Disc clad vs fully clad

Hi all,
At 29, I finally think it’s time to stop buying garage sale pans and actually invest in some good, high quality cookware. I’m working on finding all the different pans I’ll need, not to mention which brands, and then saving up and buying them one at a time. At the moment, my list looks like this:

Demeyere Atlantis
Proline frying pan 8" & 12"
Saucier 8"
Saucepan 6.5" & 8" (1.6 qt and 3.2 qt)
Saute 11"
Rondeau 11"
Saute 9.5"
Saucepan 7"

I discovered that the Atlantis line is mostly disc clad, and don’t have enough experience cooking in disc vs fully clad to know what pots this might make a difference in. I was looking at switching some out for the 5+ line, which is fully clad, but lacking some of the love the internet has bestowed on the Atlantis line. I am also looking at Zwilling Spirit line, especially the ceramic coated, and am thinking of getting the 6 qt ceramic dutch oven.

So, the question is…which pans should I try to find fully clad versions of, what pans am I missing, and what would be better choices then what I’ve found? Let the debate begin!

I will keep this short for now. At first glance, a full clad cookware seems better because the conductive material is around the entire cookware, whereas a disc bottom cookware only has the conductive material at the bottom. However, disc bottom cookware can be made much thicker than full clad cookware, which means disc bottom cookware can be made more evenly heated at the bottom.

The Demeyere Atlantis disc bottom cookware are known to have very thick conductive material at the bottom.

Another brand of cookware which many people like (but lesser known) is the Vollrath Cookware. Vollrath is more gear toward commercial kitchens. These cookware are not as polished and pretty, but they are very much performance driven.

Lastly, I am not a fan of the ceramic nonstick cookware. I don’t know if the things have changed much, but a few years ago, ceramic nonstick cookware are known to have very short lifespan. Personally, if you want to invest in Telfon or ceramic nonstick cookware, then you shouldn’t invest way too much. No matter how great the cookware are constructed, their weakest link is the nonstick surface, which don’t last that long.

In term of which cookware to invest first, I will say it depends how you use your cookware. If you like to make delicate sauces, then I recommend the saucepan be the first one to get upgraded. Otherwise, I would say a fry pan or a saute pan.

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The Demeyere Atlantis line has some of the best pots and pans you can buy. But don’t go overboard. A good piece of advice is to buy just one item, use it, get to know it, and only buy additional items when you feel a need for them. Otherwise you run the risk of having cupboards full of never or rarely used items. And don’t buy any sets!


Excellent advise!

I’m a big fan of partially clad, the skimpier the better…


The demeyere cookware you list is all premium cookware, made in Belgium. Likewise Mauviel, made in France.

The Spirit line of Zwilling is at a completely different level: an import from China. It needs to be compared to other imported cookware lines from China: and there are many many lines to choose from.



In the interest of good taste I omitted the illustrations for the partially clad.

My pot rack:

On the rack I have the Calphalon copper clad and the Mauviel.

The Calphalon is fully clad copper but includes a sandwich with a disc. The Mauviel is full clad straight copper with stainless lining.

I also have lots of cast iron that I have inherited but still use on a regular basis that is not on the rack

And also lots of carbon steel including the wok on the rack and fry and crepe pans not on the rack which I picked up at a restaurant supply.

Finally I have a couple of really big aluminum and stainless stock pots.

I use them all. For different things.

I cook with gas, if you use electric or induction these thoughts might not apply to the same extent.

I find the disc sandwich construction in the Calphalon to be less sensitive to small variations in temperature, the heat is distributed more consistently. They work better for things you want to simmer for a long time. They are also ok for warming things up because you do not have to watch them as closely.

The Mauviel on the other hand respond to the most minute changes in temperature, so they work best for sauces and delicate things. For this they are superb.

But, for long distance slow cooking (stews, Bolognese, coq au vin, chili colorado), there is nothing like cast iron whether enameled or not. It also works better over camp fires because it holds the heat when you take it off the fire. I use them for deep fat frying for the same reason.

For quick frying like steaks, chicken and stir frys the carbon steel is the way to go. Hence the wok, crepe, and fry pans. Just yields superior results.

Finally, while you can get large stock pans in copper, you may need home equity loan to pay for them. So for me heavy gage aluminium and stainless again from the restaurant supply store is fine.

I think the advice to buy a pot and try it is sound.

You will have them for a long time, so you should make sure you like them.

But I would also suggest that it does not stop with just fully clad vs disc sandwich.

@kaleokahu researches this stuff and is up on the latest, and may have some further thoughts for you.

Nor am I.

WMF makes a good quality disc sandwich construction and also relatively attractive pots which I believe are mostly of German manufacture.

I just bought a set of these for my daughter and she is happy with them.

With regards to enameled cast iron some of the better known pots are by Le Creuset and Tramontina. You see Lydia using the Dutch ovens all the time on the stove top. Le Creuset is French and a little more expensive, but it’s well made.

Plain cast iron is available everywhere. Lodge is an American made brand from Tennessee. The important thing with plain cast iron is to “season” it, or heat it to a high temperature with salt in it. This forms a coating on the cast iron that prevents food from sticking and the pot from rusting. You also need to do this with carbon steel.

Not much now, but keep an eye open for the warehouse sale


There is nothing that I need. Which is not the same as saying that I will not be buying anything.

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I purchased an All Clad recently and, while I’m very happy, my cheap disc clad works better for things like reducing milk. Less milk gets stuck on the sides.

Interesting. Not my experience. What temperature do you use? (High? Medium? Low?)


I’ve successfully used this 6qt All-Clad to reduce milk, even on high (with more stirring):

I’ve used disk-clad pots in the past, but have gotten better results with the all-clad.

True. I think it depends the situation. First, if the flame is high enough to go on the side of the pot, then the disc-bottom cookware won’t able to diffuse the heat on the side. The other thing is that not all disc bottom cookware are low quality cookware. Demeyere Atlantis cookware are high quality expensive cookware which some of them are disc bottom:



How does one know if a pan is disc clad or fully clad? Like if you are cooking at a friend’s house?

Disc bottom cladded cookware are pretty easy to spot. You will see a thick piece of metal alloy at the bottom of the cookware. Moreover, you will notice that the bottom (cooking surface) is much thicker than the side of the cookware.


A fully cladded cookware is more difficult to spot because the cladding is throughout the cookware. So you will see a relatively thick cookware all around, not just at the bottom

Now, just because you don’t see a disc, it doesn’t mean it is fully cladded. It could simply be a single ply (no cladding) cookware.

Restaurant solid aluminum cookware are as such. No cladding. Most nonstick Telfon cookware are Telfon coated on aluminum cookware with no cladding.

For example, here is a nonstick pan from Calphalon. Just a thin layer of nonstick coating on an anodized aluminum cookware.