Are you thinking about buying Calphalon cookware but aren’t sure if it’s right for you?
Or perhaps you’re wondering how it compares to other cookware brands?
In this in-depth review, I break down the pros and cons of Calphalon cookware.
- How it looks and feels
- How it performs in the kitchen
- How it compares to the competition
- What makes it unique
- Its downsides
- How much it costs and the options available
- And more
So, if you’re looking for an unbiased review of Calphalon cookware, keep reading.
Use the links below to navigate the article:
- Cookware Collections
- Calphalon vs. the Competition
- What Others Are Saying About Calphalon
- FAQs About Calphalon Cookware
- Bottom Line: Should You Buy Calphalon Cookware?
If you’re new to Calphalon, let me introduce you to a cookware brand that keeps evolving.
In the past, Calphalon offered over a dozen cookware collections. But in 2020, it streamlined its offerings by discontinuing several of the less popular options.
Currently, there are six cookware collections, including a mix of non-stick, stainless steel, and cast iron cookware.
The chart below outlines the key differences between each collection. Following the chart, I provide images and a quick overview of all the options.
Scroll or swipe to view the entire chart.
|Feature||Calphalon Elite||Calphalon Signature||Calphalon Premier||Calphalon Classic||Select by Calphalon||Simply Calphalon|
|Cooking Surface||Advanced non-stick, textured||Stainless steel or 3-layer non-stick||Stainless steel or 3-layer non-stick||2-layer non-stick or stainless steel||2-layer non-stick or stainless steel||PFOA-free, 2-layer non-stick|
|Core Material||Hard anodized aluminum||Triple-layer aluminum core or hard-anodized aluminum||Aluminum or hard-anodized aluminum||Hard-anodized aluminum or aluminum||Hard-anodized aluminum or impact-bonded aluminum||Hard-anodized aluminum|
|Exterior Material||Hard anodized aluminum||Stainless steel or hard-anodized aluminum||Stainless steel or hard-anodized aluminum||Hard-anodized aluminum or stainless steel||Hard-anodized aluminum or stainless steel||Hard-anodized aluminum or stainless steel|
|Lids||Tempered glass||Tempered glass||Tempered glass||Tempered glass||Tempered glass||Tempered glass|
|Induction-Compatible||No||Yes for stainless steel, no for non-stick||Yes for stainless steel, no for non-stick||Yes for stainless steel, no for non-stick||Yes for stainless steel, no for non-stick||No|
|Dishwasher-Safe||Yes||Yes||Yes||No for non-stick, yes for stainless steel||Yes||No|
|Where It's Made||USA||China||China||China||China||China|
Most cookware in the Signature collection features a hard-anodized aluminum base coated with traditional PFOA-free non-stick coating. However, there are a few 5-ply stainless steel pots and pans as well.
The triple-layer non-stick coating is 1.5 times more durable than the dual-layer coating used in the Calphalon Classic collection. This cookware is metal utensil-safe and oven safe to 500°F.
The Premier collection offers space-saving and time-saving cookware features. It comes in two varieties: hard-anodized aluminum with traditional non-stick coating and 3-ply stainless steel.
Many pots and pans are stackable, and a selection of saucepans feature pour spouts and strainer lids. The 3-layer non-stick coating is metal utensil-safe. All Premier cookware is oven safe to 450°F.
Check out my in-depth review of Calphalon Premier to learn more.
Classic is one of the most affordable Calphalon collections. It offers a choice of hard-anodized aluminum with 2-layer non-stick or stainless steel pieces.
The ceramic non-stick cookware is oil-infused, perfect for those who want to cook without butter or oil.
The stainless steel cookware features impact-bonded bases with an aluminum core sandwiched by stainless steel.
This collection also has built-in measuring marks, pour spouts, and strainer lids. It is oven-safe up to 450°F.
Select by Calphalon
Select by Calphalon is another affordable collection. It offers traditional hard-anodized aluminum cookware with dual-layer traditional or ceramic non-stick interiors, stackable space-saving pieces, stainless steel cookware with impact-bonded aluminum bases, and cast iron pieces.
All pots, pans, and lids feature silicone comfort grip handles except the cast iron pieces.
This hard-anodized aluminum cookware collection features dual-layer traditional non-stick interiors. It has stainless steel handles wrapped in silicone for comfortable handling.
It is constructed with medium-gauge aluminum (gauge refers to its thickness), making it lighter than the Signature or Premier collections. The cookware is oven safe to 400°F.
Williams Sonoma Elite
The Williams Sonoma Elite collection, which is only available at Williams Sonoma, features a hard-anodized aluminum body and a super-durable non-stick interior. All the cookware is metal utensil-safe.
The PFOA-free non-stick coating has a slight texture to it, supporting improved searing and browning, mimicking the effectiveness of stainless steel but with the benefit of quick food release. It is oven safe to 500°F.
The design elements differ between the collections but not so much that you can’t see the overall unity. Overall, Calphalon cookware has a dark hue, except for the stainless steel pieces.
It’s not a flashy brand with a range of colors. Instead, it’s understated and classy with the ability to blend into any kitchen style.
Let’s look at the design elements by highlighting a few of the most popular collections: Premier, Signature, and Classic.
Let’s start with non-stick interiors. Calphalon’s traditional non-stick is dark, with a subtle sheen.
Calphalon Premier and Signature both use a triple-layer non-stick that is metal utensil-safe.
Classic features a dual-layer non-stick coating that is not as durable as the triple-layer Premier and Signature coating.
In addition to traditional non-stick, Classic has an oil-infused ceramic non-stick option. The interior is gray and slick. Calphalon claims it’s possible to cook without butter or oil with these pans, but the reality is that food will stick if you don’t grease them slightly.
The stainless steel interiors are either brushed or polished.
The rivets that attach the handles to the base protrude instead of being flush to the surface like you’d find with other brands such as Hestan and Anolon. Bits of food and oil might build up over time around the rivets.
The interiors of some Classic collection pieces have measuring marks on the sides to help save time in the kitchen.
The exteriors across Premier, Signature, and Classic are either a dark-colored hard-anodized aluminum or brushed or polished stainless steel.
Impact-bonded bases feature an aluminum plate bonded to the bottom of the pots and pans, while fully-clad means the aluminum core layer extends throughout the cookware (including up the sides).
If you look closely at the rim of a fully-clad pan, you can see each layer.
Fully-clad cookware is thicker, heats more evenly, and retains heat better.
Signature boasts 5-layer, fully-clad construction: a tri-layer aluminum core sandwiched by stainless steel.
Premier offers 3-layer fully-clad construction with aluminum at the center and a layer of stainless steel on the top and bottom.
The cookware bottoms of all collections are flat, with the sides rounding at the base and tapering upward.
Premier’s exterior and interior are uniquely shaped with interlocking grooves for stacking the cookware to save space.
Some saucepans feature pour spouts, an ideal addition for pouring sauces, gravies, and glazes.
All handles include hanging loops and are designed ergonomically, but the shapes, styles, and angles are different across the collections.
Most collections feature Y-shaped handles that disperse heat so you don’t burn your hand while cooking on the stove.
Some larger pots feature helper handles as well.
The handles on the lids are either flat for stacking or have a trapezoidal shape with plenty of room for gripping, even with a bulky oven mitt.
Across Signature, Premier, and Classic, the handles are brushed or polished stainless steel, while others are stainless steel wrapped in silicone for advanced grip and heat protection.
Lids across the collections are primarily tempered glass with stainless steel rims, designed to fit snugly on pots for maximum moisture retention. Most lids are oven-safe up to 450°F.
Some collections, like Select by Calphalon, feature lids that can only withstand max temperatures of 400° F.
Premier has a stackable version of cookware that uses flat lids designed for nesting. The lids include side handles to help save space.
Premier and Classic both offer saucepans with strainer lids, eliminating the need for a strainer basket to save time while cooking.
I’ve been cooking with Calphalon pots and pans for years. I’ve tested almost every collection, including the Classic, Premier, Signature, Select by Calphalon, and even Unison and Contemporary, which were discontinued in 2020.
I’ve cooked just about everything, including meats, vegetables, eggs, fish, pancakes, soups, and more.
Some notable aspects about Calphalon cookware’s performance include:
Thickness: Calphalon cookware is thicker than most brands. Its thick walls make it warp-resistant and allow for even heating. Plus, it adds heft and makes the cookware feel solid. Unlike discount brands, Calphalon doesn’t feel light or flimsy. It feels solid and durable.
Food Release: The main reason you buy non-stick cookware is convenience. You want cookware with a slick surface that releases food and is easy to clean. That’s what you get with Calphalon. Although the non-stick coating wears down and loses its effectiveness after several years (as is the case with all non-stick coatings), it performs exceptionally well while it lasts.
Durability: Calphalon is one of the most durable cookware brands I’ve tested. All collections feature at least a 2-layers of non-stick coating, but many have a 3-layer coating. The extra layers make the coating last longer. Additionally, Calphalon’s thick walls make the cookware virtually dent and warp-proof.
Comfortable Handles: The handles vary across collections, but all of them are comfortable and thoughtfully designed. Several collections, including Select by Calphalon and Simply Calphalon, feature silicone-wrapped handles for added comfort and grip.
Overall, it’s one of the best cookware brands I’ve reviewed (and I’ve reviewed dozens). In the non-stick category, Calphalon is one of my favorites.
Calphalon vs. the Competition
So, I mentioned that Calphalon’s performance is excellent, but how does it compare to the competition?
To find out, I conducted a simple test. I poured two cups of cold water into a Calphalon pan and put it on the stove with the heat on high. I set a stopwatch and recorded the time it started to bubble and the time it reached a full boil.
The water started to bubble after 1 minute and 45 seconds and came to a boil at 2 minutes and 40 seconds.
|Pan||Time to First Bubbles||Time to Boil|
|Calphalon 12-inch fry pan||1 minute and 45 seconds||2 minute and 40 seconds|
|Anolon 12-inch fry pan||1 minute and 55 seconds||2 minute and 27 seconds|
|Made In 12-inch fry pan||1 minute and 40 seconds||2 minutes and 21 seconds|
|All-Clad 12-inch skillet||1 minute and 55 seconds||2 minute and 55 seconds|
|Misen 10-inch fry pan||1 minute and 50 seconds||2 minute and 25 seconds|
As you can see, the Calphalon pan didn’t boil water the quickest, but it heated faster than the All-Clad pan. I’m not totally surprised by these results because the Calphalon pan is thicker than most of the other pans I tested, and thicker pans tend to heat slower.
One thing I noticed with the Calphalon pan is that there was a noticeable cold spot in the middle of the pans, which indicates uneven heating. With the other pans, the bubbles dispersed evenly across the entire cooking surface.
That said, I’ve never had issues with uneven heating or inconsistent results when cooking with Calphalon.
I conducted another test to determine how Calphalon’s heat retention compares to the competition.
After the water began boiling, I removed each pan from the heat and set them on the counter. After five minutes and again after ten minutes, I measured the water temperature. Here are the results:
|Pan||Water Temperature After Five Minutes||Water Temperature After Ten Minutes|
|Calphalon 12-inch fry pan||112.8°F||101.1°F|
|Anolon 12-inch fry pan||112.7°F||90.9°F|
|Made In 12-inch fry pan||121.1°F||106.6°F|
|All-Clad 12-inch skillet||111.6°F||100.9°F|
|Misen 10-inch fry pan||118.6°F||103.4°F|
The Made In and Misen pans were the clear winners in terms of heat retention, but Calphalon held its own, beating out All-Clad and Anolon.
Overall, Calphalon’s performance in my heat conduction and retention tests was average. Is it the fastest heating cookware or the cookware with the best heat retention? No. But it performs right up there with premium brands like All-Clad and Made In.
Every cookware brand has its pros and cons. Before you buy Calphalon, these are the downsides you need to know.
While some Calphalon non-stick collections claim to be metal utensil-safe, be careful with sharp points like forks and knives. If you press too hard, you’ll scratch the non-stick coating.
You might be able to get away with using a wire whisk or spatula, but for greater longevity, use non-abrasive tools like wood or heat-resistant silicone.
And, just as a general rule, all non-stick pans will eventually need to be replaced. Calphalon’s non-stick cookware is no different.
Not Compatible With Induction Cooktops
Calphalon’s non-stick cookware isn’t induction-compatible due to its hard-anodized aluminum construction.
Some brands, such as All-Clad and Anolon, bond a steel plate to the bottom of their hard-anodized aluminum cookware to make it induction-compatible. Calphalon doesn’t offer this.
If you have an induction stove and want to try Calphalon non-stick cookware, you can experiment with steel induction plates, which are relatively inexpensive.
Calphalon cookware has thick walls that improve heat retention but make the cookware heavier. The thick construction also means it takes longer for the pots and pans to get hot.
Also, stainless steel cookware within the Classic collection is not fully-clad. Instead, it features an impact-bonded base, which distributes heat evenly across the bottom of the pots and pans but not up the sides.
Low Oven-Safe Temperature
If you are looking for cookware that can handle 600°F or higher, Calphalon falls short. All its max oven-safe temperatures range between 450-500°F, depending on the collection.
The bottom of Calphalon’s hard-anodized aluminum non-stick cookware stains easily. Stains quickly get baked in, even with minimal use. If this happens to you, read my tips on how to clean Calphalon hard-anodized pans.
Made in China
Many customers feel duped when they find out the cookware is made in China. That’s because Calphalon previously manufactured its cookware in the US and still prints “Ohio” on the bottom of the pot and pans.
Calphalon is headquartered in Ohio, and they design the cookware there, but all collections (except Elite) are made in China.
Calphalon is relatively affordable when compared to brands like All-Clad. Yet, its traditional non-stick cookware is more expensive than brands of comparable quality like Anolon and Circulon, especially the higher-end collections (Signature and Elite).
Calphalon pricing varies by collection. Select by Calphalon and Simply Calphalon are its lowest-cost collections, while Signature and Elite are the most expensive. Premier and Classic are in the middle.
Overall, Calphalon is a mid to high-end brand. It’s less expensive than premium brands like All-Clad, Hestan, Demeyere, and Mauviel, but it’s more expensive than brands like T-fal, Cuisinart, Circulon, and Farberware.
Check out the following price comparison table to see what you can expect to pay:
|Calphalon Classic Hard-Anodized Non-Stick 10-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Calphalon Signature Hard-Anodized Non-Stick 10-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Calphalon Premier Hard-Anodized Non-Stick 11-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Calphalon Premier Space Saving Hard-Anodized Non-Stick 15-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Simply Calphalon Hard-Anodized Non-Stick 10-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Calphalon Premier Stainless Steel 11-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Calphalon Classic Hard-Anodized Non-Stick 14-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Calphalon Signature Hard-Anodized Non-Stick 10-Inch Fry Pan||Amazon|
|Calphalon Classic Hard-Anodized Non-Stick 10-Inch Fry Pan||Amazon|
|Calphalon Premier Hard-Anodized Non-Stick 13-Inch Fry Pan||Amazon|
|Calphalon Classic Oil-Infused Ceramic 12-inch Fry Pan||Amazon|
What Others Are Saying About Calphalon
From consumer product review sites to popular cookware and lifestyle blogs, Calphalon has a good reputation in the marketplace.
Here’s what others are saying about the brand.
Good Housekeeping called the Calphalon Signature Hard-Anodized Non-Stick 10-Piece Set the Best Overall Non-stick Cookware. The experts stated that the cookware combines “unbeatable performance with durability,” citing its effective food release even without the use of oil or butter.
Consumer Reports did a recent ranking of the Best Cookware Sets. The list compared cookware of all kinds, from non-stick to stainless clad. Calphalon’s Premier 8-Piece Space Saving Stainless Steel Set made the list, earning marks for a small footprint, even heating, and compatibility with all stovetops.
Popular foodie blog, The Spruce Eats chose the Calphalon Signature Non-stick 10-Piece Set as one of the 8 Best Non-stick Cookware Sets of the year. The brand was praised for heating quickly, having excellent food release, and being easy to clean. Yet, it’s expensive and heavy, “almost too heavy for storing on a hanging rack.”
As part of an ultimate wedding registry guide, Brides recommends the Calphalon Classic Non-Stick 10-Piece Cookware Set as one of the 9 Best Cookware Sets for Your Registry. It called out its “eco-friendly non-stick coating” that’s safe to use for easy meals with quick cleanup.
In its article, The Best Cookware Sets to Buy, Southern Living relied on thousands of customer reviews to pick the top sets. Calphalon Simply Pots and Pan Set came out on top as the Best Non-Stick Cookware Set. The cooking and lifestyle brand offered this advice from one reviewer about the dual-layer non-stick set: “Yes, buy it. You won’t be sorry.”
Allrecipes named Calphalon Classic the best quality cookware set. The reviewers highlighted its convenient fill lines, strain holes, pour spouts, and overall seamless design.
FAQs About Calphalon Cookware
In this section, I give you answers to the most frequently asked questions about Calphalon cookware.
Yes, Calphalon’s non-stick coating is safe. It’s made from a synthetic resin with a high-heat tolerance known as PTFE. The PTFE that Calphalon uses is PFOA-free. PFOA is a harmful substance that was once used in the production of PTFE but, since 2013, has been removed from the process. As long as PTFE is not overheated (exceeding 536°F) or scratched off, it poses no health risks.
Yes, Calphalon cookware is oven-safe. Maximum temperatures vary by collection. Calphalon Signature and Calphalon Williams-Sonoma Elite are oven-safe up to 500°F. Calphalon Premier and Calphalon Classic have a max oven temperature threshold of 450°F. Select by Calphalon and Simply Calphalon cookware can be used in an oven up to 400°F.
Unfortunately, Calphalon non-stick cookware is not broiler-safe. However, most of its stainless steel cookware is broiler-safe. The two exceptions are the Select by Calphalon and Simply Calphalon collections. These collections feature silicone-wrapped handles, which will melt under the broiler.
Calphalon cookware is dishwasher-safe with the following exceptions: Simply Calphalon non-stick and Select by Calphalon cast iron.
Calphalon Elite is made in the United States. All other Calphalon cookware collections are made in China.
If you buy on Calphalon.com, you may return unused products within 60 days of purchase and get a refund for the item, less shipping and handling. Final sale merchandise cannot be returned. Read the full policy for details.
Warranty details differ depending on the product line. Select by Calphalon cookware has a 10-year warranty. All other cookware lines have a limited lifetime warranty.
Calphalon was launched in 1963 by Ronald M. Kasperzak, the inventor of hard-anodized aluminum cookware. He used a process from the aerospace industry to make durable cookware resistant to warping and corrosion. By the mid-1980s, it was making the rounds in gourmet stores and eventually department stores. In 1998, Calphalon was acquired by Newell Brands, the consumer goods company that owns a portfolio of well-known brands including Rubbermaid, Crockpot, Oster, Mr. Coffee, and others.
Bottom Line: Should You Buy Calphalon Cookware?
I’ve reviewed many cookware brands over the years, and Calphalon is one I have no hesitation recommending.
It’s the pioneer of hard-anodized aluminum cookware, and over time, has also introduced quality stainless options and innovative space- and time-saving designs.
But, I recognize that no brand will check every box for all cooks.
So, should you buy Calphalon cookware?
Here’s my recommendation.
You should buy Calphalon cookware if:
- You want a brand with a solid reputation and proven track record.
- You enjoy cooking with high-quality, PFOA-free non-stick cookware.
- You want cookware that’s thick, sturdy, and built to last.
- You want a brand with multiple cookware choices and collections.
- You like the option of having built-in measuring marks and pour spouts.
- You are looking for a brand that offers space-saving cookware.
- You want a long-lasting, multi-layer non-stick surface.
You should NOT buy Calphalon cookware if:
- You are looking for inexpensive, budget-buy cookware.
- You want induction-compatible non-stick cookware.
- You prefer lightweight cookware.
- You want cookware that heats quickly.
- You need cookware that is oven-safe over 500°F.
- You want cookware made in the US.
- You don’t want to deep-clean the bottoms of your hard-anodized aluminum pots.
The bottom line is that Calphalon’s hard-anodized non-stick cookware features a classy design, thick walls, and multiple coats of high-quality non-stick coating.
If you are looking for durable non-stick or stainless steel cookware, Calphalon is a solid choice ― it’s not the cheapest option, but it’s an excellent value for high-quality pots and pans.
If you’re unsure which cookware to buy, check out my guide to the best Calphalon cookware sets.
- Are Calphalon Kitchen Knives Any Good? An In-Depth Review
- Calphalon Premier Cookware Review (With Pictures)
- What Is the Best Calphalon Cookware Set? (Top 5 Reviewed)
- Select by Calphalon vs. Calphalon Premier: Which Cookware Is Better?
- Calphalon Signature vs. Calphalon Premier: Which Cookware Is Better?
- Calphalon Classic vs. Signature: 11 Key Differences
- Calphalon Contemporary Cookware: An In-Depth Review
- Tramontina vs. Calphalon Cookware: 10 Key Differences
- Calphalon Contemporary vs. Signature: What’s the Difference?
- Calphalon Classic vs. Contemporary: What’s the Difference?
- Calphalon vs. Anolon Cookware: What’s the Difference?
- Calphalon vs. Made In: Which Cookware and Knives Are Better?
- Calphalon vs. Cuisinart: Which Cookware Is Better?
- T-fal vs. Calphalon: In-Depth Cookware Comparison
- All-Clad vs. Calphalon: How Does Their Cookware Compare?
- Calphalon vs. Rachael Ray: Which Cookware Is Better?
- Rachael Ray vs. Pioneer Woman: Which Cookware Is Better?
- Pioneer Woman Cookware Review: Is It Any Good?