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Oct 28, 2012 09:41 PM

Best Way to Buy All-Clad?

My husband and I are disillusioned with our Calphalon One nonstick cookware and are planning to switch to All-Clad. I was wondering if there is a good way to buy a starter set, or if I should just jump in? I am taking a class at Sur La Table in a couple weeks, and they typically give a 20% off coupon to use during the week after the class. That puts the 10-piece (tri-ply) SS set and the 7-piece D5 set both at $560. Do you think that's as good as it's going to get, price-wise? I appreciate any insights.

Also, if anybody has any thoughts on SS versus D5, I'd love to hear them. We're using a gas range so invection-usable is not an issue for us... though who knows, maybe it will be in the next house, 20 years from now.

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  1. An economical way is to buy All Clad stainless steel cladded cookware from TJ Maxx, Home Goods...etc.

    <10-piece SS set and the 7-piece D5 set both at $560. >

    The prices are good, but the question is really about "Do you want a cookware set?" Many people like to have a mix of cookware.

    <anybody has any thoughts on SS versus D5, I'd love to hear them>

    First, both set of cookware can be used for induction cooktop. I am sure your Sur La Table class has explain the general differences between All Clad Stainless and All Clad d5. The most important difference is that d5 cookware are 5-ply, while the flagship Stainless cookware are 3-ply. There are a few discussions on this topic. Here are two:

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Thanks for the store suggestons... I will check them out. I also appreciate the links to the other threads.

      Re: set versus pieces... When I look at the pieces in both of those sets, I can see them all being used. Though that is a good point. I will think on it some more.

      1. re: Madronatree

        <I can see them all being used>

        Then it is all good then.

    2. D5 refers to the technology of the layered construction. The interior of a D5 pan can be SS or nonstick. By "SS" I assume you mean the stainless exterior tri-ply line, which can be nonstick or SS inside. Is that correct? What exactly are yoy looking for as to types of pans and cooking surface?

      9 Replies
      1. re: GH1618

        Thanks for your response. Sorry for the confusion. I am not wanting non-stick interiors... Just the stainless interiors. I did mean the tri-ply when I said SS.

        I am mostly wanting even-heating, good-performing cookware that is going to last forever with good care and is made in the USA. That's how I landed at all-clad... Though I am open to suggestions.

        1. re: Madronatree

          I have one D5 piece, an LTD2 French Skillet. I bought it on a clearance sale, which is the best way to get a good price on A-C, but obviously not a reliable way to get what you want. I like that pan a lot, but am not planning to get any more D5. I have a few other pieces of A-C, three MC2 and one copper core. I don't think sets are a good value, and would rather buy individual pieces according to need and availability at a good price. One technology type is not the best for every type of pan. I bought the D5 for the French Skillet because I felt the D5 design would give me even heat for a relatively large pan on my small burners, and suited slow simmering which I do with that pan. That's all speculative, however. An important consideration was that I needed a larger skillet and this one was marked way down.

          As for the handles, I happen to like All-Clad handles, especially on my small saucier. For my two large pieces I have a helper handle, so the long handle is not an issue.

          1. re: Madronatree

            Have you considered the MC2 line? It might not be as attractive as the SS exterior pans but I find that the performance is better because it has a thicker aluminum core and exterior. Its also cheaper than the stainless exterior models.

            Ive had my MC2/MasterChef pans for more than 15 years and I love them.

            1. re: Kelli2006

              Kelli I had not considered the MC2 since when I looked at AC's website the MC2 looked to be non-stick... I didn't click far enough I guess. I'll check it out. Thanks!

              1. re: Madronatree

                MC2 is interesting. Most of the MC2 cookware are not nonstick. It is cheaper and probably perform better. The two catches are (1) that you cannot put them in the dishwasher, and (2) they cannot be used for induction cooking. The standard All Clad stainless steel cookware is really: Stainless steel exterior surface, aluminum core, stainless steel interior surface. MC2 is: aluminum exterior, aluminum core, and stainless steel interior cooking surface.


                1. re: Madronatree

                  I have three pieces of MC2 which I like very much, but I don't much care what my pots look like. A stainless exterior can be kept looking new — an aluminum exterior cannot, at least with ordinary effort.

                  1. re: GH1618

                    I wonder if the same is true for the D5, with its "brushed" finish.

                    1. re: Madronatree

                      I think so. A brushed finish will actually make the cookware "appears" to look new longer -- because the brushed finish hides minor scratches, whereas a mirror finish readily shows scratches.

                      1. re: Madronatree

                        That is stainless steel, so should be much easier to keep looking good.

            2. If you are leaning toward the All Clad, please ensure you will be happy with the comfort of the handles. I have the d5 deep sauté. Great pan, but for me, it has lousy handle comfort. But from many previous posts, the handle issue does not seem to be that big of an issue for most.

              5 Replies
              1. re: dcrb

                <please ensure you will be happy with the comfort of the handles>

                Thanks for reminder us. Many people do find the handle uncomfortable.

                1. re: dcrb

                  Is it the angle or the handle-shape that you find uncomfortable?

                  1. re: Madronatree

                    Both really. I suppose the upward angle is to allow the handle to pass over the tops of adjacent pots (great idea) and may contribute to easy flipping or tossing of skillet contents. But purely from a balance standpoint, I don't care for it and find the handles lacking in hand filling bulk without the use of a pot holder or towel, neither of which are needed.

                    1. re: Madronatree

                      I can see why some find the shape uncomfortable, but it doesn't bother me. My large pans (sauté and saucepan) have helper handles. I never lift these with one hand when they have contents. The long handle is used only tu turn the pot and hold it while stirring. When I pick up the pan with two hands, the grip on the long handle is completely different from what it would be for picking it up by that handle alone, so not a problem.

                      My small pan (saucier) I can pick up full or not. To be comfortable, it is necessary to rotate the wrist so the fingers come around to the top and into the indentation on the top of the handle. I don't find this troublesome, but some do. Oddly, it is also necessary to rotate the wrist in the same way when gripping the handle of a de Buyer pan (I have a Mineral grilling pan, which is quite heavy). These pans have a flat handle which is more uncomfortable than an All-Clad handle if gripped improperly, yet I have never read any post here complaining about them in similar fashion, nor have I read any explanation of why they are not a problem when the A-C handles are. I guess it's just because people love their de Buyer, for which there is almost no substitute, so overlook the problem.

                      1. re: GH1618

                        <To be comfortable, it is necessary to rotate the wrist so the fingers come around to the top>

                        I do hold my pans like that. In fact, it is also the way to hold a pan for flipping foods.


                        Holding a wok or a fry pan fingers down will be very tough to flip foods, as you can imagine.

                        <yet I have never read any post here complaining about them in similar fashion>

                        I cannot speak for others, but I have no problem with the DeBuyer handles and I definitely hold it fingers up both for my DeBuyer fry pans and for my woks, but I still find All Clad handles very painful for me.

                  2. Actually, your best buy is not to buy
                    All-Clad. Cook's Illustrated rated Cuisinart
                    Multiclad as about the same as All-Clad, and
                    Consumer Reports rated it higher. And the price is amazing.
                    A 4-quart AC saucepan is $195, a 4-quart.
                    Cuisinart Multiclad. is $70.
                    I have 3 Cuisinarts and think they're great.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: mpalmer6c

                      Cuisinart Multiclad is very good, but it's made in Asia and I believe the OP is looking for cookware made in the US.

                      1. re: Miss Priss

                        Yep I am. Thank you for this clarification! :)

                      2. re: mpalmer6c

                        Actually, when I look at Cook's Illustrated, the only Cuisinart Multiclad they rate at all is one for things like boiling water. Likewise, Consumer Reports doesn't seem to like All-Clad or Cuisinart, so saying that Cuisinart was rated higher seems to be misleading. If I am wrong, and I hope I am because All-Clad is expensive and heavy, please post links we can go to.

                        1. re: HRR

                          Cook's Illustrated tested 4-quart pans for things you
                          normally use saucepan for. I can't imagine them
                          bothering to test pans for boiling water. You have
                          to subscribe to CI to read their tests, while the Consumer
                          Reports article was sometime ago and appears to
                          be nol onger available. In any case. CR too is a
                          subscription site.

                        1. re: Becca Porter

                          Have you been buying the All-Clad irregulars? Are the defects really just "minor cosmetic"?

                          1. re: HRR

                            I live in Pittsburgh and am lucky to have the All Clad manufacturing plant just south of here. Twice a year they hold a factory sale, and this year it's coming up on Nov. 30th and Dec 1st. They sell irregulars and first run product at deeply discounted prices. I've bought the irregulars for years and don't think I could ever even find the defect. They may have a scratch on the bottom or something like that, but nothing that effects the preformance, and most are so minor you can only detect them when they are brand new. By the way, I've been very satisified with them. I've had most of mine for more than 10 years and they are still going strong!


                            1. re: HRR

                              A few years ago I bought several All-Clad irregulars from Cookware 'n' More. The pieces had no obvious blemishes and I was completely satisfied with all of them. In any case, this retailer has a very reasonable return policy. Be aware, though, that each piece has an "S" stamped discreetly under the handle to ensure that it can't be re-sold as first quality.

                              1. re: HRR

                                I have 5 pieces. On each new piece I had to look for 5-10 minutes to find the tiny scratch that made it irregular. They never sell anything with more than very minor cosmetic issues. I love it! I buy the Stainless pieces btw. They are dishwasher safe.

                                1. re: Becca Porter

                                  I am a HUGE All-Clad and Cookware n More fan. I switched to All-Clad after years of destroying non-stick sets, right around the time I really wanted to learn to cook. I have the regular stainless line.

                                  I just added a 12" fry pan with lid and a 2 qt sauce pan from their irregular area of the website but neither are marked with the S (found on the underside of the handle) and I am certain they are firsts.

                                  I have 8 other AC pots and pans purchased from the same site that are "irregulars" and the imperfections are just little scratches on the shiny exterior finish.

                                  In prior years, when I bought sets, there was always a piece or two that didn't get used. When I made the leap to All-Clad, I agonized over getting a set or going by the piece.

                                  What I finally realized is that with the sets, there were pieces included that would have worked but these pieces weren't ones I would have picked. For example, I wanted a 4 qt saute but the sets came with a 3 qt.

                                  I never did find that perfect set so I started out with a few workhouse pieces and then added from there over the years.

                                  For me, there was definately a learning curve. Pre-ss cooking, I never understood how to sear, how to deglaze a pan, etc. but now, I would never go back to non-stick.

                                  Cookware N More is running a special of 20% off all AC irregulars until Nov 3. My 12" fry was around $84.

                              2. re: Becca Porter

                                I cannot endorse this suggestion enough. Almost all of my AC cookware came from here. Most of the time I couldn't even find any defect.

                                Also, at Cookware N More you can make your own sets. Or at least you could when I was buying mine. Buy any four pieces at their regular discounted price and get an additional 20% off. So, in other words, you can get the semi-annual sale prices year round if you need enough pieces. Several times I shared an order with a friend which worked out well.