Calphalon VS Le Creuset: The Ultimate Comparison

When someone mentions Le Creuset, our minds go directly to those bright red and blue enameled dutch ovens that every self-respecting TV chef has in their collection. Oh, and those customizable handles for their lids that cost a lot more than what a novelty rooster should be allowed to cost.

But, did you know that Le Creuset also makes regular stainless steel cookware? Well, of course, you did, since you’re here now. And since you’re trying to compare it to Calphalon, I’ll assume that you’re wondering which one is a better investment.

Today, we’ll take a look at both brands and see what they have to offer. We’ll also take a peek beyond pots and pans and see which one is more consumer-friendly, as well as which brand is a better pick for you. Now, get ready for the Calphalon vs Le Creuset showdown.

Calphalon vs Le Creuset Quick Comparison

Calphalon

Calphalon is one of the brands that fall under the umbrella of the international manufacturer, Newell Brands Inc. This makes them related to other household names like Rubbermaid, Sistema, Sharpie, Crock-Pot, Yankie Candle, etc.

It was originally founded in 1963 by Ronald M. Kasperzak under the name Commercial Aluminium Cookware. It used to supply only restaurants and cooking schools with cookware, before becoming available to home cooks as well in the mid-80s. Today, the brand is still beloved by professionals and amateurs alike.

Best points

This is a brand that truly offers amazing quality at a reasonable price. And not only do they pay attention to every last detail (ie the quality of the joints on handles), but quite a few pieces are actually very pleasant to look at.

And smart design doesn’t stop with hardware and aesthetics, they also think of smart storage and other problem-solving features and accessories. Plus, the manufacturer developed a PFOA-free nonstick coating so you don’t have to poison yourself with Teflon when cooking breakfast.

Le Creuset

Le Creuset was founded in 1925 in Northern France, and their trademark shade of orange called “Flame” was also created back then. Their signature blue shade was created in the late 60s for Elizabeth David, a cookery writer and the brand promoter behind the 1969 booklet “Cooking with Le Creuset’.

Though the brand is best known for its colorful cast iron “French ovens” and cocottes, they also manufacture premium stoneware, bakeware, and aluminum cookware pieces. In recent years, they are having more fun with their designs and colors by releasing limited edition pieces (ie Hello Kitty, Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc).

Best points

Sometimes the saying “you get what you pay for” simply says everything. Yes, the company is in the business of selling you very pricey pots and pans, but those pots and pans are very likely to outlive everything you own (maybe you as well).

Even with all the changes that happened over (almost) a century of the company’s history, they still make their cast iron collection in their old factory in France and they are not looking any day soon to outsource their work to a sweatshop. Stuff that’s not made there comes from Portugal, where they still have to follow all EU labor laws and production standards. The quality of craftsmanship they offered your grandmother is available to you today.

Calphalon vs Le Creuset Brand Comparison

Product range

Le Creuset’s range is more modest when compared to Calphalon. While the latter has 8 different cookware collections, the former only has 3: cast iron, stainless and nonstick, and a collection of enamel stockpots and kettles.

Quality

We’ll compare prices in a bit, but let’s just say that there is a reason why you’ll suffer a severe case of sticker shock when it comes to Le Creuset. The unofficial brand moto is to make cookware that you can pass on to your grandkids, and their pieces tend to last for decades (according to user comments and reviews).

On the other hand, we have Calphalon that started as a professional kitchen supply manufacturer. Of course, the quality varies as much as the price range (as in, the cheaper items are not quite as good as the premium ones), but they still come on top when compared to other brands from the same price bracket.

Price

The Sun rises in the East, the Pope is Catholic, and Le Creuset is expensive. You can easily spend $1000 for a similar set that would cost you $200 to $300 at Calphalon (as seen above).

Calphalon also has a few pieces and sets offered at “premium” prices. Still, you can get one of those (a 10 or 12-piece set) for the same amount of money you would have to spend on a single stockpot, frying pan, or saucepan from Le Creuset.

Availability

Calphalon is easier to get your hands on if you live in the US. It’s available in both brick and mortar stores and online.

Besides their web store, Le Creuset is only available from official distributors.

Teflon

Both Calphalon and Le Creuset don’t use Teflon, and both brands use their proprietary PFOA-free nonstick coating.

Ethical production

Calphalon’s parent company, Newell Brands, came under fire in recent years for moving factories from Britain to China and an unsatisfactory work environment during the lockdown in Australia. However, both of those are related to different brands under the company’s umbrella. As of now, Calphalon itself raised no eyebrows either when it comes to ethical or ecological issues.

Le Creuset’s reputation also seems squeaky clean, at least when it comes to the production side. In 2018, they were called out for their lack of diversity in marketing and foodie events in South Africa, which they apologized for promptly. This seems to be their biggest scandal to date.

Calphalon vs Le Creuset Cookware Set Comparison

Calphalon Premier Space Saving Nonstick 10 Piece Set (Top Set)

What’s in the box?

An 8-inch and 10-inch frying pan, a 2.5-quart and a 3.5-quart saucepan, a 3-quart saute pan, and a 6-quart dutch oven.

Pros:

  • Smart and attractive space-saving design.
  • Dishwasher and oven-safe, works on all stovetops.
  • Calphalon’s proprietary PFOA-free nonstick coating for safe and healthy cooking.

Con:

  • No colander insert (don’t worry, it will make sense after the next segment).

It’s difficult to stand up against a giant like Le Creuset, so I had to pull out the big guns. On a personal note, I think this is the smartest cookware set designed for use at home. And I’m a bit mad that it wasn’t available when I was living in my old tiny apartment.

This set is designed to save up to 30% more space with pieces that stack up perfectly. If you want to see how well the manufacturer thought everything through, check out how the handles fit on top of each other. Plus, there’s no specific way to stack the pieces since they fit together no matter the order.

Speaking of the handles, they are a true testament to the brand’s dedication to durability. The hardware is the same stuff you would expect to find in a professional, busy kitchen. Nothing was compromised for the sake of innovation.

And all of that at just a bit over a quarter of the price of today’s opponent.

Best for:

Someone who wants quality, innovation, and problem-solving without taking out a second mortgage.Equally great for someone who’s setting up their first kitchen and someone who is looking for an upgrade.

Le Creuset Toughened Nonstick PRO Cookware Set, 10 pc (Top set)

What’s in the box?

An 8″ Fry Pan, 11″ Fry Pan, 2 qt. Saucepan w/Lid, 3 qt. Saucepan w/Lid, 3 1/2 qt. Saute Pan w/Lid, 6 1/3 qt. Stockpot w/Lid

Pros:

  • A complete cookware set that will last you a lifetime. Or more.
  • Thoughtful design details that promise to improve the cooking process.
  • Le Creuset’s signature PFOA-free nonstick coating for safe and healthy cooking.

Con:

  • Expensive. You can get whole cookware set from Calphalon for the same money you would pay for one piece from Le Creuset.

Every single piece in this collection is heavy and sturdy. But, the quality of production doesn’t stop there, so let’s talk about those thoughtful design details.

The first thing you’ll notice is the classic three-ring lid. Just like in the cast iron models, it’s also designed to prevent overflow and offer a perfect fit. Next, we have the stay-cool handles. Though it would seem that they could easily become a hazard since they are not lined with silicone, they are designed to not overheat no matter how long your pot stays on the stove. And those handles are connected to the pots and pans with super heavy-duty hardware for maximum durability.

Finally, all pieces are oven and dishwasher-safe, as well as suitable for every stovetop.

Best for:

Someone who loves their Le Creuset dutch oven and has enough money to go for the matchy-matchy look.

Which one should you pick?

Let’s be honest, if you have money to drop on Le Creuset, you should go for Le Creuset. Yes, you are paying a bit for the brand name, but quality also plays a huge role in that price tag.

But if you’re not in the mood to spend that much on a set of cookware, go for Calphalon. And don’t feel like you’re settling, since their stuff both looks great and is commercial kitchen/culinary school-ready.

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