All Clad vs Tramontina

Continuing the discussion from Hungry Onion Drooling Q&A with Christopher Kimball (Dec 7, 2016 3-3:45pm ET):

I thought I had read on Chowhound in the past that Tramontina’s performance was reasonably close to All Clad’s, except maybe the heating is not as even. Is that not the case, cookware experts?

Unless something has changed recently, they are functionally interchangeable, IMO.

With respect all around, if Kimball says it’s snowing outside, I’d wear shorts and slather on the sunscreen.

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For most applications, a Tramontina triply cookware is good enough for most people.

I am not sure which aspect Christopher Kimball was referring to when he said that All Clad is much better than Tramontina. Until I know what he was referring to, it is difficult for me to address. Was he referring to a more even heating surface, but I think that difference is small, and unlikely translate to the end products.

On top of it, Kimball has stated that he recommends carbon steel or cast iron for skillet and prefers cast iron for a Dutch Oven. Great choices, but cast iron and carbon steel yield less even heating surface than All Clad or Tramontina triply cookware. So it seems he wasn’t talking about heat evenness.

Tramontina manufactures quite a few different collections in Asia, Europe, the United States, and even Brazil. Some are veryh high end. We are probably most familiar with cookware sets sold in big box stores (Costco, Walmart, Target) rather than higher end pieces sold in Williams-Sonoma. These Tramontina SS offerings are more similar to All Clad’s Emeril line, imported from China, than All Clad tri ply, d5, or copper core, manufactured in Pennsylvania.

My only personal experience with Tramontina products as a user is with three ECI pots: pretty good.

Ray

I thought the Tramontina big box cookware are also tri-ply? are you saying that, despite being so, that they are comparable to the Emeril line, and not to the AC tri ply?

The Tramontina and the Emeril are both very good imitations of the previously patent protected All Clad 3 ply line. Both are manufactured in China. The difference is that Emeril is made with All Clad cooperation. The regular All Clad line is manufactured in Pennsylvania. Emeril is price and quality competitive with Tramontina, pan for pan. All Clad is certainly competitive for quality–but not price.

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I have three All Clad pieces, more than 10 years old. Two are “on loan” for the last 5 years; my parents love them. They will buy all sorts of cheap cookware and keep replacing it, but the All Clads keep going. (Why they don’t just buy All Clad themselves, I’ll never know.)

I loaned my parents those two pieces when I purchased a Tramontina set at WalMart after reading recommendations online. (Those two pieces were made redundant by the new Tramontina set.) I can’t remember the details, I think the set was $120. I vaguely remember the set being made in Brazil, but can’t say for sure.

We moved at the end of summer last year, and I used that as an excuse to get rid of the Tramontinas once and for all. After using them for years, I didn’t like the heating (all aspects, evenness, retention, etc.) of the Tramontina. Plus, they didn’t take abuse well, dings and scrapes affected performance. Also, they always felt odd (something like unbalanced). I wasn’t aware there are more premium tri ply Tramontina products, though. I will now slowly build up my collection with higher quality items. One plus was that with the Tramontina set I figured out which sizes and styles of pots and pans I need.

For me, the All Clads have a great, solid feel. When I grab an All Clad, it’s a reassuring feeling, kind of like when you grab your favorite knife. And the single All Clad I have left – a small frying pan – has taken a lot of abuse. There are so many huge black spots on the bottom that I can’t scrub off with BarKeepers Friend, but it still heats perfectly. Tasks like caramelizing onions were a pain for me with Tramontina, but not so the All Clads I had before. Maybe those with better stoves won’t be as affected as I was.

Hi bmorecupcake,

Given your special relationship with All Clad over the years, maybe you should renew the relationship. All Clad regularly has sales of 2nds that are often indistinguishable from1sts. Here’s the site:

https://homeandcooksales.com/index.php/home

You can also sign up at the All Clad site for a newsletter that tells you the date of the next upcoming sale.

Alternately, you can find All Clad on EBAY–or almost anywhere that is having special cookware sales at very good prices.

If there isn’t so much of a price difference, why not buy All Clad?

Ray

Just so you know… The “gravitas” of A-C has a lot to do with the act that their inner and outer cladding is thicker. [quote=“bmorecupcake, post:7, topic:7554”]
Plus, they didn’t take abuse well, dings and scrapes affected performance.
[/quote]

Really? How did dings and scrapes affect performance? In what way?

.

Dings, scrapes, marks formed easier (yes, I am clumsy and slide pots back and forth on the cooking grates.) Result was uneven heating. I brown onions a lot. On one of the pots, I would have to be mindful to avoid a whole section, I thought of it as a black hole. To be fair, I didn’t expect $120 for 8 pieces to perform like premium All Clad, but for me the budget Tramontina wasn’t even “good enough”. I have Macy’s “Tools of the Trade” brand pieces (some with plastic handles) that I like better, but they also cost more. I have attached a picture of what my All Clads look like now and they still perform great.

@drrayeye, thanks for that link. There isn’t a sale right now, but I signed up for the newsletter.

That is too bad. I suspect the uneven heating pot was either “bad from day 1” or “overheated”. Dings and scrapes shouldn’t affect your heating evenness.

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12 posts were split to a new topic: All Clad seconds sale

It could very well be overheating. I overheat the All Clads all the time, though. (Before it was on purpose before I knew they weren’t designed for high heat, but it still happens by accident every now and then.)

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold