🥇 calphalon signature vs contemporary: non-stick frying pans compared side by side

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Calphalon Contemporary (Recommended)

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Calphalon Signature

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Calphalon cookware sets are a great utility when you’re moving out to your first apartment or as a gift to a budding chef. You could never go wrong with taking their cookware to a bridal shower either. Cookware sets are great in that you get to buy everything you need at a go while benefitting from bulk discounts. Calphalon, one of the bestselling USA-based cookware brands, makes great cookware sets and you may be torn between their contemporary product line and the signature one. In this calphalon signature vs contemporary post, we will look at what these models have in common, their differences and their pros and cons.

calphalon signature vs contemporary: What they have in common

They both have a similar design and they’re made of high quality hard anodized aluminum. However, a higher price tag is often attached to the Signature product line even though they have almost identical features. What brings about this difference? As you may be thinking, they have a varying number of items in the set.

The hard-anodized aluminum they’re made from is PFOA-free. Just like Teflon, it’s somewhat nonstick and easy to clean. Its biggest advantage over Teflon is that you can use metallic utensils on this material. Either way, you should use wooden, nylon or silicone utensils on the set to avoid creating eyesore scratches.

Their difference

According to the manufacturer, the Signature model features a higher quality non-stick layer. In fact, Calphalon often refers to this layer as the “Sear Non-stick” layer perhaps suggesting that their product is great at searing meat

If you’re looking for cookware pieces that are oven safe, then the Signature set will be your best bet. The signature product line comfortably handles high oven treasures while the Contemporary set would warp under the same conditions. Even though they’re both dishwasher safe, you’re better off handwashing them with warm soapy water as the aggressive dishwasher detergents and temperatures would be harmful to the set’s exterior.

The Contemporary is a budget pick and beginners find the most value from it. With the Classic series, the brand targets lower budget consumers but this product line isn’t as durable. Their pans often end up getting unsightly scratches even under medium usage. Of course, you get what you pay for.

Calphalon Signature set

This 10-piece cookware set made up of non-stick pans, skillets and pots is ideal for media to large families. In this set, you get to choose the sizes of the specific items. They even have a 10-piece space-saving variant set that is compact and can be stored in smaller cupboards

What do you get in this set?

Like you’re used to, the number of pieces indicated refers to the pots, pans and their covers included in the set. In the package, you’ll get these hard-ionized items

  • A 12 inch and a 10-inch omelet pan
  • 2- and 3-quart saucepans and their lids
  • A 3-quart saucepan with its lid
  • And an 8-quart stockpot together with its lid

Their sauté and saucepans feature a cleverly designed spot that makes for easy and non-messy pouring. You will find this practical when making sauces and soups as this spout is spill-proof.

What is unique in this set

  1. Stainless steel handles – Even though steel handles heat faster than polymer ones, they’re more durable. When cooking on stovetops, these handles stay cool. However, they will warm up when you’re cooking in the oven. You should use mitts when working with an oven
  2. Tempered glass covers – Its practical in that you get to see how well the food is cooking without opening the lid
  3. Oven safe – Even when cooking with an oven, this cookware set will outlive its usefulness as long as you’re not baking at over 500 degrees. Either way, you should avoid using their tempered glass lids in the oven as they may shutter

Calphalon contemporary cookware

With a choice of a non-stick or a stainless-steel coating, the Calphalon contemporary cookware set often has a higher price tag than the other similar models but it gives you more value for money. Here’s why:

In the non-stick variant, you get to choose between a black design or a dark grey one. They both have a stylish stainless-steel edge guying them an elegant, contemporary finish. The stainless steel one is curvier, has a polish design and is cheaper than its non-stick competitor. Most professional chefs in commercial kitchens opt for the non-stick version.


All pieces in the set have a hard-ionized aluminum core for even heat distribution. Aluminum is one of the best heat conductors and your food will, therefore, have even cooking. There will be no hotspots. Heavy-gauge aluminum is sturdy and durable too. On the interior are three layers of nonstick coating for easier cooking and even easier cleanup. All pieces are dishwasher safe too.

Nonstick surfaces are a great healthy choice as there will be no need of adding oils, greases, and sprays that stop food from sticking onto cookware. Cooking is a breeze with the stainless handles used in making the sets as they rarely warm-up when cooking.

Compare all clad and Calphalon cookware instead

Pros of the Calphalon contemporary cookware set

  1. The set comes with everything you need to cook for a medium to a large family
  2. Made of durable hard ionized aluminum
  3. Three layers of nonstick coating on the interior
  4. AL pieces are dishwasher and oven safe


There were a few complaints that the interior surface developed scratches after months of usage. Ensure that you use wooden utensils instead of metallic ones when cooking with this set and these scratches will be unheard of.


Irrespective of the manufacturer, the non-stick interior layer in cookware sets eventually wears off with time. Even the best quality omelet pans show signs of wear and tear after a few years of heavy usage. If you’re looking for a cookware set that will last a lifetime, go for one made of stainless steel. They never wear out or lose their metallic polish.

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