Calphalon vs All Clad Review and Comparison – Top Cookware Brands Reviewed Head-to-Head

Calphalon vs All Clad - That's the world of premium cookware. But sometimes it’s tough to know whether you need expensive, top-tier cookware or just decent cookware that can last for a long time without emptying your wallet.

If you’re considering both of these options, you’ve likely thought about purchasing from Calphalon or All Clad. Both brands make high-quality cookware. But Calphalon makes cheaper cookware with anodized aluminum and other materials. All Clad, on the other hand, makes premium cookware of stainless steel.

There are significant price and value differences between both brands. How can you know which to choose?

Calphalon vs All Clad Review and Comparison

Fortunately, we’ve already done a head-to-head comparison of Calphalon and All Clad. Below, you’ll find a detailed breakdown of two cookware sets from both manufacturers. Let’s get started.


Calphalon Cookware’s 10-Piece Set Review and Features

Calphalon Cookware’s 10-Piece Set Review

Calphalon is a top-tier cookware brand. Calphalon provides a balance between quality and price. It doesn’t use the same pricy materials as seen with other cookware brands like All Clad. But it still provides excellent pots and pans for home chefs. It's a good brand for cooks looking to reinvigorate their cooking sessions.

Of its offerings, Calphalon’s 10-piece Classic Pots and Pans Set is the most popular. This 10-piece set is affordable and has most of the major pieces a home cook might need to prepare a delicious meal.

Calphalon Cookware Anodized Aluminum

Calphalon Cookware Anodized Aluminum

The 10-piece Classic Pots and Pan Set is made with hard-anodized aluminum. Anodized aluminum combines durability and lightweight for excellent results. The anodized coating prevents corrosive damage. It can also ensure that the cookware lasts for a long time.

The anodized exterior doesn’t wear off over time unless you use metal utensils. You should never use metal utensils with any high-quality cookware. Metal utensils can accidentally wear down the anodized coating. They can damage non-stick coatings, too.

Aluminum is also a great material for heat conduction. Heat from your stovetop or oven will quickly transfer to your food items. This will help you cook more effectively and quickly.

Plus, the anodized aluminum is overall lightweight. So you won’t need to struggle while carrying the pots and pans from place to place.

However, anodized aluminum is not quite as long-lasting or durable as stainless steel. Therefore, the Calphalon Cookware Set is a lower price.

The lids that come with most of the cookware set pieces are made with tempered glass. The tempered glass is exceptionally durable and should clean easily. You’ll have a clear window into your cooking food no matter what.

Calphalon Cookware's Measuring Marks and Pour Spouts

Each pot and pan in this collection features measuring marks and pour spouts. Both of these features make it easy to move food from dish to dish without making a mess. Measuring marks and pour spouts are minor benefits overall. But they really make a big difference when you’re actually in the kitchen cooking a meal for your family.

Even better, the measuring marks are etched into the hard anodized coating. So they won’t wear down or become less visible over time.

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Calphalon Stainless Steel Handles

Calphalon Stainless Steel Handle

Aluminum is a great conductor of heat. So it would be unwise to have aluminum handles. Your hands would all too easily burn when your food became hot.

To solve this, Calphalon’s Cookware Set features stainless steel handles. These handles are made with extra long lengths. These extra-long handles will stay cool on your stovetop even under high heat.

Since they’re made of stainless steel, they’ll also enjoy anticorrosive benefits. They won’t degrade easily over time.

Non-Stick Layers for Calphalon Cookware Pieces

Each piece in the Calphalon 10-Piece Cookware Collection has two non-stick layers. These are PFOA-free. These are nonstick coatings free from perfluorooctanoic acid. This acid can accidentally leak into the environment and cause havoc in the long term. It may also have harmful side effects when ingested by people.

Calphalon’s cookware is non-stick without this chemical. So you don’t need to worry about these possibilities.

Instead, Calphalon makes its nonstick coatings using PTFE or polytetrafluoroethylene. This is a separate chemical that makes a smooth surface. It prevents food from sticking to your cookware. It’s a stable chemical and will not react when exposed to other chemicals like detergents or dish soap.

Non-Stick Layers for Calphalon Cookwares

Each Calphalon cookware piece is made with a triple curing session of PTFE. This coating is not water-soluble and should last for a long time. Just be sure not to use metal utensils.

This also means that Calphalon’s cookware is dishwasher safe. You can throw these dishes in the dishwasher without your nonstick coating wearing down over time.

What’s in the Calphalon 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set?

Calphalon Stainless Steel Cookware Set

The Calphalon Classic 10-Piece Cookware Set includes:

  • One 8-inch fry pan
  • One 10-inch fry pan
  • One 1.5 quart sauce pan with lid
  • One 2.5 quart suave pan with lid
  • One 3 quart sauté pan with lid
  • One 6 quart stock pot with lid

All Clad D3 and D5 Stainless Steel Cookware Sets Review and Features

All clad D5 Stainless Steel Cookware

All Clad D5 Cookware set

All Clad D3 Set

All Clad D3 Cookware set

All Clad is a premium cookware manufacturer. Every set All Clad makes is designed to last and provide peak performance. As a trade-off, you have to pay more for All Clad’s cookware pieces. But they may still be a good choice if you have money to spare and want a cookware set that will last you for years to come.

All Clad’s D3 Cookware Set and All Clad’s D5 Cookware Set are the brand’s two most popular offerings. These sets are very similar to one another with a few small differences.

All Clad Tri-Ply and 5-Ply Stainless Steel Construction

The All Clad D3 Set features tri-ply stainless steel construction. The All Clad D5 Cookware Set features 5-ply stainless steel construction.

All Clad tri-ply means that each cookware piece has two outer layers of stainless steel. Each piece also has one inner layer of aluminum. Stainless steel is used to provide extra durability and corrosion resistance. It forms the inner and outer layers to ensure that each cookware piece retains its shape over time. You shouldn’t experience any warping whatsoever.

Aluminum is a great conductor of heat. The aluminum layer transfers heat from your stovetop to the stainless steel cooking surface. This results in even heating and consistent cooking performance through and through.

5-Ply Construction layers

The All Clad D5 Cookware set has five layers of alternating stainless steel and aluminum. Two inner layers of aluminum are sandwiched between layers of stainless steel. A layer of stainless steel makes up the middlemost layer overall.

The five layers provide the D5 set with even more durability and longevity. The extra layer of aluminum boosts heat conductivity. This ensures even greater cooking performance.

Each piece in these sets has the same alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminum. Furthermore, each cookware piece's handles are made with stainless steel. No aluminum is present to prevent heat conduction from burning your hands. The handles are riveted to cookware pieces using stainless steel bolts. Thus, the handles should never break or bend even after many years of use.

Brushed and Classic Stainless Steel for All Clad Cookware

Brushed and Classic Stainless Steel Cookware1

The All Clad D3 and All Clad D5 Cookware sets have another difference between them. They both use stainless steel. Thus, they both benefit from corrosive and rust damage protection.

But the All Clad D3 Cookware Set uses classic stainless steel. This stainless steel is shiny and often accrues fingerprints and other smudges easily. You’ll need to clean the exterior surface of the All Clad D3 cookware pieces often if you want them to look their best.

The All Clad D5 cookware set’s pieces use brushed stainless steel. 

Brushed stainless steel made using a brush on the exterior surface after manufacturing. This adds a special texture to the cookware pieces. As a result, the All Clad D5 set’s pieces don’t smear or smudge as easily.

Non-Stick Layers on All Clad Stainless Steel Cookware

Like the Calphalon Cookware Set, All Clad’s Cookware features nonstick benefits. But All Clad’s nonstick effect is achieved using a starburst finish. The starburst finish works by sanding down the outermost layer of stainless steel. This smooths the outermost layer and prevents food from sticking to the surface.

As a result, you never have to worry about chemicals poisoning your food or wearing off over time. The starburst finish should be a permanent nonstick layer. The only way you can remove the nonstick layer is through excessive use of metal utensils or through excessive dishwashing.

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benifits of flared edges

All Clad Stainless Steel Cookware's Flared Edges

Each All Clad cookware piece features flared edges. The flared edges around the pots and pans prevent food or liquid-like materials like sauce from spilling over. As a result, you’ll experience fewer kitchen messes. You’ll also have an easier time pouring sauce and similar foods into other dishes.

These flared edges aren’t quite as effective as the pouring spouts you can find with Calphalon’s cookware, however.

Lifetime Warranty for All Clad Stainless Steel Cookware

Lastly, both the All Clad D3 and All Clad D5 sets feature lifetime warranties. These limited lifetime warranties apply to any manufacturer defects. If you purchase one of these sets or any of their pieces you will be eligible for reimbursement or a replacement. It depends on whether the manufacturer has the defective piece in question in stock.

What’s in the Sets?

The All Clad D3 Cookware Set includes:

  • One 8-inch fry pan
  • One 10-inch fry pan
  • One 2-quart sauce pan with lid
  • One 3 quart sauce pan with lid
  • One 3 quart sauté pan with lid
  • One 8-quart stock pot with lid
All Clad D3 Set

Meanwhile, the All Clad D5 Cookware has a single different piece:

All clad D5 Stainless Steel Cookware
  • One 8-inch fry pan
  • One 10-inch frypan
  • One 1.5 quart saucepan with lid
  • One 3 quart saucepan with lid
  • One 3 quart sauté pan with lid
  • One 8 quart stock pot with lid

Is Calphalon or All Clad Stainless Steel Cookware Better?

It ultimately depends on what you want in a premium kitchenware set.

Calphalon is far cheaper compared to All Clad. You can get its Classic 10-piece set for a fraction of the price demanded by the All Clad D3 and All Clad D5 sets. This may mean that the Calphalon 10-Piece Classic collection is the better set if you are on a tight budget.

However, the All Clad D3 and D5 sets are a little better in terms of overall durability. Both sets use stainless steel for their exterior surfaces. While anodized aluminum is a good choice, stainless steel is a little tougher overall.

Furthermore, the All Clad lines have a cheaper option. The D3 Cookware Set is a little more affordable than the D5 Cookware Set. So you might be able to save some money by going with the All Clad D3 Cookware Set if you don’t want to spend too much on a single purchase.

Don’t forget that All Clad’s nonstick solution is better overall compared to Calphalon’s. While both manufacturers make their pots and pans to be nonstick by default, All Clad’s nonstick method will last for longer and present less of a risk to you.

This being said, Calphalon’s cookware does have a few advantages over All Clad:

  • Calphalon’s cookware comes with measuring marks and pouring spouts. This makes mixing or
    transferring sauces and other foods from dish to dish much easier
  • Calphalon’s cookware also comes with lids made of tempered glass. All Clad’s lids are also fine, but they aren’t quite as high quality. Most of All Clad’s value comes with its main cookware pieces rather than the lids. The lids are just serviceable

It really boils down to what you want to prioritize. Think about what would make your cooking experience easier.

If you’re interested in the best of the best, choose All Clad. The All Clad D5 is one of the best cookware sets you can purchase, bar none. Furthermore, you can opt for an even more expensive All Clad D5 Copper Core Cookware Set. This will replace the aluminum layers replaced with copper. Copper is an even better heat conductor. Therefore, it can provide even more excellent cooking performance. Another consideration is Made In.

If you’re looking for a cheap but effective cookware set, Calphalon’s Classic 10-Piece Set might be perfect for you. The 10-piece set balances price and durability.


All Clad Stainless Steel Cookware vs Calphalon FAQs

Are All Clad or Calphalon Sets Discontinued?

The All Clad D5 Cookware Set is officially discontinued per the manufacturer. This means that you’ll only ever be able to find All Clad D5 cookware pieces while they last. Once the last set or piece is purchased, this option is gone forever. If you are interested in purchasing the All Clad D5 Cookware Set, be sure to do so quickly.

The All Clad D3 Cookware Set’s status is a little more ambiguous. The D3 Set is not officially discontinued per the manufacturer. But the manufacturer is also not making new ones at this time. It may be that All Clad is seeing how people purchase the D3 collection before deciding if they want to make more.

Therefore, you would still be wise to pick up the All Clad D3 Cookware Set while you can if you are at all interested.

The Calphalon Classic 10-Piece Set, meanwhile, is not being discontinued at this time. In fact, you can find most of Calphalon’s cookware options on their website and available from other vendors. So there is no immediate danger of not being able to buy Calphalon cookware.

How Do the All Clad Non-Stick and Calphalon Non-Stick Layers Work?

The All Clad non-stick starburst finish prevents food from sticking to your cookware by sanding down the stainless steel exterior. Food sticks to cookware surfaces if those surfaces are uneven and food can get trapped in small divots and cracks at the microscopic level. Sometimes food can also get stuck due to chemically bonding with non-stick materials.

The starburst finish prevents all of this. The stainless steel cookware layer is almost totally smooth. So it’s almost impossible for food to get stuck in any surface imperfections.

In contrast, Calphalon’s nonstick layers are achieved through the use of the PTFE chemical compound. This chemical compound smooths the cookware surface. This ostensibly achieves the same effect. But in reality, it’s a little more vulnerable to being worn down over time.

Non-Stick Layers on All Clad Stainless Steel Cookware

That’s because the chemical layer is not impregnable. Metal utensils and over-washing can break down the nonstick layer. Eventually, the nonstick chemical could leak into your food items.

Therefore, All Clad’s nonstick method is much better. It’s pricier, but it’s less risky overall and is likely to last longer even under heavy use.

Are All Clad Cookware and Calphalon Cookware Dishwasher-Safe?

Calphalon’s cookware is truly dishwasher safe. It’s always inadvisable to over-wash any premium cookware. But you can put your Calphalon cookware in the dishwasher from time to time with no negative results.

But if you wash your Calphalon cookware over and over in the dishwasher, exposure to super hot water and dish detergent could wear down the nonstick layer over time.

In contrast, All Clad’s cookware should almost always be washed by hand. All Clad’s cookware can be damaged and the starburst finish diminished over time if you put the pieces in the dishwasher. 

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Though All Clad claims that all of its dishes are dishwasher safe, you’re still better off hand washing your cookware.

Hand washing your cookware is best achieved through the use of a soft sponge and regular dish soap. Never use a scouring pad. This can break down either the chemical nonstick layer for Calphalon cookware or ruin the starburst finish for All Clad cookware.


Final Verdict – Calphalon vs All Clad: Which Cookware is Right for You?

Ultimately, both Calphalon and All Clad provide excellent cookware options for home chefs. It’s up to you to decide which one is your favorite and which will better serve your needs.

In our opinion, Calphalon is a better choice if you are on a tighter budget. It may also be a better pick if you only need cookware to serve you well for a few short years. The anodized aluminum material is durable enough to last for that length of time. It’ll also facilitate even heating and consistent cooking. The measuring marks and pouring spouts add more value to this set.

Meanwhile, All Clad is a better choice if you want the best of the best and price is no object. All Clad’s D3 and D5 Cookware sets are certainly more expensive. But they are made with high quality 18/10 stainless steel and will last for decades if you take care of them properly. They also benefit from a better nonstick finish and greater heat conductivity due to multiple aluminum layers.

Be sure to consider your options carefully before purchasing. Furthermore, remember what we said about handwashing premium cookware to make your cookware set last longer.

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About the author 

Jesse Spitzer

Jesse is a father of two and an aspiring chef. He has worked in the kitchen for over 7 years. He loves cooking and is passionate about finding ways to cook easier and more efficient. When he's not in the kitchen, Jesse can be found on on the golf course, reading a productivity book or sipping a glass of nice pinot.

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