower prices.
Circulon is owned by the Meyer Corporation, which also owns Anolon and Hestan. Circulon is its reliable, everyday cookware, Anolon is its gourmet brand, and Hestan is its luxury cookware.
Therefore, Circulon is the most affordable, Hestan is the most expensive, and Anolon falls in the middle.
Keep in mind that the overall price varies by collection. Here’s a quick look at the brand’s current pricing.
|Circulon Elementum 10-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Circulon Acclaim 13-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Circulon Symmetry 11-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Circulon Premier Professional 13-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Circulon Radiance 10-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Circulon SteelShield 9-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Circulon Symmetry 11-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Circulon Momentum 11-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Circulon Innovatum 12-Piece Set||Amazon|
FAQs About Circulon Cookware
Below are answers to the most commonly asked questions about Circulon.
Yes, Circulon labels all of its cookware as dishwasher-safe. However, as a general rule, non-stick cookware lasts longer if you wash it gently by hand with warm, soapy water.
No. Never place Circulon products under a broiler — it will degrade the non-stick coating and could result in the release of harmful chemicals.
While most Circulon collections aren’t induction-compatible, the Symmetry, Infinite, Steel Elite, Contempo, and Genesis Plus collections are.
Yes. Both the tempered glass and stainless steel lids are oven safe to at least 400°F.
Circulon cookware will last anywhere from 3-5 years, depending on how well you maintain it, how frequently you use it, and whether you use metal utensils.
Yes, Circulon’s TOTAL non-stick system uses a standard PTFE (Teflon) coating. This coating is PFOA-free and not a risk to consumer health.
The Circulon brand is owned by the Meyer Corporation, which also owns Anolon, Hestan, Farberware, KitchenAid, and kitchenware brands.
Circulon’s main manufacturing plant is based in Hong Kong, but the company also has factories in China and Thailand.
Circulon offers a typical, limited lifetime warranty that covers manufacturing defects or damage sustained during transport. It does not cover damage due to everyday use, misuse, abuse, or overuse.
Bottom Line: Should You Buy Circulon Cookware?
Now that you know the pros and cons, it’s time to decide if Circulon cookware is right for you.
To review, you should buy Circulon cookware if:
- You want reliable, everyday non-stick cookware at an affordable price.
- You enjoy non-stick cookware and don’t mind some of its inherent drawbacks.
- You appreciate the added durability of the raised circular grooves on the cooking surface.
- You need cookware that balances durability with performance.
- You want a variety of colors to choose from when picking out cookware.
- You like the feel and comfort of silicone-wrapped “stay cool” handles.
You should not choose Circulon if:
- You want cookware with the best food release properties.
- You want cookware that’s the easiest to clean.
- You need cookware that’s oven-safe above 400°F.
- You prefer cookware that’s broiler-safe.
- You want cookware that’s made in the USA.
- You want to build your cookware collection around one brand (Circulon doesn’t offer stainless steel, cast iron, or copper cookware).
Ultimately, Circulon is reliable, everyday cookware with a track record dating back to the 1980s. It’s one of the most affordable brands you can buy, so there’s not much risk in trying it out. The main feature that differentiates the brand is its TOTAL Non-Stick System of raised circular grooves.
This unique design extends the life of the cookware but also provides a place for food to stick, making it a bit more difficult to clean. And, since most people buy non-stick cookware to avoid sticking, Circulon is not the first brand I recommend.
Instead, consider Made In or Misen. These brands offer ultra-durable non-stick pans with smooth surfaces that release food with ease. The best part — they sell exclusively online, which allows them to avoid retail markups and keep prices low.
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