Market Review: Stainless-Steel Cookware

Last update: Sep 2017
Stainless-steel cookware isn’t something new. It becomes a traditional way to cook in every kitchen for decades. Still, with tons of them, picking one may make more confused since there’re variety of quality of material, construction layer, size and shape of pots and pans, or even type of lids, in the market.

Best Stainless Steel Cookware

Best High-End: More Than $600

For proficient quality and performance tools, All-Clad is a most chosen among sous chefs and cooking pros. Like the name, All-Clad is firstly introduces fully clad to cookware industry. With decent performance, this US-made brand brings the great compromise of reliable material quality and reasonable price.
  • All-Clad Tri-Ply (Est.$699 for 10-piece set), original 18/10 tri-ply construction, is the common gold standard among pros and serious home cooks for decades, with 500°F heat resistant.
  • All-Clad MC2 Master Chef 2 (Est.$599 for 10-piece set), tri-ply construction with brushed aluminum alloy exteriors, is an affordable alternative that has satisfied performance and lighter weight, with 600°F heat resistant. However, it has thinner construction than other series, as well as is not dishwasher-safe and incompatible with induction cooktops.
  • All-Clad d5 (Est.$899 for 10-piece set), upgraded 5-ply with 2 aluminum layers, boosts more cooking results and strength. The d5 has improved rolled rims for easier pouring, 600°F heat resistant.
  • All-Clad Copper Core (Est.$1,299 for 10-piece set), as a flagship of All-Clad, offers premium 5-ply construction with 2 layers of aluminum and a layer of copper, for superb heat ability and less stick surface. Like d5, it has rolled rims and dishwasher-safe, with 600°F heat resistant. If you want to give a try, the covered 10.5-inch Essential pan is recommended as a multi-tasker tool.

In this price array, there’re variety of big players from European region that offer finest craft with stunning design. Mauviel, a French brand who is specialized in copper tools, is a topnotch candidate that can depend on cooking expertise.
  • Mauviel M’Cook Onyx ($799 for 10-piece set), a d5 rear competitor, offers 5-ply with 680°F heat resistant to proof excellent performance, even on induction stovetop, and beautiful contemporary design. However, there’re some complaints about discoloration and unfriendly-designed lids, which is difficult to grip.
  • Mauviel Copper Heritage ($1,900 for 12-piece set) offer 2.5-mm thick copper core with 18/10 stainless-steel interior, and beautiful traditional copper exterior. The cooking quality is undoubtedly optimus. Honestly, it performs better than the All-Clad. However, with bronze body and handles, it’s quite heavy and hot to grab the handles with bare hands.

Not only excel in Dutch oven, Le Creuset (Est.$850 for 10-piece set) has impressive tri-ply cookware that boasts for having infused titanium exterior to prevent discolor. The performance is excellent in every way, even works with induction cooktop. The totally look is gorgeously classic. But, there’re a few complaints about cleanup but can deal with Bar Keepers Friend.

Viking 5-Ply Professional (Est.$899 for 10-piece set) features shiny and modern US-made 5-ply with 3 layers of aluminum core, and 600°F heat proof. The cooking quality is qualified as advertised and comparable to All-Clad. It has really stay-cool and nice grip handles. Still, the skillets have slope and wide sides that can easily make ingredients fly out when frying, as well as have no lids.

Best Mid-Price: $300 - $600

Apart from Cuisinart Multi-Clad Pro (Est.299 for 12-piece set), as a good benchmark of mid-price products, Cuisinart French Classic (Est.399 for 10-piece set) is worth for those who are willing to pay more $100 to get a French-made tri-ply set, with strikingly classic design.

KitchenAid Tri-Ply (Est.399 for 10-piece set) has much improved than older versions as embracing trustful material, cooking quality, and ergonomic design. There’re many beloved features here: welded metal handles, good weight in hands and nice grip handles, stamped marking measurement and works well with induction cooktop.

Viking Contemporary 3-Ply (Est.399 for 10-piece set), not US-made like their Professional series, features good thick fully-clad construction, 600°F heat proof, interior level markings and gorgeous look. Above from uncomfortable skillet handles, discoloration, and too-sloped sides for skillets, it’s a top performer in this price range.

Calphalon Tri-Ply (Est.350 for 13-piece set) has remarkably neat construction and practical design for serious cooking. The performance falls in good level; it absorbs heats quick but not as even as Cuisinart Multi Clad Pro, yet better than budget sets like Tramontina Tri-Ply[1], which might get food burns or stains easier than some solid performers, like Cuisinart or Viking. With competitive price, it offers more useful pieces: a 12-inch skillet and a 3-quart chef’s pan with a cover.

Or, you can pick Calphalon Contemporary (Est.399 for 13-piece set) for enchantingly sleeker contemporary styles. It has the same qualifications as the Tri-Ply, but requires more dollars to pay.

Lagostina Axia (Est.$399 for 13-piece set), an Italian-made craft, features a finest tri-ply 18/10 stainless-steel construction and heat performance in mid-range. It cooks evenly and less hot spots, even with induction burners, as well as stress-free to cleanup. We like classy and really stay-cool handles. Some users found developing brownish color when cooking on high heat, but can solve by polish cleaners. This is a best bet to get like-an-All-Clad pots and pans that won’t break the bank.

Engaging more attractiveness, Lagostina Martellata Tri-Ply Copper (Est.$499 for 10-piece set) offers quality tri-ply brushed stainless-steel interior and traditional hammered copper exterior, but needs more bucks and hand washing.

Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad (Est.$479 for 12-piece set) is well-known as was recommended by America’s Test Kitchen and some experimental tests[2] as an affordable alternative of All-Clad. Tramontina is considered as a consistent performer; it doesn’t reach for Cuisinart or Viking’ level and has more food sticks but yields pleasing results. Yet, comparing to others, Tramontina obviously offers size-by-size bigger capacity, such as a roomy 12-quart stockpot.

All-Clad d5
(10 pieces)
Cuisinart Multi-Clad Pro
(12 pieces)
T-Fal Tri-Ply
(12 pieces)
Tramontina Tri-ply
(12 pieces)
Saucepan with lid 1.5 quart 1.5 quart 1.5 quart 1.5 quart
Saucepan with lid 3 quart 3 quart 2.5 quart 3 quart
Saucepan with lid - - 3 quart -
Sauté Pan with lid 3 quart 3.5 quart - 5 quart
Stockpot with lid 8 quart 8 quart - 12 quart
Dutch oven with lid - - 6 quart 5 quart
Steamer - Included with lid Included -
Skillet 8 inch 8 inch 8 inch -
Skillet 10 inch 10 inch 10 inch 10 inch
Skillet - - 12 inch 12 inch

Best Low-Price: Under $250

(1) Fully-Clad

These days, you can find a nice set of fully-clad cookware without breaking the bank. Still, with a thinner conductive layer and less sturdy construction, these budget sets heat too quick and cook unevenly, which are commonly found food burn or sticks, less shiny, discoloration or even scratches.

T-fal Tri-ply Multi-Clad (Est.$199 for 12-piece set) is a steal deal to get a tri-ply cookware with dishwasher-safe. Though lacking a sauté pan and a big stockpot, T-fal bargains a value set from more useful pieces, which are an additional saucepan, a medium-sized Dutch oven, 3 sizes of skillet and a steamer for more healthy or Asian recipes. The heat ability is content, better on gas than induction stoves.

Duxtop Whole-Clad Tri-Ply (Est.$199 for 10-piece set) boasts for adeptly compatible with induction and electric sources of heat and really works as advertised with little buzzy noise. The craft quality feels sturdy and weighty, with nicely even heating on gas, electric and induction stoves. Disregarding easy scratching, hot handles and odd combination pieces, this is an outstanding set among budget ranges.

Cooks Standard Multi-Ply Clad (Est.$199 for 12-piece set) gives very competitive results with Tramontina. The variation of pieces of the set nicely suits for folks who frequently go for sautéing, deep frying and steaming techniques as offers many sizes of sauté pan and a steamer that fits with many pans.

(2) Encapsulated Disc

Calphalon Classic (Est.$199 for 10-piece set) stands out as a compact set for daily tasks. With thick aluminum disc and sturdy stainless-steel body, the performance and craft quality is better than others in this range. It has unique glass lids with straining holds that help easier draining liquids. Also, it works with most stovetops, includes induction and ceramic.

Cuisinart Chef’s Classic (Est.$199 for 10-piece set) is a most famous cookware among beginners and students as having most variety of size selections. From 7 to 17 pieces and reliable quality, with glass lid options, in affordable price.

T-fal Ultimate Stainless-Steel Copper-Bottom (Est.$250 for 13-piece set) is a long-time favorite budget set as featuring both cooking performance and toughness. For budget cookware, T-fal offers remarkable feature as having a disc that have both copper and aluminum for boosting cooking ability. Fairly, it heats very fast and pleasing results---not spotless evenly but capable for searing steaks. More, it has 12-inch skillet with cover for handling versatile jobs. Lack of a stockpot, it offers a 5-quart stew pot (Dutch oven) and a steam rack, instead.

  1. According to The Sweet Home evenly test on stainless-steel skillet by comparing difference between the hottest and the coldest spots on the heat map, the best result is All-Clad tri-ply at 30-degree difference. Cuisinart Multi-Clad pro had 50, Calphalon Tri-Ply had 70 and Tramontina had 78.
  2. The Sweet Home and Serious Eats experimental tests on heating performance.

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