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All-Clad vs Calphalon Multi Pot Comparison

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Yesterday I was able to do a side-by-side comparison of the 8-qt Calphalon Multi Pot and the similar 12-qt All-Clad pot. Here are my thoughts.

Both are 18/10 stainless steel stock pots with aluminum disk bottoms of similar thickness. Both contain a pasta insert/strainer, a steamer insert, and have lids. Both offer riveted handles and seem to be constructed reasonably well and similarly.

I was somewhat disappointed in the All-Clad Multi Pot. The biggest problem I had with it is that the pasta insert/strainer only goes about 2/3 - 3/4 the distance into the pot, and while it has a somewhat greater diameter than the Calphalon insert, it's not any deeper, thereby making the effective useable capacity with the insert similar in both pots. That's a big disappointment when making stock, as the larger, heavier, more unwieldy All-Clad pot won't allow for much more capacity (when using the insert) than the smaller sized Calphalon pot. That means you have to use and heat more water in the All-Clad pot in order to cook the same amount of ingredients that you can cook in the Calphalon. It also means a longer time to bring the water up to whatever temperature you want, a heavier pot to move around, and a more
expensive pot to operate as it will take longer to bring the water up to the working temperature.

Another drawback to the design is that, when using the pot to make stock or broth, you'll get a weaker result since you have to use more water for the same amount of meat and bones, and may have to spend more time reducing the liquid when using the All-Clad pot than when using the Calphalon pot.

The Calphalon pot's insert goes just about all the way to the bottom of the pot and rests on stamped impressions that act as small legs to keep the insert off the bottom of the pot. This close proximity to the pot bottom means that it's easier to make smaller batches of stock, there's less water to heat when making larger batches of stock or pasta, the pot will be easier to move about, and it will take less time to heat the water. Plus, a richer stock can be made right from the beginning.

The steamer inserts are similar, but the All-Clad has a little more flat surface area. The Calphalon insert is a little more rounded. I don't think this is too big of an issue, but if you wanted to steam a large piece of fish, or lots of veggies, the larger flat surface area of the All-Clad pot may offer some advantages.

Both pots come with lids, the All-Clad with a flat, stamped stainless steel lid and the Calphalon with a slightly domed tempered glass lid. The All-Clad lid looked and felt a little flimsier than the lids on my other All-Clad pots and pans, although in fairness it should be noted that no side-by-side direct comparison was made, and the sample I looked at already had a very small dented and bent area at the edge. However, the pot was a floor sample, and it's possible that the lid was dropped or in some other way abused. Still, my 30yo All-Clad has suffered no such indignities to their lids, and they have not been treated very carefully or babied at all.

The Calphalon lid has a wide stainless steel ring around it which secures the glass, and which looks to be quite sturdy. The ring is a lot wider than the one on my 1-qt Simply Calphalon pot, so it should be stronger. My little 1-qt put has suffered quite a bit of abuse due to some carelessness on my part, yet the lid has held up well.

Now that I've used a glass lid, I'm sold on the idea. It's not that I'd consider it a major feature, or a deal point, but it does make some cooking chores easier and more convenient. Given two comparable pots, a glass lid could make the deal.

While the bottom aluminum disk is about the same thickness on both pots, the one on the All-Clad extends a little closer to the edge. I'm not sure how important that will be given the intended use of the pots and the fact that no food will actually be touching the bottom of the pot. Still, I like the All-Clad design a little more than the Calphalon design.

The price of the All-Clad pot at a couple of stores that I checked is now $120.00, up $20.00 since the last time checked. The Calphalon pot is $80.00 at most places I checked, so unless you must have a 12-quart capacity (without the insert), the Calphalon seems to be a better value.

While I originally wanted the All-Clad pot, based on the design features and my intended use of the pot, and the good results and durability from my current All-Clad pots, my good luck with the smaller Calphalon pot that I already have, and the features of the two Multi-Pots, my choice between these two pots would be the Calphalon.

Kind regards,

post #2 of 4
Shel, is there a particular reason you need to use the inserts for stock making? Sure, it's a convenient way to have a strainer, but certainly when using the All-Clad it would make more sense to forego the insert for more efficient stock making.

Question: Have you actually used the All-Clad, or is this conjecture based on measurements?

Reason I ask is that in my experience there's more involved than just needing more water with a short-reach insert. With the one I have (we've discussed in on another thread) I have fill the pot so high, in order to have a decent amount of water inside the strainer, that there's little room for anything else---like, say, a half box of pasta.

All in all I can't think of anything less useful than a strainer that doesn't approach the bottom. And yet, we see so many of them.

Question #2: Do the people who design these things ever actually use them?
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 #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Do I need the strainer when making stock? No, I don't need it, but after making so much stock over the years, and using a friend's pot with a strainer, the convenience and flexibility the strainer offers is, for me, very useful. Someties lifting a heavy pot with all that water and all those bones and meat, makes the experience less than enjoyable.

I've not used the All-Clad, but I did make measurements and do a side-by-side comparison with the Calphalon.

I don't know why these pots are designed with "short" inserts - it makes no sense to me.

My uncle was an engineer and designer of certain types of cooking and kitchen equipment, and his testing methods were very comprehensive. He often wondered the same thing as you.

post #4 of 4
I find those inserts to have too large a hole to do a good straining anyway and still have to pass the stock through a finer sieve so why not start with the finer sieve in the first place? Just pour the stock through a large sieve straight from the pot.

The other option is a lid strainer. My 6 qt Tramontina has a straining screen you can slip on and then pour through that. It holds itself to the pot. I mostly use it for pasta or potatos though; again, it's too coarse for useful stock straining.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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