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Mar 10, 2009 05:45 PM

Is All-Clad nonstick a waste of money?

It's time to replace my trusty Kitchenaid 10" nonstick (hard-anodized aluminum) skillet. I got it some 3-4 years ago and seems that they redesigned the pan. The new version is a tad too deep and the sides are too upright.

I was considering the All-Clad non-stick but I think it's too expense. I don't consider non-stick pans to be lifetime investments because no non-stick surface lasts forever. Does anyone own one and can prove me wrong?

I do prefer the hard-anodized because it seem to last longer than a coating but I'm not sure what kind of non-stick surface All-Clad uses. All I could find on it was that it's "top-of-the-line."

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  1. I tend to agree about non-stick coatings, but I don't have any extended experience with the state-of-the-art coatings. But really, why bother? My 'normal' All-Clad pans are so freaking wonderful, and the generation of Caphalon pans I owned for 20 years before them was so long-lasting, why even think about some suspect coating?

    More evidence of the frailty of the coatings found here:
    "Care: All-Clad Nonstick pans maintain the same thickness, shape, and durability as all other All-Clad cookware-no manufacturing standards are skipped to save costs. For optimum results, use medium to low heat. Never use nonstick cookware under a broiler. To preserve the integrity of nonstick cookware, use only plastic, rubber, or wood utensils. Avoid using aerosol spray oils, which can produce a buildup on the nonstick surface. Nonstick cookware is not recommended for dishwasher use."

    Fuggetaboudit! I need pots and pans that can handle all the abuse I routinely dish out.

    3 Replies
    1. re: BernalKC

      I tend to agree with you, I don't mind a little stickiness. In fact, I think it's great to create a fond with stuff that's stuck in the pan. But some people need entirely stick-free for valid reasons of their own.

      1. re: BernalKC

        see my post and pictures of my AllClad Ltd nonstick pan downthread. I have violated every recco regarding the suggested care and have been very happy with that pan for 15+ years.

      2. How about a commercial weight aluminum nonstick from Sams Club or a kitchen supply store? Should cost about $20 in this size. Look for the thickest aluminum you can find, with a sturdy 3 rivet handle (removable rubber cover). I don't see much point in getting an expensive multilayer stainless steel pan if the cooking surface is going to have a nonstick coating.

        2 Replies
        1. re: paulj

          Agree...we buy & replace ours from Costco every 3-4 years. For $20, you get 2 or 3.

          1. About 10 years ago I bought an All-Clad 12-inch frying pan. It was a second, and I got a good discount on it--got it for about $70. I used it only for bacon and eggs (which I make nearly every morning) and washed and treated it very gently. After five years the non-stickiness was shot. So then I bought a 12-inch commercial-grade Tramontina from Sam's Club for about $20. It has performed every bit as well as the All-Clad and has outlasted the All-Clad. I'll never buy upscale nonstick again. Waste of money.


            1. Not only a waste of money, but a total
              rip-off. The main attraction of stainless
              is the appearance. It adds nothinbg to cooking.

              I'm unsure about your terminology, since an
              anodized interior is not "non-stick." If only the
              exterior is anodized, that also adds nothing
              whatsoever to coooking ability.

              For eggs and such, I have a 23-buck Vollrath aluminum
              pan that works just as well as the overpriced

              2 Replies
              1. re: mpalmer6c

                thanks everyone for your input. I ended up getting a Calphalon hard-anodized non-stick for $40 at BB&B (with a 20% coupon).
                mpalmer, most hard-anodized cookware I see in stores are labeled as non-stick and they have performed ok for me. Perhaps they are not as good as Teflon when it comes to non-stick qualities and I've never been able to slide my eggs around in them as you would be able to with a brand-new Teflon pan. but I have small birds and I know Teflon can be toxic at high temps. I've never had a problem with hard-anodized interior pans so that's why I'm sticking with them (ha, pun intended) for now. I know there have been studies re safety of Teflon up to a certain temperature but I'm not willing to take a chance.

                1. re: soniabegonia

                  Don't be too complacent about your birds. Calphalon talks about advanced and synthetic polymers, but is less than forthcoming as to whether that includes PTFE.

                  In my experience, hard anodized (without any extra coating or polymer) is low-stick, better than stainless and bare aluminum, no better than enamel or well seasoned cast iron or steel.

              2. We have some All-Clad non-stick pans and they haven't worn well at all. They do have a lifetime warranty, which means we've been replacing them with regular All-Clad through the company.

                We buy whatever non-stick we find on sale at TJMaxx or some other discounter. These are sometimes big name products, but for $10-20, and sometimes not. We have a lot of cookware, some thinner pans, and the performance differences between the pans doesn't matter much for most cooking (or most cooks).

                2 Replies
                1. re: lergnom

                  I have 10" and 12" All-Clad non-stick Masterchef pans that I bought many years ago. I've been underwhelmed by their performance vs their price. I would not buy them again.

                  Like lergnom, I now buy most of my pans at one of the TJX stores (TJMaxx, Marshalls, Home Goods). They're mostly high quality seconds, with "defects" no worse than a brand new pan will acquire in my kitchen after a week's use.

                  1. re: srgoodman

                    I have 2 Al Clads, gifts. I would never pay the price. I get inexpensive ones and they last quite a few years. 30 dollars per pan if that for most of mine and they are at least 7-10 yrs old. I love them and no complaints. I do have some good quality $$ pans and not impressed.

                    My cast irons and whatever I buy suits me just fine. There were caters and cooks long before 200+ pans and they did just fine. A cook makes the food ... not the pots or pans.