All-Clad is definitely on the pricey side. Tramontina gets good reviews.
the "best" thing is highly subjective. a heavy bottom/thick disk is good stuff - the rest of "the best" is style, handle preference, etc. if it's got plastic knobs and the user demands the ability to put it in the oven.... not really "the best" - or?
cast iron is high maintenance: whot? mine is no maintenance - cook, wipe it out with a paper towel, air dry until next use.