Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Jan 23, 2009 09:13 AM

All-Clad: 3-ply vs. 5-ply?

As I'm in the market for a new saute pan (or sauteuse) I went to Williams Sonoma today and noticed they have pans made of 5-ply aluminum/stainless steel -- no copper -- with brushed exteriors. They're pricier than the 3-ply ones but no where the sky-high ones of copper.

The strange thing is, the 5-ply non-copper core pan isn't mentioned on All-Clad's website.

Does anyone have the 5-ply brushed stainless pans?
Do they actually perform better than the 3-ply ones?
Or 5-py's necessary or are the 3-ply ones good enough for everyday home use?

Thanks in advance for sharing!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have a couple of them. They work fine, though I couldn't tell that they worked any better than regular stainless. Here's another thread that discusses the differerences at length.

    IMO, I prefer the MC2 line over them because I suspect the aluminum core is thicker on the MC2. Plus the outer layer is aluminum alloy versus brushed stainless steel an aluminum is a better conductor of heat. MC2 is cheaper too.

    That being said, they look very nice and the outsides look a lot like my Viking cookware does with their brushed rather than shiny stainless exterior. Also, if you need the magnetic properties offered by SS on your cooktop they will still work whereas the MC2 won't. I think they are probably marketed as a classier looking alternative than regular SS.

    For me MC2 is the workhorse of my kitchen. If you want to wash them in the dishwasher you might want to go with the brushed stainless or regular stainless though. If you can afford it, I do find the Copper Core to work better than MC2 in temperature control especially using skillets. Hope that helps.

    Also, I've seen a lot of 2nds of the brushed stainless on eBay the last few months selling pretty cheaply. I don't think most people realize that they are different and actually pricier than regular SS.

    2 Replies
    1. re: citizenconn

      Thanks, citizen. Your comments and link is very informative. I really want to get the sauteuse so that I can set it on the table. Only the long-handled saute pan is available presently in 5-ply so I don't have a choice but to stick with the 3-ply sauteuse.

      I agree the MC2 looks great. If you have the time to respond: Do the MC2 pans require more care?

      1. re: DishyDiva

        I don't think the MC2 require more care. On the inside it is the same as all the others. Actually for me they require less care because I don't have to worry about polishing water spots off the exterior like I do with the stainless or copper core. But, the exteriors do show wear more than the stainless. That's a benefit of the brushed stainless because they seem to show wear the least. But I love my MC2 and my copper core. I'll get stainless if its a really good price or if the piece is only available in stainless. But its my last choice of all their collections. Hope that helps. Stainless is still good stuff, though if you like the look.

    2. I recently bought a Paderno (P.E.I.) Fusion 5 fry pan. Don't notice how it is any better. Why would heat radiate better with 5 laminations? I think it is a marketing gimmick to charge higher prices.

      1. If your still interested, the 5 ply is now on all clad's web site - and not particulrly noticable - on the home page small & lower left "introducing 5d technolgy"...the 800# told me that it is a forever exclusive to William & Sonoma and is not replacing the 3 ply (which was my assumption as Bloomies is having a serious sale on all clad 4/21-22-23/2010 (w/ a bloomies charge it's about 33% off)...they said the combination of the 5 ply's (not the thickness) is indeed a better heat conductor...

        2 Replies
          1. re: hackchef

            Where did you hear about the sale? I haven't gotten any fliers about it yet.

          2. Hi, DishDiva.
            - MC2 is not induction ready if it matters to you.
            - If you are interested, cookwarenmore now carries 2nd quality d5 brushed stainless steel pans.
            - Also, WS has a d5 suateuse if what you are looking for is 3 qt but you might look for 4 qt, I guess.

            1 Reply
            1. Yes, you are right about induction . That is why I have no MC2 and all my all-clad is SS, not because it is shiny or look good etc. I personally do NOT believe that paying for non-induction ready cookware, like MC2, is a good idea even if they are a bit cheaper than tri-ply SS.