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Best All-Clad line?

All-Clad has any number of different cooking lines. I'm now trying to figure out which one to get.

I'm an amateur home cook who doesn't have any sort of professional experience. Regardless, I like to cook like the pros--or at least try to.

I'm taking price, ease of clean-up, durability, and look into consideration. What will give me the most bang for my buck and also best meet my needs?

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  1. LTD for my money...the annodized exterior looks good even as it ages...

    1. I have the master chef line and love it. It may not be as attractive as others but it cooks the same and I don't have to worry about scratches. Ive used it in commercial kitchens and love it in my home.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Kelli2006

        I was going with the MC2 and heard that over time, they re harf=der to keep clean due to the brushed exterior. What do you think? I ended up with the LTD as a gift, and am very happy with it, but it is more expensive, so I wonder what other users think.

        1. re: WCchopper

          I hand wash all my pans, and they look the same as the day I bought them. A bit of Barkeepers Friend w/ a 3M scrubbie on the occasional stain, and there will never be a problem.

          I used them in a commercial kitchen and we had them steam cleaned approx every 6 months to remove any strains. It took about 5 minutes per pan and they were spotless.

      2. I have the stainless and I love it. I also have a couple of pieces in LTD, which looks really nice. The only reason I didn't get my whole set in LTD was because they say you shouldn't put LTD in the dishwasher. That said, I'm happy with the LTD too because it's pretty easy to hand wash. So either one is really great. The stainless is usually a little cheaper, so it's a better value. They both basically cook the same (at least for me).

        5 Replies
        1. re: baloo

          I, too, have the stainless line and love it. The ability to put it in the dishwasher was also a key point for me when choosing. I also just don't happen to find the LTD anodized exterior attractive, but that's an entirely personal preference. I, like baloo, also have found that the stainless tends to be a bit less expensive.

          1. re: ccbweb

            I have the stainless as well. It's very easy to clean: even if you get a tough stain on it, it's very easy to clean them with a little bit of bar keeper's friend. And i like the shiny look the best. However, I have a cheap non-stick caphalon commercial pan to make omelette and easy sautee.

            1. re: baekster

              Count me in for a vote for the stainless line. Love the look, easy to care for. (Bar keeper's friend is indeed terrific stuff.) I too have a couple of relatively cheap non-stick pans for the same reason as baekster. I buy mine at places like Marshall's and TJ Maxx. It's not worth paying all-clad prices for non-stick pans because no matter how careful you are, eventually that non-stick surface wears and the pan has to be replaced.

              1. re: flourgirl

                My point exactly! We got our pan from TJ Maxx. They have a pretty good selection time to time.

                1. re: flourgirl

                  Another vote for stainless steel, and also for Bar keepers friend for keeping them clean. Try looking at the line Tramontina, they have a web site, but you can buy it online at Walmart, ship it to the store, no shipping cost, and its at least half or less of the web price. It's the exact same product, I called them, they just give Walmart the very good deal. It's triple ply just like All Clad, and I love it. You can also see it at Tuesday morning, but their price is higher.

          2. Add me to the chorus of SS. The dishwasher aspect alone is enough. I have a few pieces of the anodized (gifts) that do NOT look good 10 years later. My SS is just as old and looks great.

            Never pay full price for this stuff. It's always on sale somewhere.

            I am a HUGE fan of Cookware and More that sells cosmetic seconds at pretty good discounts. http://www.cookwarenmore.com/

            The cosmetic defects are usually pretty minor. Some are imperceptable. If you use your pans a lot you're going to get beat up anyway. Their discounts used to be better (like 50% off for a tiny scratch) but they also run sales in addition to the discount.

            They also sell first quality at good prices, too.

            5 Replies
            1. re: C. Hamster

              We used to have an outlet in Flemington NJ that was a storefront for Cookware n more. I loved that place. Got everyone of my all-clad pieces there (wish I got them at 50% off but I'm happy with the 40% off I did get.) What I especially loved was that you could go through all the boxes until you found a second that was practically perfect.

              Unfortunately the outlet closed a couple of years ago (luckily I had purchased all the pieces I really wanted already). But I still miss them. Darn it.

              1. re: flourgirl

                They say they have a store in NJ, but I don't know anything about it. If you COULD go through all the boxes and choose, I'd drive there in a heartbeat!!

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  Hi there,

                  Most of my AC cookware is stainless and that's my favorite. It cooks lke a dream, it's built like a tank and goes in the oven and the dishwasher without blinking. Could I ask for more?

                  Good luck!

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    If they still have a store in NJ, I don't know anything about it either. But my understanding is that they are only located in PA now.

                    But yes, if you go to the outlet in PA, I'm sure you can go through the boxes (or get someone to go through them for you) and pick which pot you like the best. That was definitely the way it worked in the Flemington location. I personally picked out each pot and pan, and none of my loot has any visible defect that clearly marks it as a second.

                2. re: C. Hamster

                  I agree with Hamster. I prefer their Stainless line. it's dishwasher safe (although it seldomly needs it), and looks good. Plus, if you think you'll ever want to use an induction range, only the stainless is induction capable. The LTD can discolor with food stains more easily IMHO.

                  I also second the recommendation for Cookware and More. Great bargains to be had. I got a 12" nonstick stainless fry pan from them that is supposedly a second. I swear I couldn't find a mark on it other than the "S" for second.

                3. To address the OP questions/thoughts --

                  The vast majority of cooking done for money (i.e. restaurants) happens in cookware that is pretty darned expendable. The "ease of cleaning" does not really factor in -- they scour out the pans and/or sterilize them w/o regard for looks. Even "durability" is not much of concern for most kitchens, as they generally are more concerned with having enough pans than with high quality. Any All-Clad pan will be far better than what is used in all but the snootiest commerial kitchens.

                  For home all those things are important. For performance the All-Clad CopperCore is superior. the copper spreads the heat for the ultimate in unformity & is the quickest to react to temperature. As it is covered inside & out with SS, it will have the most forgiving care requirements.

                  The All-Clad SS gives up a bit of responsiveness, and is a wee bit bit more affordable.

                  The LTD is SS inside, anodized Al outside. Looks are subjective, but it will require more effort to maintain the outside. If you store your pans where they are visible it might make sense, or you might want to get a non-stick pan from the LTD line to make it easier to keep track of.

                  The MC2 stuff has an exterior that is simply brushed Al, which is less expensive and will either "show the patina or use" and/or make you crazy trying in vain to keep it looking like the day it left the factory....

                  It really comes to down to personal taste, tolerance for care, and budget.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: renov8r

                    I agree that if I had the money, I would have gone for the CopperCore.

                    I have had anonized aluminum of other companies (not necessarily All-Clad), but when you get an oil stain (you get lazy cleaning right away) on it and sits there for a few days, it's impossible to get it out...whereas, SS is very low-maintenance in that regard...anything will come off with a bit of bar keeper's friend.

                    1. re: baekster

                      Plus one can go into the dishwasher and one can't.

                    2. re: renov8r

                      I just received an 8" AC copper core pan as a wedding gift and it's outstanding.

                      One question though, can the copper core go in the dishwasher? I thought it could....

                      1. re: heWho

                        FWIW - I never put any of my pots and pans in the dishwasher - I have Sitram with a copper core. Of course, pots and pans also don't fit in my current tiny dishwasher! For whatever reason, I've just always (perhaps mindlessly) followed the mantra of not putting good pots and pans in the dishwasher.

                    3. On looks alone, I prefer the stainless steel exterior.

                      As for the biggest bang for your buck, the price differences on the various sets (excluding the copper) aren't that huge, so I'd go for whichever set catches your fancy.

                      1. Why does it have to be all-clad? The best bang for your buck will be to buy something other than all-clad.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Buckethead

                          I actually disagree based only on personal experience. I have purchased items from many other product lines and I always return to All-Clad stainless and am always happy when I do. I do like the Target line of Stainless Calphalon, but I'd never argue it performs as well as All-Clad, nor is it as easy to clean...so overall, I'd say All-Clad offers a good value because of it's performance level.

                          1. re: ccbweb

                            I was thinking of Sitram or Paderno Grand Gourmet, not Calphalon. The simple fact is that the price of All-Clad's (or Calphalon's, for that matter) enormous advertising budget is passed on to the customer. Since price was the first thing in the OP's list of criteria, I figured I'd mention it. All-Clad isn't bad cookware or anything, it's just overpriced.

                            1. re: Buckethead

                              I would agree that AllClad is overpriced compared to similar quality cookware, which granted is little. One can look into Sur la Table's own line of stainless steel cookware which is very comparable to the very popular AllClad Stainless line and quite a bit cheaper. I have a Sur la Table copper 10" skillet for $50 (on clearance from $100 which would still be a great price). ~2mm+ copper exterior and stainless steel interior. I think they discontinued the copper line though.

                              Aside from looks and relative easy of cleaning, I don't see why people would prefer the cooking ability (heat conductivity) of stainless steel cookware (SS exterior with aluminum core) over thick anodized aluminum pans.

                              I think the copper core and the cop*r-chef lines from all clad are overpriced for what they are. Copper core is still a stainless steel exterior, aluminum layer, copper layer, then aluminum again. While the copper layer obviously conducts heat very well, the surrounding aluminum layers are less conductive and are basically going to "bottleneck" the heat going through the copper layer. Of course the SS surface touching the stove is even less conductive so all you get is even heating, which you can achieve with any of the allclad lineup or heavy pan. The cop*r-chef line has a thin copper exterior, thick aluminum layer, and SS interior. The copper exterior obviously conducts heat very well, but the aluminum layer is still the limiting thermal conductor. Of the two lines, if I had to pay, I'd take the Cop*r-chef line.

                              Having cooked with AllClad stainless, allclad cop*r-chef (I got them for free!), sur la table's copper pan, and calphalon/circulon/etc aluminum pans, I would recommend getting thick, HEAVY anodized (or nonstick if desired)aluminum pans for everything like this: http://www.amazon.com/Calphalon-Comme... EXCEPT for one stainless steel skillet or 3qt stainless steel sauce pan (in which one can use for almost any dish) for browning, pan sauces, etc...

                              1. re: Buckethead

                                Fair points, I missed what you were getting at the first time. I've never had the chance to use Sitram or Padern Grand Gourmet.

                                1. re: ccbweb

                                  I have had the chance to use the Sitram pans in a professional kitchen and they are very nice. I have their stock pot which I was able to aquire at a restaurant bankruptcy auction and I love it.
                                  You must be careful about matching the pan size to the proper burner, and you need to keep the heat in check your you will occasionally get a burned ring where the clad bottom meets the thinner sides, but I am willing to take these minor issues in account (as I already do with my All-Clad MC pans) for the pleasure of using fine cookware.

                          2. Buy your All Clad at a discount from Cookware and More. You will NOT be sorry.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: C. Hamster

                              Anyone know when the cookware and more 20% off sale is? I want to buy 3 pieces. so i won't get to the 4 needed on a regular month to get the 20%.

                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                Are there any similar discount places in Canada, or does CaM ship to Canadian addresses?

                              2. The cookware and more sale starts tomorrow and runs thru Nov. 4th for anyone who might be interested.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: sprmario

                                  I must warn a little bit against the irregulars. While most of them are okay, some irregulars are actually pretty bad. I bought this large saute pan from TJ Max to add to my 8 piece set and I actually regret buying it because the saute pan's bottom was warped so that the middle is slightly higher than the rest. This makes the oil to form a mote around the edges and burn the food in the middle (arg so annoying!). So just be careful when you pick up stuff from irregulars.

                                  1. re: baekster

                                    Cookware and More guarantees theirs. They are very reputable.

                                    Is it too late to return yours?

                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                      Yea. I didn't realize this until I actually cooked on it. Plus, I bought it at TJ Max...I decided to keep and it serves more as a casserole pan (shallow but more substantial wall than a frying pan) than a saute pan. I do my sautes on my 8 inch frying pan.

                                2. i love love love my ltd pans. i have 6 and have had them about 15 years. They have always been fabulous. I've always hand-washed them and they clean up like a charm - they are a bit stained on the outside, but i can live with that. I did purchase a non-stick 8" ltd fry pan and the coating did not hold up that well, tho. i've resorted to buying cheap ones and throwing them away every couple years.

                                  1. buy the master chef series, it will last your life time, and you will not be disappointed.

                                    1. Does anyone have experience with the All-Clad brushed SS exterior (NOT aluminum/MC) available at WS? The description at WS seems to imply that the brushed exterior is easier to clean than the regular shiny SS. I've been thinking about buying the 10 piece copper core set, but keep looking at these other two lines as well.

                                      1. Stainless here too. It's their most popular line and has the advantages of being able to put in the dishwasher, and it's also induction capable which the others are not. You might want an induction burner or a range using it in the future. A lot of people say their LTD doesn't look good after a while while their stainless look great. The LTD has been replaced with the LTD2 line which is more expensive and sold now at Williams Sonoma only. One person returned their set of it saying it marred and scratched too easily.

                                        Also, all the new special pieces and promo pieces are usually introduced in the stainless if having all in one finish is important to you.

                                        1. AllClad makes two types. The Stainless and Cop-R-Chef lines have 2 mm. cores. The MasterChef and LTD lines have 4 mm. cores and are far superior.

                                          http://cookwarenmore.com/home/index.cfm has full quality irregulars at great prices.

                                          However, AllClad is WAY overpriced. The Sitram Profissiere line has a 7 mm. bottom plate and blows AllClad away, for much less money. The Sitram Catering is the same quality, but has less comfortable handles.

                                          For still less money, Paderno Grand Gourmet is only a tiny bit below Sitram in quality.

                                          Get these from Bridge, which knows more than anyone. http://bridgekitchenware.com/home.cfm

                                          By the way, if you want copper, save up and buy the Mauviel Cuprinox line, which is 2.5 mm. and lined with stainless steel. They have heavy cast iron handles and the side tops are squared off. The "Cuprinox Style" and Gourmet lines, with brass handles and rolled-out tops, are 2 mm. and not as good, and the Professional line is 2.5 mm. but tin-lined, which wears quickly. The Pour la Table line is 1.6 mm and intended only for serving. You get pretty good (for copper) prices at http://www.acitydiscount.com/Mauviel-... and good pictures at http://www.metrokitchen.com/mauviel/ .

                                          1. I've been using the Cuisinart MultiClad along side my All-Clad and it is great. The aluminum core extends all the way up the sides and provides even heating.