Kirkland (Costco) brand Stainless Steel Cookware
I am interested in replacing my non-stick cookware with stainless steel. At Costco, I noticed what looked to be a pretty nice set for only $199. It seemed nice and heavy and felt good in my hand. I am wondering if anyone has any experience with this particular brand. I would love to not break the bank buying new cookware.
I don't know if this helps but I bought a large Kirkland pasta pot with insert a few years ago and it is made rock solid.
Since the Kirkland items are usually rebranded, I'd look at the pans or the box to see if you can tell who the manufacturer is (you know, like how Kirkland jelly beans are really Jelly Belly). But, if you like the heft and feel of the set, I'd say go for it. I've been quite happy with the Kirkland brand so far (foods, appliances, even their wines).
The only nitpick I have about sets is that I end up with a few pieces I have no use for. I find I can't get rid of them because I keep thinking I'll need them, but I haven't used them yet (a wok-type pan, a deep straight-sided skillet, and the pasta pot).
If it's relatively thick-walled, seems heavy and is 18/10 stainless, then it's highly unlikely that you'll be disappointed. The difference between this and a much more expensive pan is relatively marginal, but the difference between this and a $12 "stainless steel" pan at Wal Mart is night and day.
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The kirkland stainless cookware only have 5-ply construction on the bottom of the pans (stainless steel exterior, aluminum disk, copper disk of unknown thickness, aluminum disk, then stainless steel). The sides of the pans are only stainless steel. Performance is probably fine for the skillets but you might not like how the sauce pans and stock pot conduct heat for a lot of liquid.
If you like stainless steel, then there are several cheaper clones of the popular all-clad SS line: full aluminum core (not just at the base) cladded between SS layers. I would recommend instead of getting a set, pick 4-5 essential pots/pans instead.
Of course costco has very relaxed return rules, so you can buy-try-return if you wish.
Thanks for all of the input. I very much appreciate it. I don't usually like to buy sets for the very reasons mentioned in several of the posts. I am only considering this set because the price is so good. Since I have been happy with Costco as a whole, I am thinking of giving them a try. As mentioned, the return policy is excellent so I feel safe in that I won't be stuck with them if I don't like them. I'll report back after I give them a test drive.
I worked at Williams Sonoma for a while and All Clad would often introduce cheaper pans for people to test. The reason for why they were cheaper too was because they were made in China and not the US. I am not sure where All-Clad pans are made these days since I worked at the store about 4 years ago. The only lower end pans they would introduce were 8-inch fry pans and sauce pans.
The clad stuff is still made in the USA. Lids and unclad stockpots(those with the cladding on the base not up the sides) are being made in China. Pieces like roasting pans are being made in China.
seems white boxes are US product(but lids are now being made offshore for these also and noted as such on the boxes). grey boxes are made in China.
I know it's confusing with all the different cookware pieces out there (it's sure confusing to me, anyway). But I'd urge you not to buy a set. You'll wind up with pieces you don't use, so it's not such a big savings.
Disadvantages of a stainless steel frying pan: The myriad of brown spots on the sides that are time-consuming to take off. I tossed an All-Clad fry pan for this reason. Consider enameled cast iron or carbon steel instead. Also, fried food tends to stick to stainless.
Another poster says Kirkland is not clad all the way around. Costco doesn't seem to want to give details, so I assume this is true. I believe you'll be better off with at least two saucepans with aluminum or stainless clad aluminum on the sides. Better for sauces needing even heating all the way up the sides. (My big saucepan with a clad bottom and stainless sides i use only for boiling eggs, cooking pasta and the like.)
All-Clad spends a lot, and charges a lot, for all its advertising. Many posters here like Staub. All-Clad irregulars, with very slight cosmetic flaws, are much cheaper, and can be found here:
The Kirkland high rated by Consumer Reports was the non-stick line.
For fry pans, you might be interested in this Marian Burros article:
Costco sells two clad sets currently. One is as described already in this thread -- a $199.99 set with multiple layers (including copper of unspecified thickness) apparently only on the bottom. The other set -- retailing for $229.99 -- resembles the three-ply, AllClad SS line, with aluminum sandwiched between two layers of 18/10 stainless. We bought the latter and it is terrific. Similar to the AllClad, but better handles (though the AllClad rivets might be a bit easier to clean).
I bought the Kirkland Tri-Ply 13 piece SS set a few months ago. I figure for the price of 2 All-Clad saucier, I might as well give the Kirkland a try ($229). While it looks similar to the All-Clad SS, there are many differences.
1. Kirkland is lighter.
2. Kirkland is thinner. The inner and outer steel are both thinner. Aluminum is about the same.
3. All-Clad has a satin outer finish while Kirkland is shinny with tiny ripples (from stamping process??)
4. Kirkland handle is more comfortable.
5. Kirkland is made in Brazil. All-Clad is made in USA.
My guess is the Kirkland set is made by Tramontina which has an identical 13 piece tri-ply set that retail for 2-3 times more than the Kirkland. I have other Tramontina cookware and they are made in Brazil as well. I cannot find any pix of the Kirkland set but here's a pix of the 13 piece set from Tramontina.
I am happy with the Kirkland and would recommend it to anyone who does not want to plurge for All-Clad.
Good info, thanks. I never noticed the made in Brazil bit before; that almost certainly tags it as made by Tramontina. Tramontina has a long history there, with Mr. Tramontina starting the company almost 100 years ago. Thus Brazil is where you want your Tramontina to be made as that is where all their main and top plants still are, though they do now make some things in China as well.