Anolon vs. Circulon Cookware: What’s the Difference?

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People often confuse Anolon and Circulon cookware.

Not only do their brand names sound like, but they’re owned by the same company, Meyer Corporation.

In this comparison of Anolon vs. Circulon cookware, I’ll clear up any confusion. You’ll learn how these brands are similar, how they are different, and the pros and cons of each.

So, if you’re shopping for new cookware and unsure whether to buy Anolon or Circulon, keep reading.


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Anolon vs. Circulon: 30-Second Summary

The key difference between Anolon and Circulon is that Anolon is more durable, better performing, and more expensive. Anolon offers non-stick and stainless steel cookware while Circulon is non-stick only. Anolon pans have a smooth, rivetless interior, while Circulon pans have a raised circular pattern to prevent sticking.

Anolon Unity Surface
Anolon Unity Surface. Photo: Anolon.com
Circulon TOTAL Nonstick System - raised circular pattern
Circulon TOTAL Nonstick System – raised circular pattern. Photo: Circulon.com
Anolon stainless steel exterior and interior
Anolon stainless steel exterior and interior. Photo: Anolon.com
Circulon stainless steel exterior and nonstick interior
Circulon stainless steel exterior and nonstick interior. Photo: Circulon.com

Meyer Corporation, the company that owns both brands, markets Anolon as its gourmet cookware and Circulon as its efficient and reliable cookware.

In other words, with Anolon, you get better quality—all non-stick collections are made with hard-anodized aluminum, and two stainless steel collections are fully-clad—but you pay more for it. Circulon cookware is affordable and gets the job done, but won’t necessarily ‘wow’ you, and definitely won’t last forever.

Bottom line—both brands offer reliable cookware at a fair price. 

I recommend Anolon over Circulon because, across all collections, it distributes heat more evenly and lasts longer. Plus, Circulon doesn’t offer any pans with a stainless steel cooking surface, so if you buy Circulon, you’ll have to expand your set with another brand. 

Since Anolon and Circulon are both relatively affordable, it’s worth spending a little more on Anolon to get superior performance and durability.

You can learn more about both brands and check the current prices at the links below:

Comparison Chart

Before I get into the finer details, below is a snapshot of how Anolon and Circulon cookware compare across all collections.

Both brands have plenty of collections, so this chart will help familiarize you with their offerings.

Scroll or swipe to view the entire chart.

Cookware LinePriceCooking SurfaceCoreExteriorLidsOven-Safe (°F)Induction SafeDishwasher-SafeWhere It's Made
Anolon Nouvelle Copper Hard Anodized$$$Triple-layer Infinity Slide non-stick coatingCopperHard-anodized Aluminum (steel-plated base)Stainless steel500YesYesUSA, Thailand, Italy, China
Anolon Allure Hard Anodized$$$Triple-layer Infinity Slide non-stick coatingHard-anodized AluminumHard-anodized AluminumTempered glass500NoYesUSA, Thailand, Italy, China
Anolon Advanced Hard Anodized$$$Triple-layer Infinity Slide non-stick coatingHard-anodized AluminumHard-anodized AluminumTempered glass400NoNoUSA, Thailand, Italy, China
Anolon SmartStack Cookware Set$$$Triple-layer Infinity Slide non-stick coatingHard-anodized AluminumHard-anodized AluminumTempered glass400YesYesUSA, Thailand, Italy, China
Anolon Tri-Ply Clad$$$Stainless steelAluminumStainless steel Stainless steel500YesYesUSA, Thailand, Italy, China
Anolon Advanced Tri-Ply$$$Stainless steelAluminumStainless steel Tempered glass400YesYesUSA, Thailand, Italy, China
Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless$$$Stainless steelCopper-bonded baseStainless steel w/ copper ringStainless steel500YesYesUSA, Thailand, Italy, China
Circulon Acclaim$$Triple-layer premium-quality TOTAL Food Release SystemHard-anodized Aluminum or AluminumHard-anodized Aluminum or Porcelain Enameled
Tempered glass400NoNoUSA, Thailand, Italy, China
Circulon Elementum
$$Triple-layer premium-quality TOTAL Food Release SystemHard-anodized AluminumHard-anodized AluminumTempered glass400NoNoUSA, Thailand, Italy, China
Circulon Innovatum$$Triple-layer premium-quality TOTAL Food Release SystemHard-anodized Aluminum, AluminumHard-anodized Aluminum, Aluminum, or Stainless SteelTempered glass400Aluminum no, stainless steel yesAluminum no, stainless steel yesUSA, Thailand, Italy, China
Circulon Momentum$$Triple-layer premium-quality TOTAL Food Release SystemHard-Anodized Aluminum or Stainless SteelHard-Anodized Aluminum w-DWS Clear Coat or Polished Stainless SteelTempered Glass400Hard-anodized aluminum no, stainless steel yesYesUSA, Thailand, Italy, China
Circulon Symmetry$$Triple-layer premium-quality TOTAL Food Release SystemHard-Anodized AluminumHard-Anodized AluminumTempered Glass400YesYesUSA, Thailand, Italy, China
Circulon Ultimum
$Ultra Total Nonstick System
AluminumAluminum w/ DWS CoatingTempered Glass or Stainless Steel500YesYesUSA, Thailand, Italy, China
Circulon Genesis$$Triple-layer premium-quality TOTAL Food Release SystemHard-Anodized Aluminum, Aluminum, or Stainless SteelHard-anodized Aluminum, Aluminum, or Stainless SteelGlass500Aluminum no; Stainless steel yesAluminum no; Stainless steel yesUSA, Thailand, Italy, China
Circulon Classic$$Triple-layer premium-quality TOTAL Food Release SystemHard-Anodized Aluminum or Stainless SteelHard-Anodized Aluminum or Polished Stainless SteelTempered Glass350Hard anodized aluminum no; Stainless steel yes

No

USA, Thailand, Italy, China
Circulon Espree$$Triple-layer premium-quality TOTAL Food Release System
Hard-Anodized Aluminum or Stainless SteelHard-Anodized Aluminum or Polished Stainless SteelTempered Glass450Stainless Steel yes; Hard Anodized Aluminum no


Stainless Steel yes; Hard Anodized Aluminum noUSA, Thailand, Italy, China

Similarities Between Anolon and Circulon

Before I get into the differences between Anolon and Circulon, let’s take a quick look at their similarities.

Parent Company

Anolon and Circulon are both owned by Meyer Corporation, one of the leading cookware manufacturers and distributors in the world. Besides Anolon and Calphalon, Meyer also owns Farberware, Rachael Ray, Cake Boss, and many other brands.

Warranty

Both Circulon and Anolon offer a lifetime warranty that guarantees against material and workmanship defects for the lifetime of the product.

Options

Anolon and Circulon both offer a wide range of cookware options and collections. With both brands, you can find non-stick, stainless steel (Circulon only offers pans with a stainless steel exterior, all interiors are non-stick), hard-anodized aluminum, and a few other surprises, such as copper from Anolon.

It doesn’t end with pots and pans, though. Circulon offers bakeware, tea kettles, utensils, and a cutting board. Anolon has also expanded its offerings by including bakeware, utensils, teakettles, salt cellars, a knife sharpener, etc.

You can check out the full range of products on Circulon.com and Anolon.com.

Affordable

Both Anolon and Circulon are mid-tier brands in terms of price, making them relatively affordable for most home cooks. 

Compared to higher-end brands such as All-Clad, Demeyere, and Le Creuset, Anolon and Circulon are more budget-friendly while still providing quality products. 

Skip ahead to the price comparison chart to see how Circulon and Anolon stack up against each other. 

Materials

Both brands utilize high-quality PTFE (i.e. Teflon) non-stick coatings. Anolon calls its non-stick coating Infinity Slide, and Circulon calls its non-stick coating the TOTAL Food Release System. In both cases, they apply three layers of the coating to boost its durability. 

Anolon claims its non-stick coating lasts 16X longer than standard non-stick, and Circulon claims its coating lasts 15X longer. 

Both brands have collections with hard-anodized aluminum as the core material. Hard-anodized aluminum is durable and long-lasting. It also heats fast and evenly, creating a consistent and reliable cooking experience.

The handles on both brands are made from dual-riveted stainless steel that’s wrapped in silicone for a comfortable and secure grip.

Finally, both brands have tempered glass or stainless steel lids, depending on the collection.

Induction Compatible

Some Anolon and Circulon collections are induction-compatible and others that aren’t.

For example, the Anolon Smart Stack collection (view on Amazon) and Circulon Symmetry collection (view on Amazon) are both induction-compatible. However, the Anolon Allure collection (view on Amazon) and Circulon Acclaim collection (view on Amazon) are not induction-compatible.

So, if you have an induction cooktop, read the fine print before deciding which cookware to buy.

Differences Between Anolon and Circulon

Although Anolon and Circulon have many similarities — from the materials to the options and warranty — they differ greatly in other areas.

Features

Circulon’s signature feature is the circular pattern on the cooking surface called the Circulon TOTAL Nonstick System.

These raised circles serve two purposes. First, they reduce abrasion from utensils, which helps the surface last longer. Second, it creates a tiny bit of space between the food and the cooking surface, allowing for easy release and ensuring easy cleanup.

As for Anolon, one of their unique features is the flat riveted Unity Surface. This patented design provides a smooth and even cooking surface.

One of the most annoying aspects of cleaning cookware is scrubbing the stains around the rivet. But with Anolon’s Unity Surface, you don’t have to deal with that mess.

Another unique detail from Anolon is the Infinity Slide non-stick surface. Most cookware has non-stick coating on the cooking surface, but this sapphire-reinforced coating is applied to the interior and exterior, making cleaning the entire pan much more manageable.

Materials

Although both brands utilize some of the same materials, there are areas where they differ.

Anolon uses slightly higher quality materials. Most collections are made with either hard-anodized aluminum or copper as the core material.

Circulon, on the other hand, opts for lower-cost materials. For example, the Circulon Ultimum collection utilizes regular aluminum, which is cheaper, more likely to warp, and less conductive than hard-anodized aluminum.

When it comes to stainless steel, Anolon offers cookware with stainless steel exteriors and interior—a stainless steel interior is ideal for searing and browning.

Circulon offers cookware with a stainless steel exterior, but every pot and pan has a non-stick surface. In other words, Circulon only offers non-stick cookware; they don’t have any true stainless steel collections.

Since non-stick doesn’t perform well when subjected to high heat, the Circulon collections aren’t great for searing. Plus, the non-stick surface will wear off over time, usually within five years.

The Anolon Nouvelle collection (available on Amazon) has a copper-plated base—a material typically found within premium stainless steel cookware (Ex. All-Clad Copper Core).

Copper has a higher thermal conductivity than aluminum, so it heats faster, offering precise and responsive results. Circulon doesn’t have any copper options.

Construction

Anolon has two fully-clad stainless steel collections: Tri-Ply Clad and Advanced Tri-Ply

Fully-clad cookware is made with a heat conductive core layer, usually aluminum or copper, that extends throughout the pan. Since the aluminum or copper layer goes all the way up the sides, heat is distributed quickly and evenly to every inch of the pan. 

By contrast, none of Circulon’s cookware is fully-clad. Instead, some collections utilize an impact-bonded base, which is essentially an aluminum plate bonded to the bottom of the pan. Since the conductive material is attached at the pan’s base, the heat won’t distribute evenly up the sides, leaving you with cold spots and inconsistent results.

Design

Although Anolon and Circulon look similar at a glance, take a closer look and you’ll see some notable differences.

For starters, Circulon offers more color choices, including black, brown, burgundy, silver, and red.

Anolon has brown, silver, and black cookware sets. But they also have the option of the copper ring as in its Anolon Nouvelle collection.

Both brands offer high-quality steel handles that are wrapped in silicone. However, across collections, Anolon handles (pictured below) have a more consistent design with a slightly curved, squared-off shape.

Circulon has a wider variety of handles. Some are similar to Anolon, while others have a more rounded finish, others point at a higher angle, and some are quite bulky.

Lastly, Anolon boasts one collection that sticks out from the crowd in terms of design. The Anolon Smart Stack collection (available on Anolon’s website) is the perfect solution if you want to save storage space.

The innovative stacking design means you can organize your cookware in two short stacks, locking them in place with the handles.

Oven-Safe Temperatures

In general, Anolon collections can withstand higher oven temperatures. Four of its collections can withstand 500°F versus only two of the Circulon collections. 

All other collections from both brands can withstand 400°F, except for the Circulon Classic, which tops out at 350°F.

Price

In general, Anolon cookware is more expensive than Circulon, but the exact difference depends on the collections you compare.

Meyer Corporation, both brands’ parent company, positions Anolon as its gourmet cookware and kitchenware brand, and Circulon as efficient and reliable cookware for modern lifestyles.

In other words, Anolon is higher-quality, more expensive cookware, and Circulon is geared towards home cooks on a budget.

The chart below shows the current prices on Amazon of Anolon and Circulon’s top-selling products. Click the prices to see more details on Amazon.

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Bottom Line: Should You Buy Anolon and Circulon?

Anolon and Circulon have been around since the 1980s, and both offer a range of reliable, affordable, and versatile cookware.

Neither brand offers ultra-premium cookware, but it’s not junk either. Not even close. With Anolon and Circulon, you get solid, mid-tier cookware at a fair price.

If you’re still on the fence about which brand to buy, I highly recommend Anolon.

Here’s why:

  • Every Anolon non-stick collection is made with hard-anodized aluminum, while many Circulon collections utilize standard aluminum. Hard-anodized aluminum is harder, thicker, and much more durable.
  • Anolon’s Unity Surface and InfinitySlide non-stick coating, which is applied to the interior and exterior, makes cleanup much easier (you don’t have to deal with food getting stuck between the rivets).
  • All Circulon cookware is non-stick; they don’t offer any pans with a stainless steel cooking surface. So, if you buy Circulon, you’ll have to mix in another brand to complete your set.
  • The raised circles on every Circulon pan’s cooking surface do an excellent job preventing food from sticking. However, they don’t allow ingredients to make full contact with the pan, which is necessary to achieve a completely even sear.

The main advantage of Circulon is that it’s less expensive than Anolon. But, since both brands are relatively affordable, I recommend putting your money towards higher-quality cookware that will last longer—go with Anolon.

If you decide to buy Circulon, choose one of the hard-anodized aluminum collections; stay away from the regular aluminum. Refer back to the comparison chart to review each collection’s materials.

If you’re ready to buy or want to read more reviews, check out Anolon and Circulon cookware at the links below:

 Amazon (Anolon, Circulon)

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