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All-Clad vs Calphalon?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I am interested in purchasing some new cookware but unforunately I have no idea which brand to purchase? By all means, I'm no gourmet chef.

I would like cookware that will last a long time, easy to clean and maintain and will do a good job when cooking. I currently have my cheapy cookware set where I purchased from Walmart and it's time to replace them. I have an electric ceramic cooktop so I need something somewhat heavy so it's not spinning on the cooktop. I think I'm leaning more towards All-Clad but then again, I like the idea of being able to put the pan in the oven so I don't have to move the food into an oven safe dish. Can I do that with All-Clad, too? I'm not sure if I'm thrilled to learn that the Calphalon handles get hot while cooking on the cooktop.:(

I've been reading reviews about All-Clad and Calphalon and I'm even more confused. Is one better than the other? Do both have the extra layer on the bottom of the cookware?

The type of cooking I do often are stir-fry, frying chicken, browning beef and pork, steaming veggies, pasta and its sauce and making stew. Will that make a difference in what kind of cookware to purchase?

Any advice you can offer will be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much! :)
post #2 of 7
I think both are good but give a slight edge to All Clad. I would stay away from the sets unless you get a smokin good deal as they usually include several pans you'll probably never use.
I have a glass top stove as well and use a Calphalon 3qt saucier and 8.5qt stock pot with pasta and steamer inserts and haven't had an issue with the handles getting too hot. I also use cast iron quite often, Lodge 12" fry pan, unkown 10" fry pan, Emeralware 6qt and Le Cruset 5qt dutch ovens, and 12" Wok with no scratch issues on the stove top.
Stainless steel, nonstick, and cast iron (properly seasoned) are all easy to clean. I have a mix from a bunch of brands from All Clad to Faberware and have found all have there uses, also I don't have pans collecting dust as I only bought the pans I need. I'm also betting I saved a bunch of money by not going with only All Clad or Le Cruset.
Good luck in your hunt for new pots and pans, keep tuned in here as there are many whom have alot more experiance than I.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your advice, cwshields! I was just cleaning my glass top and there are these burnt spots that I cannot seem to remove. I wonder if it's because of my old pots and pans. Do all your pots and pans have an extra layer on the bottom for even heating? Can you also place All-Clad pans in the oven for baking? Again, thanks for your help.
post #4 of 7
Kidmims, there are several websites that give complete---even technical---details about the various types of cookware. I suggest you read a couple of them.

In brief, however, cladding only applies to stainless cookware. Cladding refers to the sandwiching of different kinds of metal. Stainless is not a particularly good conductor, so we use it for it's looks and ease of maintainence, but bond it to copper, aluminum, or both, for their conductivity attributes.

There are two kinds of cladding: completely cladding, in which the inner cores cover the bottom and sides of the item; and disc-bottom, in which only the bottom has the layers, and the sidewalls are straight stainless.

There are objective pros and cons of each type, and subjective evaluations as well. So I'm not getting into that now. Others will, I'm sure.

When it comes to other types of cookware, cladding is neither used nor advantageous (one exception: tinplate could be called clad.). The basic cookware materials are cast iron; enameled cast iron; sheet steel; enameled sheet steel; carbon steel, aluminum, and coated (i.e., non-stick) aluminum.

Sheet steel is only used in very cheap cookware, and you hardly even see it anymore. Enameled sheet steel is the speckled graniteware used primarily for camping and historical reenacting.

As for the rest, much of what you read and hear is subjective. But there are advantages and disadvantages of each material. Here, again, I suggest you learn those plusses and minuses, and then decide the balancing act you have to perform for your own cooking style.

And I can't stress enough how much I agree with C.W. Shields. Anyone who buys a kit; be it cookware, knives, or what-have-you, usually is doing themselves a disservice.

As to oven use. Any pot or pan that is all metal construction can go from the stovetop to the oven. Those with silicone insert handles can sometimes be used that way, depending on the grade of silicon and the temperature being used. It is not a good idea to put other materials, such as bakalite, in the oven.

Some studies indicate that teflon gives off dangerous fumes starting at 450 degrees. So you should be safe putting non-stick in the oven below that temperature.

In all cases, however, see what the manufacturer says.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #5 of 7
One thing that I'd like to mention is that over the years I've had Calphalon, the "good" anodized magnalite, and All-Clad cookware. Most pieces were purchased about the same time - 25 or so years ago. The All-Clad is still cooking up a storm, but the anodized stuff needs to be replaced. The coating has worn thin on the most used pots.

Also, once I got the hang of it, I found the All-Clad stainless interiors easier to clean than the anodized aluminum pots, and I am now a staunche believer in the stainless interior. All-Clad however, is not the only choice out there - there isother quality cookware that should provide equal results, and perhaps even better in some cases, depending on the particular pot and the use to which it's put.

One thing you might consider is the suitabilty to purpose of different brands of pots. For example, you may find that you prefer an All-Clad sauce pan, a different brand for a stock pot, athird for a sauté pan, and so on.

You'll note that I've had my pots for 25+ years. Good cookware is a long term investment. Take your time investigating the options. Things like size, weight, handle design, construction, are often personal choices.

One thing I'll probably stay away from, at least with All-Clad, are the clad pots, and stick with the Master Chef series. The aluminum is thicker on those "cheaper" pots than on the more expensive ones, and heat transfer is quite good. The copper core uses a pretty thin core of copper, and the benefit of the copper isn't that great because of the thin core and the stainless cladding. I have an All-Clad Limited skillet - a truly worthless design, IMO, and when putting the skillet in the dishwasher, the coating ends up looking awful. The Ltd coating adds nothing to the cooking process. A friend has some Ltd pans, never uses the dishwasher, and the nice shiny coating still faded to a muted grey.

Yeah, I know that All-Clad tells you not to put certain styles in the dishwasher, but sooner or later it's something you may want to do. The cooking surface will be fine - it's just that they don't want you to put certain pieces in the dishwasher for cosmetic reason.

OTOH, it seems that putting the anodized Calphalon in the dishwasher can actually harm the cooking surface, so there's a slight benefit to a stainless cooking surface.

I hope this littel early morning rant has been helpful.

Shel (struggling to get some stuck-on crud removed from my last good piece of Magnalite)
post #6 of 7

A good site for cookware information

eG Forums -> Understanding Stovetop Cookware

post #7 of 7
There's not much to understand. Thick aluminum works for almost every saute situation. Blue steel for making crepes. Affordable so you can go from stove to oven to sink. Ugly enough so you don't have to worry about polishing the exterior. Buy a few aluminum saute pans at the restaurant supply. You won't go wrong. Buy some other copper at a discount store for decoration. :)

I totally agree with Shel. Try finding the old Magnalite anodized. They're great for everything I mentioned above plus you don't worry about the carbon too much because you can't see it very well. Doesn't hurt the performance of the pan.
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