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All-Clad 12 Inch skillet alternatives?

Hey all,

I'm trying to move away from a nonstick pan (http://www.amazon.com/Calphalon-Uniso...) to a stainless steel pan. I'm currently running on an induction stove top, but will hopefully move into a gas grill at some point in the future.

I looked into the All Clad 51125 12 inch pan here: http://www.amazon.com/All-Clad-51125-...

Is there any alternatives that you guys suggest? I just want something that has great heat retention and even heating, and perhaps more cost effective. I don't use the dishwasher, either. Always hand cleaning.

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  1. I'm also open to a 10 inch pan as well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: handonam

      I have All-clad, both 10 and 12 so I can't comment on something more cost effective. If I had to pick one, it would certainly be the 12", even though I am normally just cooking for 2. It's alway's better to have a little bigger skillet than needed than too small to get a good sear.

    2. Tramontina is a cost-effective clad alternative recommended by CI and many hounds---I haven't tried. But if you want heat retention (not responsiveness), there is nothing like cast iron. I recommend the 10-inch or 13-inch nickel-coated cast iron from olvidacookware.com. Non-reactive, easy to clean, indestructible, no seasoning. Just remember that the handle is hot. That said, I would want a responsive fry pan as well, plus a non-stick for eggs only.

      4 Replies
      1. re: mwhitmore

        fortunately, I have a cast iron (:. I hear there are many types of Tramontinas. is there a specific one? I think there is specific one tested by America's test kitchen, but I could not find it on Amazon.

        1. re: handonam

          Sorry I don't have more information.

          1. re: handonam

            We bought ours at Walmart but seems now they only sell them on-line. I think if you designate a particular Walmart there is no shipping charge.

            We have had this pan for a out six years and it works well. The only annoying thing is that it does not come with a lid but I found a SS lid at Goodwill for a couple bucks.


            1. re: John E.

              Yes, on most products at Walmart.com, there is usually free shipping-to-store. And cash is possible too -- Just have to pay at the store within 24 hours of ordering online. It's quite convenient for us rare bred folks that like to use cash only for most things. And the free shipping is godsent.

        2. I agree with mwhimore that Tramontina is cost effective. Another choice is the Calphalone Triply pan. You will always see it on sale in stores ike TJ Maxx and Home Goods.


          If you want to spend more than All Clad, then you can look into Demeyere.

          5 Replies
            1. re: handonam

              Yes, the one so called 41126 is a triply pan (three layers of metal). The one listed as DB55112 in the link is a 5-ply pan (5-layers of alternating metal).

                1. re: handonam

                  Very much marginal. All Clad claims that the d5 has better heat distribution than the regular All Clad triply cookware. In additional, the d5 line (the 5-ply line) has other benefits such as slightly more comfortable handle and pouring rim....etc.

            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

              We also have a couple Calaphon Tri-ply pans and they perform well. The thing is, I've only used All-Clad one time and that was just for heating up a glaze for a ham.

            3. The All-Clad pan in your link doesn't appear to be induction capable. I'm not aware of any Tramontina pans that are induction capable but I'm not really up on that brand. I know you said you're hopefully moving to gas but I'd buy a pan that works with what you have now. No point on buying a pan you can't use right away.

              I did a quick search on Amazon for induction capable skillets and this Emerilware ( which is made by All Clad) is cheaper and is 12 inches. I've never used his branded line so no endorsement implied. The only clad stainless I have that is induction capable is my All Clad D5


              2 Replies
              1. re: rasputina

                oops, I think I have that wrong. I have electric coils

                1. re: handonam

                  ahh ok well in that case, you don't need induction capability.

              2. just to note; I'm using electric coils, not induction. sorry! don't know how to edit on here

                1. I have the All clad pan you mention, and it's awesome. However, for that much money, no way am I putting it on my gas girl. I'll never get it looking as pretty again. (reason I didn't get a stainless set back 10 or so years ago with the wedding registry. . . to lazy to keep it pretty)

                  A Calphalon try-ply piece should work fine for what you want. Especially if it will visit the grill. . . Or get 2, one for inside, the other for out

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: autumm

                    Luckily, I don't mind. And, it seems that people have been successful cleaning them with "Bar Keeper's Friend"

                    1. re: autumm

                      Hi autumn,

                      Have you priced Calphalon Tri-Ply lately? At over $93 for the 12" pan, it's no longer the deal it once was. Add the $20 lid and it's only $2 less than the All-Clad.

                      As a few people have mentioned, Tramontina is a great buy, at about half the All-Clad price. I think Tramontina is the new Calphalon. :-)

                      1. re: DuffyH

                        I haven't priced things out since I finished my wedding registry 10 years ago. I do see a ton of the Calphalon for less at TJ Maxx, etc.

                        Compared to the 175 I payed for my All Clad, it still seems a deal if price is a big concern

                        1. re: autumm

                          < I do see a ton of the Calphalon for less at TJ Maxx>


                        2. re: DuffyH

                          I picked mine up a year ago at a factory second shop for $25. It had a 2" scratch on the bottom - right where I had planned on putting one anyway. They are pretty much a stock item at Marshall's & TJM where I usually see them for $35.

                          1. re: CaliforniaJoseph

                            <They are pretty much a stock item at Marshall's & TJM where I usually see them for $35.>

                            My local TJM and it's ilk aren't the same as others. I used to see a lot Calphalon and A-C, too. It was there every time I stopped in, and not just one or two pieces. Even some Rosle from time to time. But now what I mostly see is a lot of Cuisinart that's been made for discount stores, along with a bit of their Chef's Classic.

                            There are still odd pieces that come in, but they're notable for their rarity. The decline has been going on for about 2 years, to the point that now it's not even worth the bother to look.

                            1. re: DuffyH

                              I can relate to that. Most recently I've noticed my local Marshall's and TJM had a shelving reset and the wares now offered are so uniform in display...(as opposed to the previous "thrft-store-esque" hodge podge assortment that demanded some mining/digging/sorting) well to have so much it can be displayed in such a fashion suggested to me they may have gone to a merchandising strategy of purchasing set items to stock versus being an outlet for buyouts and factory seconds.

                              I did, however, see two of these pans this week at "Ross" - a west coast chain.

                              The hunter will be rewarded.

                      2. I've lately embraced commercial cookware for it's value-to-performance ratio. To compete with the All-Clad, I like this Vollrath pan. It's also tri-ply, but it's got a little more aluminum in the core, which I like. Generally speaking, more aluminum means more even cooking. I've got a saucier from this line and am pleased as punch with it's evenness and response to changes in heat.


                        If you want a cover, I prefer Optio or Centurion to Tribute, but that's just personal preference. They're all well made and very inexpensive. If you like glass lids, Calphalon has one that fits most 12" pans.

                        1. Here's another alternative that's a little less expensive than the All-Clad, and about the same thickness. I've got the nonstick sauté pan in this line and can honestly say that it is the most even heating of all my pans. The uncoated version should be an excellent performer: http://www.amazon.com/Zwilling-Hencke...

                          It doesn't come with a cover, but those are pretty easy to come by.

                          I owned Calphalon Tri-Ply for 12+ yrs and was very happy with it. I only bought new pans when I switched to induction, because my old ones didn't work on induction. The new Calphalon Tri-Ply does work with induction.

                          If I were looking for All-Clad or Calphalon i would do as Chemicalkinetics suggests and haunt TJMaxx, Marshalls, etc... they frequently get frypans in those two lines at about 65-70% of retail.

                          Don't overlook Amazon Warehouse, either. Right now they've got an 8" Emeril Pro-Clad by All-Clad for under $20:

                          3-qt All-Clad saute w/lid for ~$90 http://www.amazon.com/All-Clad-Stainl...

                          All-Clad 11" French Skillet for $89 http://www.amazon.com/All-Clad-Stainl...

                          Well, you get the idea. Amazon Prime makes it better with free shipping.

                          The only caveat with All-Clad concerns the handles. If you haven't held one yet, I urge you to visit a local store that has them in stock, like BB&B, Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, or the previously mentioned discounters. Some of us find them so uncomfortable that they become 100% deal breakers.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: DuffyH

                            What kind of differences do you see with coated vs uncoated?

                            And luckily, i made a mistake: I have electric coils, and not induction. Also, i'm looking to get a regular sauté pan, and not french. Just something easier to pour out of.

                            I don't seem to mind paying for the All-Clad price up to $130. I feel like this might be closer to what I wanted to get: http://www.amazon.com/All-Clad-Stainl... . It seems to be a bit better than my suggested posting, which I believe does not have 3-ply.

                            The Tramontina seems to be out of stock here (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina-...), but there seems to be this one in stock (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina-...).
                            I'm not sure of the difference though...

                            The Vollrath is very intriguing that you've linked to above though... (http://www.katom.com/175-69212.html


                            And, I've found the Calphalon Tri-ply (http://www.amazon.com/Calphalon-Tri-P...


                            So it seems to be down to the All-Clad 41126, Vollrath 69212, Tramontina 12" 18/10 TriPly (but there's 2 versions on Walmart, so I don't know which one), and Calphalon Tri-Ply. It's going to be a pan I'll probably keep for decades, so I wouldn't be afraid to get an All-Clad. But, if these other affordable pans can keep the same characteristics as the All-clad, i'd rather cut those costs.

                            (And, apparently, you have to grab the All-Clad from the bottom of the handle, and it will feel better than grabbing from the top (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6231...)

                            1. re: handonam

                              Hi Handonam,

                              Uncoated vs. coated is simply the bare stainless pan vs. one with a nonstick coating applied. I have the Spirit Saute pan with the Thermolon Granite ceramic coating. I saw a used one (really just a dented box) cheap at Amazon warehouse, so so decided to give it a try and see what all the fuss was about. Some love the new ceramic nonstick, others hate it. But for you, looking for just the one pan, uncoated would be the way to go, for sure.

                              I know the answer to your Tramontina question, too, having encountered the same thing when shopping for my induction pans. The OOS pan the older, non-induction pan. The one they've got is induction ready.

                              If I were ranking the pans you're considering, I'd do it thusly:

                              On the basis of the thickness of the aluminum layer in the pan: All-Clad, Vollrath, Zwilling - they're all about the same, with perhaps a slight edge to Vollrath. Tramontina and Calphalon are thinner. All else being equal, I'd expect better performance from the three thicker pans.

                              On ease of cleaning - Simply because they're brushed pans and are less likely to show spots, scratches and such, I give the edge to Vollrath, Zwilling and Calphalon. However, I've learned that some pans are more prone than others to heat stains, those lovely blue rainbow and amber tints that sometimes show up. If those don't bother you, all the pans will be fine. If they do bother you, I'd pass on the Tramontina. Using the 4 qt saucepan to boil water, the inside base of the pan turned deep blue on my old radiant range. Every time. This seldom happened with my Calphalon pans, and has yet to happen to my Vollrath. It's not something that should happen every time you heat a pan. I'm freaky about my stainless, expecting them to look good. Scratches (patina) I don't mind at all, but fingerprints, water spots and stains drive me bats. YMMV. :-)

                              Also, the All-Clad handle needs to be tested. A lot of us who use an underhand pan grip still hate it; it's either comfortable for you, or it's the worst handle ever. There seems to be about a 50-50 split.

                              Want a showpiece pan that also cooks like a dream? Mauviel M'elite - http://www.cutleryandmore.com/mauviel...

                              1. re: DuffyH

                                this is an incredible analysis! haha. thank you so much! I will now look at Vollrath as a mighty contender here. it's between that and all clad.

                                1. re: handonam

                                  The only problem is that I can't find a Vollrath I can try around here.. ):

                                  1. re: handonam

                                    <The only problem is that I can't find a Vollrath I can try around here..>

                                    If you've got a restaurant equipment store nearby, they might have one. You'll never see one anywhere else. I had to take a leap of faith on it and buy it online.

                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                      I think i'll have to take the same leap of faith as well. At half the price of the All-Clad with better thickness, I think might have found myself the winner!

                                      Thank you DuffyH!

                                      1. re: handonam

                                        You're welcome, but remember, stove jewelry it ain't.

                          2. Whatever you decide, research reviews on rivets leaking. A famous thing to happen on budget stainless pans is leakage through the rivets. Tramontina is good stuff, especially the Made In Brazil stuff. Most Tramontina at Walmart is Chinese, which is still pretty decent but, just a heads up.

                            I was looking at the cheapo tri ply 12" Mainstays brand sauté pan at Walmart for 20 dollars. Wow, once I picked it up off the shelf and got my hands on it, I could feel that it wasn't even worth $20. Maybe if you're a poor college student or a tight budget household, but not for me. The handle was so flimsy for such a large pan.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Muddirtt

                              <Tramontina is good stuff, especially the Made In Brazil stuff. Most Tramontina at Walmart is Chinese, which is still pretty decent but, just a heads up.>

                              About a year ago I wrote to Tramontina to find out what the difference was in the Walmart pans. I was told that the old stuff (no longer in stock) was the Brazilian non-induction stuff, still in production and carried elsewhere.

                              Curiously, the 10" "Daily Chef" (Sam's Club commercial cookware house brand) frypan I bought a few weeks ago is Brazilian made and induction friendly. Wondering if it's a rebranded Tramontina, I googled Brazilian cookware. Three pages in, it was all still Tramontina pages. No help at all.

                            2. I'd get a carbon steel pan. Everyone else seems to be suggesting stainless, but I don't see anything in your requirements that points to stainless.

                              I have had great experiences with my de Buyer Carbone Plus pans, but tthere are other good options for carbon pans.