This article compares Anolon vs. All-Clad Stainless Steel cookware.
I love cooking with stainless steel. It’s not only one of the most durable cookware materials; it’s also great for everything from tomato-basil pasta to searing steaks. Plus, that shiny metal just looks sharp on the stove.
But not all stainless cookware is created equally. That’s why it’s important to choose only the best stainless steel pots and pans for your kitchen.
At a Glance
All-Clad has some of the best stainless steel pans in the cookware industry. Chefs and home cooks alike go to All-Clad for stainless cookware.
But to say All-Clad is an investment is an understatement. The exorbitant price tag can be exclusionary, and for those on a budget, Anolon might provide a reasonable alternative.
In reality? It depends on how you plan to use your cookware, and how much you’re willing to care for your pots and pans.
Which of these cookware brands is best for you? Read on to learn more.
About Anolon Cookware
Anolon has been producing cookware since 1986. A pioneer in hard-anodized aluminum pots and pans, Anolon currently manufactures cookware and bakeware using a variety of materials.
Anolon cookware is owned by the Meyer Corporation, which is the parent company for a host of cookware brands, including Circulon, Ruffoni, and more. Most of Anolon’s cookware is manufactured in China, but the distributor is U.S.-based and subject to U.S. regulations and quality control.
All of Anolon’s cookware comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
About All-Clad Cookware
All-Clad, a Pennsylvania-based company, founded by metallurgist John Ulam, has been manufacturing stainless steel cookware for 50 years. All-Clad focuses on craftsmanship using quality metals.
While their product line has expanded since then, All-Clad cookware still features excellent quality materials. All-Clad still makes most of its collections in the U.S.A.
Like Anolon, All-Clad offers a limited lifetime warranty on their cookware.
What to Consider Before Buying Stainless Steel Copper Core Cookware
Stainless steel copper core cookware is a wide umbrella covering a wide range of quality and performance. So it’s important to know what to look for when purchasing stainless steel pots and pans.
Impact-Bonded vs Full-Clad
You’ve probably seen “multi-clad,” “impact-bonded,” “tri-ply,” or “5-ply” stainless steel. It can be confusing to differentiate between all the labels. Ply is just another word for layer, so tri-ply means three layers and 5-ply would be five layers. Multi-clad and multi-ply are practically synonyms.
But there’s more to it.
Copper is a superb heat conductor, so manufacturers like to add a layer of copper (and/or aluminum) to their stainless steel pans. Sometimes they’ll simply add a disc that includes a stainless-steel encapsulated copper layer to the base of the pan. This type of cookware is called impact-bonded stainless steel.
(Find examples of this cookware in my complete review of copper-bottomed cookware.)
Impact-bonded stainless steel does give you a slight boost in heat distribution and conductivity, but it’s not the same as having fully-clad stainless steel.
Fully-clad pans have layers throughout the entire pan, sides and all. So if a pan has a fully-clad tri-ply construction, that means the whole pan has three layers of metal.
These all-around layers help the pan evenly distribute heat. Even though you can find up to seven layers, I’ve found that you can get great results even with just three layers.
A full-clad pan will undoubtedly give you better performance, but the extra materials and lengthier process mean it will cost more than an impact-bonded pan.
The bottom line? If you want the very best in terms of heat conduction and heat distribution, look for fully-clad construction.
Cooking with Stainless Steel
Cooking with a stainless steel pan is not the same as cooking with non-stick or with cast iron. Learning how to properly use stainless steel can help you get the most out of your cookware.
Unlike other cookware materials, you need to preheat stainless steel while empty. If you add oil or butter to a cold stainless steel pan, it will sink into the pores and make the food stick.
To see if your pan is sufficiently heated, sprinkle a few water droplets into the pan. If the droplets sizzle and roll around the pan, you’re ready to add the oil.
Even though stainless steel can handle high heat, it’s better to use low or medium heat. Using a lower heat will prevent food from sticking. (Read more about why stainless steel sticks.) Plus, it can save you some energy, which means a lower bill. That’s what I call a win-win.
How to Clean Stainless Steel Cookware
After cooking with stainless steel, it’s important to let the pan cool completely before washing. You don’t want thermal shock to damage the pan. Stainless steel pans are generally dishwasher-safe.
If you notice stains stuck on food, try boiling water with baking soda. You can also clean the pan with vinegar to lift stains. Another good idea? Occasionally apply a product like Bar Keeper’s Friend to keep your cookware polished and shiny.
Anolon vs All-Clad: Product Review
Anolon Nouvelle Stainless Steel Pots and Pans Set
This Anolon cookware set features a beautiful tulip-shaped design. It has a stainless steel interior and exterior with a 5-ply impact-bonded base.
The Anolon Nouvelle line includes the following 10 pieces:
- 1.25-quart (1.18 liters) saucepan with lid
- 2.5-quart (2.37 liters) saucepan with lid
- 6.5-quart(6.15 liters) covered stockpot
- 8-inch (20.32 cm) frying pan
- 10.5-inch (26.67 cm) frying pan
- 3-quart (2.84 liters) sauté pan with lid
This set is heavy but looks elegant. Users liked the sturdiness and durability of the cookware. Owners love how these pans heat evenly and quickly. I discussed some of this set’s features in a previous review.
The two biggest complaints were the small saucepan and the copper ring on the base. Reviewers found that the small saucepan tipped easily, while the copper was quick to fade and tarnish.
Several complained about sticking, but it’s tough to know if they used best practices like preheating the pan and using lower heat. Others did have any problems.
Before moving on, let’s check out some of Anolono’s claims (with the usual skepticism of course!):
All-Clad Copper Core 5-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set
From All-Clad comes this 10-piece stainless steel set. The Copper Core Collections features a 5-ply fully-clad construction with copper accents.
The following pots and pans come with the All-Clad set:
- 2-quart (1.89 liters) saucepan with lid
- 3-quart (2.84 liters) saucepan with lid
- 8-quart(7.57 liters) covered stockpot
- 8-inch (20.32 cm) fry pan
- 10-inch (25.4 cm) fry pan
- 3-quart (2.84 liters) sauté pan with lid
This set is also heavy to lift and quite sturdy. Overall, these All-Clad pots got rave reviews, and users report these pans having excellent heat distribution.
These pans are durable and corrosion resistant making them last longer.
We should also look at some of All Clad’s claims (cautiously of course!):
If you want to know more, check out my in-depth review of All Clad Copper Core Cookware.
All-Clad vs Anolon: Feature Comparison
Anolon pans feature stainless steel construction with a mutli-clad base. The impact-bonded layers include magnetic stainless steel, aluminum, and a copper core. The copper ring is exposed on the base as a decorative element.
The All-Clad set is multi-clad cookware, with a 5-ply full-clad construction. The mirror-polished stainless steel exterior and cooking surface surround a copper and thermally conductive aluminum core.
Both sets have durable construction, but All-Clad’s full-clad construction provides optimal heat distribution and control. For that reason, All-Clad comes out on top in this category.
While both sets offer durability, All-Clad’s reputation for using the highest quality materials is justified. Several customers mentioned that their set was still going strong after a few years, and others said relatives were still using their All-Clad cookware after decades.
The Anolon Nouvelle set should last a while, but I wouldn’t expect it to be a lifetime piece.
Handles and Lids
Anolon features stainless steel handles and lids. The handles are dual-riveted with flat steel rivets to make for easier cleaning. The lid handles are welded on, so no food gets trapped between rivets. This is a common problem with glass lids.
The All-Clad lids and handles are also stainless steel. A few users didn’t like the feel of the long handle, but most said the double-riveted handle was comfortable and stayed cool. The lid handles were a different story. Several said they got hot while cooking.
Both sets are compatible with all cooktops, including induction cooktops.
However, some users did have issues with the smallest saucepan in the Anolon set. The diameter of the saucepan is too small for some induction stoves, so it didn’t get hot.
There isn’t much difference here, but the issues some had with Anolon’s small saucepan give All-Clad the edge in this category.
Winner: All-Clad (just)
Maximum Oven Temperature
The Anolon Nouvelle Stainless Steel set is oven-safe for temps up to 500°F (260°C). The All-Clad set is oven-safe and broiler-safe for temps up to 600°F (315°C).
Both will get the job done, but All-Clad’s ability to go under the broiler gives that set a small advantage.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Both the Anolon and All-Clad sets are dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.
One caveat, however. Both have copper linings on the exterior, and those copper linings are quick to fade. If you want to preserve the copper accents, hand washing is better. Also, be sure to keep a product like Bar Keeper’s Friend for polishing.
While both sets are relatively easy to clean for stainless steel, both require some maintenance to keep their shine.
All-Clad’s reputation for using the best materials, its full-clad construction, and “Made in the U.S.A.” label all translate into a steep price tag. All-Clad’s stainless set won’t be compatible with a tight budget. The Anolon cookware set, however, is significantly more affordable.
If you’d like to see other affordable cookware options like Anolon, visit my Anolon vs. Calphalon review.
Anolon vs All-Clad: Non-stick Options
In case you aren’t looking for stainless steel, both Anolon and All Clad offer non-stick cookware.
Anolon Nouvelle Copper Hard-Anodized Non-stick Cookware Pots and Pans Set
Anolon specializes in hard-anodized aluminum cookware and uses top-notch non-stick surfaces. This Nouvelle set comes in a unique sable color and features a hard-anodized aluminum body and non-stick cooking surface. It comes with stainless steel lids and stainless steel handles.
The multi-clad base has a copper core for fast, even heating. This set includes two saucepans, a covered stockpot, a sauté pan, and two skillets. It’s oven-safe up to 500°F (260°C) and is induction-compatible. They claim to be metal utensil safe, but users did not back up that claim, so stick to plastic, silicone, or wood utensils.
Overall, the cookware reviews for this set were overwhelmingly positive. Owners like the sturdiness and durability of these pans.
All-Clad Hard-Anodized Non-stick Cookware Set
These All-Clad pans come in a brushed exterior and also feature hard-anodized aluminum with a non-stick material on the cooking surface. This set includes two saucepans, a covered stockpot, a sauté pan, and two skillets. It’s induction compatible and oven-safe up to 500°F (260°C). All Clad recommends against using metal utensils.
Unlike the stainless steel cookware sets, All-Clad’s hard-anodized aluminum cookware has tempered glass lids. This set is also dishwasher-safe. Users were mostly pleased with their All-Clad cookware.
Hard-Anodized Aluminum Non-stick: My Recommendation
Even though both the Anolon and All-Clad cookware sets received glowing reviews, the All-Clad set is more expensive. I don’t find the difference in cost is justified, as both sets perform well. For that reason, I would recommend Anolon’s hard-anodized cookware.
If you are debating whether to buy non-stick or stainless steel, know this: the non-stick cookware will be much easier to use; but not last nearly as long as the stainless steel.
See my guide for more hard-anodized non-stick cookware options.
All-Clad vs Anolon: The Winner Is…
When it comes to quality and cooking performance, All-Clad has some of the best cookware on the market. If you want the best of the best in stainless steel, All-Clad is it. However, that premium quality comes at a premium cost. If you can’t get over the sticker shock, Anolon is a solid alternative.
If you are looking for an alternative vendor then Sukalde also sells this All Clad Set. It can be worthwhile to check the price and availability with them: