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Along with copper and cast iron, All-Clad is a variety of cookware professional chefs and avid home cooks alike swear by.
The company was founded by John Ulam in the late 1960s, originally as a general manufacturer of bonded metals. In fact, their metal bonding techniques helped change the way coins are produced for the U.S. Treasury!
Several years in, John thought he’d try his hand at cookware and started by making himself a pan to use at home. It was a success; John had made an awesome piece of clad cookware and, not long after, he developed a whole line to sell to the public.
There are several reasons All-Clad has gained such popularity: the company produces all but two lines of its pots and pans in the U.S., with metal from only U.S. suppliers; their products features superior stainless steel cooking interiors that won’t impart anything into the food, are incredibly durable, and feature clad construction.
What’s clad construction?
It’s simply layers of aluminum and/or copper sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel. Steel is a rather poor conductor by itself – at least when compared to the properties of copper (excellent) and aluminum (decent).
In the better cookware lines this heat-conducting core runs all through the cookware instead of just the base, allowing for more evenly cooked food.
This clad sandwich wraps all the way to the top of the pan in contrast to the “disk” construction found on cheaper lines where a disks of aluminum (and sometimes stainless steel in induction ready examples) are bonded – either by wielding or adhesives – to the stainless steel bottom of a pan.
Although All-Clad makes some of the most expensive cooking products available, all of their pots, pans, and other cooking vessels come with a lifetime warranty, offering much needed peace of mind when making such an important purchase.
Copper Core Line
All-Clad’s top line of cookware is called Copper Core. These products have a bonded five-ply clad construction: magnetic stainless steel exterior, aluminum layer, copper core, aluminum layer, and 18/10 stainless steel interior cooking surface, from outside in.
All-Clad Copper Core 14-Piece Set, available from Sur La Table
This line does the best job of distributing heat evenly throughout the pan due to the copper core, with no worries of hot spots. It has some of the heat distribution benefits of copper cookware but is far more durable and easier to care for since it’s lined on both sides with steel.
The All-Clad Copper Core 14-Piece Set is compatible with all ranges, so you can go stove top (including induction) to oven with no issues.
Though it is dishwasher safe, the line isn’t available in nonstick. But that’s a small price to pay for such a great tool. The big price you’ll pay is the one on the sticker; this line is the brand’s most expensive by far.
This is a great choice if you’re looking for the incredible cooking capabilities of copper but want something that isn’t quite as fragile.
D3 Stainless Steel Line
A popular collection from All-Clad is its D3 Stainless Steel line, available in a 5-piece set from Sur La Table. This line has a bonded three-ply construction: induction stainless steel exterior, aluminum core, and 18/10 stainless steel interior cooking surface, from outside in.
All-Clad D3 Stainless Steel 5-Piece Set, available from Sur La Table
The aluminium is more affordable than its copper brethren but still provides great All-Clad quality.
I really like this line because it’s a great product for cooks with any skill set, from beginners to seasoned chefs. The aluminum core, although not quite as conductive as copper, distributes heat very well.
Not only is this line oven-safe and compatible with the any type of range, including induction, it’s dishwasher safe as well and some of the pieces are available in nonstick.
D5 Brushed Line
There’s another stainless steel collection, All-Clad’s D5 Brushed Stainless Steel 10-Piece Set. This option is different from the other, because it features a five-ply construction: brushed, magnetic stainless steel exterior; aluminum; stainless steel core; aluminum; and 18/10 stainless steel interior cooking surface.
All-Clad D5 Brushed Stainless Steel 10-Piece Set, available from Sur La Table
This particular line is more energy efficient than the others and is optimized for induction and other flat top stoves, although safe for all hob surfaces.
Some users of the D5 have said the replacement of the aluminum core with the stainless steel makes for poorer heat distribution, but it still does well when compared to your run of the mill $40 fry pan. Like its fellows, it has a lip for easy pouring and large handles for more control.
It’s also dishwasher safe, making cleanup just a little easier. If you have an induction range, this line is definitely worth trying since it was created with induction in mind.
The B3 collection is All-Clad’s first collection of pots and pans to be constructed outside the U.S., in China. Although this change is a disappointment for many All-Clad faithfuls, the new line has received great reviews from its users.
The entire line is nonstick and made from heavy-gauge, three-ply, bonded anodized aluminum. The B3 gives users the benefits of nonstick without several of the drawbacks: it has a heavy stainless steel base, so it shouldn’t warp; it’s induction compatible; and it’s PFOA free.
All-Clad B3 Hard Anodized Bonded Induction Aluminum 5-Piece Cookware Set
It’s also compatible with all stove tops, is oven safe up to 500ºF, and is dishwasher safe, qualities you’ll be hard pressed to find in other nonstick cookware.
B3 is a great choice if you’re a beginning cook: since the production is outsourced, the line is a bit more affordable and the nonstick surfaces are a little more forgivable.
MC2 or Master Chef 2 is a makeover of the orginal Master Chef collection, which has fewer pieces than the others, although it’s one of the most affordable. It was originally created for the chef community but is used by home cooks, too.
It’s three-ply: a brushed aluminum exterior, aluminum core, and 18/10 stainless steel interior cooking surface.
All-Clad 700508 Master Chef 2 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded 10-Piece Cookware Set, Silver
The two layers of aluminum means this line heats up very quickly, making jumping from dish to dish or whipping dinners up fast very easy. This line is less compatible with all kitchens: it isn’t dishwasher or induction safe.
It is oven safe, though, and some of the products are available in nonstick. If you don’t spend several hours a day in the kitchen, stick with one of the other lines, like Stainless. If you do spend hours over a stove, either at home or at work, the MC2 line could be the right choice for you.
The Hard Anodized collection features eight pieces made from specialty hard-anodized aluminum. It’s mostly designed to be used on the stove top, but is oven safe up to 450ºF.
Composed of griddles, grills, and Panini pans, All-Clad describes this as an accessory line, these are great, budget-friendly options to consider when building your cookware collection. These pieces are not induction compatible or dishwasher safe, though, so keep that in mind when purchasing.
These do not come in a set but can be purchased individually.
All-Clad 3011 Hard Anodized Dishwasher Safe 11-Inch Sqaure Grille Cookware, Black
Emeril by All-Clad
All-Clad paired with Emeril Lagasse to create two more lines of cookware: Emerilware Pro-Clad and Emeril by All-Clad. Both lines, like B3, veer from traditional production: they’re made in China.
Pro-Clad is three ply (stainless, aluminum, stainless), has an 18/10 stainless steel interior, and is induction compatible, making it very similar to other All-Clad products.
The Emeril by All-Clad line, however, only has a bonded disc in the base of its cookware, meaning it doesn’t have the aluminum interior all the way up the edges.
Emeril by All-Clad E884SC74 Chef’s Stainless Steel Dishwasher Safe PFOA Free Cookware Set, 12-Piece, Silver
This does make it a more affordable product, but you lose the incredible heat conduction All-Clad is so well known for. Both Emeril lines are less expensive than other All-Clad products, in part because they’re made in Asia (where wages and other costs are much cheaper).
The Pro-Clad line could be a great choice for you if you’re looking for the bonded metal construction and heat conductivity of All-Clad but are working with a smaller budget.
If you are looking to get a few high-quality, low-cost pieces, check out Emeril by All-Clad. Even though it’s not fully bonded, it’ll give you a taste of what All-Clad is all about.
Emeril by All-Clad E914SC64 PRO-CLAD Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Dishwasher Safe PFOA Free Cookware Set, 12-Piece, Silver
Although most of All-Clad’s collections are available in a set, each line has something different to offer and you may find it a good idea to comprise your collection with different pieces of each.
For example, if you know that a fry pan is the piece you’ll use the most, you could get that piece from the Copper Core collection and other, less essential pieces from the Stainless line. I’m picking several pieces from the Stainless line, a few from Copper Core, and one or two things from the Hard Anodized to add to my wedding registry.
Building your All-Clad cookware collection over time is also a little more budget friendly, not to mention you can add pieces to registries and wish lists here and there!
Your friends and family will never be without birthday present ideas. However, a buying a set brings also has its perks and you can save up to the 30-40% over purchasing the pieces separately and you also get the satisfaction of having an instant collection.
About Chelsea Miller
Chelsea Miller, born and raised in Portland, Oregon, graduated from the University of Oregon where she discovered both her love of football and cooking great food. She's the founder of the food blog "A Duck's Oven" and began writing for Foodal in 2014.
27 thoughts on “Which All-Clad Collection is Right for Your Kitchen?”
Thanks for the very informative article, Chelsea! I had actually never heard of All-Clad before reading this but I am definitely intrigued. We are working on improving our cooking and cookware in our house (it was our big project for this year that accidentally got put on the back burner) and so we are always on the lookout for nice cookware and cooking gadgets. This blog is seriously a great place for informative articles about cookware.
Anyway, yeah! This cookware looks absolutely beautiful and we love that it’s (almost) all made in the U.S and only with U.S provided materials. I checked out the prices on them as well and they seem quite reasonable for the quality. They’re dishwasher safe so that’s a plus because who wants to spend all afternoon cleaning dishes after spending the entire morning cooking? Not me!
Thanks again for all of the information!
An all clad stainless steel set is on my wishlist always. It would be so nice to have. I haven’t made the investment yet but I plan on in the next year or so. The pots and pans I have are fine but many of them are in need of replacing. I’ve had them for years. I cook a lot so I want to invest is a good set.
In this day and age the norm is typically stainless steel or cast iron cookware, so learning about copper cookware and their excellent heat distribution was certainly fascinating!
I will consider buying a copper core piece for my kitchen! Also if I had more money, that silver cookware set looks especially luxurious, it’s every chef’s dream!
I was in a restaurant supply store the other day and the sales associate told me without a doubt all clad is the best brand of cookware. It is also very expensive. I enjoy cooking on stainless compared to nonstick. I think steel pans last a lot longer then non stick which I find I have to replace even a high end brand after a few years.
I just bought my first set of stainless steel cookware and went with All-Clad. I was very nervous about cooking without a non-stick surface as that is all I’ve ever used. I only started cooking over the last couple of years, so I went with what was easy. Wow, was that a mistake! I am so happy I went with stainless steel because it cooks so much more evenly. Yes, they’re a bit tougher to clean, but I’m willing to put in a little more elbow grease to get a well-cooked meal without the chemicals.
We’ve been looking into buying new pots and pans. One of our pots with a disk base popped and is no longer useable. It can be only a manner of time until the rest break, I suppose. We want something higher quality, where the metal is wrapped completely around, not just on a disk slapped on the bottom. The issue is that all-clad is just SO expensive. It’ll be years before we could afford to piece together a whole new set. Are there any other quality brands, similar to all-clad, that are a bit more affordable?
All Clad has sales and you will find sales of the products in many of the stores including of Amazon. Being from PA, and only about 45 minutes from All-Clad, they have a sale (or used to) twice a year. The sales make these pieces very affordable.
Great article, you can’t beat a stainless steel collection in the kitchen. It seems more complicated than non stick options at first but allows you to cook and clean up well without any of the negative aspects of using non stick pans and utensils with harmful metallic mixes.
Emeril by All-Clad E884SC74 Chef’s Stainless Steel Dishwasher Safe PFOA Free Cookware Set, 12-Piece, Silver
I would LOVE to buy the Sauce Pot 1 or 1.5 qt from this collection but 12 pieces? Anyone know anyone will sell the individual pieces? Tried eBay and no luck.
Thank you so much for explaining the different models of All Clad models. My Mother owned a set for over 35 years and I was so impressed by its durability, that I have been trying to figure out which set to purchase. The more I spoke with a sales representative at a store about the differences in the models, the mired confused I was.
I now know which set to purchase and I will even take under your advisement to also purchase a few other different model pieces, which I would never have thought to do. Thank you so much.
SO NICE to have all the lines described honestly in one place. I’ve been slowly collecting All-Clad pieces for more than 25 years, starting with the “Stainless” and later experimenting with the other lines…but always come back to Stainless. I find it the most durable and cleans up nicely both interior and exterior. These will outlive me.
The anodized pieces should be avoided. Impossible to completely clean. Also, non-stick grills or any other high-heat non-stick is a bad idea. The non-stick surface dies quickly. The company replaced my first set of non-stick skillets but advised to never use at high heat. The regular stainless or an iron pan are much better for extreme heat applications. Even a well cared for non-stick All-Clad, after many years, loses its slickness. Now I keep one “old” and one “new” in every size skillet.
An affordable way to grow your collection are the frequent “Factory Seconds” sales conducted by a third party. I’ve never been disappointed and rarely can even tell why it’s a “second.”
One last piece of advice — If you think you can’t afford All-Clad, remember the old adage…”Buy the best, once.”
What is the difference between the B3 and the B1 All-Clad series? BB&B has a 13 piece set of the B1 series. Looks like the B3 and also an import. Thanks.
The B3 line is hard anodized bonded induction aluminum. It is exclusive to BB&B (and made to different quality standards, according to some reviews).
The copper core line IS dishwasher safe per the All-Clad website.
Thanks for catching our mistake, Robert! The review has been updated. 🙂
I have an All Clad set that I received as a wedding gift. It is as nice now as it was 24 years ago and it has seen some hard use. Spend the money and get the top of the line All Clad. If you love to cook, it is one the best purchases you can make.
Yep, you’ve gotta love quality tools!
Love your article, it was very informative. But I do have a question about All Clad in general. We bought a set for our daughter a while back and she says her handles get very hot to handle. Could there have been a defect in the product? I did get the pans from Cutlery and More. She is very disappointed with that set but she does love how it cooks. Please get back to me with some input.
Mistake in the Copper Clad description—-The Copper Core Line DOES have both a regular AND a Non-Stick frying pan option. I have all three. 8, 10 and 12 inch.
Looks like you are correct, David. Thanks for the info! It’s possible that this option was not available when this article was originally written, and it is in need of an update. We’ll get on that ASAP!
It’s been over a year & the article isn’t updated. Anyway, the TK model is pretty neat. The handles are much improved.
Any chance the article will be updated to include the TK, NS1 and D3 lines.
I am interested in copper-core fry pans. Would like a 12 fry pan and a 8″ or 10″ fry pan.
Is there a shipping fee?
Could you email me about the costs of these?
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Thanks for your informative article Chelsea! I know you wrote this All-Clad article on 2/20, but I’m wondering if you would recommend All-Clad’s large roasting pan. From my research, it appears to be made in China, so I’m wary of the quality of their roasting pans. Does this mean it’s only a single-ply stainless steel without a heavy bottom? Thanks, jean
Your article cited both lines of All Clad come with a lifetime warranty. Recently I considered an All Clad d5 Stainless Steel Round Oven 2.5 qt., and the box indicated only Limited Lifetime Warranty.
Which is correct? Would you also describe the difference?
Thank you. Ann
I can post pictures of my 10 year old 1.5 quart sauce pan and I really hate the two rivets. If there is a way to made the rivet flushed on the 4th layer then attach the 5 ( or if it’s a 3 layer pan, then on the middle core) layer that is touching the food, that would be superb! Protruding rivets should go away.. Otherwise I will go with the Belgian made set.