The Sur La Table Hard Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Set is a close second to the top-rated Anolon Advanced Bronze Collection 11-piece Set (*Est. $290). Like the Anolon cookware, it offers even heating, a great nonstick finish and easy cleanup. However, it has fewer pieces for the price, and it doesn't have as many user reviews to support its long-term performance. Still, it's undoubtedly a good performer.
Earns high marks for performance: Testers at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute found that this cookware set "distributes heat evenly on gas and electric ranges [and] maintains a steady simmer." The nonstick finish also performed well, easily releasing foods even when they were cooked without oil. Owners at SurLaTable.com (the only retail site that sells this cookware) generally agree that it performs well. One owner says "they handle heat better than anything I have ever used," while another says that the nonstick surface "really is non stick and makes cooking with little to no oil easy." However, one reviewer complains that compared to top-end brands such as All-Clad, "the evenness and response in temperature are lacking." Another limitation of this cookware is that, like other anodized aluminum cookware, it won't work on an induction cooktop.
Users generally find these pans comfortable and well balanced. One owner describes the weight as "heavy without being unmanageable for my older hands." Another feature that both professional testers and users appreciate is the stay-cool handles. Owners also like the glass lids, which allow them to watch food as it cooks. However, some users say the selection of pieces in this set is not ideal. A couple of reviewers complain that some pieces, especially the frying pans and the larger saucepan, were too small, especially for a larger family. Multiple users said they had to contribute additional pieces to this set to complete their cookware needs.
The user reviews we saw generally agree that these pots and pans are easy to clean. In fact, one user says this cookware's best feature is "how easy it is to clean up afterwards." Good Housekeeping's testers also found this cookware easy to clean by hand. However, they do caution that the handles require extra attention during cleaning, as food can accumulate under the rivets.
The Sur La Table pans feature a brushed satin finish and stainless-steel handles. Most owners have no comments about the cookware's appearance, either positive or otherwise. However, one owner describes them as "beautiful," and another says, "I love how it looks and cooks." Another reviewer confesses that "I would not want to put the pots on my pot rack" because of pitting and staining.
No feedback for this cookware's longevity: Owners do think that it looks sturdy, and we discovered one owner review that says they have "held up awesome" after 10 months of use. Still, this is not a big enough sample-size to make an informative assessment of the long-term durability of the nonstick finish -- the Achilles' heel of most nonstick cookware.
1. Good Housekeeping
Review Credibility: Very Good Testers at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute evaluate nearly 50 lines of cookware on a wide variety of kitchen tasks. (The report covers cookware lines as a whole, not specific sets.) They simmer sauces, pan-brown burgers and (for nonstick cookware) prepare eggs without fat. Editors also evaluate the cookware's construction and how easy it is to clean. The Sur La Table Hard Anodized Nonstick cookware receives an A grade for its even heating, steady simmering, good nonstick finish and useful features. Its only downside: The crevices in the riveted handles are tricky to clean.
Review: Sur La Table Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware, Editors of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, November 2010
Review Credibility: Good Less than 20 reviews for the Sur La Table Hard Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Set were available at the exclusive retailer's website. The cookware earns an overall rating of 4.7 stars out of 5 from users, who praise its heft and balance, as well as the nonstick surface that makes cleanup easy. While some of them find the selection of pieces ideal, others complain the individual pots and pans are too small.
Review: Sur La Table(R) Hard Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Set, Contributors to SurLaTable.com, As of December 2012