Dessert served in a non-stick pan.

GreenLife Ceramic Cookware Review

GreenLife Soft Grip 16-Piece Set

Durability
2/5
Performance
2/5
Maintenance
3/5
Affordability
5/5
Overall Rating
3/5
Pros
Cons

The Cookware Company (TCC) has been adding brands to its collection of health oriented products for almost 20 years, since the release of the original GreenPan. At the time, there was a lot of public discussion about the potential health impacts of PFOA that was then being used in the production of Teflon products. 

With GreenPan, TCC set out to create the first consumer non-stick pan that was free of Teflon. GreenLife was later added as a sister brand in order to fill a gap in the price conscious end of the market. It offers less features and is more aggressively priced, but is still primarily positioned to appeal to health conscious home kitchens.

TL;DR – Is GreenLife Cookware any good?

The GreenLife 10-piece set fills a colorful gap at the “price conscious” end of the ceramic cookware market. The brand was a leader in non-stick materials innovation a decade ago, but as competitors caught up it now sits middle-of-the-road for performance. The set is exceptionally affordable, but lacking in durability. If aesthetic is important to you, we haven’t seen anything else with this level of color optionality.

What is GreenLife ceramic cookware?

GreenLife offers three lines of ceramic cookware, which are all relatively similar. Each line is built with a few distinctive features which are mostly cosmetic, presumably to appeal to the value sets and aesthetic tastes of different customer segments. Pricing is similar for each collection.

All three lines are designed in Belgium and manufactured in China. Each pan is constructed atop an aluminum base. Thermolon non-stick coating is then baked onto the cook surface. This material was originally created by a South Korean company for fire protection, before rolling out as a preferred cookware material. 

All lids are glass so you can see how your dish is progressing while it heats on the stove. Pan and lid handles are made from Bakelite, which is known for its heat-resistant properties. The brand claims that the overall manufacturing process is free from PFOA, PFAS, lead and cadmium.

The focus of the following GreenLife ceramic cookware review is to help you distinguish between the available collections, weigh the merits of each, and become aware of a few competitive alternatives that may be a better fit for some kitchens.

GreenLife Soft Grip

The Soft Grip collection is available in 8 distinctive colorways, that will stand out in any kitchen. The handles are constructed of soft grip Bakelite for a comfortable feel.

The pieces included in this collection are mostly practical, but probably not the best fit if you are cooking large portions regularly. We wish the open fry pans were sized slightly larger. The mini frypan is not particularly useful, and several owners mention that the steamer basket is undersized and doesn’t fit very well for use.

GreenLife Soft Grip is rated dishwasher safe, but we recommend hand washing during regular usage since detergents can be harsh on the ceramic cook surface. These pans are also oven safe up to 350 F, which is helpful for some sear-and-bake applications or keeping a side dish warm while you finish preparing the rest of your dinner.

The 16-piece set includes,

  • 4” mini frypan
  • 7” open frypan
  • 9.5” open frypan
  • 1-quart covered saucepan
  • 2-quart covered saucepan
  • 5-quart covered stockpot
  • 2.5-quart covered sauté pan
  • 7” stainless steel steamer basket
  • 4 black nylon utensils.

GreenLife Diamond

The Diamond collection is essentially the same construction as the Soft Grip. GreenLife claims they have added diamonds to the non-stick coating, which positions the branding against other popular stone quartz pans. They don’t disclose the specific material they are calling “diamonds,” but it is most likely quartz. 

Unlike the Soft Grip set, the Diamond set does not include the 4” mini fry pan or stainless steel steamer attachment. In our view, these pieces are not especially practical, so you may not miss them. The set is only available in a black colorway.

GreenLife Diamond cookware is dishwasher safe and oven safe to 350 F.

The 14-piece set includes,

  • 7” open frypan
  • 9.5” open frypan
  • 1-quart covered saucepan
  • 2-quart covered saucepan
  • 5-quart covered stockpot
  • 2.5-quart covered sauté pan
  • 4 black nylon utensils.

GreenLife Everyday Value

The Everyday Value is almost identical to the Soft Grip collection. 

The handles on this set are also Bakelite, but don’t have the soft grip feel of the other collections. Again only one colorway is available – black pan with a white cook surface for food contrast. A saute pan is not included in the bundle, but the small frypan is a more practical size.

The other primary distinction is that Everyday Value collection is available exclusively on Amazon.

The Bakelite handles are oven safe up to 350 F, and the cookware is manufacturer-rated as dishwasher safe. We recommend you wash by hand during regular use.

The 12-piece set includes,

  • 8” open frypan
  • 9.5” open frypan
  • 1-quart covered saucepan
  • 2-quart covered saucepan
  • 5-quart covered saucepan
  • 4 nylon utensils.

What To Ask Before You Buy

We spent hours sorting through product info and owner feedback to see how these pans really stood up to the brand’s advertising claims.

Is GreenLife ceramic cookware safe?

The entire branding for this line is built on a playful color scheme, soft handles, and claims that the cookware is made from safe materials. But does it really stand up?

GreenLife does not manufacture using Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which is commonly known by the brand name Teflon. This was a big innovation by The Cookware Company, and business decision which helped shape the non-stick industry over the past decade.

Before Greenpan, non-stick pans were almost exclusively made with Teflon. Then the public learned that some studies were suggesting a connection between the PFOA used in Teflon manufacture with serious health conditions.

Teflon manufacturing has reformed since 2013, in large part because of California Proposition 65. PFOA use has almost entirely been eliminated, but not before a large segment of the public switched GreenLife ceramic pans and other Teflon-free sets.

More recently, in 2019 a class action lawsuit was filed against Greenpan alleging that their “toxin free” claims are untrue. The suit alleges that Thermolon non-stick coating contains other lesser known toxins like silane, aluminum oxide, tetraethoxysilane, methyltrimethoxysilane, and potassium titanate.

How does the non-stick perform?

Many owners report that the non-stick works great until you start using it. Durability is a major complaint with GreenLife ceramic cookware products, with many pans wearing out in the first 3-to-6 months of ownership. 

Across the non-stick cookware category, durability is a common complaint. Owners rate GreenLife ceramic pans slightly below average in this area.

Does it work with an induction cooktop?

GreenLife ceramic pans will not work on an induction stove. If you need induction compatibility, then your pots and pans should be manufactured with a ferromagnetic metal such as cast iron or stainless steel in order to work effectively. See other brands to consider at the bottom of this article if you need induction compatibility.

Is it oven safe?

The pans are manufacturer-rated as oven safe to 350 F, and with the Bakelite handles it is best to not push those limitations. Overheated handles can smoke or melt, both in the oven or when put into contact with a direct flame on a gas stovetop.

How To Clean And Maintain

Establishing a few simple care habits can make a big difference in the lifespan of your pans. 

Allow your pans to cool before cleaning.

Dropping a hot pan into water can total your pan. The sizzle may sound cool, but you shouldn’t  do it if you want the pan to last. Set it aside and allow it time to cool.

Gently hand wash when cleaning.

Although the pans are rated as “dishwasher safe,” we strongly recommend hand washing only. In most cases cleaning can be done by gently wiping the surface of the pan with a towel or soft cloth. If food sticks, then you can add warm soapy water and gently wipe. Chemicals commonly found in dishwasher detergents can damage or discolor your pans. 

Avoid metal utensils.

Metal utensils can create irreparable damage with even a single use. We recommend using nylon or wooden utensils, and cooking on low to medium heat settings.

Use high-smoke oils, and never aerosol sprays.

Find a high-heat oil that works for you, and specifically stay away from butter and spray oils as your primary pan lubricant. Aerosol sprays can’t stand up to high temperatures, and tend to leave damaging hard to clean residue on the surface of your pan. Butter and low-smoke oils behave similarly.

Who should buy a GreenLife Ceramic Cookware?

If you want to add a splash of color to your kitchen, but don’t intend to use these pans very often then GreenLife may be a good fit for you. They lack the basic durability we look for when making any purchase for our kitchen. We could imagine them looking pretty for a house staging, short-term rental, or other environment where aesthetic is more important than functionality.

Alternatives | Other Brands To Consider

If the GreenLife doesn’t seem like the right fit for your kitchen, here are a few alternatives you might consider,

Starfrit The Rock

The Rock by Starfrit is our bargain pick for nonstick ceramic cookware collections. We really like it for the price because of the design and durability compared to similarly priced competitors like GreenLife. 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. 

Scanpan 

If you are looking to upgrade materials, performance and durability, take a closer look at Scanpan. The Danish brand offers 10 lines of nonstick cookware, across a wide range or price points. We like the Scanpan Professional collection for our kitchen with it’s sleek stainless handles and durable Stratinum non-stick coating. The extra cost pays off in performance and pan life.

T-Fal

T-fal Initiatives ceramic cookware is a great entry-level set. Durability is middle-of-the-road and construction of the pan handles also leaves something to be desired. Still, we think it is a good buy for the money. The pots and pans included are practical for most meals and well-suited to cook for a group. 

Read more >> THE 11 BEST CERAMIC FRYING PANS OF 2020 REVIEWED

The Verdict

We respect the materials innovations that GreenLife and GreenPan led over the past few decades. They helped reshape the industry as consumers began to think about materials safety in their nonstick cookware, particularly in the search for PTFE-free options.

The brand has been able to maintain a high level of recognition based on their history as an early mover in ceramic non-stick. In our view, several other brands have now caught and surpassed them. 

You can find a better performing product, with superior durability at a similar price. If you are looking for regular use cookware, we highly recommend that you consider competitors before purchasing GreenLife. This is not a brand we would keep in our kitchen, even for occasional use.

If you’ve used GreenLife cookware, let us know what you think about your experience in the comments below.

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