Anolon vs Calphalon – Which Should I Buy?

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True chefs know the value of a great nonstick skillet or pan. They make sautes, stir-fries, pancakes, and eggs into a stress-free cooking experience. These amazing kitchen workhorses can last a long time if you make a quality purchase.

A quick search for nonstick cookware brings up hundreds of brands of varying quality. Anolon and Calphalon are two of the biggest names in the nonstick biz; both are quality, but which of them is a better buy?

In this comparison, we will explore the most popular collections from both brands to pick the ultimate nonstick manufacturer.

Anolon Advanced Onyx

Anolon Advanced Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set, 11 Piece, Onyx

Unique Features

  • Rubberized handles
  • 11 Piece Set

Calphalon Signature

Calphalon 10-Piece Pots and Pans Set, Nonstick Kitchen Cookware with Stay-Cool Stainless Steel Handles, Dishwasher and Metal Utensil Safe, PFOA-Free, Black

Unique Features

  • Heavier Pans
  • Long handles
  • 10 Piece Set

Anolon Advanced vs Calphalon Signature

Let’s look at the classic nonstick lineup from each brand.

Anolon Advanced Onyx Cookware Set

  • 11-piece set includes: 1.5 quart covered saucepan, 3 quart covered saucepan, 3 quart covered sauté pan, 8 quart covered stockpot, 8 inch skillet, 12 inch covered deep skillet with side helper handle
  • Also included are five bonus tools that are safe for the nonstick surface: 12 inch mini slotted turner, 12 inch mini solid turner, 13.25 inch solid turner, 13.25 inch slotted spoon, 13.25 inch solid spoon
  • They are made from hard anodized aluminum, which is effective but still somewhat heavy.
  • The sleek black design with tulip shaped sides is attractive, but the black outer coating does wear off after time.
  • A positive feature is that they can accommodate any utensil – metal, wood, and rubber/silicone.
  • Boasting three layers of Anolon’s Autograph 2 nonstick coating for easier cooking and messes that slide right off, it appears, however, that the coating is uneven and causes some sticking on some of the cookware pieces.
  • Although it is PFOA free, it does contain PTFE.
  • Oven safe to 400℉, even the rubber and stainless steel riveted handles can handle the heat.
  • The lids are made from shatter-resistant glass and feature stainless steel handles and rubber coverings.
  • You’ll need to use a little tenderness when cleaning up; gentle hand washing is required to maintain the effectiveness of the set.
  • A lifetime warranty is included.

Calphalon Signature Hard Anodized Cookware Set

  • 10 piece set includes: 10 inch skillet, 12 inch skillet, 2 quart saucepan and cover, 3 quart saucepan and cover, 3 quart sauté pan and cover, 8 quart stock pot and cover
  • The hard anodized aluminum pans are thick gauge and heavy duty, which makes them quite heavy to lift and stack. Also, the outer coating tends to wear off after some time.
  • The brushed stainless steel handles can get quite hot during cooking, especially on the pots.
  • Both the cookware pieces and the lids are dishwasher and oven safe up to 500℉; dish-washing will make the pans wear out more quickly
  • Boasting three layers of PFOA-free, PTFE-based nonstick coating, the coating scratches easily which then causes food to stick. The coating also comes off in flakes and may be unsafe to use after about one year of use.
  • As with the Anolon cookware, Calphalon can accommodate any cooking utensil type – metal, wood, and rubber/silicone.
  • The lids are made from tempered glass lids with riveted stainless steel handles (as a bonus, the lid to the 10 inch saute pan also fits the 10 inch skillet).
  • A lifetime warranty is included.

Which Is The Better Buy?

These sets contain essentially the same pieces.

The Calphalon set has a slightly bigger saucepan and larger skillets so is better suited to family cooking. Since the Anolon set comes with bonus cooking tools, it makes a great purchase for someone who is moving out on their own or a newlywed couple.

The Calphalon set is heavier than the Anolon set, but only slightly. Both these cookware sets are much heavier than the less expensive options that you can find on the market. Draining the stock pots and lifting the skillets could be challenging for some.  

As for quality, both brands are known for making solid and lasting pieces. This Calphalon set is made in the US, while the Anolon set is made in Thailand.

Both brands have had complaints of the nonstick coating not working, but this seems to be more dominant with the Anolon set. The Calphalon set has a longer life, but it too has issues once the nonstick coating is compromised.

While you can technically put the Calphalon set in the dishwasher, both sets should be hand washed for the longest life. This requires more cleanup time, but it is worth it in the long run.

Also, both brands advertise that you can use any type of utensil, but a close look at the warranty reveals that using silicone tools is probably your best bet for prolonging the life of your cookware.

Overall, we surmise that the Calphalon set is the better buy. Although it’s more expensive, the pieces are larger and thicker and the nonstick coating works amazingly well.

With the Calphalon set, you at least have the option of occasional dishwashing if you are in a hurry. It’s made in the US and seems to have higher quality and a longer life overall.

Anolon Nouvelle vs Calphalon Tri-Ply

It’s certainly worth considering the stainless steel options from both these brands. While they are known for their nonstick line-up, the quality and durability of their stainless steel sets can’t be overlooked.

Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel Cookware Set

  • 10 piece set includes: 1-¼ quart covered saucepan, 2-½ quart covered saucepan, 6-½ quart covered stockpot, 8 inch French skillet, 10-½ inch French skillet, and a 3 quart covered sauté pan (also available in an 11 piece set with larger pieces and a covered skillet)
  • These pieces are constructed from two layers of aluminum around a layer of copper, with stainless steel covering the entirety of the piece. They also feature an impact-bonded magnetized stainless steel cap for induction oven use (5 layers total on the base).
  • The interior has an easy-to-clean brushed stainless steel finish to help hide scratches, while the exterior has a polished stainless look and a tulip shape.
  • Domed stainless steel lids are a good fit to help retain moisture when cooking; you can also place the saucepan lids atop the larger skillet.
  • The cookware and the domed stainless steel lids are dishwasher safe and oven safe up to 500℉.
  • All handles are thick and riveted, constructed from stainless steel.
  • Compatible with all stove types – gas, glass, electric, and induction (be aware that gas heat may stain the exterior and the larger pieces will make a slight buzzing noise on an induction cooktop).
  • Lifetime warranty included.

Calphalon Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set

  • 10 piece set includes: 10 inch covered skillet, 1.5 quart covered saucepan, 2.5 quart covered saucepan, 3 quart covered saute pan with cover, and a 5 quart covered Dutch oven (also available in 8 piece and 13 piece sets)
  • A thick gauge aluminum core sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel provides heat conductivity while being somewhat lightweight; however, the aluminum core makes the pieces sensitive to warping when cooking with high heat.
  • They are good for use on all stove types – gas, glass, electric, and induction (bottom/outer layer is magnetized).
  • The exterior has a brushed stainless steel finish that tends to show stains and fingerprints easily, while the interior has a glossy, reflective, non-porous finish that is prone to stains.
  • Riveted stainless steel handles with a long v-shape stay cool even when cooking over high heat.
  • This set is dishwasher safe for quick cleanup, but handwashing will remove the most grime/oil residue and keeps the luster from fading.
  • Oven and broiler safe for complete cooking use (up to 450℉).
  • Clear tempered glass lids with riveted stainless steel handles sit tightly for steam retention.
  • Lifetime warranty is included.                                                 

Which Is The Better Buy?

Both sets seek to mimic the construction of the famous All-Clad pans since the patents on All-Clad’s designs are expiring; that’s why you see the multi-clad/tri-ply construction.

Anolon does a great job at this with its five layered base. The aluminum of the Calphalon pans is effective, but certainly not as durable. What’s strange is that the Calphalon set is actually heavier, at 26.1 pounds for the set, as compared to Anolon’s 21.7 pounds for the set.

Neither of these sets is made in the US. Anolon is made in either Thailand, China, or Italy. Calphalon, which was once a US product, is now made in China. That being said, both sets will leave customers wanting where quality is concerned.

Although both sets are 10 pieces, they are very different pieces. The Anolon set features two skillets and one stock pot along with the saucepans and saute pan, while the Calphalon set features only one covered skillet with a Dutch oven in place of the stockpot.

The Anolon set offers more versatility of pieces, giving you everything you need to make anything from pasta to sauces to pancakes.

Overall, we think that Anolon makes the better stainless steel set. They are sturdier and offer a better selection of cookware pieces for the more experienced chef.

While the Calphalon set would be good for a beginner, anyone who is serious about cooking should turn to the Anolon 10 Piece Set.

Final Thoughts

It is difficult to say whether Anolon or Calphalon is better. Anolon offers a better stainless steel product, while Calphalon is the king of nonstick cookware.

Anolon offers competitive products at a lower price point that Calphalon; yet Calphalon has a longer history in the business and more satisfied customers than Anolon.

Anolon offers more features – like rubberized handles on their nonstick set – that are friendly to a beginner to somewhat experienced chef. Seasoned chefs will like the simple and effective construction of the heavy Calphalon pans better.

So, which is better, Anolon or Calphalon?

For those just starting into the cookware world, we suggest the budget-friendly and effective Anolon cookware.

For those who have been cooking for some time and know how to handle heavy and durable cookware with care, go for Calphalon cookware.

Written By Tara Williams

Tara is a food writer that has been editing and authoring articles for KitchenSanity since its founding. Her writing offers personal experience from experimentation with food and recipe creation. If you’re looking for simple tips, she will make your journey in the kitchen straightforward with a dash of fun.