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Need advice - American Kitchen vs. All-Clad

Hi all,

Need help here. I bought my wife a full set of ManPans for Christmas. Beyond the unfortunate name, the product seemed really nice and well-crafted. But my wife thought they looked a little industrial and the bigger problem was that the handles were not comfortable for her. So, back to the drawing board....

What I was looking for:

1. Health-safe/eco friendly (so no teflon, no regular aluminum in contact with the food....)
2. Durable
3. Comfortable handles
4. Made in U.S.A. if possible....

I read later that the anodized aluminum treatment can wear off over time, so I started looking into the enamel and stainless. Enameled cookware seems to be just for cast iron, so I went to the steel.

I read good things about All-Clad and it seems to meet the requirements, even though it's pricey. Still, we were alright with the price - we found a store nearby and my wife tried them out. The handles were again uncomfortable.

They also had American Kitchen - the handles were comfortable and the set is price much lower.

My big concern - how durable is American Kitchen? Why are they so much less? Will we have them in 20 years?

If the durability is a big difference, we'd gladly go with All-Clad, but the handles being uncomfortable means I might have to go back to the drawing board.....

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  1. Sean,

    I do want to point out that many people dislike the original All Clad handle, but now All Clad has "improved" its handle design. Some people still dislike the handle, but fewer. You may want to find out if your wife and you tried the older All Clad or the newer All Clad. It is possible that she hates the old handle, but fine with the new handle. Another option is to learn to use a grab the handle with a kitchen towel. Professional chefs do it all the time.

    I have never owned American Kitchen, but typically speaking, triply cookware are very durable. American Kitchen has several lines of cookware, which line did you look at?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      We looked at the American Kitchen Tri-Ply 10-piece Cookware set. Piece-for-piece, it was a relatively close comparison to what we were looking at for All-Clad. I did know that All-Clad changed the handles, I didn't check to see if we were dealing with the newer though. I think also, the lids weren't made in the U.S. for All-Clad for a short time, but that was rectified, unless I have my facts wrong on that.

      1. re: Sean191

        Because All Clad has just redesigned the handle, there are many older and newer All Clad cookware on the market. It is tough to say which one you have tried:

        http://www.only-cookware.com/images/A...

        Many people dislike All Clad handles, your wife actually belongs to the majority on this opinion.

    2. I really like the Viking 7-layer cookware. Made in Belgium (I believe by Demeyere), but designed in the US. Currently on sale at Cutlery and More.

      http://www.cutleryandmore.com/vcookwa...

      I have no affiliation with C&M, but I did buy my Viking 13" frying pan from them -- I really love it! Very solid, even heating, flat bottom, comfortable handles, pouring lip, oven-safe, induction-capable, not ridiculously expensive. lifetime warranty.

      2 Replies
      1. re: tanuki soup

        As noted in another post, I found the Viking handles to be much more accommodating than either the old or new AllClad handles. In my quest for a saute pan, I was unable to find American Kitchen in a store to evaluate it, so I'm not much help on that front. Although I would have liked to buy US made, I have no issues purchasing items made in the EU and in fact most of the brands that were on my list were from the EU, only because most brands associated with US companies are now made in China. Give the Viking a test run and see if your wife likes the handles better, the quality is every bit as good as the AC.

        1. re: mikie

          I'll take a look into the Viking cookware too, thank you for the suggestion - Viking wasn't on my radar before!

      2. All-Clad is the best. I have had two sets for a long time and they are the best for our family. Different pots have different handles and not all of them are comfortable. If you cook, buy All-Clad.

        1 Reply
        1. re: alexander112

          "If you cook, buy All-Clad"

          :)

          So the only time not to buy All Clad is if I don't cook, right?

        2. No one has had any experience with American Kitchen good or bad? I'll have to find out which handles were on the All-Clad pots and pans we checked out yesterday.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Sean191

            I have sent you the photos of the new and old handle design. Go back to store and double check what you have tried. If you have already tried the new design, then it will be unlikely that you will like the old one. If you tried the old one, then you still have a glimpse of hope for the new handle.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              When you are looking at the All Clad to assess whether you like the handles, make sure you've got something in the pot to represent the full weight you'll be carrying.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Until I found this place, it didn't occur to me that the handles could hurt. They don't bother me as much as they do some people, but I have helper handles on 3 out of 4 pieces, and I use them. Still, I was carrying a nearly full skillet of pasta and sauce the other night, and one of those "V" sides really put some strain on my hand.

                  I would like to try a 9.5" Viking skillet. Their handles look a lot like those on that other Belgian brand, Demeyere. I have a 12" All Clad skillet, but now I know it is big for the burner. http://www.cutleryandmore.com/viking-...

                  1. re: Jay F

                    There's no doubt All Clad makes an excellent product, I'm a bit surprised when they made the handle change they didn't make a more significant change. It's still a semicircle with a rather sharp edge. My son has had his All Clad pans for several years and he doesn't notice the edge, so I figure it's all in the grip. The Viking handle is also a bit of an inverted semicircle, convave on the top, but the edges are very much rounded over, so for me at least they don't dig into my hand. Viking wasn't really on my radar until tanuki soup brought up that brand on another post. I really don't think there is enough information available on either brand to make a comparison of how they might cook based on metelurgy, assuming you could actually tell the difference. It would appear Viking uses the 7 ply Demeyere technology.

            2. re: Sean191

              I have had a Regal American Kitchen tri-ply skillet (10") for the last year and would never trade it for an All-Clad. The handle is long and comfortable and arched in a way that lets you do the roll and jerk saute movement with ease. It's just as much of a tank as All-Clad, at a decent price, and I expect to be using it for the next several decades, assuming I'm around.

              I don't like the dimensions of the rest of the AK line as much as I do the skillets, and I already had all the saucepans I needed, but if they suit you I'd have no worries about quality and durability.

            3. There are many stainless pans to choose from, so I'd advise taking your time with your next choice. I don't like the All-Clad handles either, or others of the same sort. Since this is an obstacle, why not decide what sort of handle is good, and then look at pans that have the style of handle that works? What I am getting at is this: for me the fat hollow handle is most comfortable. I would buy only stainless that has that sort of handle. Tramontina makes this style, and I've seen a few others also. What handle works for you could be some other sort of characteristic. But since the handle is a deal make or bread, I'd zero in on the right style of handle as the first thing to find. I think you will find things to choose from, even selecting for handle.

              2 Replies
              1. re: sueatmo

                I agree with you on that - and American Kitchen's handle worked. I just don't know how the quality is on that brand. If the quality is good, then there's a winner. If the quality isn't, then I need to verify that the which All-Clad handles we were dealing with, check out Viking, check out some others I guess. I think All-Clad is probably at the top of our budget. My wife cooks every night and she's a good cook, so we want something good, but doesn't need to be professional grade.

                1. re: Sean191

                  Warranty on American Kitchen is 25 years ...sounds good to me to at least try ..