Last Updated Jan 2020 – I’ve had the pleasure of watching a Circulon Infinite Hard Anodized nonstick demonstration in person. While I’m definitely not the target audience of these demos (it’s hard to impress someone who knows that your competition can do the thing you’re demonstrating, too), I found that I enjoyed the presentation.
Circulon’s salespeople don’t oversell their pans or hype up a bunch of features that you don’t want. Instead, they focus on proving that their products are effective cooking tools that are easy to care for and clean.
I’m not going to give you a well-practiced sales pitch here. Instead, I’ll give you an honest, unbiased review of the Circulon Infinite 10 piece cookware set. Over the course of this review, I’ll provide you with all of the facts you need to make your decision about whether or not to buy this cookware set.
At the end of the review, I’m confident that you’ll reach the same conclusion I have about Circulon Infinite.
Infinite is an older Circulon set (for more information about the brand itself, check out THIS page). It’s a line of hard anodized aluminum cookware with stainless steel bases for better heat retention and induction compatibility.
Infinite is somewhat heavy as far as anodized cookware goes, giving it a pleasant bit of heft. It’s still far lighter than cast iron, of course, and is quite comparable in weight to a tri-ply set. The Infinite line features stainless steel handles and lids and is oven safe to 500 F.
Most Circulon products have a unique brand feature that’s supposed to set them apart from the competition. The bottom of each pot and pan is covered in shallow concentric ridges that minimize the amount of contact your food (and utensils) make with the pan. Circulon implies that this improves the cookware in a number of ways: it reduces scratching from your spatula, it helps food release, and it increases the life of your non-stick.
I personally can’t say that I’ve observed any amount of difference as a result of these ridges. In other words, you can simply pretend that this feature doesn’t exist when comparing Circulon products to other brands. It’ll sometimes make your pancakes look a little bit bumpy and do pretty much nothing else.
This is mostly due to how non-stick works in practice. PTFE-based nonsticks (like the one used here) are fantastically effective when it comes to food release. Unfortunately, they’ll flake off after a couple years of use. If you only use the non-stick on the top of each ridge, it’ll simply flake off from the hills and not the valleys. Either way, you’ll want to replace your pots and pans within two to five years of careful use. In other words, you shouldn’t buy this cookware set if you want to buy something for life.
Now, if you’ve researched the Circulon brand, you might know that they offer a lifetime warranty on their products. Their warranty is actually quite good and they’re happy to replace the pots and pans in this set under lots of circumstances. The non-stick wearing out after a few years is not one of those circumstances, at least not reliably. While they’ll probably give you a fairly hefty coupon, Circulon tends to claim that the non-stick wearing out is beyond the scope of their (very carefully worded) warranty.
To be clear, this is a very nice set to cook on. Food releases wonderfully from the non-stick surface, the pots and pans heat up very quickly, and it’s quite durable, at least until the non-stick gives out. It’s also totally dishwasher safe, which is somewhat unusual as far as cookware goes. Most sets that claim to be “dishwasher safe” are only safe for occasional dishwashing, meaning you still have to wash them by hand most of the time.
This Circulon set can be thrown in the dishwasher with gleeful abandon each night and emerge unscathed in the morning. You won’t void the warranty, either, and unlikely damage caused by the dishwasher tends to be fixed with a simple call to Circulon’s customer service.
Most importantly, however, the cooking performance of this set is wonderful. It’s got an excellent blend of thick materials for heat retention and thermally conductive materials for heat transfer. This means that the pots and pans will get hot quickly and stay hot when you throw cold food onto them. It’s hard to beat this particular set in terms of heat performance, especially for the price.
So should you buy it?
I would suggest a heavily qualified no. The reason for this is simple: Infinite is one of Circulon’s older lines. They don’t make it anymore and supplies
are dwindling, so it’s not easy to find a set online for a good price. It also doesn’t have all of the quality of life features their newer sets have, like saucepans with built-in pour spouts and lids with strainers built into the side. This means that I think you can get a better Circulon set for less money if you choose a newer line like Premier Professional over Infinite.
As far as the non-stick failing after a couple years, any industry expert will tell you this is par for the course. No modern non-stick surface lasts for a very long time. Professional chefs tend to buy non-stick pans in multi-packs and treat them as totally disposable. Circulon’s cookware sets aren’t that expensive, so it’s well within the budget of most households to simply buy a new set every two years or so, especially if you call Circulon’s customer service first and get a coupon. Your recurring investment will ensure that you always have access to new, effective non-stick cookware that’s incredibly easy to cook with and clean.
For more information on the Premier Pro line that I recommend, check out this detailed review here.
While I think it’s slightly better for the money, it’s quite similar to both this line and other Circulon products in general. Feel free to choose the set you prefer based on cosmetic differences, minor features (like the material used in the lid) or cost. No matter which option you choose, you’ll get a solid set of cookware with great performance at an affordable price.