One of the biggest problems faced while selecting nonstick cookware is that in most every pan the nonstick coating always seems to scrape off despite using all the cooking and cleaning instructions. So I decided to so some online research, and picked up some pointers on how to pick up a really good nonstick pan.
It seems that all good nonstick coatings are made with the basic ingredient, PTFE, or polytetrafluoroethylene. Though this is supposed to have excellent nonstick properties, it's also very soft and therefore scratches easily. Which is why it has to be mixed with other materials in order to make it harder. The difference between different nonstick brands lies in the proportions in which PTFE is blended with other materials.
And that's where manufacturers can cut costs. For instance, PTFE has to blended with an ingredient that helps it stick to the cookware. Cheap nonstick cookware tries to compromise by using just one layer of material, which is mixed with enough other ingredients to stick onto the steel or aluminum, and loses a lot of its non-stickiness in the process. This usually has to be rolled onto the steel before the pots and pans are formed.
Better cookware, on the other hand, starts with a similar blend which sticks to the pot, but then adds extra layers where the proportions are changed. The second layer is formulated to stick to the first layer, but has improved nonstick properties. The third layer is enhanced even more, so that it sticks to the second layer, and has even better nonstick properties. Three layers is supposed to be the minimum for good, long-lasting nonstick cookware. The very best nonstick cookware in the world has seven layers.
You don't need to be an expert to tell how good the nonstick coating is in the cookware you're choosing. All you have to do is rub your fingers back and forth along the surface. If you feel tiny ridges, put it back on the shelf. Those ridges indicate that the manufacturer rolled the coating on, so there's probably one layer. A good nonstick finish is absolutely smooth, because it's been sprayed on in the correct sequence and properly cured.
PTFE-based nonstick coatings are always matte. If it's shiny, that means it's been coated with silicon - an absolute no-no. Silicon is okay for bakeware, but it reacts badly with animal fats.