Kirkland 18/10 SS cookware, All-Clad, or Cuisinart Professional tri-ply
I am looking to replace my 10+ year old set of Kirkland hard-anodized aluminum cookware with something new. My old set has been a steady friend, but has definitely seen better days. Also, I recently got a new Blue Star range, so I'd like to get some new pots and pans to get the max potential out of my cooking. I love to cook and hope to have this new set for a long time.
That said, I'm not the type of person to just buy the brand name if there's something else that works just as well for less money. I know All-Clad seems to be the brand to buy, but am also wondering about the two sets available at Costco: Kirkland 18/10 SS cookware and Cuisinart Professional Tri-Ply. The Cuisinart Professional looks suspiciously similar to the Cuisinart Multiclad, which seems to get good reviews on Amazon. I've also read plenty of good reviews for Tramontina Tri-Ply, but I'm trying to avoid giving my business to Wal-Mart. (I have family members in unions that would not be very excited to see me shop there.) Cost is not a huge issue, but something to consider given the price differences between All-Clad and these alternatives.
Any help/guidance you have to share would be appreciated. Thanks!
Neither these Costco sets nor the A-C is likely to have an aluminum layer as thick as your hard-anodized set. They won't say how thick the conductive layer is, which I always find suspect.
I finally finagled out of Williams-Sonoma how thick *their* aluminum in their new Thermoclad line is (2mm), which is decent but hardly high-performance. ONE of those pans would be almost 2/3 the cost of either Costco clad set you're considering.
My take is that if you're after the convenience of fully clad pans, great. But your performance is likely to actually decrease. Same with A-C.
Knock yourself out with the Blue Star!
All Clad stainless steel cookware are pretty much the reference standard for full triply cookware. They are build to be very durable. The stainless steel triply construction is a very different design than your hard anodized aluminum cookware construction. One of the greatest differences you will notice right away is the stainless steel surface vs hard aluminum surface. Stainless steel surface can take a lot of abuses ranging from temperature to chemicals to physical. Hard anodized is very strong too, but not as chemically inert, which is why you should not put them inside a dishwasher. As for foods, they tend to stick to stainless steel more readily than to hard anodized aluminum. So you will have to adjust your cooking style -- if you have not had used stainless steel surface cookware before.
Back to the two cookware sets you are looking at, the Kirkland set is a disc bottom cladded cookware. This means that only the bottom is cladded with aluminum. The side is not. The Cuisinart set is fully triply, which means the cladding is up to the side. Typically speaking, fully cladded cookware are more expensive than disc bottom cladded cookware. However, one is not better than the other. They are different. The cladding for disc bottom is usually much thicker as well.
If you are not exactly sure what you are looking for, then I would suggest you to lean toward the fully cladded Cuisinart Professional Triply.
If you want to look at higher end stainless steel cladding cookware, then Demeyere has several high end lines:
If you want to look for something reputable but less expensive than All-Clad, then there are the Calpahlon Triply, Cuisinart MultiClad, and of course the Tramontina triply (which you don't want to get).
I want to add that I'd lean toward Cuisinart too, especially at the higher end. Based on the performance of my older Cuisinart pans, and the way they are constructed, I'd be very inclined to by that brand again, but at the highest price point.
I respect the OP's reasons for not buying from Walmart.
I've looked at newer Cuisinart, and it looks and feels solid. I'd buy it again, except for the handles. I prefer a fat rolled handle, but the newer pots have narrower handles.
I may buy some anyway, since I'm considering going induction. I found a decent deal on the Cuisinart site.
Knowing what I know now, I'd buy fewer pots, but better.
That's my plan, fewer pans. I seldom use my sauté pan, never use my big stockpot anymore. I do need a DO, a couple of saucepans and one more SS fry pan. I sure don't think I'll buy a set, unless it's a killer deal.
I've been doing more research on Cuisinart, and have found a nasty thing about their warranty. It seems they require the customer to pay shipping both ways on warranty service. Even on out-of-the-box defects. That's not nice. That said, I've never needed replacement on any of my Calphalon SS in 11 yrs. So as long as you're not shipped a dud, and the pans hold up, it should be fine. Or buy from a source that will replace a bad pan with no time limit.
Or buy the pan in person. I did have one pan go bad on me in my old Cuisinart line. I don't think that mailing the pot back with a lifetime warranty is that onerous.
I do use my saute pan, and that is a must for replacing, but I don't use the larger saucepans very much, and so, could use a lesser quality if it comes to that. I also need a non-stick pan, but that shouldn't cost so much. The saute pan and a large stock pot will be my heaviest expenses.
I've been looking at the Vollrath Centurion line tonight. But I think it is a little out of my price range, and besides we need to decide on the cooktop next.
We looked into Bosch cooktops yesterday at Lowe's. I would rather have a Bosch than a Jenn Air. But we would also rather buy from locals than from Lowe's.
< I don't think that mailing the pot back with a lifetime warranty is that onerous.>
I really do think that paying postage, BOTH WAYS, on any warranty pan is asking a bit much. And it's plain insulting on a pan that's found to be defective when you open the box. For all but the largest and most expensive Cuisinart pans, you'd be better off to simply buy a new one, possibly something Cuisinart is betting people will do.
Bosch makes good stuff. I've owned Miele and Bosch dishwashers, and although both are excellent, I'll take the Bosch any day. I hope you can find a local vendor. :)
We bought an excellent Bosch dishwasher, and then we moved!
On the Cuisinart, I think you make a good argument for buying locally if at all possible. If you get a defective pan, you can just return it. Of course if you get one through Amazon or an online cookware store, that doesn't necessarily apply.
We received, in due time, a new coffee maker from Cuisinart once when ours died. But we had had the coffee maker for a while.
The Kirkland set is not fully cladded, but has a bonded disk. I've lately begun to notice some small rust spots at the seam of my 2 disk-bottom pans. Both are about 6 years old. Something to think about. The Cuisinart is fully cladded.
Another to consider is Emerilware try-ply by AC, priced close to the Kirkland and Cuisinart. The handles on the Emerilware are VERY comfortable.
re: C. Hamster
What size are your hands? I have been getting AC since the first year they came out. The old handles are rough, pitted, and rusty. A great grip. The new handles are smooth, stainless, and loaded pots and pans have turned in my wet or greasy hands.
Even with learning how to cook starting with AC, at least 30% of my kitchenware is from other sources that could be done by AC in my kitchen. Carbon steel woks, tinned copper pots and pans, cast iron pots and pans. I enjoy the variety.
Costco's Cuisinart Professional Tri-Ply is pretty much the same as Multiclad except the glass lids. Make sure the size of the pans in the set suit your needs. Otherwise buy individual pieces.
Cuisinart Professional Tri-Ply Includes:
One 8” Skillet
One 10” Skillet
One 12” Skillet
One 1.5-quart Saucepan with Cover
One 3-quart Saucepan with Cover
One 4-quart Saute with Helper Handle and Cover
One 8-quart Stockpot with Cover