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Calphalon vs. Rachael Ray: Which Cookware Is Better?

Are you shopping for cookware and trying to decide between Calphalon and Rachael Ray?

Are you curious about the pros and cons of each brand?

In this comparison of Calphalon vs. Rachael Ray cookware, I break down the 12 key differences to help you decide which cookware is best for you.

You’ll learn how their pots and pans compare in terms of:

  • Construction and materials
  • Design
  • Performance
  • Price
  • And more

Let’s get right into it.


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


Rachael Ray vs. Calphalon: Comparison Chart

Don’t have much time? The chart below provides a quick overview of Calphalon vs. Rachael Ray cookware. Following, I will cover each difference in-depth.

Calphalon Rachael Ray
ConstructionHard-anodized aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron. Hard-anodized aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron.
DesignBlack or stainless exteriors with steel handles and glass lids.Colored enamel with silicone-wrapped handles.
CollectionsElite, Signature, Premier, Classic, Select, SimplyCast Iron, Cityscapes, Classic Brights, Create Delicious, Cucina, Get Cooking!, Hard-Anodized, Stainless Steel
InductionOnly stainless steel cookware is induction-compatible.Create Delicious, Stainless Steel, Cast Iron, and Enamel Cast Iron collections are all induction-compatible.
Oven Safety400-500°F 350-500°F
Metal UtensilsAll stainless steel and Elite, Signature, and Premier non-stick are metal utensil-safe.Stainless steel is metal utensil-safe; non-stick is not.
Where It’s MadeOhio or ChinaUnited States, Thailand, Italy, and China. 
Founded1963Meyer Corporation (parent company of Rachael Ray cookware) was established in 1962. 
Price$$-$$$ (view on Amazon)$-$$ (view on Amazon)

Difference 1: Construction

While both brands offer similar construction, Calphalon has more hard-anodized aluminum options, boasts fully-clad stainless steel (unlike Rachael Ray), and uses multiple layers of coating on all non-stick cookware.

Let’s dive into the details of Calphalon and Rachael Ray’s construction.

Calphalon

Calphalon cookware comes in the following constructions:

  • Hard-anodized aluminum with PTFE-based, PFOA-free, multi-layer non-stick coating
  • Hard-anodized aluminum with oil-infused PTFE/PFOA-free ceramic non-stick coating
  • Enameled aluminum with oil-infused PTFE/PFOA-free ceramic non-stick coating
  • Fully-clad stainless steel
  • Impact-bonded stainless steel
  • Cast iron

Calphalon Non-stick

Calphalon offers two types of non-stick: PTFE-based and ceramic-based (check out this in-depth comparison to learn the difference).

The base of these pots and pans is either hard-anodized aluminum or enameled aluminum.

Calphalon Classic and Signature Hard-Anodized Aluminum Base
Calphalon Signature (left), Classic (right)

On the interiors, Calphalon uses a ceramic or a PTFE-based coating with multiple layers. Some Calphalon collections, like Simply Calphalon, have dual-layer non-stick. Other collections, like Signature, feature triple-layer non-stick.

Calphalon Classic versus Signature Non-Stick Coating
Calphalon Signature (left), Classic (right)

Multi-layer non-stick is more durable than single-layer or “reinforced” non-stick coating. Multiple layers add to the lifespan of non-stick cookware.

For example, the triple-layer non-stick coating on the Calphalon Premier collection has an interior layer designed for handling direct contact, a middle layer to reinforce the first layer’s durability, and a bottom layer to ensure it adheres to the aluminum base.

Rachael Ray doesn’t offer that level of transparency when describing the makeup of its non-stick coating. I’ll discuss this more when I cover Rachael Ray’s construction.

Calphalon Stainless Steel

Calphalon stainless steel is either fully-clad or impact-bonded. The Signature and Premier collections are fully-clad, while the Classic and Select by Calphalon collections feature impact-bonded bases.

Fully-clad stainless steel employs multiple layers of steel and a conductive material like aluminum, copper, or graphite. An impact-bonded base has conductive layers at the bottom only.

As a result, fully-clad cookware delivers even heating and better heat retention to every part of the pan. Its heat distribution outperforms impact-bonded base cookware, which only heats from the bottom; the sides of the pan get residual heat from the base resulting in uneven heating and less heat retention.

Calphalon Cast Iron

Finally, Calphalon offers a few cast iron pieces; it’s pre-seasoned and ready to use.

Cast Iron Cookware
Calphalon Cast Iron Cookware

Rachael Ray

Rachael Ray cookware comes in the following constructions:

  • Hard-anodized aluminum with PTFE-based, PFOA-free non-stick
  • Enamel on aluminum with PTFE-based, PFOA-free non-stick
  • Stainless steel
  • Enamel on Steel
  • Cast iron and enamel cast iron

Rachael Ray Non-stick

The Rachael Ray website offers vague descriptions regarding how its non-stick coating is constructed. There are references to PTFE non-stick and a product called PlatinumShield, which claims to be “reinforced to be 9 times harder than titanium.”

Rachael Ray Cookware Non-Stick Interior
Rachael Ray Cookware Non-Stick Interior

PlatinumShield is a trademarked product of Meyer Corporation, the parent company of Rachael Ray cookware.

A representative of Meyer Corporation shared that it’s a heavy-duty multi-layer coating but did not disclose how many layers or how those layers are constructed.

The non-stick pots and pans have a sturdy construction, as they use hard-anodized aluminum or steel as the base and are coated with enamel for a colorful aesthetic.

Rachael Ray Stainless Steel

Rachael Ray stainless cookware employs impact-bonded bases — there are no fully-clad options. The impact-bonded base delivers heat to the bottom of the pot, and the sides draw heat from the base.

That type of construction results in uneven and slower heating than a fully-clad pot or pan. Remember, fully-clad cookware boasts layers from bottom to rim, resulting in more even heating and better heat retention.

Rachael Ray Cast Iron

Rachael Ray offers bare, pre-seasoned cast iron and enamel on cast iron cookware. It’s a heavy-duty construction designed to last.

The enamel on cast iron offers the heat retention of cast iron without worrying about reactive foods like tomatoes stripping away the seasoning.

Difference 2: Design

Calphalon cookware features gray, dark gray, black, or polished or brushed stainless steel. All handles are brushed or polished stainless steel exteriors.

The bulk of Rachael Ray cookware offers pops of color on the handles or brightly colored exteriors in multiple shades.

Calphalon versus Rachael Ray Cookware Design
Rachael Ray (left), Calphalon (right)

Let’s take a closer look at the design of each brand’s cookware.

Calphalon

Across all collections, you’ll find gray, black, or stainless steel exteriors. All of the PTFE-based non-stick interiors are black.

Best Calphalon Set

One collection, Calphalon Elite, has a textured non-stick interior for advanced searing and browning.

The ceramic non-stick interiors are light gray.

All of the handles are riveted stainless steel and similar in shape and style. Many feature a Y-shaped design, which disperses heat and keeps the handle cool.

Calphalon Contemporary Stay Cool Handles
Calphalon Stay-Cool Handles

Select by Calphalon cookware adds a black silicone grip to its handles, which is useful when the cookware is wet.

The lids are made with tempered glass and trimmed in stainless steel. Most lids are slightly domed, but the ones that come with Calphalon’s stackable cookware are flat with side handles.

Calphalon tempered glass lids

The walls of Calphalon cookware are much thicker than Rachael Ray’s.

Calphalon versus Rachael Ray Cookware Thickness
Calphalon (left), Rachael Ray (right)

Overall, Calphalon offers a traditional style with understated elegance. The design is sleek but not flashy.

Rachael Ray

By contrast, Rachael Ray cookware is colorful, vibrant, and fun.

Rachael Ray Cookware Set

There are dozens of hues across the collections, including:

  • Agave Blue
  • Blue
  • Blue Gradient
  • Burgundy
  • Burgundy Shimmer
  • Cranberry Red
  • Gray
  • Gray Shimmer
  • Lavender Purple
  • Lemongrass Green
  • Light Blue
  • Light Blue Shimmer
  • Marine Blue
  • Mushroom Brown
  • Orange
  • Orange Gradient
  • Pumpkin Orange
  • Purple
  • Purple Shimmer
  • Red
  • Red Gradient
  • Red Shimmer
  • Sea Salt
  • Sea Salt Gray
  • Sky Blue
  • Teal
  • Teal Shimmer
  • Turquoise

The hard-anodized pieces are dark, although some offer a splash of color on the silicone-grip handles showcased in the Classic Brights, Cucina, Create Delicious, and Get Cooking! collections.

Rachael Ray Silicone-Grip Handles
Rachael Ray Silicone-Grip Handles

The silicone wrapping keeps the handles cool and provides a secure grip, even when your hands are wet.

Rachael Ray Cookware Set from an above angle

As you can see in the picture below, the Create Delicious collection features a steel induction plate bonded to the bottom of the pots and pans, making them compatible with all cooktops.

Bottom of Rachael Ray Cookware
Bottom of Rachael Ray Cookware

Rachael Ray’s non-stick interiors are either black or silver-toned.

Rachael Ray Frying Pan
Rachael Ray silver interior

The lids are either tempered glass, enamel on steel, or enamel on cast iron.

Rachael Ray Cookware Tempered Glass Lids

Difference 3: Product Offerings

Calphalon and Rachael Ray cookware have several collections. Here’s a quick overview of the different options from both brands.

Calphalon

  • Elite (Williams-Sonoma): Black hard-anodized aluminum with a textured non-stick surface. Polished, riveted stainless steel handles.
  • Signature: Dark gray hard-anodized aluminum with a tri-layer non-stick surface. Brushed, riveted stainless steel handles. Some brushed fully-clad (5-ply) stainless steel pieces and sets.
  • Premier: Brushed fully-clad (3-ply) stainless or black hard-anodized aluminum. Some stackable sets. Riveted stainless steel handles.
  • Classic: Impact-bonded stainless steel and black hard-anodized aluminum. Riveted stainless steel handles.
  • Select by Calphalon: Impact-bonded brushed stainless or black hard-anodized aluminum with dual-layer non-stick. Stackable sets. Riveted stainless steel handles with black silicone grips. Also features oil-infused ceramic non-stick cookware with a shiny black ceramic exterior and light gray interior.
  • Simply by Calphalon: Dark gray hard-anodized aluminum with dual-layer non-stick. Stainless/black silicone handles.
  • Contemporary: Dark gray hard-anodized aluminum with triple-layer non-stick. Brushed stainless steel handles.

Learn more about Calphalon’s full cookware lineup on Amazon or Williams-Sonoma.com.

Rachael Ray

  • Cucina: Dark gray hard-anodized or colored enamel on aluminum. Riveted, colored silicone on brushed stainless steel handles. Black non-stick coating.
  • Classic Brights: Dark gray hard-anodized or colored enamel on aluminum. Riveted, colored silicone-wrapped stainless steel handles. Black non-stick coating.
  • Stainless Steel and Hard-Anodized Nonstick: A mix of impact-bonded stainless steel and dark gray hard-anodized aluminum. Riveted polished stainless steel handles.
  • Cityscapes: Colored enamel on aluminum. Riveted, colored handles with stainless steel accents. Knob-style handles on the lids. Black non-stick coating.
  • Create Delicious: Colored enamel on aluminum. Riveted, colored silicone-wrapped stainless steel handles. Silver-toned non-stick coating. Some colored enamel on steel (stockpot).
  • Cast Iron: Bare, black pre-seasoned cast iron or colored enamel on cast iron with light-colored interiors.
  • Get Cooking!: Glossy, colored enamel on aluminum. Rubberized, colored phenolic handles. Silver-toned non-stick coating.

Learn more about all Rachael Ray collections on Amazon or RachaelRay.com.

Difference 4: Heat Conduction

One of the most important factors to consider before buying cookware is how well it conducts heat.

You want cookware that heats quickly but also evenly.

So, how do Calphalon and Rachael Ray compare in this category? To find out, I conducted a quick test.

First, I poured two cups of cold water into Calphalon and Rachael Ray pans. I placed both pans on the same-sized burners and turned the heat to high.

My goal was to see which pan boiled the water first and how evenly they heated. Pans that heat evenly will have bubbles uniformly dispersed across the cooking surface as the water boils.

After one minute and 45 seconds, the water in the Calphalon pan started to bubble, and after two minutes and 40 seconds, it came to a full boil.

The water in the Rachel Ray pan started to bubble after one minute and 47 seconds and came to a full boil after two minutes and 36 seconds.

Rachael Ray Cookware Heat Conduction Test
Rachael Ray Cookware Heat Conduction Test

While both pans heated at nearly the same speed, the bubbles in the Rachael Ray pan were completely evenly across the cooking surface, while there was a notifiable cold spot in the middle of the Calphalon pan.

Cold spot in the middle of a Calphalon pan

That said, I’ve never experienced any issues with hot or cold spots or inconsistent results when cooking with Calphalon.

Difference 5: Heat Retention

Heat Retention is another important attribute to consider when shopping for cookware.

The best cookware not only heats fast and evenly but also holds heat well.

Heat retention is especially important for searing meats. When you place a cold piece of meat on a hot pan, you want the pan to maintain its temperature to get a good sear and lock in the moisture.

Also, if the pan’s temperature fluctuates as you add ingredients, your food won’t cook evenly.

So, how do Calphalon and Rachael Ray stack up in terms of heat retention?

I conducted another simple test to find out.

After the water began to boil, I removed both pans from the stove and placed them on the counter. I waited precisely five minutes and recorded the temperature of the water. After another five minutes, I measured the water temperature again.

At the initial five minutes, the water in the Calphalon pan was 112.8°F, and it was 101.1°F after ten minutes.

The water in the Rachael Ray pan was 126°F after five minutes and 102°F after ten minutes.

Rachael Ray Cookware Heat Retention Test
Rachael Ray Cookware Heat Retention Test

These results show that after five minutes, Rachael Ray retains heat better than Calphalon, but after ten minutes, both pans are about equal.

Difference 6: Induction Compatibility

All Calphalon stainless steel and cast iron cookware is induction compatible.

However, Calphalon’s hard-anodized aluminum cookware is not compatible with induction cooktops.

Why? Because the bottoms of the pans are aluminum, which is not a magnetic material.

Rachael Ray stainless steel, cast iron, enamel cast iron, and Create Delicious collections are induction-compatible.

The hard-anodized collections do not have an induction plate bonded to the bottoms of the pots and pans; therefore, they’re not induction-compatible.

Difference 7: Oven-Safe Temperatures

Oven safe temperatures vary across both brands and also by collections within the brands.

Calphalon stainless steel cookware is broiler-safe, except for the Classic and Select by Calphalon collections.

Calphalon non-stick cookware is not broiler-safe.

Rachael Ray stainless steel cookware (without silicone on handles) is broiler-safe; all other pieces are not broiler-safe.

The following lists show all oven-safe temperatures for both brands. As you’ll see, Calphalon has more options for higher heat cooking in the oven than Rachael Ray cookware.

Calphalon

  • Elite (Williams-Sonoma): 500°F
  • Signature: 500°F
  • Premier: 450°F
  • Classic: 450°F
  • Select by Calphalon: 400°F
  • Simply by Calphalon: 400°F
  • Contemporary: 450°F

Rachael Ray

  • Cucina: 400°F
  • Classic Brights: 350°F
  • Stainless Steel and Hard-Anodized Non-stick: 500°F
  • Cityscapes: 350°F
  • Create Delicious: 400°F
  • Cast Iron: 500°F
  • Get Cooking!: 350-400°F

Difference 8: Metal Utensil-Safe

Calphalon’s stainless steel cookware and its Elite, Signature, and Premier non-stick collections are metal utensil safe. The non-stick cookware in Classic, Simply Calphalon, Contemporary, and Select by Calphalon collections is not metal utensil-safe.

Only Rachael Ray stainless steel cookware is metal utensil-safe.

Difference 9: Where It Is Made

Except for the Elite and Signature non-stick collections, which are made in Ohio, Calphalon cookware is made in China. Since the cookware is still designed in Toledo, you may see stamps on the bottoms of pots and pans that mention Ohio, but they are manufactured overseas.

Meyer Corporation, the company that owns Rachael Ray cookware, has several factories across the United States, Thailand, Italy, and China. However, they own several brands and don’t disclose specifically where Rachael Ray cookware is made.

Difference 10: Company History

Calphalon was founded in 1963 in Ohio by Ronald M. Kasperzak. He was the first to manufacture cookware with hard-anodized aluminum, a material that was used in the aerospace industry at the time. 

After seeing the benefits of this durable, corrosion-resistant material, the culinary world took notice, and Calphalon started developing a loyal customer base. 

By 1980, the company was selling cookware to culinary schools and gourmet shops, and the brand took off from there.

Today, Calphalon is one of the best-selling cookware brands. You can purchase it on Amazon, Calphalon.com, department stores like Macy’s, and kitchenware retailers like Williams-Sonoma.

The story behind Rachael Ray cookware is a bit different.

Rachael Ray grew up around food and retail. She became a breakout celebrity chef in the early 2000s and began rolling out cookware under the parent company Meyer Corporation.

Meyer Corporation has been manufacturing cookware brands since 1972. They own several cookware brands, including Anolon, Circulon, and Hestan.

Cookware is just one part of Rachael Ray’s brand. Her products span from cooking tools and gadgets to home decor and fashion.

You can buy Rachael Ray cookware at Amazon, RachaelRay.com, and major retailers like Bed, Bath & Beyond, Kohls, and Walmart.

Difference 11: Price

Calphalon cookware costs more than Rachael Ray, although prices depend on the collection and the type of cookware.

For example, fully-clad stainless steel is more expensive than stainless steel with an impact-bonded base.

Calphalon offers a mix of price points for all budgets. The Elite and Signature collections are high-end, and Premier, Classic, and Contemporary are mid-tier. Select By Calphalon and Simply Calphalon are the most affordable.

All Rachael Ray collections are affordable, but the hard-anodized aluminum cookware is the most costly.

To give you a better idea of how Calphalon compares to Rachael Ray, below is a chart showing current pricing for both brands:

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Difference 12: Downsides

While Calphalon and Rachael Ray offer many benefits, there are a few downsides to consider before choosing which brand to buy.

Calphalon

  • Is more expensive than Rachael Ray cookware.
  • Only comes in stainless steel or dark colors.
  • Many of the non-stick collections are not induction-compatible.
  • Only the three most expensive collections are metal utensil-safe.
  • There are complaints about the longevity of the non-stick coating; some report that it chips and breaks down after limited use.
  • Most collections are made in China.

Rachael Ray

  • You get relatively low oven-safe temperatures across the collections.
  • There aren’t many choices for stainless steel cookware.
  • None of the stainless steel cookware is fully-clad.
  • The lids don’t fit tight to the pans, allowing moisture to escape.
  • There are complaints about the longevity of the non-stick coating; some users report chipping after a few months of use.
  • The aluminum cookware has a thin, lightweight construction. The lack of heft makes it feel flimsy and of low quality.
  • The steel impact-bonded bases get dirty and are difficult to keep clean.
  • Many of the cookware collections are not dishwasher-safe.

What Others Are Saying

To get a feel for the reputation of both brands, let’s take a look at what consumer review brands and cookware experts have to say about Calphalon vs. Rachael Ray.

Good Housekeeping recently picked the Best Non-Stick Cookware Sets, and Calphalon and Rachael Ray both made the list. The reviewers tested 35 cookware lines and found that the Calphalon Signature 10-Piece Cookware Set was the Best Overall for its “unbeatable performance with durability.” Rachael Ray cookware was named Best Non-stick Cookware for Beginners because it has excellent food release, good heat distribution, and is easy to clean.

Reviewed tested a variety of non-stick pans and called the Calphalon Premier 10-Inch Hard-Anodized Fry Pan one of the Best Non-stick Pans. It got high marks for quick heating and food release. Yet, the handle got hot, and the edges of the pan had poor food release.

Food Network picked Rachael Ray Create Delicious 13-Piece Cookware Set as the Best Budget Set. It was praised for even heating, effortless food release, oven safety, induction compatibility, and sturdy silicone-wrapped handles.

All Recipes made a list of the Best Cookware Sets. Calphalon Classic 10-Piece Pots and Pans Set was named Best Quality. They noted its ease of use, even heating, dishwasher safety, and measuring markings inside the pots. Rachael Ray Cucina 12-Piece Cookware Pots and Pans Set was named Best Non-stick. Reviewers loved the easy food release and color choices.

Consumer Reports recently named the Best Cookware Sets, and Calphalon Premier 8-Piece Space Saving Set made the cut. It was celebrated for its stackable, space-saving design, even heating, ease of cleaning, sturdy handles, and oven safety up to 500°F.

Bottom Line: Should You Buy Calphalon or Rachael Ray Cookware?

After learning about the key differences between Calphalon and Rachael Ray cookware, which brand is better?

Before I offer my recommendation, let’s recap the key differences.

  • Calphalon offers sturdier cookware; Rachael Ray has more colors.
  • Calphalon offers fully-clad and impact-bonded stainless steel. Rachael Ray has one impact-bonded stainless set but no fully-clad options.
  • Calphalon has higher-end offerings than Rachael Ray.
  • Rachael Ray cookware doesn’t offer ceramic non-stick cookware, but Calphalon does.
  • Calphalon doesn’t offer enamel cast iron cookware, but Rachael Ray does.
  • Rachael Ray pans retain heat slightly better than Calphalon pans.
  • Calphalon has more induction-compatible cookware options than Rachael Ray.
  • Calphalon cookware can withstand higher oven temperatures than some of Rachael Ray’s collections.
  • Calphalon has more metal utensil-safe cookware than Rachael Ray.
  • Most of Calphalon’s cookware is made in China; Rachael Ray is made in multiple locations: US, Thailand, Italy, and China.
  • Calphalon’s brand has been around longer than Rachael Ray’s.

Bottom line — I recommend Calphalon for your next cookware purchase. Of the two brands, it boasts better performance, and the brand has a long track record of durability. If you want cookware that will last, choose Calphalon.

Rachael Ray cookware is designed by a celebrity chef and costs less, but in the long run, it can’t match the durability of Calphalon. The construction is lightweight with thinner walls, fewer non-stick layers, and no fully-clad stainless steel options.

If you are on a budget and need starter cookware, Rachael Ray is a good choice. If you’re looking for cookware from a proven brand that will last, go with Calphalon.

Check out Calphalon on Amazon or Williams-Sonoma.com and Rachael Ray cookware on Amazon or RachaelRay.com to learn more.

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 10+ years 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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