The Best Calphalon Cookware Sets – 2021 Buyer’s Guide

several cookware pieces on the countertop

This page contains affiliate links. We may get paid if you make a purchase or take an action through the links. Rest assured, all recommendations are not biased in any way, and this helps us earn an income while providing value for free.

When people talk about the best cookware brands, Calphalon is one that often gets brought up. Crafting one of the best-valued, and outright best non-stick cookware out there (among its wide range of other types of cookware as well), it is of no surprise why it is a crowd’s favorite.

Maybe you’ve had experience with Calphalon, or have heard great things about them, and you’re in the market for a new piece (or a set). In this article, we guide you through the shopping process as we look at what makes the brand great, how to properly shop for a cookware set, and our top picks of cookware sets from Calphalon.

Don’t worry if you’re not looking for a whole set, our recommendations carry down to individual pieces from those collections!


If you’re looking for the absolute best-valued Calphalon cookware set that is high quality and well-balanced, our top recommendation is their Premier line.

For something with a lower price tag, the Classic range is a good start, and provides a great cooking experience while staying affordable. Its drawback being less durable than the other ones on the list.

If you’re all for the top of the line flagship, their Signature series is for you. With the most durable construction and a polished exterior, it also performs exceptionally well in real-world cooking and is able to withstand a higher temperature.

Click here to skip straight to our list of top picks! Or if you need help picking, skip here for some tips on choosing the right one for yourself.

Calphalon Cookware: Pros and Cons

For starters, Calphalon is a pretty reputable brand, so very little can go wrong. One of their major achievements include being the first brand to introduce hard-anodized aluminum cookware pieces to the general consumer market!

Now although looks are subjective, many would agree that their cookware ranges are one of the better looking ones on the market. The build quality is also excellent, except for a small number of complaints here and there, which no manufacturer could ever completely avoid.

While not exactly having that wow-factor of higher-end options e.g. All-Clad, Mauviel, Le Creuset etc., at a fraction of the price, Calphalon cookware pieces honestly offer much more than what they’re sold at. This is especially true if you go for one of their value-friendly options.

As for shortcomings, the most common one we have seen floating around is the design and construction of most Calphalon’s handles. Because they are fairly thin, some complained that it is a little awkward to hold. However, with this being the only major complaint, adding on top of the fact that we’ve personally found the handles to be absolutely fine to hold, it is really nitpicking at this point.

To sum it up in one sentence, Calphalon cookware provides a very good cooking experience that is more than sufficient for most people, with a very affordable price tag.

Shopping Guide: How to Shop For Calphalon Cookware Sets

Because a cookware set is a big purchase, it proves to be a daunting one for many. What material should you go for? How many pieces do you need? What if you spend hundreds of dollars just to get something that’s not what you really want?

We understand that. So to answer those questions, here are some tips as to what to look for in a brand new cookware set.

Sizes

While the sizes of cookware included are pretty standard with the piece count that it comes in, there are some considerations to take into.

Most cookware sets with a lower piece count will include pots and pans that are smaller than those of a higher piece count. While this may seem like a disadvantage and a marketing technique to get you to purchase a higher piece count set, sometimes you do want those smaller pieces instead!

A good way to decide is to first ask yourself, do smaller or bigger pieces fit your needs better? For example, alongside a 10” frying pan, if given the choice of picking either a 8” or a 12” one as the second one, which would you go for?

Number of pieces

Building on top of the previous point, the number of pieces included in a set is an important factor to consider when purchasing a brand new one. As previously mentioned, smaller-sized pieces may suit your needs better, so more pieces does not always equal better.

Besides, with a higher piece count, the price tag is also higher. Does the increased price justify how useful those extra pieces will be for you in your everyday cooking? Or are you just getting them “just in case” you need them?

On the topic of cookware pieces, here’s a tip: if you’re unfamiliar with cookware sets and this is your first purchase, you might be surprised to find that lids are counted as one piece! So when a cookware set is listed as 10-piece, expect to find about 3 or 4 lids with the ones left being actual cookware.

shelf full of copper cookware
Trust us, you do not need pans and pots of every size!

Material

Calphalon is known for their hard-anodized aluminum, so naturally, every line of cookware they have has an aluminum variant. Some are medium-gauge, with the higher-priced ones being extra durable with heavy-gauge aluminum.

Stainless steel is also a standard within all their ranges. So generally, after settling on a specific collection, you would have to decide between their hard-anodized aluminium variant or the stainless steel variant.

A few factors influence this decision. Their aluminum cookware comes with Teflon non-stick coating as standard, so if you’re not into that, stainless steel would be a better choice for you. Stainless steel’s interior is also generally more durable than their aluminum counterparts, and is more scratch-resistant.

Induction-compatibility is also a factor. If you’re using exclusively induction stove tops, stainless steel is the way to go.

Our Picks for the Best Calphalon Cookware Sets

Here is our list of the best Calphalon cookware sets from their many collections. Be sure to skim through and pick the right one for yourself!

Best Overall: Calphalon Premier Aluminum, or Stainless Steel

In our opinion, this is the best Calphalon cookware line money can get you. Like many of their cookware sets, it comes in both flavors – non-stick as well as stainless steel. Both are priced at about the same range.

Looking into the non-stick collection, it consists of pieces made of hard-anodized aluminum. Apart from being durable and ideal for everyday cooking, the material has long-lasting non-stick performance as well. Being triple-layered, the interior is able to withstand even metal utensils, which is a rare find for non-stick coated cookware.

As for the stainless steel variant, the pieces feature a 3-layer construction, with a heavy-gauge aluminum core that distributes heat very evenly.

Here is a breakdown of the pieces included with each set:

8-piece11-piece13-piece
Pans8” fry pan
10” fry pan
10” fry pan
12” fry pan, with cover
10” fry pan
12” fry pan, with cover
Saucepan2.5-qt saucepan, with cover1.5-qt saucepan, with cover
2.5-qt saucepan, with cover
3-qt saucepan, with cover
1.5-qt saucepan, with cover
2.5-qt saucepan, with cover
Sauté pan5-qt sauté pan, with cover
Stockpot6-qt stockpot, with cover8-qt stockpot, with cover8-qt multi-pot, with cover, pasta insert, and steamer insert
Deep skillet13” deep skillet, with cover

Pros:

  • Durable and metal utensil-safe
  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Oven-safe for up to 450°F
  • Compatible with glass stove tops

Cons:

  • Handles and lids get a little hotter than expected
  • Rather high-priced, but completely justified with the quality you get

Best Runner-Up: Calphalon Contemporary Aluminum

If you’re not concerned with the compatibility with glass stove tops, and don’t need extra durability, the Contemporary range might be a better fit for you. Being priced lower, it arguably provides a better value for you if you’re not after the aforementioned features.

Featuring almost the same construct as the Premier range with heavy-gauge hard-anodized aluminum, the only thing you’re missing out here is the inability to use metal utensils with this one. While Calphalon rates the Premier pieces as being capable of handling metal utensils, they recommend using only plastic, nylon or wooden utensils with this.

Other than that, you can expect about the same level of quality and experience as with the Premier, which is what makes this such an appealing buy.

This line of cookware only comes in an 11-piece set, and includes:

  • 10” fry pan
  • 12” fry pan, with cover
  • 1.5-qt saucepan, with cover
  • 2.5-qt saucepan, with cover
  • 3-qt sauté pan, with cover
  • 8-qt stock pot, with cover

Pros:

  • Oven-safe for up to 450°F
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons:

  • Not suitable for glass stove tops
  • Unable to use metal utensils

Value-Friendly: Calphalon Classic Aluminum, or Stainless Steel

Calphalon has a few value-friendly options in their lineup of products, and among them all, we feel that the Classic collection provides the most value for your money. Often being compared to the Simply Calphalon range as well as their Select range, the Classic range is superior compared to the other two while hovering around the same price range.

When compared to the Select, the Classic range has 2 layers of non-stick coating while the Select only has one (for the non-stick variants). The Classic’s construction quality is also better, with the pieces being cast and brushed. The pieces also include pour spouts and fill lines, while they are non-existent in the Select lineup.

Once again, as with typical Calphalon fashion, you are able to choose from non-stick hard-anodized aluminum or brushed stainless steel.

Here is a breakdown of the pieces included with each set:

10-piece14-piece
Pan8” fry pan
10” fry pan
8” fry pan
10” fry pan
12” fry pan, with cover
Saucepan1.5-qt saucepan, with cover
2.5-qt saucepan, with cover
1.5-qt saucepan, with cover
2.5-qt saucepan, with cover
3.5-qt saucepan, with cover
Sauté pan3-qt sauté pan, with cover3-qt sauté pan, with cover
Stockpot6-qt stockpot, with cover8-qt stockpot, with cover

Pros:

  • Affordable price while providing a good cooking experience
  • Oven-safe for up to 450°F
  • Includes measuring marks and pour spouts
  • Stainless steel variant is dishwasher-safe

Cons:

  • Not suitable for glass stove tops
  • Unable to use metal utensils on the non-stick variant. There are reports of the pieces being easily-scratchable, so a lot of care needs to be put into using these
  • Non-stick aluminum variant is not dishwasher-safe

Short on Space?: Calphalon Premier Space-Saving Aluminum, or Stainless Steel

Are you that person who absolutely hates the fact that your pots and pans can’t stack properly on top of each other? Or are you just really short on space and would benefit from cookware pieces that are able to stack to save space?

If it’s something along those lines, Calphalon designed these pieces specifically with people like you in mind. With this lineup of cookware, you’re able to stack them to save 30% more space, compared to if you had individual pieces just lying around by themselves.

It’s not just gimmicks though, the pieces feature the same well-constructed materials as in their other collections. They are offered in either durable hard-anodized aluminum with 3 layers of non-stick coating, or a 3-layer stainless steel construction with an aluminum core. Whichever you choose, you can be sure that they offer excellent heat distribution that cooks your food evenly.

Here is a breakdown of the pieces included with each set:

6-piece8-piece15-piece
Pan8” fry pan
10” fry pan
8” fry pan
10” fry pan
8” fry pan
10” fry pan
12” fry pan
Saucepan3.5-qt saucepan, with cover2.5-qt saucepan, with cover
3.5-qt saucepan, with cover
2.5-qt saucepan, with cover
3.5-qt saucepan, with cover
4.5-qt soup pan, with cover
Sauté pan3-qt sauté pan, with cover3-qt sauté pan, with cover
5-qt sauteuse (deep sauté pan), with cover 
Stockpot6-qt stockpot, with cover8-qt stockpot, with cover

Pros:

  • Stacks to save more space
  • Durable and metal utensil-safe
  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Oven-safe for up to 450°F
  • Compatible with glass stove tops

Cons:

  • Handles and lids get a little hotter than expected
  • Higher priced than the non-stacking Premier range and other ranges of its level. Whether it is worth it depends on how much you need its unique space-saving feature

Top of the Line: Calphalon Signature Aluminum, or Stainless Steel

If flagship is your thing, then this collection is the one for you. Showcasing Calphalon’s finest, this is the highest quality money can buy from this brand.

The Signature stainless steel collection boasts a 5-layer construction, up from the three layers in the Premier range. It has a whopping three layers of aluminum at its core, encased between two layers of polished stainless steel for maximum durability and performance.

While the Signature non-stick variant doesn’t seem like a huge bump from the Premier collection on paper, if you see it in person though, there is more than enough reason for you to get this instead. Overall, the Signature pieces feature a finer workmanship and more premium build, made with better materials. How it feels in the hands just beats the Premier, no question.

For this collection, Calphalon only offers a 10-piece set. Here’s what you get:

  • 10” fry pan
  • 12” fry pan
  • 2-qt saucepan, with cover
  • 3-qt saucepan, with cover
  • 3-qt sauté pan, with cover
  • 8-qt stock pot, with cover

Even for its top of the line, Calphalon decided to only stay at 10 pieces, instead of going higher in piece count. This is enough to tell you that for most people, this setup is going to more than suffice.

Pros:

  • Polished exterior gives a premium look
  • Interior is textured to retain flavor especially when searing
  • Able to withstand metal utensils
  • Oven-safe for up to 500°F
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons:

  • Pricier than the Premier range while not offering much more actual advantages

So Which One To Pick?

If you’re still confused after reading through our list of top picks, this might help you decide.

The most important factor would be the stove top you’re using. If it’s glass, only the Premier and Signature ranges are officially rated for glass stove tops. If it’s an induction, you’re free to pick from any range, as long as it’s the stainless steel variant.

stainless steel pot on an induction stove top
Stainless steel works perfectly with induction.

Next, what’s your budget? If you’re looking for the absolute lowest-barrier entry into the world of Calphalon, we suggest going for their Classic range. It gets the job done very well and is sufficient for the average home cook. If cooking is a passion and budget is not a concern to you though, we suggest looking at their other ranges.

From here, you should then decide if you need a space-saving set of cookware, or not. While useful, Calphalon’s Premier Space-Saving range is priced higher than their non-space-saving Premier counterparts. If you’ve always complained about cookware pieces taking up too much space, the extra spend is entirely worth it and we suggest their Premier space-saving range.

Now if you’re still reading, you must be deciding between the three lines that are left. How do you choose between the regular Premier, the Signature, and the Contemporary ranges?

If you’re someone who takes very good care of your cookware pieces and you’re not looking for the best of the best, go for the Contemporary collection. Although it is less durable compared to the other two more expensive ones and require more care when using, is actually very well-built in its own regard.

Now if you’re still undecided, here’s an important question: is cooking more of an enjoyment and interest for you, or are you just looking for something to get the job done? If you’re the latter, we suggest going for the Premier range. Durable, high-quality construct, and everything a cook could ask for, it easily surpasses expectations for most. However if you take cooking seriously, might want to consider their Signature line. The superior build quality as well as the excellent feel in the hands will definitely satisfy your inner chef desire.

Best Way to Clean Calphalon Cookware, and How to Care

Now that you’ve chosen your precious cookware set, it’s a good idea to know how to properly care for them, for longevity and maximum performance. The tips and advice laid out in this section apply to all of Calphalon ranges, unless specified otherwise.

When you’ve received the cookware, before using it for the first time, be sure to wash in warm water, rinse, and dry thoroughly.

For non-stick variants of the Classic and Contemporary ranges, do not use metal utensils. For all others though, Calphalon rates them as metal utensil-safe. Still, for maximum protection, aim to minimize the use if possible.

several metal utensils
Metal utensils accelerate the process of degrading your cookware.

After cooking, allow pots and pans to cool before washing them. This is to prevent thermal shock which might cause the pieces to warp, which is irreversible. And if you’re planning to use a dishwasher, make sure the cookware is stamped with ‘Dishwasher Safe’ on the bottom, or above the long handle. Do not use dishwashing detergent with bleach or citrus additives, as this may damage the cookware!

If hand-washing, use a non-abrasive sponge or a soft bristle brush. When encountering stubborn residues, use a liquid cleanser then wash in warm water.

After washing, hang to dry or store flat in a single layer. Barring the Premier space-saving range, do not nest pans and pots inside one another as you may risk chipping the cookware.

If you want the full do’s and don’ts for your specific line of cookware, refer to Calphalon’s own guide here.

Wrap Up

There you have it, our list of top recommendations for the best Calphalon collections.

To recap, our suggestion for the most value for your money is the Premier non-stacking range. It is the most well-balanced out of all the product lines, and offers high quality at a price tag that is completely justifiable.

If budget is a concern for you, it’s hard to go wrong with their Classic range. Although there have been some reports of the interior being prone to scratching, as long as you take extra care there should be no problems. Do note though that these are not suitable for use on glass stove tops.

Lastly, if high-end is your thing, the Calphalon Signature range is for you. Boasting their best design and workmanship, this is a cookware set that will easily satisfy even the best chefs.

What the Calphalon line-up is missing, is carbon steel options. Given its popularity nowadays and how it’s quickly becoming the favorite of even professional chefs, you might also want to check out the best carbon steel pans, or even carbon steel woks.


Kitchen Conduct is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. However, we are not sponsored by Amazon in any way, and all recommendations are our own honest opinions.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.