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Is All-Clad nonstick a waste of money?

soniabegonia Mar 10, 2009 05:45 PM

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. http://www.shopkitchenaid.com/product...

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. BernalKC RE: soniabegonia Mar 10, 2009 06:24 PM

    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: http://www.chefscatalog.com/brand/gui...
    "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
      chuckl RE: BernalKC Mar 10, 2009 06:51 PM

      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: chuckl
        jmckee RE: chuckl Sep 20, 2011 10:38 AM

        Like eggs.

      2. re: BernalKC
        ScubaSteve RE: BernalKC Apr 12, 2012 03:35 PM

        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.

      3. paulj RE: soniabegonia Mar 10, 2009 07:29 PM

        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
          OCAnn RE: paulj Mar 11, 2009 11:31 AM

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

          1. re: paulj
            kchurchill5 RE: paulj Mar 11, 2009 07:23 PM

            Ditto on that.

          2. j
            Jim Washburn RE: soniabegonia Mar 10, 2009 08:26 PM

            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. m
              mpalmer6c RE: soniabegonia Mar 10, 2009 08:39 PM

              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
                soniabegonia RE: mpalmer6c Mar 12, 2009 11:34 AM

                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
                  paulj RE: soniabegonia Mar 12, 2009 01:14 PM

                  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. l
                lergnom RE: soniabegonia Mar 11, 2009 06:25 AM

                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
                  srgoodman RE: lergnom Mar 11, 2009 11:16 AM

                  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
                    kchurchill5 RE: srgoodman Mar 11, 2009 07:27 PM

                    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.

                2. Demented RE: soniabegonia Mar 11, 2009 07:22 PM

                  In my opinion, the All-clad is a waste of money, I've had All-Clad and other multi-ply stainless and aluminum cookware.

                  All-Clad is one of the best for fit and finish, very comfortable to use easy on the eye and the hand. If you really want multi-ply cookware, take a look at Costco, they have a very high quality line of clad cookware at a fraction of the cost.

                  My first set of quality cookware was Costco aluminum/stainless, made in Italy and cost less then 20% of what All-Clad was going for at the time.

                  When looking at nonstick cookware, an all aluminum pan with a nonstick coating will perform better than any “Clad” type pan. No matter how you slice it, aluminum out performs stainless and multi-ply hands down.

                  Unless the pan is to be used to cook acidic foods, there is little harm in plain aluminum.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Demented
                    Apricotjello RE: Demented Mar 12, 2009 12:28 PM

                    You can get a replacement All-Clad at Williams-Sonoma. They return it to the manufacturer. If the pan is a second, the W-S Outlet store will provide the replacement.

                  2. d
                    Dee S RE: soniabegonia Mar 12, 2009 12:57 PM

                    About 20 years ago, we picked up a T-Fal UltraBase (without the red dot in the middle) non-stick set that included a 3qt sauce pot and a 12" fying pan. Both are used constantly and are not treated kindly. I stack other pans on top of these and there is no damage to the non-stick surface. 20 years and counting. Having said that, I don't preheat it without some oil and sometimes I forget to use nylon utensils. If I could find more, I would buy it.

                    I also have a Cuisinart Multiclad 10" non-stick pan that is used all the time and it's held up extremely well after 6+ years of use. I'd buy more of these if I needed more non-stick.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Dee S
                      law_doc89 RE: Dee S Sep 20, 2011 05:18 AM

                      Cuisinart is considerably cheaper than AllClad. I have had the same experience with the Cuisinart. I won a large set in a contest more than 2 years ago (19 pieces). They go in the oven, but I have carefully used only wood and nylon, seasoned them, and they never go in the dishwasher. The non-stick surfaces are as good as new (I just added 2 pans, so I have a valid comparison) The instructions point out that the combo of stainless and aluminum insert call for lower heat cooking, and I have found this true. I do stack them, but with crumpled paper towels between them.

                      These just flat out work better than the Farberware they replaced which replaced my Calphalon.

                      Is the extra cost worth it? I am guessing that the improvement I might get with AllClad is marginal, but as with better and fresher ingredients, all the marginal improvements add up, but at an increasingly higher cost.

                      All a matter of preference.

                    2. a
                      alibe RE: soniabegonia Mar 22, 2009 07:22 AM

                      I am suspicious of the non stick coatings. I bought a Scanpan about 3 years ago. It is practically the only pan I use. It has a ceramic cook surface. It is wonderful. It can go in dishwasher, can use metal utensils and it is non stick, but browns great. I can't rave enough about it. I bought my son a Scanpan wok and he says the same about that. It is the only pan he uses. They aren't cheap, but they are wonderful.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: alibe
                        paulj RE: alibe Mar 22, 2009 04:26 PM

                        I'd suggest a web search on Scanpan, PTFE, and PFOA.

                      2. ScubaSteve RE: soniabegonia Mar 22, 2009 01:36 PM

                        i've had an All-Clad non-stick fry pan and it's stood up Very Well over 14 years of hard use. i'd buy another but this one shows no signs of giving out.

                        1. p
                          pharmnerd RE: soniabegonia Mar 23, 2009 10:10 PM

                          IIRC, Cooks Illustrated recommends cheap non-stick. I have 2 All-Clad non-stick pans & the non-stick surface didn't last too long (maybe 2 yrs). Next time, going with the cheapie stuff.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: pharmnerd
                            trakman RE: pharmnerd Mar 26, 2012 08:13 PM

                            I agree with Jim above. The Tramontina non stick pans are fine. There is really no sense in spending big bucks for non stick. Eventually the surface just goes south. I get mine from Bed, Bath and Beyond. 10" skillet costs less than $20, even less if you have one of their coupons which seem to exist everywhere. I'm on my fourth year with my present skillet, and, even should if fail tomorrow, I would still get another forty or fifty year replacement years before I matched the price of one All Clad skillet.

                          2. ecwashere7 RE: soniabegonia Mar 27, 2012 11:03 AM

                            Lifetime warranty. nuff said

                            If people don't notice the difference between the A-C and the cheapo stuff from Walmart, then they shouldn't be cooking. Huge difference.

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: ecwashere7
                              Chemicalkinetics RE: ecwashere7 Apr 1, 2012 08:21 AM

                              Really? They replace nonstick pans continuously for lifetime? I believe they will count that as "customers mishandling" and not to be covered by the manufacturer.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                ecwashere7 RE: Chemicalkinetics Apr 1, 2012 09:04 PM

                                pretty much. My mother used to work at Williams-Sonoma and she would complain all the time about how people would thoroughly abuse their pans and return them. She had to take them back. My guess is that W-S still has a policy similar to this. It may not be completely insane like it was in the past, but I'm sure that a pan that didn't meet your satisfaction through regular use would be accepted as a return.

                                1. re: ecwashere7
                                  Chemicalkinetics RE: ecwashere7 Apr 1, 2012 09:26 PM


                                  But that sounds more like Williams Sonoma than All Clad.

                              2. re: ecwashere7
                                monopod RE: ecwashere7 Apr 3, 2012 10:04 AM

                                FYI, "lifetime warranty" legally means a warranty for the reasonable expected life of the product - not the lifetime of the purchaser. For a nonstick pan, they might reasonably define "lifetime" as one or two years, since the coating isn't designed to last forever even with relatively careful use. So don't expect AC to continually replace a nonstick forever.

                                1. re: monopod
                                  Chemicalkinetics RE: monopod Apr 3, 2012 10:19 AM

                                  '"lifetime warranty" legally means a warranty for the reasonable expected life of the product - not the lifetime of the purchaser'

                                  An excellent point. Thanks.

                                  1. re: monopod
                                    scubadoo97 RE: monopod Apr 3, 2012 05:02 PM

                                    Yes that is an excellent point and one that most people would not know.

                                    To the OP I view all non stick pans as disposable and would not spend a bunch of money on it.

                                    1. re: monopod
                                      Chemicalkinetics RE: monopod Apr 3, 2012 05:29 PM

                                      Let me put it in another perspective (not directing this to you, monopod).

                                      For all Telfon nonstick pans, the Teflon coating is the "weakest link". That is to say, the Teflon coating will likely break down way before any other parts of a cookware.

                                      All Clad, as famous as it may be, does not have superior Teflon coating technology. Its strength is cladding metal. As such, All Clad's strength does not come into play.

                                      Yes, maybe the cladding of the All Clad pan will last 20 years of abuse instead of 10 years of its competitor. However, it does not matter when the Teflon coatings on the All Clad and its competitor both break down in 1 year.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                        ScubaSteve RE: Chemicalkinetics Apr 12, 2012 02:25 PM

                                        a year? here are two pics of my iirc 15 year old AllClad Ltd non stick pan that has survived extremely high heat, the dishwasher and other horrors and still works like new.

                                        1. re: ScubaSteve
                                          Chemicalkinetics RE: ScubaSteve Apr 12, 2012 02:53 PM

                                          :) I am impressed.

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                            ScubaSteve RE: Chemicalkinetics Apr 12, 2012 03:09 PM

                                            As am I. This particular pan has been left empty on high heat, accidentally, for 15+ minutes a few times and still cleans up with a little salt scrub and light coat of oil.

                                  2. j
                                    John Francis RE: soniabegonia Mar 31, 2012 11:55 PM

                                    For what it's worth, Cooks Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen recommends against spending the money, as pharmnerd says. They use non-stick skillets a lot and wear them out in six months, so they buy good cheap ones. Most recently recommended: T-Fal Professional Total Nonstick Fry Pan, 12.5 inches, $35, with the big red dot in the cooking surface. I go even cheaper with the Cuisinart Hard Anodized 12 Inch Open Skillet, available at Bed Bath & Beyond for $25 - very slick, quite durable.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: John Francis
                                      ecwashere7 RE: John Francis Apr 1, 2012 07:39 AM

                                      They also note on the show that the A-C pan is the best performer and you can get replaced with its lifetime warranty, so they still recommend that pan.

                                    2. SanityRemoved RE: soniabegonia Apr 1, 2012 11:57 AM

                                      If you must use non-stick pans your best bet is to go to a restaurant supply house and get some Vollrath or Wear-Ever non-stick pans. They will outlast the others by far.

                                      I own All-Clad cookware but would never recommend their non-stick pans. If they offered an unlimited lifetime warranty that would be one thing. Too many people have received the "you used too high of heat" when the non-stick has failed.

                                      1. Candy RE: soniabegonia Apr 2, 2012 11:59 AM

                                        All-Clad is no better or worse than any other pan. I have had A-C pans returned with the non-stick lining peeling off. A much better investment is in a Swiss Diamond pan. They do have a lifetime guarantee and they stand behind it. They only time they have refused to replace a pan was due to user error. He put the empty pan on the cooktop on high and wandered off and forgot about it. It destroyed his pan. They are also oven safe and dishwasher safe. The pan is heavy cast aluminum coated with industrial diamonds. You can use metal tools in them, but I don't.

                                        My next (actually true) preference is Chantal's pan's with a copper and carbon steel core. The pans are not non-stick resistant. They are enameled inside and out and are highly energy efficient, they heat and cook more quickly than any other pan I have owned. They also are dishwasher and oven safe. Bar keepers friend cleans up scum like from starches, beautifully. Oh and BTW they are 100% efficient on induction cooking surfaces if you ever go in that direction in cooking.

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