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Calphalon has been producing high-quality cookware since the 1960s, and Signature and Premier are two of its top collections.
What’s the difference between these collections? What are the pros and cons of each? What factors should you consider before deciding which to buy?
If you’re asking yourself these questions, you’ve come to the right place.
In this comparison of Calphalon Signature vs. Premier, I explain the eight key differences between these two cookware collections.
You’ll learn how they compare in terms of:
- Materials and construction
- And more
So, if you’re shopping for new pots and pans but can’t decide between Calphalon Signature and Premier, keep reading.
Use the links below to navigate the comparison:
- Calphalon Signature vs. Premier: Comparison Chart
- Similarities Between Calphalon Signature and Premier Cookware
- Difference 1: Cookware Options
- Difference 2: Non-Stick Surface
- Difference 3: Stainless Steel Construction
- Difference 4: Space-Saving Features
- Difference 5: Number of Rivets
- Difference 6: Oven-Safe Temperature
- Difference 7: Helper-Handle Design
- Difference 8: Price
- Bottom Line: Should You Buy Calphalon Signature or Premier Cookware?
Calphalon Signature vs. Premier: Comparison Chart
|Calphalon Signature||Calphalon Premier|
|Where It’s Made||China||China|
|Number of Pieces/Sets||15||40|
|Price||$$$$ (view on Amazon)||$$$ (view on Amazon)|
|Stainless Steel Construction||5-ply w/ 3-layer aluminum core||3-ply w/ aluminum core|
|Non-Stick Construction||Hard-anodized aluminum||Hard-anodized aluminum|
|Non-Stick Cooking Surface||3-layer PTFE coating w/ Sear texture||3-layer PTFE|
|Induction-Compatible||Stainless steel yes, non-stick no||Stainless steel yes, non-stick no|
|Top Reasons to Buy||Ability to sear with the non-stick pans, higher oven-safe temperature||Space-saving design, less expensive, more options available|
|Top Reasons to NOT Buy||More expensive, not stackable||Only oven-safe up to 450°F, bulky design (due to interlocking grooves)|
Similarities Between Calphalon Signature and Premier Cookware
Before I dive into the differences between Calphalon Signature and Premier, let’s review their similarities. Here’s a quick rundown of the features both collections share:
Expensive: Signature and Premier are Calphalon’s high-end collections, and the price reflects that fact. Skip ahead to the price comparison chart to view current prices of both collections’ most popular products. If you’re on a budget, you may want to consider Calphalon’s Classic or Select collections instead. These collections aren’t as durable, but they’re much more affordable.
Heavy-Gauge Hard-Anodized Aluminum Construction: The non-stick cookware options in both collections is made of heavy-gauge hard-anodized aluminum, with a thickness of approximately 3.6 mm.
Hard-anodized aluminum uses a process of chemical electrolysis to create a harder, more conductive metal that can withstand heavier use than standard aluminum. In both collections, the cookware is dark gray, a byproduct of the anodizing process (which you can see in action in this quick video).
3-Layer Non-Stick Coating: While most non-stick cookware only has one layer of non-stick coating, both the Calphalon Signature and Calphalon Premier collections include three. The additional layers make the cookware in both collections more durable, scratch-resistant, and longer-lasting.
Metal Utensil Safe: Unlike most non-stick cookware, Calphalon Signature and Premier are metal utensil-safe. In other words, you can use whatever type of spatula or spoon you want without scratching the non-stick surface.
Compatibility: Both collections include stainless steel pots and pans that are induction-compatible, oven-safe, and broiler-safe. They also include non-stick pots and pans that are oven-safe but not induction-compatible or broiler-safe.
Dishwasher-Safe: Both cookware collections can be washed in your dishwasher (rather than by hand). However, I always recommend washing premium cookware by hand. Check out my guide to cleaning Calphalon pans to learn more.
Fully-Clad Stainless Steel Construction: The Signature and Premier stainless steel collections both feature fully-clad construction. Fully-clad means the cookware is created with bonded layers of metal. Both collections utilize stainless steel for the exterior and aluminum for the core.
Stay-Cool Handles: The handles in both collections are cleverly designed to stay cool during stovetop use.
Tempered Glass Lids: Both collections include shatterproof glass lids that allow you to monitor food without releasing heat or moisture.
Made In China: All Calphalon products utilize parts made in China, but the company still manufactures some of its cookware in the USA (the factory is in Toledo, Ohio). However, both the Premier and Signature collections are made in China.
Limited Lifetime Warranty: Calphalon Premier and Signature cookware comes with a lifetime warranty covering defects in materials and craftsmanship for “normal household use” and cared for according to the instruction manual. Unfortunately, the warranty doesn’t cover the non-stick coating, which will eventually wear down (as it does with all non-stick cookware).
Now that you’re familiar with how the Signature and Premier collections are similar, it’s time to look at their differences.
Difference 1: Cookware Options
While both the Calphalon Signature and Premier collections include non-stick and stainless steel options, the Premier line also offers “stackable” products, which are designed to be stored on top of one another without scratching the surface.
Stackable cookware is especially useful for consumers who live in apartments or have smaller kitchens because they save up to 30% more space than non-stackable cookware.
You can still stack Calphalon Signature, but you’ll need to buy pot protectors. Otherwise, you risk damaging the cooking surface.
Another significant difference is that the Premier collection is much more extensive than the Signature collection. The Premier features over 40 different pots, pans, and cookware sets, while the Signature collection has only 15.
Difference 2: Non-Stick Surface
Although both the Signature and Premier collections offer non-stick options, Signature pots and pans have a unique “Sear” surface.
This outer layer has a rougher texture than a regular non-stick pan, enhancing its ability to sear and brown meats — a task typically reserved for stainless steel and cast iron pans.
The non-stick surface on Premier pans is just as durable and easy to clean, but since it doesn’t have that additional texture, it’s not the type of cookware you’d want to use for steaks or burgers.
Difference 3: Stainless Steel Construction
As I mentioned earlier, both collections feature fully-clad stainless steel cookware.
However, the Premier collection features 3-ply (three layers) construction, whereas the Signature collection is 5-ply (five layers).
Both utilize a conductive aluminum core, but the core layer within Signature cookware comprises three aluminum layers, and the Premier core is only one.
With more highly-conductive aluminum layers, the Signature collection will heat quicker and more evenly, giving you more precise temperature control and improved heat retention.
The difference isn’t stark enough to elicit much notice from the average home cook, but it’s still worthy of mention.
Difference 4: Space-Saving Features
The Premier collection offers “stackable” cookware options, while the Signature collection does not.
Because of this, Premier cookware has some unique features that you won’t find in the Signature collection.
One of those features is the flat glass lids. These lids serve as a platform for each piece to nest neatly atop.
Another is the steel interlocking grooves attached to the exterior of each piece. These grooves prevent the cookware from moving or tipping over when stacked.
Although these grooves serve an essential purpose, they add to the cookware’s overall weight and bulkiness. So, you might see this as a negative if you have plenty of storage space or don’t mind purchasing pot protectors.
Difference 5: Number of Rivets
The handles on the Signature collection’s cookware are welded to the base by three rivets, whereas the Premier collection uses two.
Here’s a look at Signature’s triple-rivet design:
And here’s a look at Premier’s two-rivet design:
While the detail is minor, you may like the sturdy look of three rivets or prefer two because rivets tend to attract grease and stains and are challenging to clean.
Difference 6: Oven-Safe Temperature
When it comes to heat tolerance, the Signature collection has a slight advantage.
Signature pots and pans are oven-safe up to 500°F, while Premier cookware is oven-safe up to 450°F.
Fifty degrees may not seem like a big difference, but it provides peace of mind. The less you have to think about when you’re cooking, the better.
Difference 7: Helper-Handle Design
Helper-handles are the small handles on either side of large pots. In the Signature collection, these handles are slightly curved.
The helper-handles on Premier pots are much straighter.
This difference has no impact on the cookware’s function; it’s purely aesthetic.
Difference 8: Price
Calphalon offers a range of price points across their numerous collections. If you’re on a budget, the Classic and Select by Calphalon collections are the least expensive.
Both the Signature and Premier collections (along with the Elite collection) stand at the higher end of Calphalon’s cookware pricing model.
Of the two, the Signature collection tends to be slightly more expensive; however, it depends on the particular item.
For your benefit, here is a handy price-comparison chart:
|Calphalon Signature Non-Stick 8-Inch & 10-Inch Fry Pan Set||Amazon|
|Calphalon Signature Stainless Steel 10-Inch Skillet||Amazon|
|Calphalon Signature Non-Stick 12-Inch Everyday Chef Pan||Amazon|
|Calphalon Signature Non-Stick 2-Quart Sauce Pan||Amazon|
|Calphalon Signature Non-Stick 5-Quart Dutch Oven||Amazon|
|Calphalon Signature Stainless Steel 12-Inch Omelet Pan||Amazon|
|Calphalon Signature Non-Stick 10-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Calphalon Premier Stainless Steel 2.5-Quart Sauce Pan||Amazon|
|Calphalon Premier Non-Stick 10-Inch Fry Pan||Amazon|
|Calphalon Premier Non-Stick 5-Quart Sauté Pan||Amazon|
|Calphalon Premier Non-Stick 13-Inch Skillet||Amazon|
|Calphalon Premier Stainless Steel 8-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Calphalon Premier Non-Stick 10-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Calphalon Premier Non-Stick 12-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Calphalon Premier Stainless Steel 15-Piece Set||Amazon|
|Calphalon Premier Non-Stick 15-Piece Set||Amazon|
Bottom Line: Should You Buy Calphalon Signature or Premier Cookware?
Now that we’ve reviewed Calphalon’s Signature and Premier cookware collections, you’re better prepared to choose the one best for your needs.
To recap, both collections are priced at the high-end of Calphalon’s product offerings, and both come with non-stick and stainless steel options.
Both collections offer fully-clad, hard-anodized aluminum and dishwasher-safe cookware that’s made in China.
Both cookware lines feature glass lids and stay-cool handles.
The major differences include aesthetics, the Signature’s unique “Sear” surface technology, the ply used in the fully-clad stainless steel, the temperature tolerance, and the price.
The Calphalon Premier collection makes the most sense if you:
- Have limited storage space
- Want more product options to choose from
- Are looking to spend a little less on high-quality cookware
The Signature collection is the best option for you if:
- Want the best performance (heat distribution)
- Plan to cook at temperatures over 450°F
- Want the option to sear meats using non-stick cookware
- Want precise temperature control
If you’re ready to buy or want to learn more, you can check out both collections on Amazon at the links below:
- Select by Calphalon vs. Calphalon Premier: Which Cookware Is Better?
- Calphalon Premier Cookware Review (With Pictures)
- What Is the Best Calphalon Cookware Set? (Top 5 Reviewed)
- Calphalon Contemporary Cookware: An In-Depth Review
- Calphalon vs. Anolon Cookware: What’s the Difference?
- Calphalon Contemporary vs. Signature: What’s the Difference?
- Calphalon vs. Cuisinart: Which Cookware Is Better?
- Calphalon Classic vs. Contemporary: What’s the Difference?
- T-fal vs. Calphalon: In-Depth Cookware Comparison
- All-Clad vs. Calphalon: How Does Their Cookware Compare?
- HexClad vs. Calphalon: Which Cookware Is Better?