All Clad Vs Calphalon. Which Wins A Place In Your Kitchen?

All Clad Vs Calphalon

In today’s article, I’ll explore a comparison of All Clad vs Calphalon. Both brands offer cookware in a host of styles in nonstick, stainless steel, and ceramic materials. 

The main difference between All-Clad and Calphalon is the market each company is targeting. All-Clad is a premium brand aiming at the high-end market with prices to match. Calphalon is more reasonably priced and focused on the average home chef. The question is, is All-Clad cookware worth the additional cost?

At a Glance 

All-Clad is a highly respected brand with a wide range of cookware. They’re my preferred brand compared to Calphalon due to the range of their pans in each of their collections. 

They also use high-quality materials, like 3-ply and 5-ply stainless steel and 3-ply anodized aluminum, some of which are professional-grade products.

If you’re looking for some new cookware, you’re in the right place because I’ll be analyzing the design, features, quality, performance, and cost to help determine the most beneficial one to invest your money in. 

The  All-Clad D3 Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set is the winner for the comparison of the stainless steel sets whereas the Calphalon Premier Hard-Anodized Non-stick 11-Piece Set is my personal favorite of the two nonstick sets. 

For the stainless steel comparison, All-Clad is the winner for the design and features, and performance. However, I prefer the Calphalon set for the overall cost, and I think both sets deserve a joint winning position for overall quality.

For the nonstick pan sets, I decided All-Clad should win for design. But Calphalon was my preferred set for value (because it’s less expensive and you receive an additional pan). Similar to the other pan sets, the materials are the same, so it’s only fair that there’s no winner for the performance category.

These brands are two of the most popular in the cooking world, cater to professional chefs worldwide, and offer a limited lifetime warranty. Each brand is unique, so it can be challenging to know which one to buy. 

Continue reading to discover a breakdown of both brands’ top pan sets and a category-by-category review.

Pot Of Meatballs In Sauce

Meet The Brands 

Explore the history and foundation of these two brands.

All-Clad

All-Clad launched in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, and still has its headquarters in this town. This is also the birthplace of the aluminum and American steel industry where metalworkers are some of the most talented in the world. 

The brand launched in 1971, and its founder, John Ulam, bonded layers of stainless steel with aluminum and shaped the materials into pans. This new bonding made cooking food and cleaning the cookware pans easier and quicker, and the materials didn’t warp. 

Calphalon

Calphalon produces cookware sets and appliances for home chefs. The brand was founded in 1963 by Ronald M. Kasperzak and grew tremendously by the mid-1980s. At this point, Calphalon’s cookware sets were being marketed in gourmet stores and cooking schools, and demand took off. 

It was originally called Commercial Aluminum Cookware and only changed its name in 1992 to Calphalon.

After looking at Calphalon’s website, ​​they have recently launched some new technology to assist with cooking. This includes MineralShield—a nonstick coating technology they claim is five times more durable than its former coating.

I’m also impressed to discover that their new cutlery sets will include SilverShield technology for 24/7 antimicrobial protection built into the handles. This is ideal for a safe cooking environment and to prevent the spread of bacteria. 

Stainless Steel Comparison

For a fair comparison of both brands, I’ll review similar cookware collections: the All-Clad D3 Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set vs the Calphalon Premier Stainless Steel 11-Piece Set.

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All-Clad D3 set includes:

  • 8-inch fry pan
  • 10-inch fry pan
  • 2-quart saucepan w/ lid
  • 3-quart saucepan w/ lid
  • 3-quart saute pan w/ lid
  • 8-quart stockpot w/ lid

Calphalon Premier set includes:

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  • 10-inch fry pan
  • 12-inch fry pan w/ lid
  • 1.5-quart saucepan w/ lid
  • 2.5-quart saucepan w/ lid
  • 3-quart saute pan w/ lid
  • 8-quart stockpot w/ lid

Design & Features Comparison

Like all stainless steel cookware, both sets are durable, dishwasher safe, and work with all cooktops including induction. But there are a few features that differentiate them.

Firstly, the All-Clad set is oven rated to 600°F while the Calphalon is rated to only 450°F. I frequently move my cookware from stove to oven, sometimes needing to brown a dish under the broiler so this is an important difference. 

Next, the Calphalon set is less expensive but is made in China. All-Clad is somewhat more expensive but is made in the USA. Each buyer will have to make their own judgment call on this one. A good stainless steel cookware set can last a lifetime if properly cared for so I don’t mind spending a bit more for an American-made product.

Another design to compare these two cookware sets is the lids. All-Clad’s collection has stainless steel lids. On the other hand, Calphalon features glass lids. I prefer stainless steel lids since they’re a safer option because they’re shatterproof. I understand it sounds advantageous to have transparent lids to check on your food while it cooks, but the steam often obscures the view anyway.

Overall, the All-Clad set is my choice due to the stainless steel lids and higher oven rating. 

Winner: All-Clad

Pot Of Eggs And Chocolate

Quality Comparison 

Both the All-Clad and Calphalon cookware sets are very similar in quality since they have three layers of stainless steel with an aluminum core. This aluminum core helps to eliminate hot spots to prevent unevenly cooked food. It also provides improved heat distribution and retention and enhanced cooking performance, which is what everyone wants from their cooking pans. 

Both sets also have ergonomic, oven-safe, riveted handles.

Awarding the winning cookware set for this category is difficult because they have similar characteristics, so I’ll say it’s a tie on this occasion. 

Winner: Tie

Cost Comparison

Price is integral to whether I purchase a cookware set. But I don’t mind paying a bit more if I’m not anticipating having to replace my pan collection.

The All-Clad set is nearly double the price of the Calphalon set. I can’t justify paying this additional cost if the pans are designed with the same construction (three layers of steel with an aluminum core). Plus, you receive one pan less than the Calphalon cookware collection. 

One of the reasons why All-Clad pans are more expensive than competing brands is that everything is made in the United States, so materials are more expensive to source. While I do try to buy sustainably, a hefty price increase seems almost criminal. 

Winner: Calpahlon 

Performance Comparison

Finally, let’s compare the performance of these sets from two reputable brands. 

The Calphalon Premier Stainless Steel 11-Piece Set is compatible up to 450°F and can be used with gas, electric, induction, and glass-top stovetops. However, the All-Clad set goes a step further because you can use it in temperatures up to 600°F, and it’s also compatible with broilers.

This is primarily because the All-Clad pans can withstand a higher temperature, making them more versatile for all types of cooking, which is something I look for in a new cookware set.  

Winner: All-Clad 

Hard Anodized Nonstick Comparison

For a fair comparison of All-Clad vs Calphalon, I’ll look at the features and major differences between the All-Clad HA1 Hard Anodized Non-Stick Cookware 10-Piece Set and Calphalon Premier Hard-Anodized Non-Stick 11-Piece Set

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All-Clad HA1 Nonstick set includes:

  • 8-inch fry pan
  • 10-inch fry pan
  • 2.5-quart saucepan w/ lid
  • 3.5-quart saucepan w/ lid
  • 4-quart saute pan w/ lid
  • 8-quart stockpot w/ lid

Calphalon Premier Nonstick set includes:

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  • 10-inch fry pan
  • 12-inch fry pan w/ lid
  • 1.5-quart saucepan w/ lid
  • 2.5-quart saucepan w/ lid
  • 3-quart saute pan w/ lid
  • 8-quart stockpot w/ lid

Design & Features Comparison

Both collections have more in common than not. Both have tempered glass lids, 3-ply non-stick coatings (PFOA-free), and a versatile selection of pieces (although there are slight variations. YMMV). 

The All-Clad set includes riveted stainless steel handles to assist with grip. This is ideal if you often move your pans around while cooking, but it’s not a feature that I’d make the most of. 

On the other hand, Calphalon’s handles are longer, ensuring that they stay cool when close to a heat source. I prefer this design because I constantly burn my hands on hot handles when cooking. I really should learn to use an oven mitt (needless to say, I didn’t finish at the top of my class!).

One big difference if you have an induction stovetop is the All-Clad set has a stainless steel base that is compatible with your stove. The Calphanon does not.

Winner: All-Clad 

Quality Comparison 

All-Clad’s manufacturer’s website recommends using wooden, nylon, or silicone utensils. On the other hand, Calphalon’s official website claims that because of their MineralShield nonstick technology it’s safe to use metal utensils without fear of scratching or damaging the surface.

I attempted to research why you can use metal utensils with Calphalon’s pans, but I couldn’t find a definite reason why that’s possible. After looking into compatible materials with metal utensils, I discovered that adonized aluminum is more stick-resistant; although both pans are made of this material, it could be purely a recommendation from the brand. All-Clad has taken a more conservative approach.

I always recommend only using silicone or wooden utensils and handwashing all nonstick cookware. These coatings don’t last forever and treating them roughly will reduce their usability quicker.

Given that there’s a lifetime guarantee with both pots, I assume you could use metal utensils with the Calphalon pans, and if there were any problems, you could always write to the brand. Check the fine print first!

With this quality and design in mind, I give the Calphalon pans a slight edge in the quality category.

Winner: Calpahlon 

Cost Comparison 

Price is important when I look for a quality cookware set. While I don’t mind forking over for high-quality pans, I also want to get my money’s worth and pay for what I’ll use.

There’s not a huge price difference between these sets, which is unexpected given the significant difference between the previous sets. However, All-Clad is still more expensive, and you receive one less piece.

This All-Clad collection does offer induction compatibility, so I wouldn’t mind paying this additional cost if needed. However, both sets have the same number of nonstick layers, which is the main feature of these sets. And, there’s always the possibility you’re paying a “luxury tax” for the All-Clad name.

Winner: Calpahlon 

Pot Of Cooked Pasta

Performance Comparison 

As this portion of the review compares nonstick pan collections, let’s look at the number of nonstick layers and material(s) they’re made of.

Both pan sets have three layers of nonstick, though the material isn’t specified. Both sets are PFOA-free. Given that both brands are reputable and fairly prestigious, I’m surprised they don’t have more nonstick layers, as some have up to seven to ensure longer-lasting performance. 

Furthermore, both include a hard anodized aluminum exterior finish, making them similar in terms of performance. Hard anodized aluminum has many benefits for durability and remaining corrosion-resistant. You can also cook acidic ingredients, like wine or lemon juice, without them reacting to the base and leaving a stain or wearing away some of the nonstick base. (That’s the last thing you want from your kitchen pans).

Finally, the All-Clad set is oven safe up to 500°F whereas Calphalon’s is only safe up to 450°F. While it makes sense to declare All-Clad as the winner of this feature, I would never expose nonstick cookware to high oven temperatures, so the addition of 50°F really wouldn’t make much difference. If this is common use with your cooking stick with stainless steel.

Based on both pan sets using the same material and the same number of nonstick layers, there is no winner for the performance comparison, so it’s a tie. 

Winner: Tie 

Related: Ceramic Vs Stainless Steel Cookware. Which Is Right For You?

All Clad vs Calphalon: The Winners

Stainless Steel  

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After looking at the design, features, quality, cost, and performance of two sets of pans, I proclaim All-Clad the winner, though this was a challenging decision to come to. I voted All-Clad D3 Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set as the winner of the following categories: Design, Features, and Performance. 

This set withstands a higher temperature and has gripped stainless steel handles for durability. I also love that this set has heat-resistant stainless lids; it’s a thoughtful touch to protect your hands when you monitor food.

Additionally, the All-Clad HA1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware 10-Piece Set uses tempered glass to enhance overall durability and make them less prone to scratches. 

Nonstick

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For the nonstick category, the Calphalon Premier Hard-Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Set is the overall winner, including the Quality and Cost categories. It’s compatible with metal utensils and less expensive while also including an additional piece. 

Although I do pick winners for each category, you really can’t go wrong with either set. If you take a look at the breakdown of each set you’ll notice that they each offer different capacity pots and pans. For example, All-Clad includes 8 and 10-inch frying pans while Calphalon has 10 and 12-inch. An 8-inch frying pan is perfect for making omelets whereas a 12-inch pan is great for larger families. This might be the deciding factor for you.

In summary, if you’re torn between two cookware brands, use the categories in this review as a guide to help you decide. Happy cooking!

Amy Poole

Amy Poole

Amy Poole is a kitchen and home freelance writer and editor with over four years of experience sharing her passion and knowledge of cooking with audiences around the world. Since switching to a plant-based diet in December 2020, she's constantly on the lookout for nutritious recipes and spends a lot of her spare time in the kitchen rustling up new dishes. Her staple cupboard food: hummus, pesto, and lots of nutritional yeast.

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