Why Are All-Clad Pots and Pans So Expensive — and Are They Worth It?

published Mar 3, 2020
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Credit: Leela Cyd

We love All-Clad. The cookware heats up incredibly evenly, gives meat that coveted sear, and lasts forever. Plus, it’s gorgeous! But, with a single 2-quart sauce pan retailing for $155, one thing it isn’t is cheap. Why, exactly, are these pots and pans so expensive? And are they worth it? We hear these questions a lot, so we decided to take a deeper look.

Why Is All-Clad So Expensive?

For starters: Every piece of fully-clad cookware is made in the United States. It’s been made in the small town of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, the birthplace where it all started back in 1971. They’re also one of the few companies remaining that still offers a lifetime warranty, which is increasingly less common. But the main reason All-Clad pots and pans cost more is because they’re made better.

“All-Clad was one of the first to develop bonded cookware in the United States,” says Meghan Dwyer, Senior Buyer of Cookware at Williams-Sonoma. If cookware is bonded, that means the various layers of metal — be it aluminum, stainless steel, or copper — have been chemically fused together. “Most bonded cookware only has multiple layers of metal on the base, commonly known as a sandwich bottom,” explains Dwyer. But All-Clad cookware has bonded metal that extends all the way up the sides of the pan — not just the bottoms — which means more even heat distribution. (The most popular lines in the All-Clad family are the d3 and d5, which stands for how many layers of metals, i.e. three or five, respectively, make up the pot.)

Is All-Clad Worth It?

The answer to this depends. At Kitchn, we’re huge fans. Every single one of us has at least one piece of All-Clad that we swear by. We’ve tried so many different pots and pans and we can attest to the superior quality of All-Clad.

All-Clad also has the love of many professional chefs all around the country. “All-Clad is very durable and you can really rely on their cookware to last forever,” says Dan Kluger, chef and owner of Loring Place in New York City. He points out that while it’s an investment up front, you won’t have to replace anything down the line. And there’s still that warranty, should you need it.

But we also know that many home cooks can’t make the price fit their budgets. A lot of Kitchn readers write in to tell us that All-Clad is on their wish list, for now. And Redditors on this thread seemed divided. Folks either voted a definite yes or chimed in with less expensive options that they liked just as much (like this set from Tramontina. And we’re also fans of direct-to-consumer cookware companies that offer affordable, quality options.)

What We Recommend: Start Small and Don’t Pay Full Price

If you’ve decided to invest, we suggest starting small. There’s no need to go out and buy a complete set of All-Clad cookware at once. If you use a skillet more than any other pan, treat yourself to an All-Clad skillet. See how you like it and decide if you want to add more pieces.

No matter what, though, if you decide to buy any All-Clad pieces, you should never pay full price. You can almost always find them for cheap on eBay (or even Craigslist). HomeAndCookSales, which is run by All-Clad’s parent company features frequent, major sales on seconds (cookware that’s oh-so-slightly damaged or boxes that got messed up somehow).

Your turn: Are you thinking about buying an All-Clad pan? Are you already a proud owner? Share with us in the comments!