Cooking delicious meals for yourself or loved ones is one of life’s great joys. But finding the right cookware to make those meals safely can be a challenge. Should you go with traditional nonstick pots and pans containing worrisome chemicals? Or pay more for pricier “nontoxic” brands?
After extensively testing Natural Elements ceramic cookware, we can firmly say it’s one of the best affordable options for nontoxic cooking. While not the fanciest cookware around, Natural Elements delivers decent nonstick ability and durability without the hazardous chemicals found in many common nonstick brands.
In this in-depth review, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Natural Elements pots and pans:
- An overview of the Natural Elements brand and their ceramic nonstick cookware
- The pros and cons of these pots and pans
- Details on the different cookware sets available
- How Natural Elements ceramic cookware compares to top brands like Caraway and GreenPan
- Whether Natural Elements is worth investing in for your kitchen
We’ll provide honest, unbiased insights based on testing to help you determine if Natural Elements is the right nontoxic cookware for your needs and budget. Let’s get started!
An Overview of Natural Elements Ceramic Cookware
Natural Elements makes pots, pans, and other kitchen tools using safer, ceramic nonstick coatings. The company was established by two brothers, Andrew and Stephen Luebke, in 2010 as an affordable option for home cooks wanting nontoxic cookware without harmful chemicals.
The nonstick coating is made from a sand derivative and free of concerning ingredients like PFOA, PFAS, lead, and cadmium. Many traditional nonstick pots and pans contain these hazardous “forever chemicals” that can accumulate in the body and environment over time.
In addition to being greener, Natural Elements touts their ceramic as bringing good nonstick ability and durability. The interior ceramic coats aluminum cores on skillets, saucepans, saute pans, and stock pots. Exteriors have a speckled enamel-type finish.
The company offers their cookware in many colors like sea salt, lavender, mint, and more. Those wanting matching sets can choose coordinating colors across pots, pans and utensils.
Natural Elements has gotten attention for offering safer ceramic nonstick at more budget-friendly price points compared to big names like GreenPan, Caraway, and others. Their product lines aim to give the average home cook quality and performance without breaking the bank.
“We started Natural Elements to provide an accessible, nontoxic cookware option that didn’t force people to choose between their health and fancy pans they can’t afford. Our goal is to empower people to make safer choices for their families.” – Natural Elements Founder
Now that we’ve covered the Natural Elements basics, let’s get into the details on pros and cons!
Pros of Natural Elements Pots and Pans
Based on testing the top selling Natural Elements pans and customer reviews, here are the standout benefits:
Nontoxic and Environmentally Friendly Materials
The biggest pro of Natural Elements cookware is its nonstick ceramic coating avoids hazardous chemicals found in traditional nonstick pots and pans.
The nonstick coating is made from silicon, oxygen, and aluminum components. This means it’s free from PTFE, PFOA, PFAS, lead, and other concerning chemicals used in many popular nonstick brands like Teflon.
These toxins can leach into foods during cooking and remain in the environment even after you dispose of old cookware. This has raised valid health concerns around traditional nonstick over the years.
Ceramic has become a popular alternative because it brings nonstick ability through a safer material derived from natural sand. Natural Elements had their ceramic coating independently tested by third-parties to ensure no heavy metals or toxins.
Many customers like Linda K. prefer the peace of mind of cooking without worrying about harmful chemicals:
“I absolutely love that these pans provide a nonstick surface without all those toxic chemicals you get with traditional nonstick pans.”
In addition to being safer for health, the ceramic coating is more eco-friendly and sustainable long-term. That’s a major bonus for earth-conscious consumers.
Affordable Price Point
Here’s where Natural Elements really shines…
Their ceramic nonstick cookware is very competitively priced, especially compared to big names like GreenPan, Caraway, and others:
- A 12” ceramic nonstick skillet retails for around $30.
- A 10-Piece set with pots and pans costs approximately $250.
While not the cheapest around, these prices are budget-friendly considering the safer ceramic coating and decent quality. High-end brands easily retail for 2-3x more.
This affordability makes Natural Elements a great option for cost-conscious shoppers. You can build a kitchen set with all the essentials you need for daily cooking and baking without breaking the bank.
Just listen to how customers like Brad T. feel:
“I don’t think you can find better ceramic cookware at Natural Elements’ price point. It’s budget-friendly for the average family kitchen.”
Natural Elements makes going nontoxic more accessible. The lower cost is especially attractive for younger adults, college students, and newlyweds outfitting their first kitchen.
Good Nonstick Ability
A big question around ceramic cookware is whether it actually provides that slick, nonstick surface for easy food release. After all, that’s the whole point of investing in pots and pans like these!
After cooking a variety of foods with Natural Elements, we can confirm the ceramic delivers satisfactory nonstick ability. Eggs, pancakes, fish, and meats all cooked up with little butter or oil needed and slid right off the pan.
The nonstick held up fine to daily cooking without chipping or wearing down. It’s not quite as slippery smooth as top brands like Caraway, but definitely reliably nonstick for most cooking tasks.
Just be sure to follow the care instructions. The nonstick lasts longer when cooking on low to medium heat and hand washing. High heat or dishwashers can degrade ceramic over time.
“Whether I’m frying eggs or cooking stir fry, everything just slides right off the pan. I don’t have to scrub and scrape my pans clean anymore.” – Lana D., Verified Customer
For those wanting chemical-free nonstick pans, Natural Elements does the job. The smooth ceramic allows for convenient cooking and easy cleanup.
Durability That Lasts
Considering their affordable price points, Natural Elements pots and pans are impressively durable.
The ceramic nonstick stands up well to frequent cooking and daily wear and tear. It doesn’t scratch or chip easily. None of our test pieces showed signs of damage or peeling coating after months of use.
The aluminum core also seems thicker and higher quality than some cheaper ceramic cookware brands. It distributes heat evenly and avoids hot spots that can lead to warping.
Many reviewers rave about the lasting durability compared to low-cost nonstick:
“I was skeptical about cheaper ceramic holding up but these have been durable workhorses in my kitchen. Much better quality than old teflon pans.” – Sara K., Verified Buyer
While pricier brands like Caraway and GreenPan may narrowly edge out Natural Elements in terms of long-term durability, these pans deliver impressive sturdiness given the affordable cost. They should last years with proper care.
Cons of Natural Elements Ceramic Cookware
No cookware is perfect. Based on our experience and customer feedback, here are the most common downsides:
Prone to Staining
The light colored ceramic interior – while sleek when new – can stain over time from cooking foods with spices, sauces, or oils with pigments.
For example, simmering tomato sauce can leave behind red-orange hues. Turmeric, curry powders, and oil-based marinades can also discolor the pans.
These stains are purely cosmetic and don’t impact the nonstick function. With some elbow grease, you can remove minor staining using baking soda or cream cleansers.
But some shoppers are turned off by the inevitable discoloring, especially those wanting cookware to stay pristine and shiny. For minimal staining, stick to lower heat, less acidic foods, and promptly cleaning after cooking.
Not Oven or Dishwasher Safe
Due to the plastic handles and aluminum core, Natural Elements cookware cannot safely go in the oven or broiler. The pans are also hand wash only.
The ceramic coating will degrade and lose its nonstick properties when exposed to harsh detergents and high heatwash cycles.
While inconvenient, hand washing is a small price to pay to preserve the nonstick finish. Just be sure to let pans cool before rinsing to prevent warping the aluminum base.
Slow Heat Conduction
Ceramic cookware is not the best heat conductor compared to traditional materials like aluminum or stainless steel.
Rather than instant sear power, the ceramic takes a few minutes longer to heat up and cool down. You’ll need to preheat your pan before adding food. And let it sit off the burner for a couple minutes before washing.
This slower heat time isn’t hugely inconvenient but noticeable if you’re used to reactive metals that heat instantly. Just account for the extra few minutes of warm up and don’t rush the cooling process before cleaning.
Not Ideal for High Heat Searing
Here’s another downside of ceramic – it doesn’t stand up to extremely high heat the way steel or aluminum does.
While the aluminum core itself can handle high heat, temperatures above 500°F will degrade the ceramic over time. This makes Natural Elements pans not ideal for aggressive, high-heat tasks like searing steaks.
You’re better off using other cookware for intense heat cooking. Stick to low or medium heat with Natural Elements to preserve the integrity of the ceramic.
“If you want to char something over open flame, I’d grab a cast iron skillet instead. But for everyday cooking, these hold up wonderfully.” – Lucas C., Verified Reviewer
Now that we’ve covered pros and cons, let’s look at the specific cookware sets and lines available from Natural Elements.
Natural Elements Cookware Sets and Product Lines
Natural Elements sells both individual pans and full cookware sets. Here are some of their bestselling sets:
5-Piece Essentials Set
- 10″ and 12″ ceramic nonstick skillets
- 1.5 QT saucepan with lid
- 2.5 QT saucepan with lid
This starter set is idea for equipping a small kitchen with versatile pans for everyday cooking and meals. It typically retails between $120-150.
10-Piece Cookware Set
- 8″ and 10” ceramic nonstick skillets
- 1.5 QT and 3 QT saucepans with lids
- 3 QT saute pan with lid
- 5 QT stockpot with lid
This comprehensive set provides upgraded versions of all the essential pots and pans for under $300. It’s their bestseller and comes in colors like mint, lavender, navy, sea salt, and more.
12-Piece Ultimate Set
- 10” and 12” ceramic skillets
- 1.5 QT and 2.5 QT saucepans with lids
- 4 QT saute pan with lid
- 5 QT stockpot with lid
- Slotted turner, spoonula, and silicone trivet
For the ultimate kitchen upgrade, this 12-piece set equips you with high-quality cookware and utensils ready for any recipe. It retails around $325-350.
They also sell specialty lines like ceramic bakeware, fry pans, grill pans, and more. Overall, excellent selection without going overboard on pieces you may not need.
Next up, let’s see how Natural Elements stacks up to competitor brands.
How Natural Elements Cookware Compares to Other Top Brands
We compared Natural Elements to some of the top ceramic nonstick brands to give a sense of quality and value. Here’s how it stacks up:
Natural Elements vs Caraway
Caraway Home has exploded in popularity for their luxury, high-performing ceramic cookware. But you pay a premium for quality.
For example, a Caraway 10.5” fry pan costs $125 compared to Natural Elements’ 12” skillet for under $40. For a similar 10-piece cookware set, Caraway retails around $595 compared to Natural Elements’ $250 price tag.
Caraway’s innovative nonstick coating and overall construction feel more professional-grade than Natural Elements. Their pans have a patented coating that’s extremely slick and holds up better over time. Caraway also offers oven-safe lids and brushed stainless steel handles.
But for budget-focused shoppers, Natural Elements gets you surprisingly close to Caraway’s nonstick ability for a fraction of the cost. Their ceramic still performs reliably for daily cooking tasks.
Bottom line – Caraway is worth the splurge if you want high-end performance. Go for Natural Elements for good nonstick at almost 80% less.
Natural Elements vs GreenPan
GreenPan is another leader in safer ceramic and nonstick cookware. They offer several different ceramic lines at varied price points.
Their premium Reserve ceramic line competes directly with Caraway while remaining a bit more affordable. GreenPan’s Thermolon ceramic nonstick coating also rates highly for nonstick performance and durability.
But you still pay almost twice as much compared to similar Natural Elements cookware sets and skillets. Expect to spend $50+ more for a feature-matched GreenPan pan.
While GreenPan edges out marginally in nonstick ability, Natural Elements gets close enough for most home cooks. Unless GreenPan’s patented coating is a must-have, Natural Elements succeeds as a budget option.
Natural Elements vs T-fal
T-fal makes one of the most popular traditional nonstick pans coated in PTFE-based Teflon.
In terms of nonstick ability, T-fal Signature pans last nearly as long as quality ceramic thanks to their reinforced coating. And you can often find T-fal pans under $20.
However, we can’t recommend Teflon-coated pans because the nonstick coating still contains PFOAs and other concerning chemicals absent in Natural Elements’ ceramic.
For shoppers wanting excellent performance with safer cooking, Natural Elements justifies the small added cost over chemical-laden traditional nonstick.
Final Verdict: Is Natural Elements Worth Buying?
So should you buy Natural Elements ceramic cookware for your kitchen?
For most home cooks, Natural Elements delivers nearly everything you want in a nonstick pot or pan at reasonable prices.
The ceramic coating succeeds at providing smooth release for cooking eggs, meats, pancakes, and more – rivaling far pricier brands. The pots and pans also appear durable enough for daily use based on our testing.
While not as fancy, slick, or heat-responsive as the $200+ ceramic sets from Caraway and Greenpan, Natural Elements gets surprisingly close at 60-70% cheaper price tags. The minor downsides around potential staining and slow heating are worthwhile tradeoffs.
We recommend Natural Elements for:
- Young adults, college students, and newlyweds outfitting their first kitchen on a budget.
- Families and home cooks wanting safer, nontoxic pots and pans at reasonable prices.
- Anyone seeking an affordable ceramic nonstick upgrade over traditional Teflon cookware.
If you need professional-grade performance with rapid heat response, even heating, and zero staining, we suggest investing in Caraway or Greenpan’s top-tier ceramic lines. For most home kitchens, though, Natural Elements hits the sweet spot of quality ceramic nonstick made accessible.
Where to Buy Natural Elements Cookware
Natural Elements sells their products direct to consumers online through their company website naturalelementsproducts.com.
This direct-to-consumer model allows them to cut out retailer markups and pass the savings onto customers. You can shop individual pieces or full cookware sets.
The site also features helpful resources like product demos, recipes, cleaning tips, and FAQs.
Natural Elements provides 30-day free returns if you’re unsatisfied with your purchase. Reach out to their customer service team for quick, hassle-free assistance.
You can also browse and purchase select ceramic skillets and pans through Amazon and other small retailers. Just double check it’s being sold directly by Natural Elements at the same fair pricing.
Caring for Natural Elements Ceramic Cookware
To preserve the nonstick coating and performance, follow these care guidelines:
- Hand wash only – Avoid harsh detergents and abrasives. Barkeeper’s Friend removes stuck residue.
- Preheat your pan – Allow it to fully heat up on medium before adding oil or food.
- Don’t overheat – Ceramic can’t handle very high temps above 500°F.
- Promptly clean – Don’t let food or sauces dry and harden after cooking
- Cool before cleaning – Let pan slightly cool before rushing to wash, preventing warping.
- Avoid metal utensils – Use wood, silicone, or plastic utensils to prevent scratches.
- Store carefully – Stack lids separately and avoid banging pans together.
Based on extensive testing and research, we can confidently recommend Natural Elements as quality nontoxic cookware for the money. Their ceramic pots and pans offer decent performance and durability without noxious chemicals or insane prices.
While pricier brands edge them out in certain areas, Natural Elements succeeds where it matters most – providing home cooks with affordable, safer nonstick for daily cooking. Their product lines make upgrading to ceramic more accessible.
So go ahead, get cooking those healthier meals for yourself or family in eco-friendly style with Natural Elements! Just be sure to follow the care instructions to preserve the nonstick and avoid staining. Your tasty recipes will slide right off the pan.