Calphalon is a popular name in clad cookware. The brand’s Tri Ply stainless steel line is cost-effective and durable, withstanding regular wear and tear year after year. But just how good is Calphalon as a cookware brand?
We’ve dug deep into Calphalon Tri Ply reviews to find out just how well their stainless steel clad cookware holds up against other top names. Here, we’re going to go over the benefits and drawbacks of Calphalon cookware and give you a glimpse into all their collection has to offer.
Things To Consider Before Buying Clad Cookware
Clad cookware has an excellent reputation for performance and durability, but it can be expensive to lock down a full set. Before making a purchase decision it’s helpful to understand the benefits and drawbacks of clad construction.
What Is Clad Cookware?
Until the 1960s, most home cookware was made of iron or copper. Aluminum was also a popular choice, as it’s lightweight, cheaper than copper, and transfers heat well. However, untreated aluminum is also prone to warping and tends to react with acidic foods.
The Calphalon brand was one of the first to solve this issue by hard-anodizing each aluminum cookware piece. To this day, the company uses the same method to create durable aluminum cores for their products.
All-Clad, another big name in clad cookware, bonded metal in their products in layers to create a more durable and efficient kitchenware line. In this configuration, a layer of conductive aluminum rests between two stainless steel layers that offer protection against warping or reactivity. This manufacturing process is known as cladding.
Since the All-Clad patent expired in the early 2000s, other kitchenware manufacturers have copied their design to offer a wide range of different clad cookware options. Brands such as Calphalon work to bring down costs by outsourcing production to countries like China.
Benefits And Drawbacks Of Clad Cookware
Clad cookware offers even heating using an aluminum core, while two outer layers of stainless steel prevent scrapes, scratches, and dents. Pieces are highly durable, and they aren’t constructed with dangerous “forever chemicals” like Teflon.
This type of cookware is ideal for most kitchen applications. The outer layer of stainless steel is most often magnetic, allowing you to use clad cookware with gas, electric, and induction stoves.
The interior is typically coated with a nonporous satin finish, which helps to prevent staining and sticking. It also makes each item’s surface resistant to regular wear and tear, so you don’t have to worry about your pots and pans losing their shine.
Unfortunately, clad cookware tends to be more expensive than other types of pots and pans because it contains many high-grade metals and materials. It can also take longer to heat and cool the aluminum core than with standard, single-ply cookware.
What To Look For With Cladware?
When shopping for clad cookware, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
Number of Layers
Clad cookware is typically constructed of three-to-seven layers that help heat the cooksurface and protect your pot at the same time. When shopping for tri-ply clad ware, you should look for a high-quality aluminum core and two stainless steel layers protecting either side.
Some clad cookware options offer additional layers, such as a copper finish for both aesthetics and heat transfer. You can also find varieties with more than one layer of aluminum sandwiched between stainless steel. Extra layers tend to cost substantially more, and the primary benefit is aesthetic (not performance) oriented.
Thickness of Materials
The thicker a pot or pan’s base, the more heat it can hold. You should look for clad cookware with a thick, sturdy base, but you don’t want something that’s too heavyweight. A pan that’s too thick will take longer to heat up, and it will be more of a challenge to maneuver in the kitchen.
Proportion of Key Heat-conducting Materials
The aluminum core of any clad cookware piece should be the thickest part of the base. The stainless steel surrounding it should be thinner, often less than 2mm thick. If there is a copper layer, it should also be relatively thin to promote efficient heat transfer.
How Does Clad Cookware Compare With Other Types?
Before making the switch to clad cookware, many home chefs wonder how it holds up against other types of kitchenware. Conventional wisdom says that clad cookware is superior to other types of pans like non-stick or cast iron, but in our view, it depends on how you intend to use them.
Tri-ply stainless steel cookware is made to last, with three or more layers made of high-quality metal. The aluminum interior is coated in more robust stainless steel to help the piece hold up better against regular wear-and-tear than most other cookware styles.
Because of its aluminum core, clad cookware most often offers superior heat transfer over other options. Some are coated in copper for even faster heating both on the stovetop and in the oven.
The one area where clad cookware tends to fall short is the price. Because of all the high-quality materials used, clad cookware options can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars over simpler single-ply cooking solutions.
Features And Benefits Of This Line
The Calphalon Tri Ply line has similar design and features to the top clad ware products available such as All-Clad’s Copper Core line. Price is a major differentiator though, as Calphalon customers benefit from affordable offshore production.
Is Calphalon Tri-ply Cookware Safe?
Nowadays, many home chefs are apprehensive about using cookware that contains PTFE, often known as “Teflon”. Calphalon tri-ply stainless steel products use only food-grade metals. Instead of potentially dangerous non-stick materials, Calphalon coats products in a nonporous satin finish to prevent staining and sticking.
The Overall Look
Calphalon tri-ply cookware is sleek and attractive, with matching pieces that boast a lustrous stainless steel finish. Handles are also polished metal to match each piece’s base, while lids are made of clear tempered glass. The Calphalon tri-ply copper line boasts pots and pans with an attractive copper finish outside, contrasted with a silver stainless steel interior.
Are the pieces practical and well-sized?
This line offers a wide range of sizes, from single-quart saucepans to eight-quart stockpots. All pieces are true to size. No matter what you plan on cooking, you can find a Calphalon pot or pan to fit.
If you’re not sure what size pot or pan you need, Calphalon offers sets containing standard-sized cooking ware. Pieces are able to nest inside each other or hang for easy storage without creating damage to the individual pieces.
Several pieces in the line include fitted lids made of tempered glass. We like the ability that glass lids provide to monitor food while it cooks.
The tempered glass used in this collection is shatter-resistant when dropped, making the lids safer and more durable than those made of traditional glass.
Handles are securely bolted to the lid with metal brackets to ensure that they don’t accidentally detach during use. They do tend to get hot when cooking, so it’s still a good idea to use a potholder.
The handles of each piece is made of the same stainless steel used on the base for a sleek, seamless look. Thanks to the handle’s v-shaped structure, heat escapes into the air instead of transferring to the handles. This design keeps them cool enough to touch when cooking safely.
All handles are triple-riveted, which means that they’re securely bolted to the body of the cookware. You don’t have to worry about the handle coming loose or wiggling around, even when dealing with heavy loads.
The handles of Calphalon pans are long and thin, which, while attractive, can pose a problem for larger cookware. It can be challenging to balance a full pot when moving it around. What’s more, there’s no texture on Calphalon handles, so they can be a challenge to grip.
Each piece in this collection has a smooth outer rim that flows outwards seamlessly from the base’s sides. It forms a lip around the edge of the unit for easy plating. However, keeping in mind that Calphalon cookware doesn’t have a pouring lip. It’s best to use caution when dealing with liquids and sauces so that they don’t spill.
The interior of Calphalon cookware pieces is coated with a sleek satin finish that helps to protect against sticking and stains. It doesn’t scratch like Teflon, and it’s much more resistant to damage than untreated stainless steel.
Owners say these pots and pans hold up well against heavy wear and tear, though those with copper coating may be more prone to scrapes and scratches.
You can use this set both in the oven. Tri-ply pots and pans are oven and broiler-safe at temperatures reaching up to 500°F. The tempered glass lids are also heat-resistant and can handle temperatures up to 450°F.
The heavy-gauge aluminum core helps transfer heat efficiently and effectively. It runs through the pot’s base and up along the sides, so the entire unit heats evenly.
Preheat the pan for best performance. If necessary, you can test how hot the pan is by seeing how quickly a small pat of butter browns. It’s easy to wipe away the residue before you get started cooking.
Calphalon offers a lifetime warranty against manufacturer’s defects on the Tri Ply line.
The warranty doesn’t cover damage from improper use. If you accidentally chip, burn, or otherwise damage your cookware, you won’t be able to get a replacement product. Damage due to improper cleaning or neglect isn’t covered either, nor is theft or property loss.
If you find that there’s a manufacturer defect, you can return it to the company for an equal value replacement. In most cases, you’ll get an exact replacement. However, if the item has been discontinued, Calphalon will replace it with the closest product currently in stock.
The company inspects each return to ensure that damage is due to a manufacturer defect. If Calphalon sees no issue or finds the customer at fault, they’ll send back the original item with an explanation of why the warranty claim was rejected.
Calphalon Tri-Ply Reviews: A Look At The Line
Here we take an in-depth look at all of the pieces in the Calphalon tri-ply stainless steel line, and associated bundles.
Diving into an entire set can be expensive, especially if you don’t know which each pan is used for. We recommend building your collection piece-by-piece and deciding what each pan will be used to cook before purchasing.
The frying pans are ideal for much more than just omelets. It has sloped sides that make it a good choice for anything that requires flipping, rolling, or tossing. You can also saute small portions or individual meals. The Calphalon 8” omelet frying pan is thinner than many of their other products and may not retain heat as well when cooking at low temperatures or for long periods. The 12” pan is sized for larger portions and may come in handy if you have many mouths to feed.
This pan is shaped like a saute pan, but instead of a traditional elongated handle, it has two loop handles to make it easier to balance and carry. The pan’s interior is roomy enough to cook for multiple people, though it’s prone to discoloration without special care.
This multi-purpose chef’s pan has a rounded bottom and tall sides, making it ideal for creating sauces, reductions, risottos, and more. It’s safe to use on the stovetop, in the oven, or under the broiler. However, the thin handle can be difficult to use, making it a challenge to balance the pan.
Calphalon’s smallest saucepan is ideal for whipping up small batches, as it’s able to heat up quickly and maintain its temperature without trouble. The inside is nonstick, but unfortunately, it’s prone to discoloration if not washed properly. It’s best not to put this pan in the dishwasher, which may inconvenience some users.
This saucepan has shorter sides than traditional pans, making it easier for you to stir or whisk food that needs constant oversight. It’s ideal for foods such as sauces, soups, and risottos. It’s relatively thin, however, and more prone to burning food when simmering or reducing.
With its large, flat base, this saute pan is ideal for searing meats, vegetables, and more. It has low sides to allow air to circulate, helping you get a crisp, juicy finish. This saute pan heats more quickly than other Calphalon products, and it can be easy to overcook or burn your food if you’re not careful.
If you’re looking for something to cook large quantities of stock, soup, or other foods, this pot can hold enough to feed a family. It has high sides and a small opening as well as a tight-fitting lid to help prevent evaporation. However, the lid is prone to making cracking noises during cooking, and it may collect condensation around the rim.
While not quite a true wok, the Calphalon tri-ply wok is a good fit for stir-frying, with plenty of cooking space and a stable bottom. Thanks to the tight-fitting top, the wok can also be used for steaming and simmering. However, depending on what you’re frying, food may stick to the stainless steel surface.
This pot’s interior is relatively small for a Dutch oven, and it tends to burn foods at higher heats. However, it’s still a good choice for braising and browning at low heats. Just be aware that the handles heat up quickly, and you may have to use potholders to avoid accidental burns.
This cookware set includes 8- and 10-inch omelet pans, a 1-½- and a 2-½-quart covered saucepan, and a 6-quart stockpot. It has all the bare necessities for any home chef but lacks some of Calphalon’s more advanced pieces such as the shallow saucepan and the wok. While the set is easy to use, foods tend to stick at high heats, and the cookware can be difficult to clean.
Calphalon’s ten-piece set includes a 10-inch omelet pan, a 1-½-, a 2-½-, and a 3-quart saucepan, and a 5-quart Dutch oven, all with matching glass covers. The handles are a little bit too narrow for some of the larger pieces, but overall, this set is easy to use at any cooking skill level.
This set includes 8-, 10-, and 12-inch omelet pans, 1-½- and 2-½-quart saucepans, a 3-quart chef’s pan, a 3-quart saute pan, and a 6-quart stockpot. It contains just about all of the kitchen essentials that any household needs to cook individual or family-size meals. The pieces in this set can be a challenge to maintain. However, and without diligent care, they’re prone to scratching and discoloration.
Calphalon has a high-end line of tri-ply cookware that boasts an aluminum core, a copper exterior, and a stainless steel interior. Pieces heat more quickly and evenly than other Calphalon pots and pans. Remember, though, that copper can be more of a challenge to care for than stainless steel. It’s prone to scratches, discoloration, and oxidation over time.
Calphalon Tri Ply is a great choice for anyone looking to get into clad cookware without breaking the bank. This line is significantly more cost effective than comparable lines from All Clad.
The aluminum core heats evenly, while the stainless steel exterior provides exceptional durability compared with single ply aluminum, ceramic, or traditional non-stick alternatives.
If affordability isn’t a major concern for your kitchen then you might also consider All Clad’s Copper Core collection. It truly is best-in-class, but is also unobtainable for most budgets.
We like this line for our kitchen, in combination with a few pieces of cast iron and a cost effective ceramic non-stick frying pan for situations where we need easy cleaning.
To see more information and view current pricing on Calphalon Tri Ply click here!