3-quart or 4-quart pot
someone is giving me an all-clad saute pot for a gift, & i get to choose: 3 or 4 quart. each pot is the same diameter, with the 4 quart being 3/4" deeper. i'm just assuming the 4 quart would be more versatile so i should go for that, right?
As long as a vessel is light enough for you to move easily, and doesn't hog the space on your cooktop, I believe firmly in Bigger Is Better. A little more depth means you can stir stuff around more freely without losing any over the side, and it's easier to flip what you're sauteeing in a deeper pot than a shallower one. And yes, versatility is a plus as well: I got a 5-quart sautee pot as a gift last year, and this year I'll be able to make my turkey dressing entirely in one cooking vessel, instead of using two or three.
Go for the 4-quart, for sure. I have a 3 quart and it is a little small for certain things. In fact, I just bought a 5-quart which is more of a deep-sided skillet and am finding it to be immensely useful.
The 4 qt will certainly give you a little more versatility. And since the diameter is the same anyway (odd, that), there's really nothing you couldn't do in that particular 3 qt that you won't be able to do in the 4.
Consider the Casserole rather than the pot. The dimensions of the vessel are the same, just the handles are different. The casserole has two loop handles, while the pot has one long handle and (I think) the opposing loop. For larger pots (more weight) I find one-handed handling difficult.
Then of course there is the space issue. It is much easier to use the loop handles in the oven, as well as store it.
Oh, and 4 is better than 3 or 3.5.
Agree w/ others...go for the 4-qt. I have the 3 qt. (I think that's the size), and while I love it and use it alot, sometimes a little more room would make it easier to toss pasta or braise something.