Stainless steel cookware is great because it’s durable, can withstand high heat, and retains heat longer than other materials. But it’s important to get high-quality pieces that will stand the test of time.
If you’re in the market for stainless steel cookware, two cookware brands that are sure to come up are All-Clad and Demeyere. Both brands are known for their premium cookware lines and excellent performance.
This article takes a deep dive into their similarities and differences while making some recommendations for those looking to secure a great stainless steel cookware set.
Demeyere vs. All-Clad: At a Glance
All-Clad cookware is a company known for its superior performance and craftsmanship with stainless products made in the U.S.A. The company began in 1971, after metallurgist John Ullam pioneered the bonding process in cookware.
Demeyere cookware is made in Belgium with the finest materials and special attention to detail. This company began over 100 years ago as a family company.
In 2008, German kitchenware giant Zwilling J.A. Henckels bought them out. They still retain a strong commitment to quality and excellence.
For a quick rundown of the differences between their specific cookware lines, consult the chart below:
I recommend Demeyere for its superb quality and durability. However, unless you’re a serious home chef, it may not be worth the extra cost versus All-Clad. But if you go with All-Clad, you might find another set, like the D3, that fits your needs just as well.
Either way, All-Clad or Demeyere cookware, they’re both superb stainless steel cookware lines.
Which stainless cookware will emerge as the best pick for you? Read on to learn more.
Things to Consider Before Buying High-Quality Multi-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware
What is Cladding, Anyway?
If you’ve seen the terms “mutli-clad,” “multi-ply,” “impact-bonded,” or “fully-clad,” but you’re confused, you’re not alone. It can be challenging to decode what all these labels mean.
Ply is just a fancy term for layers. So if a piece of cookware is multi-ply, that means it has more than one layer of metal. Cladding is a more specific term that refers to when manufacturers bond multiple layers of metal together.
Basically, multi-ply and multi-clad refer to the same type of layered cookware.
But this is where things get a little tricky.
Some cookware has bonded layers just in the base of the cookware. Manufacturers add layers to the base to make the cookware piece more heat responsive and/or compatible with an induction cooktop. Most of the time, this type of cookware is referred to as impact-bonded or partial-clad cookware.
However, other cookware is fully-clad, meaning the layers extend through the base and the walls of the cookware. Full-clad cookware has superior performance than partially-clad pieces. It also weighs more and is more expensive.
Both the All-Clad and Demeyere cookware lines in this review feature fully-clad (or multi-clad) cookware.
Why is Fully-Clad Cookware Better?
Stainless steel is durable and doesn’t react with food, unlike cast iron, aluminum, or copper cookware. It has a great heat capacity, and it’s also not dangerous if you overheat it, unlike a PTFE nonstick coating.
However, stainless steel doesn’t have the best heat conduction.
During the cladding process, manufacturers bond heat-conductive material (most commonly aluminum) to the stainless steel layers. Sometimes they include a copper core, as well.
Both aluminum and copper have excellent heating properties but can react with acidic foods. Thus, they don’t always make for the best cooking surface.
By combining stainless steel with an aluminum or copper layer, manufacturers create cookware that has both thermal conductivity and a safe, durable cooking surface.
When there are three layers, it’s referred to as tri-ply cookware. When there are 5 layers, it’s referred to as 5-ply. You get the picture.
This type of cookware is heavier, more durable, and has the best cooking performance. It also runs more expensive than single-ply (one-layer) cookware.
Watch as a chef from the Test Kitchen explains why fully-clad cookware is worth the extra cost:
Who Should Buy High-Quality Stainless Steel Cookware?
Anyone that wants durable, high-performing cookware should consider stainless steel. It’s important to understand how to cook properly with it (more on that below).
But stainless steel cookware, if properly cared for, should last for years. Some pieces can hold on for decades. Which means you don’t have to spend as much in the long haul for cookware.
Even though some people think stainless steel is just for professional chefs, the reality is that it’s also perfect for anyone who wants a highly versatile and highly durable cooking surface.
How to Cook with Stainless Steel Cookware
Understanding how to use stainless steel cookware cannot be overestimated. If you go into it expecting the cookware to work like a non-stick pan, you’ll be sorely disappointed… and frustrated!
To cook with stainless steel, you must preheat the pan. The reason is because stainless steel has tiny pores all over the surface that will draw in oil and food when cold.
If you preheat the pan, however, the metal expands and closes those gaps, letting oil spread out more quickly and do its job.
You can tell if your pan is hot enough by doing the water droplet test. Flick a drop of water on the pan. If it sizzles, that means your pan is at medium heat. If it rolls and evaporates almost immediately, you’re at a medium-high to high heat.
Secondly, you should always use oil or another cooking fat. This helps lubricate the pan and also adds flavor to your food. Those who are health-conscious can use a more nutritive oil, like olive oil.
Lastly, it’s important to avoid overheating the pan. I know, it’s a little fussy, right? But here’s the thing: Overheating your stainless steel cookware will cause food to stick. Use low heat if you can, medium or higher if you must.
If you’re searing a steak or cooking something that requires a high level of heat, you’d be better off using a cast iron frying pan for those dishes and stainless for everything else.
A couple of quick tips: Let your food come to room temperature (or at least rest for a few minutes out of the fridge) to help it release more easily.
If you’re cooking and brown bits begin to appear on the bottom surface of your pan, you can add a little water, wine, or stock to deglaze the pan. Scrape the bits with a wooden spoon or spatula. It will add loads of flavor to your dish!
Be sure to avoid metal utensils. Even though stainless steel won’t be ruined by scratches, it still can scratch. Metal utensils might leave unsightly marks. To keep your cookware looking its best, stick to wooden or heat-resistant silicone cooking tools.
Tips for Cleaning Stainless Steel Cookware
This is one of the biggest complaints about stainless steel cookware, but cleaning your pots and pans doesn’t have to be a pain. Follow these simple guidelines for getting your stainless steel cookware to look its best.
Follow proper cooking recommendations. The best way to get stainless steel clean is to prevent terrible messes in the first place.
Food sticks to the surface when the pan is not preheated, overheated, or if the food is too cold. Use the guidelines above to cook properly with your stainless steel cookware, preventing the worst of cleaning woes.
Hand wash if possible. While stainless cookware is usually dishwasher-safe, harsh detergents might damage it or leave it less than sparkly. If you are able to successfully put your stainless pan in the dishwasher, great! If not, hand washing would be best.
To wash by hand, simply scrub with a non-abrasive sponge and dish soap. Rinse with warm water. Hand dry immediately to avoid water spots.
Treat stains with Bar Keeper’s Friend. You can also use other products, but Bar Keeper’s Friend is the most recognizable and can be found almost anywhere. All-Clad does offer a special cleaner which does the same thing.
Simply sprinkle the powder on a wet pan, scrub, and rinse. This polish will help remove stains and get your stainless cookware looking shiny in no time!
Demeyere Cookware vs. All-Clad Cookware: An Overview
The Demeyere 5-Plus Cookware Set was formerly called Zwilling Sensation. It’s a high-quality set that’s comparable to the Demeyere Industry-5 cookware set offered on their website. This set includes 10 pieces:
- 9.5-inch (24 cm) frying pan
- 11-inch (28 cm) frying pan
- 2-quart (1.89) saucepan with lid
- 4-quart (3.79 liters) saucepan with lid
- 3-quart (2.84 liters) sauté pan
- 8-quart (7.57 liters) covered stock pot
Each piece consists of five layers of stainless steel and aluminum. The 18/10 stainless has been treated with Silvinox to keep it shiny and make it easy to clean. This Demeyere cookware set does have some heft to it, but it exudes quality.
Buyers raved about their Demeyere cookware. They loved the performance and completely smooth base for induction cooking.
Watch the manufacturer video to see the highlights of this Demeyered cookware set. Just as a note, the set is referred to by its previous name, Zwilling Sensation, in the video:
The All-Clad D5 Stainless Steel Cookware set combines the durability of stainless steel with the heat responsiveness of aluminum to create a pan with excellent heating properties.
This set includes 10 pieces, although there are other sets available in different sizes. It comes with the following:
- 8-inch (20 cm) and 10-inch (25 cm) frying pans
- 1.5-quart (1.42) saucepan with lid
- 3-quart (2.84 liters) saucepan with lid
- 3-quart (2.84 liters) covered sauté pan
- 8-quart (7.57 liters) covered stock pot
This All-Clad line 5-ply bonded construction with alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminum to prevent hot and cold spots and increase the heat transfer.
The brushed stainless exterior has a smooth surface that looks beautiful in the kitchen. All-Clad manufactures the D5 cookware line in the U.S.A. and provides a lifetime limited warranty.
Buyers had overwhelmingly positive things to say about this All-Clad cookware set. They found this cookware to have some of the best heating properties, especially in regards to even heating.
There were some complaints about the All-Clad handles. But overall, this set has high praise from customers.
All-Clad vs. Demeyere Side-By-Side Feature Comparison
To get a better look at the comparison between Demeyere vs. All-Clad, I’ve broken down each feature.
Both the All-Clad and Demeyere cookware collections feature 5-ply construction, meaning they each have five layers of metal bonded together.
The Demeyere line features a stainless steel interior that won’t react with food, three core aluminum layers, and a magnetic stainless steel base that’s induction compatible.
The All-Clad D5 line, on the other hand, boasts alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminum. This set is also compatible with induction cooktops.
The Demeyere cookware runs thicker than All-Clad. The 5-Plus cookware line is 3mm thick, as opposed to All-Clad’s 2.6 mm. This makes the pan heavier and slightly slower to heat, but it does add to the durability and heat retention.
There is one difference, however, that separates All-Clad and Demeyere. Several All-Clad customers had problems with sharp edges forming on the pans after cleaning in the dishwasher. Buyers didn’t have the same problem with Demeyere edges.
The reason behind this is the citric acid in dishwasher detergents that can cause the aluminum layer to corrode or recede, leaving behind sharp edges on the flared rim of the cookware.
These sharp edges did not form when customers hand-washed their All-Clad pans, but it was common enough to give Demeyere the advantage when it comes to construction.
Heat retention is important because it allows you to cook at a lower heat, saving energy in the long run.
A pan that retains heat well will also be less likely to burn your food, and you can keep the food warmer for longer. This is great for those who like to serve out of the pan.
Both cookware lines retain heat well. However, the thick walls and heavier weight of the Demeyere pans mean they have slightly better heat retention than the All-Clad cookware.
As great as all the extra features are, they’re pointless if the pan has poor heat conduction. Cooking performance is key, and thermal conductivity is one of the key elements of that.
Both Demeyre and All-Clad have excellent thermal conductivity. They both include multiple layers of aluminum, which is an excellent heat conductor.
As far as temperature response? Both will respond to changes in temperature quickly, but All-Clad has the best responsiveness.
With thinner layers, the heat transfers more quickly to the cooking surface. This speeds up the cooking process and gives you more precise control.
So for that reason, I give All-Clad the advantage in this category.
All-Clad and Demeyere cookware both have even heating properties. In fact, that was one of the most common compliments from buyers. They absolutely loved the even heat distribution.
There might be slight differences from pan to pan, but overall, there is no clear advantage.
Stainless Steel Handles
If you’re comparing Demeyere vs. All-Clad cookware, this is probably the area that stands out the most. There are a few key differences in the handles that affect the user experience.
All-Clad features long, straight, riveted handles. On the other hand, Demeyere handles are more curved and fork right before connecting with the main piece.
All-Clad attaches the handle to the base of the cookware with two stainless steel rivets. But Demeyere cookware is rivetless. Instead of rivets, they weld their handles directly to the pan, so the cooking surface is completely smooth.
Some people think rivets make a pan more secure, but I’ve found that isn’t always the case. Where the rivets really come into play is in the cleaning. They’re a beast to clean, so not having rivets is a major advantage when it comes time to clean your cookware.
Secondly, the handles were probably the single largest complaint for All-Clad cookware. Buyers found them to be acutely uncomfortable. Their edges tend to “dig in” to your hand, and the lack of a fork means they can still get quite hot.
Demeyere’s forked, more rounded, rivetless handles stay cool, are more comfortable to hold, and make for easier cleaning. In this category for Demeyere vs All-Clad, there is no question. Demeyere comes out ahead.
The Demeyere cookware set is oven-safe and broiler-safe up to 500°F (260°C). The All-Clad set, however, is oven and broiler safe up to 600°F (315°C).
Practically speaking, there is almost no reason the average home cook should need that extra oven heat. So even though All-Clad is technically the winner in this category, you should be fine with either set.
Both All-Clad and Demeyere cookware are induction-compatible. Some Demeyere lines, such as the Demeyere Atlantis and the Demeyere John Pawson line, feature Controllnduc. That’s a proprietary technology specifically designed to regulate induction cooktop temps.
But if we’re just comparing the All-Clad D5 line to the Demeyere 5-Plus, there isn’t any noticeable difference between the two in terms of performance.
If you have an induction cooktop, you should be fine either way.
Ease of Cleaning
Both All-Clad and Demeyere cookware claim to be dishwasher-safe. However, it’s better to hand wash this cookware when possible.
A dishwasher’s high heat and hard chemicals can cause the exterior surface to dull faster. And as I noted earlier, the All-Clad’s aluminum layers can recede as a result, leaving behind sharp edges on the rim.
Some buyers found the All-Clad cookware set difficult to clean. However, it’s tough to decipher how much of that was due to misuse. Others did not have the same difficulty.
Watch this video to learn how to easily clean your stainless steel cookware:
While the most important consideration is performance, you also want cookware that looks great and fits your kitchen style.
Fortunately, both Demeyere cookware and All-Clad cookware have a classy appearance that will add elegance to your kitchen.
The All-Clad D5 line features a brushed stainless steel exterior with long, straight handles and steel lids. The Demeyere 5-Plus line, on the other hand, sports a polished stainless steel finish with steel handles and steel lids.
Customers found both cookware sets to have tight-fitting lids, important for retaining heat and moisture while braising and cooking rice-based dishes.
You might be wondering if either line features a copper ring or a lighter polished shiny ring at the base. But these are features of other lines.
The All-Clad Copper Core cookware line has that iconic copper ring, while the Demeyere Atlantis cookware line features the shiny polished ring at the base. (The Demeyere John Pawson line also has a ring but with modern, sharp angles.)
The All-Clad D5 and Demeyere 5-Plus lines have a simpler, but beautiful, stainless steel finish. It all comes down to personal preference.
Warranty & Customer Service
Demeyere offers a 30-year limited warranty on the 5-Plus stainless cookware collection. Demeyere cookware is extremely durable, but it’s nice to know you have some cushion in case of defects.
All-Clad offers a more generous limited lifetime warranty. But as you well know, lifetime guarantees are only worth something if the company backs them up.
Several customers complained about All-Clad’s customer service. They consistently said their claims were ignored or automatically dismissed as misuse. To be fair, improper use is fairly common and could be the cause of issues. However, the volume of complaints isn’t a good look for All-Clad.
For that reason, even with a shorter warranty, I would still go with Demeyere.
Both All-Clad and Demeyere are premium brands that sell high-end cookware. You won’t find a “budget-friendly” option there. However, there is a difference in cost between the two collections.
Demeyere is more expensive, making All-Clad the more attractive choice for your wallet.
Are there Alternatives?
I can’t compare All-Clad cookware vs. Demeyere without giving you some viable alternatives. If the All-Clad D-5 set and Demeyere 5-Plus sets aren’t quite what you want, there are several other stainless cookware sets available. Read more about these below.
All-Clad Copper Core 5-Ply Cookware Set: Best Splurge Alternative with Copper Core
All-Clad’s offerings don’t stop at the D5 cookware set. This All-Clad Copper Core line features five total layers of stainless steel and aluminum with a copper core. Visit my earlier review to see a more in-depth comparison of the All-Clad D5 set with the Copper Core line.
It comes with two frying pans, a stock pot, a sauté pan, and two covered saucepans, just like the All-Clad D5 set. One of the saucepans is smaller, but other than that, it’s identical.
The two major advantages of this set over the All-Clad D5 and Demeyere sets are the copper core and the beautiful appearance.
The copper core adds thermal conductivity to the cookware, giving you more precise control over heating. In fact, this was the most common praise from customers. They loved the excellent heating performance of this stainless-copper core cookware.
The copper accent ring gives the cookware set a stunning, timelessly elegant appearance. It’s really timeless and would look great in practically any kitchen, home, or professional.
However, that copper ring also is bad for tarnishing or fading. Several customers had difficulty keeping the ring looking shiny, which was frustrating for them.
If you aren’t prepared to put in some elbow grease and time to maintain the appearance, it may not be worth it to you.
Even though this All-Clad Copper Core Set is very expensive, high-end copper cookware can easily run almost double the price.
This All-Clad cookware set has excellent thermal conductivity and a stunning design, but I can’t say that the performance is worth the extra cost. I would probably opt for actual copper cookware or go with a more economical stainless cookware set.
Fortunately, there are several other sets out there.
- Stunning appearance
- Slightly better heating properties
- Significantly more expensive
- Copper accent ring tarnishes easily; high maintenance
All-Clad D3 Cookware Set: Best Overall Alternative
The All-Clad D3 Set features tri-ply construction with three layers of metal bonded together. It has the same 10 pieces as the All-Clad D5 cookware set. To see a detailed comparison of the All-Clad D3 vs. D5 sets, check out my previous review.
The stainless steel interior provides a smooth surface that won’t react with food. The aluminum core helps the cookware heat up quickly and evenly, while the stainless steel exterior is magnetic to make it induction-compatible.
This All-Clad D3 set has fewer layers, but it has heating properties comparable to the All-Clad 5-ply set. It does heat up slightly faster, however, since it has only three layers versus five. It also cools down more quickly.
Depending on your cooking style, you might prefer something that heats slower and holds heat longer. Or you might like more precise, quick heating and cooling. Like when cooking fish, for example.
The All-Clad tri-ply set also features stainless steel lids and stainless steel dual-riveted handles. And just like with the D5 set, customers found them to be uncomfortable.
But as far as cooking performance, there’s a negligible difference between the two. This set is also oven-safe up to 600°F (315°C), and it’s compatible with induction stoves.
As far as cleaning, the tri-ply set is also dishwasher-safe, although hand washing is strongly recommended. This will prevent the aluminum from receding and causing water spots or other damage to the cookware.
The good news? Many buyers found the cookware to be easy to clean. The rounded design, especially with the frying pan, helps prevent food from getting stuck in the corners. The flared rim makes for easy, mess-free pouring, as well.
I found the All-Clad D3 set to be the best value of the All-Clad sets. You don’t have to sacrifice heating performance to get a more affordable All-Clad cookware set.
- Comparable performance to 5-ply
- More value than other All-Clad sets
- Fewer layers than 5-ply
- Uncomfortable handles
Viking 5-Ply Professional Stainless Steel Cookware Set: Best Stainless Splurge Alternative
Viking is normally associated with kitchen appliances, but this kitchen brand also manufactures a line of professional, high-end cookware.
If you like Demeyere pots and pans, you’ll enjoy this Viking 5-Ply Professional Stainless Steel Cookware Set. It has five layers with the same composition as the Demeyere set, including three aluminum layers sandwiched between two stainless steel layers.
Like the other 10-piece sets on my list, this one includes two frying pans, two saucepans, a sauté pan, and a stock pot.
This video from Viking explains the benefits of the Viking 5-ply Professional Stainless Steel Cookware Set:
This set features ergonomic stainless steel handles and a tight-fitting stainless steel lid. The pots and pans are induction-ready and are oven- and broiler-safe up to 500°F (260°C).
As far as cleaning, these Viking pots and pans are dishwasher-safe. Hand washing is recommended, but customers found them easy to clean.
The cooking performance on this Viking set is exceptional. Buyers agreed that the pans had even heating, with no hot spots or cold spots. They liked that the pans heated quickly, as well.
Some customers did note that the pans were not balanced when empty. They quickly regain balance upon adding food, so this is not a problem, per se, but rather just a slight annoyance.
This set is slightly more expensive than other comparable cookware sets, but the quality speaks for itself. If you have your heart set on a Viking set of cookware, this one is tough to beat.
If you aren’t concerned with the brand, you might find the Demeyere 5-Plus or even the Demeyere Atlantis a slightly better value.
- Superb performance
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Slightly more expensive
- Unbalanced without food inside
Legend Stainless Steel Cookware: Best Budget Alternative
Legend is one of the up-and-coming cookware brands that has a solid reputation for quality. They make cookware in stainless steel, cast iron, and hard-anodized aluminum.
This Legend Stainless Steel Cookware Set is the largest on my list, including 14 pieces. It comes with two frying pans, a covered sauté pan, a stock pot with lid, a Dutch oven with lid, a steamer insert, and two covered saucepans.
This cookware set features a 5-ply bonded construction, with stainless steel layers surrounding three aluminum core layers. The interior has measurement markings to make adding liquids and other ingredients easy and precise.
They also have a tri-ply option available for those who prefer it.
The Legend Professional Set is compatible with induction cooktops, as well as all other cooktops. It’s also oven-safe for temperatures up to 450°F (230°C). That’s lower than the other sets, although it should still cover most cooking tasks.
When it comes time to clean, you can put these Legend pots and pans in the dishwasher. They’re easy to clean, but a bottle of Bar Keeper’s Friend is always a good idea for stainless pans.
The ergonomic handles make for easy handling, while the easy-pour rims prevent spilled liquids all over the stovetop. The stainless steel lids fit snugly and can go in the oven at the same temperature as the cookware bases.
These pots and pans have straight walls that don’t flare as much as some of the other cookware sets on the list. However, that really comes down to personal preference.
As far as price, this set is more affordable than the other sets in this list. If you want the quality of Demeyere cookware or All-Clad but find them too pricey, Legend is a good alternative. All of Legend’s products come with a lifetime warranty.
Buyers were pleased with the quality and performance of the Legend cookware set. They liked the comfortable handles and how well the pans distributed heat.
Some people found them easier to stain, which was frustrating. But they had no problems cleaning up with baking soda and vinegar or Bar Keeper’s Friend.
You might have to put a little more elbow grease into cleaning these pans, but they should retain their shine and beautiful appearance with proper care and cleaning.
- Large set, more pieces
- Interior measurement markings
- Lower maximum oven temperature
- Stain more easily
Demeyere vs. All-Clad: Final Verdict
Both All-Clad and Demeyere offer premium cookware with top-notch performance. But I would give the edge in quality to the Demeyere Cookware Set. However, there is a significant price difference.
If you find the Demeyere cookware too expensive, I would instead opt for the All-Clad D3 set. The performance is practically the same as the All-Clad D5 set but at a fraction of the price.