Gotham Steel is part of a large family of As Seen on TV brands owned by the Emson company (E. Mishan & Sons). The brand’s aim is to fill a much-needed gap in the market: durable pans that are convenient to use without the use of PTFE.
Since its birth, the Gotham Steel cookware range has expanded into six separate collections and made over 4 million sales worldwide.
In this Gotham Steel pan review, I’ll be doing an in-depth, 100% objective investigation of how good the pan is and whether or not it truly holds up to its bold claims.
How We Tested
- Egg Test: Fry up to 50 eggs individually with no oil until they start sticking
- Have two testers saute vegetables and make pancakes
- Egg Test: Fry another 50 eggs to see if the nonstick coating has deteriorated
- Analyze pan temperature using a thermal imaging camera
- Scrape a metal spatula 50 times across the pan’s cooking surface
- Heat the pan to 400°F and submerge in ice water to check for warping
- Bang the pan three times on a cement block
Gotham Steel Pan Review: The Good, And The Ugly
For this review, I purchased the Gotham Steel 9.5” Titanium Fry Pan to see how it fared.
From here on, I’ll share both the independent testers’ and my experiences, alongside any pros and cons the pan has.
It’s not often I struggle to find the words to describe something. But, the only word that comes to mind which summarizes the performance tests is…
In every cookware review, I start frying 50-eggs with no cooking oil, one after another, to see if they stick. I always follow any recommendations made from the manufacturer to ensure accurate results.
So, the 50-egg test should be relatively easy, considering Gotham Steel claims there’s no need for cooking oils or sprays.
Strangely enough, I couldn’t get results anywhere near what is shown in the commercials.
In fact, from the very first egg, it started to stick.
But despite this, I wanted to give it another try. So I let the pan cool and then began the test again, ensuring the temperature was at medium heat.
For my second attempt, I had the same results. I was seriously debating whether I was doing something wrong.
But I’m stubborn and I didn’t want to quit there. I wanted to find out what the root cause of the problem was.
On closer inspection, I noticed the egg moved to one side of the pan instead of staying in the center.
Now, whether this is to do with warping or the pan’s design, it’s not clear.
But there is a noticeable arch if you closely look at it. And this is likely to impact the pan’s ability to heat up evenly, which ultimately affecting cooking results.
P.S we’ll be covering heating performance later on.
As you can see, there are cold and hot patches on the pan’s cooking surface.
Cook it on one side, you’ll have an overdone egg. Cook it on the other, you’ll be visiting the doctor for salmonella poisoning.
And it gets better…
Because I’m not the only one that’s encountered these issues either. Here’s one customer’s experience:
This looks like it’s going to be a really good copper pan… And I guess it is except all I want is to cook meat without it sticking!! But within a week or two things are sticking! A true cast-iron copper pan, not a chance.James, reviewing 9.5″ Gotham Steel Pan on Amazon
The pan is too thin and flimsy the heat distribution works pretty well. On the second time of use and had a low setting of heat the food began to stick and using a plastic turner.Sterling, reviewing 9.5″ Gotham Steel Pan on Amazon
The pan looks great, and with oil works very well. However, that BS about nothing sticks? I tried eggs without oil, like in the commercial and those buggers needed scraping off a pan that isn’t even a week in use yet!Customer, reviewing 11″ Gotham Steel pan on Amazon
Now to be as objective as possible, there are a few things to consider.
Firstly, we don’t know all the facts.
- We don’t know if they’ve cooked at the wrong temperature.
- We don’t know if they’ve scratched the cooking surface.
- We don’t know if they’ve misused the product.
And all of these factors affect performance.
Secondly, aside from these negative reviews, most customers recommend Gotham Steel (again, we’ll cover this later on).
Just take a look at this customer; she couldn’t recommend the Gotham Steel range highly enough.
My husband bought it and I thought it would be just like any other “non-stick “ pan. They all still stick! This one was REALLY different , IT WORKED!!!!! Nothing ever sticked and he used it everyday for years. One day he noticed a scratch on it and promptly ordered two more. He’ll never go back to using another skillet again!Dawn, reviewing 11″ Gotham Steel pan on Amazon
I should also point out that I couldn’t purchase a second version of this pan. So, I can’t say with absolute certainty that sticking is a problem.
But what I CAN say is it’s something you should consider before purchasing.
To delve a little further, I had one of my testers use a little cooking oil.
And surprise, surprise, they didn’t have any problems at all.
Which just goes to show, if you’re happy using a little oil, the Gotham Steel cookware range could still be a good enough option.
“Use metal and never make a scratch, EVER!”
I must admit, it’s a great hook and certainly sounds appealing. After all, this is probably one of the reasons you’re reading this review.
But is it too good to be true?
For my first durability test, I scraped a metal spatula across the pan’s surface 50 times to see how it performed.
Safe to say, it isn’t metal utensil safe.
And this left me feeling a little disappointed for two reasons.
Firstly, it performed worse than competitors like the Red Copper pan.
Secondly, I noticed small amounts of copper coating on the metal utensil – something you don’t want in your food.
Now, to Gotham Steel’s credit, they don’t make outrageous claims like their competitors. They only highlight how the combination of titanium and ceramic gives it better durability.
On the face of it, it SHOULD be more durable. After all, titanium is twice as strong as aluminum, which is why it’s a popular cookware material.
But personally, I’d recommend using wooden or nylon utensils to protect the nonstick coating and prolong the pan’s life. Which is pretty common practice anyway.
I just wouldn’t be using a mixer in the pan like the commercials.
For my next stress test, I wanted to see how the Gotham Steel pan did for warping.
On first appearances, you’d be forgiven for thinking it would fail this test. The pan’s thin walls look easy to dent and warp, which is a common complaint for customers online.
I heated the pan to 400°F (roughly 204°C) and immediately plunged it into a bucket of ice and water.
And actually, the pan did well for this test.
There was no warping. No bumps. Nothing.
This is because it uses titanium as a base instead of aluminum.
Normally, cookware brands use aluminum in their products because of its strength and durability. The major downside is it tends to warp easily. On the other hand, titanium is able to withstand extreme temperature changes, and still offers excellent durability.
So this test was a success in my book.
It’s just a shame they had to boldly claim it was metal utensil safe.
Unfortunately, I’ll be leaving this section on a negative. Because for the final durability test, I hit the pan against a concrete block three times to observe for denting.
And as you can see, the pan’s thin walls and base also have downsides.
While I didn’t hit it extremely hard, I try to apply the same pressure and movement to ensure each test is fair.
Do we expect pans to make it through this test without any marks? No.
It’s only an accelerated stress test to see if it can withstand typical use in the kitchen for a longer period of time.
But what’s disappointing in this case is how the coating exploded off the cooking surface.
Not great if you accidentally dropped it in the kitchen…
Excellent heat transfer and retention are essential for frying pans.
Heat retention prevents the pan from cooling down when you add cold ingredients to it. For example, if you are searing steak, your pan may decrease in temperature, meaning you won’t get a proper sear.
Quick heat distribution, on the other hand, has its pros and cons.
On the one hand, it allows you to bring it up to temperature quicker. But, it can also cause food to be easily overcooked or burnt.
So is the Gotham Steel frying pan any good?
Full disclaimer; by now in this process, I genuinely felt it would do terrible. But, it was more of a mixed bag of results, which was a positive in itself.
Allow me to explain.
The Gotham Steel frying pan has thinner walls than usual, so it heated much quicker than other competitors.
Overall, it took the pan 60 seconds to heat up to 200°F – much faster than similar competitors like Blue Diamond.
Generally, titanium isn’t a great heat conductor at heart. So it was a good result for the frying pan.
That being said, there’s still room for improvement when it comes to heat retention and transfer.
To analyze the Gotham Steel’s temperature, I heated the pan at a high temperature using some cooking oil and then recorded it on a thermal imaging camera.
The image below shows that the pan had several cold and hot spots across its cooking surface.
Perhaps this was why it did so poorly in the 50-egg test.
Now, as I mentioned before, titanium struggles to conduct heat. So it’ll take longer to heat up evenly, affecting cooking results. This is why there were several cold and hot spots across the pan’s cooking surface.
Shortly after I’d finished my analysis, I took the pan off its heat source to see how quickly it lost temperature.
Overall, it took 3 minutes before it dropped below 100°F and roughly 5 minutes before it was completely cool.
Which is pretty poor.
However, it didn’t surprise me in the slightest.
Why? Because of how thin it is. Thin cookware heats fast but isn’t able to retain or absorb the heat as effectively as thicker materials.
So, what does this tell us?
Well, if you use your pan to sear steak, this isn’t a pan for you. The same goes if you brown a lot of your meats, like chicken.
And if you’re worried about cold or hot spots, I wouldn’t recommend this pan either.
Because personally, cold spots (especially when cooking meats) are a recipe for disaster.
Cleaning & Ease of Use
Like most nonstick pans, the Gotham Steel pan is easy to clean and use.
And believe me, after our 50-egg tests and the numerous meals we prepared in it, I can say this with absolute certainty.
Tough food that had stuck on the surface would eventually lift off. All you needed was some warm water, a small amount of dish soap, a soft sponge, and…
Voilà, off it came.
Then there’s the ease of use.
The Gotham Steel pan looks heavy due to its titanium base. But actually, it’s surprisingly lightweight.
Testers, as well as myself, preferred how light it was, especially if we needed to transition from stovetop to oven for dishes like risottos or frittatas.
The only major downside is how the handle’s designed.
Which leads me to the next section.
The handle is flat and thin – which keeps the pan light and ensures it has a nice balance.
But for some reason, they’ve designed it with an ANNOYING divot at the end of it.
And I want to stress the annoying part again.
Because this divot is placed exactly where you rest your hand. So, when you’re cooking heavy meals or need to move the pan from A to B, it gradually digs into your palm.
Personally, I feel this is one of the pan’s biggest flaws.
I seriously hate divots.
And then there’s how the handle “stays cool.”
Frankly, it doesn’t. The handle gradually heats up if you use the pan for long periods of time. Just look at the image below from my thermal imaging camera.
Some customers even mention using oven mitts because their handles got so hot. But I can only base my opinion on my experience alone.
Personally, I feel it’s more an annoyance than anything else. The handle doesn’t get too hot, but you can certainly feel a difference.
And when you get past the (not so) stay cool handle and the annoying divot, there are some positives.
These rivets help stabilize the pan and support the handle.
Combine these rivets with the pan’s flat handle and flared rims, and you have a pan that makes it easy to pour liquids.
Plus, you have the added benefit of the pan having curved sidewalls, making it simple and easy to remove food from it.
Something I really liked about it.
Finally, there is the overall aesthetics of the frying pan.
If you love the beauty of copper, this pan provides a happy middle ground.
You don’t get the benefits of copper cookware, like excellent heat conductivity, because it’s not actually copper. But you do get the look.
Let’s be honest, the pan’s grey hue on the exterior gives it a charming contrast. So kudos to Gotham Steel for designing a really nice-looking pan.
And when you consider its beauty with its affordability, it’s understandable how they’ve sold so many over the years.
There’s no disputing that price is one of Gotham Steel’s strengths.
It’s a popular choice for beginners or home chefs who don’t want to spend tons of money.
You can select from several cookware collections depending on your preference. They offer ranges made from stainless steel all the way to hard-anodized aluminum.
And no matter what route you go down, they remain relatively affordable. You can spend as little as $20 on a single frying pan or go all out and purchase an entire 20-Piece cookware set for $299.99.
And in this 20 piece collection, you’ll get:
- 8.5” Frying Pan
- 10.25” Frying Pan with Lid
- 1.5-Quart Pot with Lid
- 2.5-Quart Pot with Lid
- 5-Quart Pot with Lid
- 5 Spatulas
- Aluminum Steamer
- Cookie Sheet
- Loaf Pan
- Round Pan
- Square Pan
- 12 Muffin Pan
Safe to say, you can get some real value for money. But how do they keep prices so low?
Well, several ways.
First, most of their products have a thin design, meaning less manufacturing costs.
Second, the brand only operates online, so it’s able to reduce costs and manage its bottom line more efficiently.
And lastly, the Gotham Steel brand manufactures its products in China. Which, as we all know, has some of the cheapest labor costs globally.
Like most products, Gotham Steel offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all purchases.
And what is nice is you can return your product for ANY reason by simply returning the product within 30 days. Although, it’s worth noting that your refund is subject to postage and handling fees too.
But based on some of the negative reviews online, I’m guessing it isn’t as straightforward as Gotham Steel makes out.
Since I’ve mentioned that, let’s talk about how customers feel about the product.
Gotham Steel Reviews
Yep, I look like a right idiot.
Because as you can see, customers REALLY like the Gotham Steel range on Amazon.
In fact, as of July 2022, the Gotham Steel brand had over 20,422 ratings, with over 66% of customers rating 5 stars.
But here’s my saving grace – this isn’t the whole story.
I spent 2-3 hours sifting through all the verified purchases between 1 and 3 stars to understand some of the common problems customers encountered.
And sure enough, there were 1,726 ratings that mentioned sticking as an issue. This was shortly followed by scratching, with a total of 262 reviews.
Now to be fair, this is still a relatively low amount. But it isn’t just on amazon where this happens.
Just take a look at how off-putting Walmart is.
Granted, there are only 102 reviews for this particular product, but if I were a new customer, this would definitely put me off.
Now should you always take these types of reviews seriously? Yes, and no!
Yes, because it gives you as much information as possible to make a solid decision. But no, because sometimes these reviews can be left by unhappy customers who have been caught out.
And despite there being hundreds of customers commenting on the company’s poor customer service, it’s hard for me to confidently agree based on my experience.
Although, my opinion is this is a company that prioritizes sales over after-sales.
And while we’re still on the subject of my opinion, I think there has to be some weight behind these reviews, especially considering the recent class action lawsuit E. Mishan and Sons faced.
For this lawsuit, two plaintiffs accused the company of false advertising because the product packaging claimed “Non-stick cookware” and “No oil or butter needed.” But in February 2020, the lawsuit was dismissed by the claimants.
And if that wasn’t enough, there’s the Arbitration Agreement.
Yup, you read that right.
After removing the packing, you’re greeted with a hidden legal document.
Essentially, because of the class-action lawsuit, the brand (and parent company) decided to protect itself from potential litigation in the future.
Now whether this is perfectly innocent or a severe red flag, I’ll leave for you to decide.
But as they say, there’s no smoke without fire.
Blue Diamond Alternatives
If I’ve changed your mind about the Gotham Steel frying pan, consider these alternatives.
Consider this set if you’re still after elegant, convenient copper cookware for your kitchen. They’re PTFE-free, easy to clean, and consistent in performance.
The Copper Chef brand is less durable than other products. But the higher price tag gives you much more for your money.
Lightweight, spacious, and responsive are all words we’d use to describe this frying pan. It’s induction compatible because of its use of ferromagnetic steel.
And it is one of the best pans we’ve tested for its distribution and conduction of heat.
Should You Buy The Gotham Steel Pan?
I hate to say it, but this pan simply isn’t worth your money, in my opinion. And hopefully, as you’ve read this Gotham Steel pan review, you can see why.
Not only does it have a poor nonstick coating, but its heat retention and negative customer feedback are a real deal-breaker. And then there’s the Arbitration Agreement, which just screams “don’t buy,” in my opinion.
Generally, it’s difficult for me to make a strong case for Gotham Steel.
And as it stands, it doesn’t tick enough boxes for me to recommend it. There are much better frying pans available on the market today.
|Product Name||Gotham Steel 9.5 Inch Titanium Frying Pan|
|Cooking Surface||9.5 Inches|
Hey I'm James, the one who started Purely Cookware. All my life, I've been lucky enough to bond with family around the dinner table. And I will be using this website to teach you how you can do the same.