If you're a serious home chef, you need to have the proper tools.
With the possible exception of knives, the most important tools in your kitchen are your pots and pans.
All-Clad and Demeyere cookware are two of the best options. Here, we examine and compare All-Clad and Demeyere clad stainless cookware. This should help you decide which brand is best for you (if either).
All-Clad Cookware at a Glance
Here are all of All-Clad's cookware lines and features. You can read more detailed reviews below.
The All-Clad Lines
3 ply (s-a-s). 2.6mm thick w/1.7mm al. Most popular and familiar AC line. Dishwasher safe.
Great all around cookware.
-Tri-ply s-a-s, 2.6mm thick w/1.7mm aluminum. Identical to D3 with new handle, slightly larger skillets, and grooved pouring rims on all pieces. Oven safe to 600F.
Great all-around cookware. This is D3 in an updated, less expensive package. Exclusive to All-Clad website. Probably meant to compete with popular direct-to-consumer brands.
5 ply (s-a-s-a-s). 2.6mm thick, thus less al. than D3. Dishwasher safe.
We recommend the D3 or CC over D5.
5 ply with copper center (s-a-c-a-s). 1.7mm total thickness w/1mm layer of copper--thinner than D3, but the copper makes it more responsive. Dishwasher safe.
Lightweight, thinner, and slightly more responsive than D3, CC is great all-around cookware.
Enameled stainless steel. Induction compatible, dishwasher safe.
Basically enameled carbon steel. Heavier than clad stainless. Better heat retention, but will heat slowly. Expensive. Exclusive to Williams-Sonoma (or All-Clad website).
Anodized, cast aluminum with nonstick (PTFE) cooking surface. Small differences in pan shape among the lines. NS1 and B1 discontinued but still available. Essentials is the newest line. Made in China, induction compatible.
Cast aluminum has great heating properties but the nonstick surface should be reserved for special tasks. Skillets are best, as whole sets aren't necessary.
G5 Graphite Core
-5-ply s-a-g-a-s (g=graphite)
-graphite more heat conductive than copper
-carbon only in bottom; sides are s-a-s
-Lightest weight A/C line
-Oven safe to 600F.
Slightly lighter than D3 or Copper Core, so good for people with ergonomic issues. Heating properties slightly faster. Very expensive. No sets available. Exclusive to All-Clad website.
Demeyere Cookware at a Glance
Here's a table with all the Demeyere cookware lines.
Aurora is a Zwilling line that's nearly identical to Demeyere Industry 5 except it has rivets and no Silvinox (remember: Zwilling owns Demeyere). If this doesn't bother you and you want identical heating performance (which is excellent), Aurora is a good choice.
The Demeyere Lines
Curved pcs fully clad, straight pcs bottom clad. 7 layers cladding. Proline skillet 4.8mm thick w/3.7mm al; saucier pans 3mm. Straight-sided pieces have 4.8mm disc w/2mm copper. InductoSeal base. Rivetless, Silvinox finish.
Proline skillet best non-copper performer on the market, about 75% more aluminum than AC D3.
Excellent all-around cookware if you don't mind the weight.
Silver 7 is SLT's house version of Atlantis. *Some pieces lack helper handles: not recommended for anyone with strength issues.
Industry/I 5/5 Plus: Latest name change is "Industry" but same cookware by different names. Slight differences in design but all same build: 3mm thick w/2.1mm aluminum layer. Rivetless, Silvinox finish, induction compatible.
Excellent all-around cookware. About 25% more aluminum than AC D3 and slightly heavier. *Some pieces lack helper handles: not recommended for anyone with strength issues.
Atlantis line redesigned. Double-wall lids for better insulation. Induction compatible.
Same build as Atlantis/Proline above with different design. The insulated lids are nice.
5mm thick forged aluminum with PTFE nonstick coating. TripleInduc base for induction compatiblility.
Durable nonstick pan best for use with eggs, fish, and other "sticky" foods. Compare to All-Clad nonstick w/3mm thick walls.
Specialty cookware. The only Demeyere line made in Indonesia.
Great if you have the need for a Maslin pan, mussel pot, mini Dutch ovens, egg poacher, tea kettle, or a few other quirky pieces.
All Clad Vs. Demeyere at a Glance
Here's a quick comparison table of the clad stainless cookware of both brands.
In short, Demeyere is heavier and has better heating properties. All-Clad is lighter and easier to handle, but still provides great heating and durability.
See the sections below for details on each line.
All-Clad Vs. Demeyere at a Glance
Number of Lines
6 clad stainless lines, plus 2-3 nonstick aluminum lines
4 clad stainless lines, plus 1 nonstick aluminum line
Quality stainless is one of the least reactive cookware materials.
Silvinox coating slightly edges out AC.
All stainless is very durable.
All stainless is very durable.
Ease of Care
Stickiness is one of stainless' main drawbacks.
Silvinox coating and rivetless design superior to AC.
Good amount of cooking surface, grooved handle design, stainless lids. Some people dislike the handle, but it is meant to help you stabilize the pan easily-and it works.
Good amount of cooking surface, great pan design, good pcs in sets. Heavier than AC and shorter handles which you may or may not prefer. Some larger pieces LACK helper handles, making them hard to manage.
30 year warranty.
Expensive. But cost-per-year-of-use is low because it lasts for decades.
More expensive! But cost-per-year-of-use is low because it lasts for decades.
First: What Makes Cookware Great?
In order to compare any cookware brands, you first have to know a little bit about cookware in general, and what makes it great. Aside from how it's going to look in your kitchen, what do you actually need to know?
It turns out these are the qualities that matter the most:
- Heating properties: how evenly and quickly does the cookware heat?
- Safety/Stability: Does the cooking surface react with food? Is it harmful if ingested?
- Durability: How well does the cookware stand up to use?
- Ease of care: Is it easy to take care of? Is it easy to clean?
- Design: Is the cookware beautiful? Is it easy to handle? Do the lids fit well? Do the large pieces have helper handles?
Other issues that may be important to you are induction compatibility and price. Since these are both premium brands, we're assuming if you're reading this that your budget is large. So we don't talk too much about price, except to say that quality clad stainless cookware has a low cost-per-year-of-use because it lasts for decades. So even if your initial investment is higher, clad stainless cookware will last so long that the expense is actually lower than if you buy cheaper cookware that you have to replace every few years.
As for induction compatibility, this is only important if you have an induction cooktop or may be getting one in the future. More on this below.
Both All-Clad and Demeyere have great heating properties, low reactivity with food, and excellent durability. Demeyere edges out All Clad on ease of care, and also has better heating properties.
The function of cookware is to transfer heat from the source into your food in order to cook it. Since heating sources (i.e., burners) usually have a smaller diameter than the pots and pans you put on them, the job of dispersing heat evenly falls mostly to the cookware.
The two important aspects of heating for cookware are thermal conductivity and heat retention.
The ability of a pan to spread heat evenly is its thermal conductivity. Thermal conductivity is a measure of the type of metal the pan is made from: aluminum, copper, cast iron, and stainless steel all have different thermal conductivity ratings.
If a material does a great job at transferring heat, the pan heats evenly and rapidly (this is its thermal conductivity rating). Examples of metals with excellent thermal conductivity are silver, copper, and aluminum; since silver cookware is a luxury reserved for only the very wealthy, it won't be included in our discussion.
If a material does a not-so-great job at transferring heat, the pan will take a long time to heat and it will heat unevenly, creating hot and cold spots: in one part of the pan food may still be lukewarm while in another part of the pan it's already burning. Examples of materials with poor thermal conductivity are cast iron, carbon steel, stainless steel, and glass/ceramic.
Yes, uneven heat distribution can also be a function of the heat source (a cheap induction burner, for example, with uneven pulsing of power). Furthermore, even the best cookware still requires stirring and monitoring regardless of the heat source. Nevertheless, good quality cookware goes a long way toward evening out an uneven heat source.
Note also that mass affects thermal conductivity: the thicker and heavier a pan is, the more evenly it will heat. This is why thicker, heavier pans heat so much better than thin pans (and why expensive cookware is almost always heavier than inexpensive cookware).
Heat Retention and Mass
The ability of a pan to hang onto heat after the heat source has been removed--or, more importantly, when cold food is introduced to the pan--is its heat retentionI (more officially called heat capacity). Different metals have unique heat retention ratings, just as they have thermal conductivity ratings. However, the heat retention is also dependent on a pan's mass. That is, the thicker and heavier the pan, the higher its heat capacity is, regardless of what it's made of.
This is only logical, if you think about it. A thick slab of any material takes longer to heat up and cool down than a thin slab simply because there's more mass that has to heat and cool.
For example, a frying pan with a 2mm layer of aluminum is going to have a lower heat capacity than a frying pan with a 3mm layer of aluminum--that is, the thicker one is going to hang onto heat longer. And a heavy cast iron pan is going to hang onto heat longer than a thinner carbon steel pan, even though their heating properties are nearly identical.
Thermal Conductivity Vs. Heat Capacity: Which Matters More?
Thermal conductivity and heat capacity aren't dependent on each other. A pan can have excellent thermal conductivity and not be great at heat retention (such as thin-walled copper). Or, a pan can have poor thermal conductivity and excellent heat capacity (such as heavy cast iron). Cast iron heats up slowly and unevenly (i.e., it has poor thermal conductivity), but once hot, it hangs onto heat like a champ. This is why it's such a great choice for tasks like frying chicken and searing steaks--tasks where it's important to hang onto heat well when food is introduced to the pan.
If you want to learn more about thermal conductivity and heat capacity and how these relate to cookware, you can do so here. However, unless you're an engineer or scientist, the ratings won't really tell you all that much.
Of the two ratings, thermal conductivity is usually considered the more important one. Heat capacity is less important because most modern cookware is going to provide enough heat capacity for general purpose cooking. That is, unless you're looking for something with specific properties for a specific purpose--a thin copper pan for super-fast responsiveness, or a super heavy pan for searing steaks, for example--thermal conductivity is typically what you're paying for in good quality cookware.
Summary: The Best Metals for Cookware, Rated
When you pay top dollar for cookware, you're generally paying for even, consistent heat distribution. The best metals used in cookware, in order from best to worst, are: 1) copper, 2) aluminum, 3) cast iron/carbon steel, and 4) stainless steel, 5) 100% glass/ceramic.
Silver is also seen in some cookware (rumor has it that the Saudi royal family uses only silver cookware), and it has the best thermal conductivity known to exist. But because it's so expensive, it's not commonly used. The Demeyere Atlantis and John Pawson disc-clad pieces (those with straight walls, as explained in the Demeyere section below) has 2 thin layers of silver along with a copper layer (yes: you should be impressed by that!).
Tin is also used, usually as the traditional surface in copper cookware, but it's got a number of drawbacks: it wears easily and has a low melting point (449.5F). It is not used in any of the All-Clad or Demeyere lines that we know of, but you can still find it on the cooking surface of copper cookware.
Both All-Clad and Demeyere cookware have good thermal conductivity, meaning they heat evenly and rapidly. Demeyere cookware has more aluminum, so it edges out All-Clad in both thermal conductivity and heat retention. However, this greater mass also means that Demeyere is heavier cookware. This could be good or bad, depending on what you're looking for. But it is an important consideration.
Safety and Stability
Stainless steel is the most stable metal to cook with. It's one of the safest cookware materials on the market.
Small amounts of nickel and chromium may leach into foods from your stainless steel cookware, but the amounts are incredibly small--in some studies, undetectably small. In fact, this article from the Mayo Clinic does not list cookware as a source of nickel for allergy sufferers. However, if you have a nickel allergy, you may want to look into nickel-free stainless cookware.
If you have a nickel allergy and want to cook with clad stainless cookware, we recommend nickel-free stainless cookware.
Neither All-Clad nor Demeyere offer a nickel-free stainless line.
If you're wondering Why isn't all stainless nickel-free?, it's because nickel-free stainless is less corrosion resistant than standard 18/10 stainless (the "10" refers to the nickel content of 10%). The Chantal brand linked to here is a high grade of nickel free stainless and is the most corrosion resistant nickel free stainless available.
Stainless is an extremely stable metal, so you can expect low reactivity with both All-Clad and Demeyere cookware.
Durability is another important factor in selecting cookware. In other words, how long will the cookware last, and how much use will it stand up to?
Clad stainless cookware is extremely durable; at least, high quality clad stainless is. Many brands of clad stainless come with lifetime guarantees, including All-Clad and Demeyere.
Not all clad stainless is created equally: Inexpensive lines may contain lower quality stainless steel that will rust and corrode. When you buy a top quality brand like All-Clad or Demeyere, part of the expense is certainly due to the extremely high quality of the stainless steel used.
The point is that you will more than get your money's worth out of good quality clad cookware. Although it is expensive, if you average its cost over your lifetime (and perhaps your children's lifetimes), the cost-per-year of use is very low.
Durability is a primary feature of stainless cookware, so you can expect excellent durability and longevity from both All-Clad and Demeyere cookware.
Ease of Care (and How to Cook on Stainless Steel)
The gold standard for "ease of care" is nonstick cookware--since nothing sticks to it, it's by far the easiest cookware to wash.
However, nonstick cookware has serious limitations preventing it from being a good choice for daily cookware. The nonstick coating is delicate and typically lasts only a couple of years before losing its nonstick properties, scratching, or breaking down and leeching particles of teflon or ceramic flakes into your food.
You also can't use high heat, metal utensils, or put it in a dishwasher--at least not if you want the cookware to last more than a year or two. (Even if the manufacturer claims you can, we strongly recommend that you don't.)
Cast iron has an almost nonstick surface and is easy to wash if it's properly seasoned, which has to be done at least a few times a year. Seasoning is an easy process, but because of cast iron's other drawbacks, it is not an ideal choice for your primary cookware (e.g., uneven heating and bulkiness).
That leaves everything else, all of which fall into about the same category as far as ease of care. Food sticks to stainless steel, enamel, and other cooking surfaces, and require about the same amount of cleaning.
A quick primer on cooking with stainless steel: How you use stainless pans also affects how easy they are to wash. If you follow these steps, stainless pans can be almost as easy to wash as nonstick: 1) Heat the pan, 2) Add oil and let heat, 3) Add food, 4) Do not attempt to flip or move the food until it has formed a crust, at which point it naturally releases from the pan.
If you follow these steps, most of the headaches associated with washing stainless cookware disappear.
Also: Demeyere pans have a couple of features that All Clad pans don't have that make them easier to care for. Demeyere cookware finishes their cookware with a proprietary finish called Silvinox® which makes the cookware especially lustrous and easier to clean. It's not nonstick, but most users find Demeyere easier to wash than other brands of clad stainless cookware.
Demeyere cookware also has welded handles, meaning that the cooking surface is completely smooth: no rivets. If you've ever had to clean around rivets, you know what a pain this can be.
Ease of Care Summary
All Clad: The rivets can collect gunk, but when used properly it is about average for ease of care (compared to nonstick).
Demeyere: Similar to All-Clad, but the Silvinox® coating make it less "sticky" than other stainless cookware and the welded handles mean no place to collect gunk on the cooking surface.
Design You Can Use and Love
Cookware design has two important aspects:
1) It should be functional enough that it gives you pleasure to use it.
2) It should be beautiful enough that it gives you pleasure to look at it.
Fortunately, there are no sacrifices to be made on either front: the most functional cookware is usually also the most beautiful.
Thus, you just have to focus on the design features most important to you. In our estimation, the most important ones are lids, handles, weight, size, and overall appeal.
Often, the biggest difference between expensive clad cookware and middle-of-the-road clad cookware is the lids: expensive clad cookware is going to have stainless lids, while middle-of-the-road clad cookware is going to have glass lids.
Cheap clad cookware is always going to have glass lids.
Here's why stainless lids are better:
- They're lighter weight
- They're more durable
- They're less bulky
- They're 100% oven proof (glass may or may not be).
Some people prefer glass because they like to see what's happening inside a pan. But really, the only reason stainless cookware would come with glass lids is because they're cheaper to make.
High-end clad cookware typically has stainless lids. Because they're just better.
Handles alone aren't enough to make or break a good cookware design. Nevertheless, there are a few important considerations:
- Overall Design: You'll grow accustomed to whatever handles your cookware has, but even so, there are a number of design considerations. Most All-Clad handles are half-circle shaped, with a groove along the top side of the handle (see image below). Some people hate this, saying it's uncomfortable to hold and can cut into your hand. We actually like this handle design, though, because it makes it easy to stabilize the pot. Flatter handles or round handles without a groove slide around more. Demeyere handles are shorter and fuller (no groove), with a little indentation where your thumb or finger would go to steady the pan.
- Short or long: Traditionally, skillets and saucepans have one long handle, but some instead have two short ones. A long handle makes a pot easier to grab, while short handles can make it easier to pop in the oven and to store.
- Helper handles: Helper handles are short handles on the opposite side of a long handle. They're called helper handles because they make it easier to maneuver heavy pots. On any skillet larger than 10 inches or any sauce pan or saucier larger than 3 quarts, helper handles are extremely useful. We recommend helper handles wherever you can get them! All-Clad makes cookware with both options; most larger pieces of Demeyere cookware has helper handles, however, there are a few Demeyere pieces that are lacking a helper handle that really need one. None of the Demeyere sauciers have helper handles, for example, and they really need them. A huge miss for Demeyere.
- Silicone-coated handles: Some lines of cookware have silicone-coated handles. These can wear out fast, especially when used over gas flames or put in ovens. Like glass lids, these are often the mark of cheaper cookware. No All-Clad or Demeyere cookware has silicone-coated handles.
- Rivetless handles: A few brands of cookware, including Demeyere, offer handles that are welded onto the pans rather than riveted on--this means there are no rivets on the cooking surface. If you've ever tried to scrub gunk around rivets, you know how cool this is! Rivets aren't a deal breaker, but welded handles do make cookware easier to wash and keep clean.
Other than that, don't buy cookware with handles which you find ugly, because it will make the cookware unpleasant to use. We find this to be the case with the Demeyere John Pawson line, which, while top notch cookware in every respect, has big, square, unsightly handles.
Size and Weight
Be sure you get cookware that fits your cooking needs. As far as size goes, get pans that are large enough for what you want to use them for; when buying a set, be sure to read all the pan sizes carefully so you're not surprised by too-small pans. Manufacturers will often fill a big set with smallish pieces to make you think you're getting a better deal than you actually are. (Nobody needs three small sauce pans.)
As for weight, you should consider buying the heaviest clad stainless cookware you can easily handle, because it will provide the best heating properties. But don't buy too-heavy cookware that you won't enjoy using. If you have any ergonomic issues, we recommend you go with All-Clad over Demeyere--or at least check pan weights before buying. Demeyere Industry 5 is a good choice, too: heavier than All-Clad but not as heavy as Atlantis. Just make sure you know you can handle the cookware comfortably.
This is primarily about if you find the cookware pretty. "Pretty" may seem like a poor scale for something as functional as cookware, but hear us out: the truth is that, like most things, beautiful cookware is more pleasurable to use than ugly cookware.
The thing is, "pretty" isn't just about looks. Most cookware is pretty because it is also functional: it has a nice heft, heats well, and is easy to handle.
When cookware is cheap and tinny, it's simply not a pleasure to use, either functionally or aesthetically. And since cooking is one of those life chores which has to be done whether you're in the mood for it or not (most of the time, anyway), do yourself a favor and get cookware you can love. It makes your kitchen time So. Much. Better!
Take a look at the sets below: which would you rather have? (If you picked the one on the right, you're on the wrong website.) The stainless set is not only more beautiful, it's also so much more functional, with its stainless lids, stainless handles, and stainless cooking surface. Yes, it costs hundreds more, but it's going to last about 50 times longer than the nonstick set with the plastic handles and glass lids.
You'll have replaced the nonstick set at least 3 times over before you even start to notice wear on the stainless set.
All-Clad and Demeyere Design Summary
All Clad: Some people dislike the D3 handles, but overall it is lightweight, easy to use, and pretty. However, the lightness also makes its heating properties not as good as Demeyere.
Demeyere: While beautiful, it's heaviness and somewhat short handles may be drawbacks for some people, especially the larger pieces. But heating properties are the best clad stainless has to offer, and its welded handles and Silvinox finish make it easier to clean than other stainless brands.
Induction works by using the pan to complete a magnetic circuit, so all this means is that the cookware has to have a magnetic bottom surface.
(Although not popular in the USA yet, induction is the fastest and most responsive type of cooking known to man. If you are in the market for a new cooktop and/or doing a kitchen remodel, you might want to consider induction. As of 2018 less than 15% of Americans use it, but that number is increasing as the price comes down.)
You may be surprised to learn that not all stainless steel is magnetic. In fact, magnetic stainless has to be nickel free ("18/0" as opposed to 18/10 or 18/8). You may remember from above that nickel-free stainless is less corrosion resistant than the 18/10 used for most clad cookware. So most induction compatible stainless has 18/0 stainless on the outside surface and 18/10 stainless on the cooking surface.
(By the way, this also means that nickel-free stainless will almost certainly be induction compatible.)
Cast iron and carbon steel are also naturally induction compatible.
Neither copper nor aluminum are induction compatible, however, if clad to magnetic stainless, they can make excellent induction cookware (e.g., All-Clad Copper Core).
In addition to being magnetic, ideal induction cookware should have excellent thermal conductivity and flat, warp-resistant bottoms (the fast, intense heat of induction can warp a thin pan pretty badly). Thermal conductivity matters because induction heating is SO fast and responsive.
The Demeyere Atlantis line is specifically designed to work with induction, having layers of magnetic stainless and extremely flat, heavy bottoms which create an excellent magnetic connection to the induction hob (and are also almost impossible to warp). Demeyere claims that their cookware can be up to 30% more efficient on induction than other clad stainless brands (though we haven't figured out how to test this claim).
All All-Clad and Demeyere clad stainless cookware is induction compatible.
As of 2021, All-Clad cookware is induction compatible, since Master Chef and LTD have been disontinued. If you have older All-Clad, lines with a stainless steel exterior are induction compatible, while lines with an aluminum exterior are not.
All Demeyere cookware is induction compatible. However, Demeyere has many features that make it the superior induction cookware, including its TripleInduc technology (more on this below), it's greater mass, and its extremely flat, wide pan bottoms that provide greater contact with the burner.
Caring for Clad Stainless Cookware
These guidelines will help your clad cookware last as long as possible without warping, pitting, or rusting:
- Don't put stainless cookware in the dishwasher. Even if "dishwasher safe," it will corrode faster from the abrasive compounds in dishwasher detergent. (This is also true for nonstick cookware, enameled cookware, anodized aluminum cookware, and knives.)
- Don't use high heat with your stainless pans. High heat degrades pans over time, cause more leaching of nickel and chromium, and cause food to stick more. In fact, some manufacturers (like All-Clad) specifically instruct you to never use high heat.
- Always let pans cool before rinsing or washing. This prevents warping and helps food wipe off more easily.
- Use a gentle cleanser like Barkeeper's Friend to remove stains and keep pans shiny.
- Avoid soaking pans for too long a time. This can degrade the surface and perhaps cause the layers of cladding to separate.
- Try to avoid getting salt on the surface of pans because it can cause pitting. Instead, salt food before putting it in the pan, or wait until the pan surface is coated with oil before salting.
- Don't store food in pans. This can degrade the steel. Use designated food storage containers.
All stainless will show some wear and tear after a few years of regular use. Unless it's rusting or pitting, this is normal. Consider it the patina that comes after years of hard work. Much of the wear can be fixed with Barkeeper's Friend.
Tips on keeping stainless pots and pans easier to wash:
-Heat the pan, then add a thin layer of oil in the pan before adding any food. The oil creates a barrier between the food and the cooking surface that makes cleanup easier.
-Allow food to cook undisturbed for a few minutes. It will form a crust and release from the pan on its own.
-Avoid using high heat when pan frying, as it will cause oil to polymerize and "bond" to the pan.
-Use Barkeeper's Friend to remove stains and keep your stainless looking shiny and new.
Cladding: What You Need to Know
This section gets into detail about cladding--what to know, what to look for, what makes it good (or bad), and more. It isn't required reading, but it may help you make a better decision about which cookware to buy, and why.
What Is Cladding?
Cladding is the process of bonding different metals together under extreme pressure. The process was invented in the 1960s by American John Ulam, who went on to found the All-Clad company in 1971. Cladding allowed the use of multiple metals to be used as one, maximizing the best properties of each and minimizing the drawbacks, resulting in durable cookware with excellent heating properties.
Here's how it works: Aluminum is an excellent heat conductor, but it is soft, prone to warping and scratching, and reactive with certain foods. Stainless steel is a terrible heat conductor, but very stable (non-reactive), warp resistant, and durable. Thus, cookware with an aluminum interior and a stainless exterior has the best of both worlds: excellent heating properties and extreme durability.
Clad stainless cookware caught on fast, and today it is extremely popular cookware here in the United States. The cladding process, however, is expensive and rather difficult to do well. When the All-Clad patent expired in the 1980s, the market quickly flooded with several knock-offs mostly made overseas; some of them are good quality, but many of them are not.
How Many Layers Are Enough?
The original clad stainless was 2 or 3 layers: aluminum exterior with a stainless cooking surface, or stainless exterior-aluminum interior-stainless cooking surface. Since then, manufacturers have come up with different configurations (which we discuss more in the sections on All-Clad and Demeyere). Some has an internal layer of copper between layers of aluminum and stainless (5-ply), and some just has alternating layers of aluminum and stainless.
Demeyere Proline skillet/Atlantis saucier pans have 7 layers of cladding. Demeyere Atlantis has 3 layers of stainless on the bottom (the more corrosion-prone magnetic layer protected by layers of rust resistant 18/10--this is their patented TriplInduc® design); layers of different aluminum alloys (some alloys bond to the stainless better, some have better heating properties); and an 18/10 stainless cooking surface.
All-Clad D5 has an internal layer of stainless between the aluminum layers, which is supposed to improve lateral heat movement--but all stainless steel can do is slow down heat movement, so we're not sure how that benefits functionality, particularly with induction (and All-Clad hasn't explained it very well, either).
Multiple layers can be functional, as in the case of Demeyere's TriplInduc®. However, multiple layers have become a bit of a fad, and don't always improve cookware performance (All Clad D5, we're looking at you).
The more important factor to consider is the thickness of the aluminum and/or copper layer(s), and the overall mass of the pan.
In other words, a 2-ply pan with 3mm of aluminum (like the now discontinued All Clad MC2) is going to heat faster and more evenly than a 5-ply pan with a 1.7mm layer of aluminum (such as All Clad D5).
Comparing aluminum content of All-Clad and Demeyere
AC: All-Clad D3 and D5 have about 1.7mm of aluminum. Copper Core has 0.9mm of copper plus two paper thin layers of aluminum, giving it a slight performance edge, but also quite a bump up in cost.
Demeyere: 3.7mm of aluminum on the Proline and other fully clad Atlantis pieces. Bottom-clad pieces have a 7mm base, with a 2mm layer of copper plus aluminum and silver. Industry 5 contains 2mm of aluminum.
(So Demeyere wins this category hands down.)
How Thick Should the Cladding Be?
The more aluminum or copper a pan has, the better its heating properties are going to be.
So what's a good number?
These are all estimations, because different manufacturers use different alloys of aluminum and copper with slightly differing properties. But in general, copper is about twice as efficient as aluminum at spreading heat. Therefore, a 1mm layer of copper is going to offer about the same heating properties as a 2mm layer of aluminum.
With that in mind, what's a good number? Well, All-Clad D3 (tri-ply) has about 1.7mm of aluminum total, and this has become the standard by which all other brands of clad cookware are judged. This is enough aluminum to create fast, even heating but not so much that the pans are overly heavy.
In contrast, the Demeyere Proline skillet has 3.7mm of aluminum--almost twice as much as the All-Clad D3 (or D5). Demeyere's Industry 5 line, the one most comparable to All-Clad's D3, has about 2mm of aluminum, which is approximately 25% more aluminum than the D3.
In fact, all of Demeyere's lines offer thicker layers of aluminum--not to mention the copper and silver in the bottom-clad Atlantis pieces.
Thus, there's no question that Demeyere is the better-performing cookware. However, the price for this superior performance is that it's heavy: the Proline skillet is almost as heavy as cast iron, so for all-around, everyday cookware, you may prefer the lighter All-Clad D3 or the Demeyere Industry 5. Both are great options.
The thickness of the aluminum and/or copper is what gives a pan great heating properties, not the number of layers. A good number for copper starts at about 1mm; a good number for aluminum starts at about 1.5mm.
Full Cladding vs. Bottom (Disc) Cladding
Cookware can be fully clad or it can have a clad disc bonded to the bottom surface of the cookware; this is called bottom-clad, disc-clad, or impact-bonded cookware.
You can spot bottom cladding easily by the seam where the disc is bonded to the rest of the pan:
Most bottom-clad cookware is less expensive because it's cheaper to make and tends to be of lower quality than fully clad cookware. This is especially true in the US, where bottom-clad cookware is considered inferior to the fully clad American brand All Clad.
However, bottom-clad cookware is more popular in Europe, and some European brands of bottom-clad cookware are extremely high quality. This includes Demeyere Atlantis. The Atlantis line has fully clad and disc clad pieces. This configuration has evolved from Demeyere's cooking philosophy, which is that when you use curved-sided pieces (like a skillet), the sides are part of the cooking surface; when you use straight-sided pieces (like the sauté pan shown above) only the bottom is cooking surface.
(In other words, the cladding configuration has nothing to do with cost cutting, and everything to do with performance.)
All-Clad, on the other hand, makes only fully clad cookware. Fully clad cookware is what Americans are accustomed to and prefer. Whether it is the "better" design, though, is really a matter of opinion.
Having said that, we believe there's truth to Demeyere's philosophy. For example, pans used for liquids, such as sauce pans and stock pots, really don't require full cladding because the natural convection in liquid distributes heat evenly throughout the pot. And in any straight-sided pan, it's difficult to use the sides for cooking as you can in a frying pan or a wok. So is full cladding necessary? Perhaps not.
Even so, there are other reasons to prefer full cladding. One big one is balance: bottom clad pans can feel unbalanced, especially if you're accustomed to full cladding. Another is that with full cladding, you don't have to stop and consider "which pan should I use?" Since all pans are fully clad, you'll get similar results whether you grab a frying pan or a sauté pan, a sauce pan or a saucier.
As we said: it's largely a matter of preference.
If you do want to consider bottom-clad cookware, we recommend that you avoid cheap Chinese brands. High quality bottom cladding is thick enough to compensate for the lack of side cladding--usually 5-7mm!--while lower quality bottom cladding has roughly the same thickness as a fully clad pan--but only on the bottom.
Good disc cladding should also cover the entire bottom of a pan and extend slightly up the sides (as shown in the photo above); this design ensures even heating, whereas a too-tiny disc of aluminum can result in uneven heating that makes a pan frustrating to work with.
While Americans tend to prefer full cladding, there are good arguments to be made for some bottom clad pieces, especially if they are high quality (like the Demeyere Atlantis).
We recommend that you avoid inexpensive bottom-clad cookware. which is offered by many major cookware manufacturers. So if you buy on the low end, make sure you're getting fully clad cookware.
All-Clad is an American company founded in the 1971 by metallurgist John Ulam, who invented the process of bonding aluminum to stainless steel. All-Clad has been a consistently profitable company and has gone through a few changes of ownership. Today, All-Clad is owned by the French kitchenware conglomerate Groupe SEB, which also owns many other well-known brands such as T-fal, Wearever, Mirro, and Krups.
Despite being owned by an overseas company, all of All-Clad's clad cookware is still made in the USA. Other products, such as lids, electronics, and their cast aluminum nonstick cookware, are made in China. Their newest line, Fusiontec, is made in Germany.
When people hear "All-Clad," they usually associate it with the D3 (tri-ply) cookware, one of the first bonded cookwares ever made and still AC's most popular line.
When All-Clad's original patent expired in 2004, hundreds of All-Clad tri-ply knockoffs entered the market. In response, All-Clad introduced several new lines to stay ahead of this competition.
All-Clad has discontinued some of their popular lines, including Master Chef, LTD2, Thomas Keller, and two of their nonstick lines. They also discontinued their newest copper line, C4. They have a new enameled stainless steel line called Fusiontec which is made in Germany and expensive.
See also our Definitive All Clad Cookware Review.
Demeyere (pronounced de-MY-ruh), is a Belgian cookware manufacturer that's been around for more than 100 years. They were a small, family-owned business until the mid-2000s, when they were purchased by Zwilling J. A. Henckels, a German conglomerate that owns several cookware lines and are probably best known in the US for their knives. (Quite possibly, the timing of this acquisition was related to All-Clad's patent on clad cookware expiring.)
Demeyere was the first company to make induction compatible clad stainless cookware. They are known for their excellent design and extremely high quality products.
Demeyere Cookware Features
The Demeyere designers have a different philosophy about cookware than All-Clad, which has resulted in pans with very different designs.
In their original line, Atlantis, the curve-sided pans (e.g., skillets and sauciers) are fully clad, while the straight-sided pans (e.g., sauté and sauce pans) are bottom-clad. (See the Full Cladding Vs. Bottom Cladding discussion above for more details.)
Here's a 4 minute video from Demeyere which explains their reasoning (and pan construction):
Demeyere doesn't make any tri-ply cookware. Their fully clad line, Industry (also called Industry 5 or Industry 5 Plus), is 5-ply, with 3 interior layers of aluminum.
Demeyere also makes a line of nonstick pans (AluPro), but as far as we can tell the pieces are sold only as open stock (no sets).
All Demeyere cookware is made in Belgium except their Resto line of specialty products (tea kettles, egg poachers, mini pans, and more), which is made in Indonesia.
Note: All of these lines are summarized in the table below.
Demeyere makes fabulous cookware. They offer more aluminum than All-Clad's offerings, thus heat more evenly (i.e., better thermal conductivity) and hold onto heat longer (i.e., better heat retention). Their welded handles mean no rivets to clean around, and their Silvinox® finish makes the stainless exteriors easier to clean (less sticky) than other brands of stainless.
The drawback of Demeyere cookware is the substantial heft that all this quality adds: if you don't want heavy pans, the All-Clad D3 is a better option--but the performance is less impressive.
- The All-Clad D3 12" skillet weighs 4 pounds.
- The Demeyere Industry 5 11" skillet weighs 4.2 pounds.
- The Demeyere Proline 11" skillet weighs 5.3 pounds.
- For comparison, a 12-inch cast iron skillet weighs 7-8 pounds (depending on brand).
These aren't huge differences, but it's something to be aware of (and note that the Demeyere sizes are both smaller--but heavier--than the All-Clad).
The Demeyere Atlantis Proline skillet is a true kitchen masterpiece, offering almost 4 millimeters of aluminum for fast, even heat distribution (compare to 1.7mm in All-Clad's D3 line and even less in the D5 line). The result is heating properties comparable to high-end copper cookware.
Here are some of the Demeyere cookware features. (Most of this info is taken from the Demeyere website.)
Silvinox® (All Demeyere Cookware)
From the website: 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 higher resistance to fingerprints, harsh detergents and strong acidic foods. The products retain their silvery-white colour even after years of use.
TriplInduc® (Atlantis, John Pawson)
From the website: TriplInduc® is a combination of three alloys that provides up to 30% more efficiency on induction than other brands of induction compatible clad stainless cookware. Furthermore, it ensures that the base remains flat, allowing you to switch from one heat source to another at any time.
TRK Note: TriplInduc® is 3 layers of stainless steel: exterior layers of 18/10 that protect an internal magnetic layer of 18/0. We're not sure why this results in greater efficiency on induction, but it does seem to in most applications. Maybe it's just the increased mass, or the extremely flat, wide bottoms that provide better contact with the induction hob.
InductoSeal® Base (Atlantis/John Pawson Straight-Sided Pieces)
From the website: The InductoSeal® base consists of seven layers. A copper disk, hermetically embedded in the base, ensures optimum heat distribution and provides a heat-conducting surface which is 33% larger than a traditional base. InductoSeal® allows for controlled cooking on a low heat, and is energy-saving. The capsule is hermetically welded to the side of the product and provides extra hygiene as water, fat or dirt cannot penetrate into the base.
TRK Note: This diagram, from the video above, shows the 7-layer configuration of the InductoSeal® base (including the TriplInduc® layer):
7-PlyMaterial® (Atlantis/John Pawson Curve-Sided Pieces)
From the website: 7-PlyMaterial® is a unique technology consisting of 7 layers, including stainless steel and an aluminium core. This technology is used for both the product's base and sides and ensures optimum heat distribution up to the top edge of the product, allowing for perfect control over the cooking process. The 7-PlyMaterial reaches up to 30% more efficiency on induction due to TriplInduc®. The total thickness of the 7 layers is designed with the necessity in mind to obtain the right temperature for the typical cooking process for which the product is used.
So you can see that the fully clad pieces have a hefty amount of aluminum plus the protective TriplInduc® that protects the magnetic stainless steel.
The straight-sided pieces have an impressive 4.8mm thick disc with an even more impressive 2mm-thick copper and silver interior (which should erase any doubts about the Demeyere's disc-clad pieces being able to spread heat quickly and evenly).
5-Ply Material (Industry 5/5 Plus/Sensation)
From the website: This special combination of different alloys, including aluminum, ensures that the heat is not concentrated in one place, but is evenly distributed over the entire surface of the pan. A magnetic stainless steel exterior makes these products suitable for all cookers, including induction.
TRK Note: The "different alloys" are 3 alloy of aluminum, the two outer alloys for bonding to the stainless layers and the internal alloy for its thermal conductivity.
From the website: ControlInduc® stainless steel frying pans regulate the maximum heat on induction hobs to 250°C, meaning the pan can never overheat.
All Demeyere cookware is induction compatible.
Price Comparisons: Which Costs More?
Overall, Demeyere is the more expensive cookware.
Note that we are only looking at clad stainless pieces, so we don't include nonstick, or All-Clad's new Fusiontec enameled cookware.
All-Clad/Demeyere Cost Comparison and Recommendations
App. Cost (10"/12"/
3 ply, 1.7mm aluminum, induction. Compare to Demeyere Industry 5
Yes. Good all-around cookware.
5 ply, alum/stainless, same thickness as D3 but with less aluminum due to layers of stainless steel. Compare to Demeyere Industry 5.
No. The extra stainless does nothing to improve heating or induction compatibility--just increases the price.
AC Copper Core
5 ply w/1mm copper core + 2 uber thin layers of aluminum. Lightweight and somewhat more responsive than D3.
Yes. Great all-around cookware--but more expensive than D3.
Demeyere Atlantis skillet (Proline), 9.4"/11"
7 layers with TriplInduc steel layers plus almost 4mm of aluminum. Excellent pans but heavy.
Yes. The best stainless skillet available. But heavy, similar to cast iron.
Demeyere Atlantis Disc-Clad sauté pan
2.6 qt: $300
4.2 qt: $370
Disc-clad Atlantis pans have 2mm copper plus silver and aluminum.
Yes, if you want stellar heating and don't mind the weight.
Demeyere Industry 5, 9.5"/12.5"
5 layers of stainless and aluminum w/2mm of aluminum. Compare to AC D3, D5.
Yes. Thicker aluminum than all AC's lines. Better 5 ply than AC D5.
Demeyere John Pawson, 9.5"/11"/set
$200/305/ 500 (3 pc)
Same configuration as Atlantis, different design. Double steel lids for better insulation.
No. Get Atlantis or Silver 7: same cookware for less.
$99/110/600 (7 pc)
Identical to Ind. 5 w/out Silvinox and has riveted handles.
Yes. Better than AC D3 for less (if you can't afford Demeyere).
*You can sometimes find the AC D3 pan on Amazon for as low as $70/120.
Which Brand Is Better? Our Recommendations
If you're looking for top-end clad stainless cookware, All-Clad and Demeyere are both excellent options.
If you want the best heating performance that clad stainless cookware has to offer, go with Demeyere. Atlantis/Proline is their premium line, but Industry is also very good (or go with Zwilling Aurora for less).
If you are concerned about weight and maneuverability or you have ergonomic issues, go with All-Clad. We recommend D3, followed by Copper Core. We don't recommend D5.
Here are our favorites from both brands.
Best Overall: Demeyere Atlantis/Proline Skillet
You may not want to go with the whole set, as the sauté and sauce pans are bottom-clad (and pretty heavy), but the Proline skillet is unsurpassed in quality. In fact, if you invest in just one quality piece of cookware, it should be the Proline skillet (it's that good).
buyy demeyere proline skillet:
buy demeyere atlantis sets:
buy demeyere Atlantis sauté pan:
Best Lighter Weight: All-Clad D3/Demeyere Industry 5
The Industry 5 is going to be heavier than the D3, but lighter than the Atlantis line. The All Clad D3 frying pan with lid is one of the best deals on the Internet.
buy All-Clad d3 skillet:
buy All-Clad d3 skillet w/lid:
buy All-Clad d3 sets:
buy demeyere industry 5 skillet:
buy demeyere industry 10 pc. set:
Nonstick: All-Clad Anodized Aluminum
Everyone needs at least one nonstick skillet for eggs and such. The cast aluminum All-Clad offers better heating properties than better known nonstick brands, at a better price than the Demeyere AluPro.
AluPro is also an excellent choice, but we always opt for the less expensive nonstick because it doesn't last.
buy all-clad Anodized aluminum nonstick skillets:
Final Thoughts on All Clad Vs Demeyere
There you have it: overall, Demeyere is heavier cookware, which gives it better heating properties. All-Clad is lighter weight and easier to handle while still providing great heating.
All cookware is a trade off. If heating properties are your number one concern, go with the Demeyere pans (either Atlantis or Industry 5 is great cookware, with Atlantis being their premium line and also the heaviest). If lighter weight and maneuverability are important to you, any All-Clad line is a good choice, with our favorite being D3.
Thoughts, questions, or ideas? Please share in the comments below.
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