T-fal E93808 12-inch Fry Pan Review

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Bottom Line

If you only buy one nonstick pan, the T-fal E93808 12.5-inch Fry Pan is a great choice -- and a great value. It's reported as sturdy and durable, although there are a few complaints about warping and some find its heat indicator unreliable. Unlike most nonstick pans, this T-fal 12.5-inch fry pan gets very few user complaints about its coating wearing off. It's also available in 8 (Est. $25) and 10.25 (Est. $30) inch sizes.

ProsExcellent nonstick properties, Easy to clean, Lifetime warranty, Durable coatingConsStandard, 12-inch lid may not fit, Heat indicator can be confusing

Performance

Functions flawlessly in professional tests. In professional tests, the T-fal E93808 12.5-inch Fry Pan releases a wide variety of foods with ease, including fried eggs and stir-fried beef and vegetables, needing only a quick wipe-down with paper towels between batches. In another test, the T-fal skillet cooked food at a slightly faster rate than some other tested skillets. Owner reviews mirror those tests, and users say they are thrilled with this skillet's fast, even heating and slick nonstick surface. Many love that they can cook without any oil at all, helping them to cut back on fat in their diet. In spite of its very slick nonstick surface, owners also say it can brown foods nicely. However, we did find a couple of dissenters who say that their T-fal pans have a definite hot spot in the middle. This may be related to the problem some users describe with the middle of the pan bowing upward, as discussed below.

Ease of use

Well-balanced and nicely shaped. Reviewers say they love the shape and proportions of the T-fal E93808 12.5-inch Fry Pan. Its large cooking area and deep, slightly sloped sides make it useful for cooking a wide variety of dishes and reviewers uniformly agree that the "cushioned" silicone handles are very comfortable, although they limit the skillet's suitability for oven use (it's only safe to 410 degrees Fahrenheit). Owners find the pan's weight ideal, not too flimsy and not too hefty. Cleanup is also "a breeze," according to users. Unlike most nonstick pans, the T-Fal 12-inch skillet is dishwasher-safe, but most users recommend hand washing it anyway. Some reviewers note that the heat indicator in the center of the pan doesn't turn dark red as it is supposed to, although most say they just ignore that feature anyway. One caveat: since this is a 12.5-inch pan, a standard 12-inch lid may not fit.

Durability/appearance

Exceptional nonstick coating. While the T-fal E93808 12.5-inch Fry Pan's appearance is completely unremarkable -- it only comes in black and looks very utilitarian -- its durability is pretty remarkable for a nonstick pan. The coating stands up to metal utensils and dishwasher use and we found very few complaints of the coating wearing off prematurely. A few reviewers say their pans wore out after several years, but that's a long lifespan for a nonstick pan. The most common complaint users have about this skillet that the pan bottom sometimes will bow upward when heated, causing oil to run out to the edges. Some users say this problem was clear upon first use, while others say it developed over time. There is a lot of speculation that it's a materials failure due to the stamped logo in that spot. T-fal offers a lifetime warranty on this skillet, but customer service doesn't get particularly good reviews.

Our Sources

1. Cook's Illustrated

Nonstick Skillets, Editors of Cook's Illustrated, July 2013

In an update of the original report dated Sept. 10, 2010, editors put eight nonstick skillets, including the T-fal Professional 12.5-Inch Fry Pan, through their paces: cooking eggs without oil, stir-frying beef with vegetables and preparing crepes. They also test durability.

2. The Wall Street Journal

Nonstick Frying Pans, Katherine Cancila, March 30, 2012

Writer Katherine Cancila tries out more than a dozen nonstick pans for The Wall Street Journal (though her testing methods aren't explained). The T-Fal Professional 12.5-Inch Fry Pan is one of her top five picks, thanks to its quick heating and comfortable silicone handle.

3. CookingLight.com

The Best Nonstick Pans, Arricca Elin Sansone, Not Dated

Although she does not explain how she made her picks, Arricca Elin Sansone names the T-fal Professional T-Fal Professional 12.5-Inch Fry Pan as her top pick as a budget buy. There is also a guide to using and caring for nonstick pans.

4. Amazon.com

T-fal E93808 Professional Total Nonstick Oven Safe Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator Fry Pan / Saute Pan Dishwasher Safe Cookware, 12-Inch, Black, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2016

The T-fal E9388 12.5-inch Fry Pan earns an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 in nearly 4,000 reviews. Owners say this skillet has excellent nonstick properties and cleans up easily. They also like its size and weight. A few say it warps or bows in the middle. Amazon.com refers to this as a 12-inch pan, but it's actually 12.5 inches.

5. Walmart.com

T-fal Basic Non-Stick Easy Care 12.5" Fry Pan, Black, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of May 2016

In more than 30 reviews, the T-fal E9388 12.5-inch Fry Pan earns an overall rating of 4.7 stars out of 5; 91 percent say they would recommend it to a friend. Owners love its large capacity and say it's truly nonstick. A few say it warped a bit after a few uses.