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Cookware- should I buy this set or the individual pieces I need? Great deal on set!

Okay, after weeks and weeks of research, I've decided to invest in some of the Tramontina Triply cookware sold by Wal-Mart. I bought one piece already, a 12-inch skillet, and so far I'm really impressed.

Here's my dilemma- buy a set and have a nice variety of pieces for a good price, or spend about the same and get the exact pieces that I want?

Here's what I am wanting:
- 2 qt. saucepan- $29.76
- 4 qt. saucepan- $45
- 8 qt. stockpot- $70

So I'm looking at $145 plus tax.

But they offer this one 10-piece set for $199, which includes:
- 2 qt. covered saucepan
- 4 qt. covered saucepan
- 10 inch saute pan
- 12 inch saute pan
- 12 qt. stockpot
- 5 qt. dutch oven

Now is it just me, or is that an amazing deal? I'd have the 2 saucepans I wanted anyway, plus a stockpot (though bigger than I wanted). We're a family of 3, and honestly I'm just not sure that I need that big a stockpot. Right now I'm getting by with a big 6 qt. pot, but the 8 qt. stockpot would give me more room. We don't have big parties or entertain a lot, so the 12 qt. might be overkill.

Also, I don't know if I "need" the saute pans...I don't have any saute pans at all. What is the advantage to having them over skillets? Right now I have 3 skillets- 8, 10, and 12 inches, and I use the 10 and 12 a good bit. Lastly, I don't know how much I'd use the dutch oven since I have my Le Creusets.

Here's my current stash of cookware, if that helps:
- 12-inch skillet - my new Tramontina, that I love
- 10-inch cast iron skillet - Lodge, love it
- Le Creuset dutch ovens- 2qt, 3.25 qt. (I think...was my grandmother's), and 7.25 qt.
- 2qt and 4qt saucepans- both of which need to be replaced)
- nonstick 8 and 10-inch skillets - both of which need to be tossed b/c they're all scratched up. I'm thinking of getting just one, probably 10-inch nonstick, for eggs and fish.
- 6qt. pot- not really a stock pot, just a huge pot, but it needs to be replaced. I use it for boiling pasta, making corn on the cob, basically what you'd do with a stockpot!

So after typing all this, I'm starting to answer my own question. I'm thinking I should just buy the individual pieces I need. Unless of course you all convince me that I need the saute pans!

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  1. Saute pans are great for things like chicken marsala (just one of many, many examples) where you brown the meat and then deglaze the pan into a wine sauce. The straight sides will help you keep the liquids in order (skillets tend to spill or be too shallow)

    Don't worry about the dutch oven if you already have Le Creuset stuff.

    A 12 qt stock pot is good for making big batches of soup or small batches of stock/demi glace. I use a 20 qt for stock personally becuase it takes a lot of bones to make a decent size batch of stock for freezing.

    Seems like a decent deal to me (the set). I, for one, like saute pans. But the dutch oven probably won't see much use.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tzakiel

      Excellent points, but beware Tramontina has a different definition.

    2. In answering your earlier thread, a full triply pot usually has a smooth exterior surface. A disc bottom pot usually has a visible joint/line at the bottom. Here is an example of a disc bottom pot:


      Usually, I prefer buying exactly what I need, but in your case, the choices are very similar and the low price makes it even more difficult to decide. The Dutch Oven may be useless to you because you have one already, but you can always sell it for $10-20 to your friends, right? Or just use it as a container. The debate on saute pan vs skillet is a good healthy one.

      Most importantly, Tramontina has a different definition of saute pans. Most other companies have their saute pans with the side going straight up looking like this:


      and their fry pans with side coming out at a shallow angle looking like this:


      Tramontina defines its saute pans as others would for the fry pans:


      So a better question is: Do you need two frying pans?

      Tramontina does offer what others consider as saute pans, but they are called jumbo cookers in Walmart.


      Confusing? Not yet. Tramontina "triply" saute pan has slanted side as mentioned:


      but Tramontina "Prima" saute pan has straight edge:


      5 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Okay, I see exactly what you mean...how is it that I've looked at these literally for WEEKS and never noticed that about the saute pans! I actually like these a lot better than the traditional straight-sided saute pans.

        As for what I need, though....I'm just not sure. See, I'm definitely a newbie cook. I just started cooking for REAL (as in, homemade cooking vs. out of a box, and actually enjoying it vs. cooking b/c we need food to live!) back in January so I'm still quite green. I've never felt the "need" for a saute pan, but that's partly b/c I've never had one! I know that when I had only a 10-inch skillet, it was too small. I was cooking our food in 2 batches b/c it wouldn't all fit. The 12-inch has been fantastic. Now we rarely pull out the 10-inch, and when we do it's usually for eggs.

        Right now, I'm feeling like I don't need both the 12-inch saute and the 12-inch skillet...but again, I'm still kind of unsure as to when I'd use the saute vs. when I'd use the skillet. (I know, my ignorance is showing...lol!)

        I'd probably give the dutch oven to my parents, who don't have one. I keep telling my dad, who loves cooking, that he NEEDS one!

        1. re: DivineFemme

          I think the distinction between a skillet pan and a fry pan is small, or maybe I am just confused on this as many others. Anyway, your exisitng skillet pan may very well be the same as the one in the set. You can always buy a real high performance saute pan a few years down the road.

          I think there are a lot of common grounds between a saute pan and a fry pan. They are not the same, but you can certainly saute in a fry pan and fry in a saute pan. It is not like asking you to do a Dutch Oven slow cook chicken on a frying pan -- which is impossible.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            That's what I'm thinking, too...that if I don't have a need for the saute pan now, I might as well not worry about it until I do. I'm leaning towards buying the individual pieces I need. I'm 99% sure that the 12-inch skillet I bought is what is referred to as the 12-inch saute pan in this set. Wish I'd paid better attention to the packaging on my skillet so I'd know for sure!

          2. re: DivineFemme

            I mostly cook for a family of three, and a five quart Dutch oven actually doubles as my soup pot when I am just making a double batch (meaning, only one round of leftovers). I also use my stainless steel Dutch ovens, which are sometimes called Rondeaux, to boil reasonable amounts of pasta or corn on the cob or potatoes. Obviously if you are making potato salad for the group picnic, this pot is too small. It is too small to be used as a stock pot, but if I am putting together a batch of chicken or split pea soup, that is the pot I reach for. Perfect size.

            Me? I'd go for the set. You will like saute pans for things that need sauces, or for dishes that tend to cook better in a deeper, shallow pan. I use my larger saute pans for things like Paella as well. Just be sure that the handles are oven safe. I think they are on the Tramontina, but I don't know the specific set you are looking at. I also think there is no harm in pulling out a 12 quart stock pot for making stock. Just don't fill it all the way. You may need the room for something else one day.

            Unless space is at a super-premium, or you are older and planning to downsize soon, there is a lot of value in getting a bigger stock pot, two skillets and a 5 quart Dutch oven for $50.

          3. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Forgot to say- thanks for the disk bottom explanation. I see exactly what you mean. I went and pulled out one of my pots that I know has a disk bottom, and I see the visible joint! Thanks for the explanation.

          4. chem was spot on with the description variances.

            sounds like you already have the 12" skillet that is included in this set as well.
            unless you'd like to give that to your dad also. :)


            so, is this set worth it to you to get the sauce pots and stock pot?
            that being said, it's not a bad deal at all.

            2 Replies
            1. re: grnidkjun

              Yeah, I'm pretty sure the 12-inch skillet that I bought and keep referring to, is the one Wal-mart is calling a saute pan...and therefore I'd have 2 of the same pan. I wish I'd saved the packaging or paid attention to it. I saw the angled sides, saw it was 12 inches, and didn't notice what the label said!

              See, that leads me back to thinking I should buy the pieces I need. I don't need another 12-in skillet, obviously. I don't need the dutch oven. I need a 10-inch skillet, but I'd prefer for it to be non-stick since we'd be using it for eggs and fish. I'm not convinced I need that big a stockpot.

              So I'm leaning towards buying the individual pieces I need- 2 and 4 qt. sauce pans and 8 qt. stockpot from this line. Then I need to research and see what 10 inch non-stick skillet I'd like.

              1. re: DivineFemme

                Not to dissuade you from the Tramontina at all.. it's a nice line and has great prices through Wal Mart.

                It's a shame you don't have a williams sonoma outlet near you.
                They do ship though and right now, the outlets have all of the All Clad stainless steel 3 ply on sale 40% off.

                I just called the one in Georgia, shipping for under $100 is $19 and orders over $100 is 20% of total.


                The tri ply are not seconds, they are first quality, the outlets are selling off the tri ply because the main retail WS stores are now carrying only the 5 ply.

                Call and get on their email list as well for additional mailings of percents off.
                The outlet email list is separate from the main store website mailings.

                This past weekend they had an additional 15% off.
                I picked up the 4qt saute/simmer pan with lid, 9"&11" french pan set, 12" non stick skillet with lid for $183 plus tax, so all together $196

                If I'd had it shipped, probably would have been about 36 dollars.
                Considering gas prices though, it might be worth it. :


                I guess what I'm saying is if the items in that set aren't exactly what you need, if you shop around a bit, you can wait and pick up what you really want and do it cost effectively as well.

                I hope this is helpful to someone. :)

            2. If my math is correct, there's about a $50 difference between your choices. You want three pieces and the Wal-Mart bargain includes six pieces. The pieces you want are included; yes the stockpot is larger but I don't think you'll be sorry you have this a bit later on. You're left with a dutch oven and a couple of saute pans that you may or may not want/use.

              Try the 3 pieces that are the bonus. If you like them, that's great. If you don't want or need them, donate them to a local chairty (and take a tax deduxtion) or give them to someone setting up their first apartment. Worst case - you could sell them on e-bay if you don't feel like giving them away.

              Note: I am the head of the "don't-buy-a-set-of-anything" club but in this single instance, I find myself reversing my thoughts.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Sherri

                You're making a lot of sense. I was all set to buy the individual pieces and now I'm back to considering the set again. (I can be easily convinced! lol)

                It does seem like "why not" for the extra $50. If nothing else, my dad gets a dutch oven for Father's Day!

                1. re: DivineFemme

                  :) One thing you can be sure. You are picking between a good choice and a better choice. I don't think you will feel "cheated" either way. Usually, I disagree with buying a set, but this is an exception because of the small piece difference. You can always give the extra pieces away as gifts or simply sell them. Frying pans (Tramontina saute pans) have the best resale value. In other words, it is much easy to sell a frying pan than most cookware I can think of.

                  I also agree with grnidkjun. In the case you want to go individual for your 3-4 pieces of cookware. You can always get 3 pieces of Tramontina and one piece of the on sale All-Clad. Something like that. Do a mix and match if you desire.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    I agree, I don't think there's really a "wrong" choice here. I went over to the store today to see them IRL. They only had the 10-piece set, but I was at least able to check out the individual pieces they sell. I think I'm going to get the set after all.

              2. I would buy the set. If both the separate and the set pieces are exactly the same quality, the set is a good deal and it doesn't look like there are any fluff pieces.

                1. For the $50 difference I'd go with the set. Although the saute pans aren't the classic design, the walls seem high enough to function as such. Add the 4 additional quarts for the stock pot and the dutch oven, to me it's the better deal.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: SanityRemoved

                    Though the set sounds like a great deal, I'm going to play devil's advocate here and suggest an Option C that might make more sense for you.

                    If, as I assume is the case considering you already have Le Creusets, you're planning to use the 8 qt stockpot just to boil water, you don't need a $70 pot. Buy the 2 qt and 4qt Tramontinas and then pick up a cheaper disk bottom 8 qt for around $30. This option gets you the "set" you actually need for half the price of the pre-made set.

                    1. re: pothead

                      Yes, I'd mostly use the stockpot for things like boiling pasta, making corn on the cob. For soups, I really love using my 7.25 dutch oven.

                      I did notice that Cooks Illustrated says there's no need to go fully clad on stockpots. Something to think about. Thanks!

                      1. re: DivineFemme

                        Maybe I missed it reading the thread pretty quickly but the problem with sets is that they don't allow you to pick the 'best of the breed' for each application. There are times when you want hard anodized cooking surfaces and times when you want SS. Enameled cast iron (LC) is great but it wouldn't be my first choice for a stock pot.

                        If you have enough pots/pans to get by then consider choosing one item at a time as your skill/interest grows. In the end you will probably spend a little more but will have the best tool for the job when the time comes. Of course, if having everything match is important to you then the set is the way to go. Good luck.

                        BTW, stock pots with bonded on bottoms do fail.

                        1. re: RichardM


                          "stock pots with bonded on bottoms do fail"? Really? Why? Do you mean all disc bottom fail or just stock pot with disc bottom fail? I am curious to learn.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Hi Chem -

                            I believe the cause is overheating due to boiling off all the liquid. There have been reports and I believe recalls due to this issue. The bottom disc comes 'unglued' from the pan. Of course, this is primarily pilot error.

                            1. re: RichardM


                              Thanks. I understand that "disc get unbonded" is due to the cooks' careless conducts.

                              Nonetheless, do you think the "disc falling off" accidents occur mostly for stock pot? Therefore we should avoid disc bottom stock pot. Or do you think the "disc falling off" accidents occur for all sort of cookware? Therefore we should avoid disc bottom cookware in general. Thanks for your thought on this. :)

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                Hey Chem,

                                I see you are starting to play DA here, and this time I am going to agree with you. The Clad Community is constantly putting out junk about "failing" disk bottoms and "hot rings" -- none of which I have ever experienced in 45 years of cooking on all kinds of cooktops. That is why there are knobs on your cooktop -- you are supposed to regulate the heat source. Further, if the cook is stupid enough to let the liquid run dry WHEN MAKING STOCK, (which is somewhat ridiculous, when you think about it), I have to assume the cook has left the building and forgot to turn off the stove while he or she was out for a long lunch and a short shopping trip.

                                Can this pot fail if you burn it? Yes. Can a clad pot be reduced to junk if you burn it? Yes. This has nothing to do with the pot, clearly. They are both different kinds of construction, often with different purposes in mind. There are times I prefer a clad pot, and times I prefer a disk bottom. Don't let these rumors dissuade you from considering a disk bottom stock pot in if is well made.

                                In fact, I would recommend looking at Costco for the 20 quart Tramontina stock pot. I think I paid approximately $40 for it, and it is a great pot for what I intended to use it for -- stock. I also boil dozens of ravioli and tortelloni in it when I need a large pot and I am cooking for a large group. I actually think an 8 quart is a little on the small side for stock making.

                                1. re: RGC1982


                                  Hi, you are correct. If a stock pot is heated close to metal melting temperature, then the welding is weaken and the steel may separate from the aluminum, but that should be difficult to acheive.

                                  On the other hand, maybe there are many inferior made disc bottom stock pots in the market.

                                  What is a "DA"? Devil advocate? Nah. I were pretty open-mind when I asked that question. I won't think disc bottom in general will fail easily, but I thought maybe there is something about stock pots which make them particularly unstable for disc-bottom.

                                  20 quart is huge.

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    I actually still have pieces of my mother's and grandmother's old Farberware sets, which were disk bottomed. I rarely use them, but considering the grueling use they were put through, they look great. They were far from expensive pots. I would literally need to be running out of pots on while cooking for a large crowd for me to pull them out today, but they remain quite seaworthy. They were decent quality, but no where near the quality of the Tramontina set the OP asked about today.

                                    Sorry, I don't buy the anti-disk bottom BS out there. I cook with both disk bottomed and clad pans all the time. My Demeyere Atlantis clad pieces easily give All Clad a run for its money, and some of those are my favorite go-to pots. It's not that I don't like clad pots and pans, it is that there are times when I believe a disk bottomed pot is a better choice. My saute pans and Rondeaux are all disk bottomed, and I think they work better for what I am trying to cook in them in most situations.

                                    Yes, DA is Devil's Advocate. And if you are really making stock, not just a big pot of soup, 20 quart is actually about the right size.

                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  I'm not advocating avoiding disc bottom cookware entirely. I'm not dismissing the 'urban myth' component of some of the internet horror stories as well. By saying I recall a failure or two being reported is just that. It was most likely a manufacturing defect since a recall was involved.

                                  1. re: RichardM


                                    I know. Thanks for your informaiton. I think if anything it will help some of us to look more closely into those news and avoid certain brands.

                    2. I bought the Tramontina set, and have been so impressed with it I went on to add the Tramontina jumbo cooker ( true saute pan) and casserole pan (paella) and then bought a second set for our second kitchen. I also own and love several pieces of All Clad stainless steel. I say there is no difference between these two but the price. I am not always in favour of the 'set' but if the price is this good there cannot really be much harm in having an extra skillet hanging around. The 5 qt Dutch oven is quite useful - even though I have my Le Creuset(s) for anything that involves boiling water I always go to the Tramontina first. 12 qt stockpot would be frighteningly large for me but as long as you have storage space for it, there's certainly nothing to be lost.

                      Chem is quite right that the Tramontina definition of 'saute pan' in this case is unreliable. The pans that come with the sets are skillets. The 'jumbo cooker' is a true saute pan and definitely worth looking out for as an open stock addition to the set.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: knet

                        Yes, I saw that jumbo cooker in the store the other day and it would be a nice addition to the set!

                      2. you'll have to let us know which route you go and how you like what you decided on.
                        :) Either way, I agree with the majority here, it seems like you can't make a wrong choice on this one.

                        I'm curious though, on the walmart tri ply tramontina, for you and others that have at least a piece or two already.. does a magnet stick to the exterior bottom of the pots/pans? Just so everyone would know if they are induction capable.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: grnidkjun

                          I was going to try waiting till Black Friday time when wal-mart last year had Bing cashback of 20%. However, the program goes away end of July.

                          Not owning any, they should be induction capable. All tramotina is now made such, and if you get a piece that isn't, they'll replace it free of charge.

                          1. re: sumrtym

                            Chem posted a link on the other thread to some user Q&A on the walmart site where others have posed the same question and are being told it is.

                          2. re: grnidkjun

                            Yeah, I think I've decided to go with the set. I'm just juggling the budget and haven't taken the plunge quite yet. :) We've been buying knives as well. But I will definitely update the thread when I buy.

                            And yes, a magnet does stick to the pan that I have!