Calphalon Unison Vs Contemporary: What’s the Difference?

Calphalon has to be in the top ten best cookware brands, if not the top five. Since time immemorial, this brand has continuously been a preference in many American home kitchens. This brand prides itself on producing cookware that offers excellent user experience. And this is evident as the Calphalon Unison and Calphalon Contemporary cookware ascribe to this philosophy.

Both Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Cookware and Calphalon Unison Nonstick 4-Quart Soup Pot have heavy-gauge hard-anodized aluminum construction and are durable. These two features are just among many other features that set these pans apart, so, what are the other comparisons. Read on to learn more.


As stated earlier, the two cookware sets have a heavy-gauge hard-anodized aluminum construction, a material that is tough and durable. Both the interior and exterior of the pans are sturdy and durable.

These pans can withstand the heavy rigors of a busy kitchen. They are safe for use in ovens and are also dishwasher-safe. Additionally, they come with a full lifetime warranty. All these measures tend to enable users to have a great experience.

Non-stick Surface

Both pans have 3-layer PFOA-free non-stick surfaces. These layers ensure that the non-stick coatings are durable and are PFOA-free making them safe for use.

Now the difference when it comes to non-stick surfaces lies in the design. Calphalon Unison has two non-stick surfaces, slide and sear. The slide non-stick surface allows easy release. On the other hand, the non-stick sear surface captures flavors and puts them back into the food.

Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Cookware, on the other hand, only has one non-stick surface, the slide surface. This pan only allows easy food release but no maintenance of food flavors.

It’s vital to note that due to the non-stick coatings in both pots, you should not use the cookware with metal utensils. Metal utensils tend to scratch off the non-stick surfaces; therefore, use wooden or nylon utensils when cooking.

Oven Use

Both models are suitable for ovens and broilers. However, the maximum temperature levels of use differ from one model to the other. Calphalon Unison Nonstick has a maximum temperature limit of 500 degrees Fahrenheit, while Contemporary has a limit of 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Either way, the limits don’t differ that much and are high enough for use in both ovens and grills. The temperature range also allows you to warm your food at a safe temperature range. Speaking of oven, check out our top 7 Roaster Ovens review here

Cooking Performance

Cooking Performance​

Both models can heat up quickly. The heating up is due to the aluminum material used in the design. Therefore, both Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Cookware and Calphalon Unison Nonstick 4-Quart Soup Pot have quite a similar cooking performance. The distribution of heat is even, meaning that you get to cook evenly-distributed meals.

The non-stick surfaces allow you to flip foods while cooking and flipping your food while cooking allows for even distribution of heat and prevents overburning. Such art is necessary for excellent cooking results.

Both models are not induction-capable. It’s never suitable to use non-induction cookware with induction cooktops. However, these models work well on gas stoves as well as electric conduction stoves.

Handle and Lid

Handle and Lid​

Both the Unison and the Contemporary have a design of cast brushed stainless steel handles. These handles are durable, and the design behind the handles is long enough to give you enough room to put your hands.

The handle also stays cool during the cooking process regardless of the level of heat used. The coolness in the handles comes from the fitted insulated rivets.

The lids of both models are glass lids. They’re transparent, allowing easy monitoring of your food without the need to take off the top. The tempered-glass tops are robust and heavy, making them hard to break.

If durability is your priority, we recommend buying either Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Cookware or Calphalon Unison Nonstick 4-Quart Soup Pot because they’re both made of strong and highly resistant material.

Available Collections

Calphalon Unison is strictly a collection of non-stick cookware pieces. Therefore, this model requires wooden and nylon utensils when cooking. As stated earlier, any alternative cooking utensils will scratch off the non-stick surface, messing up the cookware, further making the food stick on the surface.

On the other hand, Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Cookware has both non-stick variants and stainless steel variants. The stainless steel variant needs greasing before using to prevent the food from sticking on the cookware surface. Stainless steel cookware sets are good to use with induction cooktops and are ideal for searing, browning, and deglazing.



Non-stick cookware sets are easy to clean, given that food and grease fall to stick to the cookware interior. Rinse out the lines and let the dishwasher clean the rest of the parts.

When cleaning the handles, a lot of keenness is needed because food may stick to gaps or crevices.

Calphalon Unison Vs Contemporary

Calphalon Unison has an Ultra-smooth Slide Nonstick Fry Pan that releases foods effortlessly. In contrast, Contemporary has a Heavy-gauge aluminum construction that ensures even heating and is hard-anodized for durability. If you want your food to cook evenly, we, therefore, recommend Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Cookware.

Secondly, both of these sets of cookware are flat, extensive bottom heat evenly and provide plenty of room for cooking; The sloped side design allows for easy tossing and rolling. Also, they both have long, triple-riveted stainless steel handles that stay cool on the stovetop.

Which is the Best Choice

Both of these models are quite similar in design; hence the differences between them are minute. They both have a durable construction that further allows even and fast heat-up time. They’re also dishwasher-safe and oven-safe, making them easy to maintain.

The only significant difference is in the non-stick construction. The non-stick construction of the Calphalon Unison allows easy use when preparing sticky food. Therefore, if you’ve got a problem with experiencing sticky food, then this cookware is your choice. If your priority is non-stick surfaces, we recommend buying Calphalon Unison Nonstick 4-Quart Soup Pot.

Unfortunately, the Unison model is not induction-compatible, and it’s advisable only to use plastic and wooden utensils when cooking with this cookware.

On the other hand, the stainless steel design of the Calphalon Contemporary lets you use the cookware with any utensils and provides induction compatibility.

Picking one model over the other in this scenario highly depends on your preference and probably budget. Otherwise, these sets of cookware are both great picks of cookware sets, and each serves its purpose correctly. Therefore, weigh your options and pick your best choice.

Leave a Comment