The Tefal company (T-fal) has been around for more than 60 years, and were the first producers of Teflon non-stick pans for home use. They have been a leading name in non-stick cooking ever since.
Although T-fal was founded specifically with Teflon coatings atop an aluminum base (hence the name), they have continued to innovate with new non-stick coatings over recent years. Among their new product lines is the T-fal Initiatives Ceramic collection.
TL;DR – Is T-Fal Initiatives Ceramic Cookware Any Good?
T-fal Initiatives ceramic cookware is a great entry-level set. Like all cheap ceramic non-stick pots and pans, durability is the most common complaint. Handle construction on this set 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. This is our favorite collection among the cheap non-stick ceramic cookware brands.
What is T-fal Initiatives Ceramic Cookware?
Initiatives is the product line name for T-fal’s newest collection of ceramic non-stick cookware. It is available in either 14-piece or 18-piece set sizes.
The pans are constructed with a pressed aluminum base. Ceramic non-stick coating is then baked atop the cook surface. Riveted plastic handles are added, along with glass lids for the covered dishes in the collection. The non-stick coating does not include PTFE (Teflon), PFOA or Cadmium.
The Initiatives collection is not compatible with induction cooktops, but it is manufacturer certified as oven safe for low temperature baking.
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 claims.
What pots and pans are included in the bundle?
- 8” Fry Pan
- 11” Fry pan with lid
- 1-Quart Saucepan with lid
- 2-Quart Saucepan with lid
- 5-Quart Stewpot with lid
- One Egg Wonder Pan
- 4 Nylon Tools
In addition to the items listed above, the 18-piece set includes a 10″ Skillet with Lid, 3-quart Saucepan and 4 qt. Stockpot.
Is T-fal ceramic cookware nonstick?
Yes. T-fal’s ceramic pans are easy to clean, cost friendly, and non-stick when maintained properly. They create easy food release as an alternative to Teflon.
Does it work with an induction cooktop?
T-fal Initiatives pots and pans won’t cook effectively on an induction stove. If you cook by induction, you should seek a pan that contains magnetic materials in the base such as cast iron or stainless steel.
What is T-fal Initiatives cookware made out of?
T-fal constructs their Initiatives pots and pans from a pressed aluminum base. The base is then sprayed with a non-stick enamel which is baked atop it.
Are the materials safe to cook with?
Some recent studies have linked the PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic Acid) used in manufacturing of some cookware, mostly before 2013, with health conditions. T-fal pans are PFOA-free, PTFE-free and Cadmium-free.
Does the non-stick work as advertised?
T-fal Initiatives owners gave mixed reviews on the pans’ non-stick performance. Owners were generally happy within the first few months of owning the pan, but many reported that the non-stick wore off after 6-months of regular use.
Low durability is a common attribute of pans in the ceramic non-stick category. Learn how to properly care for your pan with our tips below to extend its lifespan. Even with great care, most ceramic non-stick coatings will need to be replaced eventually.
How durable is the pan?
Durability is among the top complaints of T-fal Initiatives collection owners. The riveted plastic pan handles routinely loosen after a short period of ownership. The non-stick coating wears quickly, with many owners reporting a total deterioration within 6-months of regular use. This pan may be more durable than several of the As Seen on TV competitors, but not by much.
Which is better, Calphalon or T-fal?
Calphalon is a common competitor to T-fal for ceramic non-stick pans. Calphalon ceramic non-stick is stylish, and in our view has better handle and lid construction. We also like that the white cook-surface provides food contrast when cooking. Overall though, we pick T-fal based on owner durability reviews of the non-stick surfaces. Both are low lifespan products, but in our view T-fal is a better value for the money.
How To Clean And Maintain
If you are seeking a bargain buy in the ceramic non-stick pan category then you should expect your product to have a shorter lifespan than other pans (cast iron, stainless steel, etc).
Our advice is to learn how to care for your pan now. A few simple steps go a long way toward maximizing your pans durability.
Let the pan cool before cleaning.
When cooking, leave a backburner open for hot pans to cool before cleaning. This will help you avoid burns from cleaning a hot pan, and also make your pan last longer.
Dropping a hot pan into water causes it to cool rapidly. The non-stick layer may begin to weaken or separate from the aluminum base as it quickly contracts.
Clean with a paper or soft cloth towel.
Wipe your pan’s cook surface with a soft cloth or paper towel after the pan has cooled. The ceramic non-stick usually doesn’t need more than that. Use soap and water when food gets stuck tightly, but be aware that this can put extra wear on your. Even though the pans may be dishwasher rated by the manufacturer, we highly recommend against cleaning that way.
Don’t stack pans in storage.
Friction between pans creates scratches, dents and chips. Even when the damage isn’t obvious, storage friction can weaken the non-stick structure making it easier to chip when cooking or washing.
Avoid low-smoke oils and sprays.
Non-stick sprays build up residue and char on your cookware. It can be very difficult to clean and will eventually ruin your pan.
Who should buy a T-fal Initiatives ceramic cookware?
T-fal Initiatives ceramic cookware is a great entry-level set for the money.
If you’re just getting started in the kitchen and up-front affordability is a major priority, this set is a good buy. The pots and pans included are practical for most common uses, and especially group cooking.
Ceramic non-stick cookware isn’t known for durability, and the T-fal Initiatives collection is no exception. Even so, it will get you down the road and help you learn the practicalities of what you do and don’t like in non-stick cookware without breaking the bank.
Alternatives | What is the best non-stick cookware?
If T-fal doesn’t sound like exactly what you’re looking for, here are a few alternative ceramic non-stick collections you might consider,
If you are looking to upgrade materials, performance and durability, take a closer look at Scanpan. The Danish brand offers 10 lines of 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.
If you are hoping to add some color to your kitchen, GreenLife makes a good medium heat pan at an affordable price. The collection comes in 7 colorways, each with a softgrip Bakelite handle. The white pan bottom adds contrast between pan and food that can come in handy, especially when cooking in a dim kitchen. The sticker price is similar to T-fal.
DaTerra Cucina makes one of the most durable nonstick pans we reviewed. Pricing is generally more expensive than T-fal and most bargain ceramic cookware, but the performance and durability is far superior. We like the 13” Vesuvio frying pan by DaTerra Cucina for families with many mouths to feed. Unfortunately, they don’t sell their cookware collection as a bundle so you will have to add each pot and pan to your cart individually.
If you are looking for an entry-level cookware set, or hoping to stock a new kitchen without breaking the bank then T-fal Initiatives may be a great fit. The pans do a great job for the price, but aren’t very durable.
If you are passionate about building an awesome kitchen, and have some experience to know what you like and don’t like in a ceramic pan, then we recommend upgrading to a higher durability product like Scanpan Professional. A small bump in budget can add significant performance and durability to your pan.
T-fal Initiatives is among the best options for cheap ceramic non-stick cookware. Unlike some other brands, the selection of pots and pans in this collection is highly practical. If you are cooking regularly, there shouldn’t be any extraneous items included that you don’t use.
If you’ve used T-Fal cookware, let us know what you think about your experience in the comments below.