When it comes to affordable non-stick cookware, Circulon is one of my favorite brands. When it comes to construction, quality, and pricing, they know their stuff. They might not be a clear market leader, but they’re certainly competitive with other top brands. Their solid warranty programs and the multitude of options available help ensure that you can find the perfect hard anodized set that will last for years in your kitchen.
Symmetry is one of Circulon’s induction-compatible non-stick lines. It’s made from hard anodized aluminum with stainless steel discs in the base of each pot and pan. These disks help ensure that your cookware works well with all types of ranges, including gas, electric, radiant, and induction.
They also add a little bit of thermal weight to the pots and pans, which means that when you put cold food on a hot pan the pan will stay hot.
Too Many Options
Before we get too deep into things, I’d like to mention that Circulon makes a lot of very similar non-stick pans. They have separate cookware lines for many combinations of handle types (silicone coated or pure metal), lid types (glass or stainless), and other small differences.
This is because the Premier Professional line is a bit thicker and heavier while offering slightly more quality of life features. Both sets (Premier and Symmetry) feature glass lids and silicone coated handles, similar degrees of oven safety, and overall very similar construction and performance. Symmetry is slightly cheaper, while Premier will retain heat a little bit better and has more saucepans with pour spouts and colanders.
Non-Stick That Lasts?
If you’ve read my other reviews, you probably know that I don’t think of non-stick cookware as particularly permanent. Instead, like most chefs and kitchen experts, I treat my non-stick cookware as essentially disposable. This is because all modern non-stick coatings have a finite number of uses before they stop working.
PTFE-based nonstick (the grey stuff that’s like Teflon) will chip and flake off, while ceramic-based nonstick will lose its effectiveness over time. The timetable on most quality cookware sets is quite similar. I personally estimate that my sets will last about two years in my kitchen, but that number can vary quite a bit from person to person. In order to make your cookware last a bit longer, avoid cooking with non-stick over high heat and be sure to clean and store your pans properly.
That said, I’m still a big fan of both non-stick and Circulon in general. This set is offered at a low enough price point that I don’t mind buying it once every two years or so (especially with the warranty, which I’ll talk about later). For a few dollars a month, I can give myself the ability to cook a wide variety of foods with no effort, attention, or added fat. This makes cleanup easy and allows me to concentrate on the things I enjoy in the kitchen instead of worrying about my food sticking to my stainless steel pots and pans.
This isn’t to say that there’s no place for stainless. Instead, I enjoy having multiple pieces of cookware with different cooking surfaces. Non-stick frying pans are great for chicken breasts, egg-based dishes, and even pancakes, while I prefer stainless steel for things like steak and many liquid dishes. Ultimately, the choice between these two options is up to you. If you decide you’d prefer a more durable set that’s a bit harder to cook on, I personally recommend the Kirkland stainless steel set, or if you want something nicer, something from Demeyere.
How Symmetry Stacks Up
Of course, you’re probably familiar with how non-stick works by now. What you’re interested in is how Symmetry compares to both other Circulon lines and non-stick cookware in general. I can say with confidence that this is some of the finest non-stick cookware available at this general price point. The aluminum construction makes it light and enables heat to travel quickly throughout the entire pan, meaning your food will get to the temperature you want in a jiffy.
The stainless steel discs make it induction compatible (which is somewhat uncommon) and help ensure that your preheated pan stays hot when you add chilled meats and veggies. The non-stick itself is quite effective, although I’m not sure that the trademark raised circles actually do anything. In any case, you’ll be able to cook all of your favorite sticky dishes with no problems at all.
Is this better than an anodized set by a brand like T-Fal? Not hugely, although it’s not as common to find competitors who make induction-compatible non-stick. The big difference between Circulon and other budget-oriented brands is the way their warranties work.
It’s worth noting that this Symmetry set comes with a single saucepan with a pour spout, while the Premier Professional has this feature on several saucepans. To me, this is worth spending a few extra bucks, especially given the extra pieces you get with the Premier set and the heavier gauge aluminum. If you’re not as much of a fan of pasta and steamed veggies as I am, however, there’s nothing wrong with saving money and getting the Symmetry set instead.
The Lifetime Warranty
Circulon offers a limited lifetime warranty on most of their cookware. This warranty covers against things like manufacturer defects and damage caused by normal use. In other words, the language in the warranty is pretty standard. The part that impresses me is how they enforce that language.
Unlike other companies, Circulon is quite generous when it comes to replacing pots and pans that have been damaged by dishwashers, toddlers, and other rough treatment. You can have a reasonable expectation that they’ll actually take care of you should some unforeseen disaster ruin your cookware set.
This isn’t to say that they’ll replace the set for free when the non-stick wears out in a couple years. The language on the warranty is quite clear and allows them to easily sidestep this issue. They will, however, offer a coupon for 25% off of your Circulon replacement set, which is actually quite nice. It helps lower the cost of keeping a high-quality Circulon Symmetry set in your cupboard.
Circulon Symmetry: The Choice For Your Kitchen?
Personally, I would choose Circulon Premier Professional for my kitchen over Symmetryevery time. The inclusion of more pour-spout equipped saucepans, more colander lids, and slightly heavier gauge aluminum is definitely worth a few extra dollars to me. If you’re on a tight budget, however, or you simply don’t care about these features, Symmetry is a very nice cookware set.
Even if I’ve sold you on the merits of Premier Pro, you should check the prices on both. If Symmetry is on a steep sale, it’s probably worth buying isntead!