Thanks for your question. We're big fans of All-Clad here. Sara Kate is building a collection of the MC2 line, while Chris likes the shine of the dishwasher-safe Stainless line.
Yes, All-Clad is expensive. Premium cookware is a significant investment, but your All-Clad collection (at least the pots and pans that don't have non-stick coating) will last for your lifetime and beyond. If something does go wrong, All-Clad offers a generous warranty.
All-Clad's heat-conducting core runs up the sides of the pan. Other pans conduct heat through a disc welded to the bottom of the pan.
Here's our two All-Clad secrets:
• Because All-Clad pots are so costly, skip the sets that stores like Williams-Sonoma push. Instead, we suggest you buy just one pan at first. Cook with it regularly. You might even want to run your own side-by-side comparison with another pan you use often. As you run your test, pay attention to the sides of the pans.
We started off with the 2 quart sauce pan. We made some rice and warmed some chocolate in the pan and were quickly won over.
• Buy irregulars. The 2 quart sauce pan is $139.95 on Amazon and $140 at Sur La Table. The same pan -- as an irregular -- is $95.20 at Cookware 'n More. That's a savings of more than 30%. Cookware 'n More runs occasional sales that cut the prices even lower!
We've bought irregulars from Cookware 'n More several times and highly recommend them. Many times the blemishes and imperfections are often barely noticeable. Cookware 'n More runs out of inventory from time to time and gets back ordered. If you need a particular piece in a hurry, call them to ask if it is in stock before you place your order.
Readers, what do you think about All-Clad? While many of you told us that you'd pay less than $60 for a saucepan, we bet there's a crowd out there who will say All-Clad worth the price. Who has All-Clad on their wish list this holiday season?
UPDATE: All-Clad also makes the Emerilware line by Emeril Lagasse. Instapundit once wrote that the branding and the bost was the biggest difference between the two lines. Instapundit then corrected their post to explain the differences between the two lines. Unlike the "All-Clad" branded lines, the Emerilware line has a thick heat conducting bottom and thinner sides, while the All-Clad high-end lines conduct heat on the bottom and sides of the pans. Emerilwareis made in China.