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  • About Circulon ScratchDefense Cookware

  • How we tested the Circulon ScratchDefense Nonstick Pan

  • What we like

  • What we don’t like

  • Should you buy the Circulon ScratchDefense Nonstick Pan?

  • Related content


  • Durable build

  • Great nonstick performance

  • Metal utensil safe


  • "Never scratch" promise is exaggerated

  • Not broiler-safe

About Circulon ScratchDefense Cookware

Metal utensils on a white napkin, next to the Circulon ScratchDefense cookware.
Credit: Reviewed / Timothy Renzi

Circulon encourages the use of metal utensils in its ScratchDefense cookware.

We tested the 12-inch ScratchDefense Nonstick Frying Pan to get a sense for the cookware material, but the ScratchDefense A1 Series offers a wide variety of individual pots and pans as well as full cookware sets.

This skillet features a triple-layer nonstick surface for longevity, plus an aluminum core and stainless steel base for even heat distribution. It also features a silicone-steel handle for an ergonomic hold and high-heat capability.

The cookware is dishwasher-safe, induction compatible, and oven-safe up to 400°F.

The 12-inch skillet retails for $50, which is pricier than our winning OXO nonstick skillet, but still more affordable than most ceramic nonstick pans on the market.

How we tested the Circulon ScratchDefense Nonstick Pan

Two over-easy eggs on the Circulon ScratchDefense Nonstick Frying Pan.
Credit: Reviewed / Monica Petrucci

We tested this cookware in the kitchen and in the labs to get the full picture.

This pan went through two rounds of testing in order to both test its function in the kitchen and challenge its "never scratch" claims in our labs.

First, we put this pan through the standard tests we conduct for all nonstick skillets: Frying eggs, cooking an omelet, searing protein, and browning flour (to monitor even heating). As we tested, we followed manufacturer instructions, cooking with metal utensils and placing it in the dishwasher, monitoring for any destruction along the way.

Once we wrapped up the kitchen tests, we sent the pan over to our lab to challenge the "never scratch" claim of these pans. Here, our technicians put the skillet through additional tests, like utilizing non-Circulon metal utensils, conducting moderate scraping with a dentist's pick, and using a sander to simulate longtime scrubbing with a rough surface sponge.

What we like

It features a durable, effective nonstick coating

An omelet on the Circulon ScratchDefense Nonstick Frying Pan.
Credit: Reviewed / Monica Petrucci

Flipping the sides of an omelet was a breeze in this pan, thanks to its reliable nonstick coating.

The triple-layer nonstick coating on this pan impressed us right off the bat.

Cooking delicate foods like eggs (both fried and in an omelet) was a breeze and required very little added oil. The food never stuck to the pan as we cooked, and cleaning it afterwards just required a good rinse (no scrubbing!) to remove any stuck-on remnants.

We also love that this cookware is completely dishwasher-safe, so we were able to run it through the machine after each test without worrying about deterioration.

It can sear excellently

Salmon cooking on the Circulon ScratchDefense pan.
Credit: Reviewed / Timothy Renzi

We were able to achieve a golden, crispy sear on a salmon fillet with the Circulon ScratchDefense pan.

We don't typically rely on nonstick skillets to sear foods (that's what stainless steel and cast iron is for!). But we still tried cooking a piece of salmon in this pan to determine whether it was able to deliver a decent sear.

We were pleasantly surprised. The pan heated evenly and was able to retain heat well enough to deliver an evenly crispy sear on the salmon fillet. (Plus, the nonstick coating meant that the salmon skin didn't stick!) That type of browned crust is not something we're used to seeing on typical nonstick cookware, so this was definitely a bonus.

It's metal utensil safe (just don't overdo it)

A close-up of a raw piece of salmon on the Circulon ScratchDefense Nonstick Frying Pan.
Credit: Reviewed / Timothy Renzi

We used metal utensils to cook in this pan and didn't notice any visible scratching.

Our biggest hesitation about this cookware was its claim regarding metal utensils. Typically, we cringe at the thought of using a metal spatula to flip food in a nonstick pan. That's because the fragile material can easily be scratched, potentially leaving remnants of the PTFE coating to cook into your food.

But we trusted the manufacturer's claims here, utilizing both Circulon's metal utensil set and our own while cooking. And through every recipe we threw at it, we didn't notice any signs of scratching or deterioration. We flipped eggs, sauteed veggies, and scraped salmon skin successfully.

All that said, we weren't actually able to use metal utensils in this pan for years at a time, so we can't confirm the claim that the pan will "never scratch," as promised by the brand. In fact, some extensive use of more abrasive materials might negate that promise altogether. (More on that next.)

What we don’t like

The claim that it "won't scratch, ever" is exaggerated

A metal thin spatula scraping the Circulon ScratchDefense Nonstick Frying Pan.
Credit: Reviewed / Michael Elderbee

Lab testing showed that continuous scratching with metal utensils did, in fact, show signs of deterioration.

Sometimes, when things sound too good to be true—they are.

Circulon claims that this cookware can withstand up to 350,000 scrapes and over 200 years of daily wear and tear without scratching. These numbers are reflected by the brand's simulated lab tests, in which they show a side-by-side comparison of a machine scraping a Circulon ScratchDefense pan (which doesn't show scratches) and a leading competitor pan (which immediately shows scratches).

Our lab wanted to substantiate these claims by conducting unbiased testing of our own. And, unfortunately, after four strong scrape attempts by our technician, the coating started to deteriorate, and scratches developed.

These tests definitely utilized more force than we would need to flip a pancake, for example, but they still may signal results of more long-term usage.

Our lab technicians also used a sander with sandpaper attached to simulate long-term scrubbing with a tough sponge, and the pan failed that test as well. There was obvious deterioration of the coating afterwards.

All of this is to say that while the brand's claims may be exaggerated, that doesn't mean this isn't a durable nonstick pan. It still manages to maintain its nonstick coating after light metal utensil usage—which cannot be said for most flimsy nonstick pans. And with some extra care by the consumer, this skillet will likely last a long time.

Should you buy the Circulon ScratchDefense Nonstick Pan?

Yes, if you're looking for a durable nonstick pan that will last you a while

The Circulon ScratchDefense Nonstick Frying Pan next to metal utensils on a napkin.
Credit: Reviewed / Timothy Renzi

This durable nonstick pan is a great choice for high-use kitchens.

We've tested our fair share of nonstick pans at Reviewed, so it takes a lot for us to be surprised by a product. We loved cooking with the Circulon ScratchDefense pan, thanks to its high-quality build, reliably nonstick interior, and ergonomic handle. It's great for a variety of tasks from sauteing to frying to searing, and it's impressively easy to clean.

Our only heed with this pan is to take more precaution than the manufacturer advertises. It's not necessarily true that this coating will "never scratch," even if it's much more resistant to metal utensil scratches than most other nonstick cookware on the market.

But as long as you're gentle with the cooking and cleaning utensils you use with this pan, we're still confident that it can last you a long time.

Product image of Circulon ScratchDefense Nonstick Frying Pan
Circulon ScratchDefense Nonstick Frying Pan

The Circulon ScratchDefense Nonstick Frying Pan has durable build, has great nonstick performance, and is metal utensil safe.

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Meet the testers

Monica Petrucci

Monica Petrucci

Editor, Kitchen & Cooking


Monica is Reviewed's Kitchen & Cooking editor and an avid home cook; she's been testing a wide range of kitchen products at Reviewed for over a year. Previously the Digital Editor at Culture Cheese Magazine (and a former barista), she's also had her work published in The Boston Globe, Modern Luxury, Boston Magazine, and more.

See all of Monica Petrucci's reviews
Michael Elderbee

Michael Elderbee

Product Test Technician

Born in Seoul and raised in New England, Michael is currently a Product Test Technician at Reviewed and strives to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. In the Reviewed lab, Michael regularly tests refrigerators, dishwashers, and laundry large appliances, as well as all types of science-based activities. His 5 years as a behavioral technician has given him a strong appreciation for data collection and research. Michael has a variety of different passions outside of testing appliances including volleyball, snowboarding, and video games. You can also find him nerding out about EDC gear, custom keyboards, and Warhammer 40k.

See all of Michael Elderbee's reviews

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