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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!
                  -Mary
                  www.bestinkitchen.com

                  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.