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Dec 28, 2012 06:54 AM

Looking for a stainless steel cookware recommendation

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.

    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:

        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.


                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.


                    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"