All-Clad and Calphalon Review

Which to buy?

Between All-Clad cookware and Calphalon pots and pans, what is the best cookware to buy?  Many people face the same dilemma: two competing brands of stainless steel cookware that seem almost the same except for price.  Calphalon has the edge by a long shot when considering expense. Often it sells at half the price compared to similar cookware from All-Clad. 

So what is the best stainless steel cookware? 


Known as the gold standard of stainless cookware, All-Clad is recommended by professional cooks everywhere.  It's so reliable, durable, and versatile that many people swear by it as the absolute best cookware on the market.  But what exactly are its features?

All-Clad Cookware SetAll-Clad is made from 18/10 stainless steel, which means it will easily last a lifetime and more. Inside the stainless steel exterior is an aluminum core that stretches all the way up the sides, giving exceptional heat distribution.  There won't be any hot spots- heat is evenly spread over the whole surface of the pan. Also, the bottom steel layer is a magnetic 18/10 stainless steel, which makes it particularly well suited for induction heating. 

It has an attractive, slightly vintage appearance, with a mirror-polish steel exterior.  The handle is long and stays relatively cool on the stovetop.  The lids are also made of mirror-polish steel.

All-Clad comes with a lifetime warranty against workmanship defects. 

Calphalon Tri-Ply

Calphalon offers a very similar line to the All-Clad stainless cookware, called Calphalon Tri-Ply.  It is made of a very similar construction: two outer layers of 18/10 stainless steel for durability, and an inner aluminum layer for even heating.  The bottom layer on Calphalon Tri-Ply is not magnetized, but it still functions on an induction stove top.  Its heating is comparable to All-Clad: no hot spots on the pan with even heat distribution all the way up the sides.

Calphalon Tri-Ply CookwareThe appearance is slightly different, with a curved handle that can get hot on the stovetop if it's too close to a flame (the angle is lower than All-Clad's).  It has a mirror finish on the sides, with a satin finish on the interior cooking surface.  Also, Calphalon cookware lids are made of see-through glass.

Calphalon also offers a lifetime warranty against defects in workmanship.

What is the best stainless cookware?

The answer to this question depends on what you are looking for, and on your priorities.  Both brands of stainless cookware offer similar levels of durability and heat conductivity.  They both come with lifetime warranties.  Both are easy to clean if you follow recommended cooking guidelines (don't use cooking sprays and keep the heat low!). But what about their differences?

All-Clad offers name brand recognition.  It also has the outer magnetic induction layer.  In addition, All-Clad is made in USA, which for many shoppers is a bonus. (Note that its handles and lids are imported.) They recycle all of their metal scraps made during production, which is both efficient and environmentally friendly.

But Calphalon Tri-Ply, in addition to being cheaper, offers a good number of helpful features.  First of all are the popular see-through glass lids. This allows you to watch your food as it cooks, and can help you adjust the temperature level without needing to remove the lid and thereby losing heat. Next, many argue the handle design is better, making it more comfortable to use. All-Clad's handle has two defined edges which can dig into the hand (especially when the pots are full). Calphalon's are rounded. (To decide which handle you like, it's worth trying the two in the store before purchasing.) 

One more distinction is that Calphalon's pour lip offers cleaner pours.  All-Clad's lips can be a bit messy.

Which to buy?

All-Clad Set on Amazon:

In Favor of All-Clad

The bottom line is that either brand will do well in your kitchen.  All-Clad may satisfy your desire for having top brand kitchenware, if nothing else.  The top chefs love it, and it may perhaps have a slight edge of versatility with the outer magnetic induction layer.  If the price doesn't concern you, then by all means invest in it.  After all, when you're still cooking with it thirty years later, you may feel like the original $300-$600 extra you spent on it was worth the extra cost (an extra $10-$20 per year).  And you'll be able to hand them on to another aspiring chef in the family when the time comes.

Calphalon Set on Amazon

Calphalon Tri-Ply Stainless Steel 13-Piece Cookware Set
Amazon Price: $804.00 Too low to display Buy Now
(price as of Sep 18, 2015)

In Favor of Calphalon

Of course, Calphalon stainless will last just as long as the All-Clad, and many people feel like that money could be better spent elsewhere (like getting a KitchenAid Mixer).  With the slight edge in usability and price difference, don't hesitate to get the Calphalon Tri-Ply cookware.  You won't regret it with your money still in the bank as you cook equally delicious food.

Final Suggestion

Try buying just one important cookware piece to begin with, say a 10" frying pan.  This way you can get a real feel for the quality of the brand you choose without investing in a whole set.  Later when you do invest in a whole collection, you can sell the duplicate piece on Ebay without any problem.

Happy cooking!