Multi-clad stainless cookware is more expensive than tri-ply, but is it worth the extra cost? Does multi-ply cookware heat faster and more evenly than tri-ply? Is it more durable?
The answers can be yes or no, depending on which product you buy.
Here, we review two top brands of multi-ply cookware, All-Clad D5 and Demeyere Industry 5, which you may also seen sold as Demeyere 5 Plus. Find out all there is to know about multi-clad cookware and learn which brand gives you the most bang for your buck.
Why All-Clad D5 Vs. Demeyere Industry 5?
All-Clad and Demeyere are arguably the top two brands of clad stainless cookware on the market (even if many Americans aren't familiar with the Demeyere brand). Demeyere, who prior to Industry 5 had never made a 5-ply, fully clad line of cookware, most likely brought Industry 5 to the American market specifically to compete with All-Clad D3 (aka tri-ply) and All-Clad D5.
These two companies also represent distinct manufacturing philosophies. And while All-Clad is an excellent brand, Demeyere is also a top-notch brand that deserves your attention. Some believe it's even better than All-Clad (which, unlike the hundreds of Chinese knockoffs, was its original intent in competing with All-Clad).
If you are considering a premium cookware brand and Demeyere isn't on your radar, it should be.
All-Clad D5 Vs. Demeyere Industry 5: A Quick Comparison Chart
If you don't want to read the whole article, find out here how these two compare. Note that the best features are bolded. We go into more detail below.
DEMEYERE INDUSTRY 5
aka 5 Plus
5-ply, with alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminum (s-a-s-a-s).
5 ply, with external layers of stainless over 3 internal layers of aluminum (s-a-a-a-s).
-Drip-free pouring on all pieces
-"Oversized" stay-cool handles w/bottom finger grip
-Oven/broiler safe to 500F
-Capacity etched on bottom of pan
-3.0mm thick sidewalls
-Flat base stability resists warping
-Drip-free pouring on all pieces
-Welded (rivetless) stay-cool handles
-Silvinox® coating for durability and easier cleaning
-Oven/broiler safe to 500F
-Double-walled lids (Sur la Table only)
Yes (magnetic stainless exterior)
Yes (magnetic stainless exterior)
About $800 for 10-pc set
About $145 for 10-in. skillet
About $1000 for 10-pc set
About $80 for 9.5-in. skillet
First: What Is Clad Stainless Cookware?
Cladding is simply a process that bonds different types of metals together. It was invented by John Ulam, who went on to invent clad cookware and found the All-Clad corporation.
Making different metals "clad" together is a difficult process, requiring an immense amount of pressure. (This is one reason why clad cookware is more expensive than other types of cookware.) But the ability to combine the assets of different metals into a sum greater than its individual parts is well worth it.
Before clad stainless cookware, the most common cookware materials were aluminum and cast iron, both of which had a number of issues, from reacting with foods to lack of durability. Some companies tried making pure stainless steel cookware, but with its terrible heating properties, it proved to not make good cookware by itself.
Sandwiching aluminum between layers of durable stainless steel solved a number of issues, and clad stainless cookware rapidly became the most popular type of cookware on the market for professionals and home cooks alike. It was less reactive and more durable than aluminum, lighter than cast iron, had really excellent heating properties--and it looked great.
Clad stainless cookware is a mid-20th century invention: Ulam founded All-Clad in 1970. Meanwhile, Demeyere, a Belgian kitchenwares company founded in 1908, began making stainless steel cookware in 1967. They were one of the companies that tried to make pure stainless cookware that was not successful. But by the mid-1970s, however, Demeyere produced some patented designs for clad stainless cookware that they still use today--designs very different from those of All-Clad. For example, they have a patented TriplInduc® base designed to work more efficiently with induction cooktops. And their Proline skillet--arguably the finest clad stainless skillet on the market--has a 3.7mm layer of aluminum--roughly 75% more aluminum than All-Clad tri-ply.
The original clad cookware configuration is tri-ply, which has a layer of aluminum sandwiched between internal and external layers of stainless steel, as shown in this diagram from All-Clad:
The magnetic stainless on the outer surface makes the cookware induction-compatible.
Another early configuration is two-ply, which has a thick aluminum exterior with a stainless steel cooking surface. This is still available as All-Clad Master Chef 2 (MC2) and it is superb cookware if you don't care about induction compatibility. (You can read more about MC2 in our Ultimate All-Clad Review.)
The Rise of Multi-Ply Cookware
When All-Clad's patent on tri-ply clad cookware expired in the early 2000s, many other manufacturers entered the tri-ply cookware market. To stay ahead of their competition, All-Clad came up with new, multi-ply configurations.
This is clad cookware with more than three plies, and it has become very popular in recent years. Multi-ply clad cookware can have up to seven plies, as with the now discontinued All-Clad D7 (discontinued but still available on Amazon) and Demeyere's Atlantis line, but most multi-ply cookware has 5 plies.
5-ply cookware can have a number of different configurations. All-Clad D5 and Copper Core are both 5-ply, as are the newest All-Clad competitors Misen and Made In. (You can find out a bit more about these brands below.)
Is Multi-Ply Cookware Better than Tri-Ply Cookware?
The common perception is that multi-ply cookware is inherently better than tri-ply--it has more layers and is usually more expensive, so it has to be better, right?
Actually, no: Multiple plies do not automatically mean the cookware is more durable or contains more heat-spreading aluminum. You have to dig a little deeper to find out if a multi-ply cookware brand is worth the (usually) higher cost than plain ol' tri-ply.
Probably the most important fact to remember is that the number of layers isn't as important as the total amount of aluminum, copper, and/or other heat spreading metals. For example, it's quite possible that a tri-ply cookware could have a total aluminum thickness greater than a multi-ply cookware. In fact, this is the case with All-Clad tri-ply D3, which actually contains more aluminum than D5, even though it costs less. (Shocking, but true!)
What to Look For in Cladding
Internal cladding: Basically, you want cookware with internal cladding that's thick enough to provide excellent heating properties. The thicker the internal ply or plies, the better the heating properties. Greater thickness also makes the pan less prone to warping.
External cladding: The thickness of the external (i.e., stainless) plies is less important, but it should be a high quality stainless that is resistant to corrosion, rusting, pitting, and also be thick enough to deter warping. Both Demeyere and All-Clad use top quality stainless steel in their cookware.
Overall: While you don't want a pan that's so thick and heavy it's hard to use, you do want a good heft and a happy medium: cookware that is not so heavy that it's hard to handle, but not so thin that it is a poor conductor of heat and a candidate for warping under rapid temperature changes.
In general, clad cookware tends to be too thin rather than too thick because manufacturers cut costs by using thin layers. Fortunately, you don't have to worry about this with either All-Clad or Demeyere (although All-Clad D5 contains the least amount of aluminum of any All-Clad product that doesn't also contain copper).
How thick should the internal cladding be? All-Clad D3--the industry standard against which all other clad stainless cookware is measured--has sidewalls measuring 2.6mm thick, with about 1.7mm of that being aluminum.
Anything thinner than 1.7mm is considered to be less than optimal, while anything thicker is considered to be premium cookware.
When researching, where do you find this information? Manufacturers of clad stainless cookware rarely provide exact specifications for internal cladding, which is absurd, as it's the single most important buying factor to consider when buying clad stainless cookware. You often have to rely on independent researchers (like us) who have actually measured the pans.
Demeyere is more forthcoming with specifications than other clad cookware manufacturers, though not for every line; we had to measure the Industry 5 ourselves (probably because this specification is not emphasized in the American market).
(Note: Interestingly, this is not the case with high-end copper cookware, which typically has the copper content right in the name, e.g., Mauviel M'heritage M250: the 250 indicates the 2.5mm thick copper layer. They also make a less expensive M150 line; you can guess how thick the copper layer is in that! We mention this to emphasize that the layer of heat-conducting metal is the most important part of clad cookware.)
What to Look for in Cladding: A Summary
Probably the most important thing to remember when shopping for clad cookware is that the number of plies isn't as important as the overall content of the plies. That is, the total thickness of the aluminum (and/or copper) layer(s) is the important consideration.
For aluminum-clad stainless cookware, the industry standard is All-Clad D3, which has a 1.7mm thick aluminum layer. Go much below that and you risk poor heating properties.
You usually have to rely on independent reviewers like us for ply specifications, even for top brands like All-Clad. Most manufacturers do not make these specs readily available, even though they are the most important aspects of the cookware, and you need to know them in order to know if you're getting what you're paying for.
Cladding: How Do D5 and Industry 5 Compare?
Winner: Industry 5.
Why: Thicker sidewalls and more aluminum than D5.
All-Clad D5 cookware is made of alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminum, with an internal layer of stainless, as shown in this All-Clad diagram:
All-Clad does not specify the thickness of the layers, but we do know that the total wall thickness is 2.6mm, the same as their D3 tri-ply line. If you do the math, you can see that with that extra layer of stainless in the center, D5 must contain less aluminum than D3.
All-Clad says that the internal stainless layer slows down the heating process, thus making it more even to provide "perfect browning." And, that this is ideal for induction cooking.
Really?? Because the whole reason stainless cookware is clad with aluminum (and/or copper) is because stainless steel has terrible heating properties. And now you're saying that an extra layer of stainless--and apparently at the expense of the aluminum--provides more even heating?
We may be missing something, but this doesn't seem right to us. The extra stainless will certainly slow down the heating process, but that isn't necessarily a good thing, and isn't necessarily going to result in "more evenly cooked" food. It's kind of like putting a limiter on a Ferrari engine because you think its natural state is too fast.
But in the case of cookware, why slow it down? In fact, one of the advantages of induction cooking is that it's very, very fast. Pans heat up almost instantaneously and respond to changes in heat equally fast. So a pan that "slows" this down seems, to us, to be counterintuitive.
We've asked All-Clad many times to explain how this works and why it's better, but they haven't responded. Their D5 literature remains vague, and does not provide a satisfactory explanation of the science behind this design.
We love All-Clad, and there's no arguing that their cookware is top quality. But All-Clad's D3 line gives you more aluminum and equal durability at a lower cost. Until we have a good reason to change our minds, we will continue to recommend D3 over D5.
Demeyere Industry 5 (Also Called 5 Plus)
While most other cookware manufacturers competed against All-Clad with lower prices, Demeyere's strategy was to make a better product for the same or slightly higher cost. Overall, we believe they have succeeded--not because their products are multi-ply, but because their design and build quality are better in a number of ways.
Demeyere introduced the Industry 5 clad cookware line in the mid-1990s, most likely to compete in the US market against All-Clad. (Note: You may also see it called Industry5 or Demeyere 5Plus--it's all the same cookware; Demeyere has changed the name a few times, but these all refer to the same cookware.) While All-Clad D5 has alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminum (as shown above), Demeyere Industry 5 has three internal layers of aluminum sandwiched between stainless steel:
Industry 5 cookware has a total wall thickness of 3.0mm, with three internal layers of aluminum that add up to a total aluminum thickness of 2.1mm. This is about 25% more aluminum than All-Clad D3 (and remember, D5 has less aluminum than D3).
If Demeyere Industry 5's thicker walls made the cookware unwieldy, we may prefer the D5 despite its lower amount of aluminum. But this is not the case: Industry 5 is only slightly thicker than D5, and its 2.1mm of aluminum provide superb heating in a pan that's still lightweight enough to maneuver easily.
All-Clad D5 has a total wall thickness of 2.6mm and a total aluminum thickness of approximately 1.5mm.
Demeyere Industry 5 has a total wall thickness of 3.0mm and a total aluminum thickness of 2.1mm--more than 25% higher aluminum content than D5. That's a huge difference, especially considering that the cost of these products is approximately the same.
Heating Properties: D5 Vs. Industry 5
Winner: Demeyere Industry 5
Why: Industry 5 has over 25% more aluminum than D5, making this no contest.
Heating properties are a result of the cladding, discussed above. However, heating properties are the whole reason you're willing to invest in premium cookware, so it deserves its own section. (For most people, it's the most important feature of any cookware!)
There really is no contest here. Industry 5 is going to provide faster, more even heating than D5.
What about the layer of stainless in D5? What does that do? All-Clad says this improved the evenness of the heating by slowing down the lateral transfer of heat (that is, up through the pan from the burner to your food), but they make this claim without getting into any scientific specifics of how it works. In our opinion--and we may be completely wrong about this, but All-Clad hasn't provided any proof that we are--this kind of goes against the whole principle of clad stainless cookware: i.e., stainless on the outside for durability, aluminum on the inside to counteract the terrible heating properties of stainless.
So in all honesty, we don't know what the internal layer of stainless does. But understanding the heating characteristics of aluminum as well as we do, we're confident that more aluminum makes a better pan.
Why didn't All-Clad make D5 thicker than D3 so it had more aluminum and the inner layer of stainless for "more evenness"? We don't know. But it seems to us like that's the only way the D5 might be worth its added cost over D3.
Why does Industry 5 have 3 layers of aluminum? How is this better than one thick layer (as in a tri-ply product)? The reason there are three layers has to do with the cladding process. Stainless steel fuses to some aluminum alloys better than others, but some alloys provide better heating properties. So the outer layers of aluminum are there to clad to the stainless steel, while the inner layer provides most of the even, efficient spreading of heat throughout the pan.
Some people think this is really just a glorified tri-ply design, and that's okay if they do, because it doesn't really matter: overall thickness is what matters, remember? So the main point is that Industry 5 cookware contains more aluminum than D5 cookware, so it's going to provide better heating properties.
Durability: D5 Vs. Industry 5
Winner: Demeyere Industry 5.
Why: Thicker sidewalls, Silvinox® treatment.
What Does Better Durability Mean?
When we talk about durability, we're looking at a few things:
- Thickness of walls/base: the thicker the walls/base, the less chance the pans will warp.
- Quality of stainless steel: better stainless will be more resistant to corrosion, rusting, and pitting.
- Lids: stainless beat glass for durability, ease of handling (stainless is lighter), and being able to withstand high oven temps (most glass lids top out at 300F).
Demeyere Industry 5, with its thicker sidewalls, is also going to be more durable. All-Clad makes a very durable product, however, which will almost never warp. So in that sense, it's almost a tie.
They are also both made of premium stainless steel that isn't going to easily pit, stain, rust, or otherwise corrode.
However, Industry 5 has some extra features that give it the win in durability.
First, it's a lot thicker than All-Clad D5. So even though All-Clad is a durable product that is not going to warp, Demeyere is even more so.
Second--and more importantly--all Demeyere cookware is given the Silvinox® treatment.
What is Silvinox®? Silvinox® is a unique electrochemical surface treatment system that enriches the material by removing any iron and impurities from the surface. This makes the stainless steel easy to clean, and provides a higher resistance to fingerprints, harsh detergents or strong acidic foods. The products retain their silvery-white color, even after years of use (from the Demeyere website).
Silvinox® doesn't make stainless cook like a nonstick surface, but it does make it easier to clean, and it helps it keep its shiny luster for decades.
Overall Design: D5 Vs. Industry 5
(Appearance, lids, handles, ease of cleaning, basic usability)
Winner: Demeyere Industry 5
Why: The welded handles, making for a rivetless cooking surface; the Silvinox® coating, making for easier cleaning; the helper handle on the large skillet, which the All-Clad D5 large skillet does not have.
If you've ever used All-Clad products, the added heft of the Demeyere Industry 5 might take a bit of getting used to. And if you have any muscular or strength issues, you might ultimately prefer the lighter weight All-Clad D5.
But if you don't mind a small bit of extra heft, the Industry 5 pans are wonderful.
First and foremost, because of their rivetless cooking surface. No rivets to clean around! Just one smooth cooking surface--truly revolutionary. (You can see it in the photo below.)
And the Silvinox® treated pans are easier to cook in, easier to clean, and stay looking great. (Just don't put them in the dishwasher for best results.)
Overall appearance: All-Clad D5 comes in two finishes: polished (on the left) and brushed (on the right):
The brushed finish is less common in clad stainless cookware, and by far the most popular D5 option. It's a matte finish that will help hide scratches. The polished finish looks like regular clad stainless cookware (i.e., it's shiny).
Note: Most of the D5 links in this article go to brushed finish D5.
Demeyere Industry 5 only comes in a polished finish.
What about handles and lids? All-Clad D5 wins in the handle department--or would, if they weren't riveted on. Industry 5 handles are a bit too square for our liking:
and on the skillets, a bit too short, as you can see here:
But not so awful that you couldn't get used to them, since their other features are just. so. much. better.
All-Clad D5 has newly designed handles, meant to improve on the oft-criticized D3 handles. They're easier to hold, with a finger stop on the bottom surface to help you stabilize your grip:
Other than the finger stop, though, the D5 handles are much the same as the D3 (which we actually think are great).
Lids: Lids are about the same on both brands, unless you buy the Sur la Table set of Industry 5 (for the same price!), which has the added feature of double-walled lids. The double walls do a stellar job of insulating the pot, reducing the amount of heat that will escape from it. It's a great feature, and one not available on any All-Clad products.
How about helper handles? Interestingly, the All-Clad D5 12-inch skillet does not have a helper handle:
This is interesting because the All-Clad D3 12-inch skillet does have a helper handle, as do 12-inch skillets in most of All-Clad's other lines.
A helper handle is a great asset on a large skillet, as they can be heavy when filled with food. The Demeyere Industry 5 12.5-inch skillet has a helper handle, as shown here:
Pan shape: You can see how the skillet shapes in the photos above, and that the Industry 5 skillet has slightly straighter walls and a bit more flat cooking surface. However, both skillets are nicely designed, and largely personal preference as to which shape is "better."
As for the stock pots, the All-Clad D5 wins for its wider, flatter shape over the taller, skinner Industry 5, as shown here:
Note that these are both 8 quart pots--and again, there is no right or wrong design, and which pot you prefer is up to you.
What about cleaning? Industry 5 wins because of the Silvinox® treatment, which gives it a slight edge in the cleaning department. That is to say, don't expect it to perform like a nonstick pan. But do expect it to be slightly easier to clean than other clad stainless cookware you've used in the past, and do expect it to retain its shiny finish for decades to come.
Overall, the usability of both D5 and Industry 5 are exceptional, but Industry 5 wins because of the rivetless handles and Silvinox® treatment.
Induction Compatibility: D5 Vs. Industry 5
Winner: Demeyere Industry 5
Why: Thicker sidewalls provide excellent performance without an extra layer of stainless to slow things down.
Both D5 and Industry 5 are induction compatible, and both will provide good performance on an induction cooktop. But we have to pick Industry 5, not because it has better induction features, but because it's just a better performer overall.
Demeyere has been making induction-compatible cookware since the 1970s, and have some patented designs that make their cookware particularly suited to induction cooking, namely TriplInduc® and InductoSeal® cladding. But Industry 5 doesn't have these, so it's just comparable to other clad stainless cookware on induction.
Winner: All-Clad D5
Why: All-Clad has a lifetime warranty, Demeyere has a 30 year warranty.
All-Clad's lifetime warranty is impressive, and they have a reputation for honoring it.
Demeyere cookware has a 30 year warranty, which is also very impressive--but it's not a lifetime warranty, so All-Clad wins.
Despite the shorter warranty, the build quality of Demeyere is every bit as good as All-Clad, and in some ways better. So the "shorter" warranty is not a reason not to buy Demeyere. You will easily get 30 years of use out of it, and in all likelihood, even more.
Cost and Buying Options
While the Industry 5 10-piece set is more expensive, it comes with bigger (thus more expensive) pieces, such as an 11-inch skillet and a 4-quart sauce pan. Most individual pieces are comparably priced to each other, although there are some surprising differences in both directions.
Here's a side-by-side price comparison of the 10 piece set and most popular pieces. Note that these are approximate prices and may change without notice. Also note that Sur la Table prices may be different than what's listed here (usually higher).
All-Clad D5 Piece/App. Price
Demeyere Industry 5 Piece/App. Price
10 Piece Set* (AC)
10 Piece Set* (I5)
10-inch skillet (AC)
9.5-inch skillet (I5)
12-inch skillet (AC)
12.5-inch skillet (I5)
3-quart sauce pan (AC)
3-quart sauce pan (I5)
8 quart stock pot (AC)
8 quart stock pot (I5)
* Contents of 10-piece sets are:
Demeyere Industry 5
Our Overall Winner: Industry 5
Industry 5 is our choice, for these reasons:
- It has a better build quality
- It has about 25% more heat-spreading aluminum than D5
- It has a rivetless cooking surface
- It has Silvinox® treatment that makes it easier to clean and keeps it looking like new for decades.
All of these features make it better than other multi-ply cookware on the market, too, including Made In, Misen, and even All-Clad Copper Core. In fact, we believe that Demeyere Industry 5 is the best 5-ply cookware on the market.
What Are the Drawbacks of Industry 5?
No cookware is perfect, and that includes Industry 5. Here are its main drawbacks:
- It's heavier than All-Clad D5. Having more aluminum adds weight and bulk. So if you want super lightweight cookware, All-Clad is the way to go (though we prefer D3 over D5).
- The "shorter" warranty. Demeyere cookware has a 30 year warranty while All-Clad cookware has a lifetime warranty
- Squarish handles aren't our favorite.
Other than this, there is little to be concerned about. Demeyere is a world class brand and well worth the price.
What About Other Brands of Multi-Ply Cookware?
A few other brands make 5-ply cookware, most notably Made In and Misen. Made In is made in the USA (thus its name) and offers a 5-ply cookware that is 2.7mm thick--0.1mm thicker than All-Clad D3/D5 for about the same price or slightly less. Misen is a 5-ply cookware made in China that is 3.0mm thick--i.e., considerably thicker than All-Clad--with an internal layer of stainless (just like D5). It's considerably less expensive than All-Clad D5, and with that much more thickness, is going to have more aluminum and perform better. Like Demeyere, it will be heavier--but is probably a good buy (though we haven't tested it yet).
While All-Clad is a great brand, their D5 costs more than their D3 without adding significantly more to performance. Enter Demeyere Industry 5, which is a top quality multi-ply cookware with features lacking in All-Clad lines, including a heavier build, more heat-spreading aluminum, a rivetless cooking surface, and the Silvinox® treatment that makes these pans a little easier to clean (and helps them keep their shiny luster for decades).
If you're looking for a set, the All-Clad D5 is less expensive, but contains smaller skillets and sauce pans. If you're looking for individual pieces, the pricing varies, so you have to compare each individual piece.
Demeyere is not as well known in the US as All-Clad, but it is a premium quality brand. If you want multi-ply cookware, buying Demeyere ensures you're getting the most bang for your buck. If you remain loyal to All-Clad, we suggest sticking with their tri-ply (D3).
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