A new type of cookware has emerged of late. It seeks to combine the best cooking properties of the traditional cast iron, non-stick and stainless steel cookware into an evolutionary hybrid version that offers the optimum cooking results.
Hexclad and Black Cube are similar examples of cookware that use a blend of stainless steel and aluminum to improve searing, non-stick properties, temperature tolerances, and ergonomic design, making it tough to choose between them- but they do have some noticeable differences.
Let's get cooking with these two brands and get them side-by-side so you can decide which would be best for your cooking, budget, and kitchen.
Hexclad – Gordon Ramsay's Choice Of Cookware
Whether you're a fan of the tempestuous British Chef or not, there is no doubting his influence in the world of cooking, and when he chooses to get involved with a cooking brand, there are only two reasons he would.
Either he is being paid a lot (which would probably be the case regardless), or he believes in the product he is endorsing. His recent association with Hexclad is an example of the latter.
Black Cube cannot claim that they have one of the world's best chefs on board with them, and the reason Ramsay has put his lot in with Hexclad is that it is premium brand cookware, while Black Cube is less expensive, but we'll look at the pricing a little bit later on.
Ramsay openly admits to using Hexclad at home and espouses the hybrid cookware's functionality as well as its versatility; and is pleased with the food results the cookware delivers, and the reason for this is the combination of two metals- stainless steel and aluminum.
What Is Hybrid Cookware
Traditionally, you bought stainless steel or non-stick aluminum cookware depending on the type of food you made, with the non-stick cookware used for lower temperature cooking and stainless used for cooking at higher temperatures.
Now, with Hexclad and Black Cube, you can have the benefits of both metals and the non-stick coating in your cookware, which has coined the term 'hybrid' cookware. Both brands use a blend of stainless steel and aluminum in their design, so let's look a little closer at this combination.
Before the hybrid concepts, aluminum was the fast-heating non-stick base that allowed you to cook delicate foods like eggs and pancakes without the mess of scraping off the remnants that stuck to stainless steel cookware when making those same dishes.
If you wanted to sear meat or cook at higher temperatures, then your option was either stainless steel or cast iron, and for most people looking to have a full range of cookware for all dishes, they would need cast iron pans, along with non-stick frying pans and stainless steel pots.
Hexclad Vs. Black Cube – The Best Of Both Worlds
Both Hexclad and Black Cube use this hybrid 'sandwich' of metals in the base, as it combines stainless steel and aluminum to create a fast-heating base that maintains its temperature like stainless steel and cast iron but provides the easy cleaning non-stick surface as well!
Remember that because they are hybrids, you would not get the same performance when searing as you would from uniform stainless steel. Similarly, you would not get the same non-stick results if using ceramic or consistent aluminum PTFE coated cookware – these offer a good blend of both worlds for single cookware use for convenient cooking.
Each has a slightly different design in their pans, so let's look at them individually and get a better idea of how Hexclad and Black Cube integrate the hybrid concept and which would be better.
Hexclad Hybrid Cookware
As one of the first mainstream cookware brands to utilize this technology in their cookware, Hexclad uses a three-ply construction comprising an external layer of magnetic steel and a core layer of aluminum, but the surface layer grabs attention!
The surface layer combines stainless steel, and non-stick PTFE laser etched to the surface in varying peaks and valleys! So imagine the Grand Canyon here to get a more relatable concept.
The edges or peaks of the canyon are stainless steel, while the depth or floor of the canyon is PTFE, and herein lies the brilliance of this design. In the past, you couldn't use metal implements on non-stick coated cookware for fear of scraping off the coating and exposing your food to dangerous bare metals.
With the stainless steel peaks and PTFE valleys, you can use metal cooking implements without the risk of removing the coating and have the fast-heating responsiveness of aluminum and the temperature retention of stainless steel.
This means that you can cook sauces, eggs, and other more delicate foods along with more robust dishes like steaks that need higher temperatures without risking damage to the coating and being able to use the same cookware!
Black Cube Hybrid Cookware
Instead of the peaks and valleys of the Hexclad design, Black Cube uses a similar idea, but with the stainless steel, layer sitting above the non-stick coating on raised pixels and also uses the three-ply layer concept with steel/aluminum/steel configuration as per Hexclad.
Black Cube state that their cookware is 100% scratch resistant to metal implements as the design eliminates the risk of removing the non-stick layer during cooking, so you can cook whichever foods you wish without needing to switch pans or pots depending on what you're cooking.
So when it comes to the design and coating, there is no real difference between the two, and it comes down to the more tangible aspects like price, aesthetics, and temperature tolerances that will determine which brand would be best for your kitchen.
AT first glance, Hexclad and Black Cube look similar with their hexagonal cooking surface. Still, Hexclad's black hexagonal pattern extends over the entire body, making its outer layer more distinguishable from Black Cube's stainless finish.
Hexclad Vs. Black Cube – Temperature Ranges & PTFE
Before the emergence of this hybrid cookware, it was well known that PTFE at high temperatures was vulnerable to damage. Because both cookware brands use PTFE as their non-stick coating, they have temperature limits in the oven, with Black Cube not recommended for temperatures above 500F, and Hexclad recommends the same.
As a rule, any PTFE-coated cookware should not be exposed to temperatures above 500F. While PTFE (Teflon) is a safer non-stick material than PFOA, you need to be cognisant that PTFE will eventually fade and need replacing.
Hexclad Vs. Black Cube- Longevity
Unlike stainless steel and cast iron which could last generations if cared for properly, PTFE and non-stick coated cookware will require replacing at some point and are unlikely to be heirlooms. If your goal is to have cookware that will last longer than your lifetime, hybrid cookware is not the answer.
Even though Hexclad and Black Cube are resilient with their stainless steel construction, their use of non-stick coatings in their cookware means that sooner or later, those coatings are going to deteriorate, and you will need to be on the lookout for chipping, cracking or peeling over the medium to long-term.
The good news is that the stainless steel pixels of Black Cube and the 'peaks/valleys' design of Hexclad reduce the wear and tear on the non-stick layer, making them last longer, and both brands are dishwasher safe.
Each comes with detailed manuals on cooking, cleaning, and storage, so keeping your cookware in great shape is easy, and if you follow the guidelines, you should have either of these in your kitchen draws for at least a decade or so!
Between Hexclad and Black Cube, as far as longevity is concerned, there isn't much to choose from as they both use similar design concepts and materials in their construction.
Hexclad Vs. Black Cube – Cooking Sources
Another pain of the past has been eliminated with the advent of hybrid cookware, which is the limitations imposed on what heat sources could be used with different cookware. As more people look to become more energy-efficient, the use of gas and induction surfaces has increased.
Unless you had specifically rated cookware that could operate on an induction cooker or was temperature rated for gas, you needed to buy cookware suited to your primary cooking and heat source.
But Hexclad and Black Cube use magnetic stainless steel for their outer layer, which means that this cookware is well suited for use on induction plates, gas, electric, halogen, and ceramics, making life much more straightforward.
Hexclad Vs. Black Cube – Handling
With some cookware, the handle design did not always lend itself to handling the hot pans without using an oven glove or similar heat-resistant material –Hexclad and Black Cube; have addressed this with their handle design and material.
Hexclad uses an 'A' shaped cavity between the pan edge and the main handle to allow for more excellent heat dissipation. The stay-cool material means you can safely pick it up even while cooking with no risk of burning yourself.
Here is where Hexclad has an edge: Black Cube provides an ergonomically designed handle, meaning it fits the hand well, but doesn't specify that it is stay-cool or safe to handle at high temperatures.
Between the two, it seems that Hexclad holds the edge as far as the handling aspect of the cookware at temperature is concerned.
Hexclad Vs. Black Cube – Pricing
Here is where we see the first distinct difference between the two Hexclad is the more expensive of the two brands, which can be the deal-breaker or maker for you, depending on your budget.
Suppose you take the price of the 9.5" Black Cube frying pan at $79.99 and the similar 10" pan from Hexclad at $109.99. Now that's a $30 difference or 37,5%! If you buy a complete cookware set, that will add up to a good few extra dollars.
You need to consider the type of cooking you will be doing most of, as well as the options each cookware brand offers in terms of expanding both your recipe options and cooking sources both now and in the future.
So if you have wanted to cook more delicate foods, move to make sauces or more complex recipes, and change your heat source, each of these brands will work for you in your kitchen; it comes down to what you are prepared to spend to achieve that.
Hexclad Vs. Black Cube – Which Do You Choose For Your Kitchen
Like any cookware, more expensive cookware is usually better quality, lasts longer, and performs better. If you are looking for durable cookware, you won't go wrong with either of these products, but it comes down to which one resonates better with you on more levels like price and looks.
Considering the reviews of and association with Hexclad by Michelin Star Chefs like Ramsay and Kevin Meehan( owner of Kali in LA), as well as rave reviews from CNN, Good Housekeeping, Consumer Reports as well as the 7 Piece Hexclad Cookware Set on Oprah's Favorite Things list, there is a clear distinction between thee two in terms of quality.
In the same breath, sales data from retail outlets show Black Cube selling like proverbial hot pancakes, with the 8", 10" and 12" pans outselling most other brands, and that is testament to their versatility, quality, ease of cleaning, oven temperature tolerance, and price.
Between Hexclad and Black Cube, which one do you choose? The easiest way is to handle them both, ask for a cooking demo and then see which feels better for you. Check the reviews online, but like a car, you need to get in touch and feel how they feel about you.
If the price isn't a consideration and you are going to choose solely based on performance, warranties, fast heating, heat retention, and the range of foods you can cook, then choosing between Hexclad and Black Cube may prove more difficult than you may have thought!