Last Updated Nov 2018 – If you’ve investigated Teflon alternatives at all, you’ve likely come across Greenlife. These ceramic non-stick pans are supported by some very bold claims by their manufacturer. But how do these claims hold up to everyday kitchen use?
Here’s everything you need to know in order to make an informed decision about whether or not to include Greenlife products in your kitchen.
The Core Material
First, let’s get some basics covered. Greenlife pots and pans are made primarily from aluminum.
The exteriors are either hard-anodized (this creates a thin layer of aluminum oxide, which is harder and safer than raw aluminum), coated in stainless steel, or covered in a ceramic of some sort.
Teflon-style nonstick coatings (we’ll call the whole family PTFE) suffer from several disadvantages. The biggest and scariest disadvantage is that PTFE starts to “offgas” at a fairly low temperature of 400 F. This means that it literally releases toxic fumes at temperatures lower than you’d cook a frozen pizza.
Granted, not every PTFE is exactly the same, and cookware manufacturers have been trying to get this temperature up for a while. More modern PTFE can resist offgassing until 500 F or even slightly higher (if you believe the manufactures). Still, this is a pretty easy temperature for your pan to hit if you leave it on high heat for a moderate amount of time.
To be fair, you’re not usually cooking on high heat.
Not only is it totally unnecessary, it’ll damage virtually every type of non-stick coating in use today. You should still stick to lower heat settings when you use a ceramic non-stick like Thermolon.
The biggest advantage that Thermolon has over PTFE-style non-sticks is that it doesn’t offgas. Instead, Thermolon is totally stable up to a pretty ridiculous temperature (something like 850 F). Again, you’re probably not going to use your Greenlife cookware on high heat very often. The advantage here is that if you do accidentally let your pan get super hot, you’re not going to release toxic fumes.
Teflon critics are keen to point out that PTFE is actually a fairly good insulator. When you cook in a pan with a Teflon-style nonstick, the Teflon actually works against you and keeps your food from heating up as quickly. This means that you can use (slightly) lower heat with a Thermolon-equipped pan when cooking your food.
Ceramic non-stick is also pretty different from PTFE in how it decays. It’s less likely to chip or flake off. Instead, it gradually becomes less effective. When this happens, you can actually use an abrasive cleaner like Bar Keeper’s Friend or baking soda to literally resurface your Thermolon pan.
While you shouldn’t do this very often, it’ll do a pretty good job of making your ceramic non-stick surface less sticky for a little while longer.
Because Greenlife pans are all so similar, I’m going to spend a decent amount of time talking about them in general before I dive into reviews on specific sets.
The heat distribution offered by Greenlife pots and pans is excellent. One of the primary advantages of using aluminum in cookware is the fact that it’s an extraordinarily good conductor of heat. Since Greenlife cookware is mostly aluminum, each piece heats up quickly and evenly.
All non-stick coatings are not created equal, but all Thermolon is. This means that Greenlife cookware sets have similar performance to GreenPan sets or sets from other brands that make use of Thermolon. If you’ve never used it before, Thermolon is an extremely effective ceramic non-stick that’s totally free from all of the harmful chemicals found in Teflon and other PTFE-based non-stick.
While Thermolon is pretty effective, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to care for. It’s extremely important to use a small amount of oil when you cook, for example, in order to increase the lifespan of your Greenlife cookware. While food won’t stick at all if you forget oil, you’ll shorten the lifespan of your Thermolon fairly dramatically. As I mentioned earlier, you can use baking soda, BKF, or another abrasive cleaner to try to help with this, but it’s definitely not something you want to be doing very frequently.
Greenlife sets come in two primary varieties: SoftGrip, which features insulated Bakelite handles, and Classic, which features stainless steel handles. The SoftGrip sets are oven safe to about 350 F, while the Classic sets are oven safe to at least 425 F (this limit is set by the lids, so you can go higher if you simply take the lid off).
Finally, it’s worth noting that Greenlife pans are NOT induction compatible. This is either a big deal for you (if you have an induction range) or not important at all (if you don’t). If you’re in the first category, I’d strongly recommend finding Thermolon non-stick pans with magnetic disks built into the base. While induction “adapter” rings exist, they’re not particularly effective.
Greenlife Pot and Pan Reviews
Here are the three best Greenlife cookware sets available on the market today.
While it’s not quite as bold in terms of colors as some of the other options, this line is a great choice for anyone who values oven safety highly. The stainless steel handles mean that this set is much more useful in the oven than the other lines.
All of the GreenLife cookware sets come with well-fitting glass lids and this set is no exception. This combines well with the creamy white interior of these pots and pans to let you monitor your cooking without releasing any trapped heat.
Like other Thermolon-coated pans, the nonstick on this set is excellent, especially if it’s cared for well. Used properly, you can expect a comfortable working life of a couple years or more. The fact that Thermolon is an excellent conductor of heat is a nice plus, as is the fact that it won’t overheat and release toxic gas under normal kitchen conditions.
If you prefer to skip potholders while you cook, or you simply want a more vibrant range of colors to choose from, the GreenLife Soft Grip line is the choice for you. This line is dishwasher safe while offering the same fantastic non-stick properties and excellent heat distribution of the other GreenLife lines.
The biggest downside with this line is the lack of oven safety. The Bakelite used in the handles can’t handle temperatures of more than 350F. While you’re totally fine to use these pans on the range, you’ll definitely want to keep them out of the oven.
Like the other GreenLife sets, these pans are made out of aluminum, which has fantastic healing properties. Each pan heats up very quickly and very evenly, ensuring that every part of your dish cooks pretty much evenly.
Unlike Teflon, the Thermolon used in these pans conducts heat pretty well. This means you can use a slightly lower range setting and still heat your food faster than your old non-stick pans.
Again, you’ll definitely want to use a bit of oil or fat when you cook with these to extend the life of the Thermolon interior. With proper care, this cookware set can last you for at least a couple years.
It’s worth noting that some varieties of this set include a steamer insert, which I’m very much a fan of. If you’re on the fence between this set and a similar one, I’d choose the one with the steamer insert in a heartbeat. It makes cooking a whole range of foods a lot easier, from corn to broccoli to mussels.
GreenLife has included a diamond “infusion” in the Thermolon of this pan. Their claim is that this makes the non-stick coating a fair bit more durable. Truthfully, this claim is difficult to evaluate, as the way you use and clean your pan has a pretty big impact on the life of the non-stick coating.
Luckily, the diamonds that are included in this cookware set don’t add to the price too much. Other than their inclusion and some minor cosmetic details, it’s pretty identical to the Soft Grip set above.
If you think you’d prefer a pan with a bit of compressed carbon in the non-stick interior, this set is an excellent choice.
A 14-piece set includes:
7″ frying pan
9.5″ frying pan
1.2-quart saucepan with lid
2.2-quart saucepan with lid
5-quart stockpot with lid
2.6 quart skillet with lid
4 nylon kitchen utensils
What is the Best GreenLife Cookware Set ?
Honestly, all of the GreenLife sets are pretty similar. The set that’s best for you can be determined by two questions: how much do you care about using your GreenLife ceramic pots and pans in the oven, and what color do you want your set to be?
If you want a set that’s oven safe to a high temperature, you definitely want a line with stainless steel handles. Otherwise, however, feel free to choose the set that looks the best to you or simply the one that’s cheapest.
You’ll save a bit of money that you can use to pick up a copper pot for candy making or another kitchen gadget.
Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.