There’s a point in life where you’ve moved on from your first set of cheap, box-store pans, but you still have kids at home and don’t want to spend your life savings for a single skillet.
I feel you. I’m at that point, too.
That’s why it’s nice to find premium cookware in an affordable price range. But with so many cookware brands on the market, it can be tiring to wade through them all.
Both the Anolon and Calphalon brands produce high-quality cookware at a reasonable price for the average home cook. These two brands are comparable in terms of cooking performance and reviews.
At a Glance
When it comes to cooking performance and durability, you’ll find these non-stick cookware sets are quite similar. The Anolon has an extra layer of non-stick and extra skillet cover, but it’s also significantly more expensive.
I find both Calphalon stainless steel and non-stick to be the better value. Yet if you like nice color options, or are looking for cheaper stainless steel, you might be better off with the Anolon set. Which of these two brands is right for you? Keep reading to learn more.
An Intro to Anolon
Anolon is a cookware brand that specializes in hard-anodized aluminum cookware. They also manufacture lines of stainless steel cookware. Anolon began in 1986 as one of the pioneers in hard-anodized non-stick.
Anolon’s parent company is the Meyer Corporation, a cookware conglomerate that distributes various cookware brands, such as Circulon, Farberware, Ruffoni, and Hestan.
An Intro to Calphalon
Calphalon was the first cookware company to manufacture hard-anodized cookware in the 1960s. Then dubbed Commercial Aluminum Cookware, the company has since expanded into the home kitchenware market.
The Calphalon brand manufactures a wide range of cookware using a variety of materials. Those materials include hard-anodized aluminum non-stick, ceramic non-stick, stainless steel, and even cast iron.
Product Reviews: Anolon vs. Calphalon Non-stick Cookware
Anolon Advanced Hard-Anodized Non-stick Cookware Set, 11 Piece
Anolon’s Advanced non-stick cookware set has a hard-anodized aluminum body and comes with 11 pieces:
- 1.5-quart (1.42 liters) saucepan with lid
- 3-quart (2.84 liters) saucepan with lid
- 8-quart (7.57 liters) covered stockpot
- 8-inch (20.32 cm) French skillet
- 12-inch (30.48 cm) covered deep skillet with helper handle
- 3-quart (2.84 liters) covered sauté pan
This set has all the basic pieces, but I especially like the covered deep skillet. The diameter of the skillet combined with the lid makes this piece great for one-pot meals. It also distinguishes this set from others that only include open fry pans.
This set is not dishwasher-safe, but it is easy to clean. It’s also oven-safe, but you should skip the metal utensils. Overall, these Anolon pots and pans have great reviews.
Calphalon Simply Pots and Pans Set, 10 Piece Cookware Set, Non-stick
Calphalon’s Simply Set is hard-anodized aluminum cookware with a non-stick coating. It comes with 10 pieces:
- 1-quart (.95 liters) saucepan with lid
- 2-quart (1.89 liters) saucepan with lid
- 6-quart (5.68 liters) covered stockpot
- 8-inch (20.32 cm) frying pan
- 10-inch (25.4 cm) frying pan
- 3-quart (2.84 liters) covered sauté pan
This set is complete with all the basic pieces. The sizes are smaller than the Anolon set, and it doesn’t include a lid for the larger frying pan. Otherwise, it’s fairly similar in comparison.
This Calphalon cookware set received glowing reviews.
However, be warned, although it offers easy cleaning and superb durability. this set is not dishwasher-safe or safe for metal utensils,
Anolon vs. Calphalon: Feature Comparison
The Anolon Advanced cookware set features hard-anodized construction. The exterior is coated with non-stick, and the cooking surface features a triple-layer non-stick coating.
The Calphalon Simply set also has a hard-anodized aluminum base with a non-stick surface, but its exterior is uncoated.
Hard-anodized aluminum is aluminum that has been anodized, a chemoelectrical process that produces a hard-anodized coating of aluminum oxide.
This layer is nonporous, non-reactive, and scratch-resistant. It also helps distribute heat evenly and is less susceptible to warping than plain aluminum.
Both of these sets are durable, but Calphalon’s reputation in this department is better. Numerous users reported using their Calphalon set for years.
On top of that? Calphalon’s hard-anodized aluminum exterior is non-porous and less likely to scratch than Anolon’s non-stick exterior. If you want a set that’s going to last the longest with the least damage, I’d take my chances with Calphalon.
Almost all hard-anodized aluminum pots and pans have a non-stick coating, and these sets are no different. They both contain multiple non-stick layers.
The Anolon pans feature three layers of non-stick on the cooking surface. Anolon uses the Dupont Autograph 2 coating (a.k.a. Teflon).
The Calphalon cookware set features a double layer of non-stick on the cooking surface. This non-stick coating is not technically Teflon, but it has a very similar composition. Neither of these coatings is safe for metal cooking utensils, but they are easy to clean.
Both coatings contain PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene). While some people avoid PTFE, this polymer is safe to use at typical cooking temperatures (i.e., under 500°F/260°C).
Be careful: Neither of these non-stick cookware sets is suitable for high heat cooking. See my stainless reviews below if you need to cook at high temperatures.
These Calphalon and Anolon sets are comparable, but the extra layer gives Anolon’s non-stick surface the advantage.
Handles and Lids
The Anolon Advanced set comes with tempered glass lids, and stainless steel handles covered in silicone. Customers report this cookware handled well and had a comfortable grip. The handles stay cool to the touch during use on the stove.
The Calphalon Simply set also has tempered glass lids and silicone handles. Users had mixed reviews on the handles. Some said they got hot while cooking, while others claimed they stayed cool.
Anolon’s color choices and rave reviews regarding grip and comfort mean it wins this category.
Max Oven-Safe Temperature
The Calphalon and Anolon cookware sets are both oven-safe for temperatures up to 400°F (204°C).
At that temperature, you can definitely get plenty of oven use out of these pans. Melting and browning cheese, finishing off a pan-seared steak, and cooking egg-based dishes are all possible at this oven temperature.
Both the Anolon and Calphalon sets are compatible with gas, electric, and ceramic stoves. Unfortunately, neither the Anolon cookware set nor the Calphalon cookware set is compatible with induction cooktops.
Both brands do offer induction-compatible cookware in their stainless steel collections.
The Calphalon Simply set features a hard-anodized aluminum exterior. The sleek gray brushed look is attractive. However, Anolon coats their exterior in a layer of non-stick. This means you have four color options: onyx, graphite, indigo, and bronze.
The extra color options and better-looking handles (at least in my opinion) give the Anolon Advantage collection the edge in appearance.
Ease of Cleaning
If you were hoping for a dishwasher-safe set of cookware, you’re out of luck. Both Calphalon and Anolon recommend strictly handwashing these pots and pans.
Thinking of testing that claim? It will likely result in ruined cookware. Many negative reviews regarding the Calphalon set were because the user put the cookware in the dishwasher. I repeat, these pans are not dishwasher-safe.
The good news? Because both sets have a non-stick surface, they are easy to clean. In fact, several reviews raved about how easy the cleaning process was. A simple wipe and rinse method should suffice. Just be sure to use mild soap and a non-abrasive sponge. That’s a win for a busy home cook.
Anolon is generally inexpensive compared with Calphalon, but that is not the case with this particular cookware set. In fact, the difference is significant. Calphalon’s hard-anodized cookware is more affordable than the Anolon cookware set.
Calphalon vs. Anolon Stainless Steel Product Reviews
Anolon Nouvelle Stainless Steel Cookware Pots and Pans Set, 10 Piece
This Anolon cookware line features stainless steel construction and comes with two covered saucepans, one stockpot, two frying pans, and a covered sauté pan.
The Nouvelle set includes all the basic pieces. Its stainless steel walls are non-toxic and can withstand high heat, making them great for those who want healthy cookware. Read more about this cookware in my complete Anolon Nouvelle review.
Calphalon Premier Stainless Steel Pots and Pans, 11-Piece Cookware Set
Calphalon’s Premier set of steel-based cookware offers high-quality materials and excellent performance. This set includes two saucepans with lids, one covered stockpot, a large covered skillet, an open skillet, and a covered sauté pan.
This stainless steel set includes the essential pieces, but it offers a covered skillet, which is nice. The tri-ply construction and see-through glass lids make this set ideal for any home chef, regardless of cooking style.
Calphalon vs. Anolon Stainless Steel: Feature Comparison
Construction & Durability
Anolon’s Nouvelle collection features stainless steel pans with a five-layer metal base, including aluminum and copper. These extra layers in the bottom help the pans heat evenly.
The Calphalon Premier set, however, features a fully-clad tri-ply construction. The aluminum core goes throughout the entire pan, and the stainless steel layers completely surround the core. This full-clad construction gives this set the most even heat distribution.
The Anolon and Calphalon stainless steel sets are both durable and safe for metal kitchen tools. That being said, the Calphalon set had superior reviews in terms of longevity and the ability to withstand heavy use.
Handles and Lids
Calphalon’s Premier set has tempered glass lids with stainless rims and handles. The stainless steel handles stay cool to the touch while cooking on the stove.
Customers liked the see-through lids for monitoring food. They’re flat, too, which is a space saver.
Anolon’s Nouvelle set has stainless steel lids and handles. Although they’re oven-safe and dishwasher-safe, a lot of customers wished they had glass lids. For that reason, I give Calphalon the win.
Without a doubt, Anolon’s attractive copper ring makes it the nice looking of the two cookware sets. It’s a subtle statement that the human race’s oldest metal is in play here.
Yet of course that is also a downside since it can tarnish easily. Still I’m already penalizing Anolon below for this (under “ease of cleaning”) so I won’t double count.
Meanwhile, check out how nice the Anolon set looks in this video by the manufacturer:
Max Oven-Safe Temperature
The Calphalon Premier set is oven-safe for temps up to 450°F (232°C), making it great for stovetop to oven dishes. The Anolon cookware, however, can handle a hot oven up to 500°F (260°C).
Both of these sets will work well in the oven, but the slight edge goes to Anolon in this category.
The Anolon and Calphalon stainless steel cookware sets are both compatible with an induction cooktop, as well as gas, electric, and ceramic.
A small number of users reported that Anolon’s smallest saucepan wasn’t large enough for induction burners. But overall, both brands got good reviews regarding their induction compatibility.
Ease of Cleaning
Anolon’s Nouvelle stainless steel has a beautiful tulip-shaped design with a copper lining around the base. Despite its attractive design, customers had a beast of a time cleaning the copper ring. Several reported fading and/ tarnishing. While some of that is to be expected with copper, and can be polished out, it’s still a pain to clean.
The Calphalon set, on the other hand, is easy to clean. You can put these pans in the dishwasher, although hand washing dishes will prolong their lifespans. Even with handwashing, though, customers reported good results. Some recommended Bar Keeper’s Friend for any stubborn spots.
The Calphalon Premier set has superb performance and positive reviews, but it will cost you quite a bit more than the Annolon Nouvelle stainless set. If your budget is tight, the Anolon pots and pans will be easier on your wallet.
Anolon vs Calphalon Cookware: Who’s the winner?
Both Anolon and Calphalon offer premium quality cookware at a feasible price point. But the bottom line? I would recommend Calphalon for both non-stick and stainless steel. Here’s why:
For Stainless steel Caphalon’s Premier Stainless Steel set, although typically pricier than Anolon, offers a better quality and more durable construction. If you are buying stainless steel pans, you are buying them to last, which is what Calphalon’s Premier Stainless Steel set offers.
It’s true Anolon stainless steel is more affordable, but its cooking performance suffers from not being fully clad, and its construction just isn’t as long-lasting.
Calphalon vs. Anolon: Non-Stick
Anolon is probably better known for its non-stick cookware, and it does have some decent products in this line, with an excellent range of colors.
I would say that Anolon’s pots and pans are slightly nicer to use than Calphalon’s, but don’t last quite as long and usually are pricier.
Calphalon Simply Non-stick Cookware just offers better value, and that’s important with non-stick when you know it isn’t going to last forever.
This is why I recommend Calphalon over Anolon if you are looking at non-stick cookware.
See my guide for more hard-anodized cookware sets.