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All-Clad Exterior Types... differences??

Posted by Wazatron (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 11, 05 at 12:10

I'm looking to get some nice all-clad pieces, but can't find any good information on the different lines.

I understand the physicall and cosmetic differences, but are there any real functional differences? Condution, durability, etc?

I'd be very interested in some hands-on knowledge about LDT vs MC2 vs the regular SS.
Thanks


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: All-Clad Exterior Types... differences??

Follow-up: Ive just returned from Williams Sonoma and the LTD line looked pretty beat up, with a few significant scratches on some of the pieces. They didnt have the MC2 line, but the regular SS looked significantly better.

On the LTD, Ive read that they are made in China whereas they used to be made in the US and as a result they are not the cookware they used to be any truth to that?

However, another store told me that the LTD is a heavier gauge than both the SS and the MC2, making it the "best" of the bunch.

Outside of that, I mostly hear its all cosmetic. :)

Id appreciate any thoughts and opinions on the matter!

Thanks all!


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RE: All-Clad Exterior Types... differences??

The All Clad website has a decent explanation of the finishes. I've found the SS to have an important advantage: you can put it in the dishwasher. The LTD will not be harmed, but it will start looking cloudy and mottled. I haven't had trouble with the MC2 in the dishwasher (although they are about 10 years old or so).


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RE: All-Clad Exterior Types... differences??

When I purchased All Clad I was sold on the SS because it is the only one that goes in the DW. Comes out perfect and I have never been sorry for my decision.


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RE: All-Clad Exterior Types... differences??

I have had the LTD for about 15 years, got it when it first came out, could be a little longer, but it does hold up very well, I do have some scratches on the bottoms. If you like putting pots into the dishwasher, then it's a disadvantage. But otherwise, they are great and will be passed to future generations, they are that kind of quality (or they used to be).


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RE: All-Clad Exterior Types... differences??

mes444, do you have problems with the LTD staining? Someone had mentioned that dark greasy stains were almost impossible to get out from the anodized surface once the pan was cooked in again. I know I have had that problem with Calphalon. I thought those silvery scratches were marks from another surface that was softer than the hard anodized. I hadn't realized they didn't come out. I like the looks of the LTD, but I went with the stainless as I thought it would hold up better, and develop a nice patina with use.


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RE: All-Clad Exterior Types... differences??

I have never had any problem with the outsides of LTD staining. They clean easily with sos soap pads if they have anything stuck to the sides. I also use sos soap pads inside if anything sticks, if not, I just wash with Dawn as I do my Calphalon. As I said above, they do scratch over time so that the stainless shows here and there. Calphalon does stain if things get on the outside, but I love the non stick Calphalon for frying so much, that I consider their stains a patina of happy cooking.


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RE: All-Clad Exterior Types... differences??

I am collecting (achingly slowly-$$$) the MC/MC2 line of pots. I really love them. When I first started buying them some years ago, a chef friend of mine pointed me toward the MC line because he said the other finishes would show scratches over time. The MC/MC2 scratch as well, but you don't see the scratches because of the finish. This allows me to slide them around the range without cringing at what kind of damage I might be doing to the finish. I don't put them in the DW, but probably could if I wanted to. I think the All-Clad advises against this, though. My feeling is that there probably isn't much difference in performance between the MC2, the LTD, and the SS lines. I would be curious about the Copper stuff, though. There might definitely be a difference there. Anyway, as time goes on, I will probably have some of each as some pots come only in certain finishes. I would assume they're all terrific! Enjoy!


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RE: All-Clad Exterior Types... differences??

The hard anodized surface of the LTD line is a lot harder than surfaces it's likely to come in contact with. What appear to be scratches are almost always small deposits of the metal it came in contact with. To remove them use a green scouring pad and a little BarKeepers Friend. They'll come right off.

That said, I've had a rather large collection of MC for nearly 25 years and it still looks very good. I also have some of the SS and love it too. It's hard to go very wrong with All-Clad.

Stainless steel is a much poorer heat conductor than aluminum so you could argue that the SS line would not perform as well as the other two lines because it has two layers of SS instead of one (the cooking surface) as is the case with the MC and LTD. If there is a difference it is subtle. All three lines perform very well.


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RE: All-Clad Exterior Types... differences??

This might be a stupid question, but do the bottom of All Clad pots/pan show burn marks after use? I am considering the SS set because it looks nice, but I don't want the bottom to be a brownish color after a few uses as a result of the electric stoves.


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RE: All-Clad Exterior Types... differences??

I used my AC SS for about 5 yrs on my electric and now about a year on my gas range. Occasionally I get a brown on the outside of the bottom on the gas range but barkeepers friend takes it right off.


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RE: All-Clad Exterior Types... differences??

I really don't understand all of this back and forth about how the exterior of cookware looks after you use it. Isn't what matters in cookware how well it functions, how well it lasts, and how easily the cooking surface cleans up? The exterior is exposed to searing flame or red-hot steel coils and is dragged across ceramic and granite counters. It will show these signs. The easiest way to keep your cookware "beautiful" is to leave it in the cupboard or on your display rack. If one wants to use it, the best thing to do is to make sure the cooking surface (stove top burner) and the exterior of the pan are completely clean each time you use them. If not, the organics (carbonaceous material from food, oil, sauce, etc) will char and discolor the surface. If there is nothing to char, there will be no browning or blackening of the surface. I prefer to let any dribble, splash and spatter just char on the exterior. Years of cooking produce a deep brown patina that reminds me of how much good food and happiness my pans have brought me. If one wants to use the dishwasher, then one has to also come to terms with the possible lightening or discoloration of a surface from the somewhat caustic nature of the detergent. This will not affect the longevity nor the performance to any perceptible degree.

Concerning performance, all of the All-Clad pans with stainless steel interiors perform the same with respect to stainability and durability in the pan. The real difference between the lines is in heat transfer performance (how fast they heat, cool, and distribute). Assuming the interior stainless is the same thickness across the different lines, the MC2 will be the fastest in heating, and thus arguably the best, because it has an exterior raw aluminum wich has a thermal conductivity that is about 16 times greater than stainless steel (250 vs 16 W/mK). Next in line would be the LTD that has a thin anodized aluminum exterior coating, which is largely alumina (aluminum oxide) having a thermal conductivity of about 20 W/mk, thus inhibiting heat transfer to some degree versus pure aluminum. The All-Clad Stainless is a tri-ply stainless/aluminum/stainless and thus has much less aluminum than the others and thus lower thermal conductivity. The Stainless is a little better for searing of meats or other large masses because it has a higher heat capacity, but I won't elaborate on that right now. Suffice it to say, cast iron is better in this venue.

To make your metallic cookware easy to clean after use, follow these simple steps:
1) with a dry, clean pan, heat on high until a drop of water will ball up and "dance" on the surface (careful not to heat too much, or you could wreck the pan or "flash" subsequent oil).
2) when the pan is hot, coat the interior surface with a high smoke point oil such as sunflower, safflower, canola, corn, or peanut oil.
Note, if you want to cook with another oil or butter, drain off or use a paper towel to carefully remove excess oil. The oil addition to the hot pan forms a molecular bond between the oil and the steel and renders it much more non-stick.
3) let the pan cool to the temperature at which you desire to begin your cooking and add the appropriate oil or butter or liquid for your desired meal.
4) drag your spatula as little as possible across the bottom of the pan, especially if it's metal, so you don't disturb the thin layer of oil that is bonded to the stainless surface
5) when done cooking, immediately empty your pan and cool with tap water and a little soap. The high temperature of the pan in combination with the water will do wonders to loosen any stuck foodstuffs.


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RE: All-Clad Exterior Types... differences??

I am looking into tri-ply cookware, including All-Clad and found this discussion in a search, so I hope you don't mind if I jump in with a couple of questions regarding the cooking difference in Stainless and MC2 collections.

If the graphics on the All-Clad site are at all accurate, it appears that the stainless on the inside of the MC2 collection is thicker than the interior stainless layer on the Stainless line, but then, of course, has none on the outside. I think it appears that both have similar thicknesses of aluminum and stainless, just distributed differently. The Stainless line has a thicker inner core of aluminum, and the MC2 has aluminum alloy on the outside...Are these differences significant? And by that I mean to the cooking performance, not the look. I cook on a Wolf gas rangetop and want to make sure of even heating, no scorching on the sides, etc.

Thank you.

Here is a link that might be useful: All-Clad site's product comparison


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RE: All-Clad Exterior Types... differences??

I know one of the factory sales reps for All-Clad and have spoken to him a number of times regarding the differences. They have done internal testing numerous times, and while the stainless collection is far and away their best-selling line, MC2 and LTD are the benchmark in performance in the All-Clad collection. They cannot be beat. I think the cutaways are a little bit deceiving in that they don't show the overall measurement (thickness of the pan). So while they look proportionately the same, if you hold a SS piece next to an MC2 piece, you will clearly see that the MC2 is hands down thicker. This added mass will eliminate hot-spots and scorching. Also, he said that the only reason the SS line is thinner is because the out-layer of SS will start to warp, crack and not bond correctly if the inner core is too thick. So to answer your questions, if you want the best "performing" All-Clad line, its the MC2 or LTD. If you want shiny cookware, go for the SS. Note - look around for reviews on the SS line and you'll see that people have had issues with it warping. Though this is covered under warranty, it just shows that you might encounter scorching, hot spots. Side note I really haven't seen (or experienced) any bad reviews of MC2. I've had it for 12 years by the way. Happy shopping!


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RE: All-Clad Exterior Types... differences??

Thanks so much, dbyw!! Very helpful info. I had been looking for tri-ply pots, thinking they would all do the same for me, and finally realized they might not all be created equal... But probably better than the stainless pots I have with the thick disk on the bottom and thinner sides.


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