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When it comes to cookware, the Calphalon Unison and Calphalon Contemporary lines are both durable, high-quality designs. We’ve compared different aspects of both, so you can decide which line will work best for your kitchen.
In both the Contemporary and Unison sets, the construction is made from heavy-duty aluminum. Pieces have a rugged quality. In addition, the aluminum exterior of the lines has hard anodization that ensures durability, even heating, and safe dishwasher use.
Both collections come with a non-stick coating of three layers. The middle and outer layers provide stability, while the inner layer helps with non-stick capabilities. However, the stainless steel collection of the Contemporary does not have the dual non-stick compatibility.
Dual Non-Stick Surfaces
The Contemporary cookware comes with a non-stick surface that eliminates stickiness. However, the Unison does even more. It gives users two separate surfaces that adhere to your unique needs.
The Slide surface uses the same construction as the surface you’ll find with the Contemporary line. However, the Sear surface comes with a textured and rough feel.
Unlike the Slide surface, this surface is optimized for browning fish, vegetables, steaks, and burgers. It allows for deeper food sealing.
The Unison has non-stick capabilities that will stand up to most professional-grade needs, while the Contemporary should suit the needs of an average home kitchen.
Lid and Handle Design
Both lines of cookware include brushed stainless steel handles to promote durability. They remain cool as the food cooks, thanks to the strategic position of the insulation joints and long handle length.
Similarly, both lines come with lids made of tempered glass. They’re transparent and clear, allowing you to monitor your food preparation progress easily.
Heat Distribution and Conduction
Both lines are able to heat quickly and evenly. If you use the Contemporary collection and Unison Slide pieces, they can heat on both electric cookers and gas ranges.
However, the Sear pieces don’t fare as well with electric cookers. They’ll give you best results over gas only.
Non-stick pieces are extraordinarily easy to clean, thanks to food and grease failing to stick to the cookware interior. Both lines should be simple to rinse out, and the dishwasher will take care of the rest.
There is one potential cleaning drawback: the handles. Because the handles are attached with rivets, there are more gaps and crevices that food may become stuck in.
Oven and Dishwasher Use
Thanks to the aluminum construction, both cookware lines are safe for the dishwasher. If you get the non-stick Contemporary line, the pieces will last longer if you wash them manually rather than through a machine.
There’s also a chance that Unison cookware rivets will discolor slightly after frequent dishwasher cleaning.
As long as you adhere to the predetermined temperature limit, you can safely use both lines in your oven. The Unison collection has a limit of 500 degrees F.
For the non-stick Contemporary, the limit is a little lower, coming in at 450 degrees F. You can keep your prepared dishes warm in your oven for the longest time possible.
The Calphalon Contemporary line has two main options: stainless steel and non-stick cookware. The stainless steel pieces have different composition and construction from the non-stick pieces.
Stainless steel is more heavy-duty and durable than aluminum, and the stainless steel pieces also have ideal temperature control.
With that said, the stainless steel pieces do not have the non-stick capabilities of the non-stick Contemporary line.
You’ll need to grease them before you do cooking. Stainless steel pieces are recommended for browning, deglazing, and searing.
The Unison line, meanwhile, only comes with non-stick pieces. There is no additional stainless steel line available. If you want stainless steel construction, you’ll have to opt for the Contemporary.
Each cookware collection is backed by the full lifetime Calphalon warranty guaranteed.
Calphalon Unison Pros and Cons
Calphalon Contemporary Pros and Cons
Which Is Better?
Both lines of cookware have durable construction and even heating, ensuring they’ll work well for whatever dishes you’re making. Their dishwasher-safe and oven-safe components also make them easy to maintain.
The biggest difference between the lines is in the non-stick construction versus stainless steel.
The stainless steel construction of the Calphalon Contemporary will allow you to use any utensils. There’s also induction compatibility. If these are important factors, it may be the right line for you.
Meanwhile, the Calphalon Unison line comes with unique non-stick construction. If sticky food is a big problem for you, you’ll want this line.
However, you should be aware that you’ll be limited in your utensil choices, and you won’t have induction compatibility.