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Looking for a stainless steel cookware recommendation

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I was given an Analon non-stick as a wedding gift--12 years ago. The non-stick is flaking off, so it's time for a new set. I don't think I want to go non-stick again, because I don't want to have to replace them again and worry about the chemicals in the non-stick.

I do not want All-Clad--the handles HURT when I pick them up. I wish their handles were better.

Does anyone have any recommendations??

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  1. < do not want All-Clad--the handles HURT when I pick them up>

    Ha ha ha. This complaint is so common that it is getting funny. Sorry, I was not laughing at you. I was laughing at the handle design. Now, before we give up on All Clad, I do want you to know that All Clad has improved the handle about 2 years ago. Some still find the new handle uncomfortable, but not quiet as bad. Have you tried an All Clad recently (within the last year)?

    If you want high end expensive stainless steel surface cookware, then Demeyere is very good. You can find them online as well as in Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table.

    http://www.williams-sonoma.com/shop/c...

    http://www.surlatable.com/category/ca...

    If you are looking for something cheaper, but of good quality, then look for: Calphalon Triply, Cuisinart MCP, and Tramontina....etc

    8 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      What is your take on disk bottom vs. tri-ply all over the pan? This decision is what is holding me up some.

      1. re: annadrc

        Wow, that is a whole can of worms there. There are people who believe fully cladded is better, and there are people who believe disc bottom is better. The brand I suggested earlier, Demeyere, actually mixes and matches the two designs depending on the cookware (for some of its lines). If you have time, you can watch this:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gcfbw...

        Now, to answer your question. People who like fully triply cookware will tell you that you want the cladding goes all the way up to the side, especially for frying pan, saute pan...etc. People who like disc bottom will tell you that it is much easier to make a very thick bottom disc bottom, whereas it is very difficult to do the same for fully triply cookware. Thus, disc bottom can produce more even heating.

        Usually speaking, the more expensive and more reputable cookware are made in fully triply, but it does not mean disc bottom is bad. I think it should be examine in a case by case basis.

        In your case, I think it is better and safer to look for fully triply cookware.

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Thanks--I did read the Demeyere thread this afternoon, which made me think some more. :-)

          I was debating between/among the Kirkland SS, the Emerilware (if I like the handles) and Cuisinart Tri-Ply.

          I tried the All-Clad d5 and liked it, but holy cow, I'd hate to spend that much money at once. I also really liked the Williams Sonoma line--the pans feel great, but they are the same price as the All-clad and don't have many reviews.

          ETA: I also like the look of the Belgique from Macy's, need to see it again though.

          I would buy pieces as I need them, but every single one of my pots/pans needs to be replaced.

          1. re: annadrc

            <the Emerilware >

            Funny thing is that Emerilware has more comfortable handle and is made by All Clad. You really have to wonder what All Clad personal is thinking. It isn't like they cannot make comfortable handle, they just do not want to.

            <I tried the All-Clad d5 and liked it, but holy cow, I'd hate to spend that much money at once.>

            :) You can always buy by pieces. I mean, some cookware are more important than others in term of using the cladded design. For example, a stock pot is the least demanding in term of "even heating" or "heat response". So you can go cheap for stock pot and etc...

            A lot of people including me believe not only different cookware design for different cookware as the Demeyere stated, we believe different materials for different cookware. For example, I believe the best skillet for steak is bare cast iron, the best Chinese wok is carbon steel, the best sauce pan is stainless steel cladded cookware, the best egg pan is either carbon steel or nonstick Teflon. In other words, I am one of those people who don't even believe in buying a set. :P

            1. re: annadrc

              I just looked at the Demeyere and it's sadly out of my price range. I could probably convince hubby to get the All-Clad at the most. :(

          2. re: annadrc

            You might just want to go to the store and handle the two. I do NOT like disk bottom. I don't know which is better as far as cooking different things, for I am not that experienced in beg variety of cooking styles. But a disk bottom pot feels so unbalanced to me. So bottom heavy. I never use my disk bottom pots unless I just need that size because my tri ply is being used for something else. I just love my Triply SS cookware. I have sizes from a little 1 qt all the way up to a 12qr stock pot. I use each and everyone regularly.

            1. re: annadrc

              A disk bottom is fine for a large stock pot. There is no point in getting an expensive multi-ply stock pot, in my opinion. For smaller pans, it is more important to have better heat conduction up the sides provided by the (usually) aluminum layer of a multi-ply pan.

              1. re: GH1618

                <A disk bottom is fine for a large stock pot. There is no point in getting an expensive multi-ply stock pot, in my opinion. >

                A nice suggestion.

          3. You'll basically end up with two options for good quality stainless: stainless clad over copper or aluminum or stainless with a disk bottom. The reason is that stainless on its own is no a great conductor of heat. If the all clad handles are a problem, take a look at sitram.

            1. I have a few pcs of older All-Clad but did not like the handles either. Several years ago I wanted to expand my Stainless collection and after much research I settled on a 10 pc set of Cuisinox Elite (about $400.00). It compares both in appearance and performance to the older All-Clad at about half the price. The company is headquartered in Canada.

              1. Thanks for the suggestions. I was in Sur la Table last night and picked up the All Clad again--had my husband pick it up too, and he agreed that the handles are painful. You'd think that if they get this complaint a lot that they'd change it some. I know Williams Sonoma has a new All Clad with supposedly better handles, I may go check those out.

                I don't know if we'll go high end or not.

                My father-in-law just decided he wants to cook (this is out of the blue mind you) and got a set of Cuisinart he says he likes. I just wanted to know if any REAL cooks (not one who started three weeks ago) had any suggestions.

                Thanks!!!

                1. I am also looking for some stainless cookware of reasonable quality that has a handle that doesn't hurt. It's for my mother, who is 75 and has arthritis, so everything offered at the usual stores are too heavy for her because of the shape of the handles, as she can't get the leverage she needs. If the handles were ergonomically designed, the weight of the pan wouldn't be such an issue.

                  I feel responsible because I finally talked her out of using her ancient Club aluminum pans for health reasons, but can't find a suitable substitute. Any ideas?

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Terrie H.

                    As I've been researching everything I can find, I found the Tramontina website and they have a set that is recommended by the Arthritis Foundation. (I think that's what it's called). I have no idea where you'd find the pans, though, but they are located in Texas, so you could call them and find out.

                    http://www.tramontina-usa.com/80154%2...

                    1. re: annadrc

                      +1. They are disc bottom too, so they are lighter as well.

                      1. re: annadrc

                        you probably ought to know that the first priority of getting a stamp of approval from the Arthritis Foundation is donating a significant amount of money.

                        Not knocking them....just mentioning that the emperor might be feeling a bit of a draft.

                      2. re: Terrie H.

                        To be honest, for arthritis, we should consider weight above all else. Typically speaking a lot of people like thick cookware because they provide better even heating surface, but the thicker they are, the heavier they are. In your case, you have a few options. First is to look for thinner full cladded stainless steel surface cookware -- which actually are considered lower end and therefore cheaper. Second, it to look for disc bottom stainless steel cookware instead of fully cladded stainless steel cookware. Disc bottom only has the cladded at the bottom, so the side is thin, and therefore are usually lighter. Third, you can look for an andoized aluminum cookware. They can thick, but much lighter. This is because aluminum is much lighter than stainless.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Thank you both for your input. I know the basics but just haven't been able to find what she needs in the usual stores. I will find the Tramontina to see if that works for her. Thank you!

                          1. re: Terrie H.

                            I was looking online last night at Walmart, and they may have some of the Tramontina pieces. Good Luck!

                            1. re: Terrie H.

                              I want to clarify that Tramontina has several lines of cookware. The one which is recommended by the "All Generation"

                              http://www.tramontina-usa.com/80154%2...

                        2. Not everybody hates the All Clad handle. I grab the handle from underneath and my thumb rests nicely in the dent. But I can see how it can be a problem for those who grab it the other way around. Simply personal choice.

                          I have recently picked up a Mauviel M'Cook 6qt rondeau and I love the idea of having two loop handles. But if you like cooking on big fire and the flame seems to be always licking the side of your pan, loop handles may not be right for you as the handles may become too hot to touch.

                          16 Replies
                          1. re: cutipie721

                            That's how I hold it too, no problems.

                            1. re: Becca Porter

                              Me, three, Cuti and Becca. I have arthritis in both thumbs, so a full saucepan can be kind of painful, so I have the ones with loops.

                              1. re: Jay F

                                I hold the AC pots and skillets from underneath, and it's still very uncomfortable. I learned that for better control and to counter the weight of the pan and its contents, you should grab the handle close to the pan and use a towel or mitt. Sure, but that's where the AC handle is narrowest and it wants to swivel around. If I hold it farther out, now I'm dealing with a stronger pressure on my hand - it's a balance issue. Like holding a stick with a weight on the end puts more pressure on your hand the farther out you hold the stick.

                                I would kill if AC finally looked at handles like DeBuyer and adopted something similar.

                                1. re: breadchick

                                  Me too. I hold all my cookware from underneath, and for reason I don't know, All Clad feels uncomfortable to me. I actually have much less problem with DeBuyer handle.

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    By holding the handle from 'underneath', do you mean palm facing up?

                                    1. re: dixiegal

                                      I hold mine with my palm facing up.

                                      1. re: dixiegal

                                        Palm up.

                                        1. re: dixiegal

                                          Yeah. My plam on the bottom facing up, and my fingers on the top.

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            Hmmm. I have never considered this. Seems awkward to me. But then gripping and swinging a golf club is awkward to me too:) Do you pick it up that way? I am going to practice this grip style. One thing my DH has taught me is how much work and stress you can save yourself by handling the tools properly.

                                            1. re: dixiegal

                                              <Do you pick it up that way?>

                                              The golf club? :P Just kidding, actually I don't know how to play golf. I used to pick up pots and pans with my palm facing down because the wrist felt more natural that way, and it still does. In time I learned to hold then handle with my palm facing up. The biggest reason is that it is much easier to toss and flip with foods in pan this way.

                                              <One thing my DH has taught me is how much work and stress you can save yourself by handling the tools properly.>

                                              To be honest, I don't know if holding a handle with the palm facing up is really a more proper way unless you need to toss/saute food or you have a handle like All Clad.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                I have painful joints, and years ago it was a revelation when I learned to grip pots from underneath. It made it easier (worth it) to buy those heavier pots and skillets. Pouring and dumping cooked ingredients became much easier.

                                                Jeez, I just got the Staub 12 inch grill pan - that monster weighs a ton. Glad it has a helper handle!!

                                                Still hate the AC handles.

                                                1. re: breadchick

                                                  <it was a revelation when I learned to grip pots from underneath. It made it easier (worth it) to buy those heavier pots >

                                                  Good to know. Thanks for the inputs, Breadchick.

                                      2. re: breadchick

                                        I'm glad there're so many choices in the market because we obviously don't see eye to eye lol. I can't care less about the dB handles. I actually prefer AC over dB.

                                        However...(!) When I bought my pans I made sure there's a helper handle for anything over 10" or anything that I can foresee being heavy to lift when full of food. None of the dB pans have a secondary handle. An empty 10" dB skillet is not as comfortable _to_me_ as an 10" AC.

                                        And for some reason, the dB handle feels hotter. It's kinda wired to my brain now - When I use the dB, I test the handle before grabbing; When I use the AC, just grab.

                                        1. re: cutipie721

                                          My deBuyer 12 inch skillet has a helper handle (thank God - or I wouldn't be hefting that thing out of the oven so easily!) Their skillets 12 inches or larger come with two handles.

                                          http://www.debuyer.com/product.php?id...

                                          I bought the 14 inch skillet, and had to return it because it was just too darn heavy.

                                          I'm sure the skillet handles are hotter than AC, but I'm used to always grabbing with a towel or potholder, never barehanded - so the heat doesn't bother me. Especially since they spend nearly as much time in the oven as on top of the range. I taught my kids to never automatically grab a handle! Ouch!!!

                                          1. re: breadchick

                                            dB 2 handles... That must be a new thing :-( I got my set of 8" 10" and 12" carbonne+ as a Christmas present some years ago and they didn't have that... Yes, a 12" without a helper handle. Oh well.

                                            1. re: cutipie721

                                              My first Carbonne 12 inch didn't have the handle, and it was a real pain - literally. That pan came from Chef's Catalog. When I found a website selling the Carbonne pans, I got another 12 inch with the helper. I rarely use the first one I got. My favorite is the 10 inch Carbonne - most used for eggs.

                                2. I am not an All-Clad fan either because of the handle issue, and I do sell it. I am glad they got the message about making them more induction friendly. I mainly have Chantal cookware along with some other odds and ends of other cookware, Swiss Diamond, Le Creuset etc. Chantal is my absolute favorite. It is made in Germany, it is enameled inside and out and is stick resistant, the core is copper and carbon steel. It is amazingly fast on induction and is faster on electric and gas burners. If cleans up easily, Bar Keeper's Friend will clean up any residue and the pans and lids can go into the dishwasher. Check it out.

                                  1. I tried posting this a little while ago, but not sure it got on. Anyway, I have read great reviews on Better Homes and Gardens on their stainless steel 18/10 pots and pans and they are very reasonably priced!! They are at Wal Mart.

                                    1. I bought a great set of Macy's house-brand stainless several years ago -- with coupons and on-sale pricing, I think I paid $79 for a full set -- 1,2, and 3-qt. saucepans, 8-qt. stockpot, 8" and 10" saute pans, and a great big wok -- all with glass lids.

                                      It's held up great to daily use, still looks like new, has a heavy layer bottom, and smooth handles that are easy to pick up and maneuver (including a helper handle on the wok)

                                      I'm thrilled to pieces with it, and would buy another set in a heartbeat.

                                      1. You can find some induction ss pans, All-Clad is producing more in their lines. They are still not really efficient. Le Creuset, Staub, and Chantal are all good choices. Chantal is enameled inside and out with enamel. The core is copper and carbon steel. It is highly efficient on all cooking surfaces.

                                        1. You might want to look into the Made in France Cuisinart triply. Here is a link on eBay:

                                          http://www.ebay.com/itm/Cuisinart-10p...

                                          Although it is a set, and many don't see the wisdom in buying a set, it looks like a pretty decent deal and has a nice assortment of sizes. You might find a better deal than this at BB&B, or elsewhere. Good luck.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: dcrb

                                            Second the recommendation for Cuisinart tri-ply made i France. I have a saucepan and the handle does not have the edge that a lot of people find uncomfortable. You can buy pieces individually, you don't need a set.

                                          2. I just went through this myself..... Ended up with some DeBuyer Affinity 7 ply SS cookware. I've been pleased with it so far. It is not the easiest to clean though. Polished SS shows every little water spot, scratch, nick, etc... Doesn't matter much if you hide your pans away, but mine hangs above the cooktop. Amazon has pretty good prices on the stuff with free shipping. Worth a look anyway. http://www.debuyer.com/product.php?id...

                                            1. I ended up with a Cuisinart set that Costco had on clearance--it was $149 for 12 pieces. So far I'm very happy with the pots and pans--they clean up very well and I liked the brushed finish. I'm especially happy about the cost.