HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
What's your latest food project? Tell us about it

Anyone else hate All-Clad handles?

jeffreyem May 27, 2009 06:59 PM

I have amassed a pretty eclectic selection of cookware; sautes, sauce pans, fry pans from makers such as Demeyre, Sitram, Borgeat, Mauviel, Volrath, (ok and All-Clad MC2), etc., and what really got me started was my absolute distaste of All-Clad handles. I think they are the most uncomfortable handle on the planet. I do not understand how they can be so popular yet never feel the need to improve that painful handle design. Anyone else feel the same way, just curious. ok, end of rant, I feel better.


  1. g
    genekeenan Oct 23, 2010 01:37 PM

    I find the handles incredibly comfortable. they are designed for grabbing from the bottom not the top. This is how you would be trained to do so in professional kitchen...

    1. b
      breadchick Jan 3, 2010 09:38 AM

      Yes. I have a lot of All Clad and it was fine when I was a bit younger. Now, with joint issues I have a hard time gripping them securely. Even with a towel or one of those handle sleeves (which never fit tight.) If I'm carrying a saute pan that's got quite a bit of liquid in it and the liquid sloshes a bit, the pan is tipping. I found that if I grab the handle close to the base (I'm a bottom up grabber) and lock my thumb over the top edge of the pan it helps a bit to balance it. Those heat resistant silicon potholders sure help.

      However, I've switched to the de Buyer pans - which have great handles - for all my sauteeing, searing, and pan roasting anyway. So it's just the AC sauce pans I usually have to deal with now.

      1. Chemicalkinetics Oct 2, 2009 12:03 AM

        Agree, Jeff. I was considering All-Clad until I test-hold an All-Clad pan. You may not feel very uncomfortable if you are holding a small saucepan, but if you hold a heft All-Clad pan, then you will realize how painful it is to hold on that handle.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
          tommy Oct 2, 2009 05:38 AM

          which way did you grab it.

          1. re: tommy
            Paulustrious Oct 2, 2009 01:07 PM

            In terms of my earlier post - (3rd in the thread) I grabbed it my natural way. And that's all that counts.

            1. re: Paulustrious
              tommy Oct 2, 2009 02:13 PM

              i actually was asking chemicalkinetics the question.

              1. re: tommy
                Chemicalkinetics Oct 2, 2009 10:22 PM

                Hi Tommy. Sorry about responding slow. I grabbed it side way. I am right-handed. Imagine the back of my right hand faces right and my palm faces left. I have also tried to hold the All-Clad handle a few other way, such as the palm up version and its help. Unfortunately, it is weird for me to hold like this and it is not entirely pain-free neither. In any case, All-Clad restrict the way I can hold a pan handle, whereas I can grab pans from other vendors using any posture I like.

        2. b
          bassnwhaler Aug 15, 2009 12:17 AM

          I also do not like the handles...they seem too narrow to support the good heft of the pans...the pans want to roll with their contents...it is like having a baseball bat with a too small handle, or better comparison, a tennis racket...you lose control because there is less to handle with a smaller handle. I have large hands and returned my All-Clad for Cuisinart Clad because I liked the handles better...it is an important detail, for comfort and safety.

          1. c
            Cary Aug 12, 2009 12:25 PM

            If I had toreally think about it, I like the comfortable shape of the Calphalon One handles more than the standard All-Clad handles. In general, I don't notice the handles at all as I barely hold them aside from mixing the food I'm sauteing or plating/serving.

            One point that might be an issue is the heating of the handles. My vintage All-Clads which have the bare-bones brass handles heat up extremely quickly compared to the newer all-metal handles on my newer pans.

            1. w
              Writeher Aug 8, 2009 05:07 PM

              YES, me! They are gruelling. The handles are such a poor design, in my opinion, it set me off on a two year quest for the 'perfect' cookware. Le Crusette.... Premium.

              1. tommy Jun 10, 2009 06:09 AM

                I couldn't figure out how the handles could be so uncomfortable until I started grabbing them from the bottom up, rather than the top down. they seem to be designed for bottom up grabbing.

                8 Replies
                1. re: tommy
                  grnidkjun Aug 10, 2009 11:48 AM

                  I've wondered if they are designed more for the height of a cooktop being about hip level so you are reaching down and lifting up and shaking and tossing.

                  1. re: tommy
                    HLing Aug 10, 2009 10:21 PM

                    I was really puzzled over why almost everyone on this thread hated All Clad handles...I love them. On the stove top they never get hot. In the oven it's easy to grab with a handle cover....until I saw tommy's post about the grip. How interesting! It's true, I've always grabbed from the bottom up rather than the top down whether it's a pan, or a chin-up bar.

                    1. re: HLing
                      Beckyleach Oct 1, 2009 10:58 PM

                      Definitely a "bottom grabber" here, as well. I've never even thought the All-clad handles were a problem...didn't enter my head, in over a decade of use. The only issue I have had is with the loop handles on the 6 qt. stockpot: I've gotten my fingers caught in the edge of those and had some rather "owie" moments trying to extricate them!

                      On the "hot handle" question, I've solved that entirely by buying a double set of Ov Gloves ("as seen on TV!" :-) when Amazon had them 2-for-1. They are ambidextrous, kevlar with silicone strips for extra grip, and they are AMAZING! I can pick up a blazing hot cast iron pan, straight from a 450 degree oven, during seasoning, and set it carefully upon my stove top, before I even begin to notice any heat at all. I just wear two Ov's while woking, or one on my handle hand, while doing most other cooking, and have no "hot handle" issues at all, any more.

                      1. re: Beckyleach
                        Soop Oct 2, 2009 02:44 AM

                        I wonder... If you get so used to them, you might one day forget you weren't wearing them!

                        I'll check these out though.

                        1. re: Soop
                          Beckyleach Oct 2, 2009 09:15 AM

                          That is a reasonable concern, Soop. As I'm no spring chicken, either, I have to watch out for forgetfulness of that nature... ;-)

                          1. re: Beckyleach
                            Paulustrious Oct 2, 2009 12:40 PM

                            My only problems with them are.

                            If you get them wet you are in trouble.
                            If you get oil on them that gets rancid you cannot get rid of the smell.

                            I now keep my ov glove in my plumbing kit - and it is excellent for that. In terms of hot handles - especially cast iron - I slip an oven glove over the handle. That warns my partner in the kitchen that the handle is hot

                            1. re: Paulustrious
                              Beckyleach Oct 2, 2009 04:06 PM

                              They're entirely washable, however. I just toss my in with my dish towels, in the washer.

                              You do have to keep them dry, though...steam heat cuts right through, but that happens with regular potholders, as well.

                    2. re: tommy
                      Stephanie Wong Aug 11, 2009 12:13 AM

                      You are so right!

                      Just like HLing, I've always gripped from the bottom up and was also wondering why so many disliked the All Clad handles which I have found to be not problem at all. They're cool to the touch and long enough for a two-handed flip.

                    3. johnb May 30, 2009 05:58 AM

                      The crappy handles on All-clad have been commented upon frequently by many, including me--here is a thread from 3 years ago...


                      The basic problem for me is that, because the handle is so thin and poorly designed, you can't grip the pan and shake or flip anything in it. You have to use a spatula. In other words, as the Terminator might say, they are pans for girlie men, not manly men.

                      1. vvvindaloo May 29, 2009 10:24 PM

                        Yes. I really love everything else about the All-Clad, but find the handles just a bit too uncomfortable, especially considering the heft of the larger pans. It has kept me from buying any of their larger pieces, as my hands are just too small to lift and use the pans comfortably.

                        1. legourmettv May 29, 2009 03:54 AM

                          The uncomfortable handle is the number one reason I don't own any...

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: legourmettv
                            RGC1982 May 29, 2009 02:43 PM

                            I wonder if the OP finds all of their handles uncomfortable. Sometimes manufacturers have different lines and the handles are quite different. For example, (because I know these better), there are several Demeyere lines, and the one I absolutely hate is the Sirocco line, which is a highly-stylized line with funky handles that feel awful to me. In fact, they accidently shipped a wrong lid to me, and I had plenty of time to try that sucker on for size before my Atlantis lid arrived, and it was awful no matter how much time passed. All Clad may have a line that is a little easier to hold in the OP's opinion.

                            1. re: RGC1982
                              jeffreyem May 29, 2009 02:57 PM

                              Their copper core line has a slightly different handle, the other three lines, LTD, Stainless and MC2 all use the same (painful) handle. Most of the other mainstream manufacturers Caphlon, Viking (ok not really mainstream, but great handles), Analon, Even the All-Clad line that Emeril has his name on has better handles.

                              1. re: jeffreyem
                                Caralien Jun 9, 2009 07:53 PM

                                I actually like the handles on my All Clad (stainless) pieces, and HATE the handles on Calphalon. I have long, narrowish fingers and long thumbs, so maybe they were made for people with hands like mine? That said, the handles for the 12" & 14" frying pans are way too long--I'd have to grip it with both hands to flip anything, and prefer the short handles on my ancient cast iron for that use (with an oven mitt).

                                I could complain about their lids not being tight-fitting enough, but the handles are comfortable for me. Sorry to be the dissenter on the this post.

                                1. re: jeffreyem
                                  grnidkjun Aug 10, 2009 11:45 AM

                                  I was going to comment as well, that I noticed the copper line and the Emeril line shared the same style handle. I wonder how the Emeril line rates the handle with what I call the thumb divet and the Stainless, MC2 lines do not.

                            2. c
                              CACook May 28, 2009 08:37 PM

                              they are fairly uncomfortable but really isn't that bad, you almost have to fit your finger and palm in a certain way. I think there is more grip to it if you can get past the slight uncomfort, but then I have heavily calloused hand so my idea of comfort might be different.

                              1. b
                                barb2007 May 28, 2009 07:26 AM

                                I have several All-Clad pots and pans that I do not use because of the very uncomfortable handles. The soup pots with the 2 handles are okay. I also have the stainless Petite Roti Pan that looks great but is not usable because the handles get very hot in the oven. I was going to drop off this pan in the metals bin of my local landfill but I never got around to it. Cooks Illustrated highly recommended the Roti. I commented on this pan back in 2007. It took two sets of potholders to lift the pan out of the oven and even then I could still feel the heat. I stopped purchasing All-Clad a few years ago.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: barb2007
                                  danwalk May 28, 2009 09:15 AM

                                  Keep in mind that absolutely any pan that you put in the oven for roasting will end up with hot handles. There is no way around this. I will be more than happy to take the Petite Roti off your hands if you don't want it. : )

                                  1. re: danwalk
                                    RGC1982 May 28, 2009 09:22 AM

                                    Accurate statement. For me, the real test is whether the handles (once past the comfort test) get hot when cooking on top of the stove. Some of my most expensive copper Falk and Mauviel have this problem, regardless of whether the handles are cast iron or brass. I find myself not using these as much as I could because of it.

                                    1. re: RGC1982
                                      jeffreyem May 28, 2009 09:31 AM

                                      Had the hot handle discussion once on another board with a bunch of pro chefs. Their comment was basically they never pick up a pan without a towel in their hand which is always on their waist. My issue is with the shear discomfort of the all clad handle when you pick it up. I really like the MC2 stuff but stay away because of the handles.

                                      1. re: jeffreyem
                                        David A. Goldfarb May 28, 2009 03:39 PM

                                        Yeah, those aluminum pans you see in most restaurant kitchens have thin handles that get really hot. They just pick them up with a linen napkin, towel, or a silicone handle sleeve.

                                        1. re: David A. Goldfarb
                                          RGC1982 May 29, 2009 02:40 PM

                                          Maybe so in a professional kitchen with aluminum cookware or when using copper, but I have tell you that I am truly spoiled by the stay cool handles on most good stainless steel cookware. I rarely reach for a pot holder when cooking on the stovetop. That is why I have to think about using a towel when picking up a lid to a copper or aluminum pot.

                                          1. re: RGC1982
                                            David A. Goldfarb May 29, 2009 03:13 PM

                                            This is true. I find my Sitram stainless handles stay pretty cool. But still, they eventually heat up if they're on the stove long enough, so I try to keep the pot holders close at hand, even as I constantly misplace them and end up using a towel.

                                            1. re: David A. Goldfarb
                                              MMRuth May 29, 2009 03:14 PM

                                              Now that you mention it, I very rarely find my Sitram handles so hot that I can't pick them up.

                                2. Soop May 28, 2009 07:13 AM

                                  They do look uncomfortable.

                                  Just got a small set of Anolon Pro, and They're really comfortable. And they look boss.

                                  1. danwalk May 27, 2009 08:49 PM

                                    I share your feelings. The uncomfortable handles and the lack of pouring lips on All-Clad saucepans drive me batty and into the open arms of Sitram and--if I can pick up a piece every few years--Falk. I have an All-Clad stainless 10" fry pan that I certainly won't part with and a 1 qt. saucepan that I am attached to for sentimental reasons but I can't see myself buying any more All-Clad in the future.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: danwalk
                                      Paulustrious May 28, 2009 07:02 AM

                                      Strange coincidence. I was in Crate and Barrel yesterday. I picked up a heavy All Clad frying pan and thought to myself what a piss poor design the handle was. It was flat and sharp edged. I wondered what all the fuss was about.

                                    Show Hidden Posts