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Best pots/pans?

I searched and did not find a thread on this (post-2005), so I apologize if this is a dupe. That said, simply put: best pot/pan set for the value? Cuisinart? All-Clad? I'd prefer something with clear lids, but that's not a must. Also, non-stick vs. regular, copper vs. stainless steel, etc? Thank you.

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  1. I'd say that is too broad — there is no "best" for the "value." For one thing, different people can have greatly differing opinions of value, depending on how much money they have to spend on cookware. For another, different people cann cook different things in different ways, which would lead to a different conclusion of which cookware is "best."

    1 Reply
    1. re: GH1618

      concur with GH1618, AND
      even for myself, as i get older, the things that i like/want in a pan are different than the things i liked decades ago.

      pans that i loved way back when are too heavy/unwieldy for me to handle/control/lift now

      i find i no longer bake AT ALL, so pans that i used to like because they worked well for both baking and cooking are not as desirable now.

      i tend to eat lighter fare now, such as roasted vegetables and no longer eat meaty stews at all. this changed my cookware preferences.

      and on, and on.

    2. Hi Magnolia,

      The serious cook/hobbyist will be looking at All Clad, Le Creuset, and Staub as high end models to compare against at a place like Williams-Sonoma. That would be a terrific start. If you can't go there and walk around--go online, which might be the best place to start anyway. Then try a good department store like Macy's, then low cost alternatives at Target--or Walmart. The experience should be an eye opener.

      Once the alternatives are clear, consider buying just one piece at a time while thinking through your energy source: gas, electric, or induction. Make some dishes that feature your new cookware piece and pieces, and start building your personal solution. It should be a wonderful adventure.

      Good luck.

      drrayeye

      1. The term "best" can be kinda vague. Some of my "best" pans are yard sale cast iron pieces... Griswold/Wagner stuff that cleaned-up and re-seasoned just fine... and only cost a dollar or. IMO, "best" for non-stick is Calphalon. Treated correctly, lasts a long time. It's NOT big bucks AND C will repair/replace for just the cost of you shipping it to them... NO receipts required.

        Unless you just HAVE to have all the same brand, I'd also pass on buying a set and opt for picking up a piece or 2 at a time.

        1. Fair answers thus far and I guess I didn't leave enough detail. Here's what I'm looking for:
          I have a 30" Bertazzoni gas range - quite powerful compared to what I was using, and also an impetus for me to replace my T-Fal (!) pans. I have a few cuisinart pots as well as a nice wolfgang puck skillet, but that's it. Otherwise, what I'm looking for is something:
          *complementary to this unit - high BTU resistance, cooks well on gas.
          *non-toxic. We have a newborn and now this is even more important than it was previously.
          *cleans fairly easily. obviously there will be elbow grease involved and though I'm partial to copper, I see that in nearly every review they are absolutely demanding to upkeep and I really won't have the time or that level of dedication to keep them gorgeous.
          *non-stick? I would assume that's ideal but from what I can tell they are actually subpar for cooking, outside of eggs. Is that correct?

          I'm leaning toward Cusinart but this Analon Nouvelle caught my eye:
          http://www.amazon.com/Anolon-Nouvelle...
          Any reports on this?

          Otherwise, looks like Cusinart or All-Clad. Thank you again.

          4 Replies
          1. re: MagnoliaGardens

            Taking your bulleted items in order:

            complementary — everything works on gas. I don't think there are many pans which will melt on a high BTU range, but you should be careful not to overheat nonstick coatings or to warp or delaminate a pan by letting it boil dry. Even an ordinary range can damage a pan this way.

            non-toxic — there is no need to worry about toxicity from any cookware sold in the US or Canada. I advise that you don't use aerosol cooking spray (or any other aerosol). My infant daughter would start coughing within seconds when we used a cooking spray, even though she was in another room. We stopped using it, of course.

            cleans fairly easily — most pans do, except those that have bare aluminum surfaces. Copper needs polishing to look sharp. All stainless steel is easily cleaned with Bar Keepers Friend. Nonstick is easy to clean by hand. I would never put it in the dishwasher even though some claim to be dishwasher safe.

            Non-stick — I am one who thinks Teflon-type nonstick is ideal for eggs, but there are those you prefer plain (seasoned) steel pans. Although I have and use a couple of nonstick skillets for other things, I wouldn't use nonstick for everything.

            I have seen Anolon Nouvelle but haven't used it. It looks like one of the best lines that you'll find in a department store. It comes in a stainless version and a nonstick version, so you can mix and still match, if that's important to you.

            1. re: MagnoliaGardens

              Hi, MG:

              You've gotten a lot of good advice so far, so I'll keep it to a point no one's addressed--"demanding" upkeep for copper.

              I have about 50 pieces, maybe 15 of which I use regularly. I only polish 2-3x/year. This is the bright, mirror polish, and this *is* some work, if you must have that look.

              However, you can attain about an 80% effect with very little effort using Barkeeper's Friend. If this "lightly-brushed" look is acceptable to you, don't give upkeep another thought. You still must hand wash, though.

              "Best" usually carries with it some extraneous concepts, e.g., convenience, aesthetic, status, etc. If you focus exclusively on performance, it's hard to go wrong choosing thick copper or very thick aluminum.

              Aloha,
              Kaleo

              1. re: MagnoliaGardens

                By the way, the stainless steel version of Anolon Nouvelle is available from Overstock.com for only $300. I would call that a "value" if that's what you decide you want. You could then supplement it with a couple of Nouvelle nonstick skillets.

                Note that Overstock has erroneously described this set as being "nonstick."

                1. re: MagnoliaGardens

                  Here's a link to a review of one of the Anolon Nouvelle SS pans (3 qt sauté):

                  http://www.cookingforengineers.com/ar...

                2. I'm not sure there is a "best bang for the buck" when it comes to cookware. The really great cookware comes with a really great price (assuming you are buying new). A more appropriate question might by what's the best $500 9 piece set of cookware, or $1500 9 piece set. I think you can find a thread on the best $200 set of cookware, the point is these are totally different answers.

                  As long as you are not on an induction range, thick (2.5 - 3 mm) copper is the best for sauté pans and skillets, because of the even heating. But new copper of that thickness is very expensive. Next would likely be thick multiply, typically SS/Al/SS combinations with 3 to 7 layers. These conduct heat very well and are usually induction compatable. But here's where bang for the buck gets really tricky, does a $250 Demeyere Proline cook better than an All-Clad or an even much less expensive Cuisinart French Collection, or and even less expensive made in China pan of similar construction? With this type of cookware, thicker is almost always better.

                  Then there are disk bottom cookware, and these too run the price gamet from over $350 for a Demeyere sauté to $59 for a Calphlon. This technilogy is also used in many sauce pans as well. The emphisis is on even heat on the bottom of the pan.

                  Clear lids, is another issue. Most of the higher end cookware does not utilize a glass lid. The obvious advantage is that you can see in without lifting the lid. Since you don't see these on "high end" cookware such as Mauviel, Demeyere, All-Clad, etc. I think one can determine the disadvantages outwheigh the advantage.

                  If I had to pick a best bang for the buck right now I would say the Cuisinart French Classic collection: http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-FCT-1... This is a really great deal right now. I've seen and held the pots and pans and the quality looks to be there. They aren't the thickest available but thicker than most low cost cookware. And they are made in France.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: mikie

                    I agree with everything mikie wrote, except for one little thing. He did well to advise heavy copper and thick multi-ply clad like the Demeyere. Here's where we part - if you're going to purchase any of the clad stainless pans, I would not buy anything, even the Cuisinart FC, that is thinner than All-Clad tri-ply. I just don't think the value is there, in the long run. I used to, but now I know better.

                    I've recently purchased some thick (same as or better than AC) clad sauté pans and sauciers. They are performing leagues beyond my old Calphalon Tri-Ply, which was pretty comparable in thickness to Cuisinart FC. There is simply no comparison. On your range, I think you will especially appreciate the responsiveness and control you get with the thicker pans.

                    I'd recommend AC if you like the handles and flat rims. You should definitely handle- test them first. Otherwise, I'd recommend Mauviel M'Cook/M'Elite, Zwilling Spirit Stainless or Williams-Sonoma Thermoclad.

                    Mauviel and Thermoclad are thicker than classic AC. The Zwilling is about equal. Also consider Demeyere Industry5/Zwillling Sensation, which are 5-ply clad clones on par with the Mauviel and Thermoclad.

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

                    http://www.cutleryandmore.com/mauviel...

                    http://www.cutleryandmore.com/zwillin...

                    http://www.cutleryandmore.com/zwillin...

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

                    1. re: DuffyH

                      We don't really depart there as I agree thicker is definately better. Compared to "standard" Cuisinart that was mentioned in the OP, I think the French Classic is a better deal than most, and if one is looking for bang for the buck, this is a fairly good bang for a very small buck.

                      I think my Demeyere saucier and Viking saute, frying pan, and sauce pan are thicker than either All Clad or Mauviel M Cook. But, since I don't have the other two and measurements on this type of surface is difficult to do accurately I'm only speculating based on my visual determination. Personally I would buy the thickest cookware I could afford and/or lift comfortably. These options are not always within the budget restraints or available. If one is copper phobic (afraid of copper maintaince) heavy ply like Demeyere is probably the next best alternative.

                      1. re: mikie

                        <I think my Demeyere saucier and Viking saute, frying pan, and sauce pan are thicker than either All Clad or Mauviel M Cook.>

                        No question. Yours are definitely thicker. Of this I am certain. And the 11" Demeyere skillet, when it's on sale, is a killer deal.

                        <Personally I would buy the thickest cookware I could afford and/or lift comfortably>

                        I bought a couple of Mauviel M'Stone HAA pieces when I went induction, because I do have weak wrists. I was thinking that the aluminum would give me the response I want with a lot less weight, and they do.... but they're nonstick (ceramic) and thus not right for everything. When it comes to stainless, I do like nice thick pans. I used to be a dedicated pan shaker, hardly ever even using a spatula or spoon for pan frying and sautéing. I've learned to use utensils and leave my pans sitting on the hob, but can't say I like it. *sigh*

                        1. re: DuffyH

                          I have a Demeyere Frying pans 5* (Atlantis) and a conical sauté pan (Atlantis). Not exactly cheap, but they will probably last a long time and I love them both.

                  2. In my husband's and my opinion, All-Clad is the top of the line. We got a set of copper core for our wedding. It's fantastic, but you really don't need the copper core in every piece, if you need it in anything at all. The copper core is helpful for the likely 1-2 pans you will use at times when having a very evenly and consistently heated cooking surface makes a difference.

                    We also have a couple of Cuisinart "green" non-stick pans. My husband likes them, but the non-stick part is scratched up, which, I think, means they aren't safe to use anymore.

                    Cooking on a stainless steel surface instead of non-stick takes some getting used to, but now that I am used to it, I greatly prefer it. I am concerned about toxins, but I also prefer the way food turns out. I couldn't successfully cook an egg until I watched a youtube video about how to do it without sticking. (Hint: the pan has to be sufficiently heated BEFORE you add oil/butter/whatever in order to get that nonstick effect.)

                    So, I think All-Clad is probably the best value for that caliber, i.e., there are a few other brands (what's the French brand that begins with an M?) that are of similar quality but much more expensive. But these are the top of the line. You can also check Williams Sonoma for their D5 collection - we have one frying pan that is D5 that is really nice and more affordable than All Clad's other collections.

                    PS - I make our baby's food in stainless steel and glass only, except for the food processor because I haven't found one without mostly plastic parts.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: MyKitchen

                      We really enjoy our All Clad too, mostly tri-ply. Chose that for the lighter weight. Picked up my first Ina Garten book a week or so ago; she wrote she likes All Clad pans and roasters, Le Creuset dutch ovens, cast iron skillets and half sheet pans. That is almost identical to the cookware I've settled on over the last few years through trial and error, sans roaster. There will always be something new, some better, but at this stage what I have works well and I enjoy cooking with it.

                      1. re: Cam14

                        Hi Cam14,

                        I've got two All Clad d5's, 10", one nonstick and one traditional--one beautiful globular lid for the two of them. Maybe not quite Demeyere 7 clad, but I'm probably not good enough to appreciate, nor rich enough to afford the difference: my two 10" d5's and one lid cost me about $140 on EBAY. For saucepans, I've gone 3 pli: 1 1/2 qt Thermoclad, 2 1/2 qt. Dansk Kobenstyle SS, 3 1/2 qt. All Clad tri pli.

                        I'm about to use my d5's right now!

                        Ray

                        1. re: drrayeye

                          Hi Ray,

                          Did you see the WS sale on the d5? They've marked down the 4- and 6-qt Essential pans. The 4-qt is $99.95, the 6-qt is $149.95.

                          I don't know if that's an item you've had your eye on, but what kind of ChowBud would I be if I didn't alert you? :-)

                          Duffy

                          ETA - A link would be nice, Doofus (she says to herself). Here you go: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                          1. re: DuffyH

                            Thanks, Duffy,

                            but for anything above 2.5 qts., it's Le Creuset or Staub for me. I've got three four qt. Staub pans: the perfect pan, the braiser, and an oval 4 qt. I've also got a 4.5 qt. Le Creuset with an old fashioned lid. Likewise four pots in the 5-6 qt. range.

                            Don't ask me why . . . .

                            Ray

                            1. re: drrayeye

                              <Don't ask me why . . . .>

                              No need. I've seen the photos. There are meds for that, y'know?

                              :-)

                              1. re: DuffyH

                                And aficionados like Ray are why the dueling braintrusts at Fresnoy-le-Grand and Truckheim ought to be offering a lot more sizes, every shape in 2cm increments...

                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                  Hi Kaleo,

                                  They'd never figure me out: I can't even figure out myself!

                                  Enameled cast iron can make a design statement similar to the Kobenstyle of the Scandinavian Modern 70's. Stainless provides the backbone, with Le Creuset cherry and Staub grenadine highlighting the red theme, echoed in the crocks, stoneware, and cooks tools. Le Creuset, by itself, tends to be a bit too light and cheery, and Staub, by itself, can look somber and dark. The color balance allows the complementary basil pieces in the nook to stand out. Right now, it's a happy place to cook, snack, and relax, everything at one's fingertips.

                                   
                                  1. re: drrayeye

                                    "Right now, it's a happy place to cook, snack, and relax, everything at one's fingertips"

                                    most important your kitchen makes you happy

                                2. re: DuffyH

                                  Duffy,

                                  I've got "purpose" pots: bouillabaisse, big bird, little bird, piggy, paella, roaster, wok, braiser, veggie, steamer, big casserole, little casserole, big souper, little souper, loaners 1-4.

                                  I've used 'em all--but some only once or twice.

                                  Ray

                        2. re: MyKitchen

                          So, I should add - in case it's helpful - what we actually have and use. We got a 7-piece set of All-Clad copper core, which I already described. It's amazing but we don't need copper in every piece. It was a gift, but it was also on sale at the time for about $600, so getting an extra piece or 2 was worth it. We have the following:

                          Kuhn Rikon duromatic pressure cooker: 2, actually, in 2 difference sizes. I LOVE these just as pressure cookers, but, as a bonus, without the tops, they are just good, heavy duty pots. When my husband and I both cook, we find we need more pots, so we love that the pressure cookers do double duty. Granted, we don't cook much meat (just fish), but I ditched my old el cheapo slow cooker and have not felt the need to replace it with these babies around. They are top-of-the-line and I use them all the time.

                          Staub Dutch oven. We use these a LOT when it gets cold out, especially for roasting brussels sprouts and the like. They're heavy, but they do a fantastic job.

                          Cast iron pan and griddle. I use these less than I used to, but I'm glad I have them from time to time. They are quite heavy though, and a bit tough on my wrists after a while.

                        3. It's hard to judge a "set" of cookware as the best at any one thing

                          I would shop in terms of best pan for the job - think about it like tools - w rubber mallet works differently than a framing hammer.
                          my ideal cookware set would at a mix of seasoned cast iron skillets (preferably vintage)for searing, frying, and times when heat retention is important, Enameled CI Dutch ovens or casseroles for when you want the retention with a non-reactive surface, thick French copper for sauté and sauces where even heat and responsiveness matter and some good disk bottom SS stock pots for big stove top simmers, soups, pasta, etc.

                          if you are looking for one general purpose set then the multi-clad options outlined are all good - for my experience All Clad is marginally better than most of its competition but not THAT much better to justify the price (except the made in USA part might do it) While I own some I rarely use it in favor of pans like I mentioned above - except for the thick French copper which I don't own instead I have thick American anodized aluminum, the old calphalon stuff, which I like quite better than the tri-ply but hey if I could trade up to copper....

                          1. the best?

                            I've tried pretty much all the medium & high end brands - stainless and anodized - with and without the 'nothing sticks' country fair hawkster claims.

                            I have a couple old old old Griswold cast iron pans. I sandblasted the crud off and seasoned them by cooking bacon & sausage until they got non-stick. they never get washed; wiped out & put away. I don't use them for acidic & liquidy / watery stuff - and I can flip eggs over easy in them - no spatula - just toss the eggs in the air and catch them on the other side.

                            I have a raft of old Revereware thin stainless that work nice for boiling and as a steamer bottom.

                            I keep a PTFE aka Telfon fry pan - useable life about a 12-18 months - then I toss it a buy a new $10 ten-inch pan.

                            if you're using gas - the best stuff (imho) is stainless lined sold copper. there actually is a reason so many pundits say "It's the best but . . . "

                            ...........the "but" bit involves cost. which is quite true - but one can build a very nice collection over a few lists to Santa.

                            copper is the most "reactive" to heat input. heats fast, heats even, cools fast. all metal means cooktop to oven to broiler to bake to whatever - no problem.

                            I'd recommend two pieces to start - 2.5 or 3.0 mm solid copper thickness (3.0 is hard to find anymore)
                            a fry pan - 8 or 10 inch
                            a sauce pan - 3 quart / 16 cm dia

                            these will make the 'fry/saute even' and the 'slow heat' a thing of rejoice. whether it's a roux / white sauce / cheese sauce or heating canned baked beans or a beef stew.

                            and, you'll find that gas has power and power is good and power is frequently too good - so you'll need flame tamers - I got some from BellaCopper - pricey but the best.

                            resist the temptation to buy an expansive set of, ahhh, errrr - anything. you wind up with lots of stuff you don't use and it winds up 'in the way' when it comes to storage. I will however temper that advice with the fact that time-to-time you may find a 'set' at a fire sale price where you can buy the set, throw away the odd-ball junk, and dollar wise come out ahead....

                            you've already been taken to task on the "toxic" thing. stop believing every nut case with a web site / blog. and yes, we raised three kids - so I understand your concern. just be aware there's no danger to cast iron, stainless, glass, porcelain, etc., except for the danger to your pocketbook from the quacks wanting to sell you some "cleanse" or some $20,000 per pan 'magic nonsense' stuff.

                            1. Not a fan of sets -- you want different materials & design for different pieces.

                              For my money, nothing comes close to carbon steel for skillets and crepe pans. Mine are all de Buyer, but a friend has some older Paterno that's pretty good too. Having a single stainless saute pan or skillet is good for acidic foods. I think Sitram is best value, Demeyere is just best (and worth it if you are only buying one).

                              For pasta / stock pot, cheap stainless with a heavy disk bottom is good, so long as there's a lot of liquid in the pot. I also have an enameled dutch oven for when I'm making a stew not a soup. Mine is Staub, picked up on craigslist.

                              Saucepans good to have in stainless clad -- I like Sitram Catering.

                              I've owned a number of all-clad pans, and still own some. Every one was not worth the price I paid, IMO. Not that they can't be worthwhile if you find them at the right price. But with what I know now, they are no longer on my shopping list.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: seattle_lee

                                <For my money, nothing comes close to carbon steel for skillets and crepe pans>

                                I love my deBuyer pans, especially the crepe pans. I've got two of them, one is Force Blue for my fried eggs, another is Carbone for all kinds of grilled sandwiches and other flat things. I've also got a pair of Carbone frypans that see much less use, but I do like them, and am pleased that they're among the rare 'lifetime' pans that truly are.

                                My Force Blue crepe pan has never seen any fat except butter since it was first seasoned. I keep it that way so that my eggs always and only taste of butter. Because, well, butter.

                                1. re: seattle_lee

                                  Certainly a crêpe should be made in a plain steel crêpe pan. It doesn't have to be de Buyer, though. The best value is a generic French crêpe pan which can be had for just a few dollars.

                                  1. re: GH1618

                                    So true, especially for low-med heat things, like eggs and crepes.

                                  2. re: seattle_lee

                                    Sitram Catering. Hands down best for the money for everyday cookware. I mean you can get a killer cast iron skillet for $20, or a carbon steel pan for about the same, but I think if you are looking for a small set of something that will give you excellent responsiveness, QUALITY stainless, and last forever you go with Sitram. In fully clad, check out Spring Brigade Premium multi-ply. It's hard to find but high quality fully clad with welded handles at a reasonable price. Not really available on this side of the pond though. Fissler has gotten pretty expensive, and I don't see what the advantage is over the Sitram lines.

                                    One other quality line for the money is Mauviel M'cook stainless. I am partial to the ones with cast iron handles, if you can find them, but the steel ones are probably perfectly fine.

                                    I don't understand the fetish some people have with glass lids. When the food is cooking you normally can't see much with the steam. Plus they are heavy, not as safe in the oven, and a pain to store.

                                  3. The best pots and pans are the ones that you feel comfortable with and have comfortable handles and will use with confidence. If you can visit a Bed Bath and Beyond, a Macy's, as well as other stores, you can get a feel for fit and finish and go from there. Companies like Chefs Catalog and Sur La Table offer a wide variety of cookware at reasonable prices.

                                    Non-stick is good for some applications, but not necessary. Hard anodized aluminum has a strong following as does multi clad stainless. Cuisinart has been around a long time and has some good multi clad cookware.

                                    Cast iron will last a lifetime if you do your job. Although the older you get, the heavier it feels. We have and use Lodge cast iron but not frequently.

                                    We use Scan Pan Fusion 5. It was made years ago and is 5 ply stainless but was discontinued some time ago. We also have our original Westbend LustreCraft waterless which is 3 ply and 40+ plus years old (yes, that will raise some blood pressure around here) and they see use as well. We also have Magnalite Magnapro hard anodized and the odd assortment of non-stick. They all have a purpose and work well. But there are no favorites and I would be hard pressed to call any one of them "best".

                                    1. What are best to make omlettes- nonstick or regular? Is teflon coatings hazardous to health? I read the "swiss/diamond" pan is still teflon. Also people in the house use metal utensil forks on the pan. Does this completely damage nonsticks?

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: csh123

                                        Swiss Diamond and other modern nonstick coatings contain PTFE, which is what is used to make Teflon. PTFE is not hazardous to human health. Modern nonstick containing diamond or titanium are harder and more resistant to damage than the early Teflon coatings, but I still won't use metal utensils in mine. There is no reason to.

                                        1. re: GH1618

                                          How long does your non-stick last?
                                          What's difference between non-stick& putting oil on regular pan?
                                          Can you recommend a cheap one? (I have earthpan).

                                          1. re: csh123

                                            I have three pieces of T-fal Encore 2 from 1993. The large skillet was damaged by abuse, but the two small frying pans survived by being little used in their early years. For the past few years I have been using them nearly every day, but only for eggs and only with a silicone spatula or nothing. They show no signs of wear and I expect them to last much longer if handled carefully.

                                            I also have one Scanpan Classic skillet which is almost new and which I use only for omelets. This has a titanium ceramic surface (with PTFE) and I expect it to last longer than I do as long as no one else touches it. I store it in its original box.

                                            The Scanpan Classic works very well for an omelet but I wouldn't call it cheap.

                                            1. re: csh123

                                              For an inexpensive set of omelet pans you might consider this deal from Sur la Table:

                                              http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...

                                              These have a modern nonstick coating, but note that they are not induction compatible. Made in China, as so many inexpensive pans are. I have seen these at SLT but have not actually used them, so cannot vouch for them, but they are certainly inexpensive.

                                              Having a set of two is good because frying an omelet works best if the pan is the right size. The smaller pan is perfect for a three-egg omelet and the larger pan for five.

                                              1. re: csh123

                                                Hi csh123,

                                                With your Earthpan, I'm wondering why you're looking for a cheap nonstick. I thought they were well regarded among the new ceramic nonsticks.

                                                FWIW, I've found that going cheap may not always be the best bet. A heavy well made pan will be less likely to warp, and will be most likely to reward you with a long-lasting surface. A moderately priced pan will often have more layers of nonstick coating than a cheap one, or use a higher quality coating.

                                                Also, if used properly (medium heat, proper utensils, no cooking sprays, etc...) you'll get a lot of years out of your pans. A good, moderately priced pan might cost twice as much as a cheap flimsy pan, but last 5-10 times longer. That makes it the better buy, with proper use and care.

                                                Duffy

                                          2. I agree with many about not liking sets. I prefer getting pieces one by one. Last week we just had our 14 yo electric stove replaced with our (my) dream stove a Bluestar, and to celebrate I bought my first copper pan. A Mauviel 250 11' fry pan.

                                            First the burners on the Bluestar are amazing and has made any of our pans better. I still don't like the feel of our AC that much.

                                            Now after using the Mauviel and the Bluestar, I must say that what we were doing on the old electric stove was not really cooking. My wife thought I was crazy for choosing the Bluestar and then buying Mauviel, but after she used it this last weekend she was amazed with the differences. but there are some give and take, as it is really heavy. I think i want the 8' now to which will be lighter. I have used AC, LC, and several other lower brands, but the Mauviel is noticeably better. You can control the heat, and it is dispersed evenly.

                                            My next thing I get to do is Season my new wok, so I can try it out. I am sure my 20$ wok will be better then the Mauviel for its purpose, as the griswold will be better for some things and i could not imagine needing a copper stock pot or wanting to move one.

                                            This is why for me a set doesn't work. On a side note, I bought the Mauviel from Bed Bath and Beyond and got another 20% off, which made the price a little more palatable.

                                            MT

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: MTBright

                                              I also prefer to buy cookware individually and have many diffetent types of potts and pans, but the OP asked about the "best ... set for the value."

                                                1. re: MagnoliaGardens

                                                  I've used that site several times and never had any problems. It's one of my "go-to" sites.

                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                    Hi GH1618,

                                                    Agreed. I just ordered a 3 1/2 qt. All Clad tri clad from them (delivered to my door) for $112!!!

                                                    Ray

                                              1. Hi, Magnolia,

                                                I have read through the responses you have received, and you have gotten some very good advice. I was in your shoes several years ago. In addition to finally having the money to put into good cookware, I had the additional limitation that whatever I got would probably have to do me for quite a while.

                                                If you think about it, there are two basic functions that you do on your stovetop: pan frying or sauteeing in a wide shallow pan, and simmering or boiling in a deeper, narrower pan.

                                                If I were you, I would get one of each of these pans, in the sizes that suit you best, and in the materials that seem best for you. Use them well for a while, then go forward with your purchases. If you decide that your choices don't work, you won't be out a lot of money. (Personally, for example, I have discovered that Sitram doesn't work in my kitchen--based on the purchase of one pan used for about a year.)

                                                When you do get cookware that makes your heart sing, it is worth it.

                                                And if you are interested, I do think that the Cuisinart French Tri-ply is worth a try.

                                                1. Another consideration is if you want to be able to put your pans in the dishwasher. This is important to some.

                                                  1. Ive got lots of pots and pans from over the years... i know not everyone will agree with me, but i have come down to using mostly cast iron, either old griswold-types or Staub for many of my cooking needs. However, I do have a non-stick (ceramic) egg pan and have used stainless over the years as well..

                                                    It sounds like you might be looking for a set rather than buying one-at-a-time. I know a lot of folks work like that (not me- can't barely think ahead for dinner, let alone what pans I'll be needing down the road!) and if I was to start all over again at this point... i would seriously look at the new line Thomas Keller has out. I think they are very thoughtfully designed. Williams-Sonoma has them, I know. Not sure about other retailers. Not glass lids, but perhaps you can overlook that! My $.02...

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: rmarisco

                                                      That All-Clad set is a W-S exclusive. Here's a thread, including some comments from people who've seen them up close and personal. As usual, reactions are mixed.

                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9837...

                                                    2. There is good advice here. Cuisinart French is a great value. All-Clad is very good. You can still find a few pieces of the SEVEN ply Viking online, and in my opinion that is wonderful. Demeyere is awesome...and made the 7 ply Viking. If you have the means to acquire Viking and Demeyere you will not regret it. (The later 3/5 ply Viking is not in the same class.)

                                                      18 Replies
                                                      1. re: brooktroutchaser

                                                        Hi, BTC:

                                                        I'm curious, what's your basis for saying the 7-layer is superior?

                                                        My recollection is that the 7- differs mostly in having two silver "layers" which are there only in order to stick together the 3 other interior layers. The cutaways I've seen don't indicate any overall increase in the conductive layers over plain 'ol triply.

                                                        Viking holds a patent for a *carbon fiber* layer, the use of which allows far more heat conduction laterally than vertically. It really works, but unfortunately these pans had a tendency to come apart.

                                                        Aloha,
                                                        Kaleo

                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                          Hi Kaleo,

                                                          There is a special Demeyere 7 pli advantage for induction. With Atlantis, Demeyere has an outer layer that, in effect, demagnetizies the pan at very high temperatures to prevent runaway overheating. The silver coats control for metallic impurities to prevent spotting and staining. I don't have a clue how the magnetized heat is transformed across multi layers to spread the heat evenly, but I believe that Demeyere has found an overall optimal solution.

                                                          This all hold for Atlantis fry pans/skillets only. Conductivity in pots and pans use different processes. The roles of different layers are different for other product lines. For induction, Demeyere Atlantis clearly has competitive advantages. Unfortunately, price is not one of them.

                                                          For my purposes, the two 10" AC d5's (nonstick/conventional) with one lid that I purchased off EBAY for a total of about $140 delivered to my house are probably more than I need at my skill level. When I get good enough to make a great omelette with my conventional d5 pan on my Vollrath unit, maybe I'll get snooty enough to rethink Demeyere.

                                                          Ray

                                                          1. re: drrayeye

                                                            Hi, Ray:

                                                            I was aware of those features, called ControlInduc and Silvinox. However, they could just as well be included in triply and 5-layer. Again, I'm challenging anyone to convince me 7 layers are any better than 3 or 5.

                                                            Aloha,
                                                            Kaleo

                                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                                              Hi Kaleo,

                                                              Good challenge!

                                                              Even if there is a difference, it's not much, and there is a tradeoff with weight.

                                                              For all of my saucepans, I have chosen 3 pli, including an AC 3 1/2 qt. that I just purchased.

                                                              Ray

                                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                Hi Kaleo,

                                                                You're probably going to have to go to the secret archives of the manufacturers, as this appears to be top secret. Typically there are two reasons to keep something secret, it's all smoke and mirrors, or you have something that really works and don't have a way to protect it. I've worked at places that patent and places that keep secrets because they don't believe they can enforce a patent. I would think the number of layers would be rather easy to determine, but there may be some magic in the thicknesses and composition that's not obvious. Or it could be all marketing smoke and mirrors.

                                                                1. re: mikie

                                                                  Hi, mikie:

                                                                  One of the first things they teach law students about patents is that if you write the application narrowly enough, they're both easier to obtain and likely worthless. In other words, a very narrow process patent makes for good advertising ("Patented!") and that's about it.

                                                                  The thing that amazes me about the secrecy of pan makers is the witholding of the thickness specs of the layers. You'd think it's a matter of national security, when in fact, all a competitor would need to do is saw a pan to find out. The better bet is they don't want anyone publicizing to consumers how little good stuff they put inside their wares.

                                                                  Aloha,
                                                                  Kaleo

                                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                    many moons ago I tripped across a blog that did "saw the pans in half" (after a number of other tests...) and then used a surface grinder to move layer by layer thru the material.

                                                                    what they found was that other than outer and inner shells of stainless, perhaps a measurable copper or aluminum 'core' - the rest of the billions and billions of layers were just 'flashings' needed for joining the dissimilar metals. molecular level thicknessi......

                                                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                      "The better bet is they don't want anyone publicizing to consumers how little good stuff they put inside their wares."

                                                                      Hi Kaleo,

                                                                      The trouble I have with that theory is that in multi-ply cookware, the "good stuff" is usually the aluminum, and aluminum is typically less expensive than CRES (corrosion resistant steel), aka SS. So few companies attempt to add copper ($$) that it's not hardly worth discussion. (Only talking multiply here not disk bottoms.) I would speculate the secrets are in the bonding and in the case of more than 3 plys, the use of some other conductive material or alloy in an attempt to either improve the cooking ability, ie heat transfer or improve the bonding, or possibly just get around a patent. It wouldn't seem to me, that there would be any advantage from any aspect to add more SS than is needed to protect the aluminum and provide structure and durability to the pot or pan.

                                                                      1. re: mikie

                                                                        Hi mikie,

                                                                        This whole idea of more than 3 layers has me wondering, is it possible any of the aluminum alloys used for bonding are more conductive than plain aluminum?

                                                                        I recently purchased a 5-ply pan that is thinner than my 3-ply Vollrath Tribute pan. Tribute is exceedingly thick, besting AC D5 and Mauvial M'steel for thickness. Is it possible they could be more responsive, despite being thinner, depending on the composition of their chosen alloys? What do you think?

                                                                        Duffy

                                                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                                                          Hi, Duffy:

                                                                          Yes aluminum alloys vary widely in conductivity. That's a big reason for all the multi-layer stuff. I gather that pure aluminum does not bond well to SS, whereas some alloys do bond well to both. IMO, this is also the real reason why some multiclad lines have silver interleaved in them.

                                                                          Aloha,
                                                                          Kaleo

                                                                          1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                            Hey K,

                                                                            <I gather that pure aluminum does not bond well to SS, whereas some alloys do bond well to both.>

                                                                            Would this mean that good 3-ply is really so-called 5-ply that doesn't feel the need to brag?

                                                                            D

                                                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                                                              Hi, Duffy:

                                                                              I think it only means really good triply, e.g., W-S Thermoclad, uses a higher-conductivity alloy which will bond. W-S brags that its alloy is "up to 30% more..." Makers exaggerate *up*, not down,
                                                                              when it comes to layers.

                                                                              Everyone thinks all aluminum is the same. However, I think most alloys in clad fall short of plain 'ol cast aluminum, as used in Guardian, etc.

                                                                              Aloha,
                                                                              Kaleo

                                                                          2. re: DuffyH

                                                                            You didn't ask me, but I think thicker is better and five or seven plies doesn't mean much over three-ply, if anything.

                                                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                                                              Hi Duffy,

                                                                              I think Kaleo has answered about as well as can be expected, given the amount of information that's available. I'm not a metalurgest, but I do have some formal training in metal technology. Certianly, depending on what the aluminum is alloyed with, there could be better conductivity, it's just that we don't know what alloys they are using. It's also possible that some alloys are less conductive than pure aluminum. These are the challenges and secrets that the manufacturers don't want to share. The best conductive material in the world is worthless if there is no way to bond it to protective layers. What if nothing would stick to copper. You couldn't use it to cook much of anything because it can be toxic. There have to be trade offs between bonding and conductivity and protective layers. We, just don't know what they are.

                                                                              1. re: mikie

                                                                                GH, K and mikie,

                                                                                Thank to you all. I don't know any more about pan plies than I did when I posed the question, but I feel better about not knowing, secure in the knowledge that I'm not meant to know.

                                                                                It seems that, absent data from secretive makers, the best indicator of good aluminum-core clad cookware is still pan thickness, as GH suggested.

                                                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                  What I know would fill a half teaspoon, so don't feel bad. We do know that alloys of metals change many of the properties, for example if you alloy Aluminum (Al) with 20% Antimony (Sb), you raise the melting point by 190°C, but if you alloy with 20% Copper (Cu) the melting point is lowered 50°C. An alloy with 20% Iron (Fe) raises the melting point by 365°C. I don't have a lot of thermal conductivity data, but it typically goes: silver, copper, gold, aluminum, . . . iron.

                                                                                  So as a cookware manufacturer do you lower performance by alloying with Fe to get a better bond to the SS and then alloy Al/Cu to get better performance, thus increasing the number of layers as the process continues. Do you layer in some silver, how much would it take to actually change the overall composite of the plyed layers? Questions we will probably never know the answer to.

                                                                                  1. re: mikie

                                                                                    On the plus side, it seems to be getting easier to find out the overall thickness of a pan. Demeyere and a few others publish the data, and CS departments are getting better at answering the question in emails. So there's that.

                                                                  2. re: kaleokahu

                                                                    Just saw this. The seven ply was made in Belgium. It is my understanding the others were made in Indonesia.

                                                                    There are still a few 7 ply saute pans, a couple of skillets, and sauce pans for sale online. The 3 quart saute pan, which I love, is $215. BTW, I have not actually measured capacity, but suspect it is a tad more. It measures about 11 x 2 inside.

                                                                2. The thing I have learned over the years is that there is not One Best anything.

                                                                  Especially not when it comes to cooking. And even the best of the best do not come in "sets".

                                                                  The threads here are very instructive. You need to go out and buy, separately, the Lodge skillet, the Le Creuset casserole, the Mauviel sauciers...

                                                                  A home cook's kitchen comes together over time.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                    <The thing I have learned over the years is that there is not One Best anything.>

                                                                    I must respectfully disagree. I feel certain that there is a One Best everything. I spend enough time looking for it, I'm pretty sure it's out there. Implicit in the concept is the personal nature of the thing. There's a One Best everything for everybody.

                                                                    When it comes to cookware, I have, from time to time, seen the One Best, but sadly, never in my kitchen. Then someone came along and made a new One Best that was better than the last. I don't own that one, either. I do own one pan that I feel pretty sure is a Second Best.

                                                                    <A home cook's kitchen comes together over time.>

                                                                    That is an absolute truth.

                                                                  2. In my kitchen I have at least 5 "the best". I use them all. Wouldn't want to be without any of them. Which I use at any particular moment is as often a matter of whim as application, tho, of course, application is the overriding factor for any legitimate qualification.

                                                                    Use as many things as you get an opportunity to -- cook with friends, take classes. Buy a few things at a time. In time you'll nail the right batterie for yourself. Bet you'll end up with at least 5 "the bests" too.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: rainey

                                                                      And always have a bottle of wine to share with loved ones while you do it.

                                                                    2. I'd recommend not buying a set. You'll end up with stuff you don't use, and unless you're paying at least several hundred dollars, you are likely to get mass-market junk. Buy good stuff one item at a time and have no hangups about mixing brands. Chinese Cuisinart (most of what they sell in the States) I avoid. You can find the much better French-made Cuisinart pans, like my lidded 12-inch saute pan, if you look on Amazon.com, and they are finely made multi-clad and a bargain. The best steel woks you can buy, including fine U.S.-made ones in several configurations, are at wokshop.com, a highly regarded San Francisco Chinatown store, for excellent prices. The best lidded saucepans for the money are used thick (made in Toledo, Ohio) anodized aluminum Calphalon on eBay or Etsy. The best enameled cast iron for the money, in like-new condition if you shop carefully, is on eBay and Etsy also ... I bought a bunch of vintage Belgian Descoware, and Danish and Swiss Copco Ware, that way. Descoware is as good as Le Creuset (which bought out Descoware decades ago) and I believe Copco Ware is better made than Le Creuset. I don't like nonstick coatings for general use, but for eggs and pancakes, I bought two new smaller Kirkland-brand nonstick skillets, Thai-made, from Costco because they were high-class heavy anodized aluminum with stainless steel handles and the kind of high-end, extra-durable nonstick coating you usually pay a lot for. They were $22 for the pair. I bought a cheap (under $10) and cheerful supermarket flimsy aluminum six-inch skillet with glass lid and nonstick coating solely for frying eggs in. I would never pay big bucks for any nonstick ware because I've yet to see a coating, even on high-end stuff, that is indestructable. I also won't buy used black cast iron pots and pans because some have held hazardous substances such as lead, commonly melted at home by divers, model boat builders and do-it-yourself ammunition enthusiasts.

                                                                      1. My parents are installing an induction cooktop in their kitchen. My father is going to miss his 8" nonstick skillet in which he makes his fried egg, because it is not induction compatible.

                                                                        As a suitable alternative, I tried to convince him to use a plain stainless fry pan and even showed him a youtube video showing how (preheat pan, then add oil/butter) to avoid sticking, but he's not convinced.

                                                                        So I've been looking for PFOA & PTFE free pans. I've concentrated on All-Clad and Mauviel stainless steel nonstick pans that are induction compatible. There is so little information out there about the "new" titanium and/or ceramic coating nonstick skillets that replace teflon coated nonstick pans.

                                                                        Confusingly, Mauviel has three lines that are induction compatible but each line has a different temperature tolerance:
                                                                        M'Cook: "oven safe to 680° F"
                                                                        M'Stone2: "oven and broiler safe to 500°F."
                                                                        M'Collection de Cuisine: (exclusively sold at "Sur La Table"): oven safe and dishwasher safe, but no published safe oven temperature rating.

                                                                        Any recommendations for nonstick stainless/induction compatible skillet for cooking fried eggs?

                                                                        83 Replies
                                                                        1. re: paly

                                                                          Hi Paly,

                                                                          I use two All Clad d5 10" fry pans, one traditional and one nonstick: the nonstick came with a very nice domed lid (which may not be available any more from Williams-Sonoma). I bought the nonstick because I'm not totally convinced I'm good enough to use my traditional omelette pan--but I'm learning. I got the pair of mine separately on EBAY in competitive bidding for about $140. If you can afford them, you can't beat DeMeyere Atlantis for induction.

                                                                          Ray

                                                                          1. re: drrayeye

                                                                            Thanks, Ray.

                                                                            But yikes! $240 for an 8" nonstick Demeyere fry pan?!

                                                                            The nonstick All Clad d5 is almost cheap by comparison.

                                                                            1. re: paly

                                                                              Hi Paly,

                                                                              It's the best. You can do a little better than that:

                                                                              http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                                                                              If you're patient, you might find it on EBAY for $150

                                                                              I'd love to have DeMeyere as a gift, but for my dime I'm thrilled with All Clad d5 10".

                                                                              Ray

                                                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                    Hi Duffy,

                                                                                    It's not bare metal either. They consider their finish better than nonstick.

                                                                                    Ray

                                                                                    1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                      Hi Ray,

                                                                                      Better how? It's pretty clear that paly wants cookware to which an egg won't stick. Demeyere, wonderful though it is, doesn't meet the specified criteria.

                                                                                      "I tried to convince him to use a plain stainless fry pan and even showed him a youtube video showing how (preheat pan, then add oil/butter) to avoid sticking, but he's not convinced."

                                                                                      Demeyere makes no claims about Silvinox being nonstick, or better than nonstick. They compare it to stainless steel that hasn't been treated.

                                                                                      http://www.demeyere.be/default.asp?SL...

                                                                                      I had a short love affair with Demeyree, but then reality set in and I realized it was good, but it wasn't what I wanted. My experience with Silvinox was a big "meh". It didn't make the pan easier for me to clean, didn't prevent water spots, it was just a big nothing to me. Others love it and can't say enough good things about it. That's how it goes sometimes.

                                                                                      Duffy

                                                                            2. re: paly

                                                                              Hi paly,

                                                                              I'm a big fan of the Zwilling Henckels Spirit. It uses a Thermolon ceramic coating that is oven safe to 500º. I've got the 3 quart sauté and after 6 months it looks and performs like it's still day one. The pan itself is a nice thick 3-ply, about the same thickness as All-Clad. I'm very impressed with the performance. http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store...

                                                                              I would also recommend the All-Clad you mentioned, because it has such an outstanding warranty, or the Mauviel M'Cook. M'Collection de Cuisine is the same thing, only exclusive to SLT.

                                                                              I've got some Mauviel M'Stone, and although it's nice, it isn't recognized as easily as the stainless pans are. Because of this, it is slow to heat, and I sometimes feel like I need to use a higher setting with it.

                                                                              FWIW, there's a silicone sleeve that fits the Mauviel handles very well. It's the Update International handle cover. I used a little mineral oil on the pan handle to ease it on. It's nice and snug and gives an excellent grip. http://smile.amazon.com/Update-Intern...

                                                                              Duffy

                                                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                Hi Duffy,

                                                                                Keep in mind that paly is looking specifically for an omelette pan that will transition from a heat generating source to a magnetic source. Demeyer and All Clad both went to multi clad solutions specifically for such induction applications. Why? Because one could not both capture and spread temperature evenly up the sides of the fry pans--unless they had another magnetic layer. Demeyer added still another safety layer to demagnetize the pan above 500 degrees.

                                                                                Used for sauteeing, your tri ply is fine; also for sauce pans. For fry pans and skillets--and omelettes, one pays a magnetic induction penalty compared to multi clad fry pans.

                                                                                You get what you pay for.

                                                                                Ray

                                                                                1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                  Hi Ray,

                                                                                  I've used clad pans with a thick aluminum layer, and I've used a Demeyere Proline 7-ply skillet, supposedly optimized for induction. I can say from my own experience that a clad pan with a thick aluminum core will spread heat quickly and evenly on an induction hob. The difference, if any exists, between various thick-core pans is negligible, at best.

                                                                                  When my dude used the Zwilling sauté for it's first outing, he crowded the pan with breakfast sausage patties, edge to edge. After flipping them, he called me over to see how evenly browned they were. That they were so even as to warrant a shout-out "Hey! Come look" is pretty telling. This is a good pan.

                                                                                  I have a 5-ply clad Bonjour saucier that while excellent, does no better than my Zwilling sauté or my 3-ply Vollrath Tribute saucier, in which the aluminum is 3mm thick, which IIRC is almost as thick as Demyere's core.

                                                                                  "You get what pay for" isn't always true, not even in the world of induction cookware.

                                                                                  Side note - The Demeyere Proline (Atlantis) doesn't have the heat limiter you mentioned. That's only available in the ControlInduc line, at an extra cost. It's probably overkill for an omelet pan that won't be used at high heat and won't be left unattended.

                                                                                  The man wants to fry an egg. IME, it's not necessary to spend a lot of money to do that, and do it very well, on an induction cooktop.

                                                                                  Duffy

                                                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                    Hi Duffy,

                                                                                    After reading your post, I am now very intrigued by Zwilling Spirit Stainless Steel cookware.
                                                                                    Could you tell me more about them?
                                                                                    For those inside lining are 18/10 SS, are they not?

                                                                                    I am a newbie to SS cooking and have been practicing with cheap Cuisinart SS pan (just the disk on the bottom, not clad) for awhile and I now feel comfortable enough to invest in a slightly better cookware set.
                                                                                    Reading this thread opened my eyes to the outside of AC and CA.
                                                                                    Thank you.

                                                                                    1. re: tokyogirl123

                                                                                      Hi tokyogirl123,

                                                                                      The Zwilling Spirit is available in both nonstick and uncoated versions. The uncoated (stainless steel cooking surface) are indeed 18/10. The exterior is magnetic steel for both.

                                                                                      I'd suggest you buy a skillet from BB&B or another store with an excellent return policy, in case you find it's not for you. If you want the bare steel, be sure it doesn't say "nonstick" or "Thermolon" anywhere in the description.

                                                                                      Zwilling has a number of lines that are all virtually identical. I wrote to Zwilling to ask about construction and was told that Spirit, Sol, and Tru-Clad are all identical pans, with different handles. Some are also nonstick. Prices are all quite similar. If you like the pan, but not the handle, you can try another.

                                                                                      Duffy

                                                                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                        Thank you, Duffy.

                                                                                        I am quite sold on Zwilling Spirit (uncoated) now. I happened to like the glass cover and also the stay-cool handles are must for a klutz like me.
                                                                                        Didn't realize that they have a several lines that are identical (except the handles). Very good information to have.

                                                                                        Now I am debating whether to get piece by piece or buy a set...

                                                                                        What made me hesitant towards Cuisinart MCP Pro set (Not French line) was the fact more new purchasers seem to have a pitting issues with a set; especially with pots... some of them suspect the material used in newer sets but CA representative are not very forthcoming with the details. One representative actually told me that pure SS and 18/10 SS are the same thing.
                                                                                        Another rep sent me email saying "Each set can be made up of both 18/10 and 100% stainless steel cookware pieces, The only way to tell if a piece of cookware is either 18/10 or 100% stainless steel is to look on the bottom of the cookware itself. If the cookware says 18/10 then it is 18/10, if it does not say 18/10 then it is 100% stainless steel"
                                                                                        I don't know if it is an accurate statement even tho it comes directly from CA customer service since I own older CA SS pot that doesn't state 18/10 on the bottom but magnet doesn't stick to it at all... that led me to believe that it is not a pure SS but 18/8 or 18/10?
                                                                                        I understand that to be compatible with induction cooktop, newer pots/pans need to have 18/0 on the outside but it will be nice for manufacturer to clearly states what is used for interior of the pots/pans. For some reason, CA is doing very poor job on that.
                                                                                        I just gave up on getting a straight answer from CA and came here to find out there are a lot more choices than only AC or CA.
                                                                                        After studying this thread, I am taking Duffy's advice to look into the ones with thicker clad construction than that of CA which I never gave a thought before coming here.

                                                                                        Thank you again for your insightful posts.

                                                                                        1. re: tokyogirl123

                                                                                          Hi tokyogirl,

                                                                                          You're welcome.

                                                                                          Much has been made of the various grades of stainless steel. The metal heads here on Chowhound taught me that 18/10, which I used to look for as the best quality steel for cookware, can legally be as low as 18/8.3, making it (potentially) no different than 18/8.

                                                                                          So I ignore such things, figuring words like "Surgical", "pure" and so on are just marketing hype.

                                                                                          About buying a set, my opinion, FWIW, is that if most of the pans are in the shapes and sizes you want, in the material you want, a set can make sense. Before buying, check the open stock prices for just the pieces you want in that line. If the set is less than that, it's a good buy. If it's more, walk away. No sense paying for pieces you don't want.

                                                                                          Look out for small pieces. Very often, sets have smaller pans, perhaps a 1 qt and 2 qt saucepan, and an 8" and 10" skillet, when you may need larger ones for your family. Beware the shiny things, let your needs guide you and you won't go wrong. Happy cooking!

                                                                                          Duffy

                                                                                    2. re: DuffyH

                                                                                      Hi Duffy,

                                                                                      Your Zwillig saute may be made by Demeyer (Zwillig owns Demeyer). They also make thermolon. You're right about the demagnetizing controlindic for Atlantis Proline. It's not on that model.

                                                                                      I don't think that Demeyer would argue against the power of aluminum spreading at the base--they actually make saucepans with a disconnect between the base and sides. The claim is that the 7 pli spreads evenly right up the sides (which may matter for an omelette); you're just testing the bottom.

                                                                                      I'm just going by tech reports and super glowing reviews--which I believe. After all, I chose All Clad d5 based on similar reports. I've never seen or used a DeMeyer product. If I bought one, it would have to have controlindic--and cost in the range of a comparable AC d5 on EBAY--and I'm not looking. I've only used AC d5 with induction myself--with very positive results. I use tri clad with saucepans.

                                                                                      It's possible to get a decent to outstanding magnetized omelette pan of Chinese manufacture for peanuts. Paly has so far been looking at high end European products and All Clad for his dad.

                                                                                      I posted an Atlantis 9.7" proline sale item for $150 for paly (Zwillig--today only)--if he's interested.

                                                                                      Ray

                                                                                    3. re: drrayeye

                                                                                      Hi Ray,

                                                                                      <Demeyer and All Clad both went to multi clad solutions specifically for such induction applications. Why? Because one could not both capture and spread temperature evenly up the sides of the fry pans--unless they had another magnetic layer. >

                                                                                      I'm not sure what you mean by a "another magnetic layer."

                                                                                      Are you saying that the middle steel layer on the AC d5 is magnetic? And that Demeyere has a similar setup?

                                                                                      Duffy

                                                                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                        Hi Duffy,

                                                                                        Sometimes manufacturers patent processes, and sometimes they just keep quiet. We don't know exactly how those multiple layers work for any energy source, but with magnetic based energy, the multiple layers will act differently. We also don't know how perfectly the magnetic SS layer in contact with the induction source is performing, let alone how, or if the magnetism is transferred across layers, but we can guess.

                                                                                        It's interesting that the two companies that explored induction the most both came up with multi clad solutions that have aluminum strips surrounded by stainless steel, isn't it?

                                                                                        Ray

                                                                                        1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                          Interesting, yes, but probably not for any reasons related to induction fields.

                                                                                          1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                            I don't know how would even define what is perfect performance of an induction layer, let alone measure it. But the basic design of a tri-ply induction compatible pan is straightforward: the bottom is a type of stainless steel which will be heated in the field of an induction cooker; the cooking surface is stainless steel because many people prefer to cook on a clean, shiny surface; there is an aluminum layer between the SS layers to spread the heat more evenly to avoid hot spots. I don't see what is the interesting part in the basic design.

                                                                                            1. re: GH1618

                                                                                              Hi GH1518,

                                                                                              We know that those who have focused attention on induction have gone to 5 and even 7 cladded layers of metal.

                                                                                              In what way would it be beneficial for induction to have the aluminum layer split in half by a layer of stainless steel?

                                                                                              Ray

                                                                                              1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                The center layer of steel--so the theory goes--is there to *slow* the heat vertically and "spread* it laterally. It is not intended to be induced to generate heat two or more layers above the true heat source. If that were the case, the bottom layer of aluminum would be misplaced.

                                                                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                  Hi Kaleo,

                                                                                                  I'm not asking about heat from a conventional source, I'm asking about heat in the context of magnetic energy. I'm especially asking in the context of Demeyere researchers, in particular, who came up with their cladded approach in their exploration of induction heating. You think it's coincidence?

                                                                                                  Ray

                                                                                                  1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                    Coincidence? No. Specifically related to induction? No.

                                                                                                    The only Demeyere technology I'm aware of which specifically relates to induction is ControlInduc. This is a nice feature, but the Herr Docktor Professors in YouTube lab smocks aren't winning any Nobels for it, since certain steels (actually, a lot of them) go non-magnetic at the upper end of cooking temperatures. CI, like Silvinox, isn't even used on all their pans.

                                                                                                    When Demeyere says their pans are "optimized" for induction, I take that to mean they picked an alloy for a single lower layer that is efficiently induced.

                                                                                                2. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                  I happen to have a piece of All-Clad LTD2 which has that design. The center layer of SS is supposed to slow the conduction of heat in the direction orthogonal to the surface, which should result in more even heating. I don't know if there is anything to it or not. It's irrelevant to the way I use the pan. That isn't the reason I bought it.

                                                                                                  In general, I think most of the high-tech features of high-end pots and pans are just there for marketing. Cooks can do well enough buying pans for those characteristics which laymen can easily understand and appreciate.

                                                                                                  1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                    <We know that those who have focused attention on induction have gone to 5 and even 7 cladded layers of metal.>

                                                                                                    So have many others. Off the top of my head, Cooks Standard, USA Pans and Berghoff, to name three. I wouldn't say any of them are thinking particularly of induction, beyond making the exterior of magnetic steel.

                                                                                                    Mauviel has a 5-ply line, yet you don't claim they're "exploring" or "focused" on induction. Rather, you kind of dismissed them, saying they're known for copper.

                                                                                                    Frankly, I don't get it. Conductivity is still about aluminum and copper, and how much of it is used. Cook on several different thick clad pans and you'll see there's not much difference in the experience. Once you've got a nice fat conductive sandwich, the differences are largely in pan shape, fit and finish, and handle design. That's esthetics, not performance. I am convinced that if you stuck a Mauviel handle on a d5 pan, I'd find it a joy to use, probably quite similar to my Vollrath pan.

                                                                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                      Duffy,

                                                                                                      Have you explored exactly how many funded scientists are working on induction at Cooks Standard, USA Pans, and Berghoff? There are many scientists not involved in the cooking industry at all who are interested in the complexities of induction. None of the cookware companies go much beyond tokenism to the science behind their products, they're small, and many of them have been bought up, like Demeyere.

                                                                                                      If you think that the type of quotes you find on company websites is sufficient to explain the underlying science behind induction and conductivity, don't worry, stay happy.

                                                                                                      I know what I don't understand. At the same time, on a practical level, dollar for dollar, I'm thrilled with my AC 10" d5 fry pans, both nonstick and bare metal, but prefer tri clad for saucepans. For the one pot dishes I'm shifting towards, everything is mostly Staub and Le Creuset, oval and round, up to 7 1/2 qts.

                                                                                                      Ray

                                                                                                      1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                        Hi Ray,

                                                                                                        <Have you explored exactly how many funded scientists are working on induction at Cooks Standard, USA Pans, and Berghoff?>

                                                                                                        No. I don't care. Nor should I, as you pointed out when you wrote <None of the cookware companies go much beyond tokenism to the science behind their products,...>. We agree, they're adding layers to sell pans. Not because additional layers make the pans inherently better. It may be better to have more layers, but we don't know unless we cook on it, because they're not giving us hard data to back up their claims.

                                                                                                        <If you think that the type of quotes you find on company websites is sufficient to explain the underlying science behind induction and conductivity, don't worry, stay happy.>

                                                                                                        Quite the contrary. I think all the hype on company websites is hype. I supposed that you had taken some of it to heart when you wrote <Demeyer and All Clad both went to multi clad solutions specifically for such induction applications. Why? Because one could not both capture and spread temperature evenly up the sides of the fry pans--unless they had another magnetic layer.> That read an awful like you'd gotten drunk on their Kool-Aid.

                                                                                                        In my experience, a thick aluminum core frypan will transfer heat very nicely right up the side of the pan. It happens on my induction range several times a week. That's the point I've been trying to make.

                                                                                                        Is a 7-ply Demeyere or Viking better than a 3-ply Calphalon pan? Absolutely. No question. Is that 7-ply pan better than a Vollrath Tribute with a 3mm aluminum core? Well, that's debatable and worthy of testing.

                                                                                                        D

                                                                                                3. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                  It appears Demeyere's magnetic layer is strictly on the exterior.

                                                                                                  From the website:

                                                                                                  "Details of the 7-ply

                                                                                                  stainless steel at the inside of the pot (1)
                                                                                                  A thin coat of pure aluminium for perfect adhesion (2)
                                                                                                  A layer of aluminium alloy for heat conduction (3)
                                                                                                  A thin coat of pure aluminium for perfect adhesion (4)
                                                                                                  A combination of three special alloys (TriplInduc) with magnetic properties for optimal use in combination with induction cooking (5-6-7)"

                                                                                                  And although All-Clad has a central steel layer, they don't claim that it's in any way related to induction:

                                                                                                  "The patented stainless core significantly improves stability to prevent warping and maximises the thermal conductivity of aluminum"

                                                                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                    Sure, Duffy,

                                                                                                    I've read it too. Does it all make sense to you? How does that magnetism seep across all those layers? How and when do we measure that magnetic transformation that turns d5 or Atlantis into a hot fry pan? Why multiclad? Isn't that a huge waste of money?

                                                                                                    Ray

                                                                                                    1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                      <Why multiclad? Isn't that a huge waste of money?>

                                                                                                      Not really. Aluminum is cheap. Given the premium that can be charged for increased layers, if it adds $10/pan in cost, it's a bargain.

                                                                                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                        Hi Duffy,

                                                                                                        Why can a premium be charged for increased layers?

                                                                                                        Ray

                                                                                                        1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                          <Why can a premium be charged for increased layers?>

                                                                                                          Because people will pay more if a pan has five layers rather than three. They'll do it because the marketing department tells them 5 is better.

                                                                                                      2. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                        Magnetism doesn't seep. The alternating waves propagate through all the layers equally. The field quickly falls off as a function of distance--the inverse of the square root.

                                                                                                        The efficiency comes with picking an alloy within which the field will generate a great deal of friction, manipulated for skin effect, and putting it as close to the bottom of the pan as practicable.

                                                                                                        You will note from the YouTube vid that the skinny Belgian departs from the script, and admits that the 3 steel layers are there first and foremost to prevent warping.

                                                                                                        They're also there to make the line perform similarly on induction and non-induction hobs. Demeyere learned the painful lesson of Mauviel's InducInox line, which was superb on induction, but utter crap on anything else.

                                                                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                          Hi K,

                                                                                                          See, this is way more science than I'm comfortable with, and I'm a science-y kind of girl. But I'm glad you're here to explain it. I just skim along, note your reference to the skinny Belgian (who is nerd-hot in a weird way, but that's oversharing,I know) and nod my head with the music.

                                                                                                          You know what I'm about. Pan's got fat layers of aluminum? Got a magnetic exterior? Bring it on. It'll likely perform like a dream. Hell, I'd even get one with copper if anyone would bring the price down so I could justify it. But please, don't hit me with marketing spin. I don't want to hear it.

                                                                                                          Duffy

                                                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                            The people here who have Chantal Copper Fusion seem to like it. It's enamelled steel with a copper core. Swinging prices on Amazon & eBay, but ugly colors IMO. My bitch with them is they won't say how thick the core is, but they're heavy.

                                                                                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                              "You know what I'm about. Pan's got fat layers of aluminum? Got a magnetic exterior? Bring it on. It'll likely perform like a dream."

                                                                                                              Hi Duffy,

                                                                                                              I could see where you were going there. Sort of. Then you said:

                                                                                                              "But please, don't hit me with marketing spin. I don't want to hear it."

                                                                                                              I would have sworn that you started your comment with marketing spin.

                                                                                                              Ray

                                                                                                              1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                                Hey Ray,

                                                                                                                <I would have sworn that you started your comment with marketing spin.>

                                                                                                                The thickness of the aluminum core can be measured. It's easily seen on most pans. The marketing team can try to spin it, but I have a tape measure in my kitchen.

                                                                                                                Magnetic exterior goes along with dimensions and capacity. They're need to know details.

                                                                                                                Duffy

                                                                                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                  Hi Duffy,

                                                                                                                  Aluminum thickness can be measured, but not purity. Thermoclad claims that they have special capsules that are 30% purer.

                                                                                                                  A better test IMO is whether or not you can get your money back. If I put the two AC d5 10" I bought about a year in a half ago for sale on EBAY, I could get my money back--or even make a profit. Now, if I tried it with my Tramontina's, I'd get nothing--and, as much as I love them, they're both showing wear already: one has chipped, and both of them have lost their glossiness.

                                                                                                                  Ray

                                                                                                                  1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                                    Hi Ray,

                                                                                                                    <A better test IMO is whether or not you can get your money back. If I put the two AC d5 10" I bought about a year in a half ago for sale on EBAY, I could get my money back--or even make a profit. Now, if I tried it with my Tramontina's, I'd get nothing--and, as much as I love them, they're both showing wear already: one has chipped, and both of them have lost their glossiness.
                                                                                                                    >

                                                                                                                    I wouldn't say resale value is a test of quality, but rather that quality drives resale value, for well-known brands. Take a less common label and see what happens. It may outperform a well-known brand in the kitchen, and still not hold resale. Which do you care most about?

                                                                                                                    You're right that not every claim made can be measured. WS claims their aluminum, by virtue of it's purity, provides better heat distribution. That's the kind of claim that we can only test in our kitchens. HOW MUCH better does their aluminum distribute heat? They don't say. Maybe it's only 5% improvement. Maybe less.

                                                                                                                    They also claim "up to...." 35% better conductivity. "Up to" is the weasliest of the weasel words. If their Thermo-Clad has .001% better conductivity than just one other brand, their claim is true. So it's meaningless to me and I ignore it.

                                                                                                                    Duffy

                                                                                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                      . . . claims their aluminum, by virtue of it's purity, provides better heat distribution.

                                                                                                                      if you go to a materials engineering site and look up the heat transfer coefficient(s) of pure aluminum vs various alloys you will find that common alloys are about 50% as good a 'pure' aluminum.

                                                                                                                      so....you might not have to go too far up the scale in purity to see a measurable difference.

                                                                                                                      ...........as if you can call them up and they'd tell you what alloy they are using.............

                                                                                                                      1. re: PSRaT

                                                                                                                        Hi PSRaT,

                                                                                                                        <common alloys are about 50% as good a 'pure' aluminum.>

                                                                                                                        Now that's interesting. It lends some credence to my RW experience showing that more plies don't help.

                                                                                                                        Duffy

                                                                                                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                          It also spotlights why there can be 3 adjacent layers of aluminum in multi-layer clad: High purity aluminum doesn't bond well to other metals, but it can be bonded to aluminum alloys that do.

                                                                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                            my suggestion would be to abandon all hope on learning the truth about "plies"

                                                                                                                            the people who do "marketing" would likely say a pot has X+2 plies because it's inside a polyethylene bag when shipped....

                                                                                                                            here's the ueber basic deal:
                                                                                                                            there's two properties that come into play regards how a "pan" performs

                                                                                                                            thermal conductivity - how 'fast' heat moves through the materials. sometimes alluded to as "even heating" - but the "even" bit only happens because it conducts a lot of heat energy rapidly . . .

                                                                                                                            thermal 'content' - how much heat is required for a material to increase its temp by one degree. this is aka how much heat it absorbs / gives off aka "this pan hold heat well" - conversely, "preheat required"

                                                                                                                            thermal conductivity is directly related to the cross section of 'they layer' - i.e. "thickness"
                                                                                                                            silver is the best metallic heat conductor, but iffin' you're thinking a 0.002-0.003 inch thick flash layer aka 'ply' (of anything) brings any real value to the party,,,,, that would be an 'oops!' people of the solid copper persuasion debate whether 2.0 mm is even worth buying as it does not perform as well as 2.5/3.0 mm thick copper.....

                                                                                                                            heat content aka specific heat aka a few dozen other terms is measure in heat energy per mass - i.e. BTU per pound. aluminum actually holds heat much better than cast iron; but everyone loves cast iron because it 'holds heat' - why is that? simple: for a given pan size, the cast iron has mucho more mass than the typical aluminum construction.....

                                                                                                                            someone recently mentioned they had a old Brand X solid aluminum pan that weighed in at 3 pounds. my ten inch cast iron weights about that - but mebets that aluminum pan will put a seriously more better sizzle on a steak than my cast iron.

                                                                                                                            bottom line, one has to take all these things into consideration. focusing on plies or thickness is not going to produce a magic "best"

                                                                                                                            and 'plies up the side' - oh dear. that's another issue.

                                                                                                                            this is why one seeks out people who have used these things and can offer some real world experience. it is simply not possible to do an exacting engineering analysis for the obvious reason that manufactures will not tell you how thick, what alloy, etc and el barfo.

                                                                                                              2. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                "Magnetism doesn't seep. The alternating waves propagate through all the layers equally. The field quickly falls off as a function of distance--the inverse of the square root."

                                                                                                                Hi Kaleo,

                                                                                                                please explain the difference between magnetic based propagation and radiant based propagation. You can start with gas if you'd like

                                                                                                                Ray

                                                                                                                1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                                  I think you can easily find primers on how induction fields work at sites like Wikipedia.

                                                                                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                    Aloha, Kaleo,

                                                                                                                    As a user/expert, you've got to do better than that. You've actually cooked a great deal with induction and gas and have some technical understanding of the physical processes. I'd place you way way above WIKI--which usually gets things wrong at the most inopportune times.

                                                                                                                    What needs to be explained are the differences in energy transmission (induction vs. gas) in something close to real time for a multiclad (say AC d5), a tri ply (say classic AC tri-clad), and straight magnetic metal (say Dansk Kobenstyle enameled steel) specifically focused on cooking food. Then give some practical cooking examples of tradeoffs both ways between the approaches in your real world experience,

                                                                                                                    I think that I'd learn a great deal.

                                                                                                                    Ray

                                                                                                                    1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                                      Hi, Ray:

                                                                                                                      Your previous posts indicate some confusion or unfamiliarity with how induction works, and why pans are constructed the way they are. I think you could benefit from some outside research, beyond the makers' ad copy. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to serve it up to you on order.

                                                                                                                      The Kobenstyle pans and salad bowls you mention tend to be efficient performers on ALL hobs. Yet they are poor performers by most meaningful measures. The single virtue of thin, low-conductivity pans heating quickly is not a virtue which is desirable in isolation, IMO/E, unless your cooking is limited to boiling water and steaming. Such wares tend to exacerbate uneven hobs and promote scorching. Unless your paella pan is quite small, it should be a case in point. If it is much larger than your hob, I think you already know what I mean.

                                                                                                                      Aloha,
                                                                                                                      Kaleo

                                                                                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                        Hi Kaleo,

                                                                                                                        I read up on induction for about three months before I made the plunge, and it was fascinating. At the practical level, I'm doing fine, supplementing my induction with two radient hobs for warmup, or, boiling. In addition, I have convection ovens and a microwave.

                                                                                                                        On the science level, I'm baffled by the comments I'm reading in Chowhound, especially about the role of cladding. I'm not a specialist in this area of science, but you don't need to be a weatherman to see which way the wind blows. Things here are as clear as mud.

                                                                                                                        I'm indirectly familiar with Kobenstyle cookware because it complements the Danish Dansk teak and rosewood furniture I used in my own personal interior designs years ago. Kobenstyle cookware was part of the modern displays I relied on for inspiration.

                                                                                                                        I now know that Kobenstyle was made primarily in France with an enameling process still occasionally used by Le Creuset (i.e. in their stockpots). Thirty and forty years later Kobenstyle cookware is still being used and exchanged--and not just for exhibition--and in other parts of the world as well. Induction is making this rebirth into a renaissance of sorts, and Lenox/Dansk is actually reissuing copies of previous designs, some with proper cladding, out of Thailand.

                                                                                                                        My 13" paella pan only has about a 10" round base that actually contacts the induction surface. One cooks from the inside out. There is clearly a multi-ethnic cooking culture supported by this cookware.

                                                                                                                        Ray

                                                                                                                        1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                                          Hi Ray,

                                                                                                                          You're saying that the adoption of induction is driving a renewed interest in KS cookware. Not necessarily. Because both things are happening doesn't imply a causal relationship.

                                                                                                                          Setting that aside, and accepting your initial premise, it's still a logic leap to conclude that the *reason* KS is gaining popularity is because it is better than clad on induction.

                                                                                                                          Maybe there's a market for it simply because it works on induction, where copper, most old clad and bare aluminum pans don't. Induction took off in Europe, people needed pans, and remembered Auntie's stuff in the attic. Word spread. Occam's razor.

                                                                                                                          Enameled steel works well on induction. No question, because in normal parlance "works" means it heats quickly. That doesn't mean it's more responsive or even than clad goods.

                                                                                                                          A few days ago you mentioned enamel's poor conductivity, by way of telling me why ECI is so crappy for a skillet, but naked iron is good. So it's bad over iron, but good over steel?

                                                                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                            Hi, Duffy:

                                                                                                                            I think you're on the right track. I think the "resurgence" Ray is seeing may be thoughtfully aesthetic and that's about it. The Danish Modern, MidCentury look appeals to many people who also like the minimalistic look of black Ceran cooktops.

                                                                                                                            It pleases some folks to feel "modern" simply for modernity's sake. Witness the Alessi and MOMA phenomena. It falls to Luddites like me to point out that performance and this aesthetic only occasionally coincide in the kitchen. Example: Taverna by Georg Jensen.

                                                                                                                            Aloha,
                                                                                                                            Kaleo

                                                                                                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                              Hi Duffy,

                                                                                                                              It is what it is. When we were first using Kobenstyle cooking as part of Dansk design displays (now called "Danish Modern"), we often did it with induction tops in the 70's (in Laguna Beach): it was how we sold real estate. Induction was always there in our minds as a concept. I never did any cooking with Kobenstyle, but I've got a good idea what foods were prepared, because I was raised Swedish.

                                                                                                                              Kobenstyle cooking never went away--passed on from generation to generation. Induction just gives it an extra push.

                                                                                                                              It's not the enamel that has the conductivity spread problem--it's the cast iron part when used as if it were cladded SS.

                                                                                                                              Ray

                                                                                                                              1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                                                Hi Ray,

                                                                                                                                My mistake. Looking back, I see it was Caroline1 who wrote that.

                                                                                                                                <There is a place for the Staub perfect pan to do stir fry, because 1) it does change temperature at the high end rapidly>

                                                                                                                                <They (LC and Staub) are both terrible for induction. To be somewhat responsive they need some liquid inside, like the perfect pan, a saucier, or a braiser. The liquid helps spread the heat.>

                                                                                                                                See, when you write "stir fry", I think it applies to dry stir fry, too. That's me reading a broader meaning than you had in mind.

                                                                                                                                If that's how you're looking at using enameled steel, well, sure, it can be "somewhat responsive". But that's not what I call a responsive pan. Response to me means that the contents of the pan will drop from boil to simmer when heat is reduced. Right away. That's downward response. Steel and iron are no match for aluminum and copper in that regard. Not even on induction.

                                                                                                                                That's why I went with induction in the first place, to take advantage of pans that are designed to offer that quick response. Using my old radiant range was like cooking everything in cast iron or carbon steel. S-l-o-w response.

                                                                                                                                I suspect part of our disconnect may be the way we cook. I think you do a lot more moist cooking than I do. Braises and such, right? Probably 80% of my food is dry fried in a sauté pan or skillet. Pan sauces and pasta tosses rule, along with the dry stir fry. I don't even own an ECI dutch oven. I don't need one, because I only use my DO on the stovetop. I think we're coming at cooking from two different perspectives.

                                                                                                                                Duffy

                                                                                                              3. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                I suspected the "stability" aspect and am glad you found it and mentioned it. The notable characteristic of my LTD2 French skillet is that it is extremely light for a large pan. I expect there is unstated goal here. Because the pan is thinner than the earlier version, it would be unstable without the extra steel layer. There may be a cost savings to using less total material with a more complex manufacturing process.

                                                                                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                  There is no reason that anything but the outer layer of any pan should be heated by induction, and a reason why other layers should not be. If an inner layer were heated by induction there would be no point to the intervening layers.

                                                                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                    Makes sense to me, GH. Given that the goal is generating heat, if a middle layer can be heated with an induction coil, we don't need the exterior layers.

                                                                                                                    Duffy

                                                                                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                      ...and we'd need even more layers of aluminum on top to prevent the dreaded doughnut hotspot.

                                                                                                                      Maybe 17 layers?

                                                                                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                        Sure. 17, 18, whatever it takes. Since the pan is optimized for induction, we don't have to worry about decreasing response with increasing thickness.

                                                                                                                      2. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                        Hi Duffy,

                                                                                                                        Why not just the magnetic layer? Have you tried stainless mixing bowls? If you put the enameled steel Kobenstyle of the 70's on induction, they work just fine. So fine, that an underground users group "forced" Dansk/Lenox to bring them back. I have an old Kobenstyle paella pan, and a cladded version of the beloved trivet topped sauce pan.

                                                                                                                        Ray

                                                                                                                        1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                                          Hey Ray,

                                                                                                                          <Have you tried stainless mixing bowls? >

                                                                                                                          I have! I was surprised, and a little bemused when my thin, cheap mixing bowls heated up really fast. So fast, they're nearly useless on the cooktop. Kaleo explained it as the "skin effect".

                                                                                                                          I do melt butter in one (over low heat!) when I make croutons. Then I add the garlic and cubed bread, and toss. Easy peasy. Takes about 30 seconds to melt a stick. Faster than the microwave.

                                                                                                                          Duffy

                                                                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                            Hi Duffy,

                                                                                                                            Go to EBAY, type in Kobenstyle. You will discover pots and pans being traded that go back and back: enameled steel mostly--Kaleo's "skin effect."

                                                                                                                            Hundreds of thousands of mostly Scandinavian people have been cooking on these pots, and passing them on as heirlooms for more than 40 years.

                                                                                                                            I've got a 13" paella pan.

                                                                                                                            Interesting?

                                                                                                                            Ray

                                                                                                                            1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                                              Hi Ray,

                                                                                                                              Sure, Kobenstyle are interesting. Any vintage cookware interests me. Heirloom cookware is nice, precisely because it's cookware, and was (hopefully) frequently used over the years. I imagine they'd be treasured the in the Scandinavian countries the way many people here love Grandma's old black skillet. I find it more interesting than heirloom china or silver. It seems to me to have more life. I like old everyday things, not the fancy "company" stuff. Cookware tops my list of cool things to inherit. Well, behind cash, of course. One has certain standards, you know.

                                                                                                                              The shapes and colors don't wow me, but that's just my taste, and not important. And I've no great passion for cooking on enameled steel. It's more limited in scope than clad stainless or even better, anodized aluminum. Still, I'm the cook who stubbornly uses her grandmother's rolling pin, despite the fact that an unfinished closet pole would work far better. So yeah, when it comes to treasuring the purely functional, I've got no cred at all. I fall for sentimentality every time.

                                                                                                                              It's neat stuff, and right in your wheelhouse, fitting well with the way you're cooking lately. Are you planning to collect it?

                                                                                                                              Duffy

                                                                                                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                Hi Duffy,

                                                                                                                                Not only collect, but use. As I mentioned, I've got a 13" paella pan that I've already used and a SS tri pli reproduction saucepan that is competitive with my thermo clad and AC saucepans. Look at the stylized handles and shape. My point, though, is that non cladded enameled steel has been used successfully in home cooking for decades and is showing a resurgence partly because of induction cooking.

                                                                                                                                Given the "hot spot" criticisms of enameled steel, this usage should have died out long ago, but au contraire . . .

                                                                                                                                And after 30 years, you can still get your money back on EBAY.

                                                                                                                                Ray

                                                                                                                                1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                                                  Hi Ray,

                                                                                                                                  <My point, though, is that...enameled steel...is showing a resurgence partly because of induction cooking.>

                                                                                                                                  How did you come to this conclusion?

                                                                                                                                  Duffy

                                                                                                                                  1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                                                    Back to the discussion about cookware recommendations, I will mention another brand:CIA.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: brooktroutchaser

                                                                                                                                      Hi, btc:

                                                                                                                                      This is intetesting. Please educate me--beyond what's in the description on the linked site?

                                                                                                                                      I confess I'm jaded when I hear of copper core sandwiched 'twixt aluminum--it conveys scant copper.

                                                                                                                                      Who actually makes CIA? I presume it's jobbed out to one of the major makers, e.g., Meyer. Do you know?

                                                                                                                                      Genuinely Interested,
                                                                                                                                      Aloha,
                                                                                                                                      Kaleo

                                                                                                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                        Hi K,

                                                                                                                                        I found some real info on CIA. You'll want to alert the media and sit down, they give some numbers.

                                                                                                                                        "CIA Masters Collection Cookware was designed from the ground up by CIA certified master chefs to be a high performance cooking tool that will provide years of service. The 7-clad construction features a core of copper (.6mm) sandwiched by a total of .8mm of aluminum. The cooking surface of the CIA cookware is 304 18/10 brushed stainless steel so it's non-reactive, very hard and durable. The exterior of the CIA cookware pans are 436 magnetic stainless steel so they are compatible with any cooking heat source, including magnetic induction. For those CIA pans that come with lids, the lids are a sturdy 1mm thick 305 18/10 stainless steel tooled just for the piece it's made for."

                                                                                                                                        If I'm reading this correctly, they've got some damn thin layers there. The copper and aluminum combined is 1.4mm... In 7 layers.

                                                                                                                                        1.4mm with likely another 1mm of steel isn't a very impressive 7-ply pan. Well, it's impressive that they've got 7 layers in ~2.5mm. To be fair, they're priced like AC, not like Demeyere.

                                                                                                                                        IIRC it is made in China. Likely Meyer.

                                                                                                                                        Duffy

                                                                                                                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the data. At least they're honest.

                                                                                                                                          Honestly underwhelmed.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                            <Honestly underwhelmed.>

                                                                                                                                            I hear that. The deeper I drill down into construction on some of the premium labels, the more impressed I am by the rugged simplicity of Vollrath Tribute.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                            If I recall, it is indeed Meyer. I think it's nearly identical to the old BonJour line.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: randallhank

                                                                                                                                              Hi Randallhank,

                                                                                                                                              It is close, but sadly for CIA, Bonjour has more copper in the same thickness. Only 5 layers, for those who are counting.

                                                                                                                                              "2.6 mm total thickness; 5-ply clad construction; Interior layer-0.4mm 18/10 stainless steel; bonding layer-0.3mm aluminum; core-1.0mm copper; bonding layer-0.3mm aluminum; exterior layer-0.6mm magnetized steel"
                                                                                                                                              http://smile.amazon.com/BonJour-Coppe...

                                                                                                                                              Duffy

                                                                                                                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                That is sad. Frankly, for a measly 1mm of copper I am not too high on the Bonjour. Meyer is capable of making great cookware, but they just don't. I feel like if you combined two or three of their lines you'd really be cooking. I've raved about the stainless line they made for Michael Chiarello, but the "Hestan" stuff they made for Williams Sonoma is really average, from what I've heard. Likewise for Bonjour, which is made at the same factory in Italy. Ironically, the old Costco set they made in Italy got rave reviews. So maybe expectations have something to do with it. My Chiarello pans have about the thickest bottom I've ever seen and cook as evenly as anything out there. Plus they have really functional, comfortable handles, set at the perfect angle, and the best pouring lips I have ever used (see photo). That whole set (6 pans, 4 lids) sold for just $600, and closeout was at $300! That just shows you how the All-Clads of the world take advantage.

                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                1. re: randallhank

                                                                                                                                                  Hi, randallhank: "Meyer is capable of making great cookware, but they just don't."

                                                                                                                                                  The borderline between *good* and *great* is inherently subjective (for instance, I don't consider wares that contain less than 2mm of copper or 4-5mm of aluminum "great"). The vast majority of the markets Meyer targets and serves isn't asking for--and won't buy--your or my definition of "great". Your Chiarello set is a perfect case in point; I suspect it sold like cowpies.

                                                                                                                                                  The Thermoclad line made for W-S by Meyer's flagship Hestan division is very good clad, IMO. It contains a bona fide 2mm of high-conductivity aluminum alloy, and I consider it at or very near parity with anything Demeyere or All-Clad makes. I submit that, for all but cookware geeks like us, these are exemplars of "really good" if not "great".

                                                                                                                                                  Another point. Meyer, as the largest distributor in USA and 2nd-largest worldwide, has its tentacles in just about everything. To be completely conversant about everything Meyer makes (over 100 lines in 30 countries, some of which aren't available in USA), licenses and produces as private labels (for purveyors like Sur la Table, Williams-Sonoma and Macy's) is truly daunting. I know no one who has encyclopedic knowledge of everything Stanley Cheng's empire produces. So, without such knowledge, saying "they just don't [make great cookware]" also risks missing things.

                                                                                                                                                  Have you measured the overall thickness of the Chiarello bottoms? Do you know the specs for the layer thicknesses? It would be interesting to know.

                                                                                                                                                  Aloha,
                                                                                                                                                  Kaleo

                                                                                                                2. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                  Hi paly,

                                                                                                                  Something was nagging me about your post, so this morning I re-read it. You want teflon-free nonstick. Sadly, All-Clad is not. They're still using PTFE nonstick, although I'm not sure what designation it is.

                                                                                                                  Still, if your father has a tendency to overheat his nonstick pan, this might be a good choice, based on AC's warranty service, which is stellar.

                                                                                                                  Similarly, Vollrath Tribute uses PTFE, so I couldn't recommend it to you. Further, their nonstick warranty is abysmal, because commercial cooks routinely use nonstick over high heat.

                                                                                                                  Duffy

                                                                                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                    Hi Duffy,

                                                                                                                    This is from the All Clad Website:

                                                                                                                    All-Clad's nonstick surfaces do not have harmful PFOA gases. The quality of our cookware eliminates hot spots that can damage nonstick and cause the surface to burn and flake off.

                                                                                                                    When used responsibly, nonstick cookware poses no threat to people or animals and can be useful in creating a healthy and well-balanced diet.

                                                                                                                    To prevent damaging the surfaces of your nonstick pans:


                                                                                                                    • Always cook on a low or low-medium heat.
                                                                                                                    • Never use a nonstick pan under a grill.
                                                                                                                    • Never leave any pan unattended on top of the stove or in the oven.
                                                                                                                    • Do not use metal utensils.
                                                                                                                    • Do not use abrasive cleaners or metallic scrubbing pads or brushes.
                                                                                                                    • Do not use aerosol spray oils on your nonstick cookware.
                                                                                                                    • Do not put your nonstick cookware in the dishwasher.
                                                                                                                    • Clean any cooking residue with a mixture of baking soda and water.

                                                                                                                    1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                                      you've fallen into the marketing trap.

                                                                                                                      PFOA and PTFE are two different compounds.

                                                                                                                      and, fwiw, multiple studies by multiple countries have not found any measurable PFOA in finished hard goods with PTFE coatings.

                                                                                                                      1. re: PSRaT

                                                                                                                        Thanks for the suggestions Duffy and Ray. I was unaware of the Zwilling option and will look into it. I think it might be manufactured in China--something I've been trying to avoid, however. I like the fact that the Mauviel M'Cook is rated for 680F which is overkill for frying an egg but provides some margin of safety in the hands of my potentially distracted father. ;-) If All Clad is good about replacing pans despite normal wear maybe getting an All Clad is more financially sound. Didn't know its coating contains PTFE, however.

                                                                                                                        PSRaT, when you write that PFOA and PTFE are different compounds are you suggesting All-Clad's claim of no PFOA gases is misleading by omission? Then you mention no measurable PFOA in finished hard goods with PTFE coatings. But isn't it high heat, 500F sometimes that triggers the off gas?

                                                                                                                        1. re: paly

                                                                                                                          Hi Paly,

                                                                                                                          If an induction surface reaches a temperature much above 450 degrees, it automatically shuts down, so 500 degrees would already include a safety factor. Mauviel specializes in copper, which means gas, not induction is their specialty. Demeyere is the one company that has really focused on induction, their surfaces are sometimes made available to non European manufacturers--especially through Zwellig, their parent company. All Clad has followed their multi clad lead, with d5 and copper core.

                                                                                                                          The high end companies take extra effort to protect the user, both through application of the product, and through the warranty. They are expecting to sell lifetime products:

                                                                                                                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtB8C2...

                                                                                                                          Ray

                                                                                                                          1. re: drrayeye

                                                                                                                            Hi Ray,

                                                                                                                            I haven't heard this before. The pan detector will trigger auto shutoff if no pan is present (30 seconds on mine) I have had parchment paper under a pan turn burn black, but not ignite into flames. I don't know parchment's upper limit, but think it's not very high, maybe 400ºF.

                                                                                                                            Last night our wok showed a temperature of 650º with food in it. It only contacts the cooktop in a 1" circle, though, with about another inch being very close to the glass. So it might not trigger auto shutoff. But I can't find anything in my owner's manual about this feature, either.

                                                                                                                            Perhaps this is a feature that varies by the maker?

                                                                                                                            Duffy

                                                                                                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                              Maybe there are some induction cooktop models that turn off the cooktop when the temperature of the glass reaches above 500F, the heat diffusing from the pot towards the induction rings below the glass. This would imply the pan can reach temperatures at or above 500F as you found. I assume "boost" mode on an induction cooktop would allow 10 minutes of high heat, but I suppose there is a way for the manufacturers to put a cap on the max temp, too.

                                                                                                                              1. re: paly

                                                                                                                                Hi paly,

                                                                                                                                Sure, I can see that. Some induction cooktops do cycle down from boost mode after a given time, no reason there couldn't be heat limiters.

                                                                                                                                With electronic controls, the makers have a whole new set of options. Some have boil-over limiters. I've no idea how they work, but I do wish my cooktop had this feature. Sadly, my pasta water boils over with annoying regularity.

                                                                                                                                Duffy

                                                                                                                          2. re: paly

                                                                                                                            short version:
                                                                                                                            PFOA is a compound using in getting the PTFE onto the pan substrate. it is a bad actor to health and environment. depending on country, it's been outlawed or voluntarily withdrawn. the PFOA used in hard goods does not linger - it's gone before the stuff leaves the factory - PFOA is not in/on the pan to begin with so 'out gas' is totally non-applicable. it's the workers and careless handling in and about the manufacturing sites that is the issue. PFOA 'release' in any form was never a factor in PTFE/Teflon wares.

                                                                                                                            companies still using PFTE aka "Teflon" saw the published PFOA dangers as a marketing ploy to sell their wares made with 'substitute' i.e. non-PFOA technologies to kinda-sorta-imply 'no Teflon'

                                                                                                                            a lot of people have not made the effort to understand PFOA free does not mean PTFE free. the statement is in fact a big tip off that the non-stick properties are PTFE based.

                                                                                                                            "...All-Clad's claim of no PFOA gases is isleading by omission? " yes, if that statement got you to thinking it's not PTFE.

                                                                                                                            it is PTFE itself that starts out gassing at roughly 400'F - immediate danger to birds in the house - and in the 600'F range decomposes further releasing gases more toxic to humans.

                                                                                                                            if you see temperature limits of 400-450'F it's due to one of two reasons: either the coating is PTFE or the plastic knobs/handles won't take higher temps. an all metal pan with all metal handle will not have a temp limit except for the PTFE issue.

                                                                                                                            oh, edit to add temp limits do apply to tinned cookware....

                                                                                                                  2. re: paly

                                                                                                                    Scanpan has a nonstick surface which I find works very well for eggs. I use the 8" Classic, which is not induction compatible. The IQ model is the induction-compatible equivalent. It is currently available in eight-inch size for about $100.

                                                                                                                  3. I use all clad d5 pots and pans and they perform great. but stainless can be a bitch to clean. I have a few really well made bourgeat and mauviel copper with stainless lining but I seldom use them now. I have a xomin pan that's light and easy to clean and I prefer that over the lodge pans I have. The one pan I almost always reach out for is my 10" skillet blue steel de buyer. this is light, easy to clean and heats up fast. I cook with a gas stove but my friend who has a new GE Profile induction borrowed it and absolutely fell in love with it.

                                                                                                                      1. re: kybourbongal

                                                                                                                        Hi, kybourbongal:

                                                                                                                        This is another one of those "blog" sites that is very unbloggy. All the reviews appear to be of lines that the reviewer is helping to sell through Amazon. If it's like all the other such sites I've looked at (there's another one posted yesterday), the reviewer gets paid a commission for all sales.

                                                                                                                        They also don't list all that many pans in any category, which causes me to think they already know who the "top" selections are.

                                                                                                                        Aloha,
                                                                                                                        Kaleo

                                                                                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                          Hey Kaleo,

                                                                                                                          First of all...just wanted to say thank you to you and other fellow frequent chow contributors. I'm a long time reader of this forum and first time poster. Your comments helped a lot when I first started buying nice cookware. I finally broke down to register this week bc I was looking for some authentic user feedback on sou vide machine, which can't seem to be found anywhere. Anyhow that's another story.

                                                                                                                          I totally agree with you re most of those blogging sites with affiliate links. I personally don't mind these sites with links and ads, as long as they provide valuable info, which very few do. I also visited that review site by chefsan yesterday. I think it was you who commented that it only has info that can be found on the manufacturer site or package box. 100% agree! I personally can't take a site seriously if they list Calphalon as best stainless steel cookware.

                                                                                                                          That cookware insider site on the other hand seems like one of the few sites that have info and tips that are useful; hence I posted it instead of writing something long and windy. I'm not saying I agree 100% with that insider site either (for example I don't think All-Clad pans or Lodge dutch oven should be on any "best of" list, which they have listed) and agree with you that they need to show more review items.

                                                                                                                          Bourbongal

                                                                                                                          1. re: kybourbongal

                                                                                                                            Hi bourbongal,

                                                                                                                            That was me (on the "best" 2014 thread) comparing the information on davieb's site to what's on the box the pan came in. I agree that cookware insider provides slightly more useful info than davieb's site, about the same amount we'd see in a CI review. It may give shallow reviews, but at least it doesn't make every pan sound like the best new thing in the world.

                                                                                                                            It would be nice if they had an "About us" page so we could decide how much weight to give the reviews. Without that, it's all out of context, isn't it?

                                                                                                                            Duffy

                                                                                                                            1. re: kybourbongal

                                                                                                                              Hi, Bourbongal:

                                                                                                                              Yes, the site you linked to contains better information than the "Hey, Guys and Gals" one of 2 days ago. In fact, your link is pretty much nonsense-free.

                                                                                                                              An attribute most of these share is that they only run a few affiliated brands/models in the race.

                                                                                                                              Aloha,
                                                                                                                              Kaleo