Is All-Clad Worth It? All-Clad Cookware Reviews

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For most home cooks All Clad D3 offers the best value. Copper Core is the most premium product, while All Clad HA1 offers a non-stick experience.

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All-Clad is widely considered the premium brand in bonded cookware, but is it worth the premium price?

I want cookware that cooks evenly, brings out the best flavor and is low-maintenance. That’s why I like using All-Clad cookware. All-Clad’s exceptional performance and long-lasting durability are just two of many reasons why people love this brand.

But there’s no doubt this cookware comes at a steep cost. Beyond that, there are several other cookware brands that sell bonded cookware for a much lower price.

Is All-Clad worth the extra money? If so, which All-Clad set is right for you? Keep reading to learn about the All-Clad cookware collections, alternatives, and the best choices for your kitchen.

All-Clad Cookware Lines At a Glance

Collection
Best Value
All Clad D3
All Clad D5
Premium
All Clad Copper Core
All Clad HA1
All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware Set, Pots and Pans, Tri-Ply Stainless Steel, Professional Grade, 10-Piece
All-Clad Brushed D5 Stainless Cookware Set, Pots and Pans, 5-Ply Stainless Steel, Professional Grade, 10-Piece - 8400001085
All-Clad 600822 SS Copper Core 5-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Cookware Set, 10-Piece, Silver
All-Clad E785SC64 Ha1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Dishwasher Safe PFOA Free Cookware Set, 10-Piece, Black
Price
$699.95
$799.95
$1,498.00
$386.48
-
Construction
3-ply SS-Al-SS
5-ply SS-Al-SS-Al-SS
5-ply SS-Al-Copper-Al-SS
Hard-Anodized Aluminum
Performance
Heats quickly & evenly. Best Value
Most even heating
Precise temperature control.
Easy food release
Oven-Safe/Induction Compatible
600°F (315°C)/Yes
600°F (315°C)/Yes
600°F (315°C)/Yes
500°F (260°C)/Yes
Where It’s Made
U.S.
U.S.
U.S.
China
Dishwasher-Safe
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Best Value
Collection
All Clad D3
All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware Set, Pots and Pans, Tri-Ply Stainless Steel, Professional Grade, 10-Piece
Price
$699.95
Construction
3-ply SS-Al-SS
Performance
Heats quickly & evenly. Best Value
Oven-Safe/Induction Compatible
600°F (315°C)/Yes
Where It’s Made
U.S.
Dishwasher-Safe
Yes
Collection
All Clad D5
All-Clad Brushed D5 Stainless Cookware Set, Pots and Pans, 5-Ply Stainless Steel, Professional Grade, 10-Piece - 8400001085
Price
$799.95
Construction
5-ply SS-Al-SS-Al-SS
Performance
Most even heating
Oven-Safe/Induction Compatible
600°F (315°C)/Yes
Where It’s Made
U.S.
Dishwasher-Safe
Yes
Premium
Collection
All Clad Copper Core
All-Clad 600822 SS Copper Core 5-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Cookware Set, 10-Piece, Silver
Price
$1,498.00
Construction
5-ply SS-Al-Copper-Al-SS
Performance
Precise temperature control.
Oven-Safe/Induction Compatible
600°F (315°C)/Yes
Where It’s Made
U.S.
Dishwasher-Safe
No
Collection
All Clad HA1
All-Clad E785SC64 Ha1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Dishwasher Safe PFOA Free Cookware Set, 10-Piece, Black
Price
$386.48
-
Construction
Hard-Anodized Aluminum
Performance
Easy food release
Oven-Safe/Induction Compatible
500°F (260°C)/Yes
Where It’s Made
China
Dishwasher-Safe
Yes

All About All-Clad Cookware

History

For many years, aluminum cookware was wildly popular. It was lightweight, inexpensive, and quick to heat.

But people complained of the metallic taste it gave food, a result of aluminum’s reactivity. It is also susceptible to warping and is less durable than other materials.

In the late 1960s, steel production was booming due to advances in manufacturing. Stainless steel is durable and scratch-resistant. It’s also great at distributing heat.

But stainless steel just can’t compete with aluminum in heat conductivity.

That’s when metallurgist John Ulam decided to apply his expertise in metal bonding to solve this problem. He bonded aluminum and stainless steel together to create pots and pans that cooked food more evenly while being non-reactive and scratch-resistant.

As a result, All-Clad Metalcrafters was born in 1971. It’s commonly known as All-Clad.

The company has changed ownership multiple times since John Ulam’s passing in 1989. All-Clad is now owned by the French consortium Groupe SEB. All-Clad manufactures all its stainless steel cookware with American-made steel in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.

I should note that All-Clad now manufactures a portion of their product line in China. This does not include their stainless steel cookware, which is still made in the U.S.A.

It does, however, include their non-stick collections and single-layer items such as steamer baskets, lids, and more.

What is Cladding?

Cladding refers to multiple layers of metal that are bonded together. All-Clad got its name from this innovative process.

Multi-clad pans are pans that have more than one layer, either in the base or the entire pan. Full-clad pans are cookware that has layers throughout the entire pan, from the base to the sides.

For the best quality, seek out full-clad pans. They run more expensive, but they last longer and have better cooking performance than those with only an impact-bonded base. All-Clad makes full-clad cookware.

Is All-Clad a Good Brand?

All-Clad is considered the industry standard for stainless steel pans. These pans are used by home cooks and professional chefs alike.

All-Clad cookware undergoes strict quality control and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

Watch this short manufacturer video on how to choose your All-Clad cookware:

Why is All-Clad So Expensive?

All-Clad’s steep price comes down to two major factors: materials and manufacturing.

Materials

When it comes to materials, All-Clad uses only the best quality stainless steel. The interior cooking surface consists of 18/10 stainless steel. This 304-grade steel has 10% nickel content to increase scratch resistance and durability. Perfect for a stainless cooking surface.

The exterior is magnetic stainless steel that is induction compatible. All of the steel used in All-Clad pans is made in the U.S.A.

The core layers vary, but most collections feature an aluminum core. Obviously, the All-Clad copper core collection has a copper core. Both materials are highly conductive and responsive to changes in heat. This helps the cooking surface heat and cool quickly.

All-Clad pots are non-toxic and free of PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) and PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene).

Manufacturing

All-Clad stainless steel cookware is made by bonding stainless steel, pure aluminum, and sometimes copper together. All-Clad was a pioneer of bonded cookware in the 1970s.

Because these pans heat evenly and have precise temperature control, other cookware manufacturers have adopted the same methods. However, many of these brands only add layers to the bottom flat cooking surface. They attach a disc to the base of the pan.

All-Clad, on the other hand, extends the bonded construction from the base up through the sides. The entire pan has bonded layers of metal, which results in incredibly even heat distribution.

These layers also add to the overall thickness and durability of the pan. This durability is the primary reason so many users have had their All-Clad cookware for decades.

The bottom line? These pans are built to last.

How to Cook Properly with All-Clad Cookware

To get the most out of your All-Clad cookware it’s essential to know how to use it properly. All-Clad cookware distributes and retains heat so well that you almost never need to cook on high heat.

Using low to medium heat will not only work better, but it will reduce food sticking and help the cookware last longer. Unless you are boiling water, low to medium heat is best.

All-Clad pans are simply the best at searing meat. But to get that perfect finish, you have to follow the right process.

Start by preheating your stainless steel fry pan on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.

To check if the pan is hot enough, place a few water droplets in the pan. If the droplets bead up and sizzle as they roll around, the pan is hot enough.

Once the pan is preheated, add the oil or cooking fat and let it heat for a minute. After the oil is heated, add the meat.

Do not touch the meat for a couple of minutes so the crust can develop naturally. When that happens, the meat will release from the pan without sticking.

Don’t be surprised, though, if there are bits and pieces left on the pan. That’s called the fond, and it’s completely normal. You can wash it off with soap and water. Or you can deglaze your pan with stock to make the most delicious and delicate sauces.

When cooking with your All-Clad pan, metal utensils are okay as long as they are used carefully. Stick to spatulas and spoons that don’t scrape the pan. Stabbing food with a metal fork is the quickest way to scratch your pan.

If in doubt, use wooden or heat-resistant silicone utensils.

How to Clean All-Clad Cookware

Cleaning All-Clad cookware is simple as 1-2-3. Wash your cookware by hand with soap and warm water. Be sure to use a regular sponge. Steel wool could potentially cause scratching.

Rinse and dry the cookware immediately. Letting a wet stainless steel pan dry could leave water spots.

All-Clad pots are generally dishwasher-safe, with the exception of the Copper Core set. I would caution against using the dishwasher, however, for two primary reasons.

First, several customers complained of sharp edges left by a receding aluminum core. Almost all of these customers noticed these sharp edges after putting their pots and pans in the dishwasher.

Secondly, harsh detergent and high heat can damage the pan. For the Copper Core collection, the dishwasher can cause tarnishing and fading on the copper ring.

It’s important to let your cookware cool before washing. Running cold water over a hot pan can cause thermal shock, which can ruin a pan.

The great thing about a bonded pan, however, is the heat responsiveness. So you shouldn’t have to wait a long time to wash your pan.

All-Clad Cookware Lines Review

All-Clad D3 Stainless Steel Cookware Set, 10-Piece: Premium Tri-Ply

This is one of the most popular All-Clad collections, and it’s not hard to see why. The All-Clad D3 cookware set provides exceptional value, making it my premium choice for tri-ply cookware. The 10-piece cookware set features a polished finish and comes with the following:

  • 8-inch (20.32 cm) fry pan
  • 10-inch (25.4 cm) fry pan
  • 2-quart (1.89 liters) saucepan
  • 3-quart (2.84 liters) saucepan
  • 3-quart (2.4 liters) sauté pan with lid
  • 8-quart (7.57 liters) stockpot with lid

The name D3 comes from the full-clad tri-ply construction. This cookware features a heavy-gauge aluminum core sandwiched between a stainless steel cooking surface and a stainless steel exterior.

The stainless steel interior has a starburst finish for better food release and browning and searing.

The All-Clad D3 collection delivers heat evenly from the base to the rim. Also, since it has only three layers, it heats up quickly and reacts to changes in temperature more rapidly than the D5 collections.

Another bonus? It’s lighter weight. So if you have trouble lifting heavy pans, this will be a friendlier option than the D5 or All-Clad Copper Core collections.

The tight-fitting stainless steel lids lock in heat and moisture, while the stainless steel handles stay cool on the stovetop while cooking.

It’s oven-safe up to 600°F (315°C) and compatible with all cooktops—even induction. And All-Clad claims this is dishwasher-safe, too, although I would stick with hand washing to be cautious.

Buyers love the fast, even heating and cooking performance of the All-Clad D3 set. They also love the U.S.-based craftsmanship and the sturdy, solid construction.

Some customers found these All-Clad pots and pans challenging to clean. There is a learning curve with stainless cookware, so if you’re used to non-stick, you’ll have to adjust.

And although the All-Clad D3 collection does resist sticking, there are some foods that are still difficult to release. Especially delicate foods like fish and eggs are probably best left to a non-stick pan.

Some users had discoloration after the first use, although many were able to clear it up with some Bar Keepers Friend or a similar cleaner.

Reviewers also agree that the handles are less than comfortable. They consistently complain of the U-shaped edges digging into their palms.

Unfortunately, this shape is responsible for dispersing heat, which is why the handles stay cool. I would speculate that’s why All-Clad hasn’t changed the design, despite the complaints.

This All-Clad D3 collection is the best set for first-time All-Clad buyers who want to reap the benefit of bonded construction without the exorbitant price of the other lines.

Pros

  • Even heat transfer
  • Great heat retention
  • Natural stick-resistant interior
  • Doesn’t scratch
  • Dishwasher-safe (hand washing preferred)
  • Oven-safe to 600°F (315°C)
  • Induction-compatible
  • Made in the USA
  • Rigorous testing procedures

Cons

  • Some foods stick
  • Some discoloration after first use
  • Uncomfortable handles
  • Difficult to clean

All-Clad Brushed D5 5-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set, 10 Pieces: Premium 5-Ply

If you like fool-proof pans, All-Clad D5 Stainless Steel Set is the ultimate choice. When I reviewed it, I found it to be a premium product with excellent performance.

It features a 5-ply construction, a brushed stainless steel exterior, and includes the following 10 pieces:

  • 8-inch (20.32 cm) fry pan
  • 10-inch (25.4 cm) fry pan
  • 1.5-quart (1.42 liters) saucepan
  • 3-quart (2.84 liters) saucepan
  • 3-quart (2.4 liters) sauté pan with lid
  • 8-quart (7.57 liters) stockpot with lid

The 5-ply construction inspired the D5 collection’s name. This All-Clad stainless set has two aluminum layers that are between a steel core, a stainless steel interior, and a stainless exterior.

The brushed finish is matte and easy to keep clean. Buyers like the beautiful yet lower-maintenance finish.

Like the D3 set, All-Clad’s D5 pans have tight-fitting stainless steel lids and handles. And just like the D3 set, customers didn’t find the handles to be comfortable, although they do stay cool to the touch while on the stovetop.

The D5 set is the best in even heating. The steel core diffuses heat transfer to the entire pan. Users rave about how there are no hot spots.

While the stainless steel collections also distribute heat evenly, the D5 collection offers more consistent results over time.

This All-Clad set is slower to heat than the All-Clad D3 or Copper Core collections. So if you need the fastest heat response, this may not be your best pick.

The flip side to that? This set is more forgiving. Because it’s slower to respond to heat changes, you’ll have more time to make adjustments without ruining or overcooking whatever is in the pan.

Speaking of heat, the D5 pans are oven-safe up to 600°F (315°C), and are compatible with all cooktops, including induction. You can put these pans in the dishwasher, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

For those who want cookware that will last, this D5 set is right up your alley. The multiple layers of stainless steel help add durability to these All-Clad pieces.

This stainless cookware is hefty and unlikely to warp, dent, or scratch. If you have trouble lifting heavy pans, though, this might be difficult to manage.

The D5 is pricier and heavier than the All-Clad D3 collection, so it’s not for everyone. But if you want a sturdy, long-lasting set of stainless cookware that allows you to multitask in the kitchen, the D5 collection is great.

Pros

  • Unmatched in heat distribution
  • Allows for heat adjustments
  • Oven-safe
  • Induction compatible
  • Dishwasher safe (not recommended)
  • Durable, solid

Cons

  • Slower to heat
  • Heavy
  • Pricier

Want to know more about D5? As well as the main review, I’ve compared it with D3 and copper core.

All-Clad Copper Core 5-Ply Cookware Set, 10 Pieces: Premium Copper Core

If you want the ultimate heat response, All-Clad’s Copper Core cookware is tough to beat. Or at least that was my impression when I reviewed it.

This polished cookware adds an elegant touch and professional feel to the kitchen. It comes with the following 10 pieces:

  • 8-inch (20.32 cm) frying pan
  • 10-inch (25.4 cm) frying pan
  • 2-quart (1.89 liters) saucepan
  • 3-quart (2.84 liters) saucepan
  • 3-quart (2.4 liters) sauté pan with lid
  • 8-quart (7.57 liters) stockpot with lid

The mirror-polish finish and copper ring make for a stunning cookware set. But it’s not just beauty that this All-Clad copper cookware offers.

The magnetic stainless steel exterior encases an aluminum layer, a copper core, another aluminum layer, and a stainless interior. With a total of five layers, this copper core cookware is sturdy.

Because copper heats and cools so quickly, these pieces are great for home cooks who want the most precise temperature control.

In fact, copper is more conductive than aluminum. And because this cookware combines copper and aluminum, this All-Clad Copper Core cookware is the top performer in heat response.

So if you like to prepare foods that require precise heating, like sauces and fish, this copper core collection is some of the best cookware for you.

The stainless lids hold in heat and moisture, and the stainless handles stay cool to the touch. Of course, like the other All-Clad handles, these handles are not the most comfortable.

Users like the flared edges for easy

This set can handle oven temperatures up to 600°F (315°C), so it’s great for stovetop-to-oven dishes. And you can use it on any cooktop, even induction.

But this set is not for everyone. Beginners should probably avoid using this cookware. It requires more precision and attention to heat settings.

This cookware is also quite heavy, so it’s not ideal for those who have difficulty lifting heavy pans.

But perhaps the most exclusionary feature is the price. Expect to pay significantly more for All-Clad copper core cookware than other collections. Copper is a more costly raw material, so copper cookware runs more expensive.

Another issue? Cleaning. Users find it difficult to clean these pans. Several made the mistake of putting them in the dishwasher, which tarnished the exterior copper band. Some had success with using a polish or special cleaner, but that requires more work and care.

All-Clad’s Copper Core is beautiful and has excellent heat control, but it’s pricey and high-maintenance. This cookware is best for an experienced cook with a generous budget who wants precision and beauty.

Pros

  • Precise heat control
  • Flared rims for drip-free pouring
  • Beautiful design
  • Induction-safe
  • Max oven temp of 600°F (315°C)

Cons

  • Not safe for dishwasher
  • Difficult to clean copper ring
  • Significantly more expensive

All-Clad HA1 Hard-Anodized Non-stick Cookware Set, 10-Pieces: Premium Non-Stick

You may or may not know that All-Clad stainless steel pans are not the only options out there. All-Clad also has a line of nonstick cookware, as well. I liked this set for busy families and those who want quality non-stick.

This HA1 collection has a hard-anodized aluminum body and includes 10 pieces:

  • 8-inch (20.32 cm) frying pan
  • 10-inch (25.4 cm) frying pan
  • 2.5-quart (2.37 liters) saucepan
  • 3.5-quart (3.31 liters) saucepan
  • 4-quart (3.79 liters) sauté pan with lid
  • 8-quart (7.57 liters) stockpot with lid

Hard-anodized aluminum has undergone an electrochemical reaction to form a durable, non-reactive oxidized layer on the outside.

Cookware manufacturers typically cover the aluminum with a non-stick coating. This combination results in a durable, corrosion- and scratch-resistant pan that has non-stick properties.

All-Clad’s HA1 nonstick pans feature a triple layer of PFOA-free non-stick. These extra layers help extend the lifespan of this cookware set.

Most nonstick cookware is not compatible with induction stovetops. But due to the stainless steel bonded base, the All-Clad HA1 set is suitable for all cooktops.

It can go in a hot oven up to 500°F (260°C). While that max oven temp is lower than the All-Clad stainless collections, it’s high enough to handle virtually any cooking task.

This cookware offers fast and even heating. And the glass lids allow you to monitor food while cooking.

The non-stick properties make it easy to clean. The HA1 cookware set is safe for the dishwasher, but the benefit of a non-stick pan is that it’s easy to clean by hand.

When using the All-Clad HA1 collection, I would avoid using metal cooking utensils. Even the most durable nonstick pan is susceptible to scratching from metal tools.

Users glowed about the performance of this hard-anodized cookware. There were incredibly few complaints about scratching and warping, a common complaint about other non-stick cookware.

Customers complained about the uncomfortable handles on this set, as well. But they did like the heat resistance of the handles.

The HA1 collection, unlike the All-Clad stainless lines, is made in China. I listed this as a con since some customers choose All-Clad because they’re an American-based company. If you want a product made in the U.S., this isn’t it.

Still, if you want some of the best hard-anodized aluminum non-stick, these pans are fantastic. They’re expensive for non-stick cookware, but they’re not as expensive as other All-Clad sets.

Pros

  • Durable, corrosion-resistant
  • Fast and even heat
  • Nonstick coating
  • Great for beginners & experienced cooks
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Contains PTFE
  • Not safe for metal utensils
  • Pricey for non-stick pans
  • Made in China

What are the Alternatives?

Tramontina PrimaWare Non-Stick Cookware Set, 18 Pieces: Best Non-Stick Alternative

I liked this Tramontina set as an affordable alternative to All-Clad. Tramontina is a Brazil-based company that manufactures a wide range of kitchen products. This particular cookware set is large, coming with a whopping 18 pieces (albeit, many of those are accessories):

  • 8-inch (20.32 cm) open skillet
  • 9-inch (25.4 cm) sauté pan
  • 1-quart (.9 liters) saucepan
  • 2-quart (1.89 liters) saucepan
  • 3-quart (2.84 liters) saucepan
  • 4-quart (3.79 liters) covered Dutch oven
  • 11-inch (27.94 cm) griddle pan
  • 6 plastic utensils
  • steamer basket

This set features aluminum construction with a non-stick coating. It has a red non-stick exterior and has ergonomic, riveted soft-grip handles that stay cool on the stovetop. The tempered-glass lids allow you to monitor food. This cookware can go in the oven up to 350°F (177°C), and it’s safe for the dishwasher.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Tempered glass lids
  • Non-stick coating
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Not as durable, susceptible to warping
  • Low max oven temp

Calphalon Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set, 10 Pieces: Best Multi-Ply Stainless Alternative

Calphalon is a popular mid-range brand that manufactures cookware in several materials, from stainless to non-stick to cast iron. I found Calphalon to be a good alternative to All-Clad stainless cookware.

This particular set is tri-ply stainless steel and includes 10 pieces:

  • 10-inch (25.4 cm) omelet pan with lid
  • 1.5-quart (1.42 liters) covered saucepan
  • 2.5-quart (2.37 liters) covered saucepan
  • 3.-quart (2.84 liters) sauté pan with lid
  • 5-quart (4.73 liters) Dutch oven with lid

This set has aluminum between two layers of stainless steel. Instead of a stainless steel lid, Calphalon opts for a glass lid. It’s compatible with all cooktops and is safe for the oven, broiler, and dishwasher.

The handles stay cool and offer more comfort than the All-Clad handles. You will sacrifice some of the cooking performance, but these are much more affordable than the All-Clad stainless sets.

Pros

  • Tri-ply construction
  • Tempered glass lids
  • Comfortable handles
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Difficult to clean
  • Not quite as durable

Anolon Nouvelle Stainless Steel Cookware Set, 10 Pieces: Best Bargain Alternative

Anolon is also a mid-range brand that is known for its hard-anodized and stainless pots and pans, it’s an affordable alternative to the All Clad Copper core. This Nouvelle set combines elegance with affordability for one beautiful set. It comes with the following 10 pieces:

  • 1.25-quart (1.18 liters) covered saucepan
  • 2.5-quart (2.37 liters) covered saucepan
  • 6.5-quart (6.15 liters) stockpot with lid
  • 8-inch (20.32 cm) frying pan
  • 10.5-inch (26.67 cm) frying pan
  • 3-quart (2.84 liters) sauté pan with lid

These Nouvelle pans feature stainless steel construction with an impact-bonded base. The base has layers of stainless steel and copper for enhanced heating.

This set is not full-clad, so you won’t get the same performance as All-Clad. However, the significant price difference reflects that sacrifice.

The beautiful European design has a tulip shape with flared rims for easy pouring. This set is safe for oven use up to 500°F (260°C) and is compatible with all cooktops, including induction.

Users liked this Anolon set. They were happy with the cooking performance, although some found it difficult to clean.

Pros

  • Tulip-shaped design
  • Induction suitable
  • Max oven temp of 500°F (260°C)
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Not full-clad
  • Not as even in heating
  • More difficult to clean

Is All-Clad Worth It? The Last Word

Should you buy cookware from All-Clad? I would recommend All-Clad’s cookware for its longevity and exceptional performance. But the right set for you depends on your personal preferences and cooking needs.

For most home cooks, I would go with the All-Clad D3 a premium cookware set that offers excellent value, durability, and cooking performance.

For those who want the best heat distribution and can handle heavy pans, I’d go with the All-Clad D5. Experienced cooks who have a generous budget and want maximum heat control should consider All-Clad’s Copper Core Collection. And for those who want low-maintenance non-stick cookware, the All-Clad HA1 line is ideal.