What Are the Differences Between All of the All-Clad Lines?

updated Apr 8, 2024
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Credit: Leela Cyd

Back in 1971, All-Clad was the first cookware manufacturer to use bonded metal, offering the heat conduction of aluminum with the durability and easy-care convenience of stainless steel. It was a game-changer and, 50 years later, the Pennsylvania-based manufacturer is still making the gold standard in high-quality cookware

But in the convening decades, the brand’s offerings have grown exponentially. Lines have come and gone as trends and advances in design and manufacturing have evolved. And there’s still a lot to choose from. These days there’s not just one, two, or three lines, but more than half a dozen. If you’re shopping for a new pan or set of cookware for yourself or to give as a gift, it can be overwhelming to try to figure out which one to get. 

So, in an effort to help you pick the line that’s right for you, we took a deep dive into all of the most popular options. Don’t go shopping until you read this.

D3 Stainless Steel 

  • Layers: 3 (stainless steel, aluminum, stainless steel)
  • Heat safe: Up to 600°F
  • Works with: Gas, electric, and induction ranges, as well as ovens and broilers 
  • Available finishes: 1 (polished stainless steel)

This is All-Clad’s entry-level line and a solid workhorse, with a highly conductive layer of aluminum sandwiched between durable stainless steel. It’s the same three-ply construction that put the maker on the map (although the line went by a different name back then). Generations later, the OG still works great. Yes, this is All-Clad’s entry-level line, but it’s still wildly impressive. Honestly, we love the d3 All-Clad line so much, its pieces repeatedly win a spot on our list of Kitchn Essentials cookware.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants to give All-Clad a shot.

D3 Everyday

  • Layers: 3 (stainless steel, aluminum, stainless steel)
  • Heat safe: Up to 600°F
  • Works with: Gas, electric, and induction ranges, as well as ovens and broilers
  • Available finishes: 1 (polished stainless steel)

This newer line is an upgrade to the beloved d3 Stainless Steel line; it includes the same classic features (three-ply construction, of course) along with highly-requested features like contoured handles, drop-free pouring rims and flared sides, and a flat base with over 30% more skillet surface area.

Who it’s for: Serious home cooks, especially people who do high-heat frying.

D5 Polished 

  • Layers: 5 (stainless steel, aluminum, stainless steel, aluminum, stainless steel)
  • Heat safe: Up to 600°F
  • Works with: Gas, electric, and induction ranges, as well as ovens and broilers 
  • Available finishes: 2 (brushed and polished stainless steel)

For a few dollars more you get two more layers. This time you get two aluminum layers with a layer of stainless steel sandwiched between. What do these extra layers do? All-Clad says the extra stainless steel can help eliminate hot spots and distribute heat more slowly and evenly (although some reviewers are skeptical about it). Choose between a 10 or 12-inch pan.

Who it’s for: Home cooks who want upgraded cookware.

Enameled Cast Iron

  • Layers: 2 (enamel, cast iron)
  • Heat safe: Up to 650°F; Stainless steel lids are oven safe up to 500°F
  • Works with:  All cooktops, including induction and outdoor grills
  • Available finishes: 1 (matte black enamel)

All-Clad’s take on cast iron emphasizes ease of use. Yes, the cookware heats evenly and retains that heat. But the enamel exterior means you won’t have to season (and re-season) your pans, and makes it easier to clean. The oven-ready stainless steel lids are a bonus. But the matte black finish and wooden trivets elevate this line to table-worthy.

Who it’s for: All-Clad stans looking for high-performance, low-maintenance cast iron cookware.

Copper Core

  • Layers: 5 (aluminum, aluminum, copper, aluminum, stainless steel)
  • Heat safe: Up to 600°F
  • Works with: Gas, electric, and induction ranges, as well as ovens and broilers 
  • Available finishes: 1 (polished stainless steel)

The Cadillac of the brand, this line is pricey for sure. But that copper core surrounded by aluminum is a double-whammy because both metals excel at conducting heat. That means the pans are very responsive to temperature changes and heat evenly, all with the durable and maintenance-free stainless-steel exterior. All-Clad says the pans are maximized for induction burners and designed for recipes that “require precision.”

Who it’s for: Serious home cooks who are all about precision.

G5 Graphite Core

  • Layers: 5 (aluminum, aluminum, copper, graphite, stainless steel)
  • Heat safe: Up to 600°F
  • Works with: Gas, electric, and induction ranges, as well as ovens and broilers 
  • Available finishes: 1 (polished stainless steel)

This option sports a layer of graphite in the center instead of stainless steel or copper. Graphite is more heat-conductive than copper and conducts heat faster laterally, which means the entire surface of the pan heats up lightning-fast. It’s also 80 percent lighter than copper, so these pans are super lightweight — perfect for those who can’t wrangle heavy pots and pans. 

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants high-performing cookware that’s also lightweight and easy to maneuver.

HA1 Hard Anodized Nonstick

  • Layers: 5 (hard-anodized aluminum coated in 3 layers of PFOA-free nonstick coating with a stainless steel base)
  • Heat safe: Up to 500°F
  • Works with: Gas, electric, and induction ranges, as well as ovens and broilers 
  • Available finishes: 1 (black anodized aluminum)

Aluminum is cheap, lightweight, and conducts heat supremely well. Unfortunately, it’s also prone to scratching and can react with acidic foods. But when it’s given the hard-anodizing treatment (a dip in a chemical bath with an electrical current running through it), the surface becomes a lot more durable and it won’t react with acidic ingredients. This type of metal forms the base of All-Clad’s relatively affordable nonstick cookware sets, and this HA1 line adds a stainless-steel bottom so the pans are warp-resistant and can be used on induction burners too. Choose the set in 8 and 10 inches or 10 and 12 inches.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants nonstick cookware that will last longer than just a few months. Also, anyone who has an induction stove at home.

Essentials Hard Anodized 

  • Layers: 4 (hard-anodized aluminum coated in 3 layers of PFOA free nonstick coating)
  • Heat safe: Up to 500°F
  • Works with: Gas and electric ranges, as well as ovens and broilers. Does not work with induction. 
  • Available finishes: 1 (black anodized aluminum)

Simply put: This line is just like the HA1 line but without the stainless-steel base (which makes it a bit cheaper). 

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants to save money on a nonstick line and doesn’t have an induction cooktop.

FUSIONTEC

  • Layers: 2 (steel core coated in ceramic)
  • Heat safe: Up to 500°F
  • Works with: Gas, electric, and induction ranges, as well as ovens and broilers 
  • Available finishes: 3 (rose quartz and onyx)

Let’s say you want the pretty pops of color and oven-to-table flair that enameled cast iron cookware provides, but don’t want to carry heavy pots and pans around the kitchen. And you want nonstick? You can have it all, thanks to All-Clad’s colorful FUSIONTEC line. The steel core might not be as heat-responsive as copper or aluminum, but it heats up steadily and evenly and is far lighter than cast iron (there’s a reason chefs love carbon steel pans). The ceramic coating inside and out is not just pretty, but also easy to clean. Check out our full review of All-Clad’s FUSIONTEC here.

Who it’s for: Anyone who likes nonstick, but prefers the gorgeous look of ceramic.

NS Pro

  • Layers: 2 (aluminum and stainless steel)
  • Heat safe: Up to 500°F
  • Works with: Gas, electric, and induction ranges, as well as ovens and broilers 
  • Available finishes: 1 (black hard anodized)

Crafted with 100% recycled aluminum and a high-quality PTFE nonstick coating bonded to the core with a layer of ceramic plasma, this line of cookware is incredibly easy to use and won’t stick to food! Its lightweight design and dishwasher-safe feature make it not only high-performance but also easy to clean.

Who’s it for: Anyone who wants high-performing cookware that’s low maintenance.

Which one of these lines sounds the best for you and your style of cooking?