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Monday, April 4, 2011

Are All-Clad Pans Worth the Price?

Well, I can't answer that one. They are expensive. Many years ago--before it was easy to find things on the internet--I read glowing reviews of All-Clad pans and decided I wanted to get a 12-inch saute pan. Being a frugal girl, I could not pay the $200plus price. So I started to search. Eventually--many many hours later--I happened upon a book in the library that had a reference to "Cookware and More," a store that sold All-Clad seconds.

I called up (this was before email) and eventually bought the pan of my dreams for about $100.00.

Now, you can find anything on the internet. At minimum wage, my search for the All-Clad probably made the pan cost well over the retail price I was so intent on beating!

What if you want an All-Clad now? The gorgeous All-Clad 6 quart saute pan.

However, if you are willing to give up the straight sides of the saute pan and get a frying pan instead, you can save a bunch.

That last one probably has somewhat less capacity than the saute pan. But the saute pan is so huge that I seldom use it, especially now that my household is down to two.

What about Cookware and More, now--like everything else--on the internet. My big saute pan is under $200; it's irregular.

Williams-Sonoma has a pretty good deal on an All-Clad 4-quart pan; it's the brushed aluminum, not the stainless steel.

As with everything else, you have to compare and contrast. If you are obsessive about getting good prices (as I am) you can waste a lot of your precious time seeking out the good deals.

I love my All-Clad, even though its purchase occasioned a goodly amount of cognitive dissonance.

The best deal in the entire universe of cookware? Everyone knows it's the Lodge cast iron frying pan!

How much time do you spend seeking out a bargain before giving up? Do you ever feel you spent too much time?


Suzy said...

When I'm in the mood to buy something I search a bit - maybe a few days LOL - then I'm buying! I admire those who can devote months to researching something but I'm not one of them.

I'm fairly happy with the pans I have now but my cooking spells go in spurts so I'm always looking for what's new. I"ve found just because something is priced higher it doesn't mean it's good. I remember the 'bargain' Circulon pans I got for myself and my brother about 12 years ago - did great until it scratched. Works fine for others but I'm too rough with stuff and now know better!

Today I was doing pasta and pulled out my $1 yard sale bargain - this black enamel pot with those white specs- there's a name for this stuff but can't remember - and the insert has holes in the bottom and partway up the sides so you can lift it out and the water drains out. Love that pan!

The weight and the long handles are the only things I dislike with my hard anodized pans and when I first got the set I thought the big 12 inch pans were worthless and the 1 qt saucepan was worthles but I've used every piece - the little saucepan for veggies and making tea and the big pans for cooking in bulk and having leftovers/freezer meals. I really hate the 2 skillets with the long handles though!

But I'd say in 11 years I've gotten my $150 worth out of them and if I'd known a great brand of cookware when I first started working 21 yrs ago and could have managed to buy it even piece by piece and have it last a lifetime well that's a bargain no matter the price. I know someone who invested in that waterless cookware 25 yrs ago and she's still using it and guarding it form her daughters and daughter in law because they all want it!

Duchesse said...

There are different grades of All Clad, five lines as of 2010, so be sure you know what you're buying. I have all Master Chef which has performed brilliantly for 20+ years. The new version is MC2- don't have any as my originals are as good as ever.

My principle for buying anything is, "Does it provide quality, aesthetic enjoyment and longevity" whether found at a yard sale or boutique. Price alone does not yield value and enjoyment.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Suzy--What wonderful cookware stories! Hopefully, others can benefit from all my searching--at least I hope so.

@Duchesse--You are right. I have the stainless, but I wouldn't spend that much on nonstick. Nor would I get the anodized aluminum. but that's just me.