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Calphalon vs. Circulon: Which Cookware Is Better?

Are you shopping for new pots and pans but can’t decide between Calphalon and Circulon?

Both brands have been producing high-performing, durable cookware for decades.

But which brand is better? What’s the difference between the two?

In this comparison of Calphalon vs. Circulon, you’ll learn how each brand’s cookware stacks up in terms of construction, performance, design, price, and more.

Keep reading to learn the seven key differences between Calphalon and Circulon.


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


Calphalon vs. Circulon: Quick Comparison Chart

Before I dive into the details, below is a comparison chart showing how Calphalon and Circulon cookware stacks up across all collections.

Both brands offer several collections, so this chart will help familiarize you with their offerings.

Scroll or swipe to view all the information, or download the entire chart as a PDF.

Cookware LinePriceCooking SurfaceCoreExteriorLidsOven-Safe (°F)Induction-CompatibleDishwasher-SafeWhere It's Made
Calphalon Elite$$$$Advanced PFOA-free non-stick, texturedHard anodized aluminumHard anodized aluminumTempered glass500NoYesUSA
Calphalon Signature$$$$Stainless steel or PFOA-free, 3-layer non-stickTriple-layer aluminum core or hard-anodized aluminumStainless steel or hard-anodized aluminumTempered glass500Yes for stainless steel, no for non-stickYesChina
Calphalon Premier$$$Stainless steel or 3-layer non-stickAluminum or hard-anodized aluminumStainless steel or hard-anodized aluminumTempered glass450Yes for stainless steel, no for non-stickYesChina
Calphalon Classic$$PFOA-free, 2-layer non-stick or stainless steelHard-anodized aluminum or aluminumHard-anodized aluminum or stainless steelTempered glass450No for non-stick, yes for stainless steelNo for non-stick, yes for stainless steelChina
Select by Calphalon$$2-layer non-stick or stainless steelHard-anodized aluminum or impact-bonded aluminumHard-anodized aluminum or stainless steelTempered glass400No for non-stick, yes for stainless steelYesChina
Simply Calphalon $$PFOA-free, 2-layer non-stickHard-anodized aluminumHard-anodized aluminumTempered glass400NoNoChina
Calphalon Contemporary$$$Triple-layer, PFOA-free non-stickHard-anodized aluminumHard-anodized aluminumTempered glass450NoYesChina
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$$Triple-layer premium-quality TOTAL Food Release SystemHard-anodized Aluminum, AluminumHard-anodized Aluminum, Aluminum, or Stainless SteelTempered glass400Yes for stainless steel, no for non-stickYes for stainless steel, no for non-stickUSA, Thailand, Italy, China
Circulon Momentum$$Triple-layer premium-quality TOTAL Food Release SystemHard-Anodized Aluminum or Stainless SteelHard-Anodized Aluminum w-DWS Clear Coat or Polished Stainless SteelTempered Glass400Yes for stainless steel, no for non-stickYesUSA, 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 SteelGlass500Yes for stainless steel, no for non-stickYes for stainless steel, no for non-stickUSA, Thailand, Italy, China
Circulon Classic$$Triple-layer premium-quality TOTAL Food Release SystemHard-Anodized Aluminum or Stainless SteelHard-Anodized Aluminum or Polished Stainless SteelTempered Glass350Yes for stainless steel, no for non-stick
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 Glass450Yes for stainless steel, no for non-stickYes for stainless steel, no for non-stickUSA, Thailand, Italy, China

Similarities Between Calphalon and Circulon

Before I get into the differences, let’s look at the similarities between Calphalon and Circulon.

Options

Both Calphalon and Circulon offer a variety of cookware, bakeware, kitchen tools, and accessories.

As you gleaned from the comparison chart, both offer several collections, each with unique materials and features.

Circulon Cookware on Display

Although both brands are best-known for their hard-anodized aluminum non-stick collections, they offer stainless steel cookware, too.

Calphalon Cookware on Display

Note: Circulon stainless steel collections have a non-stick cooking surface. More on this is the Differences section).

Durability

One of the biggest downsides of non-stick cookware is that the coating wears down after a couple of years.

But with Calphalon and Circulon, you won’t need to replace your pans as often.

Circulon’s non-stick coating is ultra-durable and metal utensil-safe, giving you the convenience of using any spatula or spoon. The company claims their non-stick coating is 15x more durable than traditional non-stick.

Calphalon Premier, Signature, Contemporary, and Elite collections feature a triple-layer, metal utensil-safe non-stick coating.

The Classic, Select by Calphalon, and Simply Calphalon collections feature a 2-layer non-stick coating. Although the 2-layer coating is not metal utensil-safe, it’s still durable and won’t wear down quickly.

The exteriors of Calphalon pots and pans are either stainless steel or hard-anodized aluminum, both of which are praised for their strength and durability.

The Circulon Ultimum collection has a standard aluminum exterior, which is slightly less durable, but the other collections utilize either hard-anodized aluminum or stainless steel.

The bottom line is both are long-lasting, but the degree of durability varies by collection.

Warranty

Both brands offer exceptional warranties across their cookware collections.

Circulon offers a lifetime warranty for all its products.

Calphalon offers a lifetime warranty on most collections. However, the Simply Calphalon and Select by Calphalon collections only have a 10-year warranty.

Keep in mind, with both brands, the warranty only covers defects in materials and workmanship. If your pan warps due to overheating or the non-stick surface gets scratched, the warranty won’t help.

Cleaning

Both brands have a wide range of dishwasher-safe options. But before you put your non-stick cookware into the dishwasher, know that doing so can diminish its longevity. I always recommend hand washing non-stick pots and pans.

how to clean Calphalon hard-anodized cookware

With slick non-stick surfaces, everyday cleaning is a breeze. But over time, both brands will need a deep cleaning to remove discoloration and baked in stains. Fortunately, the steps are simple, and I put together this guide to help.

Circulon coats the interior and exterior with non-stick material, which makes cleaning the entire pan easier.

Affordable

Both Calpahlon and Circulon offer affordable, comparable, hard-anodized non-stick cookware options.

Calphalon offers some high-end options, like its Signature and Elite collections, that are very expensive. But for the most part, you can find a range of options within your budget with both brands.

The chart below shows the current prices of both brands’ most popular products.

Note: These prices are pulled in real-time from Amazon. Click each product to learn more.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Differences Between Calphalon and Circulon

Now that you understand the similarities, let’s look at the seven key differences between Calphalon and Circulon.

Difference 1: Materials and Construction

All Calphalon non-stick cookware is made with a hard-anodized aluminum base.  

Calphalon Materials and Construction

Most Circulon non-stick cookware is made with a hard-anodized aluminum base, but the Ultimum, Innovatum, and Acclaim collections feature sets and individual pieces made from standard aluminum.

I always recommend hard-anodized over standard aluminum as it’s more durable and non-reactive (i.e., it can handle acidic foods).

Difference 2: Cooking Surface

Calphalon offers three cooking surfaces: non-stick, stainless steel (pictured below), and cast iron.

Calphalon Signature Stainless Steel 10-Inch Skillet Pan with Cover

All Circulon cookware is non-stick, which is suitable for many recipes, but it isn’t great for the high heats needed for searing or using it in the broiler.

Circulon offers cookware with a stainless steel exterior (pictured below), but even those options feature a non-stick cooking surface. 

Circulon Momentum Stainless Steel Nonstick Cookware Set with Glass Lids, 11-Piece Pot and Pan Set, Stainless Steel

Difference 3: Features

One of Circulon’s biggest selling points — and the inspiration behind the brand’s name — is its TOTAL® Nonstick System.  This system refers to the series of raised circles on the cooking surface.

Circulon Symmetry Hard-Anodized Nonstick Sauté Pan with Helper Handle, 5-Quart, Merlot

Besides the interesting look, the TOTAL® Nonstick System serves two purposes.

First, it reduces abrasion from cooking utensils, which helps the surface longer, even if you use metal utensils.

Second, it creates a tiny bit of space between the food and the cooking surface, which helps with release and easy cleanup.

Circulon claims this cooking surface is so durable that it lasts 15 times longer than the competition, based on the sandpaper test you can see in this video.

Calphalon’s hard-anodized cookware comes with either a two or three-layer non-stick coating, depending on the collection.

Premier, Elite, Signature, and Contemporary offer three layers, making these collections more durable and metal-utensils-safe. Other collections, including Classic, Select, and Simply, feature two layers and are not metal-utensil-safe.

Unlike Circulon, Calphalon’s non-stick surfaces are flat and smooth, with no raised patterns.

Calphalon Frying Pan
Calphalon Smooth Cooking Surface

The Signature collection features a unique non-stick surface for searing and is slightly textured. It sears and browns similar to a stainless steel pan, so you get the best of both worlds: less sticking and perfectly cooked meat.

Difference 4: Design

Both companies maintain a classic aesthetic, but there are two major differences in their design.

First, Circulon’s cookware is available in various colors, including black, chocolate, chocolate/black, merlot, nutmeg, and red.

Circulon Acclaim Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set, 15 Piece, Red

Calphalon’s cookware is either black or stainless steel (brushed or polished). There’s less variety, but the stainless steel is a stunning statement piece.

Calphalon Contemporary Hard Anodized Aluminum Pans
Calphalon Contemporary Hard Anodized Aluminum Pans

The second difference involves the handles. All Circulon handles are wrapped in silicone, which adds an excellent grip but can make the cookware appear cheap.

Most Calphalon handles are brushed stainless steel. Although steel doesn’t provide as much grip as silicone, it can withstand higher oven temperatures and provides a classier look. For those who want statement pieces for their kitchens, this is important.

The two exceptions are the Simply Calphalon and Select by Calphalon collections, which both have silicone-wrapped handles.

Difference 5: Oven-Safe Temperature

Most Calphalon cookware is oven-safe up to at least 450°F, but many collections — such as the Elite and Signature — can handle up to 500°F. 

The Simply Calphalon and Select by Calphalon collections are oven-safe up to 400°F due to their silicone-wrapped handles.

Circulon Ultimum and Genesis collections are oven-safe up to 500°F, but the others can only handle 400°F, and the Classic is only safe up to 350°F.

Calphalon stainless steel pans are broiler-safe, but the non-stick items are not.

Since all Circulon pans have a non-stick coating, none are broiler-safe.

Difference 6: Induction-Compatible Options

If you have an induction cooktop, you’re in luck because both brands offer induction-compatible cookware.

All Calphalon stainless steel cookware is induction-compatible, but its non-stick cookware is not. The aluminum base is not magnetic, which is a requirement for induction cooking.

Circulon stainless steel cookware is induction-compatible, and some of its aluminum cookware is, too. For example, the Symmetry collection is aluminum, but it also has a steel induction plate bonded to the base, making it compatible with induction stovetops.

Difference 7: Where It’s Made

Calphalon manufactures its cookware in the USA and China, but there’s confusion around where each collection is made. 

To get to the bottom of it, I recently caught up with a representative at Calphalon, and they confirmed that only the Elite collection is 100% made in the USA.

If you’re passionate about American-made products, I recommend shopping within those collections (or check out my guide to the Best Cookware Made in the USA).

Meyer Corporation owns Circulon, and its products are made in the USA, Thailand, Italy, or China.

Bottom Line: Should You Buy Calphalon or Circulon?

Now that you know the key differences between Calphalon and Circulon, it’s time to decide which brand is best for you.

The truth is, both brands offer high-performing, durable cookware at a fair price. So you can’t go wrong with either.

Calphalon and Circulon’s key difference is that Circulon only offers non-stick cookware, and the non-stick surface features a unique circular pattern to increase durability and improve food release.

Calphalon has a more well-rounded product offering, with non-stick and stainless steel cooking surfaces (and even cast iron). Their cooking surfaces are smooth, ultra-durable, and easy to clean.

The bottom line — I recommend Calphalon over Circulon. Here’s why:

  • All of its non-stick cookware is made with durable hard-anodized aluminum. Unlike Circulon, Calphalon doesn’t make any cookware using standard aluminum.
  • Calphalon cookware can handle higher temperatures in the oven.
  • Calphalon’s product range is more extensive and includes stainless steel cooking surfaces. I recommend having a few stainless steel items in the kitchen, especially for high-heat recipes like searing steak.
  • Circulon’s Total Release System helps release food but doesn’t allow food to make complete contact with the heat, inhibiting the ability to sear and brown.
  • Circulon’s silicone-wrapped handles provide extra grip but are a common feature of discount cookware, making the pans look cheap.

That said, Circulon is a reliable brand, and many customers love the signature circular-patterned cooking surface.

But if you buy Circulon, make sure to buy from a collection that features a hard-anodized aluminum base (not standard aluminum). And keep in mind that a non-stick surface isn’t versatile enough for every recipe.

You can read more reviews and compare the current prices of both brands 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’s been studying consumer buying behavior for over a decade and has managed marketing campaigns for over a dozen Fortune 500 brands. When he’s not testing the latest home products, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn or via email.

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