While being a great cook is mostly a matter of practice, it always makes your journey a little easier if you have the right tools at your disposal. That’s why choosing the right pots and pans will go a long way in making your journey an enjoyable one.
Unfortunately, it can often be difficult to figure out which products are good and which ones are just overpriced junk. That’s why in this article, we’ll be comparing three of the most popular brands to help you choose an amazing new set of non-stick cookware.
First up, let’s do a little comparison chart so we can more easily see the differences of Anolon vs Calphalon vs Circulon. This little chart should give you the basics and make your decision easier.
Anolon, Calphalon, and Circulon features comparison
When viewing this table, you should keep in mind that each brand has many different kinds of pans. For the purposes of this review, we’ve chosen their most popular stainless steel sets, and we’ve also linked each one for you so that you can compare them yourself.
We prefer the stainless steel approach, but each of these brands also have non-stick and additional finishes in different sets if you’d prefer a different look or feel.
|5 Layer Metal Base
|3 Layer Metal Base
|3 Layer Non-Stick
|Oven Safe: 500°
|Oven Safe: 450°
|Oven Safe: 400°
Editor’s Choice: Anolon Cookware
So, which brand do we think is top dog? If it were our money, we’d go with the Anolon cookware. This brand tends to be middle-of-the-road on price, but it has a lot to offer the at-home cook.
First off, we love the copper bottoms. Copper heats very efficiently, and that gives these pans phenomenal performance without the high price tag of having a full copper pot set which is nice if you love to cook but can’t afford to spend a small fortune on cookware.
They have a base that is made from 5 layers of metal, including a magnetized stainless steel cap. That makes this set a great choice no matter what kind of stove you have, as the magnetized cap allows it to work equally well with gas, electric, and induction ovens.
Save for the copper, the pans are also full stainless steel. Unlike the cheaper Circulon sets, which all use non-stick to some degree that flakes off in your food eventually, and many people find their “textured” non-stick approach infuriating anyway.
The Anolon pans are just more durable all around with their sturdy riveted handles, and they can be used in the oven up to 500 degrees. This makes them ideal for cooks that need versatility and durability in their kitchen, and it’s why they’re our number one cookware pick. While the Calphalon pans are alright, they just seem overpriced in comparison to these beauties.
Alright, well, that’s our pick! If you’re ready to start doing your own comparison shopping, then the best place to do so is Amazon, because you can often get the best price and see everything side-by-side. You can use this link to see our favorite set and start comparing.
Or, you can keep reading if you’d like a little more of an in-depth look at these pots and pans brands. We’ve done extensive research, and for those who want to know everything, we’ve got you covered!
Calphalon Pans – Everything you need to know
Calphalon makes some high-quality stainless steel pans. They are well made, offer a 3 ply metal construction, and sturdy handles. They’re also oven safe up to 450 degrees, making them useful for a wide variety of cooking styles.
However, they are a bit pricey, and they don’t really offer anything that the Anolon pans don’t, and in fact, they’re missing the copper addition which allows the pans to heat more evenly.
As these pans are made of anodized aluminum, cooks may find that they need to cook at lower temperatures, as this material heats up quickly. This may take a bit of guess work before you figure out a good happy medium for your situation.
If you have your heart set on Calphalon pans, then they are certainly of high quality. Their products are durable, easy to clean, and they come with a lifetime warranty. However, the markup when compared to similar sets is very high, and we just can’t justify the price for this brand.
However, if you are intent on buying cookware that is made in the United States, then you’ll be happy to know that Calphalon manufactures their products in Toledo, Ohio.
Circulon Pans – Everything you need to know
Circulon pans are some of the cheapest sets you’ll find, and they can be decent in certain circumstances. However, if you’d prefer a completely stainless steel pan, look elsewhere. All of these pans use non-stick in some way.
For some people, the non-stick approach is not a deal breaker, as it does make clean up very easy. However, you should be aware that eventually, that coating will begin to flake off into your food, and that’s simply a no-go for us.
Some people are also disappointed with the “textured” no-stick on these pans. This is meant to help prevent food from sticking, but in many cases, it’s just a pain and causes you grief.
If you plan to do a lot of oven cooking with your pans, then you should also know that this set is only good at up to 400 degrees, which limits its functionality. If this is not a big deal to you though, then you could save a pretty penny going with this set.
Circulon pans are some of the most affordable around, and they provide decent quality, a lifetime warranty, and adequate performance for most people.
These pans are not made in the United States if that’s important to you, but you should also keep in mind that you’ll be paying a lot more for ones that are. That being said, Calphalon are made in the USA if you’d like to buy from a domestic brand.
Anolon Pans – Everything you need to know
As you’ve already seen in our editor’s pick section, the Anolon pans are our personal favorite, but I thought I’d use this section to expand on why that is.
During our price comparisons, we’ve found that the Anolon pans provide exceptional value when compared to our other sets. Not only are they full stainless steel, but they also incorporate a copper ring which allows them to heat much more evenly than other pans.
While this might not seem like a big deal at first, if you’ve ever cooked something only to realize that half of it is either burnt or raw, then your pans may not be heating evenly.
This particular set is also oven safe up to 500 degrees, giving you a wide range of uses in the kitchen, and allowing it to even beat out the much pricier Calphalon pans.
However, if you’re in the USA products only camp, then you’ll be unhappy here as these pans are made in a variety of places ranging from China to Italy, but not in the United States. For us, the quality here works out just fine, and the price increase for USA made cookware is too much for our liking.
Should I buy a set or individual pans?
Unlike our kitchen knife article where we recommended purchasing singular knives to get the best band for your buck, we’d actually recommend that you purchase a full pots and pan set rather than pans individually. Even if you don’t think that you’ll use all of the pans in the set, it is nice to have them.
As you grow as a cook, you may find that you’d like to broaden your horizons and cook with more cookware. Plus, when buying a set, you typically get a much better deal, and you’ll be off to a great start in your new hobby. Plus, nobody really wants a bunch of mismatched pots and pans.
In our review, we’ve compared the 11 piece sets, and they more or less come with the same basic components. However, the Calphalon set does have a 13 piece version available which includes a multi-pot with steamer and pasta insert for a bit more if you’d like to have them.
If you don’t see every piece you need, most brands will have a large assortment of add-ons which can also be purchased separately and will match your set. (Another bonus of going with a stainless steel look – it’s very easy to add “matching” pieces later!)
How can I know I’m getting a good deal on my cookware set?
It’s easy to get tricked into buying a sub-par cookware set, and that’s why it’s important to compare sets which are as close as possible. Make sure that you take all of the sets specifications into account before you decide.
Don’t just run out and buy the most expensive set, because this does not necessarily mean that you’re getting the best deal! In fact, the price could even be inflated for brand recognition. Here are the points that we recommend you take into consideration when making a purchase.
- How many pieces are in the set?
- What metal(s) are used for construction?
- How many layers or what’s the thickness of the metal?
- What oven temperature is it safe to?
- Does it have a warranty?
- What are other people saying about them?
It’s important to learn as much as you can about a set, and even the company itself before making a purchase. However, the easiest way to learn all of this is by reading the reviews, as quality can vary between sets too!
The good news is you can check out reviews for all of these sets on Amazon and get first hand knowledge from people who have used them extensively to figure out if they are worth buying. While we’ve done our best to answer your questions, a second opinion never hurts when comparison shopping! Head here to check out the Amazon reviews for our favorite brand and compare them to other sets online.