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Calphalon Signature vs. Calphalon Premier: Which Cookware Is Better?

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:

  • Options
  • Materials and construction
  • Performance
  • Design
  • Price
  • 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

Calphalon SignatureCalphalon Premier
Where It’s Made Stainless Steel is made in China, non-stick is made in the USChina
Number of Pieces/Sets1540
Price$$$$ (view on Amazon)$$$ (view on Amazon
Stainless Steel Construction5-ply w/ 3-layer aluminum core3-ply w/ aluminum core
Non-Stick ConstructionHard-anodized aluminumHard-anodized aluminum
Non-Stick Cooking Surface3-layer PTFE coating w/ Sear texture3-layer PTFE
Induction-Compatible Stainless steel yes, non-stick noStainless steel yes, non-stick no
Dishwasher-Safe   YesYes
Top Reasons to Buy  Ability to sear with the non-stick pans, higher oven-safe temperatureSpace-saving design, less expensive, more options available
Top Reasons to NOT Buy More expensive, not stackableOnly 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.

Select by Calphalon versus Calphalon Premier_thickness

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 have three. The additional layers make the cookware in both collections more durable, scratch-resistant, and longer-lasting.

Calphalon Premier Hard-Anodized Nonstick Cookware, 13-Inch Deep Skillet with Cover

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.

Stainless Steel Pan Bonded Layers
Stainless Steel Pan Bonded Layers

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.

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.

Calphalon Premier Space Saving Pots and Pans Set, 15 Piece Cookware Set, Nonstick

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.

You can explore all the options within both collections on Calphalon.com or Amazon.

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.

Calphalon Signature Sear Surface
Calphalon Signature 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).

Calphalon Premier Stainless Steel Pots and Pans, 8-Piece Cookware Set

Both utilize a conductive aluminum core, but the core layer within Signature cookware comprises three aluminum layers, and the Premier core is only one. 

Calphalon Signature Stainless Steel Pots and Pans, 10-Piece Cookware Set

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.

Calphalon Premier Flat Glass Lid
Calphalon Premier Flat Glass Lid

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.

Calphalon Premier Space-Saving Design
Calphalon Premier Space-Saving Design

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.

Calphalon Premier Thick Handle Base
Calphalon Premier Thick Handle Base

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:

Calphalon Signature Hard-Anodized Nonstick 8-Inch & 10-Inch Fry Pan Combo

And here’s a look at Premier’s two-rivet design:

Calphalon Premier Hard-Anodized Nonstick 10-Inch and 12-Inch Fry Pan Combo

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.

Calphalon 1948252 Signature Hard Anodized Nonstick Covered Dutch Oven, 5 quart, Black

The helper-handles on Premier pots are much straighter.

Calphalon 2029654 Premier Hard-Anodized Nonstick 8.5-Quart Dutch Oven with Cover, Black

This difference has no impact on the cookware’s function; it’s purely aesthetic.

Difference 8: Where It Is Made

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).

All Premier cookware is made in China. Signature stainless steel cookware is made in China, but individual non-stick pots and pans are made in the United States (Signature non-stick set are made in China).

Difference 9: 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:

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

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 stainless steel and hard-anodized aluminum cookware.

Both collections 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
  • Want non-stick cookware that’s made in the United States

If you’re ready to buy or want to learn more, you can check out both collections on Amazon at the links below:

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He began his career in marketing, managing campaigns for dozens of Fortune 500 brands. In 2018, Andrew founded Prudent Reviews and has since reviewed 600+ products. When he’s not testing the latest cookware, kitchen knives, and appliances, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew via emailLinkedIn, or the Prudent Reviews YouTube channel.

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