Best lightweight pan set for copper diffuser plates?

Hi there,

I’ve been reading this forum for a long time and am constantly astounded by the degree of scientific knowledge some users have on the properties of cookware.

I recently decided to buy a couple of 3mm copper diffuser plates for my gas range. The idea I had is I could achieve very even heating with the plates while also getting away with a very lightweight saucier (for instantaneous response once I remove the saucier from the diffuser) and a lightweight fry pan that I can use for tossing and fun (but not entirely critical) tricks.

What pans would you recommend for these use cases? I would prefer something that is:

  • Rivetless or low profile rivets.
  • Dishwasher safe.
  • Lightweight for quick response once I remove from the diffuser.
  • High build quality. I like pretty cookware :).
  • Not sure if I have a preference on clad or disc. Does it even matter if the clad is very thin?

Looking forward to the discussion! Thanks all.

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I use Bourgeat stainless clad copper, cast iron, Darto black iron, Zwilling Auroa plus thin el’cheapo Telfon supermarket fry pans on Bella Copper plates.
copper and aluminum will provide the fastest ‘response’
disc bottoms is the marketing response to a copper diffuser plate.
the only rivetless I’ve personally encountered/used/like is Darto.

basically, copper diffusers will prevent any “hot spots” from a gas flame burner - I don’t think the material of the pan much matters.
but this applies only to slow/low cooking. if you want to sear a steak, don’t use a heat diffuser . . .


You’re mostly on the right track. If you want the fastest downward (and upward) response, the pans should be thin and highly conductive as well, i.e., straight-gauge aluminum or copper. Of course thin pans don’t move as much heat up the sidewalls–only you can decide if that’s undesirable, up or down.

I keep a large slab of 3/8" aluminum plate to remove pans to if I want to bring a pan down fast. If I keep it outside in winter or in the freezer, it sinks heat like crazy.

Report back what you get and what you think of the combination.


If this is the route you will take, and you want clad, I suggest you look at All-Clad G3.

Or Tramontina Tri-Ply for a fraction of the price (and better handles).

For the fastest response that the OP wants, I wouldn’t recommend any other clad.

That Tamontina is a solid choice for good clad though.

Here is a very good comparison…

It’s a comparison, but not one involving the All-Clad G3.

My comments are directed at the OP’s particular situation and wants: (1) using thick copper sheets atop gas burners for even heat; (2) getting the utmost downward response when pans are taken off the sheet; and (3) very light cookware. I don’t consider either D3 or the Tramontina triply to fit those parameters well.

the paper / flour “burn” test is abhorrently abysmal.
it only indicates what happens in a cold pan.

so, when was the last instruction issued to ‘do not pre-heat your pan’?
heat transfer is controlled by “delta T” - the temp difference from warm point A to cold point B.
when a pan is pre-heated, all the pretty burn/scorch marks are irrelevant because the rate of heat movement is not the same as ‘from cold on a hot burner’ - not even close to the same…

same with ‘cast iron holds heat better’ - actually, measured by material coefficients, aluminum holds heat twice as ‘better’ than cast iron.
but , , , ooops! , , , the coefficient is based on mass
an aluminum fry pan the same size of a cast iron fry pan , , , has seriously less mass . . . and hence “holds” heat seriously less.

Thanks for the advice! Are you suggesting the G5, i.e. the graphite All Clad models?

Thanks for the response! Why would a heat diffuser be bad for searing, supposing it’s appropriately sized for the pan? Wouldn’t it help with searing by adding more thermal mass and prevent a thermal crash when you add your food?

I’ve read a lot of cast iron folks use diffusers to get even heating and a good sear.

Only if you must have clad.

For folks wondering, according to Williams and Sonoma, the weights of the All-Clad 10.5" fry pans are:

  • D3: 3 lbs
  • Copper core (10", not 10.5"): 4 lbs
  • G5: 2 lbs 3 oz

And the thinnest copper pans I could find are the Mauviel 1.5 mm M’150 line. Weights seem slightly higher than the g5 line.

  • 8" Fry Pan: 8" diam.,1 1/2" high; 1 lb. 11 oz.
  • 10" Fry Pan: 10 1/4" diam.,1 1/2" high; 2 lb. 12 oz.
  • 11 3/4" Fry Pan: 11 3/4" diam., 1 3/4" high; 3 lb. 8 oz.

Haven’t looked at aluminum pans yet.

diffuser plates add a layer between the heat source and the pan.
that slows things down…

diffuser plates add a layer between the heat source and the pan.
that slows things down…

I’d agree slowing things down would be an issue for responsiveness, but for searing isn’t the additional layers and thermal mass an advantage for holding the temperature constant (provider the burner is strong enough to put back in the heat the food absorbs)?

my experience is the pan on a plate diffuser do not reach the same temps as (in my case) over a natural gas burner.
. . . . lack issues getting a good sear . . . never tried it.

Yeah, I’m hypothesizing the lack of a clean bonded interface between the diffuser and pot might lead to heat transfer inefficiencies… Will test and let you know!

Tom is right in the sense that your diffusers will moderate a heat setting. However, a normal home gas stove has plenty of headroom for all but wok work. Just boost the setting a notch. What are you cooking at 10/10 now?

Properly preheated, the diffusers will act like a French Placque–it’s pretty fast response.

Only if you must have clad.

I guess not. Two questions:

  1. I found from other posts that you have some experience (I think) with the G5 pans. Do they perform better than the D3? I think the weights I found on the WS page are wrong and the D3/G5 lines are generally the same weight?

  2. If I don’t do clad, what straight gauge aluminum or copper pans would you recommend? The Mauviel 150s seem to be the lightest copper I can find. I haven’t cooked with straight gauge aluminum before and am a little worried about the problems I’ve read regarding acidity, though they seem cheap enough to take a gamble… but I don’t know which line or brand to start with.

Thanks again!