Am I just feeble? All Clad handles...

sighApril 1, 2005

So I'm in the market for a nice stainless saute pan, maybe 5 or 6 quarts. While browsing through Macy's during my lunch hour I decided to "test drive" some saute pans & see how they felt. Yes I knew that All Clad were heavy but the handles were actually painful! I tried a couple of different long handled All Clad pots, all with the same results- my palm was pinched by the V of the handle.

Is it just me? The circulon have a similar V to the handle but there was no agony like there was with the All Clad.

It's probably just me...


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It isn't just you...My husband suggested that we buy a set of All-Clad after seeing me gaze longingly at the TV whenever the Food Network was on. I was sure that I was going to love them based on all of the glowing reports I had read.To make a long story short,we went to Macy's where I almost dropped a 3 qt. saute pan off of the display. I knew that it was going to be heavy, but I wasn't prepared for how uncomfortable and unbalanced it felt in my hand. I SO wanted to love them, but concluded that they just weren't meant for me......I ended up with a set of Calphalon Tri Ply, which was much more comfortable. A few weeks later, I bought an All-Clad 2.5 quart casserole/steamer (with loop handles) which I also like.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2005 at 4:40PM
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The same thing happened to me. I thought I was going to love them! I was dead set on them...until I experienced "the pinch" too. I'm definitely not feeble either. I ended up with Calphalon One - the handles are an absolute dream. I LOVE holding them! Check them out...

    Bookmark   April 2, 2005 at 12:43AM
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How are you holding the handle? I have no problem with my handles on All Clad but it appears your experience is different. I hold the handles from the bottom, not the top. So, you wrap your hand around the handle.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2005 at 7:35AM
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I purchased a set of tri-ply/all clad from Sam's Club, which is their Member's Mark. Very good reviews from multiple sources. I had also used a friends' All Clad as a comparison, and I actually like the way my Sam's set feels. There is no difference in the performance between the two sets. My friend said that if she didn't already drop a bundle on her All Clad, she would have purchased the Sam's/Member's Mark. The only difference is the ergonomics of the handles (Sam's is more comfortable to me) and the price, the Sam's Club being around $130.00 for an 11 piece set. Look into them, and you won't be disappointed.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2005 at 11:00AM
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Oooops! Here's the link to Sam's Club/Member's Mark cookware.

Here is a link that might be useful: Member's Mark cookware

    Bookmark   April 2, 2005 at 11:19AM
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I have the same problem with All Clad - I guess they either fit your hand perfectly or they're unbearable. I'm in the latter category.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2005 at 11:41AM
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Homepro- I'm holding the handles from the top, it never occurred to me to do any differently. I grasp the handles of all of my cookware from the top. The bottom of the all clad handles appear to be smooth & rounded and so would be much more comfortable when held from the bottom. Hmm, I guess that it's different cooking techniques? I never thought about it.

Chitown- OOh I think that the Calphalon was one that I fondled. It was an aluminum pan & the handles were a dream. I need some stainless though. Is Calphalon one stainless?

Mrsmarv- love those Member's mark pots! I'm nore enamored of the straight sided pans but for that price I'll check them out.

Glad to hear that I'm not just feeble. It's funny but after I posted I was telling my husband about the all clad handles & the woman who sits at the next desk chimed in to say that her daughter had bought her some All Clad and she hated the handles too! I'm sure that my husband was just breathing a sigh of relief that I wasn't going to be running out to buy the All Clad!

All I currently "need" is one of those big sautee pans so I'll check out a restaurant supply for one of those. But I'll make it a point to test drive those handles.



    Bookmark   April 2, 2005 at 1:19PM
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You can't flip or toss things if you are holding the handle from the top. If you watch cooking shows, you will notice that they always hold the handles from the bottom. This was how my mom and my aunts taught me how to cook.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 11:58AM
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Homepro- really interesting! And you're right, you'd need to hold the handle from udnerneath in order to flip or toss.

However, my mom never flipped or tossed via the pan (spatula was used for flipping, wooden spoon for tossing) so neither do I. I never thought about it. Obviously it's all how you learned. I'll definitely try to pay attention when watching cooking shows.



    Bookmark   April 4, 2005 at 9:30AM
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I alwasy hold the handle from the bottom & they were still uncomfortable for me. But I already have a wonderful set of SS pans which I started collecting 30 years ago & which fit my hands perfectly. Just picked up the AllClad to see what all the noise was about!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2005 at 3:04PM
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We have an old All-Clad Master Chef (not MC2) saucepan. The rough cast handle is very comfortable. Based on our good experience with the saucepan we decided to order some MC2 cookware. Fortunately, we saw a display of All-Clad at Wegman's (supermarket) and tried picking up a few pieces. The handles are horrible! We're now looking at other cookware.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 4:24PM
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We have a mixture of All-Clad MC and MC2. I definitely prefer the MC handles. Wish they'd come back. Not likely, though. I've not experienced the troubles of others with the MC2 handles. Lucky for me because I really LOVE the stuff! Good luck with your alternatives.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2005 at 5:26PM
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The All Clad handles are quite uncomfortable, even if I hold them from the underside or closer to the pan. I'm going with Calphalon tri-ply with the gracefully curved handles, even if it means that I can't toss and flip like the pro's. They are more comfortable and seem to provide a better balance. I think the AC is overrated and overpriced.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2006 at 3:57PM
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I don't have any problem with my All Clad handles. I'm only 5'2" and have small hands and very little strength due to osteoarthritis. My DH is 6'3" with large hands and he has no problem either. I guess it's just what you get used to.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2006 at 4:02PM
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Ditto cupofkindness - I find the AC handles almost painful.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2006 at 4:45PM
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Cupofkindness, you might check out the Henckels too. That humpbacked handle looks rather odd. But it's the most comfortable cookware handle I've ever handled.

It fits the hand well, and serves as a perfect counterbalance for the pan.

Got a question raised by this thread. How is it possible to hold a pan by the top of the handle and still use it? Unless it's being gripped sideways? But I find that to be both unnatural and awkward, after just trying it. And I can't imagine trying to lift a pan that way, particular one that's full of food.

A natural grip is formed with the palm and four fingers curling underneath, and the thumb along the top. This also happens to provide a secure grip, and the best control of the pan.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2006 at 4:53PM
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Wow, this is an interesting thread.

I love my All-Clad, and have no problem with the handles, but as discussed above, I hold them from the bottom, so maybe that is the trick.

Still, I don't think any one product is ever right for all people. It's important to 'try on' pots, pans, knives, etc, just as we try on clothes, to get the right fit.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2006 at 5:26PM
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Gardenlad- Palm on top, fingers curled around the side & underneath. After I saw the responses to this thread I tried holding some handles from the bottom & it felt unnatural & awkward to me so again, I guess it's what you're used to.

After I first started this thread I was thinking about cooking with my mom & how we had absolutely NO skillets in our house because she couldn't grip them. She has very bad arthritis & that combined with an electric stove equalled all pots being corningware with those little tab handles. I hated those pots. So in my own kitchen, with my own skillets I just used them however it felt most comfortable.

I ended up with the Cuisinart stainless and they're just fine, handlewise. They also work well on my stove. I still don't flip anything, though, so I'll never have my own cooking show :-).


    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 12:17PM
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I freq. read about the uncomfortable handles of All Clad. I have a combo of cuisinart SS, round handles, and AC SS. I paid more attention to what I do and I must admit it was automatic. I pick up the round handled Cuisinart with my hand on top of the handle and automatically do the reverse with the AC and don't have a problem. Though on big saute pan I always use the helper handle.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 1:08PM
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Speaking of handles, and helper handles, do people like the so-called "everyday" pans. They somehow seem "wrong" to me - like you ought to have a long handle on a pan to manipulate it while cooking. I'd love to know if those of you who have one use it in place of a regular skillet or pot. Thanks.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 8:08PM
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I posted earlier, but wanted to explain in a little more detail. It's easier on your hands to have the handle lay in your hand and grip the top with your thumb. The AC handles are ergonomically correct. I have very little finger strength because of arthritis and because the handle rests on my hand, I don't have to grip it with my fingers. I just lay my thumb in the groove on the top of the handle which helps secure my grip. Any pan that is heavy has the helper handle on the other side which also just rests on my fingers. I don't grip it.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 7:08AM
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I believe we're looking at things from different angles, is what the problem is.

Thus: "Palm on top, fingers curled around the side & underneath."

I tried doing this. And, again, found that I could only accomplish it by holding the handle sideways. That is, the handle extends to the right or left.

This would work for people who do not use the pan except as a recepticle. That is, the handle is just there to help stabalize the pan as the contents get stirred and mixed with another tool. Even lifting the pan to move it is rather awkward with this grip, and I personally wouldn't want to do it with anything larger than about 8".

For people who shake, and flip, and toss, this is an impossible grip. For those of us like that, the pan is gripped with the handle pointing towards us. Four fingers and the forward part of the palm are curled around the bottom, thumb on top. Once this grip is mastered (and it really is a more natural position), the pan is under complete control from any angle; and can really be given a workout. Plus the handle acts as a balancing lever for lifting the pan and moving it.

So, from all this, my conclusion is that it isn't the handle design that determines how you hold a pan, but your cooking style.

However, those manufacturers who attempt ergonomic designs do so under the impression that the handle will be used with the fingers underneath, thumb on top grip. That Henckels hump-back design I like so much, for instance, would likely be very uncomfortable for somebody who uses the palm-on-top grip.

Just something else to keep in mind when shopping for cookware. And why I've always maintained that cookware, like knives, should be handled in the store just the way you would use it at home.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 8:30AM
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Sorry, I've read all the comments about the handles and I must agree they are not only uncomfortable but down right dangerous to use when removing from stove. Especially, the frying pans. The design of the long, thin handles are not user friendly. No matter where you try to hold the handle it rolls and spills. I can see a lawsuit coming on the design of this handle.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 3:57PM
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I automatically use 2 hands with the larger frying pan or heavier pot, one under and one over,
that must be how they are intended to be used.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 6:49AM
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I also cannot stand All clad's handles. I am sure I am doing everything wrong, but it is actually painful for me to lift them. I've tried from the top, the bottom, closer to the pan etc. I just can't maneuver them. I actually ended up buying Emeril's Pro clad, made by All Clad. These handles are fine.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 12:41AM
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Gosh, and here I thought I was the only one in the world who doesn't like AC for this very reason!!

DS and DDIL swear by them, so I bought a small saute pan. It's fine . . . I can manage it. Then I babysat the grandkids at their house and prepared something in the 10 or 12" skillet . . . I had to call DH into the kitchen to lift it -- not because of the weight, but because of lifting the weight with that handle. I never thought I was a wuss, but . . . this HURT!!

Anyway, I'm glad for the experience -- it prevented a very expensive mistake!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 11:47AM
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