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We’ve had more than a few inquiries about the spread of “copper” and “diamond” non-stick pans across TV infomercials and internet retail outlets. Copper Chef is one such brand that has been around for a few years now. We looked into their latest product, the Copper Chef Titan pan, to save you the trouble of piecing together product facts. And hopefully to spare you from a healthy dose of buyers remorse.
Is Copper Chef Cookware Any Good?
Save your money. Yes, the design looks good and the pans have a nice heavy feel to them. The Titan is competitively priced for mid-range cookware, and is able to function on an induction cooktop. Unfortunately, owners consistently give this pan low marks for both performance and durability of the non-stick surface. We think you can do better.
Instead, we recommend these similarly priced pans:
What is the Copper Chef Titan Pan?
The Copper Chef Titan sells as a two pan bundle, including a saute pan and fry pan. The pans are packaged with a recipe book and stamped with the paid endorsement of celebrity-chef Jet Tila.
This product debuted in 2020 at the Inspired Home Show in Chicago. Its design leverages futuristic-sounding features that make easy talking points in an infomercial-style campaign. The intent of the product by its owner, a Chinese manufacturer, is to generate mass-market appeal in North America.
Copper Chef claims that the Titan utilizes an innovative tri-ply design, with a layer of aluminum sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel for even cooking and heat retention. They claim the pan is then etched with lasers and coated with diamond-infused material to create a scratch-resistant nonstick.
It all sounds very futuristic, especially when accompanied by a few clever-looking animations. You may be wondering how differentiated these pans are from others sold on TV, if these claims make sense, and how many of the pan’s features actually yield satisfied customers.
Let’s take a closer look.
What To Ask Before You Buy
We spent hours sorting through owner feedback, patent and product info to differentiate meaningful features from empty marketing claims in the list above. Here are a few things you should know before you buy.
Is Copper Chef Titan Pan safe?
The Copper Chef Titan Pan is free of PFOA, a chemical at the center of the health and environmental controversies surrounding traditional nonstick cookware.
In response to our inquiries about PTFE, the maker of this pan (Tristar Products), was not forthcoming if that substance is used in their nonstick coating.
At first request, Tristar informed us ” the product might contain some traces” of PTFE. And when we followed-up for more specific information they simply forwarded the owners manual, which doesn’t touch on the subject.
Is Copper Chef really nonstick?
According to feedback from owners, the performance and durability of the Copper Chef Titan’s nonstick coating doesn’t stand up to the advertising claims. This is not unexpected. You would discover similar feedback from owners of most made-for-television pan products.
In fact, nonstick durability is one of the most common issues among all nonstick pans. You will find this fact is regularly repeated in product reviews and even in background information provided at the front of many patent applications.
Are there real diamonds in the pan?
Probably, but it’s difficult to verify and less glamorous than you might expect.
Most companies don’t disclose what material they are calling “diamond” in their ads, but be assured that they aren’t using gem grade materials. Most patent filings for diamond-infused cookware coatings outline a manufacturing process that includes industrial grade, lab grown diamond dust or a diamond-like material such as quartz.
What differentiates one maker’s diamond coating from the next usually comes down to material selection, size of the dust particles, and where they are placed in the primer coat.
How durable is the Titan pan?
As of this writing, the Titan pan has only been on the market for a few months, so we don’t have great intel on how long this pan can last in the hands of an owner who cares for it properly. We’ll update the article as more time has elapsed and more data on ownership trends is available.
What we do know today is that durability is among the biggest complaints about products in this category. Owners of similar competitor products often find that their pans last for less than 6 months. Early owner data suggests that the Copper Chef Titan is no different.
Why is durability an issue?
A fundamental challenge for makers of non-stick pans is to create a cook surface that is both abrasion resistant and good at releasing food.
In pans like the Titan, a fluoropolymer resin is traditionally applied atop a pan’s metal base to create a non-stick coating. These resins can be incredibly resistant to heat and chemicals at normal cooking temperatures, but are notoriously bad at staying cemented to the underlying metal base of a pan.
In order to keep the non-stick layer stuck on a metal base, many manufacturers began adding a primer material between the metal construction and nonstick coating. A primer coat, like the “diamond-infused” one used by the Copper Chef Titan, creates better adhesion between the non-stick surface and the metal base. The “diamonds” or minerals ground into the primer help conduct heat and create a textured surface that helps deflect forces, like the impact of a spatula, from the surface of a pan.
Even with advances in primer substrates over the past decade, there simply aren’t many good options out there. Almost universally, non-stick surfaces are easy to scratch or chip. And once damage begins it is likely the rest of the surface will erode quickly.
Are Copper Chef pans induction ready?
Yes! This is one real benefit of the Copper Chef Titan compared with most other pans in the category. Induction cooktops function only when there is a magnetic material present in a pan, such as stainless steel.
Is the tri-ply pan construction unique to Copper Chef?
No, this is an incredibly common construction that has been produced by many big box store brands like Cuisinart, Calphalon, and All-Clad. Aluminum clad stainless steel cookware is typically created by sandwiching an aluminum disk between two layers of stainless steel.
Aluminum is inexpensive, light weight, and has exceptional heat conductivity. When sitting atop a heating element, an aluminum pan will quickly radiate heat across the cook surface. By itself, aluminum will react to some acidic foods, imparting unwanted color and metallic flavor into the dish.
The stainless steel exterior is non-reactive with food and significantly more durable than aluminum. It has low conductivity and emissivity which means that it also retains heat better than aluminum.
What sizes are available?
The Copper Chef Titan is sold as a 5-piece set which includes a saute pan with a tempered glass lid, a fry pan, steamer tray, and a recipe book authored by Jet Tila. There are two bundle options which allow you to choose between a 9.5” or 11” Saute Pan.
The 11” Saute Pan is well-sized if you have many mouths to feed, and a wide burner. Many American burners are 6” in diameter, which may be too small for this pan. Cooking with a large pan on a small burner may cause uneven heating, especially when cooking dry food.
How do you take care of a Copper Chef pan?
If you are using this pan regularly, it’s likely you will need to replace it within a year. This isn’t an indictment of the Titan; more broadly, it’s a common characteristic across the product category. Learning a few basic care steps for this pan can help you maximize its lifespan.
Let the pan cool before cleaning it.
This pan is built in layers. The stainless steel, aluminum, diamond-laced primer, and non-stick outer coating are each constructed of unique materials. Each layer will expand and contract at a unique rate when heating or cooling.
The problem with quickly cooling the pan, for example when dousing it in cold water, is that this accelerates the rate of contraction. Because the materials contract at different rates, this may cause the bonds between them to weaken or separate, thus creating damage that can’t be repaired.
Use a paper or cloth towel to clean quickly.
Wipe the pan with a soft cloth or paper towel once it has cooled. In most cases soap and water is overkill. Hard water, dish soaps and detergents can all shorten the life of your pan.
Do not stack your pans.
Pan-on-pan friction can scratch, chip or dent the non-stick surface of your Copper Chef pan.
Who should buy a Copper Chef Titan pan?
Probably not you. Yes, the design looks good and they have a nice heavy feel to them. This pan is competitively priced for a mid-range cookware, and is able to function on an induction cooktop. Still, it’s hard to get past the owner’s reviews on performance and durability of the non-stick surface. You can do better.
Alternatives To Consider
Spending a little more on your pan can return big dividends in both performance and durability. Or you can find similar performance at a lower price. Here are a few alternatives to consider,
Starfrit the Rock
The Rock by Starfrit is our bargain pick for ceramic non-stick cookware. We really like it for the price because of the design and durability compared to similarly priced competitors. For most owners, it does require some oil to unlock true non-stick ability, but overall the quality is really high. Especially for the price. There are some light, but meaningful for some kitchens, upgrade options available atop the base model.Buy on Amazon
DaTerra Cucina makes one of the most durable nonstick pans we reviewed. We like the 13” Vesuvio frypan as a great option for families preparing larger portions. Middle of the market pricing with excellent performance and durability.Buy on Amazon
Recycled aluminum with a steel plate cast into the bottom yields a heavier pan with excellent heat distribution. The Scanpan PRO IQ collection works well on induction cooktops, and is consistently the most durable pan we reviewed. If you are willing to pay the premium price, this is our top upgrade pick for ceramic non-stick fry pans.Buy on Amazon
The design looks great. The pans are functionally sized and have a nice heavy feel to them. They are competitively priced for a mid-range pan, and are able to function on an induction cooktop.
With that said, it’s tough to find a durable pan in this category and early feedback says that the Copper Chef Titan is no different. As you might expect from a television promotional product, the advertisements oversell the true performance of the pan.
If you’re feeling adventurous and have cash to burn, maybe the Copper Chef Titan is a fun adventure. Just don’t expect it to last very long. And you can always find a cheaper pan with similar durability.
We recommend spending a little more to buy better durability and performance. Even a small bump in budget can go a long way.