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HexClad vs. Calphalon: Which Cookware Is Better?

In this comparison of HexClad vs. Calphalon, I break down the pros and cons of each brands’ cookware.

You’ll learn how these brands compare in terms of: 

  • Product offerings
  • Materials and construction
  • Cooking performance
  • Design (with lots of pictures)
  • Price
  • And more

So, if you’re shopping for new pots and pans but can’t decide between HexClad and Calphalon, keep reading.


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HexClad vs. Calphalon: Comparison Chart

Below is a comparison chart to quickly see the differences between HexClad and Calphalon cookware. I’ll go into more depth throughout the article.

HexCladCalphalon
ConstructionHybrid of 3-ply stainless steel and non-stick materialAluminum, hard-anodized aluminum, stainless steel, or cast iron
DesignDistinct hexagon design with riveted stay-cool handlesClassic black or stainless exteriors with riveted handles
Product OfferingsStainless steel and non-stick hybridElite, Signature, Premier, Classic, Select, Simply, Contemporary
Induction-CompatibleAll cookware is induction-compatibleOnly stainless steel cookware is induction-compatible
Oven-Safe TemperaturesAll cookware up to 500°FAll stainless steel, Elite, and Signature lines up to 500℉
Where It’s MadeMade in ChinaMade in either Ohio or China
Company HistoryIntroduced in the U.S. in 2016Established in 1963
Price$$$$ (view on Amazon and HexClad.com)$$-$$$ varies by collection (view on Amazon)

Difference 1: Construction

HexClad cookware is constructed from 3-ply magnetic steel and aluminum. The exterior is steel, the core is aluminum, and the cooking surface is a stainless steel non-stick hybrid cooking surface.

HexClad 3-ply base
HexClad 3-ply base

You’ll see this in the form of a hexagon pattern that features stainless steel “peaks” and non-stick “valleys.”

HexClad cookware hybrid surface
HexClad cookware hybrid surface

The patented cooking surface is intended to give you both the benefits of stainless steel and non-stick. The raised stainless steel peaks help with searing and browning; the non-stick valleys encourage food release and minimal sticking.

HexClad only features one collection, so you’ll have to shop other brands if you’re looking to buy various cookware types (ex. stainless, non-stick, cast iron, etc.)

Calphalon, on the other hand, has many offerings. Therefore, the construction varies. They’re best known for their hard-anodized aluminum non-stick cookware, but they also offer stainless steel and cast iron.

Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Non-Stick Pan
Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Non-Stick Pan

Hard-anodized aluminum is aluminum that has been treated with an electrolytic process that creates a hard oxidized layer on the surface.

This process, which Calphalon pioneered in the late 1960s, hardens the aluminum, making it more durable, resistant to corrosion, and heat conductive than standard aluminum.

Difference 2: Design

HexClad’s unique design is featured on all of its cookware.

HexClad 12 Inch Frying Pan Design
HexClad 12 Inch Frying Pan

The cooking surface features a hexagon pattern created by the mix of stainless steel and non-stick.

HexClad cookware hexagonal pattern
HexClad cookware hexagonal pattern

This pattern extends throughout the cookware, including on the exterior, making it easier to clean the entire pan.

HexClad cookware exterior

The handles are big, round, and riveted to the base. The handle is hollow, which disperses heat and keeps your hand safe and cool.

HexClad cookware handle

Calphalon cookware features a traditional design. The hard-anodized aluminum collections boast a black exterior (a result of the anodizing process).

Calphalon Contemporary Non Stick Cookware
Calphalon Contemporary Non Stick Cookware

The stainless steel collections have a modern brushed exterior that hides smudges better than traditional polished (shiny) steel cookware.

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

Calphalon handles are riveted to the base, but they are not as round or thick as HexClad.

Calphalon Contemporary Handles_2
Calphalon Contemporary Handles

Both brands have thick walls, which improves heat conduction and retention.

HexClad versus Calphalon thickness
HexClad (left), Calphalon (right)

Difference 3: Heat Conduction

One of the most important performance measures of any cookware is heat conduction. In other words, you want cookware that heats quickly and evenly.

So how do HexClad and Calphalon compare in this regard?

To find out, I conducted a simple test. I poured two cups of cold water in the HexClad 12-inch pan and Calphalon Contemporary 12-inch pan. After placing each on the stove on high simultaneously, I measured which pan boiled the water faster.

HexClad boiled the water in 2 minutes and 30 seconds, and Calphalon boiled it in 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

Although both pans heated up quickly, I noticed a significant difference in terms of heat distribution.

Calphalon heat conduction test cold spot
Calphalon heat conduction test cold spot

The bubbles in the Calphalon pan were even around the sides but highlighted a noticeable cold spot in the middle.

HexClad heat conduction test

The HexClad pan showed completely uniform heat across the entire cooking surface.

Difference 4: Heat Retention

After recording the heat conduction test results, I poured the water out and placed both pans on the countertop.

Five minutes later, I placed my hand on each pan and noticed that the HexClad pan was significantly warmer than the Calphalon pan. I also tested it after ten minutes, and the HexClad pan was slightly warm while the Calphalon was at room temperature.

These results indicate that HexClad has better heat retention, which is an important attribute, especially for searing meats and keeping foods warm. 

One major caveat: I tested HexClad against the Calphalon Contemporary pan, which is a mid-tier collection. If I had tried it against the Calphalon Elite, Premier, or Signature collections, my results may have differed.

Difference 5: Product Offerings

Another significant difference between the two brands is that HexClad only offers one cookware line — Hybrid — and Calphalon has several different collections with more options.

Here’s what Calphalon offers:

Elite: This high-end collection was designed in partnership with Williams Sonoma. Although it’s expensive, it comes with added benefits, including a triple-layer non-stick coating that’s metal utensil-safe and a textured finish for searing and browning.

Signature: This collection features both non-stick and stainless steel cookware. The non-stick cookware is made with a hard-anodized aluminum base and three layers of non-stick coating. The stainless steel cookware features 5-ply construction with a triple-layer aluminum core to provide even heating and excellent temperature control.

Premier: This collection includes non-stick, stainless steel, and stackable cookware. The non-stick cookware is made from hard-anodized non-stick, and the stainless steel selections feature 3-ply construction for even heat distribution.

Classic: This is one of Calphalon’s best-selling collections due to its quality construction, affordable price, and array of options. The non-stick cookware has a hard-anodized aluminum base and dual-layered non-stick coating. The stainless steel cookware features an impact-bonded base, which distributes heat evenly across the flat part of the cooking surface but not up the sides like fully-clad cookware.

Select by Calphalon: Similar to the Premier collection, Select by Calphalon features non-stick, stainless steel, and stackable cookware. The non-stick cookware is made with a hard-anodized aluminum base and dual-layer non-stick coating. The stainless steel cookware utilizes an impact-bonded aluminum base.

Simply Calphalon: This collection is made from hard-anodized aluminum and a PFOA-free 2-layer non-stick interior for easy food release and cleanup. It’s one of Calphalon’s least expensive collections.

Contemporary: This collection features non-stick cookware made with a hard-anodized aluminum base and triple-layer non-stick coating. The handles have smooth curves, giving this cookware a modern contemporary look, hence the name.

In addition to cookware, Calphalon also offers bakeware, cutlery, and kitchen tools.

Difference 6: Induction-Compatible

All HexClad cookware is induction-compatible.

Calphalon’s stainless steel cookware is induction-compatible but not the hard-anodized non-stick selections. That is because the hard-anodized aluminum base isn’t magnetic (a requirement for induction cooking).

Difference 7: Oven-Safe Temperatures

Every piece of HexClad cookware is oven-safe up to 500°F.

The oven-safe temperature of Calphalon cookware varies by collection, ranging from 400°F to 500°F.

The Elite, Signature, and Contemporary (stainless) collections are oven-safe up to 500°F.

The Premier, Classic, and Contemporary (non-stick) are oven-safe up to 450°F. And the Select by Calphalon and Simply Calphalon collections are oven-safe up to 400°F.

If you plan on using either HexClad or Calphalon in the broiler, make sure to check with your oven manual to see hot the broiler temperatures reach.

Difference 8: Metal Utensil-Safe

A significant advantage that HexClad has over Calphalon is that all of its pots and pans are metal utensil-safe.

Only Calphalon’s Elite, Premier, and Signature collections are metal utensil-safe. The rest are not.

The raised steel peaks on HexClad’s cooking surface protect the non-stick material from getting scratched. So when you run a metal spatula over the cooking surface, it only contacts the steel.

In fact, in HexClad’s commercials, the HexClad founder uses both a hand mixer and a pizza cutter on the cooking surface to prove its durability.

That added toughness makes HexClad more convenient and versatile.

Difference 9: Where It’s Made

HexClad cookware is designed in Los Angeles but made in China.

Some of the Calphalon’s aluminum options are produced in Ohio, but most (along with stainless steel and cast iron) are made in China.

Difference 10: Company History

HexClad is still relatively new and officially launched in the U.S. in 2016. The company prides itself on its unique hybrid technology. Although others, such as Black Cube, try to mimic their hybrid approach, HexClad is the category leader by far.

You can buy HexClad cookware on HexClad.com, Amazon, or at select Costco stores.

Calphalon was established in 1963 and is credited with inventing hard-anodized cookware. You can purchase Calphalon products on Amazon or in multiple major retail chains.

Difference 11: Price

I’ve reviewed dozens of cookware brands, and HexClad is one of the most expensive I’ve seen. It’s priced like premium stainless steel and copper cookware.

Calphalon has a wide range of options for all budgets. The Elite, Signature, and Premier collections are on the higher end; Contemporary and Classic are mid-tier; Select by Calphalon, and Simply Calphalon are the most affordable.

Overall, HexClad is significantly more expensive than Calphalon, even when you compare it to Calphalon’s high-end collections.

To give you a better idea, refer to the chart below showing the current prices across both brands.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Difference 12: Downsides

Both brands come with some drawbacks to consider before you buy.

HexClad is a new brand. Although the company claims durability, the cookware’s longevity is yet to be proven.

Another downside, and arguably the biggest, is that HexClad is extremely expensive. In fact, you could buy two to four Calphalon pans for the price of one HexClad.

With cookware, you often get what you pay for. But I question HexClad’s prices considering the fact that the non-stick coating will eventually break down, and the pan will have to be replaced. 

Finally, HexClad is reliable all-purpose cookware, but it doesn’t perform one thing really well.

For example, you’ll get a better sear on meats with a regular stainless steel pan. And, one of the most common complaints is that food sticks (despite HexClad’s claim to be non-stick) — a standard non-stick pan will make flipping eggs and pancakes much easier.

Calphalon has several downsides, too.

It has limited induction-compatible options across the collections.

The company also only has three metal utensil-safe options, and these are the three most expensive collections.

Finally, several customers report that the non-stick coating breaks down and chips after limited use. I’ve found that Calphalon non-stick pans last right around the average: two to five years, depending on the frequency of use and care.

What Others Are Saying

Let’s look at what other experts are saying for a broader idea of how these brands compare.

Good Housekeeping named the Calphalon Signature 10-piece hard-anodized non-stick cookware set the best overall choice. The reviewers praised it for its “unbeatable performance and durability.”

The experts named HexClad the best hybrid non-stick cookware. They loved it for its unique cooking surface that can sear meat at high temperatures and make fluffy scrambled eggs.

Reviewed praised the Calphalon Premier cookware for its triple-layer PTFE coating with rounded edges. But they also mentioned that the bowl-like shape made it difficult to flip certain ingredients and that the handle got hot after extended use.

In that same article, the reviewers were impressed with HexClad’s quick and even heating. On the flip side, they also mentioned that without oil, the eggs got stuck to the surface so severely that they didn’t come off even when they tried to work them free with a rubber spatula.

The Spruce Eats awarded Calphalon’s Contemporary non-stick set as the second-best set overall. They praised it for the price, versatile sizes, and quick and even cooking. In that same review, HexClad was awarded as the best hybrid non-stick. The reviewers loved the 3-ply stainless steel and non-stick interior safe for metal utensils.

Bottom Line: Should You Buy HexClad or Calphalon?

We’ve covered the key difference between HexClad and Calphalon. Now it’s time to decide which brand is right for you.

Let’s quickly recap the main differences:

Construction: HexClad has one collection, which is made from 3-ply magnetic steel and aluminum construction. It features a hybrid stainless steel non-stick interior. Calphalon has more options, including hard-anodized aluminum with ceramic non-stick coating, stainless steel, and cast iron.

Design: HexClad’s design is unique with the hexagonal pattern on both the interior and exterior. Calphalon cookware has a more traditional design with either black or stainless steel exteriors.

Product offerings: HexClad has one collection: Hybrid. Calphalon has seven collections.

Induction-Compatible: All HexClad pots and pans are induction-compatible, whereas only Calphalon’s stainless steel cookware is.

Oven-Safe temperatures: HexClad’s cookware is oven safe up to 500°F. Calphalon’s stainless steel cookware and some of the non-stick options are oven safe up to 500°F.

Metal utensil-safe: All HexClad products are metal utensil safe thanks to the raised stainless steel peaks. Only a few collections from Calphalon — Elite, Premier, and Signature — are safe with metal utensils.

Where it’s made: HexClad products are made in China, and most of Calphalon’s are, too. However, some of their aluminum products are made in Ohio.

Company history: HexClad officially launched in the U.S. in 2016, whereas Calphalon was established in 1963.

Price: HexClad products have a high price tag. Calphalon collections come in a range of prices to suit a variety of budgets.

Downsides: Besides the high price, the biggest complaint about HexClad is that food sticks, despite the companies non-stick claim. Calphalon doesn’t have a lot of induction-compatible or metal utensil-safe options. Plus, the non-stick surface can wear down after limited use.

The bottom line is that HexClad produces reliable all-purpose cookware that does everything from searing meat to non-stick techniques well. However, pure stainless steel cookware will sear more evenly, and traditional non-stick cookware will release food better.

In my experience, two separate stainless steel and non-stick pans are a better choice than one hybrid pan.

HexClad is more durable than most non-stick, but it won’t last forever like stainless steel, so, in my opinion, the value doesn’t match the high price.

Calphalon is a solid cookware brand offering both high-quality non-stick and stainless steel cookware. The non-stick cookware won’t last forever, but it is priced accordingly.

If you have the budget and are intrigued by the idea of hybrid cookware, HexClad is worth trying. But, if you want solid, reliable cookware at a fair price, go with Calphalon.

If you’re ready to buy or want to read more reviews, check out both brands 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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