Tefal & Teflon – Are They The Same? What You Need To Know!

You’ve probably heard of the name Tefal and Teflon before. These names are most common seen in kitchen appliances. Despite belonging in the same category, they are quite different.

Now you might be wondering which is better, are they the same, do they cook the same and what should I be using? If like me you have these questions I decided to answer the most common and hopefully shed a little light.

What Is Tefal?

Tefal is a company that has become a rather large and daunting brand over time. They are a French manufacturer of cookware and small appliances like kettles. The actual name of the company, interestingly, is a portmanteau of the words TEFlon and Aluminium.

Tefal is the company that holds the copyright and patent over Teflon, which means that if anyone wants to make it, a little bit of cash needs to go to Tefal.

What Is Teflon?

Teflon is the brand name of a chemical called polytetrafluoroethylene, also known as PTFE. This chemical is the magic behind all of the non-stick properties promised by Tefal’s many products and, in fact, is the magic behind virtually every non-stick product on the market.

Teflon is a solid at room temperature, and is applied to pans, and remains in this form. It is hydrophobic, which means that neither water nor any substances containing water will actually wet the chemical. Instead, they will just slide right off.

In that same vein, Teflon has one of the lowest coefficients of friction of any solid! That’s a piece of jargon that you might have forgotten from physics.

What it essentially means is that Teflon is extremely smooth, and any surfaces that come into contact with it are unlikely to actually find purchase on the surface, leading to them simply slipping away.

Of course, this has a number of different benefits, all of which are appreciated by various industries. While its use as a non-stick coating for cookware is extremely well-known, Teflon is also used as a non-reactive coating for pipes designed to hold chemicals, as well as a lubricant for industrial processes.

Are They The Same?

No, Tefal and Teflon are not the same.

Teflon as a substance was accidentally discovered way back in 1938 by chemist Roy Plunkett while he was working for DuPont. At that time, his work was geared towards finding new gases that could be used as refrigerants, and as such he has a gas bottle willed with tetrafluoroethylene.

When he attempted to discharge the gas in his experiment, the gas stopped flowing before the bottle was empty, which, naturally, is extremely strange. After opening the bottle and examining the contents, he discovered that he had accidentally made a very powerful non-stick coating!

After refining the process, the chemical was patented in 1941, and the Teflon trademark was registered in 1945.

After that, Teflon was established as an extremely useful material but was typically only marketed to and used in science labs – due to how unreactive and versatile it was. However, in 1954, Colette Gregoire, the wife of engineer Marc Gregoire, urged him to put Teflon (which he had been using to make fishing tackle slippery) onto her cooking pans.

Upon discovering that the substance worked to make the pans non-stick, Marc Gregoire created and marketed the first non-stick pans under the brand name Tefal, selling The Happy Pan in 1961. The rest is history!

What Is The Difference Between Tefal & Teflon?

Advantages Of Teflon

There are a huge number of advantages to using Teflon, it’s a wonderful material!

  • It is non-stick.
  • It is resistant to both heat and cold.
  • It is resistant to chemicals.
  • It has a long, impressive service life.
  • Teflon is very versatile – many different products can be coated with the substance.

Disadvantages Of Teflon

There are only two disadvantages to Teflon, so using a bullet list would be a little bit of overkill. Instead, we’re going to describe and explain them to you.

The first disadvantage is that no matter what pan you buy and use, the Teflon coating will eventually come off. This is because Teflon is just that, a coating. It isn’t an inherent part of the chemical makeup of the pan, so it will come off with time.

While you can extend the life of Teflon on a pan by using non-metal utensils and only handwashing the pan, the coating will still come off eventually.

A partial upside to this is that Teflon does stay on for an extremely long time. If you buy a Teflon pan, you can expect it to remain non-stick for many years. However, the coating will always come off eventually.

The other disadvantage of Teflon is that there’s an upper limit, in terms of temperature. When the substance reaches 260˚C/500˚F, it can start to emit a harmful vapor that you really don’t want to be in your home, let alone near your food.

However, this doesn’t generally need to be a problem. Most cooking in the home takes place below 200˚C, so you likely won’t need to worry about the Teflon emitting a gas at any point,

Advantages Of Tefal

As a larger company, Tefal has actually made a number of changes and improvements to the original Teflon and pan formula. This means that their cookware, especially, can have some great advantages.

The primary advantage of Tefal cookware compared to other Teflon-coated cookware is that it is exceptionally lightweight. It heats very quickly, and is particularly thin, without feeling at all flimsy or like it will degrade over time.

The really big improvement that Tefal has made compared to a number of its competitors is that Tefal pans can go into the oven for a long period of time without having the Teflon coating degrade in a harmful way.

This is a game-changer, as it allows you to easily and effortlessly cook things in your oven without having them stick to the pans – you get the benefits of oven-baking things without the drawbacks of low-quality Teflon products.

Disadvantages Of Tefal

The main problem with Tefal, in spite of the fact that their pans are superior to a number of their competitors, is that their pans still suffer from the same basic faults.

This is to say that over time, the surface of a Tefal pan will always start to scratch, chip, and flake. As the pan gets older and more worn, this will only get worse. The scratches will get bigger, and then they will begin to chip at the edge – this can result in having chips of Teflon in your food, which is obviously not a great idea.

The other disadvantage of Tefal pots and pans is that they are likely to warp under thermal shock. Because the pan doesn’t need to be thick, heavy, or anything else, the metal is exceptionally thin.

Teflon doesn’t have the same heat-related properties as metal, which means that if the pan goes directly from a heat source to cool water, the metal of the pan can warp. This ruins the pans, meaning that you would really have to replace them.