Calphalon cookware review: 5 sets compared
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Calphalon Premier Nonstick is the best set from this brand:
- Very durable nonstick coating
- Dishwasher and oven safe
- Backed by Calphalon’s full lifetime warranty
- Incompatible with induction stove
Calphalon has been a major manufacturer of cookware since the 1960s. If they have been in the market for that long, they must have surely been doing something right. Of course, they are – and that’s what we are here to find out today.
For anyone who might be remotely familiar with these products, Calphalon is one of those brands making some of the best cookware available to the market at affordable prices. Started in Ohio, they also have a commitment to follow through on the famed American standard of products.
Just how much they deliver on all fronts of their promises is what we hope to find out in today’s review.
A brief history of Calphalon Cookware
Calphalon cookware has its history traced to Ohio as far back as the 1960s, but it was not always known by that name.
Starting off as the Commercial Aluminum Cookware Company, the business was obviously involved in the cookware and food industry. They were doing well for themselves too, until the revelation that would change everything came along.
An aerospace company was undergoing some research that would see them not only increase the strength of aluminum, but reduce the susceptibility of the metal to rust. At the end of it all, they came up with a model which was named ‘hard-anodizing.’
In simpler terms, what they were doing was electrocuting the aluminum to increase its strength and resistance.
Seeing how stronger aluminum could better the food and cookware industry, the cookware company also adopted this new method into their line of products. That move gave birth to Calphalon as we know it today.
Best Calphalon cookware set reviews
1. Calphalon Premier Hard-Anodized Non-stick Cookware
- Included with set: 8” fry pan 10” fry pan 2.5-qt saucepan with cover 6-quart stockpot with cover 13” deep skillet with cover
- Built to last, with 40% longer lasting nonstick (vs. Calphalon Classic)
- Metal-utensil-safe, durable 3-layer nonstick interior with a hard-anodized aluminum exterior
If there is one thing we love about Calphalon already, it is how they give their customers a lot of options when it comes to making a purchase.
Those who have been following keenly from above would notice that this is not the first non-stick cookware on the list, neither is it the first with a promise of hard-anodized bodies.
However, it still manages to stand out from every other one that carries these features.
Unlike other cookware types that are made from fusing many metals together in a way that takes advantage of the various abilities of these metals, the premier set from Calphalon takes a one-piece (aluminum) approach to its own build.
That gives it not just the right weight, size and balance, but so much more.
For one, the hard-anodized exterior was made such that it doesn’t get affected by external abuse as such. This can be very important when it comes to preserving the integrity of your pots and pans over time.
It gets better with the interior which features as much as 3 layers of the non-stick material for better cooking operations. It is promised that even the stickiest of foods will glide off this surface.
Finally, the material of build ensures long-lasting performance with efficiency at the heart of it all.
The best place to start from would be the exterior, but we have already told you all you need to hear about that up there. The next point of call would be the 3 layers of in-depth protection that is promised on the inside.
So strong is this protection, Calphalon invites you to try your metal utensils on any of the pots or pans since they are sure it won’t come off anytime soon.
Besides, every unit in the set can take as much as 450 degrees Fahrenheit, which is not as much as most cooking operations demand anyways. Finally, the cookware is safe for use in the oven, grills, and many other cooking stovetops.
Did we mention its compatibility with dishwashers already?
A majority of the people who have used units from this set have sworn by how truly strong the three layers of the non-stick coating is, but some people have reported the coating coming off after a few uses. In fact, the former group of users supported that the coating is strong against metal utensils too, so it must be a specific problem to a couple of sets – or something else might be going on.
Besides that, though, there doesn’t seem to be so much of a dealbreaker with this one. Signs of the good times, we suppose.
Just like the other offerings from Calphalon, this set can also be picked in units or in a whole. There is also a buying option that allows you to combine some picks in certain niches.
Notable Picks in the Set
Looking through the top of the line set, we have some two units we are well pleased with:
- Sauté pan – Sear all the meat you want with added efficiency when you use this 3-quart sauté pan, and you don’t even have to worry about scrubbing off the meat residue later on.
- Fry pans – When we have non-stick models to look at, frying pans are one of the things we look out for. Fortunately, this one comes with two different fry pans, depending on how you pick the sets.
2. Calphalon Classic Cookware Set
- Innovative no boil-over insert puts a stop to messy spills when making pasta, rice, potatoes, and beans—giving you the freedom to focus on other tasks while cooking
- The BPA-free silicone insert recirculates boiling water back into the pot, based on testing of rice, beans, pasta, and potatoes
- The insert allows for stirring and additional seasoning through its center opening, while stay-cool handles allow the insert to be easily removed without touching the pot
The same way we had premier cookware from this company, we also have a classic piece to look at. Just like the others, there is something special about this one too – and we are about to find out just what that is.
This classic set is almost modeled the same way as the Premier cookware above, but they have their own differences to be considered too.
On one front, the exterior of this unit is also developed with hard-anodized aluminum which spreads all the way into the interior. It needs no telling that aluminum is a good conductor of heat, helping to make even and faster cooking possible.
Besides saving time in the kitchen, the build on the outside was specially chosen to give more strength to the pots and pans.
Looking at the inside, you cannot miss the special coating in there. That explains why this set comes with the non-stick naming system. That feature is made better with the addition of dual layers of the nonstock material for the best effect. With that, you get a faster and better food release, as well as improved cleaning.
With long, cooling stainless steel handles to match, this cookware design is almost tending towards perfect.
Much non-stick cookware come with a single coating, so you should expect more from the double coating. That, and the fact that the hard-anodized metal on the outside can withstand a host of abuse that could be meted out in the kitchen ensure the safety of not only the interior but also the exterior of these pots and pans.
For heavy cooking in the oven, you can use this pot to high temperatures of about 450-degree Fahrenheit. However, know that these units are not safe for use in the dishwasher. While we would have loved to get that option, it is one that eludes us.
Well, where better to start than the fact that the Calphalon Classic Cookware Set is not dishwasher safe? Truth be told, many people don’t like to load their non-stick units in the dishwasher, but the option would have been welcome for those who do.
Customers have reported receiving defective pots and pans out of the box. Most times, these defects are in the areas of the non-stick coating on the inside of the pot. Even with the use of plastic utensils, there is a tendency to get scratches on the non-stick coating too.
Since washing by hand is the only option, you might want to stay off washing in hot water. Certain reports have shown that this could lead to the coating peeling off too.
Notable Picks in the Set
How about our best two picks from this set?
- Dutch oven – Very rarely do we appreciate the Dutch oven in a non-stick set, but this one makes all the difference. Featuring measurement marks on the inside for easy addition and reduction of ingredients, as well as a pour spot and a straining lid, its applications are endless
- Frypans – Who appreciates a non-stick set without talking about its fry pans? Definitely not us. How would you like to get your frying on without having to worry about scrubbing operations later?
3. Calphalon Contemporary Stainless Steel Pans set
- A heavy-gauge aluminum core is sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel by means of high-heat, high-pressure impact bonding for extreme durability.
- Aluminum core provides superior conductivity and even heating for excellent browning and control of the cooking process. Non-porous stainless steel cooking surface is safe for use with all utensils.
- Clear tempered-glass lids let you see food while it's cooking and are oven safe, so you can finish covered dishes in the oven or keep them warm until ready to serve
Every kitchen deserves a little bit of style and a touch of class. Going for stainless steel material in making this unit, that must be just what Calphalon was going for.
Thankfully, they also kept usability in mind, so they do mean business.
How much do they mean business, though?
In a way, this set can be defined to be a tri-ply setup, given the arrangement of metals used in the overall setup.
The exterior and interior of the unit bring a lot of elegance to the table with the stainless-steel engineering they carry, and there is no missing that. Besides the elegance, they also add a modern touch to any kitchen you find them in.
However, that does not get the cooking done. That is why Calphalon sneaked in some aluminum between the stainless-steel layers for even and better heating of your food.
The brushed stainless-steel exterior extends to the handle which will stay cooler relative to the body of the cooking pots and pans. This allows for better and easier handling with reduced risks of high-temperature burns.
Finally, the lids should be given a special mention of their own. Designed with tempered glass to make easy monitoring of your cooking a possibility, they do so much more in contributing to the overall aesthetics of the setup.
If we have not said this before, the brushed stainless-steel exterior is the first point of call for durability. The exterior element is sturdy enough, making sure the cookware can withstand common abuses and stay compatible with multiple cooktops in the process.
No matter what kind of cooking operation you throw at this cookware – searing, simmering, boiling, frying and the likes – they handle it just right.
For those who have a dishwasher at home, you will be able to load these units in for washing. If nothing else gives you peace of mind with this set, the fact that they come with a lifetime warranty on them should.
Of the thousands of customers who have bought these units from all around the world, positive reviews have been flying around. Unfortunately, there are those bad eggs in the manufacturing setup that cause problems for other customers.
Before committing to the Calphalon Contemporary Stainless Cookware Set, here are some dealbreakers you should be aware of:
- Rust and chipping – One would think the stainless-steel exterior will hold its own against anything, but that is sometimes not the case. In some instances, rust sets in after a couple uses.
- Pasta insert problems – There seems to be a common problem with the pasta insert where black particles fall into the water. Apparently, this is a fault of the machinated perforations in the pasta insert, and it’s a bit of a serious problem for users.
- Sticking issues – To be fair, this was not advertised as a non-stick cooking pot. Even at that, though, the complaints might have been due to a higher level of sticking than expected. Whatever it is, it should be remembered that this is not a non-stick cookware.
Notable Picks in the Set
There is hardly a difference between all the picks in this unit. They all look the same shade of stunning and are functional in their own capacities.
That said, we would still like to single out these two:
- Omelet pans – Not every cooking set comes with an omelet pan, but this one ships with three different pans. They occur in the 8, 10- and 12-inch sizes.
- Stock pot – A chef/cook’s delight is this amazing stock pot. Don’t let the name fool you into thinking it can only handle stews and soups. With up to 8-quart for your use, you’re only as limited as you make yourself.
4. Calphalon Classic Ceramic Non-stick
- Eco-friendly PFOA-free ceramic nonstick cooking surface for easy food release and quick cleanup
- Convenient measuring marks, pour spouts & straining lids on select pans
- Durable for easy, everyday cooking
It is not every day you find a manufacturer willing to go the way of ceramics in their cookware setup. That makes this pick from Calphalon even the more special.
If it has been on your shopping list or wish list for a while now, let’s see the promises it holds for you under all that shiny exterior.
One of the most impressive things about this cookware set is how it combines two different pieces of independent cookware tech into the same body.
This starts with the use of PFOA-free ceramic coating on the inside of all units in the set. The ceramic is important in giving this set its non-stick properties which would make cooking a breeze.
With this coating, cleaning out any of the units after cooking becomes much easier. Likewise, you don’t have to worry about leaving food residue on the surface of the pots and pans when cooking is done.
Looking at the exterior, a better story is told here. Featuring hard-anodized aluminum construction, the cookware is sure to be as durable as possible.
Lest we forget, the inclusion of aluminum also provides for a much better and even heating profile. That can help save time and energy when cooking, helping you consume less fuel to achieve desired cooking results.
All handles on the Calphalon Classic Ceramic Non-stick Cookware Set come with double rivets, securing them in place against any abuse or load which the pots and pans may be carrying.
That said, it is worth mentioning the hard-anodized exterior from above again. With that, you can be rest assured your pots and pans won’t be getting dented or destroyed from heat abuse anytime soon.
Speaking of heat abuse, every cookware in this set can be used for cooking up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit – which is an impressive number, if you ask us. Besides that, the cookware is suitable for use on all cooktops: gas, electric, electric ring, halogen and glass.
While the ceramic non-stick surface is promised to last for very long, it is advised that you use non-metal utensils (wood, nylon or coated utensils) for longer protection.
There are currently a series of complaints from different users of this cookware. While some of these complaints can be chalked up to singular events, some of them have been happening too much for comfort.
Such common complaints are of:
- Sticking food items – even after trying different heating settings, using more oil to cook and such other fixes, the non-stick surface doesn’t live up to its name sometimes
- Cracking ceramic coating – by physics, ceramics are known to be one of the most brittle materials on earth. It is thus little surprise that many users are noticing cracks in the ceramic coating even as they are bringing it out of the box
- Easy scratching – perhaps the most common complaints come from a set of people who say the cookware gets scratched after the first couple of uses.
The Calphalon Classic Ceramic Non-stick Cookware Set comes in a set of two different arrangements, so that will have an effect on the pricing. Likewise, where you are getting your set from is a big determinant of how much it will go for.
Notable Picks in the Set
While all of the picks in this set are made with the same level of precision, these two stand out for us:
- Saucepan – The saucepan comes in two different size options (which will only be available to those going for the bigger set). Shipping with covers of their own and the same details applied to the other units, they are about as functional as they come.
- Dutch oven – We are probably picking this one because there is no way you would miss it in the arrangement. With a total capacity of 5 quarts, you can surely get most of your cooking done in this pick right here.
5. Calphalon Premier Space-Saving Non-stick
- Included with the set: 8-inch fry pan, 10-inch fry pan, 12-inch fry pan, 2.5-quart sauce pan with cover, 3.5-quart sauce pan with cover, 4.5-quart soup pan with cover, 3-quart saute pan with cover, 5-quart Sauteuse with cover, 8-quart stockpot with cover
- Stacks smaller and nests in any order, saving up to 30% more space
- Built to last, with a 40% longer-lasting nonstick (vs. Calphalon Classic)
If you were looking for the cookware set that gave you all the options in the world, maybe you should take a look at this Calphalon Premier Space-Saving Non-stick Set. Allowing you purchase your desired kitchen needs in combinations starting from 2 pieces all the way to 15 pieces, there is more to this cookware set than meets the eyes.
Pots and pans are usually designed to save more cooking time by being more energy-efficient. Other times, they are made to have more space or last longer. It is not every time that you see a unit that combines all the normal features of standard cookware with saving storage space.
That is just what the Calphalon Premier Space-Saving Non-stick Set brings to the kitchen table.
The engineering behind this set was such that all the pots and pans can be stacked into one another. This kind of nesting and stacking helps to save 30% more space in the kitchen area.
Calphalon doesn’t stop there, making sure the unit is more impressive in other areas too.
From the name, you can already tell that it is a non-stick set. What you didn’t know is that the non-stick material is layered thrice, providing for one of the best protection ever. While you won’t need to use extra oils in cooking to ensure your food items come off, the triple-layer technology also makes the surface compatible with even metal cooking utensils.
The overall build of this cooking set is completed with glass lids. This would have made a strong opposition for the stacking argument if not for the modern approach – taking a flat design instead of the common approach.
We don’t know about you, but this makes the unit even more appealing to us.
Finished off with long cooking handles (made of stainless steel) which remain cool during cooking, you are good to go.
The stainless-steel exterior might not make it a great fit for induction cooktops, but you can enjoy its use on all of the gas, electric, electric coil, halogen and glass stoves.
After every cooking session, you can equally get your unit cleaned in the dishwasher. Since food won’t stick to it, you don’t have to worry about going back to scrub strongly.
We have mentioned this before, but it is worth reminding you that the 3-layer of non-stick coating will make for great protection against metal utensils too.
Some users are getting warped units after a while of use. This is not a general issue across board and affects only a small section of customers, but you should know about it so you can return yours for changing should you happen to get a similar one.
Furthermore, the Teflon seems to be coming off faster than it should. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t scrub hard on your pot with sponges as the Teflon seem to have a mind of their own.
Remember the triple layer coating? Well, it might not be strong against metal utensils as described in certain use cases. Of course, this would be down to use (or abuse) from the end consumer.
Finally, you might not want to trust the handles to stay cool when you are cooking. They sometime get blazing hot, so do well to get some cooking gloves.
Given the large class of picks that the set allows, it is no surprise that its price varies largely. Calphalon has made it in such a way than you would be better off buying one of the prepared sets than you would be getting singles.
Notable picks in the set
This is one of the most difficult picks we have had to make, simply due to the awesome engineering on every piece here. Weighing all the options, though, we have these:
- Fry pan combo – They come with all the features above, and they are available in different size options for you too. Unlike most other frying pans from other manufacturers, you get covers with these ones.
- Sauce pan – We have seen sauce pans, but we have not seen many with the kind of design on this one. Check it out for yourself if you don’t believe us.
The numbers don’t lie, and if we were hard-pressed to pick just one of these sets, chances are you know we will go for the Premier Hard-Anodized non-stick cookware. That choice is not only obvious from what it scores on the rating sheet but for the fact that it comes with almost all the features, we might ever need.
For one, that pick is made of hard-anodized aluminum – giving us all the strength and functionality we could need in a pot and pan system. It betters that offering with the addition of a 3-layer non-stick technology to the mix.
As if that is not enough, these picks will come at one of the most competitive price angles we can get on the market today. In short, what’s there not to love?