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What is the best set of budget clad cookware? Tramontina? Better Homes & Gardens? Kenmore? Other?

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I am looking for a good set of budget clad cookware. I have tracked down the following sets so far:

1. ($149.99) Better Homes and Gardens 10-Piece Tri-Ply Clad 18/10
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Better-Home...

2. ($149.99) Tramontina 8-Piece 18/10 Stainless Steel TriPly-Clad
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina-...

3. ($199.99) Kenmore 10-Piece Tri-Ply
http://www.kenmore.com/shc/s/p_10154_...

Does anyone have an opinion on which set/brand is the best quality for the buck?

Does anyone have other brand/set recommendations in the budget price range?

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  1. Earlier in my cooking career, I bought sets. These days I think in terms of individual pieces. I know that everyone is not like me, but the looks (in this case matching) of my cookware is less important to me than performance. I love my All-Clad for sauteeing but don't think I need cladding up the sides for boiling water for pasta. So rather than buying a set, I would suggest you consider paying a bit more for less compromise on a few critical pieces (like saute pans) and getting some nice, low-cost, but sturdy pieces from a restaurant supply place for less demanding tasks, such as pots and pans heating liquids on a stovetop.

    4 Replies
    1. re: PinchOfSalt

      I was going to go that direction, but with the low prices of these sets, I can still add a nice piece here and there without breaking the bank.

      Also, the BH&G set just went on sale for $99--- wow. I hear it's made by Tramontina--- anyone know if the thickness of these two sets are the same?

      1. re: spenceuiuc

        Not to be a wet blanket - and I certainly enjoy finding bargains - but at such a low price one has to be careful about quality. There are issues that go beyond thickness that are important to consider. One (to me, at least) is the handles. Some handles get hot, others stay relatively cool. Some are comfortable to hold and make it easy to maneuver the pot or pan, others can be awful. Are the handles riveted to the cookware or are they spot-welded? (Yes I once had a spot-welded handle fall off.) So rather than quickly jumping onto the 'net to buy anything, it's a good idea to visit a brick-and-mortar store first (if you can) to actually see and heft and hold the cookware you are thinking of buying. It is also an opportunity to compare it side-by-side with premium cookware, to see what the differences are.

        For what it's worth, I have been very positively impressed by some pieces I bought at IKEA, after my horrible old electric stove finally died (good riddance!) and I was using an induction hotplate while waiting for my new wonderful gas stove. I experimented with the really cheap stuff and their highest quality stuff. Both were good values, but I would recommend you take a look at the high-end IKEA cookware before making your final buying decision. It was VERY nice for the price - nice performance, good build quality, and likely within your budget. (This is from someone with more All-Clad than you can shake a stick at!)

        1. re: PinchOfSalt

          Thanks for the thoughtful reply--- your point is well taken. Unfortunately, none of the brick and mortar stores near me sell any of these options--- I was hoping to be able to gain enough input from other owners to make my decision and purchase online...

          1. re: PinchOfSalt

            One point I just have to make -- I have had rivets fail and loosen to the point of a wobbly handle, but I have never had a spot weld fail. I don't think it is a fair statement to say that the OP should stay away from welded handles. On high quality pots with spot welds versus high quality pots with rivets, you are probably looking at equal alternatives in terms of longevity. I would put my Demeyere Atlantis, all with spot welds, up against any pots you can name, and in fact, I own some of most other brands. Some of my pots are welded, some are riveted. You can't make blanket statements like that because each design can fail. If you are looking at very inexpensive sets, it's probably a crap shoot.

      2. I don't think any one know which is the best, but Tramontina Triply has a great reputation. Just like the link you provided, Tramontina was selected as rated "Best Buy" in Cook's Illustrated.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          I am new to this site & for some reason can't find how to start a thread. So this seems to be the closest to my comment & question. I purchased a Tramontina steamer set from Walmart, on clearance, and the 2 pot sizes are great as well as the steamer size. However my biggest complaint is the horrible discoloration which occurred in the pots - has anyone else had this happen? Secondly, I wish they made the top with a release hole to prevent spilling over & thirdly, for me two pots with one top is useless. But my daughter loves the steamer for veggies so now I'm in search of a better quality one for her birthday, if anyone has any ideas. Thank you so much in advance! :)

          1. re: kindajazzy

            You have to be on a specific board to start a thread.

            Here's how you do it:

            Go to the main Chowhound page: http://chowhound.chow.com/boards

            In the banner near the top of the page, you'll see the word "Chowhound" in red. When you click on that, a menu will drop down with a list of the most popular boards and the option to select "View All Boards" at the bottom. If you want to start a thread on a board that's not on showing on that short list, you'll have to select "View all boards" and then click the link to the board you want. I'm pretty sure, though, that "Cookware" is in that list of popular boards, so you can just click on that directly.

            At the top of the feed of that board, you will see a little window with the words: " Start a new discussion" in it. Start typing your thread in there and the windows for both your post and its title will come up.

            There are already several threads about Tramontina cookware quality issues, like these: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4804...
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8859...

            If they're not useful, you should definitely start a new thread. Since you posted in the middle of this one, I think even people who open it may not see your question.

            Best, ninrn

            1. re: kindajazzy

              kindajazzy,

              I purchased the 4 quart Tramontina saucepan, used it several times, and it discolored (dark rainbow blue) every time. I'd been cooking on Calphalon Tri-Ply for over 12 years at the time, and while this did happen from time to time with the Calphalon, it wasn't very often.

              This blue or amber staining can and does happen to stainless steel pans, it's unavoidable. But it certainly shouldn't happen all the time. I eventually settled on Vollrath Optio pans and am exceptionally happy with them. They do have a disk bottom (not fully clad), but it's very thick and leads to even heating and minimal scorching. It's wonderful cookware.

              I still like Calphalon Tri-Ply. Also look at the Calphalon Contemporary, which is the same construction with a different shape and different handles.

              Another very nice option is Emeril Pro-Clad by All-Clad.

              The Calphalon and Emeril are all the same fully clad cookware as the Tramontina, but at a bit higher price.

              1. re: DuffyH

                I don't quite understand why the rainbow colors sometimes show up on the inside bottom of SS cookware, but I seem to find when I use BKF in the cleanup it does not happen.

                Edit: Chem, I should have read your post below before writing this post.

                1. re: John E.

                  John E.,

                  I've recently moved away from BKF because as Chem notes, white vinegar will easily remove many stains from SS. When I need abrasive, I've been grabbing baking soda. So cheap and it works well.

                  1. re: DuffyH

                    I'll give it a try, but I don't think BKF is in the same abrasive class as Comet and Ajax.

                    I recently discovered there is a BKF spray, but you're right about how cheap baking soda is.

                    1. re: John E.

                      BKF is pretty coarse abrasive, yes, working most of it's magic chemically, with oxalic acid. There's some really interesting reading about abrasives on this thread, particularly the first post by Kaleokahu about 7 from the top: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9279...

                      K is a smart guy and usually right about such stuff. Except when I disagree with him. Then he's pretty much an idiot. ;-)

                2. re: DuffyH

                  My small Tramontina saucepan has been in service in my kitchen for several years, and it works fine. I like the handles, and it performs as well as any other saucepan I have used. IMO, you can overbuy with saucepans. You can also buy too cheap. But I'd spend the most on a chef's pan and a DO, and a PC.

                  1. re: sueatmo

                    <IMO, you can overbuy with saucepans. You can also buy too cheap. But I'd spend the most on a chef's pan and a DO, and a PC.>

                    Absolutely. For me, the Tramontina made no sense because, although the price was good, it required more upkeep than I was willing to commit. My Vollrath pans, costing about ½ as much, perform better for me, in all respects. And there's only been one that turned blue, one time.

                    Overall, I'm a big fan of Tramontina, especially their frypans. I used to buy only the Pro line of nonstick aluminum. My 10" clad SS frypan is, I suspect, a Tramontina. It's made for Sams, marked with their Daily Chef logo, but it's made in Brazil and looks just like a commercial Tramontina, only in SS.

                3. re: kindajazzy

                  Welcome. To start a new thread, you can go to section which you are interested (in this case, cookware: http://chowhound.chow.com/boards/41). There on the top of the page you will see "Start a New Discussion".

                  As for your specific question, discoloration is not unusual for stainless steel surface cookware. If it is white or gray color discoloration, then it is a matter of water minerals, like calcium. If it is bluish or rainbow like discoloration, then it is usually due to high temperature. To remove either of these, you can use acidic solutions. The most gentle would be using distilled white vinegar. For something for effective, you can use the Bar Keeper's Friend cleaner:

                  http://www.amazon.com/Bar-Keepers-Fri...

                  http://www.webstaurantstore.com/bar-k...

                  I agree with Duffy. I have Calphalon Triply. It is less expensive than All Clad, but more expensive than Tramontina. You can usually find Calpahlon Triply cookware in Bed Bath and Beyond, Macy's...etc. Sometime you can find them in Home Goods, and TJ Maxx for a good price.

              2. I have several pieces of the Tramontina Tri-Ply and they are all outstanding. Also Sur La Table has carries a Tri-Ply line and it's terrific.

                1. I don't have a set, but I have a Tramontina sauce pan, which I like very, very much.

                  Just yesterday, I was able to pick up what I call a little "try me" set of the BHG triply- a 10 inch skillet and a lidded 2 quart sauce pan on clearance at Walmart for $23. The packaging was woefully limited in information but it did state that it's oven safe to 350 - it's my sincere hope that is referring to the glass lid and not actual cooking pieces, but it's an important factor if you go from stove top to oven with the pan.

                  I know clearance at Walmart can be hit or miss, but in addition to the BHG pieces I mentioned, the store I went to also had Tramontina 12 inch tri ply pan on clearance for $30. Perhaps it would be worth your while if you have a local Walmart to visit and see for yourself the difference between the two lines and which you think would best fit your needs?

                  My overall impression is the Tramontina has more of a solid feel to it.

                  I have no experience with Kenmore, so I'm unable to comment.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Molly James

                    So you did notice a significant difference between Tramontina and BH&G? Was the Tramontina pan material actually thicker than the BH&G?

                    1. re: spenceuiuc

                      No, not a significant difference. My apologies if my statement was misleading.

                      For thickness, I'm going by visual and feel on the saucepans (different sizes), but it appears the Tramontina is ever so slightly thicker- maybe .1 mm?. Additionally, it just feels more balanced/solid in my hand. Subjective observations, I know.

                      Your post got me wondering, so I called the 800# on the BHG package and although the person on the phone couldn't answer my questions on thickness and construction, she did offer to have someone in their technical support department call me with the answers within 3 business days. I'll also see if the tech person will confirm BHG is made by Tramontina. .

                      1. re: Molly James

                        I just baught a Trimontina tri ply stockpot from Walmart. They do not carry it in the store, so I had to order it. I have only used it once, but it is wonderful. I don't have anything more expensive to compare too, but I can't imagine a better one for home use. The only thing I would change is the mirror finish. LOL I need a satin finish for I will never be able to keep it so polished. It is indeed just like a mirror right out of the box.

                        1. re: Molly James

                          Update to my post above:

                          I just picked up a message from the rep from Walmart. The BHG cookware is 2.6 mm thick (.5mm interior stainless steel, 1.6 mm aluminum core, .5 mm exterior stainless steel).

                          I just checked the Tramontina website and the listed thickness is 2.6 mm.

                          The gentleman that called did not leave a return phone number, so I wasn't able to confirm the manufacturer.

                    2. I was wondering the same about the kenmore pieces. I saw them at the story and they appeared to be very well made for a cheaper line of cookware. Love to hear if anyone has actually used them.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: AdamD

                        I like the handles on the images of the Kenmore.

                        Doesn't Kenmore have an agreement with KitchenAid or one owns the other now?
                        Seems like I remember reading something about a Kenmore mixer being similar to the kitchenaid one somewhere.

                        Reason I ask, is that KitchenAid used to make a ply full clad line of cookware and I have a few pieces and like them quite well. If they use the same manufacturer out of Thailand, then I could say the KA line I have are quite nice.

                        1. re: grnidkjun

                          It is fairly common for brands to OEM stuff from a third-party manufacturer. The deals they make are not necessarily all-inclusive. So it is believable that Sears (Kenmore) is selling Kitchenaid-designed mixers with a Kenmore brand. No doubt Sears gets its cookware from some cookware manufacturer, but it is not necessarily the same one as manufactures its mixers, though.

                          It is useful to keep in mind that the brand (the name on the product), its designer (the company that designs the product), and the manufacturer (the company that actually builds the product) can be three separate entities. Cookware brands might be their own designers, but store brands can expected to OEM from elsewhere.

                          1. re: PinchOfSalt

                            Seems like people like Kenmore.
                            http://www.mysears.com/Kenmore-8-pc-T...

                            1. re: PinchOfSalt

                              i bought my kenmore cookware at a garage sale in 1975 and those pots still look nice and work good with the heat cooking evenly never had problems... and they were even made in the USA i still use them lucky me

                        2. spenceuine, in common with the consensus here, I think you would do better looking at piece-by-piece rather than at sets. But, among sets, I would prefer the Berndes Cuicinare set, http://www.amazon.com/Berndes-Cucinar... over the sets you link to.

                          The cladding on the Berndes pieces does not go all the way up the sides; that is a good feature if your intent is to keep heat inside the pot to cook the food rather than to use your cookware as an auxiliary radiator to keep your kitchen warm. The aluminum layer at the bottom of the Berndes pieces also is likely to be thicker, for any given piece, than the aluminum layer at the bottom of the clad pieces, which is a good feature for the even distribution of heat over the cooking surface.

                          1. Everyone has been very helpful with all the great replies--- thanks so much everyone!

                            1. I would get this set:

                              http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina-...

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: joonjoon

                                I used to be a big audio/visual addict. On a trip to buy speakers, the salesman gave me a tip I'll never forget. He told me to "never buy speakers from an electronic company". I liken that nugget of advice to buyng that kenmore set. Don't buy cookware from an appliance company. Having said that, I would go to a Marshall's and piece meal my cookware. I think it can be done for $150. Get skillets in 10-12in sizes. A 3.5-4qt saucepan. A good sized saute pan and you'll be golden!

                                1. re: kariya66

                                  Dont buy from one of the oldest home goods companies in the country and instead go to a discount store that sells seconds and things that wont sell in the first place?
                                  Not sure I buy into that logic.

                                  1. re: AdamD

                                    Old doesn't always mean good. It's almost like going into a big box store. You go in to a Best But to buy a fridge. The person you encounter knows a little about several things, but isn't proficient in any one thing. If Kenmore cookware was that great, why is it you never see it sold outside of Kmart and sears? They make it so you "one stop shop" You buy a range from sears. Preferably Kenmore, then you see the Kenmore cookware and think "Why not?". As far as buying seconds go, not all that is sold at Marshalls are seconds. At least, not where I live.

                                    1. re: kariya66

                                      kariya66: "I liken that nugget of advice to buyng that kenmore set. Don't buy cookware from an appliance company."

                                      Kenmore is not an appliance company. In fact, Kenmore is not even a company, period. Kenmore is just a brand that Sears applies to products it commissions to be made by somebody else. Over the years, most major appliances bearing the Kenmore brand have been made in Michigan by Whirlpool. These days, some Kenmore major appliances are made in Korea by Samsung, others made in Europe by a Whirlpool affiliate. Just as a Sears DieHard battery is made for Sears by Johnson Controls, so every Kenmore appliance is made for Sears by somebody else, never made by Sears.

                                      "If Kenmore cookware was that great, why is it you never see it sold outside of Kmart and sears?"

                                      Because Sears has registered the trademark, and would sue the pants off of anybody else that attempted to put the Kenmore brand on their products. (K-Mart and Lands End are sister companies of Sears under the same ownership as Sears, but Lands End does not sell appliances, to my knowledge. But if Lands End did sell appliances, you can bet that among them would be Kenmore appliances. Or if Allstate Insurance -- another sister company of Sears -- sold appliances, Allstate would sell Kenmore appliances..)

                                      I do not know who makes Kenmore cookware -- in fact, I never have seen Kenmore cookware in person -- but I am fairly sure that the maker is not an appliance company.

                                      1. re: kariya66

                                        Let me just start by saying that I am not cheerleading for Sears. I know they sell a lot of junk. Kenmore is sears' store brand. Why would it sell elsewhere? They want you to come to sears for their brand. Yes sears is "one stop shop." And..........?

                                        I and really do not see what point you are trying to make other than you might get better service at a specialty store and pay a lot more for it as well.

                                        You are right, Marshall's also buys overstocks from stores and companies that cant sell their products-that's how they are able to sell stuff so cheap.

                                        I still dont see any reason to dismiss a store when it may in fact sell a good product at a reasonable price. As some of the reviews seem to suggest, this might be one of them.

                                      2. re: AdamD

                                        The Kenmore name may be one of the oldest in the country for home goods, but they don't manufacture anything. It's just like Craftsman tools, there is no Craftsman factory. They (both) have items manufactured by other companies and have their brand name put on it. Back when stuff was still manufactured in the United States, Proctor Silex was one of my customers, they made toasters in a plant in North Carolina, and they made toasters for so many other companies it was crazy. The guts were all identical, just the outside was different and they had different brand names on them. They made toasters that sold at all different price points that were all the same inside essentially. These included Sears (Kenmore), K-Mart, and Panasonic (the most expensive in stores) and countless others I don't recall.

                                        Kenmore appliances are made by Amana in some cases, Whirlpool in others, those are just two that come to mind. Typically the specifications and allowable tollerances of manufacture are wider for the Kenmore model than for the company brand. The kicker is that in many cases Consumer Reports ranks the Kenmore model ahead of the brand model of the company that made it. Go figure ;(

                                        There's nothing wrong with Kenmore, but they are not a manufacturer, just a brand name.

                                        1. re: mikie

                                          I am aware of that. When I was looking at the kenmore set in the store I was wondering if the were possibly made by all-clad because they looked and felt very similar in the hand.

                                      3. re: kariya66

                                        This is pretty much what I have done, but over time. If you need stuff ASAP, you might have to visit a few Marshall's and Home Goods to find the pieces you need. The upside, is you get to try different brands and different sorts of pots to find out what you like, and you do this on a budget.

                                        But the Tramontina set from Walmart is pretty good,if the iron stuff is decent quality.

                                      4. re: joonjoon

                                        Spence,

                                        If you are inclined to buy the Tramontina and don't need the cast iron, buy this set:

                                        http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina-...

                                        This set has the larger saute pans, well worth the extra money.

                                      5. I bought Tramontina knives from Walmart when Consumer did a very positive review of them ... actually I bought 3 sets and shared with my two sons who cook a lot. When I saw the Tramontina cookware, I thought, "why not" and bought a set. Big mistake on both fronts. The knives are long since history and I am replacing the cookware one piece at a time with Staub and Allclad. Thank goodness I didn't have to spend much for any of it ... I think you get what you pay for. I agree that sets are not the best buy. Buy what you will actually be cooking with. I bought my son and his wife Allclad set, some of the pans they have never used.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: anniebee

                                          Was the Tramontina you purchased the try-ply all-clad stainless steel cookware? It doesn't sound like it was because it performs comparably to All-Clad.

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            I believe it is the tri-ply ... been a few years now. I have had a glass top range for the past 12 years and it makes it a challenge to find pans that work well with it. The handles on the Tramontina are very slim and hard to get a good grip on. The sauce pans are OK for boiling veggies and I'll keep the two I have. But even keeping potatoes warm is a challenge to keep them from burning. Most of what I have cooked in the skillet over the years has burned if I don't watch it very closely. The dutch oven is much the same. The Allclad and Staub are the exact opposite. Of course I watch them but it seems that once I learned where to set the heat there is much less problem with burning. Just made French Onion Soup in my most recent Staub dutch oven and caramelizing the onions was a piece of cake. Hope this helps.

                                            1. re: anniebee

                                              We have a Tramontina try-ply 12" skillet and the 5 quart straight side saute pan and a flat top stove and they work great. Cook's Illustrated rates them highly and as a better deal than All Clad. Either they're made differently now or you had a different set of pans. I'm guessing the latter. I agree the Tramontina knives are junk.

                                              1. re: anniebee

                                                I own an All-Clad set (MasterChef2 Series) for over 10 years and recently purchased several Tramontina 18/10 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Clad saute pans and pots about a year ago and have to say they perform just as well as the All-Clads at a fraction of the price. I cannot comment about the dutch oven, but I seriously think you may have gotten a defective set if you are having issues with uneven heating/hotspots in the Tramontina TriPly sets. And I also recently saw the Cook's Illustrated & America's Test Kitchen review which rated them as highly as the All-Clad's.

                                          2. Almost all of my SS are All Clad, so I have no experience about your alternatives, but one of my friends has a set of Cuisinart Multiclad Pro and she loves it. I was impressed by the quality. Sometimes, I see them at TJmaxx/Homegoods but not a set. Individual pieces.

                                            I also agree with the first responder sayting full-clad saucepan can be a overkill. As I use LCs for simmering etc, my sauce pans are mostly used for boiling waters for vegitables, eggs, pastas etc, which can be done by any cheap saucepans. So, depending what you have now, I would replace piece by piece and spend more for a good fry-, saute pans and dutch ovens.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: hobbybaker

                                              I don't use my saucepans often either. But when I do I like having a copper core for faster heating. I also think the copper gives an even heat. I use older Cuisinart saucepans with a copper core sandwiched between aluminum and stainless. Where I would skimp is with a non-stick frypan. I have two of these now. One is expensive and one came pretty cheap from Home Goods. Both give equally good service.

                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                I have no non-stick frypan. so I skimped it to Zero :) I am happy with my lodge cast iron which is almost non-stick. However, I sometimes feel I want to have a non-stick for sauteeing fish filet.

                                                1. re: hobbybaker

                                                  The only non stick I have is an 8" Scanpan for eggs at breakfast on weekends. It works extremely well for that and for this particular use I think it was worth paying more for the better pan. I've got a Griswold cast iron that was my grandmother's, but it doesn't see much time on the stove, it's always on the bottom of the drawer, I should use it more often but I don't fry really.

                                              2. re: hobbybaker

                                                hobbybaker: "... full-clad saucepan can be a overkill. As I use LCs for simmering etc, my sauce pans are mostly used for boiling waters for vegitables, eggs, pastas etc, which can be done by any cheap saucepans."

                                                A better description than "overkill" might be "counterproductive" or "contra-indicated." Using a pan with clad sides to boil water, the conductive sides of the pan suck the heat out of the heated water that has convected up from the base of the pot and send the heat out into the kitchen.

                                                1. re: Politeness

                                                  Politeness's post makes a very good point that has not been stated explicitly. Different styles of cookware have different cooking characteristics, The best style for task A may not be the best style for task B. The same construction that make a saute pan responsive is exactly what you do not want for a task where steady temperature is what is needed most. It's another reason not to buy a set. Off the top of my head, a small collection of cookware suitable for most American or western European cooking would include

                                                  1 large skillet that heats evenly and responds quickly to temperature change
                                                  2. a small skillet with similar characterics to the above, but is non-stick (good for eggs) (optional)
                                                  3. a large cast iron skillet (does not have to be enameled) for things like cooking bacon - slow steady even heat
                                                  4. a large (say 5 or 6 quarts) pot with a bottom that heats evenly for boiling pasta and making soup. The bottom is important because frequently you'll want to sweat or saute ingredients before adding liquid.
                                                  5. a small pan (say 2 quarts) for reheating, or cooking rice or grains or vegetables. The bottom does not have to be responsive but it should have no hot spots.
                                                  6. a large enamel cast iron (or bottom-and-sides clad) pot for braises and stews that you start on the stove and complete in the oven (optional)

                                                  The pots and pans should have lids. A lid for the large skillet can be useful but if you dont have one you can always improvise when need be. With these pieces you can cook a wide range of dishes without fighting with your tools. Unfortunately, due to the different types of materials and construction, you will not be able to get them by buying a set.

                                              3. I've been very happy with the Belgique house brand at Macy's. Very heavy stainless steel and clad bottoms. Don't pay full price. Check your Sunday paper, there's always a set on sale. They had me hooked when they threw in a 20 quart !!! stockpot for free. R R R !

                                                1. I have no experience of Kenmore or BHG but I do own a lot of Tramontina and I have been delighted with it. I think it rivals All-Clad for a fraction of the price and though I love my AC I do now regret the money spent on it since I discovered Tramontina. Whether you buy a set or not is a personal decision but I do use all the pieces that came with this set. The only one that doesn't see a LOT of use is the smaller skillet - usually just comes out for garnishes or toasting seeds and nuts but all of the rest are used constantly

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: knet

                                                    I think it should be mentioned that there are different types of Tramontina SS. They have the more expensive try ply line and a line that cost less. Since I was searching for a fully tryply stockpot, I did not investigate the less expensive ones. My pot came with a fully stainless steel lid, the others I think have glass lids and maybe a tryply base only. I did not compare the handles. My stockpot has riveted handles. I know because I hate cleaning around them :o) Anyway, the pot is rather hefty compared to my old cheaper one. I fixed a big pot of homemade vegetable soup (12 qt stockpot) and not once did anything stick or burn on the bottom. My old stockpot would sometimes burn stuff on the bottom.
                                                    I don't know how long it will last, but I am loving it now. It should last as long as I want, I don't see anything to tear up or break on it.

                                                  2. How about this set?

                                                    10 piece, made in US, $250, shipped
                                                    http://www.cutleryandmore.com/usa-mad...

                                                    10 piece, made in US, $180, shipped, only clad at the bottom though
                                                    http://shop.tuesdaymorning.com/dsp_pr...

                                                    It at least has a bigger stock pot than the two Walmart sets!

                                                    But if you ask me, I'd do a la carte instead of a set.

                                                    1. You know, while I think a la carte is best, I can think of 2 instances where someone might want a set: for a vacation home, or for a short-term fully furnished rental apartment.

                                                      Sometimes you just need adequate cookware in a hurry.

                                                      1. I have both All-Clad and Tramontina. Both are excellent, performance is the same with one exception. Tramotina pots and pans do not have a rolled or lipped rim and pouring from them will produce drips and spills unless you do it very quickly. This is always a bad thing with boiling liquids. If you can deal with a little mess once in awhile I'd go with the Tramontina. If you have the money then for sure go with the All-Clad or similar high end tri-clad with lipped pots and pans.

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: surfereddie

                                                          .... I think All Clad has only recently introduced the rolled rim for the d5 line. The regular line does not have that:

                                                          http://www.cookingforengineers.com/pi...

                                                          1. re: surfereddie

                                                            I had the same dillemma with my AC SS Saucepan (not d5). The following gadget somehow helps and I like it. (Needless to say, it is not as good as own rolled rim. ) I think it will work with Tramontina, too.

                                                            http://www.amazon.com/RSVP-Internatio...

                                                            1. re: hobbybaker

                                                              I remember you were thinking about getting it. Did it work our fine? Any issue?

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                Yes, CK. I still remember your drawings :) Well not really yours :)

                                                                Ofcourse having a own rolled rim is so much better but I am very happy with this one. I know the reviews of Amazon are not favorable and I don't use it for very thick batters etc. Just for milk, cocoa, soup etc very watery stuff, it works nicely. It costed me just $5 and I happend to find it at a shop close to my work, so no shipping. I am really happy I finally have a solution to slowly pour from my AC SS saucepans. (You know I am a rolled rim fanatic :) I recommend it to anyone who is frustrated with a mess from a slow pouring from AC SS or Tramontina .

                                                                1. re: hobbybaker

                                                                  You mean this:

                                                                  http://www.chow.com/photos/511892

                                                                  ... Well, I guess I used a software and drew it with my computer mouse, but of course I didn't register for a copyright, so it probably belongs to CHOW from a legal standpoint. :D

                                                                  As for your spout, I assume there is no leaking. Do you keep it on the pot? Or do you put it on only when you need to pour?

                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                    Amazingly, no leaking. That was my concern before buying it but worked out nicely. The people at the store told me it is popular and sold quickly. I put it on whenever I do pour slowly- otherwise stay in the drawer. It fits on AC SS 3qt, 2qt and 1qt saucier, too.

                                                          2. Not sure if this was addressed in an earlier post, but I believe the Tramontina has the cladding up the sides, whereas as many other budget tri-plies (e.g., Emeril and Rachel Ray, I believe) are only clad on the bottom. Again, I'm not positive, but I believe that is the case.

                                                            If anyone has verified this, please post. Thanks!

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: sawdin

                                                              Okay, found the review in Cook's Illustrated of Cookware Sets Published May 1, 2009. All-Clad was the top choice, followed by Tramontina, Calphalon, Kitchen-Aid and Kenmore. The last two were recommended w/ reservations. The Rachel Ray set was not recommended.

                                                              Tramontina Review: This fully clad cookware set is an amazing bargain, with performance, design, and construction comparable to All-Clad cookware (though cooking surfaces are slightly smaller). Sturdy and moderately heavy, with riveted handles and slow, steady heating.
                                                              Pros: Well designed; performance comparable to All-Clad
                                                              Cons: Small pans; limited supply; available only at Wal-Mart

                                                              Walmart has a 10-piece set w/ larger pans.
                                                              http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produc...

                                                              1. re: sawdin

                                                                To me, cons for both of them has no rolled rims for saucepans with which you occasionally do slow pouring. ( AC at this point of the test was traditional SS not d5.) I don't care that much for fry-pans/saute pans. I know there are peole who don't care that much for saucepans either but to me it is kind of one of the important feature.

                                                                AC improved this for d5 in 2010. I believe Tramontina has no rolled rim. So, I still believe for budget cookware the best choice is cuisinart multiclad pro not tramontina IMO.

                                                                1. re: hobbybaker

                                                                  But Calphalon Triply line does:

                                                                  http://www.cybertopdeals.com/files/ph...

                                                                  Hey, but you have that plastic lip thing.

                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                    CK - I have a phobia of glass lid. so no calphalon try-ply in my kitchen :)

                                                                    Yes I have the silicone poring sprout to solve the rim problem of my AC as we talked, but needless to say having own rolled rim is optimal :) Also, AC is not the buget cookware option either (and no rolled rims, what a heck!!!!) .

                                                                    1. re: hobbybaker

                                                                      Maybe if you hit the rim with a hammer for a few times, you will get a rolled rim.

                                                                      :P

                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                        Great suggestion, CK :) I hope my DH could do it for me. Another Honey Do List :)

                                                                2. re: sawdin

                                                                  http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina-...

                                                                  This set has every component of ATK/CI's kitchen pots/pans essentials list. Buy this set and youre done!

                                                                3. re: sawdin

                                                                  Actually, Tramontina makes both types of cladding. I have not had good luck with the clad-bottom type. It wasn't anywhere as controlable, and tended to burn at the edges.

                                                                  I stick with the 18/10 tri-ply. You can tell by looking at the bottom. The bottom-clad will reveal a definite 'seam' where the cladding meets the pan( they're joined by a layer of aluminum - which can melt out if you're dumb enough to let it overheat- which, of course, I was). The tri-ply will have a smooth curve to transition from bottom to sides.

                                                                  I haven't used the Better Homes and Gardens, but I did look at it because my local Wallmart didn't stock tramontina, and I was surprised at how similar the two brands seemed. If I remember correctly, the BHG has glass lids, and I much prefer the solid SS lids on my tri-ply. But that being said, BHG looked interesting. Given other peoples' positive comments about Lodge pieces, I would be inclined to take a second look at Wallmart for anything. But maybe just to look. I'm crazy about my Tramontina 18/10 tri-ply!

                                                                4. In my opinion, it doesn't get any better than the Cuisinart Multiclad Stainless Pro 12-piece set. Got mine at Macy's, which listed it at $299.00, at an even lower price than Amazon because they matched Amazon's price (it was under $220.00 at the time) and gave me a 15 % discount because they were having a sale. Since it wasn't in stock they shipped it for no extra charge. Dollar for dollar, I think it's a superb set. The handles stay cool on the stovetop, and clean-up is easy. Just don't cook on too high a temperature, which many people tend to do, and you'll get great results plus a lower utility bill! Also, you really get All-Clad quality--minus the hot handles and the high price!

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Lovemy Privacy

                                                                    Is the Cuisinart Multiclad Stainless Pro clad up the sides? The Cuisinart website notes that the skillet has "Heat Surround™ Technology Allows for even heat distribution along the bottom and side walls of the cookware". Not sure if that means "we didn't want the expense of cladding up the side, so we use a cool-sounding tech name to make you think we do!" However, on Amazon it says "The tri-ply Heat Surround technology sandwiches an aluminum core in the base and side walls for superior, even heating." Hmm, don't know why they just don't come out and say that on the Cuisinart site so people like me won't think they are trying to pull a fast one!

                                                                    Thanks for the tip!

                                                                    If it's clad up the side like the Tramontina, it looks like a

                                                                    1. re: sawdin

                                                                      sorry! Believe it or not, I'm just seeing this question. To answer your question, yes it's clad up the sides, according to the customer service rep at the company, who actually sounded informed about the product. I know that some of the other Cuisinart products are not clad up the sides but that's supposed to be the difference between them and their multi-clad products.

                                                                  2. Knowing what I know now here is how I would decide: 1. find a comfortable handle these should last you until you're old so they need to be comfortable for when you get weaker. 2. Make sure its Tri-ply all the way up the sides and not just a disk on the bottom. 3. Most all the Tri-ply are from China and they all have the same technology, Warping is caused by hot pan into cold water. AllClad will warp in these conditions. So they only difference is a rolled lip. MOST important for cleanup and keeping your stove clean.

                                                                    1. Reading this thread sent me into my kitchen where I did an experiment on the time it took to boil water in 3 different style pots; encapsulated disc bottom, 5 ply clad, and hard anodized.

                                                                      All things being as equal as possible i.e. using the same burner at the same High temp setting and allowing the burner to return to completely cool between tests .

                                                                      Results; After 2 tests each, the hard anodized heated the water to a full boil in 7 minutes. The fully clad heated the water in 8 minutes, and the encapsulated bottom in 9 minutes. Interestingly the encapsulated bottom pot was the only one that released so much steam that it set off the fan over the range. I don't know what that means, but it happened during both tests.

                                                                      Based on the America's Test Kitchen recommendation, I bought the Tramontina 11pc set with cast iron pan and a dutch oven as a starter set for my niece (the one from Walmart that JoonJoon linked to). This set contains the basic pieces ATK recommended for a cook’s kitchen.

                                                                      Also based on ATK, I have recommended the Tramontina 10pc all clad set (see John E.'s link) to a number of friends and received such great feedback on it that when I needed a 12qt stockpot I ordered the Tramontina from Walmart. I love it, but like dixiegal mentioned, I don't know if I'll be able to upkeep the pristine mirror finish. The one drawback for me personally with Tramontina would be maintaining the finish because my pots hang where everyone can see them so it’s extra work to keep them looking good (*see photo below).

                                                                      Someone mentioned that clad sides dissipate heat from the pot and that confused me. I always use a 4 or 5qt or larger clad pot or french oven for all my soups and stews. I find that because the sides also conduct heat the food cooks more thoroughly than an encapsulated bottom pot where the heat is only coming from the bottom and I have to stir it constantly to make sure everything else is thoroughly cooked, and to keep what’s on the bottom from scorching.

                                                                      My vote; Tramontina Clad 11piece for a starter. Tramontina Clad 10piece for a good foundation.

                                                                      And check to make sure it is the Tramontina clad and NOT the encapsulated disc bottom because Tramontina makes both. When I spoke with the company’s customer service they told me you can see the difference just by looking. The disc bottom has a distinct line around the bottom of the sides where the disc is attached. The clad has no line.

                                                                       
                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: ski_gpsy

                                                                        That is an informative and concise test study you reported on. Thank you for the information.

                                                                        I'm curious what type of cooktop or stove you used for your test. Can you tell us ?

                                                                        A Cleaning suggestion:
                                                                        I gave a full set of Tramontina stainless to my son, and he asked me what we do to clean.

                                                                        Daily, a drop of olive oil rubbed into the inside surface. That will keep the interior free of marks and discolouration, even if dishwashed. 5 minutes, more or less

                                                                        Quarterly, a light cleaning with a sponge and a little Barkeeper's Friend, rinsed and polished with a cloth. Takes all of 15 minutes for a set.

                                                                        We also do not add salt to any of our pans and pots unless water is already boiling inside. It avoids scorch marks.

                                                                        1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                                          Hi Swissaire, I have a Blue Star Restaurant Range which I love, but would only recommend with reservations.

                                                                          Thank you for the cleaning tips. If I were in need of a new set of cookware, I would definitely choose the Tramontina. Since for now I only have the new 12qt stockpot Tramontina piece, it will be easy to follow your instructions, and keep it nice. Thanks again.

                                                                          1. re: ski_gpsy

                                                                            Good Morning.

                                                                            My pleasure. I am glad to hear it is helpful.