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Is T-fal Cookware Any Good? An In-Depth Review

T-fal is one of the most well-known cookware brands — but is it any good?

In this in-depth review, I break down the pros and cons of T-fal cookware. You’ll learn all about its design, materials, construction, performance, and much more.

I’ll wrap up by answering the most common questions about the brand.

Keep reading to find out if T-fal pots and pans are worth your money.


Use the links below to navigate the review:


Design

T-fal offers a range of cookware collections, and each one features unique design elements. In this section, I provide an up-close look at one of T-fal’s most popular collections: Simple Cook.

Plus, I’ll share some details about other collections so you can get an overall feel for the brand’s design.

Exterior

Simply Cook features a black exterior made from aluminum. The aluminum body provides quick, even heating.

T-fal cookware exterior
T-fal cookware exterior

On the bottom of the cookware, you’ll see the T-fal logo and mention of T-fal’s Optimal Technology — a system designed to deliver even heating.

The exteriors are smooth and non-stick, and the pan bottoms are flat for efficient heating and stability.

The pan bottoms on collections like Expert Pro or Ingenio feature stainless steel plates to make them suitable for induction cooking.

Exteriors on other collections incorporate bold colors with shiny finishes, including Culinare, Simply Cook, Cook-N-Strain, Simply Cook, Color Luxe, Excite, Initiatives, and Endurance.

The Initiatives collection comes in a red exterior with a metallic lacquer finish. It offers a hint of sheen that makes it look more high-end, even though it’s very affordable.

Check out the stunning, polished finish on the Ultimate Stainless Steel collection. It has a stainless steel/copper base and a hint of copper around the bottom edge of the cookware. 

Interior

The interior surface of the Simple Cook collection is coated with PTFE- based non-stick. It’s a PFOA-free coating standard for the brand.

T-fal cookware interior
T-fal cookware interior

However, some collections (ex. Titanium Advanced) offer titanium-infused non-stick coating for added durability.

T-fal’s non-stick collections incorporate the Thermo Spot technology in the center of the pan. It’s a red circle with a pattern of rectangular boxes that have a subtle, shaded effect.

T-fal ThermoSpot Indicator
T-fal ThermoSpot Indicator

When the pan gets hot, those rectangles are bright red, indicating that it’s ready for use.

T-fal ThermoSpot Indicator_2
T-fal ThermoSpot Indicator

Around the red circle is a series of tiny squares. These squares create a non-stick, anti-warp surface.

You’ll also notice two rivets protruding into the pan interior. This design element requires extra attention when cleaning as food or oil can settle around the rivets.

In addition to the dark interior of the Simple Cook collection, T-fal offers a light-colored ceramic coating on the Initiatives Ceramics. The lighter coating makes it easy to check the progress when browning foods.

The Ultimate Hard Anodized Titanium collection has an interior surface that resembles a checkerboard. Tiny squares of non-stick coating and anti-warping material ensure even cooking and cookware stability.

Handles

The black handles on the Simply Cook collection are double-riveted for stability. The T-fal logo is recessed into the handle. The ergonomic design and synthetic material make them comfortable to hold.

T-fal cookware handle_3
T-fal cookware handle

The handles are about 7.5-inches long, which is a good length for most home chefs. But higher-end brands like Calphalon are a couple of inches longer.

T-fal versus Calphalon handles
Calphalon (right), T-fal (left)

Handles are screwed on, so you can easily remove them if you need extra storage space or you’re packing for a move.

T-fal removable handle
T-fal removable handle

The long handles are angled upward and feature a steel connector to secure them to the side of the cookware. The short handles have large grips, as do handles on lids.

T-fal cookware handle_2
T-fal cookware handle

The design makes them safe and easy to hold, even with an oven mitt.

T-fal cookware handle
T-fal cookware handle

Other T-fal collections feature colored synthetic handles, detachable handles, and stainless steel handles.

Lids

The Simply Cook collection uses tempered glass lids. These lids feature a stainless steel rim and a venting hole to allow steam to escape.

You’ll get some variations on lid design, depending on the collection. For example, Cook-N-Strain features strainer lids. Collections like Excite and Simply Cook have vented glass lids that allow steam to escape easily.

Other Collections

Here are a few design features of other popular T-fal collections:

  • Excite: Exteriors come in bronze, red, and blue with an eye-catching lacquer finish. It features a stainless steel ring design on the bottom exterior, but it is not induction compatible.
  • Signature: Black non-stick cookware that is simply designed and easy to use. This collection offers vented lids and synthetic handles.
  • Cook-N-Strain: Non-stick cookware available in blue and champagne exterior colors, boasting a metallic finish. This cookware features strainer lids and pour spouts for efficiency and less mess.
  • Color Luxe: From soft-touch handles to a titanium-infused non-stick interior, this hard-working collection looks as good as it functions. It is available in multiple colors.
  • Culinaire: The fry pans have pour spouts. You can choose from black or champagne exteriors.
  • Performa Pro: Stainless steel cookware that incorporates silicone grips on the stainless handles. The induction-compatible collection uses a textured stainless interior (Techno Release) for better food release and cleanup.
  • Tri-Ply: A fully-clad and polished stainless steel collection with smooth pan interiors and an induction-ready exterior.
  • Unlimited Platinum: Includes a heavy-duty non-stick coating that is metal utensil safe. All cookware is induction-compatible and has a gray exterior, stainless steel handles, and glass tops.
  • Ultimate Hard Anodized: Titanium-infused non-stick with hard-anodized aluminum construction. The stay-cool silicone handles offer a secure and comfortable grip.
  • Ingenio: Jet black, non-stick cookware that is stackable. You can remove or attach handles quickly. It also has an induction base and plastic covers for food storage in the fridge.

Materials and Construction

T-fal has five construction options: non-stick, ceramic non-stick, cast aluminum, hard-anodized, and stainless steel. Most collections are non-stick.

T-fal makes a wide range of non-stick cookware with PTFE coating. The standard option is called ProGlide. It’s used in the majority of T-fal’s non-stick cookware. The higher-end collections infuse titanium into the non-stick coating with titanium for improved durability.

The ceramic coated cookware from T-fal doesn’t have any unique properties or innovative materials. It’s a standard, sand-derived ceramic coating.

But across the brand, T-fal has some interesting built-in features worth noting.

For example:

  • Thermo Spot: This is a circular spot in the center of the pan. It has rectangular spaces around the edge. When a pan is properly heated, the rectangles around the outer ring turn completely red.
  • Techno Release: Stainless steel is notorious for making food stick to the surface. This innovation features a raised pattern in the steel, which minimizes sticking.
  • Stackable Cookware: T-fal offers space-saving cookware that takes up less room and comes with plastic lids to double as food storage in the fridge.
  • Patented Removable Handles: The T-fal Ingenio collection features handles you can easily remove and attach since they can’t be used in an oven. 

Much of T-fal’s stainless steel cookware has an impact-bonded base, but the Tri-Ply collection is fully-clad.

Impact-bonded cookware has a layer of stainless steel bonded to the base. Fully-clad cookware has alternating layers of stainless steel and heat conductive material covering the entire cooking surface, including the base. That makes fully clad cookware more durable with superior heat distribution.

The T-Fal Copper Bottom stainless collection features an impact-bonded base with a layer of copper on the bottom for better heat conduction (since copper has high thermal conductivity).

Overall, T-fal cookware has relatively thin construction, especially on the non-stick aluminum collections. The walls and base aren’t as thick as premium cookware brands like All-Clad or Made In.

Performance

I’ve been testing T-fal cookware for several months. I’ve used it to cook eggs, pancakes, vegetables, chicken, beef, and much more.

Here’s how it performs.

The first thing you’ll notice is its weight or lack thereof. The T-fal Simply Cook frying pan is one of the lightest 12-inch pans I’ve ever reviewed. Between the thin walls and base and the plastic handle, the cookware doesn’t have much heft.

You can see the difference in thickness between T-fal and Calphalon in the picture below.

T-fal versus Calphalon thickness
Calphalon (left), T-fal (right)

There are positives and negatives to thin, lightweight cookware.

On the positive, it’s easy to maneuver. It’s much easier to flip eggs and pancakes with a light pan. Also, there’s less strain on your wrist when shaking, tilting, pouring, or transferring the pan.

Cooking a pancake in a T-fal pan
Cooking a pancake in a T-fal pan

Another benefit is that it heats up quickly. You don’t need to wait long for the surface to get piping hot. Quick heating comes in handy when you’re in a rush and need to boil water quickly or fry an egg.

Frying an egg in a T-fal pan
Frying an egg in a T-fal pan

The downside of thin, lightweight cookware is that it’s less durable and more likely to warp. In fact, the pan I bought was already slightly warped and the rim was chipped when I took it out of the box.

Chip in T-fal frying pan
Chip in T-fal frying pan

Another downside is that it heats too fast, so pay attention when cooking. It’s easy to burn or overcook food. During my testing, I overcooked a pancake, not realizing how hot the pan got in just seconds.

Burnt pancake in a T-fal pan
Burnt pancake in a T-fal pan

Thicker cookware is more forgiving. If the heat is set too high, you have time to adjust before the food overcooks.

Thin cookware, like T-fal, doesn’t retain heat well. It loses heat as fast as it heats up. I wouldn’t recommend using it to sear a steak, burger, or other meats. When you place a cold piece of meat on a T-fal pan, the surface loses heat and won’t deliver an even sear.

Another thing I noticed is that T-fal’s non-stick coating isn’t as slick as other pans I’ve tested. If you don’t grease the pan enough, food will stick. You need to coat the entire cooking surface with butter or oil before cooking eggs.

Egg sticking to T-fal pan
Egg sticking to T-fal pan

With Made In and Misen non-stick pans, you only need a touch of oil, and, with some foods, you don’t need any.

As I mentioned previously, the plastic part of the handle screws into the pan’s base. When I first picked up the pan, the handle was slightly loose and moved when I shook it. The screw is easily accessible, and I tightened it, but it’s somewhat concerning that the handle can loosen so easily.

Overall, the performance is average. It’s what you would expect from low-cost non-stick cookware. It heats fast and evenly but doesn’t retain heat well. And the non-stick coating is not as slick as other brands.

T-fal vs. the Competition

In the previous section, you learned that T-fal cookware heats up fast and doesn’t retain heat well, but how does it compare to the competition?

To find out, I conducted a simple test.

I poured two cups of cold water into a T-fal frying pan and placed it on the stove. I turned the heat to the highest setting and set a stopwatch. The goal was to observe how quickly the pan boiled the water and how evenly it heated.

As the water heated, the bubbles dispersed evenly across the cooking surface, indicating uniform heat distribution.

T-fal heat conduction test

After one minute and 50 seconds, the water began to bubble. After two minutes and 32 seconds, the water came to a full boil.

I repeated the test with several frying pans to see how T-fal stacks up.

As you can see, Made In, Misen, and Anolon pans boiled water faster than T-fal, but T-fal boiled water more quickly than Rachael Ray, Hestan, Circulon, Calphalon, All-Clad, Ballarini, and several other pans.

PanTime to First BubblesTime to Boil
Made In fry pan1 minute and 40 seconds2 minutes and 21 seconds
Misen fry pan1 minute and 50 seconds2 minutes and 25 seconds
Anolon fry pan1 minute and 55 seconds2 minutes and 27 seconds
T-fal fry pan1 minute and 50 seconds2 minutes and 32 seconds
Gotham Steel fry pan1 minute and 58 seconds2 minutes and 32 seconds
Rachael Ray fry pan1 minute and 47 seconds2 minutes and 36 seconds
Calphalon fry pan1 minute and 45 seconds2 minutes and 40 seconds
Hestan fry pan1 minute and 52 seconds2 minutes and 47 seconds
GreenLife pan2 minutes and 11 seconds2 minutes and 47 seconds
Circulon fry pan2 minutes and 7 seconds2 minutes and 55 seconds
All-Clad skillet1 minute and 55 seconds2 minutes and 55 seconds
Ballarini fry pan2 minutes and 15 seconds3 minutes and 12 seconds

To find out how well T-fal retains heat, I conducted another test.

Once the water began boiling, I removed the T-fal pan from the heat and set it on the counter.

After five minutes, the water in the pan measured 108.7°F.

T-fal heat retention results after 5 minutes
T-fal heat retention results after 5 minutes

After ten minutes, the water in the pan measured 88.0°F.

T-fal heat retention results after 10 minutes
T-fal heat retention results after 10 minutes

As you can see in the chart below, T-fal’s heat retention is inferior to the competition. All of the other pans I tested retained heat better than T-fal.

PanTemperature After 5 MinutesTemperature After 10 Minutes
Made In fry pan121.1°F106.6°F
Misen fry pan118.6°F103.4°F
Rachael Ray fry pan126.3°F102.7°F
Circulon fry pan133.3°F102.0°F
Calphalon fry pan112.8°F101.1°F
All-Clad skillet111.6°F100.9°F
Ballarini fry pan120°F99.9°F
Hestan fry pan114°F98°F
GreenLife fry pan119°F95°F
Gotham Steel fry pan113°F95°F
Anolon fry pan112.7°F90.9°F
T-fal fry pan108.7°F88.0°F

Downsides

There are many positive aspects of T-fal, such as affordability and maneuverability, but there are downsides to consider, too.

Here are the main complaints based on consumer reviews as well as my personal experience and testing:

Non-durable construction: According to numerous customer reviews, the cookware isn’t well-made. Many pans and lids have loose handles, and the walls easily warp and dent.

Ceramic non-stick coating doesn’t last as long: While this isn’t unique to T-fal, it’s worth sharing. The ceramic non-stick coatings don’t last as long as the brand’s PTFE-based non-stick. Over time, ceramic non-stick loses its food release power.

Synthetic handles limit oven-safe temperatures: Most PTFE-based non-stick cookware has a max oven temperature of 500°F. But due to T-fal’s synthetic handles, some collections are only oven-safe at 350°F, limiting your options for certain recipes. This quick guide provides the maximum oven-safe temperatures of all T-fal collections.

Cookware walls are thin: T-fal non-stick cookware has thin walls that overheat quickly and burn food if you’re not careful. In addition, thin-wall construction means poor heat retention (check out my test above).

Food sticks: Food sticks to the cooking surface more than most non-stick cookware I’ve tested. It still performs better than stainless steel cookware, and you can fry an egg without issues, but I expected better food release. I am not the only one who feels this way (check out these reviews).

Price

Most T-fal cookware is non-stick with an aluminum base, so it’s cheap and accessible.

Some T-fal cookware sets are close to the price of one pot or pan from high-end non-stick collections like Calphalon, Scanpan, or All-Clad.

At the high end of the brand, you’ll find T-fal Unlimited, T-fal ProGrade, Ingenio, and Ultimate Stainless Steel Copper Bottom.

Ultimate Hard-Anodized and Initiatives are mid-range examples.

The budget buys include collections like Simply Cook and Excite.

Check out the current pricing of T-fal’s most popular cookware sets below. To discover additional information about each product, click or tap the price.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

T-fal Cookware FAQs

Here are answers to common questions home chefs ask before purchasing T-fal cookware.

What’s the difference between T-fal and Tefal?

Tefal is the original name of the brand. It’s a blend of TEFlon and ALuminum. When Tefal entered the United States market, DuPont, the company that owns the trademark “Teflon,” objected, saying the names are too similar. Since then, Tefal has gone by T-fal in the United States and Tefal in other countries.

Where is T-fal cookware made?

T-fal’s main cookware manufacturing site is in Rumilly, France. However, they recently opened a production facility in China. The Amazon product description, as well as the cookware box, shows the country of origin.

Is T-fal cookware PFOA free?

Yes, T-fal cookware is free of PFOA. Learn more about PFOA and why avoiding it is essential in this comprehensive guide.

Is T-fal cookware safe?

Yes, T-fal cookware is safe and free of toxic substances. There are no safety concerns as long as you follow the instructions, such as not exceeding the maximum temperature or scratching the interior by using metal utensils.

Can T-fal cookware go in the oven?

The short answer is yes, but the oven-safe temperatures vary by collection. This chart which shows the maximum oven-safe temperatures of all collections.

Is T-fal cookware induction compatible?

T-fal stainless steel collections are induction compatible. There are also non-stick collections that feature an induction-ready base, such as Expert Pro, T-fal Unlimited, and Ingenio. Other non-stick collections are not induction compatible.

Is T-fal cookware dishwasher safe?

Yes, most T-fal cookware is dishwasher safe. However, it’s always good to check the manufacturer’s instructions before putting cookware in the dishwasher. Some cookware parts are not dishwasher-safe, such as storage lids and removable handles (Ingenio). Hand washing is always preferred to maximize the cookware’s longevity.

Where can you buy T-fal cookware?

You can buy T-fal cookware at a variety of stores, including Amazon, Walmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Bottom Line: Should You Buy T-fal Cookware?

Now that you have the facts, it’s time to decide if T-fal cookware is right for you.

Here’s a quick recap to help you make your decision:

You should buy T-fal cookware if:

  • You’re on a tight budget but still want decent non-stick cookware.
  • You like innovative cookware features like the Thermo Spot technology.
  • You want cookware that has easy-to-remove handles, like the Ingenio collection.
  • You like the idea of stainless steel with a textured surface to reduce food sticking.
  • You want affordable cookware even though it might not last as long as more expensive options.
  • You like colorful, lightweight cookware.

If that sounds like you, check out T-fal at Amazon, Walmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond.

You should not buy T-fal cookware if:

  • You prefer high-end, well-made non-stick cookware with stainless steel handles.
  • You enjoy high-heat cooking or use advanced cooking techniques.
  • You want plenty of options for induction-compatible non-stick cookware.
  • You prefer cookware with thick walls for better heat retention and durability.
  • You want a well-balanced pan that feels sturdy.
  • You like slow-heating cookware.
  • You prefer to cook with little or no oil.

Bottom line — T-fal is decent low-cost cookware with some unique features, but it’s not the best-performing brand and certainly not “forever” cookware. Consider investing in a better quality brand if you’re looking for superior non-stick performance and durability.

Features like ThermoSpot, detachable handles, and Techno Release may be appealing. But I prefer thicker, more durable, and higher-performing cookware without the bells and whistles.

If you’re looking for a better non-stick option and are willing to pay a little extra, check out Anolon or Misen. If you prefer ceramic non-stick cookware, consider GreenPan or Caraway. If you’re ready to invest more for the best quality, consider Made In or All-Clad HA1.

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He’s studied consumer buying behavior for 10+ years and has managed marketing campaigns for over a dozen Fortune 500 brands. When he’s not testing the latest home products, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew via emailLinkedIn, or the Prudent Reviews YouTube channel.

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