Cookware materials are frequently compared based on their ease of use, simplicity of cleaning and durability. Hard anodized and nonstick cookware surfaces have features to consider in all these categories.
Hard anodized cookware surfaces are usually labeled as stick resistant. The pans provide a good sear or crust over high heats and, with minimal oil or fat, will easily release food. Nonstick pots and pans do not provide a very good crust when searing or frying foods but perfectly liberate delicate foods like pancakes, eggs and crepes with little or no surface lubricants.
Most hard-anodized cookware lines recommend against washing the pans in a dishwasher. Nonstick cookware can safely be cleaned in dishwashers with no detriment to the finish.
Anodized aluminum cookware surfaces are almost indestructible and twice as hard as stainless steel. Metal utensils can be used with these pans without fear of scratching. Many brands of nonstick cookware require using nylon, wood or plastic utensils to protect the pan surfaces, although some higher quality finishes can withstand occasional and careful use of metal kitchen tools.