August 8

All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

By trk

Last Updated: March 5, 2021

All-Clad, cookware, D3, D5, review

Last updated December 2020

All-Clad D3 vs. D5: It might seem like a tough choice, but there are clear--and important--differences between them. If you understand how they're different, it's easy to make the right decision for your kitchen.

All-Clad D3 Vs. D5 at a Glance (A Quick Comparison Chart)

Here's a chart showing the main differences between All-Clad D3 and D5:

All-Clad D3 Vs. D5: A Quick Comparison Chart

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All Clad D3 7 pc Set


All Clad D5 10 pc Set


3-ply (stainless-aluminum-stainless), 18/10 stainless cooking surface, 18/0 stainless exterior

5-ply (stainless-aluminum-stainless-aluminum-stainless), 18/10 stainless cooking surface, 18/0 stainless exterior


-2.6mm sidewalls

-polished stainless exterior

-drip free pouring on skillets and sauté pans

-traditional All-Clad handles

-stainless lids

-oven/broiler safe to 500F

-capacity etched on bottom

-limited lifetime warranty

-12" skillet weighs 4lb (w/lid)

-made in USA

-2.6mm sidewalls

-brushed or polished exterior

-drip-free pouring on all pieces

-"oversized" stay-cool handles on pots and lids

-bottom grip on long handles

-stainless lids

-oven/broiler safe to 500F

-capacity etched on bottom

-limited lifetime warranty

-12" skillet weight 4.4lb (w/lid)

-made in USA

Buying Options:

Polished or brushed stainless

5, 7, 10, 14 piece sets (brushed)

open stock (fewer pcs than D3) (note: most links go to brushed pieces) 

See All-Clad D5 at Williams-Sonoma

Approximate Price

12-inch skillet:

5 piece set:

7 piece set:

10 piece set:

14 piece set:

About All-Clad


AC D3 Ply Diagram - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

Back before All-Clad was founded, most cookware was aluminum, which was cheap and abundant and did a good job spreading heat evenly, but wasn't very durable. Stainless steel was also cheap and abundant, as well as durable and stable, but nobody thought to make cookware out of it because of its terrible heating properties.

This all changed when metallurgist John Ulam invented the cladding process, which sandwiched fast, even-heating aluminum between two layers of durable stainless steel. His clad cookware, which he began by selling at trade shows--hoping to get the attention of professional chefs--was an almost instant success, and he founded the All-Clad company in 1971. 

All-Clad has changed hands a few times since then. In 2004, All-Clad was purchased by the French kitchenware conglomerate Groupe SEB, who still owns it today. Groupe SEB is one of the largest kitchenware companies in the world and owns several American brands as well as other brands around the world. 

Today, all of All-Clad's clad cookware is still made in the USA. All of All-Clad's other products, including aluminum nonstick cookware, lids, utensils, and appliances, are made overseas (mostly in China).

Competition Brings About New All-Clad Lines

Tri-ply clad cookware, which sandwiches aluminum between two layers of durable stainless, was one of All-Clad's earliest designs. It lives on today as their D3 line. Tri-ply is the most popular and successful design for clad cookware; when people think of All-Clad, they are usually thinking of the tri-ply D3 line of cookware. 

In the 2000s, All-Clad's patent for D3 expired, allowing several other companies to get in on the clad cookware market. Many of these companies made their tri-ply cookware overseas for a lot less than All-Clad could make it in the US. This created the first real competition for All-Clad in the US market.

All-Clad executives considered moving their operation overseas, but they didn't want to give up their primary differentiation--being made in the USA. So to keep ahead of the competition, All-Clad introduced several new products to the market such as Copper Core, D7, C2, and Thomas Keller. Each new line was meant to appeal to a special niche of clad cookware users. According to the All-Clad website, D5 was introduced in 2009 as All-Clad's premium induction cookware; we talk more about its performance below. 

With their new lines, as well as customers willing to pay a premium for their top-of-the-line products, All-Clad has stayed competitive and successful in today's cookware market. In fact, they are considered to be one of the highest quality cookware brands in the world. You can read more about all of All-Clad's lines in our Ultimate All-Clad Review

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Why Clad Stainless Cookware?

For most cooks today, clad stainless steel is the best cookware option. It's durable, non-reactive, versatile, and easy to care for. Stainless cookware also stays shiny and looking like new after decades of use.

An investment in good quality clad stainless cookware can be hefty, but it will last a lifetime, so your cost-per-year-of-use is low even if you buy at the top of the market. 

Clad stainless cookware is also a healthy choice because it contains no toxic chemials. While there is some evidence that clad stainless cookware can leach elements like nickel and chromium into your food, this occurs in extremely small amounts. Unless you have a nickel or chromium sensitivity, the amounts are too tiny to be considered unsafe, or to really have any effect at all. 

Clad stainless cookware isn't the perfect choice for every dish. For example, eggs are easier to make in a nonstick pan. However, clad stainless can be used, in a pinch, for any dish or type of cooking, including eggs. You can't say this about aluminum, cast iron, carbon steel, nonstick, or glass/ceramic cookware, all of which have limitations that make them less versatile than clad stainless cookware. Why is this the case? Primarily because clad stainless is so stable--it won't react with food or cause off flavors, and you can use it with any sort of oil, fat, or cooking spray. 

Furthermore, with the proper techniques, the stainless cooking surface can perform much like a nonstick skillet, with cleanup that is just as easy. So if people don't like clad stainless cookware because "everything sticks to it," trust us on this: they just haven't been using the right techniques. 

You can check out our other articles about clad stainless cookware too:

How to Choose the Best Cookware: The Ultimate Buying Guide

Cuisinart Clad Stainless Cookware Review

Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad Cookware Review

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D3 Vs. D5: The Theories Behind the Designs

Here we look at the designs and discuss the performance differences between D3 and D5.


AC D3 Ply Diagram - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

D3 design is simple: it sandwiches the heat-spreading aluminum between two layers of stainless steel. The stainless steel provides a durable, non-reactive cooking surface and protects the softer aluminum. It's a classic design that revolutinized the cookware industry and, when executed well, is hard to improve upon.

(What does "executed well" mean? Good quality stainless steel and an aluminum layer that's thick enough to provide fast, even heating. Many brands skimp in one or both areas, which is why it's so important to do your research before you buy. If you're set on All-Clad, you're covered in both of these areas.)


AC D5 Ply Diagram - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

D5 design is a little more complicated. All-Clad took the aluminum layer of D3, split it in half, and put in a layer of stainless steel. This results in a 5-layer construction (shown above): stainless-aluminum-stainless-aluminum-stainless. The cooking surface is 18/10 for stability and durability; the exterior is 18/0 for induction compatibility. (The interior stainless is probably also 18/0, but we're only guessing because All-Clad doesn't say.)

You can buy D5 in a polished exterior (like D3) or a brushed exterior; the performance and price are the same for both finishes.

All-Clad markets D5 as "a patented technology...for excellent results and optimal browning" and also as "optimal for induction." Our testing, however, shows some interesting results in both of these areas.

First, let's talk about the construction. D5 has the same wall thickness as D3, which is 2.6mm. This means that the additional layer of stainless steel is added at the expense of aluminum. In other words, D5 contains less aluminum than D3. 

The weight of D5 substantiates that this is true: D5 is slightly heavier than D3. We didn't weigh every piece we tested, but the D5 12-inch frying pan weighs 4 ounces more than the D3 12-inch frying pan. Given that stainless steel is heavier than aluminum, and the walls are the same thickness, it makes sense that D5 contains less aluminum than D3.

The amounts are close, but D5 definitely has less.

How does the internal layer of stainless produce "optimal browning" and make D5 "optimal for induction"? All-Clad doesn't provide an explanation, but we have a theory that makes sense: the internal layer of stainless steel slows the movement of heat upwards from the heat source. It does this because stainless steel has very poor heating properties, conducting heat slowly. So by the time the heat moves through the internal layer of stainless, up to the top layer of aluminum and on to your food, it is theoretically distributed more evenly across the pan. 

Why is this good for induction? Well, in all honesty it probably isn't (more on this below), but we can tell you where the claim comes from: because induction cooktops are so lightning fast, you want a pan that heats very evenly, or you may end up with hot and cold spots. The truth, though, is that unless you have very thin, cheap cookware, adequate preheating will solve this problem (i.e., let your pans preheat for a few minutes before adding cooking oil or food). 

What We Found in Performance Testing

All-Clad Skillet with Food

How did all of this pan out (sorry for the pun) in our testing? D5 performed exactly how we would expect a piece of cookware with less aluminum and more stainless steel to perform, as described above: it heated slightly more slowly than D3 (i.e., it had poorer heat conduction) and held on to heat slightly longer than D3 (i.e., it had better heat retention). 

But here's the biggest thing to remember: there was very little difference in performance between D3 and D5. We doubt that anyone would notice a difference at all in daily cooking tasks.

For this reason, we recommend that you don't select one over the other based on performance, but based on design: D5 has some slight improvements over D3 such as bigger handles and the brushed finish option. But we do not consider the extra layer of stainless an improvement. 

Does Multiple Plies Mean Better Quality? 

Belkraft Multiply Ply Diagram - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

This all brings up an interesting question: Is mulitple ply clad stainless cookware better than tri-ply clad stainless cookware?

The answer is that it depends. More plies does not automatically mean that cookware is more durable or will provide better heating performance. You have to compare total wall thickness, ply construction, stainless quality, and more to determine the overall quality of cookware.

Simply looking at the number of plies is not enough information. There is tri-ply cookware that will run circles around multi-ply cookware; similarly, there are some multi-ply brands that provide truly stellar performance (Demeyere, we're looking at you).

Since we're just focused on All-Clad D3 and D5, we won't get into that in any detail here. If you want to learn more, check out our Cookware Archives for more articles on clad stainless cookware. 

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How to Choose Clad Stainless Cookware: The Features to Consider

AC D5 with Alfredo - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

Choosing clad stainless cookware can be a daunting experience. There are so many brands to choose from, and it can be really hard to understand the differences between them, or know exactly what you're paying for. 

We've broken down the analysis process into several categories to help you decide. Some categories are objective, such as heating properties and durability: that is to say, one brand or line of cookware is objectively better than another based on its construction and aluminum content.

On the other hand, design is subjective: in other words, what some people like others might hate or consider unimportant. 

By taking into account both the objective and subjective features of cookware and understanding the ones that are most important to you, you should be able to select cookware you can love.

Here, we look at the important features of All-Clad D3 and D5: heating properties, durability, stability, design, induction compatibility, and buying options. 

(Note: If we're comparing different brands we also look at warranty information but that is not a concern here, as all All-Clad cookware has the same limited lifetime warranty.) 

When choosing cookware, you should look at both objective and subjective features. By taking into account both the objective (e.g., heating properties and stainless quality) and subjective (e.g., design elements) features of cookware and understanding what's important to you, you should be able to select cookware you can truly love.

D3 Vs. D5: Heating Properties

Dutch Oven in Fire - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

Winner: Tie (though we'd go with D3)

Why: D3 heats faster, but D5 hangs onto heat longer. However, the differences are very, very small and the performance is very, very close.

For most people, heating properties are the most important quality of cookware. People want cookware that heats rapidly, evenly, and has a decent amount of heat retention--that is, hangs onto heat for awhile after the heating element is shut off. Clad stainless cookware, with its aluminum interior, is more on the rapid-and-even end of the spectrum, while cast iron is on the hangs-onto-heat-forever end. Both serve a purpose in most kitchens, with clad stainless edging out cast iron as the more versatile, all-around choice primarily because of its stability--it doesn't react with any foods the way cast iron can react with acidic foods. 

As we said, D5 is slightly closer to the cast iron end of things than D3, but the difference is so small that you aren't likely to notice it. If you want to sear a steak or fry chicken, you should still go with cast iron (and not D5). If you want to make a pan of just about anything else, D3 and D5 are both great choices. 

Having said that, our preference is D3, for the simple reason that it contains more aluminum, and more aluminum, in general, means better performance. 

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D3 Vs. D5: Durability and Stability

Winner: Tie

Why: Both lines have identical external construction of 18/10 stainless steel, which is extremely durable, rust resistant, stable, and non-reactive.

D5 does have the advantage of coming in a brushed, rather than polished, option. Brushed stainless has a matte finish, which will camouflage scratches better than polished stainless. This isn't necessarily an advantage; it's really just about which look you prefer. 

It's also technically true that the internal layer of stainless adds to D5's durability. However, it's an unnecessary addition. D3 is extremely durable and warp-resistant even without the extra layer of stainless, so we don't consider extra stainless a plus. If anything, it's a minus because it makes D5 heavier without much improvement to its heating performance or durability. 

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D3 Vs. D5: Overall Design

AC D3 Skillet with Callouts - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

Winner: Tie 

Why: Many design choices are personal, so what one person prefers may be different from what another prefers. Having said that, D5 offers updated options, including a brushed finish and larger handles.

Let's look at some of the important design features.

Handles: D3 has the traditional All-Clad handles, which are hated nearly universally among cookware enthusiasts:

AC D3 Handle Closeup - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

People complain that the U-shape cuts into their hand and is uncomfortable to hold. However, we at TRK like the design. The groove provides a thumb-hold or leverage for your arm that either way makes a full pot fairly easy to stabilize with just one hand. The design may not be the prettiest or most comfortable out there, but it is definitely one of the safest.  

All-Clad upgraded the D5 handle to combat some of the issues people had. The D5 handle is longer, slightly wider, and has a finger stop on the bottom to aid with stabilizing. However, the differences really aren't all that noticeable, as you can see here from this D5 skillet handle closeup:

AC D5 Handle Closeup - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?
AC D5 Finger Stop - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

If you compare this to the D3 handle above, you can see that the difference in design in minimal.

D3 lids have smaller handles (left), while D5 lids have thicker, heavier handles (right):

AC D3 Lid - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?
AC D5 Lid - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

The heavier handles on the D5 look nice, but none of our testers noticed much of a difference in handling.

The helper handles on D5 pieces are also wider and thicker than those on D3, again, primarily a difference in design and not improving (nor detracting from) the handling. If you have very large hands, it may feel like an improvement.

Grooved lips: Grooved lips are nice for pouring with minimal drips. Only the skillet and sauté pan in D3 have grooved lips, and the one that probably needs it the most--the sauce pan--has straight sides, as shown here:

AC D3 Sauce Pan with Rim Callout - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

All D5 pieces have grooved lips (shown in the saue pan image below). While the grooved lip aids in pouring, the straight-sided pieces are more modern-looking, and we have found that dripping isn't a huge problem. However, it's something to think about about when comparing the two.

Finish: D3 comes in polished stainless steel only, while D5 is available in both polished and brushed stainless. The brushed stainless is a nice feature because it does a good job of hiding scratches, and anyone who's ever owned anything that's polished stainless steel knows that it can scratch easily. 

This image shows the brushed D5 finish (as well as the grooved lip, bolster on the bottom side of the handle, and the wider-than-D3 helper handle): 

AC D5 Brushed Sauce Pan - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

Weight and Maneuverability: D5 is slightly heavier than D3. The difference is small, but if you have any ergonomic or upper body issues, D3 is the better option (with no sacrifice in performance).

On the other hand, D5's somewhat improved handle design may make up for its weight, especially if you have large hands. Though in testing, we didn't notice an improvement in handling.

Pan Shape: Since both are All-Clad, shape is mainly about the grooved lips. If we were comparing different brands, it would be smart to look at the flat cooking surface in the skillets and how deep the sauce pans are. But because these are both made by the same company, the only pertinent difference is the grooved lip. 

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D3 Vs. D5: Induction Compatibility

Chocolate on Induction Stove - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

Winner: D3 (yes, even though All-Clad calls D5 "optimal for induction")

Why: While both are induction compatible, D3 offers faster, more responsive performance. The extra layer of stainless in D5 slows down heating, effectively hobbling one of the greatest advantages of an induction cooktop.

Even though All-Clad considers D5 their "optimal" induction cookware, we think D3 is the winner in this category. The extra layer of stainless steel in D5 slows down heat, which is the opposite of what you want if you own an induction cooktop.

One of induction's best traits is how fast it heats. Why, in the name of all that is rational, would you want to slow it down?? If you're concerned about evenness, just allow your pots and pans an adequate amount of pre-heating before adding cooking oil and/or food--no other modifications are needed.

Yes, the difference in performance between D3 and D5 is small, but if there's anywhere you would notice it, it's on an induction cooktop. 

It's true that the extra stainless may be more "forgiving," so if you're an inattentive or novice cook, you may burn less food with D5 than with D3. But again, the difference is so small as to be hardly noticeable. And in our opinion, that does not make it a better option for induction or otherwise. If you know how to use your cookware and your cooktop, "forgiving" cookware should be a non-issue. The lightning fast heat of induction is a huge plus, and you shouldn't be looking for ways to slow it down. 

(Note: If you're interested in cookware that has been truly optimized for induction cooking, check out Demeyere Atlantis. Read our article All-Clad Vs. Demeyere to find out more. Some of the induction-capable features may surprise you.)

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D3 Vs. D5: Cost and Buying Options  

AC Sauce Pan on Stove - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

Winner: D3

Why: D3 is the more econimical option but equal or superior to D5 in heating, durability, stability, overall design, and induction compatibility.

D3 is less expensive and offers more open stock options than D5. The only thing D5 has that D3 doesn't is brushed exterior option. So if that's important to you, go with D5. Otherwise, D3 is the more versatile and less expensive option.

You may also prefer the handles on D5, but as we showed above, the difference is small, and probably doesn't justify the higher cost.

Both D3 and D5 have limited lifetime warranties. 

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D3: The Best Buying Options

D3 has a huge range of buying options, including sets and open stock. D3 also comes in a "Compact" form, which is the same cookware with a flatter profile that requires less storage space.

D3 is widely available online and in retail stores. Thanks to the Internet, the prices tend to be stable in most locations; probably the only place you'll pay too much is on the All-Clad website itself. However, if you check out kitchen retail sites like Williams-Sonoma, Sur la Table, or Bed, Bath & Beyond, you may run into some sales, or they will sometimes throw in a free piece, like a roasting pan, with the purchase of a set (the equivalent of a $100 or more markdown). Bed, Bath & Beyond has a particularly nice interface for browsing All-Clad Cookware.

You can also find different set configurations such as the 2-piece starter set at Sur la Table or the colossal 21-piece set at Williams-Sonoma. (We don't recommend a set this large because you probably won't need or use all the pieces. But at least you know the option is there.)

Additionally, you can buy sets with nonstick skillets, but we don't recommend buying nonstick in clad stainless: it's expensive, and the nonstick will wear out years before the rest of the pan, making you wish you'd gone with a cheaper option. 

Below are the sets we recommend.

NOTE: Williams-Sonoma typically has better D3 options than Sur la Table, but it's good to check both stores. You may run into a sale and get a great deal.

Keep in mind that no set is going to have all the pieces you need, no matter how big it is. Thus, you are usually better off buying a smaller, 5-7 piece set and augmenting with individual pieces as you know you need them than you are buying a huge set with pieces you are not likely to get a lot of use from. 

D3 5 Piece Set

AC D5 5 pc Set - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

The 5 piece set includes:

- 10-inch frying pan

- 3 quart sauté pan with lid

- 3 quart sauce pan with lid.

It's a good starter set, which you will probably want to augment with a 12-inch skillet, a nonstick or cast iron skillet, a Dutch oven or stock pot, and a roasting pan. 

Buy All-Clad D3 5 Piece Set on Amazon now

Buy all-clad d3 at williams-sonoma

D3 7 Piece Set

AC D3 7 pc Set - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

The 7 piece set includes:

- 10-inch frying pan

- 3 quart sauté pan with lid

- 3 quart sauce pan with lid

- 8 quart stock with lid.

This too is a nice starter set and probably the best all-around choice for most people: all the pieces are useful, so you won't be buying anything you don't need or won't use. The 8 quart stock pot can also serve as a Dutch oven, good for both oven and stove top use. You may want to augment at some point with a larger skillet, a nonstick or cast iron skillet, an enameled cast iron Dutch oven, and a roasting pan. But these are all useful pieces that you won't regret owning.

buy all-clad d3 7 piece set on amazon now


D3 10 Piece Set

All Clad D3 10 pc Set

The 10 piece set includes:

- 8-inch frying pan

- 10-inch frying pan

- 3 quart sauté pan with lid

- 2 quart sauce pan with lid

- 3 quart sauce pan with lid

- 8 quart stock with lid.

This is not a bad set, depending on how much use you'll get out of a 2 quart sauce pan, which is on the small side. It's good for small batches of sauces and heating cans of soup, but it's too small for, say, making pasta. This is the problem with large cookware sets: they tend to contain smaller, "filler" pieces which require you to shell out more for the larger pieces that you're likely to get more use out of. Remember: you can make a small amount in a bigger pan, but you can't go the other way--making larger pieces more versatile in general. 

buy all-clad d3 10-piece set on amazon now


D3 Open Stock

All Clad D3 Chef Pan

Open stock means the pieces you can buy individually. For D3, that means everything from skillets and sauce pans to double boilers, roasting pans, pasta pots, woks, and more. There are too many to list here, so we'll just provide a page on Amazon and a few of our favorite open stock pieces.

If you want to see all the open stock pieces available, see the D3 collection at All-Clad. (Though we don't recommend buying there, as you will almost certainly find cheaper prices just about anywhere else.)

See all-clad D3 open stock on amazon now

see all-Clad open stock and sets at Bed, Bath & Beyond


AC D3 Skillet with Lid - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

This is an excellent deal--less than the same piece without a lid. In fact, one of the best All-Clad deals out there. This link also has a 10-inch skillet with lid, but we highly recommend the 12-inch size.

AC D3 Sauce Pan with Helper Handle - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

This is not a cheap pan, but you will love it. The helper handle makes it easy to use for any task, and it's big enough to double as a small stock pot.

All Clad 6 Qt Deep Saute Pan

This is also not a cheap pan (though less than the 4 quart sauce pan above!), but you will find this size perfect for so.many.tasks. You can use it as sauté pan, a skillet, a chef's pan, a stock pot, a Dutch oven, and even a stir fry pan in a pinch. It's great for everything from making chili to making pasta and rice. We think it's even more versatile than a chef's pan, because the straight sides make it better for liquids.

D3 Compact

D3 Compact is a design for people with limited storage space. The design is flatter, as seen here:

All-Clad D3 Compact Set

D3 Compact is available in sets and also a few open stock pieces. If you like the lower profile design, check out the buying options here:

buy all-clad d3 compact 4 quart roaster pan on amazon

buy all-clad D3 compact 10-piece set at williams-sonoma

Availability at both Amazon and Williams-Sonoma changes, so if you're looking for something specific, click over and search for "All-Clad D3 Compact." They may have options that weren't available at the time of writing this article.

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D5 Buying Options

Theoretically, you can buy D5 in either a brushed or polished stainless finish, but brushed sets are easier to find, especially on Amazon. Below are all the sets we recommend. (You can find larger sets at Williams-Sonoma, but we don't recommend going over 10 pieces; you don't need all those pieces, you probably won't use them all, and even though buying open stock pieces is more expensive, it usually turns out to cost less than investing in a gigantic set with too many pieces you won't use.)

D5 5 Piece Set

AC D5 5 pc Set - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

The D5 5 piece set includes:

- 10-inch frying pan

- 3 quart sauté pan with lid

- 3 quart sauce pan with lid (from Amazon) OR 2 quart sauce pan (from Williams-Sonoma, same price)

buy all-clad 5 piece set on amazon (brushed)

buy all-clad D5 5 piece set at williams-sonoma

Note that the sauce pan in the Williams-Sonoma set is smaller but for the same price; we recommend the Amazon set, though you can only get in the brushed exterior.

D5 7 Piece Set

AC D5 7 pc Set - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

The D5 7 piece set includes:

- 10-inch frying pan

- 3 quart sauté pan with lid

- 1.5 quart sauce pan with lid (Amazon) OR 4 quart sauce pan with lid (Williams-Sonoma)

- 8 quart stock pot with lid.



Note the difference in sauce pan sizes at the different stores: the set is the same price give or take a few dollars, however, the 4 quart sauce pan in the W-S set is considerably larger and more useful than the 1.5 quart sauce pan in the Amazon set. (This is a huge difference.)

Both brushed and polished options are available at W-S; brushed only at Amazon.

D5 10 Piece Set

AC D5 10 pc Set - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

The All-Clad D5 10 piece includes:

- 8-inch frying pan

- 10-inch frying pan

- 3 quart sauté pan with lid

- 1.5 quart sauce pan with lid

- 3 quart sauce pan with lid (Williams-Sonoma)

- 8 quart stock pot with lid.

The set pieces are the same at Amazon and Williams-Sonoma. Amazon has only the brushed exterior and Williams-Sonoma has both. 



D5 Open Stock

D5 Stock Pot - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?
D5 Skillet - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

You'll find fewer open stock options in D5 than in D3, but you can find common pieces like the stock pot, 12-inch skillet, lids, and a few other pieces. You can see the full D5 lineup--brushed and polished--at

See All-clad D5 open stock on amazon

See all-clad d5 open stock at bed, bath & beyond

See All-Clad D5 12 inch skillet on amazon

See all-clad d5 open stock at williams-sonoma

See all-clad d5 open stock at sur la table

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Summary: Pros and Cons of All-Clad D3

Here are the pros and cons of All-Clad D3, summarized:

  • Fast, even heating
  • Costs less than D5
  • Weighs less than D5
  • Heat conduction slightly better than D5 (i.e. faster and more responsive)
  • Huge amount of open stock to choose from (skillets, sauce pans, pasta pots, woks, etc.)
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Made in USA.
  • Traditional All-Clad handles many people dislike
  • Only available in polished exterior
  • Heat retention slightly worse than D5 (i.e., doesn't stay hot as long).

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Summary: Pros and Cons of All-Clad D5

Here are the pros and cons of All-Clad D5, summarized:

  • Larger handles than D3
  • Heat retention slightly better than D3 (i.e., stays hot longer)
  • Comes in polished or brushed exterior
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Made in USA.
  • Internal stainless layer adds little to performance
  • Heat conduction slightly worse than D3 (i.e., heats slower)
  • Slightly heavier than D3
  • More expensive than D3 without significantly better performance or durability
  • Fewer open stock pieces available than for D3.

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So Should I Buy D3 or D5? Our Overall Recommendation

AC Skillet with Food - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

D3 is less expensive and has more aluminum than D5. More aluminum means faster, more even heating and faster response to temperature changes.

D5's internal layer of stainless steel slows down the response time of the cookware. This means it is less responsive than D3, but will hold onto heat slightly longer. Some also claim that the heat is more even, but we didn't notice much difference in our testing.

In fact, the differences in performance were so slight, that we can't justify a recommendation for D5; it's more expensive without offering anything significantly better. It's also slightly heavier than D3, which is a drawback for most people (especially when the added weight doesn't result in improved performance).

One reason we can think someone might buy D5 over D3 is for the handles: some people genuinely despise the traditional All-Clad handles on the D3, so if this is the case and you really want All-Clad, you could go with the D5. However, don't expect a huge diffference; the handles are a little wider and longer, with a bolster on the bottom side to help guide your thumb, but the handle shape itself is much the same.

If you really want the non-traditional handles and don't mind spending more, we recommend Copper Core over D5. Check out our Copper Core review for more information. 

Also, D5 comes in the brushed exterior, which D3 does not. If you fall in love with this design, then D5 is a fine choice. But know that it is more expensive, without a lot of other added benefits. 

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AC D5 Pan with Food - All Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better?

Final Thoughts

All-Clad makes excellent quality cookware, and you can't really go wrong with any of it. We prefer D3 for all the reasons above, and we think you should save a few bucks and go with it. D5 is high quality cookware, but in all honesty, it's about as close as All-Clad comes to "gimmicky." The marketing hype for it doesn't quite match its performance.

Thanks for reading!

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