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Tramontina Tri-Ply vs. Kirkland Signature Pots and Pans

I’ve been reading the posts on pots and pans for days now and I’m hoping to maybe just get some input from those of you who undoubtedly have more cooking experience than myself.

I’ve started learning to cook this year and am setting out to buy a set of pans, as I’ve previously been using roommates and am moving out on my own. A lot of posts encourage to buy pieces… but having calculated the costs, and owning at this point only a Lodge cast iron skillet and a Lodge dutch oven, it seems quite a bit more expensive to be buying them one at a time – therefore I’m leaning towards a set (with a budget of $200; and accruing other pieces as needed).

I’ve narrowed it down to Costco’s Kirkland signature 13 piece stainless steel set for $179.99 (http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product....) and Walmart’s Tramontina Tri-ply 10 piece set for $199.99 (http://reviews.walmart.com/1336/11072...).

I see a lot of reviews regarding the quality of the Tramontina set, comparing it to All Clad – but I feel quite confused because the pieces offered in the Kirkland set seem more attractive (such as the 4 quart covered sauté pan, or the casserole dish – I can see myself using those frequently). I’m slightly overwhelmed and probably just need to make a decision, and would appreciate any suggestions/advice if you have any. Thank you!

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  1. Both look like excellent choices and I speak from experience on the Tramontina. Two things to consider - do you envision using the pieces of either set more often? I think you favour Kirkland in that aspect ( though Tramontina has a casserole as well as open stock) and since the Kirkland has copper - won't work for induction. So if you intend to use induction now or anytime in the future the Tramontina would be a better choice

    1 Reply
    1. re: knet

      wut do u mean copper so doesn't work on induct? it's 5ply and box says kirkland works on induction.

    2. Hold a piece or two in your hand before making a decision. The pan should feel comfortable and balanced and should not be too heavy or too light. I really like the handles on the Tramontina tri-ply--very round and comfortable. But the Kirkland might feel better in your hands. Take your time making a decision. You might be using those pans for 20 years! There isn't one right set of pans for everyone. There are so many choices out there, that one choice is going to be very good for you.

      1. Hi Jenny15x, please look at the Cuisinart Stainless lines as they are both excellent sets. My brother in law has the Chefs Classic and I have the MCP 12 pc +. I have added other mcp and 2 non stick fry pans fm the CC line to my collection. All told its about 20 pieces of either mcp or CC for About $700. Seems like a lot but WELL worth the money. Have fun in your search!

        1. I don't own any Tramontina so I can't comment on it, but I did own the Kirkland set. Did being the operative word. I hated them so much they turned me off stainless for years, until I got my All-Clad d5. The Kirkland are very bottom heavy and are not clad up the sides of the pan.

          1. Just to add something.

            The Kirkland signature cookware you mentioned are 5-ply at the bottom disc, alternating between stainless steel-aluminum-copper-aluminum-stainless steel. It claims that they can be used for induction cooking, as it states "Induction Suitable: Magnetic stainless steel cap on 5-ply base allows cookware to be used on induction cooktops, as well as all other cooktops"

            The Walmart Tramontina cookware are fully-triply between stainless steel-aluminum-stainless steel. They are also be used on an induction cooktop.

            Like diamond dave suggested, you may want to hold the cookware in your hands to see if you like the feeling. That is very personal and no one can really tell you how you will prefer. Of the feel is just one of the many things. A good feeling but low quality cookware are not going cut it.

            As for the difference between bottom-disc vs full-cladded, there are many passionate discussions on this topic. Many people prefer full-cladded. Other prefer bottom-disc.

            1. Thank you all for your input! Per your suggestions I spent the weekend going to all the different shops and holding as many pans as I could. Costco was a bit difficult since they're hanging from a rack, but I gave it a shot.

              I ended up ordering the Tramontina from Walmart's website and am having them delivered to the store for pick up. They didn't have any at my local Walmart, but after exposing myself to all of the options, I figured out that what I think I'm most hung up on is the absence of a saute pan. I found a Cooks brand one that felt comfortable in my hand at JC Penney, and it was only like $40 - so I think I may just buy that and couple it with the Tramontina. I'll post again to let you all know how they turn out, I'm really excited =) Thanks again.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Jenny15X

                It is often about thinking it through, and it sounds as if you did a good job of it. I hope you enjoy your new pans!

                1. re: Jenny15X

                  You can buy Tramontina Tri-Ply saute pans online at Walmart.

                2. I bought the Kirkland set a couple months ago, returned it, and bought the Tramontina triply from Walmart.com. As a Canadian this was no easy feat as walmart doesn't allow canadian credit cards nor shipping.

                  Kirkland Set

                  - Number of pieces for price is good. You get a casserole pan, jumbo cooker, and a pasta insert. these not found in the tramontina set and you have to get open stick.
                  - Great handles, prefer them to the Tramontina. Tramontina are still satisfactory.
                  - Good quality construction for a base set

                  - Capped Base vs try ply. I found that on the sides of pans, casserole pan, saucers, etc.. the lack of triply all the way up made a big difference. Not as much control.
                  - Small bases meant that you had the center of the pan very hot but rest of pan just SS
                  - Saute/fry pans were too small: 8 inch and 9 inch. 8 inch was not very useful at all.
                  - Even using medium to low heat I found that things stuck to the pan too easily. Pans get too hot too quickly with the copper plus the finish inside was matte which made the sticking worse.
                  - Welded joins on the lids vs bolted


                  Tramontina well described here and consistant with my expectations. while I think they let more cosmetic imperfections out of the factory than all clad, for the most part they are comparable in quality and function.

                  Moreover, the Tramontina has far less sticking than the kirkland and I feel is a true life time set. I do wish the Tramontina set had an 8 qt stockpot with pasta insert vs a 12 qt and no insert.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: VancityCookro

                    I really want to see these Tramontina TriPly-Clad Cookware before buying them. I want to know what the rave is all about. Has anyone seen them at Walmart or any other retail stores? I've only seen their non TriPly SS at Christmas Tree Shop and they feel and look cheap.

                    1. re: unprofessional_chef

                      Yes I have seen Tram triply at WM but only at certain stores. Try the Super Stores. I bought the Cuisinart MCP tri ply Because they had a bigger variety of pans.

                      1. re: unprofessional_chef

                        They are really similar to all clad, held them both.

                      2. re: VancityCookro

                        Be careful what you wish for... just kidding, in this case it's a GOOD thing! I don't know if you found it yet, but they now have exactly what you asked for: an 8 qt stockpot with pasta insert.

                        Question: I briefly looked at the Kirkland set yesterday. What do you mean it was only hot in the center? I didn't look too hard because I was heavily favoring fully clad, but it looked like the discs went all the way to the edge. I'll look again today. Your assertion of pans getting too hot too quickly because of the copper sounds like a GOOD thing, and also inconsistent with your other complaint of hot in the center, as copper is one of the finest conductors and should give you heat all the way out to the edges of the disc.

                        Today, after reading "http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?/..." I'm leaning toward the disc bottom to get a thick layer of copper vs a thin layer of aluminum. What do y'all think?

                        1. re: VancityCookro

                          Update: I looked at the Kirkland Signature again tonight. On the plus side, that's a lot of copper on the bottom! They have flared rims, and the discs go to within millimeters of the edge of the bottom, though I'm guessing the complaints are regarding the skillet which has an angled design with a smaller disc in the middle.

                          The problems: they have a rounded shape I'm not too fond of, they feel very heavy, especially the skillet, probably because of the uneven weight distribution.

                          But with all that copper, I bet these have awesome even heat distribution on the bottom, way better than any aluminum core fully clad cookware with their thin aluminum cores.

                          1. re: VancityCookro

                            One more concern with the Kirkland Signature disk bottom: the interior has a brushed circular finish rather than a mirror finish. I fear the additional surface area would invite sticking issues. Anyone have any comments about mirror vs. brushed SS interior finishes?

                            1. re: davidahn

                              I don't know about sticking issues. I have used mirror polished and brushed finish, and I don't remember any major difference. Anyway, I feel this is mostly a cosmetic difference. A mirror finish is prettier to look at -- initially. A brush finish appears to last longer. The reason is that metal surface get scratched. The same scratch will be very noticeable on a mirror finished compared to a brushed finished.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                Thanks, Chemicalkinetics.

                                I found a thread with the exact question on Chowhound: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/760700

                                The upshot is the brushed finish does not hinder and probably helps!

                          2. Well America`s test kitchen did some testing on the Tramontina stock pot and it come out on top against some high end brands. I have the 16 litre tramontina stock pot and have had it for at least 10 years. I absolutely recommend the brand based on usage of the stock pot. However, I was in Costco recently and saw good quality pots there as well. You have to like what you are purchasing both form and function. It could be that these pots have more in common than we think maybe coming from a common manufacturer.